AFC South Performance Based Value: Who Got the Most Bang For Their Buck?


Jan 5, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) reacts after a tackle against the Cincinnati Bengals during the third quarter of the AFC Wild Card playoff game at Reliant Stadium. The Texans defeated the Bengals 19-13. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday we covered how the Jacksonville Jaguars did in Pro Football Focus’ latest featured stat, performance based value.  Now we’ll look at how the rest of the teams in the AFC South did.  Here’s the basic idea behind PFF’s stat:

"We set out to take the highest cap hit at a position and match that up with that position’s highest-rated player. Then take the second-highest cap hit and match it with the second-highest-graded player, and so on. All players who were either active or inactive for at least one game were included, and players who spent the entire year on injured reserve or as free agents, ignored. The goal being to set salaries right, based solely on player performance during the 2012 season."

PFF revealed that the Jags did quite poorly in terms of finding value.  How did their value differential stack up against the rest of the AFC South?

  1. Houston Texans: +$26 million
  2. Indianapolis Colts:  +$15.6 million
  3. Tennessee Titans:  +$670 thousand
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars:  -$37.3 million

The Jaguars and the Texans are decidedly on the opposite ends of the spectrum.  The Texans got ridiculously good value out of their players while the Jaguars overvalued far too many players.  The Titans managed to compensate their players closer to their true value better than the Jags and they finished with a poor record in 2012 as well.

Here are the top-5 most undervalued players in the AFC South:

  1. J.J. Watt, DE, Texans:  +$15.7 million
  2. Derrick Morgan, DE, Titans:  +$9.1 million
  3. Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts:  +$7.2 million
  4. Jurrell Casey, DT, Titans:  +$6.8 million
  5. Duane Brown, OT, Texans:  +$6.1 million

Here are the top-5 most overvalued players in the AFC South:

  1. Dwight Freeney, DE/OLB, Colts: -$13.1 million
  2. Chris Johnson, HB, Titans:  -$10.1 million
  3. Paul Posluszny, LB, Jaguars:  -$5.8 million
  4. Arian Foster, RB, Texans:  -$5.4 million
  5. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars:  -$5.4 million

Of note is the immense undervaluing of J.J. Watt, which is sure to change when he finally gets a new contract, and the high overvaluing of two Jaguars despite having nobody of significant undervaluing.  The Titans managed their money well, with only CJ2K and his massive contract bloating into the top-5 of most overvalued.  As the Colts’ young players mature, much like Freeney has done during his time with the team, they will likely have more players end up in the overvalued category.

PFF makes a point of noting that the performance based values are not an indication of future value of a player, it is simply a comparison of value to the amount of money and production of players and their positions.  Based on how the AFC South shook out in 2012, it seems to be a pretty good reaffirmation of how well a team has done over the past season.

– Luke N. Sims

Feel free to leave comments on here or visit us at Facebook or Twitter!

You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims