Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

30 Jul 2015

2014 YAC+

by Scott Kacsmar

Last week we looked at receiving plus-minus, which estimates how many passes a receiver caught above average adjusted for where the pass was thrown. Since that stat is based on the point of the catch, we found that the quality of the quarterback was significant in the results. It's no surprise that the leading wide receivers in 2014 were receiving passes from the likes of Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Aaron Rodgers while the bottom were stuck with Blake Bortles, Josh McCown, and Zach Mettenberger.

Today we are looking at a similar stat in YAC+, which adjusts a receiver's yards after the catch based on where he catches the ball. If you catch a pass at the line of scrimmage in the right flat on third-and-15, you're expected to get some YAC because the defense usually plays with a cushion in those situations to prevent big gains. But receivers who pick up considerable YAC after catching a pass near the first-down marker are likely to get a much better YAC+ credit.

Here is the description of YAC+ from Football Outsiders Almanac 2015:

YAC+ is similar to plus-minus; it estimates how much YAC a receiver gained compared to what we would have expected from an average receiver catching passes of similar length in similar down-and-distance situations. This is imperfect—we don't specifically mark what route a player runs, and obviously a go route will have more YAC than a comeback—but it does a fairly good job of telling you if this receiver gets more or less YAC than other receivers with similar usage patterns.

Every player with his own table in FOA 2015 has his plus-minus and YAC+ listed for the past three seasons.

As you are about to see, this stat is based more on a receiver's skill and less on the ability of his quarterback. ESPN recently released an updated version of Total QBR. One of the changes they made (frankly, I thought this was already included since the beginning of QBR) is to credit a quarterback with expected YAC based on the type of throw instead of what the receiver actually did. Whether a bubble screen goes for 3 yards or 60, on average the execution on that pass is going to be very similar for all quarterbacks. If the goal of the metric is to measure a quarterback's performance, then it's certainly worthwhile to limit the statistical impact of what happens after the ball releases his hand. YAC should be predominantly viewed as a receiver-driven stat.

YAC+ Leaders (2006-2014)

In the following tables, the "Passes" totals for each receiver will look different from the usual numbers in our data. That's because we have removed plays out of the receiver's control like passes thrown away or tipped at the line.

Here are the top and bottom 10 in YAC+ since 2006 among the three positions. Included are the average air yards (measured as yards beyond the line of scrimmage) on their targets and average YAC gained on catches. Players needed at least 100 receptions to qualify.


Top 10 YAC+ for Wide Receivers, 2006-2014
Bottom 10 YAC+ for Wide Receivers, 2006-2014
Rk Player Catches C% +/- Air YAC YAC+ Rk Player Catches C% +/- Air YAC YAC+
1 Josh Gordon 161 57.5% -4.9 13.2 6.7 2.2 150 Torry Holt 301 58.6% -3.9 12.8 2.3 -1.4
2 Patrick Crayton 213 66.6% 12.4 10.2 5.8 1.8 151 Mike Thomas 177 63.4% -9.0 8.7 4.1 -1.4
3 Demaryius Thomas 351 63.7% 9.1 10.8 6.1 1.5 152 Shaun McDonald 127 65.5% 4.9 10.7 2.6 -1.4
4 Donte' Stallworth 126 56.8% -7.2 12.4 5.6 1.4 153 Andre Caldwell 146 60.8% -11.3 9.1 3.2 -1.4
5 Miles Austin 348 62.9% -0.1 10.6 5.7 1.3 154 Chaz Schilens 100 62.1% 3.1 12.3 2.4 -1.5
6 Randall Cobb 227 76.2% 28.5 8.5 6.2 1.2 155 Malcom Floyd 288 62.1% 35.5 16.5 2.5 -1.5
7 Andrew Hawkins 150 65.5% -6.7 7.4 6.9 1.1 156 Steve Smith (NYG) 245 69.8% 23.7 11.0 2.4 -1.5
8 Golden Tate 272 69.6% 17.8 9.9 6.5 1.0 157 Robert Woods 105 59.0% -6.3 11.3 3.0 -1.6
9 Julio Jones 278 66.0% 18.9 12.3 5.9 1.0 158 Brandon Lloyd 295 52.4% -15.3 15.5 2.4 -1.7
10 Devery Henderson 223 59.6% 14.4 16.0 5.4 1.0 159 Derek Hagan 149 60.1% -0.5 12.0 1.9 -1.9
Top 10 YAC+ for Tight Ends, 2006-2014 Bottom 10 YAC+ for Tight Ends, 2006-2014
Rk Player Catches C% +/- Air YAC YAC+ Rk Player Catches C% +/- Air YAC YAC+
1 Rob Gronkowski 309 70.1% 26.2 9.8 5.8 1.7 51 Leonard Pope 105 70.9% 2.3 6.4 4.0 -0.6
2 Aaron Hernandez 175 70.0% 4.3 6.8 5.8 1.4 52 Tony Scheffler 259 64.6% 6.2 10.6 3.8 -0.6
3 Julius Thomas 109 73.2% 8.9 7.3 5.2 1.1 53 Jordan Cameron 130 66.0% 4.1 9.4 4.1 -0.6
4 Kevin Boss 150 64.4% -2.9 8.7 5.4 1.0 54 Jeremy Shockey 299 67.3% 5.8 8.5 3.5 -0.7
5 Fred Davis 162 68.9% 4.8 8.0 5.8 1.0 55 Alex Smith 122 68.5% -1.4 6.3 4.1 -0.7
6 Alge Crumpler 155 64.0% -7.2 8.0 4.9 1.0 56 Jacob Tamme 178 68.2% 1.4 7.5 3.9 -0.7
7 Brent Celek 344 68.0% 1.7 7.7 6.0 0.9 57 Tony Gonzalez 677 69.7% 42.9 8.6 2.9 -0.8
8 Daniel Fells 107 69.9% 4.0 7.6 5.7 0.9 58 Dennis Pitta 138 68.7% 4.1 7.8 3.9 -0.9
9 Coby Fleener 129 60.0% -9.4 9.5 5.1 0.8 59 Jeff King 156 68.4% -3.7 6.1 3.2 -1.2
10 Jermichael Finley 223 70.6% 18.9 9.3 5.1 0.6 60 Brandon Myers 180 73.2% 10.8 6.8 3.5 -1.3
Top 10 YAC+ for Running Backs, 2006-2014 Bottom 10 YAC+ for Running Backs, 2006-2014
Rk Player Catches C% +/- Air YAC YAC+ Rk Player Catches C% +/- Air YAC YAC+
1 Le'Veon Bell 127 79.4% 0.2 1.2 9.9 2.6 55 Cedric Benson 119 80.4% -2.0 -0.1 7.3 -0.2
2 Joique Bell 139 79.4% -1.4 0.7 9.4 2.4 56 Jacquizz Rodgers 156 88.1% 14.4 0.3 7.2 -0.2
3 DeAngelo Williams 179 78.2% -6.7 -0.3 9.8 2.0 57 Cadillac Williams 129 77.7% -1.7 1.2 6.6 -0.2
4 Correll Buckhalter 121 79.6% -1.0 0.4 9.1 1.8 58 Chris Johnson 297 80.3% -0.6 0.4 7.3 -0.3
5 Mike Tolbert 175 81.0% 4.1 0.5 8.9 1.8 59 Tim Hightower 128 75.7% -7.0 0.3 7.0 -0.3
6 Michael Bush 105 82.0% 3.6 1.1 9.1 1.8 60 Willis McGahee 161 83.0% 4.4 -0.8 7.5 -0.5
7 Darren Sproles 416 81.7% 13.6 0.7 9.0 1.7 61 Earnest Graham 129 78.2% 0.4 1.9 5.7 -0.5
8 Clinton Portis 106 81.5% 0.1 -0.8 9.6 1.6 62 Brian Leonard 143 81.3% 6.7 1.6 6.1 -0.5
9 Kevin Smith 123 76.4% -4.5 0.7 8.4 1.5 63 Warrick Dunn 106 76.8% -4.2 0.7 6.4 -0.6
10 Donald Brown 114 80.9% 1.2 0.3 9.1 1.4 64 Thomas Jones 129 85.4% 6.1 -0.7 7.2 -0.6
Minimum 100 receptions.


There are a few "what could have been" cases in the top 10 lists here. One's NFL story is obviously over (Aaron Hernandez), but Josh Gordon still has a shot to resurrect his career. He was outstanding in 2013, and it's hard to believe three of the top seven wideouts were on the 2014 Browns.

There are also some Hall of Fame-caliber players in the bottom lists, though this does only go back to 2006 and isn't capturing the prime years for Torry Holt and Tony Gonzalez. In the case of Gonzalez, is his low placement really that surprising? It seemed like defenses often were all over him at the point of the catch, but those basketball skills allowed him to box out and catch the second-most passes in NFL history.

Brandon Lloyd ranking 158th comes as no surprise. He ranked 47th in YAC+ three years in a row (2010-12) and his 2011 season (minus-2.4) is the lowest YAC+ season for any wide receiver since 2006 (minimum 50 catches). If he couldn't contort his body in the air to make a diving catch, Lloyd didn't seem interested in producing. The New York Steve Smith ranking 156th was surprising given his strong plus-minus and slot production with the Giants. Derek Hagan brings up the rear, and he's frankly a player you have seen listed in a million transactions over the years, but from whom you can't remember a single in-game moment.

Some of today's elite talents with a high percentage of peak performance like Rob Gronkowski and Le'veon Bell lead their positions. DeAngelo Williams, ranked third, will start for Bell while the latter is suspended for the first two Pittsburgh games this season. The bottom running backs are heavy on Tampa Bay, with five former Buccaneers listed, including the entire bottom four. Warrick Dunn saw better days prior to 2006.

The more I look at these tables, the more I think the minimum receptions should have been raised to something like 300 catches, but we're on a time crunch working on the book this week. Of the 60 players listed, only seven caught at least 300 passes, and quite a few of these names are no longer active players.

So just how consistent is YAC+ from year to year? I looked at players with at least 30 receptions in consecutive years, regardless whether they changed teams or not. The overall correlation coefficient is 0.25, so like with many NFL studies, it's not strong, but it's not zero either. Broken down by position, running backs (-0.12) were more volatile than tight ends (0.18) and wide receivers (0.29). This makes some sense since they play a position that's more susceptible to huge swings in YAC, as we will see in the next section.

2014 YAC+

Finally, here is a look at the top and bottom YAC+ averages from 2014 for the three positions. We'll start with the top players. To qualify, a wide receiver must have at least 50 catches; running backs and tight ends must have at least 25 catches. We have also included the average air yards the receiver's targets traveled beyond the line of scrimmage, and the average YAC gained on catches. "C%" is catch rate. Again, the type of routes are not being accounted for. Catching a deep ball with 50 yards of open field in your view is a nice way to pile up YAC, but generally this will show which receivers are best at beating the odds to produce YAC based on where they are catching the ball.


Top 10 YAC+ for Wide Receivers, 2014
Rk Player Team Passes Catches C% +/- Avg. Air Avg. YAC YAC+
1 DeSean Jackson WAS 89 56 62.9% 0.8 14.6 8.5 2.3
2 Randall Cobb GB 125 91 72.8% 8.4 8.8 6.4 2.1
3 Demaryius Thomas DEN 179 111 62.0% -3.8 10.1 5.8 1.4
4 Golden Tate DET 136 99 72.8% 4.9 7.8 7.0 1.4
5 Marques Colston NO 96 59 61.5% -1.8 11.4 5.0 1.1
6 Sammy Watkins BUF 124 65 52.4% -8.5 13.7 5.3 1.0
7 Andrew Hawkins CLE 104 64 61.5% -5.2 8.8 6.4 0.9
8 Jeremy Maclin PHI 138 85 61.6% -1.5 12.5 5.8 0.9
9 Jordan Matthews PHI 100 67 67.0% 0.1 8.5 5.8 0.8
10 Kendall Wright TEN 87 57 65.5% -1.2 9.2 6.4 0.8
Minimum 50 receptions.
Top 10 YAC+ for Tight Ends, 2014
Rk Player Team Passes Catches C% +/- Avg. Air Avg. YAC YAC+
1 Travis Kelce KC 81 67 82.7% 9.9 6.0 7.2 2.2
2 Dwayne Allen IND 48 29 60.4% -2.7 8.7 5.6 1.9
3 Coby Fleener IND 87 51 58.6% -3.6 10.9 5.8 1.5
4 Rob Gronkowski NE 123 82 66.7% 2.3 9.6 5.6 1.5
5 Delanie Walker TEN 98 63 64.3% -1.2 9.3 6.0 1.3
6 Andrew Quarless GB 43 29 67.4% -1.2 6.0 5.5 1.3
7 Clay Harbor JAC 34 26 76.5% 1.2 6.1 6.9 0.9
8 Jared Cook STL 89 52 58.4% -8.1 8.5 5.1 0.5
9 Eric Ebron DET 44 25 56.8% -4.0 9.6 5.0 0.3
10 Heath Miller PIT 86 66 76.7% 5.9 7.2 4.9 0.2
Minimum 25 receptions.
Top 10 YAC+ for Running Backs, 2014
Rk Player Team Passes Catches C% +/- Avg. Air Avg. YAC YAC+
1 Roy Helu WAS 44 42 95.5% 6.1 0.0 11.6 3.7
2 Marshawn Lynch SEA 43 37 86.0% 2.4 -0.3 10.9 3.1
3 Le'veon Bell PIT 99 83 83.8% 4.5 1.2 9.8 2.9
4 Eddie Lacy GB 50 42 84.0% 0.8 0.0 10.3 2.9
5 Darren Sproles PHI 59 41 69.5% -7.0 0.4 10.1 2.3
6 Joique Bell DET 48 34 70.8% -5.2 0.3 9.9 2.2
7 C.J. Anderson DEN 41 34 82.9% 1.3 1.8 8.3 1.9
8 Bobby Rainey TB 39 33 84.6% 2.0 2.0 8.4 1.6
9 Theo Riddick DET 47 34 72.3% -3.3 2.0 9.0 1.6
10 Trent Richardson IND 33 27 81.8% 0.2 0.2 8.9 1.5
Minimum 25 receptions.


Pretty much everything I have researched this offseason confirms DeSean Jackson had a fantastic debut year for Washington that gets overlooked because the team didn't perform well. Jackson's 2.3 YAC+ ranks ninth among wide receivers with at least 50 catches since 2006. We also see two guys who recently got paid (Randall Cobb and Demaryius Thomas) crack the top four, along with another standout who switched teams last year (Golden Tate). Sammy Watkins and Andrew Hawkins overcame some very inaccurate quarterback play to deliver positive YAC numbers. Unfortunately the quarterback situations for Buffalo and Cleveland may be even worse in 2015.

With only 42 catches, Jarius Wright did not qualify for these tables, but he had 2014's biggest YAC+ play. His 87-yard bubble screen touchdown to help Minnesota beat the Jets in overtime in Week 14 was worth 81.0 YAC+, the second-biggest play in our database since 2006. Only Victor Cruz's 99-yard touchdown in 2011 (also against Rex Ryan's Jets) ranks higher at 85.2 YAC+. Likewise, my gut said Eddie Lacy is probably here in large part to the Bears not showing up on Sunday Night Football in Week 10, when Lacy scored on a slow-developing 56-yard touchdown. However, that was only the 25th-biggest YAC+ (47.3) in 2014. Lacy's 67-yard gain on a screen in New Orleans was the seventh-largest play (59.7), and Lacy is the only player with two plays in the top 25.

Travis Kelce led all tight ends in plus-minus as well as YAC+, so he was very effective in his first real year of playing in the NFL. Both Indianapolis tight ends were in the bottom 10 in plus-minus, but fared well with the ball in their hands. It's another sign that Andrew Luck could stand to improve his accuracy, and that the Colts run their tight ends on deeper routes than most teams.

As for running backs, at least this shows Darren Sproles was still very good once he got the ball in his hands despite his poor plus-minus figure. He can still kill the Colts when necessary. Also, Roy Helu was arguably the most effective receiving back in the league last year given his league-leading C%+ and YAC+ numbers. He should still carry that receiving role in Oakland over Trent Richardson, who actually makes the top 10 in something positive. If there's one thing he does well, it's catch the ball in space and run (plus, many of Richardson's broken tackles come on receptions instead of carries).

Now let's look at the bottom players in YAC+ in 2014.


Bottom 10 YAC+ for Wide Receivers, 2014
Rk Player Team Passes Catches C% +/- Avg. Air Avg. YAC YAC+
48 Mike Evans TB 113 68 60.2% 3.8 15.2 2.5 -1.6
49 Kelvin Benjamin CAR 140 73 52.1% -7.8 14.4 2.3 -1.7
50 Robert Woods BUF 100 65 65.0% -0.3 9.4 3.1 -1.7
51 Malcom Floyd SD 83 52 62.7% 7.2 17.4 2.4 -1.8
52 Roddy White ATL 120 80 66.7% 3.0 9.9 2.3 -1.8
53 Kenny Stills NO 79 63 79.7% 15.5 12.9 3.0 -1.8
54 Vincent Jackson TB 135 70 51.9% -7.8 14.4 2.1 -1.9
55 James Jones OAK 103 73 70.9% 4.3 8.0 3.0 -2.1
56 Brandin Cooks NO 64 53 82.8% 9.7 8.6 3.2 -2.1
57 Riley Cooper PHI 89 55 61.8% -1.7 12.0 2.8 -2.2
Minimum 50 receptions.
Bottom 10 YAC+ for Tight Ends, 2014
Rk Player Team Passes Catches C% +/- Avg. Air Avg. YAC YAC+
22 Scott Chandler BUF 64 47 73.4% 2.6 7.3 4.1 -0.7
23 Brent Celek PHI 47 32 68.1% 0.0 7.6 4.1 -0.9
24 Charles Clay MIA 79 58 73.4% 3.6 6.6 4.4 -1.0
25 John Carlson ARI 50 33 66.0% -2.8 7.2 4.3 -1.1
26 Larry Donnell NYG 86 63 73.3% 4.2 7.5 3.5 -1.1
27 Jermaine Gresham CIN 76 62 81.6% 5.2 4.2 4.2 -1.4
28 Anthony Fasano KC 35 25 71.4% 0.6 7.0 3.2 -1.5
29 Levine Toilolo ATL 50 31 62.0% -4.9 5.6 3.2 -1.5
30 Mychal Rivera OAK 90 58 64.4% -2.7 8.4 3.0 -1.7
31 Vernon Davis SF 48 26 54.2% -3.5 12.4 1.9 -2.2
Minimum 25 receptions.
Bottom 10 YAC+ for Running Backs, 2014
Rk Player Team Passes Catches C% +/- Avg. Air Avg. YAC YAC+
30 Reggie Bush DET 53 41 77.4% -1.7 0.7 6.5 -0.8
31 Travaris Cadet NO 45 38 84.4% 2.8 1.6 6.4 -0.8
32 Marcel Reece OAK 54 37 68.5% -5.4 3.1 5.5 -0.9
33 Darren McFadden OAK 44 36 81.8% -0.5 -0.3 7.3 -1.0
34 Justin Forsett BAL 58 45 77.6% -3.8 -1.0 7.4 -1.1
35 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL 35 29 82.9% 0.3 0.1 6.4 -1.1
36 LeSean McCoy PHI 37 30 81.1% -1.1 -1.2 6.6 -1.6
37 Devonta Freeman ATL 35 30 85.7% 2.3 2.1 5.7 -1.6
38 Jerick McKinnon MIN 39 27 69.2% -5.0 -0.6 6.4 -1.8
39 Mark Ingram NO 31 29 93.5% 3.6 0.1 5.0 -2.1
Minimum 25 receptions.


It's interesting to see players from the same offense rank in the top and bottom. Reggie Bush is out in Detroit after a subpar receiving year, but Theo Riddick and Joique Bell remain. Riley Cooper takes the bottom spot. He isn't the polished route-runner that Jeremy Maclin is, nor is he fast in the slot like Jordan Matthews, his 2014 teammates who both ranked in the top 10 for the Eagles. Sam Bradford has had a warranted reputation for being a dink-and-dunk quarterback, but we'll see what Chip Kelly gets out of him. Chances are Bradford will favor Matthews, tight end Zach Ertz, and maybe rookie Nelson Agholor out of USC over Cooper this year.

Derek Carr quickly adapted to checking down to avoid sacks, but Marcel Reece and Darren McFadden weren't very effective after the catch, and neither was James Jones. Adding Amari Cooper and Helu should help here. There's also some buzz that third-round rookie tight end Clive Walford (Miami) could perhaps take the starting job from Mychal Rivera, who only beat out Vernon Davis in YAC+ last year.

Oakland was involved in the worst YAC+ play of 2014, but it was their defense that forced the loss. In Week 12's upset win over the Chiefs, Oakland's Sio Moore snuffed out a screen pass from Alex Smith to Jamaal Charles. While Charles broke out of the initial tackle, he was quickly taken down for a loss of 12 yards (minus-8 YAC). The play's -19.3 YAC+ is the worst of any play since 2006.

John Carlson retired from the Cardinals, but recent pickup Jermaine Gresham only averaged 7.4 yards per catch in 2014, barely getting anything after the catch. He ranked seventh as a rookie in YAC+ in 2010, the last time he played with Carson Palmer in Cincinnati. Gresham has ranked 20th or worse in YAC+ in three of the last four seasons.

Jameis Winston might have his work cut out for him with both wide receivers in the bottom 10. Then again, some of that is by design as Tampa Bay tried to exploit the height of Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson with multiple deep balls. New offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter should make Tampa Bay look more like Atlanta did last year with the pairing of Roddy White (who also had a down year) and Julio Jones. Last year, an unusually high 19 of Tampa Bay's 21 passing touchdowns were caught in the end zone, while a 20th was caught at the 1-yard line. There is simply no YAC to be had when the pass is caught in the end zone, but fortunately YAC+ won't penalize a receiver for that the way YAC per catch does.* Winston won't mind too much if the big guys are hauling in the touchdowns, but some more YAC would also help in Tampa Bay.

This table has a real NFC South flavor to it, with two Atlanta running backs and a tight end present, as well as Carolina rookie Kelvin Benjamin. In New Orleans, Brandin Cooks will have to improve on that rookie year in his bigger role. He was thrown shorter passes than Marques Colston (who ranked fifth), but did less with them. It's a bit alarming that he had the fifth-lowest YAC+ out of 436 seasons since 2006. As mentioned in plus-minus, Mark Ingram is not the most dynamic receiver, so while he caught a high rate (29-of-31 catchable targets), he didn't do a lot with them. But that is why the Saints brought in C.J. Spiller as a contingency plan.

Our plan prior to the start of the 2015 season is to have more articles that look into where receivers are catching the ball, and also how they are catching the ball. Hint: the latter is a reference to catch radius.

*Ed Note: Actually, YAC+ was originally not adjusted to account for receivers running out of room for YAC at the goal line. We corrected the formula this week after discovering this error, but there won't be time to adjust the numbers for the book. Therefore, numbers published in Football Outsiders Almanac 2015 will be slightly different from those published here. -- Aaron Schatz

Posted by: Scott Kacsmar on 30 Jul 2015

14 comments, Last at 07 Jan 2016, 2:21pm by Shirley Marx

Comments

1
by justanothersteve :: Thu, 07/30/2015 - 7:18pm

Two observations. 1) Kelce was #1 with Alex Smith throwing the ball. Just how good would he be with a better QB? 2) Brees had a top 5 WR, and two WRs and two RBs in the bottom ten. I have no idea what this means. I guess it's that Colston is still really good.

2
by lightsout85 :: Fri, 07/31/2015 - 1:15am

Surprised DeSean Jackson wasn't in the top 10 for 06-14.

