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23 Jul 2010

Adjusting Plus-Minus For Team, Part I

by Bill Barnwell

Just like any other receiving statistic, catch rate is dramatically affected by both the scheme a receiver plays in and the quarterback throwing him passes. Even our new plus-minus statistic isn't immune; in the second part of our introduction to plus-minus last year, we noted how the plus-minus of receivers on a given team tends to flock together. That suggests that quarterbacks are the dominant factor in determining the catch rate of most players.

To get a true glimpse into which players are catching passes at a rate above or below expectation, then, we need to add another layer of adjustments to the process. Accounting for pass distance and the yards needed for a first down -- as we do in Football Outsiders Almanac 2010 -- isn't enough; we also need to account for the laundry a player's wearing. In this piece, I'll explain my methodology for doing so, and in Part II of our team analysis (or Part V of the ever-expanding plus-minus trilogy), I'll analyze what it tells us about the past few seasons and the upcoming 2010 campaign.

(Right about now, you might be asking why this research wasn't included in the numbers you've seen/will see in Football Outsiders Almanac 2010; the answer is that, unfortunately, ideas and research times don't always coincide with book schedules. The idea for how to perform the adjustments, as simple as it is, didn't actually come to me until the book was all but done.)

The process of getting the team-adjusted figures is actually reasonably simple. With plus-minus calculated for each player already, it's a few short steps:

1. Divide the player's plus-minus by his target total to get a per-play figure
2. Divide the combined plus-minus of every other player on the team by their target total to get a team per-play figure
3. Find the difference between the two figures
4. Multiply the difference by the player's target total to get a re-constituted, team-adjusted plus-minus

As an example, let's use a player whose figure is heavily affected by context: the Colts' Austin Collie.

After stripping out plays defined as uncatchable, our database figures that Collie caught 60 of the 86 targets thrown to him last year, which yields a catch rate of just under 70 percent. Plus-minus suggests that he caught 3.4 more passes than an average receiver would, given the raw distance of his routes as well as the relative down and distance they came on. Divide that on a per-target basis, and Collie was just about 0.04 catches above average each time he was thrown the ball.

Of course, Collie doesn't play in an average offense; he plays for the Colts, and he has Peyton Manning throwing him the ball. There were 465 qualifying targets thrown to the remainder of the Colts' players. On those plays, the rest of the team accrued 33.7 catches above expectation. On a per-play basis, that's 0.07 catches above average; because that's higher than Collie's average, it means that Collie was worse than his teammates.

Subtract the difference and multiply it by Collie's 86 targets and you'll find that the tune of his numbers has changed. While Collie was catching passes at an above-average rate according to both catch rate and plus-minus, adjusting the figure for his team context produces a plus-minus figure of -2.8, a figure below what his Colts teammates were producing.

Below, we've provided a table with these statistics for every Colts player in 2009 (except for Hank Baskett, whose numbers are a little more complicated because he played for two teams). As you might expect, the overall success of the offense drags each individual receiver's plus-minus down.

Plus-Minus For The Indianapolis Colts, 2009
Year Name Pos Targets Recepts Raw +/- Team
Team +/- Team
+/- per Dif.
2009 Reggie Wayne WR 134 100 16.9 417 20.3 0.05 0.13 0.08 10.4
2009 Dallas Clark TE 129 100 12.9 422 24.2 0.06 0.10 0.04 5.5
2009 Joseph Addai RB 60 51 5.1 491 32.1 0.07 0.08 0.02 1.1
2009 Donald Brown RB 13 11 1.4 538 35.8 0.07 0.10 0.04 0.5
2009 Tom Santi TE 11 8 1.1 540 36.0 0.07 0.10 0.04 0.4
2009 Colin Cloherty TE 1 1 0.2 550 37.0 0.07 0.21 0.14 0.1
2009 Mike Hart RB 6 5 0.4 545 36.7 0.07 0.07 0.00 0.0
2009 Chad Simpson RB 4 3 -0.2 547 37.4 0.07 -0.06 -0.13 -0.5
2009 Sam Giguere WR 2 0 -0.9 549 38.1 0.07 -0.45 -0.52 -1.0
2009 Gijon Robinson TE 13 9 -0.5 538 37.7 0.07 -0.04 -0.11 -1.4
2009 Austin Collie WR 86 60 3.4 465 33.7 0.07 0.04 -0.03 -2.8
2009 Jacob Tamme TE 9 3 -2.7 542 39.9 0.07 -0.30 -0.38 -3.4
2009 Pierre Garcon WR 83 47 0.2 468 37.0 0.08 0.00 -0.08 -6.4

