You can find some real interesting analysis of player values over at RealGM.com where executive editor Christopher Reina has a system of ranking all players.
Reina e-mailed me last month when the Pro Bowl teams were announced to share his analysis with me. His system had Bears' rookie Matt Forte as the highest-ranked running back in the entire league, and he presented a case that Forte was snubbed. I disagreed with him at the time, and we exchanged our thoughts on the matter.
Now, his final rankings are out and they're worth taking a look at. Reina's system takes into account the percentage of a team's offense that each player is responsible for, and obviously Forte ranked highly. He led the league in this category, and here's a look at the top five backs:
Running back Team Pct. of Team's Offense Ranking in Reina's System
Matt Forte, Bears, 34.99, 1
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota, 33.97, 4
Clinton Portis, Washington, 31.66, 7
Michael Turner, Atlanta, 29.58, 6
Chris Johnson, Tennessee, 29.17, 9
Reina's Field Impact Counter greatly aids backs who pile up receptions out of the backfield, and Forte's 63 catches were surpassed only by Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew, who ranked fifth. Not surprisingly, Houston's Steve Slaton, also a skilled receiver, was highly ranked at No. 3. Peterson doesn't rank higher because he only made 21 receptions last season. Does that make Forte a better back?
Forte averaged less than four yards per carry for the season, slowed by a nagging toe injury down the stretch, and it's difficult to imagine any general manager choosing him over some of the other backs if all were available. Still, it presents an interesting way to look at the numbers.
Moving to quarterbacks, Kyle Orton came in 21st on the Reina list, which might be about where you would expect the Bears' starter to be if you were stacking up passers from around the league.
We've been wanting to do this for about a week now and there's no better time than now. Consider the following set of the stats:
79.6 passer rating
272 completions, 465 attempts, 58.5 percent, 2,972 yards, 6.39 yards per attempt, 18 TD's, 12 INT, 27 sacks
80.3 passer rating
257 completions, 428 attempts, 60.0 percent, 2,971 yards, 6.94 yards per attempt, 14 TD's, 12 INT, 32 sacks
Quarterback 1 is Kyle Orton and Quarterback 2 is Joe Flacco. In Reina's system, Flacco was one spot ahead of Orton.
There is the difference right there in Baltimore's defense and the Bears' defense and the Ravens' fourth-ranked rushing attack and the Bears' 24th-ranked rushing attack.