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OAYP: Week Two Sun Belt Roundup

By Jim Johnson
SouthernPigskin.com
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OAYP ranks the Top 5 Sun Belt players at each position after week two, and gives its team of the week.

Week two is in the books, and OAYP has been fully updated to reflect the new data.

These conference roundups will be released each week detailing the most highly rated players in the league, the top performers of that week, and the ever-changing overall team strength, offensive, and defensive rankings.

The team rankings will not be included in this week’s review, as eight FBS teams have still yet to play another FBS team. Stats compiled against FCS opponents, for neither teams nor individuals, are factored into the formula. So, given the marginal nature of the metric, everything is contingent upon everything else. As such, until all 130 have played one of the other 129 FBS teams, no one has scores.

Well, no team does. The players, however, do. Below you’ll find OAYP’s top five players in the league at every position group. That said, only players that met the full, or at least the secondary qualifying minimums last year are included. That’s to prevent inordinate swings in the rankings. Even if someone performed extremely well in week one, a full season’s worth of 2018 data is probably more telling than that single game. For those that did not meet the minimum thresholds, you can expect to start seeing them around week six, once the numbers have had an opportunity to stabilize and find somewhat of an equilibrium. I also decided not to include full or secondary qualifiers that have yet to play an FBS game, but you should see all of them a week from now.

Obviously, the new 2019 data does play a role, but a smaller one, for the time being, and will continue to comprise more of each given score as the season goes on, until 2018 can justifiably be factored out.

I also have to admit that I’ve somewhat altered the formula for individuals. After reviewing the data, it appeared that the defensive players’ numbers were a little bit skewed towards value as opposed to efficient production, while the opposite was true for offensive players. Last week, after the week one roundup was posted, I went back and made some alterations to the offensive formula and was really pleased with the results. So, the week one data now reflects the updates, and that will likely be what I stick with going forward.

The other side of the ball has been trickier. I did go back and update the week one data to match the changes made for week two, but it’s still not as evenly balanced between value and production as it should be. That said, I think I’ve figured it out. Unfortunately, the week one and two data will not reflect the changes, but hopefully my tinkering will yield better results in week three, and that this will be the standard for the remainder of the season.

OAYP is still in year one, and I’m treating this as a sort of beta test. While I’ve been really impressed with the metric so far, there’s still room for improvement. As I continue to experiment, the data might not be perfectly equitable on a week-to-week basis, but I think that will be worth it in the long run. Even in the short term, it should still do a good job of evaluating both teams and players -- just not as good as I hope it will once the changes are in full effect.

Also of note, these scores are not only relative to each conference, but Southern Pigskin’s entire coverage area -- the ACC, SEC, and Sun Belt. With that large a player pool, any particularly strong or weak position groups in a given league should no longer affect the marginal scores.

And remember, tiers are more useful than straight up rankings. The rule of thumb I’ve been using is: <-1.0 is a red flag, -1.0 to -0.01 is below average, 0.0 is the mean, 0.1 to 0.49 is above average, 0.5 to 1.0 is very good, 1.0 to 1.99 is a star, and 2.0+ is a bonafide superstar, which I suppose would make the handful of 3.0+ guys aliens or something.

These tiers may need a little altering in the future, as I also normalized the scoring between positions, as to avoid inequitability, but we’ll see.

POSITION RANKINGS

QB

  1. Zac Thomas, App State 1.14
  2. Caleb Evans, ULM 0.84
  3. Shai Werts, Georgia Southern 0.34
  4. Dan Ellington, Georgia State -0.3
  5. Fred Payton, Coastal Carolina -0.46

RB

  1. Raymond Calais, Louisiana 2.1
  2. Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana 1.73
  3. Darrynton Evans, App State 1.26
  4. CJ Marable, Coastal Carolina 1.11
  5. Trey Ragas, Louisiana 0.88

WR

  1. Ja'Marcus Bradley, Louisiana 1.73
  2. Omar Bayless, Arkansas State 1.0
  3. Kawaan Baker, South Alabama 0.81
  4. Jalen Virgil, App State 0.21
  5. Thomas Hennigan, App State 0.18

TE

  1. Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina 1.09
  2. Josh Pederson, ULM 0.47
  3. Collin Reed, App State 0.39
  4. Shadell Bell, Coastal Carolina -0.19
  5. Khameron Taylor, South Alabama -0.71

OT

  1. Robert Hunt, Louisiana 3.74
  2. Hunter Atkinson, Georgia State 1.59
  3. Eastwood Thomas, ULM 0.74
  4. Aaron Brewer, Texas State -0.09
  5. Trace Ellison, ULM -0.17

OG

  1. Kevin Dotson, Louisiana 4.14
  2. Shamarious Gilmore, Georgia State 1.3
  3. TJ Fiailoa, ULM 1.29
  4. Ryan Neuzil, App State 1.19
  5. Baer Hunter, App State 0.23

C

  1. Noah Hannon, App State 4.28
  2. Bobby Reynolds, ULM 1.18
  3. Jacob Still, Arkansas State 0.68
  4. Jakob Cooper, Georgia Southern -0.65
  5. Brian Ankerson, South Alabama -1.04

EDGE

  1. Akeem Davis-Gaither, App State 2.32
  2. Noel Cook, App State 1.51
  3. William Bradley-King, Arkansas State 1.02
  4. Frankie Griffin, Texas State 0.66
  5. Donald Louis, ULM 0.29

DL

  1. Kevin Thurmon, Arkansas State 1.8
  2. Raymond Johnson, Georgia Southern 1.62
  3. Forrest Merrill, Arkansas State 1.39
  4. Tyree Turner, South Alabama 0.92
  5. Larance Shaw, ULM 0.8

LB

  1. Jordan Fehr, App State 1.41
  2. Bryan London, Texas State 1.36
  3. Nikolas Daniels, Texas State 0.96
  4. Rashad Byrd, Georgia Southern 0.42
  5. Tajhea Chambers, Arkansas State 0.34

CB

  1. Jerry Jacobs, Arkansas State 1.61
  2. Kindle Vildor, Georgia Southern 1.46
  3. Monquavion Brinson, Georgia Southern 1.46
  4. Anthony Taylor, Texas State 1.25
  5. Jarron Morris, Texas State 0.8

S

  1. Desmond Franklin, App State 2.1
  2. Josh Thomas, App State 2.09
  3. Jashon Waddy, Texas State 1.15
  4. BJ Edmonds, Arkansas State 0.99
  5. Darreon Jackson, Arkansas State 0.63

OAYP TEAM OF THE WEEK

QB -- Caleb Evans, ULM
RB -- Darrynton Evans, App State
RB -- Trey Ragas, Louisiana
WR -- Jalen Virgil, App State
WR -- Omar Bayless, Arkansas State
WR -- Ja'Marcus Bradley, Louisiana
TE -- Josh Pederson, ULM
OT -- Robert Hunt, Louisiana
OT -- Cooper Hodges, App State
OG -- Kevin Dotson, Louisiana
OG -- O'Cyrus Torrence, Louisiana
C -- Jacob Still, Arkansas State

EDGE -- Chauncey Manac, Louisiana
EDGE -- Donald Louis, ULM
DL -- Caeveon Patton, Texas State
DL -- Kevin Thurmon, Arkansas State
LB -- Gavin Graham, Texas State
LB -- Teddy Gallagher, Coastal Carolina
LB -- Chase Day, ULM
CB -- Jeremy Smith, Arkansas State
CB -- Michael Jacquet, Louisiana
S -- Darreon Jackson, Arkansas State
S -- Alex Spillum, Coastal Carolina
DB -- Chandler Kryst, Coastal Carolina

Jim Johnson - Editor of Southern Pigskin, Producer of "Three & Out", and host of "Explosive Recruiting" on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. E-mail: jim@espncoastal.com Twitter: @JimJohnsonSP