Pierre Garcon is another excellent example of how context can make a player with below-average hands look good. Garcon's plus-minus was about league-average relative to the distance and nature of his routes, but once you factor in the context of his offense, he was actually pretty mediocre at catching the ball in 2009. That blends well with DVOA, which saw Reggie Wayne and Collie well ahead of Garcon a year ago.

The change in Wayne's figures is also very interesting. Wayne led the league in raw plus-minus in 2009, but some of that is thanks to a high target total and the presence of Peyton Manning. He drops to the middle of the top ten in scaled plus-minus, and because a lot of the passes that weren't thrown to him were also completed, his team-adjusted plus-minus was only the league's sixth-best. (We'll cover the 2009 leaders in Part II of this piece.)

Team-adjusted plus-minus tells a distinct story for the 2009 Colts -- Wayne and Dallas Clark caught a lot of passes at a well-above-average level, and everyone else was average or worse -- but the team's statistical signature isn't always so similar. In 2008, for example, Wayne's raw numbers declined, and his plus-minus figures were no different. He had a raw plus-minus of 10.4 on 124 targets; adjust that for the team rate, though, and he was only at 2.1. Anthony Gonzalez led the team, with a team-adjusted plus-minus of 4.4 catches above average on 77 targets.

In Wayne's dominant 2007 season, well, he was a one-man wrecking crew. His 18.3 raw plus-minus was met with mostly mediocre performances by the rest of the offense, producing a team-adjusted plus-minus of 16.7 that led the league. It's the second-best figure of the four-year stretch we have plus-minus available for, having been narrowly beaten out (16.74 catches above average to Wayne's 16.72) by a receiver in 2009. One of the main reasons why Wayne's figure is so high is because the only other Colts receiver with more than 50 qualifying targets that year was Dallas Clark, who had a raw plus-minus of -5.6 on 94 targets. After adjusting that for the team context, Clark was at a very disappointing figure of -9.5 catches, the worst figure in the league that year.

2006, of course, was the last gasp of Wayne and Marvin Harrison as anything close to equals. It's borne out in their plus-minus figures. After adjusting their figures for the Colts offense, Wayne was at 7.9 catches above expectation on 128 targets, while Harrison was at 8.2. (Clark, in part of a two-year stretch with a strangely low raw catch rate, was at a dismal -8.7 catches on just 55 targets.)

In Part II, we'll expand the focus to the rest of the league, breaking down the most bizarre out-of-context performances from the past four seasons while providing the numbers on who did the best job, relative to their teammates, of catching passes.

As a teaser, here's a quick contest. The player with the biggest per-play difference between his personal plus-minus and the plus-minus of the rest of his teammates in a given season over the past four years is a running back. I'll give everyone a lone guess at who that back is; the first person to guess correctly gets a free PDF of FOA 2010.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 23 Jul 2010

162 comments, Last at 26 Jul 2010, 11:25pm by Nathan


by jbecks6779 :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:35pm

Who is Kevin Faulk?

by Walsh (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:38pm

2006 LaDanian Tomlinson

by Walsh (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:42pm

Oh I think I know who it really is, dammit.

by Dan V (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:39pm


by Exy (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:39pm

Erm... Ray Rice?

by thermhere (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:40pm

Who is Brian Westbrook?

by puffbronfman :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:41pm

Darren McFadden?

