Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Most Recent FO Features

Flavortown.jpg

» The Week In Quotes: August 18, 2017

In the world of NFL quotes, Marshawn Lynch is the gift that keeps on giving. Plus: some great plays in practice, some terrible plays in practice, wicked rhymes, and Guy Fieri.

08 Aug 2017

DVOA by Routes: Receivers

by Scott Kacsmar

In a recent study on Jarvis Landry, we looked at DVOA and DYAR based on the type of route the receiver ran on each target. This data, compiled by Sports Info Solutions, was new for us in 2016, and some of it appeared throughout Football Outsiders Almanac 2017 (available here).

Before we really put a bow on 2016 and move onto the new season, we figured that people would be interested in seeing some leaderboards in these categories. In the first part of a three-part study, we are going to focus on wide receivers. In later parts, we'll look at quarterbacks and defenses, as well as summaries of how these routes fared at a league-wide level.

Since a lot of this data is small sample size stuff, we're not going to overload you with tables for every route. We picked 12 of the most common routes where at least a few players had a double-digit number of targets. We also didn't want to break things up by wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs due to sample size issues. For example, is it really that noteworthy that there were 51 slants by running backs last year, and only David Johnson (nine) and Le'Veon Bell (six) had more than four such plays? Versatile players at those positions are able to line up and run routes from anywhere on the field, so we'll just celebrate that here as a few backs and tight ends will show up in the numbers.

Because we are limited to 2016 for this data, we're going to hold back on drawing many real significant conclusions, but it sure would be interesting if future seasons show that certain receivers tend to excel or struggle with certain types of routes.

The following data is receiving DYAR, just like what is shown on the wide receiver pages here. So if we wanted to, we could now break down all of Julio Jones' league-high 458 DYAR by the type of route he ran -- and we have done so in the following table. "PYD" is the average air yards per target.

Julio Jones: 2016 Play Design
Route Type DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
Post 115 69.9% 17 332 60.0% 27.4 5.1
Slant 114 54.3% 23 281 81.8% 7.7 7.6
Dig 102 44.6% 24 284 79.2% 10.8 3.8
Drag 39 79.6% 6 84 83.3% 5.8 10.4
Fade 35 37.9% 8 69 50.0% 12.0 1.8
Broken Play 26 57.6% 5 69 80.0% 12.6 5.3
Out 25 51.8% 5 58 100.0% 8.4 3.2
Post Corner 21 127.6% 2 41 100.0% 19.5 1.0
Comeback 6 -3.0% 8 65 42.9% 15.0 4.0
Go/Fly 6 -4.4% 10 121 30.0% 36.3 1.7
Curl 1 -11.0% 12 61 58.3% 8.4 2.1
Whip 0 -13.6% 5 32 75.0% 6.2 2.0
Corner Post -5 -97.7% 1 0 0.0% 23.0 -
Corner -6 -25.3% 6 44 20.0% 19.7 0.0
No Video -7 -101.2% 1 0 0.0% 14.0 -
Wheel -7 -115.8% 1 0 0.0% 7.0 -
WR Screen -9 -104.8% 1 0 0.0% 0.0 -
Totals 458 31.7% 135 1541 64.3% 14.5 4.7

Due to space limitations, we obviously cannot show breakdown after breakdown for every player, so we will stick with leaderboards of players who had the most such targets for each route, sorted by descending DYAR. We chose 12 routes that are most widely utilized (each had at least 400 total attempts in 2016) by wide receivers in particular. The league totals are shown at the bottom of each table. The number of passes include defensive pass interference penalties.

Note: a nice GIF to exemplify each route type would have been a given in past years, but NFL Game Pass in its current form is the devil incarnate. We're sorry (because they're not). On the bright side, we have included a YouTube link to the biggest DYAR gain in each route type last season.

Curl

The curl route was the league's most common throw last year, with 2,615 attempts according to SIS. The following table looks at 27 players with at least 20 curls last year.

Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
13-M.Thomas-NO 121 42.6% 28 248 92.9% 5.9 3.8
88-D.Thomas 78 22.3% 29 233 67.9% 8.4 3.4
87-J.Nelson 67 27.6% 21 163 76.2% 7.7 2.5
88-P.Garcon 39 5.6% 27 200 74.1% 5.6 4.3
15-M.Crabtree 36 7.3% 22 182 85.7% 6.1 4.2
14-S.Diggs 32 3.9% 24 153 83.3% 5.3 1.9
10-E.Sanders 32 2.4% 26 208 76.9% 8.5 1.5
13-M.Evans 31 2.7% 26 204 69.2% 9.5 1.3
17-C.Conley 30 2.4% 26 197 76.9% 6.2 2.8
10-T.Hill 24 0.2% 22 138 72.7% 6.0 3.2
88-D.Pitta 23 5.1% 31 244 90.3% 6.3 2.3
85-A.Gates 16 3.5% 26 157 69.2% 7.1 1.4
82-D.Walker 15 5.1% 22 155 77.3% 6.2 3.1
Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
85-C.Clay 7 -2.7% 25 143 72.0% 7.4 1.1
82-K.Rudolph 7 -3.4% 27 183 74.1% 4.8 3.6
15-A.Robinson 5 -9.8% 23 145 65.2% 8.4 1.9
17-A.Jeffery 3 -11.0% 20 136 50.0% 10.4 3.8
86-Z.Ertz 2 -5.9% 25 164 84.0% 5.3 1.9
89-S.Smith -6 -16.2% 22 129 59.1% 6.0 4.2
81-C.Meredith -12 -20.3% 21 184 80.0% 7.8 3.7
10-D.Hopkins -17 -20.8% 25 166 52.2% 6.3 5.6
87-C.Fiedorowicz -17 -20.8% 20 106 55.0% 6.4 2.8
88-L.Kendricks -27 -27.9% 23 126 60.9% 5.7 3.2
17-M.Wallace -28 -29.6% 21 97 57.1% 7.8 1.0
82-J.Witten -32 -30.4% 24 143 79.2% 7.2 0.6
80-V.Cruz -34 -31.8% 23 103 52.2% 7.4 0.8
13-O.Beckham -73 -45.3% 29 131 64.3% 7.2 1.9
NFL Curls 1831 -1.8% 2615 17523 71.6% 6.7 2.8

Michael Thomas had a fantastic rookie season for New Orleans, with most of his production coming on curls. He caught 26-of-28 curls and had the most DYAR (121) on that route by a wide margin, and also the highest DVOA (42.6%). The Saints were wise to go to him 28 times on curls, only trailing Dennis Pitta (31), Demaryius Thomas (29), and Odell Beckham Jr. (29) in curl targets.

(Ed. Note: In case you're curious about FO minutia, Michael Thomas has an odd PBP ID because Rams rookie Mike Thomas also wore No. 13 and thus came out in play-by-play as 13-M.Thomas.)

Like Thomas, Beckham was a tremendous wide receiver as a rookie. Unlike Thomas, curls were not friendly to him in 2016, and we're not talking about his distinctive hairstyle. Beckham had a league-low -73 DYAR on curls, and the lowest DVOA (-45.3%) of this group. The fact that teammate Victor Cruz had the second-lowest DVOA (-31.8%) might indicate that this was much more of an Eli Manning problem than a flaw with his receivers. Manning was far from his sharpest last season, though Beckham dropped three curl routes as well.

On a similar note, lousy quarterback play for the Rams (Case Keenum and Jared Goff) did not help Kenny Britt (-52 DYAR) and Tavon Austin (-47 DYAR) on curls last season. They ranked in the bottom four in DYAR as well. The fact that Austin did that on just seven targets is crazy, especially when only one of those was a Goff target (Austin's only positive gain on a curl all season).

The top DYAR gain of 2016 on a curl was when Julian Edelman broke some tackles on his way to a 77-yard touchdown against the Dolphins in Week 17. The play was worth 37 DYAR.

Out

The out, or quick out, had 2,075 attempts last season. The following table looks at 22 players with at least 19 out routes.

Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
11-C.Beasley 119 43.1% 28 238 82.1% 8.2 2.8
10-D.Hopkins 99 31.3% 29 245 75.0% 9.4 2.0
83-W.Snead 58 23.1% 19 126 68.4% 6.5 3.5
11-J.Edelman 52 8.0% 32 233 75.0% 7.8 2.5
82-J.Witten 48 19.9% 26 235 76.9% 6.3 5.3
13-T.Hilton 38 6.6% 24 169 62.5% 8.4 2.5
89-D.Baldwin 36 4.8% 26 156 84.6% 4.3 2.7
19-T.Ginn 32 8.2% 20 157 65.0% 9.7 1.8
15-M.Crabtree 30 5.1% 22 142 68.2% 9.0 1.0
86-J.Reed 29 13.9% 20 140 75.0% 5.4 3.7
17-J.Kerley 29 7.5% 19 144 63.2% 9.8 3.2
Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
88-G.Olsen 28 12.5% 22 177 72.7% 9.2 2.2
10-B.Cooks 24 0.3% 24 175 83.3% 8.1 1.8
13-K.Benjamin 19 0.4% 19 134 57.9% 10.8 1.2
11-L.Fitzgerald 16 -3.6% 23 166 69.6% 8.8 1.4
12-Jo.Brown 13 -4.4% 21 157 52.4% 13.2 0.3
11-T.Austin 9 -7.0% 21 146 66.7% 6.1 3.6
45-W.Tye -3 -9.4% 20 104 80.0% 4.0 2.4
83-B.Quick -17 -24.3% 20 142 47.4% 8.5 7.1
10-E.Sanders -37 -29.5% 27 113 44.4% 7.8 2.0
80-J.Crowder -56 -38.8% 28 125 57.1% 6.4 2.0
87-C.Fiedorowicz -58 -37.5% 29 156 58.6% 5.8 3.5
NFL Outs 1,213 -3.4% 2,075 13,365 64.9% 7.8 2.5

Two routes in, and we again have another player (Cole Beasley) with the most DYAR, highest DVOA, and the fourth-most targets. Edelman (32) led all receivers in out routes, but wasn't as effective as the similarly skilled Beasley was in Dallas. This is definitely a route that slot receivers preferred. Washington's Jamison Crowder also had 28 out routes like Beasley, but he had the lowest DVOA (-38.8%) in the league on those patterns. Crowder dropped two of those targets, but also watched Kirk Cousins throw two of them away. Those are rarely the receiver's fault.

While one Drew Brees receiver (Thomas) was the best in the league on curls, another was the worst on outs. Tight end Coby Fleener had a league-low -65 DYAR on 15 out routes. He was almost outdone by Houston tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz (-58 DYAR on 29 out routes), who had the displeasure of playing with Brock Osweiler as his quarterback. Of course, that didn't stop DeAndre Hopkins from finishing with a very respectable 99 DYAR, second in the league. Apparently the Texans loved those quick out routes, given that Fiedorowicz and Hopkins each had 29 of them. This might help explain some of the poor YAC numbers associated with Houston's passing game, since the receiver is usually running towards the sideline out of bounds on these plays.

We practically never say anything nice about the 2016 Rams' passing game, but here's a chance to do so. The biggest DYAR gain on an out route in 2016 was the time that Case Keenum completed a 65-yard touchdown to Brian Quick, who gained 52 yards after the catch against the Cardinals in Week 4. It was a deep out route against Marcus Cooper, and Quick broke a tackle too. The play was worth 34 DYAR, which makes it even more remarkable that Quick finished with -17 DYAR on his 20 out routes last season. He only caught 47.4 percent of his out routes, which is only higher than Denver's Emmanuel Sanders (44.4 percent) in our table.

Dig

Kurt Warner just went into the Hall of Fame, and the (deep) dig route was always one of his highlight throws. Yes, these are tougher throws than your average curl or out, but there were still 1,348 of them in 2016, completed at a rate of 61.1 percent. The following table looks at 24 players with at least 13 dig routes. (There were seven players tied with 13 targets, and we wanted to get at least 20 names for this route.)

Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
11-J.Jones 102 44.6% 24 284 79.2% 10.8 3.8
10-E.Sanders 72 61.1% 13 154 84.6% 12.5 2.5
14-J.Landry 64 45.6% 14 178 78.6% 11.9 4.3
13-O.Beckham 60 18.0% 25 223 68.0% 9.6 2.9
83-W.Snead 48 37.0% 13 135 69.2% 12.8 2.4
11-B.LaFell 39 21.3% 16 131 50.0% 12.8 2.4
11-D.Parker 39 25.4% 13 120 84.6% 8.8 2.9
10-D.Hopkins 34 9.9% 21 179 65.0% 11.1 2.2
88-G.Olsen 32 31.2% 13 114 66.7% 10.6 1.9
12-M.Sanu 29 14.9% 14 129 61.5% 10.8 2.6
17-J.Kerley 28 14.0% 14 116 78.6% 9.1 3.0
15-B.Marshall 27 5.0% 20 179 55.0% 13.3 3.3
Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
87-J.Nelson 27 8.8% 16 122 50.0% 11.4 4.3
15-D.Inman 23 4.9% 17 150 62.5% 12.6 1.2
13-K.Benjamin 21 7.8% 13 136 61.5% 13.0 3.1
15-M.Crabtree 19 4.3% 15 138 57.1% 10.7 3.3
11-L.Fitzgerald 13 -1.7% 15 118 60.0% 11.5 2.8
88-D.Thomas 10 -7.6% 28 223 75.0% 8.0 2.1
15-A.Robinson 6 -6.3% 13 84 50.0% 10.8 1.0
80-A.Boldin -4 -16.3% 13 76 61.5% 5.2 3.8
88-D.Bryant -6 -17.9% 14 102 50.0% 14.0 0.9
11-J.Edelman -7 -17.5% 19 130 63.2% 7.7 3.5
17-A.Jeffery -10 -21.1% 14 100 50.0% 10.4 1.9
13-M.Evans -14 -19.8% 23 132 43.5% 12.5 1.1
NFL Digs 2,048 9.2% 1,348 11,429 61.1% 10.5 3.4

Demaryius Thomas (28) and Beckham (25) had the most digs, but Julio Jones was the most productive with 102 DYAR. He did not have the highest DVOA, however, as that was Sanders (61.1%) in Denver. This may be one of those cases where a team valued size (Thomas) over more precise route-running (Sanders). Thomas had 28 digs to Sanders' 13, but the success rate was much higher for Sanders. Even Paxton Lynch completed all three of his dig routes to Sanders.

Jermaine Kearse really struggled for Seattle last year, and he had a league-low -39 DYAR on just nine dig routes. That was not a big part of Seattle's offense last year, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dug the dig route. It's just that Jameis Winston struggled to hit Mike Evans on them, and Evans has the lowest DYAR (-14) in our table. Vincent Jackson even had -20 DYAR on just four digs before injury ended his season. With Evans, again, there are sample size issues at work. He dropped three digs, so that's an issue when we're talking about 23 plays. There were also two incompletions where Winston was hit in motion, a frequent pressure problem for the 2016 offense in Tampa Bay.

Brandin Cooks could help New England in this department. He had 52 DYAR on 10 dig routes, compared to -27 DYAR on 25 dig routes to Edelman and Chris Hogan combined.

Seth Roberts did not have a very efficient season for Oakland, but he delivered the biggest dig route of the 2016 season. His 41-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-3 in overtime in Tampa Bay to win the game was worth 29 DYAR.

Slant

The slant is an important part of NFL offenses, with 1,259 attempts last year. When a receiver is hit in stride with a slant, he can use his forward momentum to produce a huge gain after the catch. We looked at 23 players with at least 14 slant routes.

Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
17-M.Wallace 146 99.6% 17 312 94.1% 7.8 11.8
11-J.Jones 114 54.3% 23 281 81.8% 7.7 7.6
13-O.Beckham 108 49.0% 21 269 75.0% 6.5 11.2
17-D.Adams 102 66.9% 16 145 81.3% 6.3 4.5
87-T.Kelce 88 92.4% 14 185 85.7% 5.4 10.2
14-J.Landry 72 54.0% 14 167 85.7% 5.4 8.4
87-S.Shepard 61 29.5% 17 139 76.5% 8.2 2.7
10-D.Hopkins 58 24.2% 20 157 68.4% 7.0 5.6
13-K.Benjamin 55 17.4% 24 204 69.6% 7.7 4.4
13-M.Thomas-NO 52 6.7% 33 238 66.7% 4.1 6.7
16-Ty.Williams 50 15.3% 22 167 68.2% 6.9 4.0
Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
11-M.Jones 41 16.4% 17 143 78.6% 6.3 4.7
11-T.Pryor 40 12.4% 19 178 57.9% 9.4 7.3
13-T.Hilton 33 10.7% 18 164 55.6% 6.9 8.7
18-K.Britt 32 5.7% 22 172 72.7% 6.3 4.7
15-M.Crabtree 26 1.5% 22 75 59.1% 6.3 1.1
18-D.Green-Beckham 21 3.5% 16 89 62.5% 5.4 3.7
81-Q.Enunwa 16 0.1% 15 117 53.3% 9.0 5.4
89-A.Cooper 7 -8.7% 23 162 52.2% 6.2 6.6
13-M.Evans 1 -11.9% 14 82 57.1% 7.6 1.4
11-L.Fitzgerald -17 -20.1% 28 147 75.0% 5.0 2.0
17-J.Kerley -28 -40.0% 14 78 38.5% 8.5 5.2
15-B.Marshall -38 -36.4% 20 96 50.0% 6.9 3.3
NFL Slants 2,297 11.3% 1,259 9,849 67.4% 6.7 5.0

