The Pi-Rate Ratings

July 31, 2022

2022 NFL Draft Grades

Filed under: Pro Football — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:37 am

The first part of the PiRate Ratings NFL updates every year is to grade the NFL Draft. Years ago, I reverse engineered the system I have used ever since to assign each team a score between 0.0 and 5.0.

Without boring everybody with a lengthy explanation for how I come to a draft score for each team, the basics are:

1. I use 8 different pre-season Draft experts’ grading of every player that was drafted along with any unrestricted free agents that signed and carry a grade high enough to matter.

2. In each round, there is a different top score, with the higher the round, the more potential score is available. If a team drafts a top player in the first round, it counts more than if a team drafts the best possible remaining player in the 4th round, but if a team drafts a 1st round talent that falls to the 2nd round, they can score a bonus.

3. If a team doesn’t have a pick in a round, they are not really penalized, but if a team trades down in the draft for more picks than they had, they get a bonus. The reason for this is that 1/3 of all picks in the higher rounds never pan out. The best draft option is to pile up total picks. In other words, the Mike Ditka trade of his entire draft class to Washington for the rights to draft Ricky Williams counts as the worst grade in the history of the NFL Draft. The San Francisco 49ers had the best ever draft in 1986, and they traded down 6 times, eventually drafting eight starters on their Super Bowl Championship teams in 1988 and 1989.

4. The hand-picked draft gurus were selected by looking at what they had predicted in prior years and how accurate their picks turned out to be. If, for example, they gave a 4th round selection glaring grades and panned a 1st round pick as a mistake, and they were shown in later years to be correct, they made my grade to trust as a guru (a lot more in-depth than this one example).

The top grade, 5.0, is not necessarily a perfect draft, just one that has the best chance to pay off in the first year. A grade of 0.0 is the least chance to pay off in the first year. Down the road, these draft classes may be great or terrible, but since the ratings are only constructed to begin the current season, future potential is of no consequence.

Here, in order of best to worst, are the draft grades for each team.

1Baltimore Ravens5.0
1New York Jets5.0
3Philadelphia Eagles4.8
4Kansas City Chiefs4.4
5Detroit Lions4.2
6New York Giants4.1
7Denver Broncos3.8
7Houston Texans3.8
7Pittsburgh Steelers3.8
10Buffalo Bills3.6
10Tennessee Titans3.6
12Atlanta Falcons3.5
12Green Bay Packers3.5
14Cincinnati Bengals3.4
14Indianapolis Colts3.4
16Las Vegas Raiders3.3
16Los Angeles Chargers3.3
16Seattle Seahawks3.3
19Cleveland Browns3.1
19Jacksonville Jaguars3.1
19Tampa Bay Bucaneers3.1
22Carolina Panthers3.0
22Los Angeles Rams3.0
22Minnesota Vikings3.0
25New Orleans Saints2.9
25Washington Commanders2.9
27Miami Dolphins2.7
28Chicago Bears2.6
28San Francisco 49ers2.6
30Dallas Cowboys2.5
31Arizona Cardinals2.3
32New England Patriots1.9

September 1, 2021

The PiRate Ratings Alternative to Fantasy Football

Filed under: Pro Football Simulation — Tags: , , , , — piratings @ 9:06 am

One of the more frequent questions we field at the PiRate Ratings is, “Do you guys participate in Fantasy Football and have any pointers?”

The answer to that question is, “Yes and No.”

We do not participate in standard fantasy football, where one must monitor lineups and make substitutions, having to keep up with injuries, bye weeks, and the like.  Considering that our regular occupations take up a bulk of the week, and then the PiRate Ratings for college and pro football take up a large chunk, and then our dedication to making tabletop strategy football and baseball games is a never-ending process and a 100% charitable process, there just isn’t any time remaining.

However, a small group of us participate in our own in-house version of fantasy football.  It actually started with SEC football teams only, but it moved to the NFL after the lack of parity made it worthless.

What is PiRate Fantasy Football?  It is team-oriented rather than player oriented.  Rather than select a quarterback, a running back, a wide receiver, etc., in a draft and then keeping a lineup, we select entire teams and instead of individual stats that have to be kept with an official fantasy football site, our scoring is simple enough to do it in-house in less than 30 minutes.  

PiRate Fantasy Football involves picking a team for each of these stats:

Offensive Stats

Points Scored–2 points

Rushing Yards–1 point

Passing Yards–1 point

QB Sacks allowed–1 point

Turnovers–1 point

Defensive Stats

Points Allowed–2 points

Rushing Yards Allowed–1 point

Passing Yards Allowed–1 point

Sacks By–1 point

Turnovers Forced–1 point


Scoring Margin–1 point

This is 11 different scoring values.  In our draft, rather than have 32 QBS, 96 WRS, etc., we have 32 choices for each value, and in each, it is the 32 NFL teams. 

Then, in our draft, the first selector picks a stat and a team.  For instance, if I had the first pick, I might choose Offense Points Scored–Kansas City.  Then, the next person could just as easily pick Offense Passing Yards–Kansas City.  Then, the third person might choose Defense Sacks By–Baltimore, and then the next person could choose Offense Rushing Yards–Baltimore.  

Each of the 32 teams has an entry for each of the 11 different stats, and when a team is chosen for a particular stat, that option comes off the board.

With 8 people picking, that means that we could select 4 different “depth charts” if we wanted and then select which team we wanted each week to be in the starting lineup like regular leagues pick players.  But, we don’t have the time for that, so we only pick a first string and then a backup second string to only be used when the first string team has a bye week.  Only 16 of the 32 teams are picked per stat.

Once the teams are picked, we use a schedule from the American Football League of 1965 and play a 14-week schedule.  We use week 1-14 with week 15 being the championship game.  It ends on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s Days.

Here is an example of how it works.  Let’s say, I, the Captain, has this team for 2021-22.


Points Scored: Green Bay

Rushing: Buffalo

Passing: Los Angeles Rams

Sacks Against: Baltimore

Turnovers: Tampa Bay


Points Allowed: Minnesota

Rush Yards Allowed: Cleveland

Pass Yards Allowed: Indianapolis

Sacks By: Denver

Turnovers Forced: San Francisco


Scoring Margin: Green Bay

I have the Buffalo Bills Schedule.  My week 1 opponent is the person with the Boston Patriots Schedule, or in this case, Sean.  Sean’s teams are: 


Points Scored: Dallas

Rushing: Tennessee

Passing: Arizona

Sacks Against: Kansas City

Turnovers: Las Vegas


Points Allowed: Pittsburgh

Rush Yards Allowed: Washington

Pass Yards Allowed: Denver

Sacks By: Seattle

Turnovers Forced: Seattle


Scoring Margin: Dallas

Now, when Week 1’s real games are played, we look at the stats for each team in our lineup.  Whichever team had the better stat in their game wins the points in this game.


Points Scored: Green Bay 31/Dallas 27–Green Bay wins 2 for me

Rushing: Buffalo 97/Tennessee 134–Tennessee wins 1 for Sean

Passing: Los Angeles Rams 286/Arizona 311–Arizona wins 1 for Sean

Sacks Against: Baltimore 0/Kansas City 1–Baltimore wins 1 for me

Turnovers: Tampa Bay 1/Las Vegas 1–Tie means no points awarded


Points Allowed: Minnesota 16/Pittsburgh 13–Pit wins 2 points for Sean

Rush Yards Allowed: Cleveland 111/Washington 138–Cle wins 1 point for me

Pass Yards Allowed: Indianapolis 189/Denver 201–Ind wins 1 point for me

Sacks By: Denver 2/Seattle–Sea wins 1 point for Sean

Turnovers Forced: San Francisco 1/Seattle 1–Tie, no points awarded

At this point, the score is tied at 5 to 5.  The tie-breaker is then used.


Scoring Margin: Green Bay +8/Dallas +8.  In this rare event, the outcome is 5-5, and it counts as an overtime tie. 

This is an easy way to participate in fantasy football without the investment in time or money.  We play just for fun.  It takes 30 minutes to hold a draft and little time each week to determine the winners.  The only substitutions to make are when a team has a bye week, and it automatically means the substitute team is used for just that one week at each stat spot.  Give it a try.

May 11, 2016

2016 NFL Draft Grades

Filed under: Pro Football — Tags: , , , , — piratings @ 8:24 am

We here at the PiRate Ratings are already hard at work updating our college and pro football ratings for the start of the 2016 season.

One of our most time-taking tasks is to grade the NFL Draft every May.  Unlike the mass media, where they aspire to come up with draft grades on the spot, we believe that there is only one way to possibly grade the draft before any players ever suit up on an NFL field.

For our purposes, the NFL Draft is no different than recruiting is for college football.  We can grade each player as a 1 to 5-star player.  Then, we can look at each team and speculate whether each player will contribute to each team in week 1 of the 2016 season.  That is all that matters for our purposes, because we are attempting to begin the season with the most accurate point rating for each of the 32 NFL teams.

Therefore, when you see the mass media claim that one team aced the draft because they picked up some great players, but none of these players are expected to be major contributors in Week 1, we may not have that team’s draft rated the same way.  Also, if a weak 2015 team now has 2 or 3 new starters thanks to the draft, then it reasons that this team has satisfied needs in a better way than most other teams.

Also, it goes without saying that just about all 32 teams make themselves more talented each year after drafting players, as they plug in better players for what they have released.  Sometimes, a team can be weaker, like when they lose great talent for a variety of reasons, and the new talent is not as talented or experienced.  However, in most years at least 30 teams improve their overall talent from the draft (and from free agency).  Therefore, a team may be rated dead last in draft grades yet still be improved from the year before.  Thus, draft grading is more of a task where we grade the level of improvement in power rating.

It also should be understood that from a draft standpoint, the actual point improvement between the most improved team and team number 32 is minimal, maybe as little as three points.

Here are our 32 numerical grades for the 2016 NFL Draft.

2016 NFL Draft Score Sheet
# Team Grade
1 Jacksonville 4.8
2 Cincinnati 4.2
3 Chicago 4.2
4 Baltimore 4.2
5 Buffalo 4.0
6 Washington 4.0
7 Indianapolis 3.9
8 San Diego 3.8
9 Tennessee 3.8
10 Seattle 3.7
11 Oakland 3.6
12 N. Y. Giants 3.6
13 New Orleans 3.6
14 Miami 3.5
15 Denver 3.5
16 Green Bay 3.5
17 Los Angeles 3.5
18 Houston 3.3
19 San Francisco 3.3
20 Kansas City 3.2
21 Philadelphia 3.2
22 Arizona 3.2
23 Pittsburgh 3.1
24 Minnesota 3.1
25 N. Y. Jets 3.0
26 Cleveland 2.9
27 Dallas 2.9
28 Tampa Bay 2.9
29 Detroit 2.8
30 New England 2.7
31 Atlanta 2.6
32 Carolina 2.0

The difference in actual pointspread value between #1 Jacksonville and #32 Carolina is a mere 2.8 points.  That will affect the game outcomes very negligibly this year.  Of course, there are many other factors used in determining our initial ratings for the teams.  The draft score is just one tiny variable, but it is also one of the most entertaining parts of our rating compilation.  We doubt you would care about reading a post dealing with how age affects pass blocking abilities of offensive lines, or how a new defensive line coach might affect how efficient a pass rush might be compared to the year before.

Most importantly, remember that all of the stuff we do is useful to us only for the next week of scheduled games.  After every team plays game 1, all this work we compile quickly becomes obsolete, replaced by actual game results.

We look forward to your continued support.  Our initial 2016 college ratings should debut around August 10-15, with one conference per day.  Our NFL ratings will follow the release of our college ratings.


Create a free website or blog at