by Karl Cuba :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:44pm

My guess is Brian Westbrook

This is a very interesting piece of research that seems to come very close to the holy grail of viewing individual performance independently of the team. As far as I can tell, teh only factor that is left out is how much of a spotlight a defense puts on a particular receiver, which is probably impossible to realise. Great stuff. (I still hate the name +/- though, surely there must be something more descriptive that gives nubes a better idea of what the stat represents.)

by Karl Cuba :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:47pm

Aaaarrgghh! 7 new posts arrived since I started writing mine, and someone has stolen my guess, can I change to Frank Gore?

by JP (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:46pm

I'm gonna guess MJD?

by JP (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:17pm

I guess it must be 2006 MJD then.

by Joey (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:47pm

Reggie Bush?

by Salur (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:48pm

If the plan is to use team adjusted plus-minus to compare different wide receivers across the league (I don't have the book, so I don't know), doesn't that assume each team has the same type of receivers? That is, if one team had a wide receiver corps filled with guys who have great hands, and another team was filled with speedy guys that dropped every pass, all the players are going to be around 0 plus-minus. But that doesn't mean they all have the same catching ability.

Put another way, this doesn't tell us that Pierre Garcon had below average hands. It tells us that (last season, at least), Pierre Garcon had below average hands for a Colts receiver. It doesn't necessarily tell us how he stands in relation to the rest of the league.

I'm not trying to diminish the point of the article; it seems pretty obvious that having Peyton Manning as a QB is going to help a WR without reflecting his true skill, and I could well be missing something. But using this to compare across teams could be problematic if the teams are constructed differently.

by Karl Cuba :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:14pm

The base +/- figure would be guilty of what you are saying, this helps to take the qb/system out of the equation, making comparisons more valid (I think.

by Scott C :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:01pm

IMO I'm not sure it can be used to compare recievers across teams. It helps compare players within teams though -- quite a bit!

Imagine a team with 5 HOF recievers: Jerry Rice x 5.

Their stats might all be different, since JR1 and JR2 will be on the outside, JR3 in the slot, etc, but after these adjustments ideally they all end up at 0.0 team-adjusted +/-.

Now, you have another team, full of Heyward-Bey's. This team similarly will have a team-adjusted 0.0 for its WR's.

There is no way you could compare the two sets of team-adjusted numbers to each other and conclude that the players are equally skilled.

At least, that is what the math looks like to me.

by Karl Cuba :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 4:21pm

But wouldn't the all-Rice team have a very high +/- to begin with. The team adjustments would hover around 0.0 (with some statistical noise) but the +/- would still be high. That's what I think is the case if +/- is what I think it is.

by Scott C :: Sun, 07/25/2010 - 2:12am

Maybe. But what if the team of JR's had Jamarcus Russel throwing to them and the team of HB's had Joe Montana?

I guess what I'm saying, is Its unclear to me how this disentangles QB from WR play. The average +/- of the players on the team is affected by BOTH the QB and the skill of the average receiver on the team.

How that affects one player is even affected by how good the QB is on different kinds of throws and the distribution of types of throws to said player.

by Nathan :: Sun, 07/25/2010 - 3:08am

Dumping the ball to the HB in the flats is a hell of a lot easier than throwing a deep out. For most QBs at least (I'm looking at you, Henne). The deep out is going to be on a rope, maybe behind or in front of the WR if the QB isn't so good. A check down is a check down.

by mm (not verified) :: Sun, 07/25/2010 - 9:12pm

But the numbers are given relative to league-average QB's. So if you're QB is average at throwing the ball to a HB in the flats but slightly better than average at the deep out, then your RBs will be undervalued by this measure, and your deep receiver will be overvalued.

You're dealing with such small sample sizes that it would make any results very questionable, but ideally you'd take every QB and find his unique rate for each type of pass, and then use that rate when calculating your plus-minus figure for each player on the team. This would then be used to compare teammates.

by Nathan :: Mon, 07/26/2010 - 11:24pm

Fair enough. Yet another example that I'm here for the discussion, not the stats. I always forget they're so adjusted.

by mgrex03 (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:50pm

Chris Johnson

by mgrex03 (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:55pm

2009 Chris Johnson

by Never4getBrent :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:51pm

Chester Taylor

by Brad Catlin (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:52pm

Matt Forte

by Bill Barnwell :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:53pm

Hey -- not saying if any of the above answers are right or wrong, but:

a) You'll need to give a player and a season in question.
b) The only qualifying guess, 2006 LT, is wrong.

by McC (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:53pm

Steven Jackson, come on down?

by McC (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:55pm

2008 Steven Jackson, that is...

by buzz :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:56pm

2006 Deangelo Williams

by buzz :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:00pm

As for the article I think it highlights what a lot of people are missing about the colts for this season and are similar (although way more detailed) to the findings i came through going through play by play data. And that is that you can't forget about Anthony Gonzalez. Yes Collie and Garcon played well but if you take into consideration their situation they weren't all world beaters where as Gonzo was actually above average last year and still has an elite 1st round pedigree. Whether he is 100% healthy is another question and I am sure that will play a big factor in the whole process but to completely dismiss him like a lot of people have done may be a mistake.

by thermhere (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:57pm

Brian Westbrook 2007

by JasonG (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:57pm

Matt Forte

by JasonG (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:58pm

2008 Matt Forte

by Ben14 (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:57pm

Steven Jackson

by Ben14 (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 1:59pm


by TheHerminator :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:07pm

A 73% catch rate on the team that led the league in drops? I'm going to go with 2009 Jamaal Charles.

by Karl Cuba :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:11pm

Frank Gore 2007, the rest of the niners' receivers were garbage.

by Bill Barnwell :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:16pm

I will say this much: No one has come even close yet. I wouldn't run a trivia contest where the answer was something as obvious as Chris Johnson or LaDainian Tomlinson.

by Bill Barnwell :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:20pm

And for reference, I'll even give spots 2-5:

- 2: Brian Leonard, Bengals, 2009: +.11 plus-minus per pass vs. -.05 for rest of team
- 3: Ronnie Brown, Dolphins, 2006: +.10 plus-minus per pass vs. -.05 for rest of team
- 4: Chester Taylor, Vikings, 2008: +.11 plus-minus per pass vs. -.03 for rest of team
- 5: Jamal Lewis, Browns, 2007: +.08 plus-minus per pass vs. -.06 for rest of team

by Dan :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:02pm

Shouldn't that be 2007 for Ronnie Brown?

by T.A :: Sun, 07/25/2010 - 8:06pm

wait I thought you need to have at least 50 targets to qualify?

by Jovins :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:22pm

DeAngelo Williams in 2006?

by dcaslin :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:24pm

Ray Rice, Ravens 2009

by watyousay (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:26pm

2007 Kenton Keith

by Jimmy :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:28pm

The original Adrian Peterson 2007 for the Bears.

by Walsh (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:28pm

Think I finally figured it out, too bad I already guessed.

by JP (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:29pm

Me too :(

by jones007ben :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:33pm

i wonder if it could be.... Buckhalter '08

by DZ (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:34pm

Great work. It's been hard to reign in the enthusiasm of Colts nation about Garcon and Collie because they had good playoff games, but both had critical mistakes in the Super Bowl that are largely forgotten.

Anthony Gonzalez, if healthy, is just a flat better player than either one.

by Bobman :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 5:02pm

Thinking the same BBS-related thing.....

by joel.schopp :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:34pm

2008 Matt Forte caught a huge % of passes and had terrible receivers on his team.

by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:42pm

2009 Ronnie Brown?

"Just look at that pumpkin."
-John Madden, looking at the moon.

by Tim G (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:42pm

2009 Tomlinson

by D :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:46pm

Chester Taylor in 2008?

by D :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 4:00pm

Guess I should have checked comment #32 first. Damn it.

by ChicagoRaider :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:50pm

Michael Bush, 2009 Oakland Raiders.

by Deelron :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:53pm

Frank Gore, 2006.

by Jon :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:56pm

Derrick Ward 2008

by pudson (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 2:59pm

'09 Fred Jackson

by BigDerf :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:05pm

Im going with 2009 Lex Hilliard. 100% catch rate. Closest player on Miami was Ronnie Browns 70% rate in the same amount of passes for less yards. I compared catch rates on teams and saw Lex's 30% difference and also saw that Lex was also about as good on a per play distance basis as Brian Leonard.

Hope I didn't blow my guess on a guy who doesn't qualify because of lack of targets.

by Walsh (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:37pm

That would be my guess after Bill's statement if I hadn't blown my load on 06 LdT

by BigDerf :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:42pm

Dont feel bad. I woulda blown my load on LDT or 08 Forte if I had gotten to the article sooner.

by Bobman :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 5:04pm

Ick. What does Mister Tomlinson have to say about you, er... soiling him in that manner?

by Walsh (not verified) :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 12:59pm

He said, "sorry for not being the correct answer."

by Martin Allard (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:09pm

Julius Jones 2007

by fek9wnr (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:11pm

Patrick Cobbs?

by fek9wnr (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:13pm

(2008 Patrick Cobbs, if year is needed)

by DZ (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:12pm

Joe Addai 2007

by Scott C :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:13pm

MJD, 2008 ? Not sure how bad the rest of the team was overall, but it wasn't pretty.

by Scott C :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:16pm

Aw crap ... I think I should have looked at the question a little bit differently.

by Andrew Potter :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:17pm

2007 Brandon Jacobs (He didn't say it was a positive difference.)

by Shattenjager :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:49pm

I didn't want to submit a guess since I already bought the book, but that's what I would have guessed.

by nycubd :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:26pm

Patrick Cobbs, 2008 Dolphins.

by spenczar :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:28pm

Rock Cartwright, 2009 Redskins?

by Ninja Warrior (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:30pm

Kenneth Darby, 2008 Rams.

90% catch rate at 9.6 yards/rec on a team with -26.1% DVOA passing.

by Dan :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:36pm

Tatum Bell, 2006, Broncos.

by speedegg :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:37pm

Who is Willie Parker, 2007 season....damn replies are coming fast and furious

by learning to fly (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:46pm

2008 Michael Robinson

by TXNiner :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:47pm

Kevin Jones, 2006 Detroit

by Boylan2 (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:50pm

2006 Tiki Barber. He was reliable with a likely high catch rate, while surrounded by a team of WRs that was always overthrown by a still-erratic Eli. Right?

by Joey (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:56pm

2006 Brian Westbrook

by Jimmy :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:59pm

Great research Bill.

If this had been around 15 years earlier it might have been in time to stop Dave Wanstedt from shelling out massive money to get Michael Timpson off the Bledsoe QBed Patriots. Then again Dave the Dunce would probably have ignored it.

by fek9wnr (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 4:18pm

Now THAT's a grudge! Impressive work, sir.

by Staubach12 :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 4:01pm

Frank Gore 2008

by Staubach12 :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 4:25pm

Oops! Looks like I blew my wad on someone who was already picked...

by billsfan :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 4:26pm

2008 Kevin Faulk

(I also like the Eagles)

P.S. I still hate the name +/- for this stat.

by Zieg (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 4:25pm

Cadillac Williams 2009.
Mediocre performance on a miserable team == success?

by sfckoski :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 4:46pm

2008 - Brandon Jackson

by zenbitz (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 4:58pm

2009 Gary Russell, Oakland

by Bill Barnwell :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 4:59pm

There IS a 30-target minimum, so I'm going to let BigDerf pick again. No one has guessed correctly yet.

by zenbitz (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 5:05pm

I wondered if there might be a minimum targets for this... can you tell me what Gary Russell's numbers were so I can see if my estimation is meaningful?

by Shyam Sundararaman (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 5:08pm

2008 Fred Jackson

by abernethyj :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 5:13pm

Willis McGahee, 2007.

by sfckoski :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 5:14pm

2007 - All Day

backup guess
2008 - Jamaal Charles

by Joe Kocour (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 5:15pm

07 Earnest Graham?

by Mr. Housebroken :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 5:21pm

2009 Kevin Smith Detroit

by dmb :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 10:30am

That would've been my first guess. My next would've been Jamal Lewis (2007), but then I saw that season at #5 on the list Bill posted...

by Staubach12 :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 5:23pm

Since my first choice was already picked by someone else, can I pick Leon Washington 2008?

by Sideshow Bob (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 5:26pm

How about the 2007 vintage of Leonard Weaver (SEA)?

by zenbitz (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 5:32pm

Marion Barber, 2008 (Dallas)

by billsfan :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 5:36pm

oooh, are we all forgetting some of the awful receiving on the Raiders lately?

