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Image via footballschedule/flickr

† Image via footballschedule/flickr

Earlier this offseason I wrote a piece titled, “A.J. Green and Justin Hunter Have Decided to Score More TDs in 2014“. The premise was that the two players had added weight, and weight helps WRs score TDs. So when I saw this story about Dez Bryant losing weight this offseason, I immediately started writing an article called, “Dez Bryant Has Decided to Score Less TDs in 2014“.

For the people who didn’t click on that link: I’m just yanking your chain. Dez is still going to score a ton of TDs in 2014.

Look, we like numbers here because they’re informative and empirical. Is weight a relevant factor in scoring TDs? Yes, and that’s informative and empirical. Is Dez Bryant really good at scoring TDs? Same answer. Dropping around 5 lbs. probably isn’t going to change that, considering he’s averaged 10 TDs a season and was a TD scoring machine in college. We’re not going to let a slight change in the numbers completely change our valuation of players, because we have basic sense.1 Even if we did change our valuations in this case, it would probably be offset by the news that he’s now less of an injury risk.

Similarly, Stephen Hill has reportedly grown over an inch this offseason.2 This may not actually be true, as he was measured at 6’4″ at the combine, and that’s what he says he is now. But even if we assume it is true, does it matter? Hill has a Freak Score of 82 and scored a 91.6 on something called the Megatron Index. A lack of physical potential has never been the problem for Hill, the problem has been that he hasn’t played up to that potential. An extra inch won’t make him more likely to reach his potential, it just marginally increases his upside. This news shouldn’t change your valuation of Hill. Basic sense.

We try to collect all of these objective pieces of information about players so that we can make more critical and intellectual decisions about them. We are not trying to collect them so that we can completely eliminate the need for thought. Sometimes it’s prudent to state the obvious: It’s best to make your decisions with a combination of empirical evidence, critical thinking, and basic sense.

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  1. Not to be confused with common sense, which is often a hegemony.  (back)
  2. This is actually another interesting reason to prefer younger prospects. We know that height matters, and younger prospects are more likely to grow in height than older prospects.  (back)
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