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NFL – Best 2016 Combines and Fading Pro Days: Bill Lotter, Harvard Sports Analysis Collective – Numbers Game 42

Episode 42 (March 16, 2016): The forty-second episode of The Numbers Game (@NumbersGamePod), an analytics-focused RotoViz Radio powered podcast.

If you’re a listener of the show who hasn’t subscribed yet to RotoViz you can get a special 30% discount through the podcast.

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Hosts: Kevin Cole (@Cole_Kev) & Nick Giffen (@RotoDoc)

Kevin: editor and contributor at RotoViz and writer for PFF Fantasy 
Nick: editor at RotoViz, No. 1 ranked NASCAR DFS player, and Math PhD

Sponsor: FFPC (@FFPC)

Fantasy Football Players Championship is the home of season-long high stakes fantasy football. If you like dynasty, the FFPC has startup leagues forming now with per-team entries of $500 and $700. And if you like the draft-only format, the FFPC BEST BALL leagues are already filling up. So go check out the FFPC today!

Guest: Bill Lotter (@bill_lotter)

Bill is a member of the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective and a contributor to its blog. Bill is also a Harvard PhD student, with research focusing in machine learning and neuroscience. On top of that, Bill is also an avid powerlifter.1 Bills talks with us about his linear, ridge regression to determine which NFL combine drills matter for each position; who had the best 2016 combine; his analysis of optimal play calling by down, distance, and yard-line; and how he uses Monte Carlo simulations to turn small samples into meaningful analyses.

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Host Discussion: How Much Weight Should We Put In Improved Pro Day Times?

Nick and Kevin talk about the discouraging remarks by Falcons’ GM Tom Dimitroff and Vikings’ GM Rick Spielman that they use analytics in the scouting process only to confirm decisions or break ties. The hosts also discuss some of Kevin’s initial research that an improved pro day 40-yard dash is much less predictive than the slower NFL combine time for a running back who runs the drill in both events.

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The FFPC $35 Entry Giveaway

To one lucky listener who happens to review the podcast on iTunes this week, we are giving away a free $35 entry to a league hosted by our friends at the FFPC. So leave a review in iTunes with your name in it and then listen to the next episode of RotoViz Radio to hear if we call your name.

Show Notes

Our theme music is by Black Ant.

To contact the show, reach out to us via Twitter (@NumbersGamePod) or email (

  1. Personal best squat of 550 pounds. Whoa!  (back)

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