Would we be able to get his rank? Any specific year drag him down?

4
by Scott Kacsmar :: Fri, 07/31/2015 - 7:48am

Remember, need 50 catches to qualify for a WR season.

DeSean Jackson YAC+
2008: -0.4 (26th)
2009: 1.9 (3rd)
2010: 2.6 (N/A)
2011: -1.3 (44th)
2012: 0.5 (N/A)
2013: 0.7 (10th)
2014: 2.3 (1st)

His overall WR rank in YAC+ is 12th (0.9), but he'd be 3rd to only Demaryius Thomas and Miles Austin among players with 300+ receptions.

3
by Lebo :: Fri, 07/31/2015 - 7:14am

"It's another sign that Andrew Luck could stand to improve his accuracy, and that the Colts run their tight ends on deeper routes than most teams."

As a Colts fan, I agree with this conclusion based on what I saw last year: Luck could improve his accuracy and the TEs (Fleener in particular) ran deep routes.

Also, Trent Richardson being in the Top 10 for running backs YAC+ is not a surprise. When Richardson had the ball in space, he was always tough to bring down (although, he was never going to break off a long run). Unless Richardson finds some speed, I really think his only future is as a fullback.

5
by Bobman :: Fri, 07/31/2015 - 1:41pm

A fair amount of this (25-30%?) is scheme and QB, right? I mean if you are led in stride, you can run for more than if the pass hits you on the back hip. Also, the Colts always seemed to run Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne in one of two modes--fly downfield or make the safe catch and fall down. So you get a handful of 25 YAC plays and a lot of zeroes. That pretty much kills YAC but keeps the chains moving.

Plus there's the memorable playoff game vs the Broncos when Harrison hit the deck among four defenders, none of whom touched him, so he popped up and scored a TD while they were arguing. Fleener and Allen do not surprise me on this list. Hoping that if Luck gets a little better pass pro he'll improve accuracy.

6
by dryheat :: Fri, 07/31/2015 - 4:26pm

It also greatly favors slot receivers over the boundary guys, as they often have a linebacker or safety in coverage, and tend to get the ball with more empty space surrounding them.

7
by tuluse :: Fri, 07/31/2015 - 4:54pm

I think I only see 3 primarily slot guys in the top 10 list 06-14. Crayton, Cobb, and Henderson.

8
by dank067 :: Fri, 07/31/2015 - 5:35pm

This and the fact that Scott makes a comment about "in the right flat" in the opening of the piece suggest that any kind of slot receiver effect might be at least somewhat accounted for in the numbers.

10
by dryheat :: Mon, 08/03/2015 - 8:53am

Plus Hawkins, and, if I'm not mistaken Tate...but maybe I only think so because he seems to run an inordinate amount of short routes. But you're right...with that list, and the 2014 list, which I'd expect to see more slot receivers, it seems to be about 50/50.

Of course, there are usually twice as many outside receivers and slot receivers in the offense.

11
by ChrisS :: Mon, 08/03/2015 - 12:51pm

I am not sure if Tate lined up in the slot or more often wide but his routes are certainly more slot-like than someone aligned wide. Lots of bubble screens and quick hitters.

9
by Red :: Fri, 07/31/2015 - 11:00pm

Scott, it would be awesome to see YAC+ for QB's. Any plans to do that? Seeing Gronk and Hernandez dominate the TE list brings up the entanglement question. Did they make Brady look better than he really is, or vice versa?

12
by nickbradley :: Mon, 08/03/2015 - 2:14pm

Totally agree; I've suggested a regression analysis for career QB YAC+ vs WR YAC+. WR YAC+ is going to go up with CarQBYAC+, but there will be some variance there, and its worth measuring.

Drew Brees is a pretty good YAC+ QB from what I understand, and that should make Brandin Cooks even worse looking.

13
by Scott Kacsmar :: Mon, 08/03/2015 - 7:19pm

We can add the QB numbers. I was messing around with them last week. The file's so massive though that it's hard to add new columns and fill. That's why I had like five different Ryan Fitzpatrick results since he's always changing his number and PBP ID.

14
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