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» Factors: Andre Johnson

One of the NFL's best receivers notched a -2.3% DVOA last year. Does a target-by-target breakdown show he was better than that?

17 Dec 2011

2011 In-Season YAC+

by Aaron Schatz

Last week, we published in-season numbers for receiving plus/minus. This week, we bring you in-season numbers for YAC+. Much like plus/minus, this stat creates a baseline for how much YAC we can expect off each pass based on three elements:

1) How deep the pass is.

2) Whether the pass is left, middle, or right.

3) What down the pass is, and how far it is away from the sticks.

The third element is needed because on third down, of course, teams are more likely to run patterns near the sticks that are designed specifically to get a first down. Those passes don't have as much YAC. So, for example, there's a difference between what we expect from a 15-yard pass on first-and-10 and what we expect from a 15-yard pass on third-and-15. We're not measuring the specific routes here, and there's a difference between how much YAC we can expect from a 15-yard curl and how much we can expect from a 15-yard dig. We don't have that data for each pass. Adding in down-and-distance to the baseline does help correct for this.

One thing missing right now from YAC+: There's no adjustment based on player position. Looking at these numbers, it probably makes sense to add some sort of adjustment for running backs, who have mostly above-average YAC+.

As noted last week, there are often mistakes by official scorers when it comes to PYD/YAC. These are "unofficial" stats and therefore there isn't the same pressure from the league to get them right. When the official scorers are trying to track 20 things on each play, there are going to be some mistakes. Some official scorers make more mistakes than others. Usually, we correct these mistakes in the course of game charting, and then report those fixes to the league and get the data changed in league data. One difference between this week and last week: I did go through the data and make a number of changes based on the FO game charting, even if we haven't reported those changes to the league yet.

Let's take a look at the best and worst players so far this year according to in-season receiving plus/minus. PYD is average distance in the air of passes to this player (both complete and incomplete).

Top 16 WR in YAC+, Week 1-14 2011 (min. 40 passes)
Player Team Passes PYD YAC YAC+
J.Jones HOU 71 14.5 7.8 3.2
D.Branch NE 82 9.1 7.0 3.0
D.Henderson NO 41 12.9 6.0 2.4
J.Nelson GB 72 11.2 6.5 2.1
E.Doucet ARI 79 7.4 6.2 2.0
P.Parker TB 56 6.5 6.1 2.0
D.Aromashodu MIN 65 15.5 5.9 1.9
L.Fitzgerald ARI 119 12.4 6.1 1.8
M.Wallace PIT 92 13.6 6.1 1.7
W.Welker NE 137 8.0 6.0 1.7
E.Sanders PIT 41 13.7 5.7 1.4
A.Roberts ARI 71 8.3 5.6 1.4
P.Garcon IND 115 12.0 5.8 1.4
D.Baldwin SEA 72 10.9 6.1 1.3
V.Cruz NYG 104 11.6 5.5 1.3
J.Cribbs CLE 54 7.4 6.3 1.3
Bottom 16 WR in YAC+, Week 1-14 2011 (min. 40 passes)
Player Team Passes PYD YAC YAC+
J.Baldwin KC 41 14.4 1.6 -2.3
D.Moore OAK 59 17.8 2.8 -2.0
B.Lloyd DEN/STL 118 14.1 2.2 -1.9
D.Jones BUF 46 12.5 3.0 -1.9
M.Manningham NYG 75 15.4 2.1 -1.8
B.Hartline MIA 49 13.1 2.3 -1.7
B.Gibson STL 68 11.1 2.5 -1.7
E.Royal DEN 42 10.9 3.1 -1.6
L.Moore NO 68 9.8 2.3 -1.6
A.Caldwell CIN 68 6.7 3.0 -1.6
V.Jackson SD 98 16.1 2.8 -1.5
R.Meachem NO 49 12.6 2.8 -1.5
J.Gaffney WAS 90 12.5 2.7 -1.5
M.Williams TB 115 10.3 3.0 -1.4
A.Collie IND 77 8.1 3.2 -1.4
S.Rice SEA 59 15.8 3.6 -1.4
Top 10 TE in YAC+, Week 1-14 2011 (min. 25 passes)
Player Team Passes PYD YAC YAC+
R.Gronkowski NE 101 9.6 7.4 2.9
L.Kendricks STL 43 6.8 7.9 2.4
F.Davis WAS 88 8.5 6.2 1.6
J.Dreessen HOU 28 9.2 5.8 1.5
J.Cook TEN 57 8.3 5.4 1.3
O.Daniels HOU 77 8.1 5.3 1.2
K.Boss OAK 32 7.9 5.2 1.1
D.Keller NYJ 85 9.1 4.9 0.9
J.King ARI 30 5.9 5.6 0.9
J.Ballard NYG 60 11.4 4.8 0.6
Bottom 10 TE in YAC+, Week 1-14 2011 (min. 25 passes)
Player Team Passes PYD YAC YAC+
T.Scheffler DET 31 10.5 2.1 -2.3
J.Gresham CIN 76 7.7 2.5 -2.1
E.Moore CLE 34 7.3 2.8 -1.4
B.Myers OAK 26 6.0 3.5 -1.4
Z.Miller SEA 32 8.7 3.5 -1.3
B.Pettigrew DET 94 5.8 3.6 -1.1
M.Lewis JAC 74 7.5 4.0 -0.8
K.Winslow TB 99 8.1 3.5 -0.7
A.Gates SD 79 9.0 3.2 -0.7
E.Dickson BAL 79 9.5 3.4 -0.7
Top 10 RB in YAC+, Week 1-14 2011 (min. 25 passes)
Player Team Passes PYD YAC YAC+
L.Tomlinson NYJ 53 1.8 12.3 5.7
A.Foster HOU 88 0.6 11.7 5.1
J.Best DET 34 0.5 11.4 4.0
F.Jackson BUF 29 2.1 11.0 3.6
M.Jones-Drew JAC 54 0.6 10.3 3.2
J.Stewart CAR 49 1.1 11.0 3.0
M.Reece OAK 50 4.6 8.4 2.9
M.Bush OAK 40 3.3 8.3 2.8
R.Rice BAL 63 1.2 9.2 2.6
R.Mathews SD 40 0.3 8.9 2.1
Bottom 10 RB in YAC+, Week 1-14 2011 (min. 25 passes)
Player Team Passes PYD YAC YAC+
C.Spiller BUF 32 2.4 3.4 -2.9
D.McCluster KC 50 2.4 4.9 -1.7
K.Lumpkin TB 34 1.6 4.9 -1.3
F.Gore SF 28 1.5 5.4 -1.1
C.Johnson TEN 60 1.4 5.7 -1.0
R.Bush MIA 48 0.6 6.1 -0.9
E.Graham TB 31 1.5 5.4 -0.7
J.Ringer TEN 36 0.1 6.1 -0.6
S.Jackson STL 43 1.4 7.0 0.0
J.Forsett SEA 28 0.9 7.2 0.0
C.Ogbonnaya CLE 30 0.6 6.9 0.0

