Explaining the Stats Insider AFL Player Ratings

Stats Insider’s AFL Player Ratings model is an attempt to rate and rank the competition’s players based on their performance and output over the last two years of home and away and finals football.

VIEW: Stats Insider's AFL Player Ratings

The idea was borne out of our ‘wisdom of the crowds’ approach that we've used when modelling the Brownlow Medal. During that process, we noticed that canvassing media votes, coaches votes, and match reports gave our models a much stronger idea of players who played important roles in each individual game. However, these aren’t the only inputs; we also use a custom, fantasy-like scoring system to split tiebreakers and sort the players who have received a mention elsewhere. 

"Even after the moneyball revolution, baseball didn’t get rid of scouts."
- Darryl Woodford, Hypometer Technologies co-founder 

Let’s take a look at goes into our AFL Player Ratings:

Component 1: Game Rank

After the data from every AFL game has been collected, a score out of 100 is given to each player. To score a full 100, the player would need to be unanimously considered the best player on the field. From here, each player is given an in-game rank from 1st to 46th. A rolling average of the players’ game rank is built into the final model, disregarding a player’s lowest 20% of performances to account for unknown factors such in-game injuries, as well as to give players in less consistent positions some room to move.

Component 2: Collating Awards' Votes

This part of the model I’ve named after the ‘A Tribe Called Quest’ song of the same name.

It solely looks at a player’s total score from every game over the last 40 matches of AFL. The key difference here is that it ranks each player against their current position, and turns it in to a league-wide percentile (from 0 to 99.9). This is built to stop midfielders filling all the top rankings like they have with the Brownlow Medal over history. With our system, there is no difference between being a Harris Andrewsor Nat Fyfe as long as they’re both atop their positions in total score over that period.

Component 3: Star Power

In keeping with the theme of scoring out of 100, the last part of the model is also a positional percentile. Taking a longer look back, we find the average of a player’s best 20 games over their last 40 AFL games, and rank them against the other players in that position.

Ultimately, we combine these three components into our model with multiple inputs to identify where each player currently sits in comparison to each other.

Joining the Unpluggered Podcast back in 2020, St Kilda Football Club's senior analyst, Darren O'Shaughnessy, stated “Every [player] rating model is flawed...”

Now, whilst no model is perfect, by combining so many factors into ours, we're confident that is strongly represents the best players in the AFL right now.

Our AFL Player Ratings update weekly following the conclusion of each AFL round. 

VIEW: Stats Insider's AFL Player Ratings

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Greg Butyn

Stats Insider data analyst. All-around nice guy. Lover of all dogs, including greyhounds and the Western Bulldogs. Usually can be found stalking the lobbies at Draftstars and Moneyball on any given day.

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