By: Edward Egros

September 2018

TOUR Championship Preview

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It may seem like ancient history, but Bryson DeChambeau was nowhere near a favorite to win the first leg of the FedExCup Playoffs; sitting obscurely in the Top 125 rankings. Two wins later and a Top 20 finish at the BMW Championship, DeChambeau will start the TOUR Championship with more points than anyone else. As we've profiled before, the points leader has roughly a 28% chance to win based upon points alone and assuming equal abilities for every golfer (even though points have been redistributed since our post).

Because of DeChambeau's two victories in the last three tournaments and three wins in the last 14 months, he is a trendy pick to win the FedExCup. However, a lot of research suggests there is no such thing as a "hot hand" in golf. In other words, just because a golfer is playing well the hole before or the day before, does not mean he/she is drastically likelier to play successfully the following round. Christopher Cotton, Frank McIntyre and Joseph Price
wrote about this phenomenon and Alan Reifman has discussed the lack of a drastic "hot hand" in several sports including golf.

Again, referencing the previous article, those in the Top 5 in points tend to win this event, and Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green seems to have the most predictive value of all Strokes Gained statistics. Also, because of a much smaller tournament field than a usual tournament, birdies and birdie averages seem to matter more than normally.

For being atop the birdie average list, fourth in FedExCup points and fifth in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green, I am choosing Dustin Johnson to win this year's FedExCup and $10 million prize.

As for Daily Fantasy lineups:

Dustin Johnson
Tony Finau
Keegan Bradley
Brooks Koepka
Tommy Fleetwood
Phil Mickelson

Justin Thomas
Bryson DeChambeau
Jon Rahm
Tiger Woods
Jason Day
Aaron Wise

2018 Cowboys Postgame Reports

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For the third-straight year, after every Dallas Cowboys game, I will provide an analytical graphic to begin the conversation as to why the Cowboys won or lost that particular game. However, this year features a new look and simplified visualizations so it's easier to follow and compare what happened. Our graphic is an example from the Cowboys preseason game against the Cardinals.

There are four factors:

- Turnover Margin
- Scoring Efficiency
- Net Yards/Pass Attempt
- Game Control

Our intelligent readers already know what Turnover Margin is, so we move on to Scoring Efficiency, which is essentially points divided by yards. Here, we include percentages, so the more efficient team earns the 100% margin, and the less efficient team shows the fraction of its efficiency compared with its opponent.

Net Yards/Pass Attempt is (passing yards - sack yards) / (passing attempts + times sacked). Because of the reliability of this metric not just to evaluate quarterback performance but also its consistency over time, this serves as an important metric to include.

Lastly, Game Control is based upon a regression where each explanatory variable is the number of rushing yards per quarter and the dependent variable is the likelihood of winning. My research found, predictably, that rushing yards in later quarters matter more to winning than earlier in games. Here, we add up each team's rushing yards and multiply by a factor for each quarter they were rushed in. We then take those results as a proportion to see how much each team controlled the game.

As always, feedback is appreciated!