Photo by Paul Rutherford – Ultiphotos.com
Fouls … Anti-fouls … Minutes Played … Not in the Face … Boston’s Depth … Perfectly Boring Weekend of Picks … Dogfish DOA? … Another Weekend, Another Second Helping of Ultimate
Short Sips of Hot Bitter Blackness. A hint of far-off stone-fruit sweetness. A smoky thickness lingers from the roast.
Let’s talk about fouls. As preface, we should readily acknowledge that not all fouls are called, nor are all fouls necessarily called accurately. With that caveat, let’s take a look at the most foul-prone players in the league minimum 20 points played):
Fouls Per Point
Fouls Per Minute
To put that in perspective, let’s consider which teams commit the most fouls per game:
As for which teams commit the most flagrant fouls:
However, I believe this list is incomplete as I expect that Matt Esser has received a band for his hit on Zach Norrbom last weekend, which would bring Philly’s total bands to 6, which is nearly one band per game. It would also make Esser the league leader with three bands and would earn a one-game suspension. Three bands would equal more bands than six of the eight teams in the MLU.
Fouls happen in sports no matter how cleanly we try to play. It is instructive, however, to take stock of who is committing more fouls and why. We’ve taken the first step here, but the second necessitates a more granular look at each team and player which is beyond the scope of this brunch.
Tastes good so far. Future health consequences are sticky.
After all of that fouling, let’s take a gander at the players who never seem to find themselves on the wrong side of the whistle:
I’m sure they’re not perfectly angelic representations of sport, but they are far closer to the positive end of the spectrum…at least according to the refs.
Ah, the core of the non-vegan breakfast. Boiled. Scrambled. Poached. Fried. Loco Moco’d.
In the past we’ve taken a look at which players have played the most points. However, as any ultimate player will assure you, not all points are created equal. One of the key differences is how long the point lasts. An offensive point which results in a 15 second one-possession score is qualitatively different than one which results in a four minutes 3-offensive possession score. To take a broad look at this, here are some more sweet sweet numbers:
Most Minutes Played
OPP: Offensive Points Played, DPP: Defensive Points Played, TPP: Total Points Played
I’ve included points played on offense, defense and overall for a sense of what type of players these are. Five have played more on offense, and five have played more on defense. Two are essentially two-way players. Five players are from the Rumble, three are from Vancouver and one is from each of Seattle and Portland. This is largely a function of how offensive lines tend to work in tight rotations. Even as an offense is getting repeatedly broken, there are likely to be a handful of players who play most offensive points. As a team is losing, there are more offensive points to go around. If a team is giving up breaks, the offensive points tend to last longer. Thus, the top eight in the league in minutes played are from Vancouver and New York who have a combined record of 3-13.
So then which players tend to play the longest points?
Six of these players are primarily defensive players, and five of those are Spinners. Of the four primarily offensive players three are Nighthawks and one is a Whitecap. Which reinforces the notion that long defensive points are good (Spinners are 5-1) and long offensive points are bad (Nighthawks are 1-7). Of course there are exceptions to this (quick defensive scores are the only way to make late-game comebacks, and long offensive possessions are necessary to break down some defenses), but the data is informative nonetheless.
To take another look back at who plays the most minutes, let us consider instead which players are on the field for the highest percentage of minutes that their team plays:
|Name||Team||OPP||DPP||TPP||Min||% Team Min|
The first thing that pops out is that out of 252 players in the MLU this season, six of them spend more game time on the field than off. That’s quite a load to shoulder. It requires durability from the player and trust from the coaching staff, as well as long points. Only two of these players (Rupp and Phan) spend less than 30 percent of their points on the offensive line. Seven of the 10 players listed come from teams with losing records. Only one (Rupp) has fewer than 10 points (G + A) on the season while only one (Brownlee) has fewer than 100 throws on the season. Each of these players is trusted enough by their coaching staff (and ostensibly teammates) to play a huge role for their teams, and when you watch these folks play, their talent is apparent. Fortunately we get ample opportunities to see them play as the spend so much time on the field.
Veggies? Fruits? Yogurts?
Something light and possibly a positive decision.
That’s a Face Block for Ted Chu on Luke Jesperson!!
Waffles or Pancakes?
Choose… but choose wisely.
And last week is was a perfect sweep for all the MLU pickers. Meaning that the standings are largely unchanged:
W: Picked Winner Correctly
L: Picked Winner Incorrectly
EX: Exact values picked. Four per game (Winning Score, Losing Score, Margin of Victory, Total Score). Higher is better.
Tot Var: Total Variance. Total amount by which four values per game (Winning Score, Losing Score, Margin of Victory, Total Score) were inaccurate. Lower is better.
Of note, however, is that TIM was the only one to keep his total variance last week (18) under 28 (Curb) and gained some ground in that department as the rest of us were over 30.
This week there is total agreement that Philadelphia, Seattle and Portland will win their games. There is, however, disagreement on the Boston at New York matchup on Sunday with a few picks for New York to win a tight game, and some picks for Boston to blow out the Rumble. I’m in the camp which believes Boston will win this one which means I could be tied with Luke after this weekend! However, Ruby has made the same picks as me, so he would then be in first place. Tough sledding trying to out-pick all these folks!
Beverage of Choice
Players or matchups to watch.
Boston’s Depth Versus a Heaping Helping
Boston has been one of the deepest teams in the MLU, which is one reason they make the playoffs literally every season. This weekend, however, they’ll be missing so many pieces that they may well concede pole position to the Spinners in the race for home-field advantage. The Whitecaps listed as inactive or doubtful represent 47.90 percent of goals, 40.68 percent of assists, 42.78 percent of catches, 40.19 percent of throws, 35.71 percent of blocks, 50.42 percent of offensive points played, 22.35 percent of defensive points played and 35.63 percent of total points played. That is to say, that the best plan for Boston is likely to find a way to stay on defense against the Spinners. Or, failing that, choose the correct subset of regular contributors from the defensive line to push over to the offensive side of the disc. In any case, the Whitecaps are starting the weekend with a puzzle to solve.
Dogfish With Their Backs Against a Reef
Over the last few weeks, we have seen three teams (Vancouver, New York, D.C.) eliminated from the playoff race. In precisely zero instances has any team won a game once a loss could eliminate them from the playoffs. For the Dogfish, it is now do or die time with respect to their postseason hopes. They currently lay claim to the league’s longest losing streak (five games) and have not won since Week 1. If they are to make the playoffs, they will need to win four straight while Seattle loses three straight. Fortunately for the Dogfish, they retain a surprising degree of control over the situation as they face the Rainmakers this week and next week. The other remaining game for the Rainmakers is against the Stags who have handed Seattle their two losses this season. If the Dogfish can take care of their end of the equation this weekend, the dream will stay alive.
The Place to Be
Personally, I’ll be…
… in Philly to see Boston at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and then in New York to see Boston at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. Saturday’s matchup of Whitecaps versus Spinners should not only be another exciting game (Philadelphia has a 37-36 advantage over two games of a split season series), but will also determine the tie-break for home field advantage in the playoffs. While Boston will be a diminished version of themselves, they have proven that their roster is deep. On the following day, the Whitecaps will see if they can put the hurt on New York again. As always, this game threatens to get out of control in Boston’s favor as they average a seven-point victory against the Rumble. That said, the only time that Boston has lost to New York was on May 17, 2014 in an afternoon game at New York’s home stadium. This game both fits that bill and comes the day after an important match. Could the Rumble catch Boston asleep at the wheel? Tune your dials to MLU Live to find out!