(I also like the Eagles)

by nycubd :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 5:41pm

My first guess was also picked by someone else 10 minutes prior, so I'm going to go again with some Justin Fargas, 2007.

by ChicagoRaider :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 5:44pm

Despite the fact that I made a guess, whatever Raiderjoe comes up with wins, is my alternative bet.

by Dan in DC (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 6:03pm

Jamal Charles, 2009.

by D :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 6:24pm

I can't believe I wasted my guess on someone Bill had already said was wrong because I think found the answer and it was not someone I was expecting.

by Nathan :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 6:37pm

mewelde moore, 2006 vikings

by Mike H (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 8:06pm

Leonard Weaver, 2007 SEA

by Hari-Kiri Bengals Fan (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 8:20pm

Dammit, I was going to guess 2007 Fargas. But I'll say Cedric Benson, 2008.

by Rhombus (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 8:24pm

Frank Gore, 2007

by Rhombus (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 8:25pm

whoops just saw someone already guessed that.

by Elroy (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 8:52pm

08 leron mcclain

by Nathan :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 8:54pm

didn't have 30 receptions to qualify

by dedkrikit :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 8:58pm

White 2007

by MatMan :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 9:14pm

Ray Finkle, 1984. Soccer style kicker graduated from Cauler high June 1976, Stetson University honors graduate class of 1980, holds 2 NCAA division 1 records one for most points in a season, one for distance, former nickname "The Mule," The first and oly pro athlete to come out of Cauler County and one hell of a model American.

by Jason :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 10:41pm

Are you one of those Hard Copy guys?
If I hit a grand slam on this hole-in-one the dominoes will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate.

by prophetik (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 9:20pm

2009, marshawn lynch.

by BigDerf :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 9:51pm

With my reguess I'm taking Lamont Jordan of the 07 Raiders. Similar numbers to Leonard and an absolutely horrible Oakland offense run by Culpepper Russel ad Josh McCown.

by buzz :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 10:22am

That was my second guess - that team was pretty attrocious outside of Jordan - and even jordan was disapointing as I remember wasting a fantasy pick on him.

by Or (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 9:58pm

2008 Justin Fargas

by Joseph :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 10:07pm

2006 Edge James, ARZ

by hanjna :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 10:07pm

JERIOUS NORWOOD, 2007. already bought FOA 2010 and KUBIAK, but wouldnt mind reimbursement on the previous!!

by Venger :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 10:14pm

2008 Matt Forte.

by Sander :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 10:28pm

1996 Mike Alstott.

by Jason :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 10:38pm

2006 Kevin Jones, Detroit Lions, Mike Martz Offense, FTW!
If I hit a grand slam on this hole-in-one the dominoes will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate.

by Jason :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 10:39pm

Crap. Didn't see that someone had already guessed him.
If I hit a grand slam on this hole-in-one the dominoes will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate.

by Yaxley :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 10:45pm

2008 Mewelde Moore?

by Packfan6 :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 10:47pm

06 Ahman Green?

by El Nino Meon (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 10:48pm

2007 Ryan Grant

by Will S :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 11:06pm

2009 Ray Rice. Or was David Tyree catching all those passes?

by RascalTutor (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 11:15pm

Felix Jones 2008

by Hilario (not verified) :: Fri, 07/23/2010 - 11:27pm

2009 Jerome Harrison

by Anonymous Coward (not verified) :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 1:38am

Justin Griffith 2006 falcons

by Bill Barnwell :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 1:48am

No one has got it yet. I'll give one more big hint: One person actually named a different running back from the team and season of the player in question.