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 17 Dec 2011

14 comments, Last at 31 Jan 2012, 10:21pm by D2K

Comments

1
by IsraelP (not verified) :: Sat, 12/17/2011 - 2:33pm

E. Sanders > A. Brown? Surprise!

4
by Intropy :: Sat, 12/17/2011 - 5:32pm

That does not surprise me. Sanders is a slippery guy. He reminds me of Santonio Holmes. He's not as good, yet, but he has a similar style to his play to my eyes. Brown has been doing a better job getting open. He also gets more targets "in traffic" which leads to believe he shows more talent in that area in practice.

2
by Riceloft :: Sat, 12/17/2011 - 4:19pm

K. Winslow - CLE?

11
by Aaron Schatz :: Sun, 12/18/2011 - 10:44am

Whoops. Will fix.

3
by Mikey :: Sat, 12/17/2011 - 4:36pm

CJ Spiller, worst in the league. And at the position that would be adjusted DOWN if you adjusted for positions.

Being a Bills fan, these are not the good times.

5
by PirateFreedom (not verified) :: Sat, 12/17/2011 - 8:43pm

Aaron Hernandez?
very good with ball in hands, often beats one defender

6
by Nathan :: Sat, 12/17/2011 - 9:24pm

Yeah I was surprised not to see Hernandez on the list.

12
by Elemen (not verified) :: Mon, 12/19/2011 - 10:10am

Hernandez has likely hurt from playing in several games where he was still coming back from injury and wearing a knee brace. He wasn't getting too much YAC in those games.

7
by Alexander :: Sat, 12/17/2011 - 11:15pm

This list makes more sense to me when applied to RBs than WRs. It kinda punishes players for making "athletic" catches when they then fall down afterwards. At least, that is what it seems like to me.

9
by IsraelP (not verified) :: Sun, 12/18/2011 - 5:41am

Like it punishes them for catching the ball in the end zone?

10
by Mr Shush :: Sun, 12/18/2011 - 9:58am

Even for RBs, it probably rewards guys who are great in space but not downfield threats (Arian Foster) over guys who are both (Matt Forte).

It's interesting information, rather than a meaningful way of ranking players in a particular skill.

8
by Shattenjager :: Sat, 12/17/2011 - 11:48pm

I like that the two Baldwin WRs, whom I can't keep straight, are on opposing lists. For some reason, I find it humorous.

13
by arias :: Tue, 01/03/2012 - 10:32am

Wow, Sidney Rice is at the rock bottom of the worst? That seems counter-intuitive to what he was supposed to be signed away from Minnesota for.

14
by D2K :: Tue, 01/31/2012 - 10:21pm

Interesting that Arizona has 3 of the top 12 WR's and a top 10 TE. I think it speaks volumes about Skeltons long-term viability as a full-time starter in this league. It will be nice to see this offense with a healthy Ryan Williams, a player with nice YAC potential. Coould be nice young unit.

Being a Bills fan and knowing we have NO ONE with the ability to be a year in year out YAC leader on the roster, and a QB whos biggest deficiency is his accuracy, it makes me want to throw up.

Buffalo Bills football - ineptitude at its finest.