by John (not verified) :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 5:08am

2009- Ricky Williams

by Subrata Sircar :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 6:23am

2009 Rashard Mendenhall.

by weffy :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 6:55am

Rock Cartwright 2009

my bad - already picked

by ukRaider (not verified) :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 8:03am

Warrick Dunn 2007 (ATL)

by dmb :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 10:22am

Thomas Jones, 2008, NYJ

by Dales :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 11:43am

2009 Sproles?

by RascalTutor (not verified) :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 11:55am

2008 Marion Barber

by Nathan :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 12:21pm

i already used up my guess but he said unexpected... so pick a back that isn't really really well known for being a great receiver on a team with shitty hands at receiver.

by Scott C :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 12:59pm

Or the opposite, a RB -- with bad hands and poor open field ability on a team with a great passing game.

by silkydiamonds (not verified) :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 1:37pm

2006 Shaun Alexander

by silkydiamonds (not verified) :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 1:49pm

That should read 2005 Shaun Alexander

by Dales :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 2:01pm

Seeing he said the last four years, you might want to rethink going with the 2005 version :-)

by Zieg (not verified) :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 2:51pm

2006 Michael Pittman

by Peregrine :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 3:07pm

Noah Herron, 2006 Green Bay Packers

by Bill Barnwell :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 3:22pm


Noah Herron caught 93 percent of the qualifying passes thrown to him, 28 out of 30. That's a 93 percent catch rate, and a +/- of 4.58 on 30 targets. No other Packers receiver -- not even players with one target -- that year had a positive plus-minus; Brett Favre completed 56 percent of his passes.

I'm amazed that anyone got it. Peregrine, shoot me an e-mail at bill - at - footballoutsiders.com to arrange your prize.

by Charles (not verified) :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 3:40pm

She wins the challenge on Work of Art AND the +/- contest. Peregrine is having a good week.

by zenbitz (not verified) :: Mon, 07/26/2010 - 12:01pm

93%?? I was going by catch rate... which for Herron in '06 was 77%. Well, at least I am glad to know it wasn't actually guessable from stats on this site!

by Shattenjager :: Mon, 07/26/2010 - 4:25pm

I believe the catch rate at which you were looking includes all passes while the catch rate Bill is quoting removes "thrown behind" and "overthrown" passes that are not considered "catchable."

by Nathan :: Mon, 07/26/2010 - 11:25pm

tip of the hat to you. never even heard of this guy.

by alltogethernow (not verified) :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 3:09pm

vernand morency 2007 green bay packers

by kps43 :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 3:24pm

Darren Sproles 2008?

by Dean :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 3:38pm

Did anybody want to talk about the article now?

by Nathan :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 11:33pm

eh, not really... is it preseason yet?

by Andrew Potter :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 4:52pm

I'm just as interested in the Loser League edition. Who is the WORST relative to his teammates, say minimum 30 targets?

by Yaguar :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 10:21pm

My first thought was Aaron Moorehead 2007, who just misses the minimum. 8/22 for 65 yards in the Colts offense.

36% catch rate, when the team averaged 65%.
2.9 yards per attempt, when the team averaged 7.8.
-44.8% DVOA to the team's +40.6%.

by Andrew Potter :: Sat, 07/24/2010 - 11:31pm

That would be a good shout if not for the lack of targets. It's not even like he has the Jim Sorgi excuse - at most two of Sorgi's passes that season were intended for Moorehead. I wonder how many the charters deemed catchable though - he might have been listed as the target on a lot of throwaways.

by T.A :: Sun, 07/25/2010 - 7:51pm

2009 Darren Sproles

by T.A :: Sun, 07/25/2010 - 8:09pm

Before I posted this I thought the player needed to have at least 50 targets to qualify. If that not so then the running back must be 2006 Darren Sproles.

by JIPanick :: Sun, 07/25/2010 - 10:12pm

See post 143.

by Zatchlas (not verified) :: Mon, 07/26/2010 - 8:14am

Dominic Rhodes 2006