Did Mike Wallace have the most DYAR on slants because of his 95-yard touchdown against the Steelers? In a way, that was the case, because that play was worth 35 DYAR, giving him just enough for the edge over Julio Jones. However, even if that play (with yet another broken tackle) did not happen, Wallace would have still been a very respectable second place on just 16 slants. That wasn't even the biggest DYAR gain of the season on a slant. Brandon LaFell's 86-yard touchdown in Houston on Christmas Eve netted him 36 DYAR since it happened on a third-and-5 against a better defense, while Wallace's play was on second-and-9.

Brandon Marshall has to like the DYAR totals for Beckham (108 DYAR) and rookie Sterling Shepard (61 DYAR), after he had a table-low -38 DYAR on slants with the other New York team. Again, we don't know how much this stuff will correlate year to year, but Marshall's skill set seems well suited for catching some quick slants from Manning.

Michael Thomas had a league-high 33 slants, though his 52 DYAR wasn't nearly as productive as his curl production. Travis Kelce's 88 DYAR is fairly impressive since the next closest tight end was Antonio Gates, who had 27 DYAR on five slants. Kelce had 30.7 percent of the league's total receiving DYAR among tight ends in 2016, and we're only talking about 14 plays for him.

Brian Quick had a league-low -39 DYAR on just eight slants, so go Rams. No one brings up the rear better.

Drag

The drag route is another common play, with 1,243 attempts last year. This gives the quarterback an even shorter throw than the previous routes, but he often has to wait for a receiver brave enough to cross into the middle of the field and deal with linebackers and safeties. We looked at 22 receivers with at least 12 drag routes.

Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
16-Ty.Williams 103 31.7% 29 292 79.3% 3.1 10.3
87-T.Kelce 82 56.7% 19 210 78.9% 4.2 9.8
18-K.Britt 67 47.6% 14 173 92.9% 7.8 5.2
14-S.Diggs 52 17.7% 22 193 95.5% 3.0 6.0
88-M.Bennett 43 47.7% 13 136 92.3% 2.8 8.4
89-S.Smith 25 9.9% 14 120 78.6% 3.3 7.1
82-C.Fleener 19 10.1% 16 100 75.0% 3.7 4.4
80-A.Boldin 19 5.7% 13 85 84.6% 4.8 3.0
84-A.Brown 15 -1.1% 17 97 82.4% 3.1 5.0
11-L.Fitzgerald 15 3.7% 12 100 91.7% 5.1 4.0
82-J.Witten 12 5.3% 15 102 66.7% 7.5 3.7
11-J.Edelman 10 -4.5% 15 84 60.0% 3.7 5.2
Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
87-S.Shepard 4 -8.3% 12 66 66.7% 3.8 4.5
10-S.Roberts 1 -11.4% 13 83 61.5% 6.3 6.5
13-O.Beckham 0 -12.5% 19 116 63.2% 3.2 7.9
80-J.Crowder 0 -12.6% 12 57 58.3% 7.7 5.3
84-C.Patterson -1 -13.9% 12 85 83.3% 3.0 5.8
13-T.Hilton -4 -16.1% 14 75 57.1% 5.9 4.8
17-M.Wallace -7 -18.7% 15 135 86.7% 4.1 7.7
83-W.Snead -38 -42.2% 16 59 56.3% 3.2 3.2
88-D.Pitta -40 -39.6% 19 91 63.2% 4.3 2.9
88-A.Hurns -44 -51.6% 14 83 38.5% 5.1 9.6
NFL Drags 593 -4.8% 1243 8760 70.4% 4.6 5.9

Let's just call Tyrell Williams "The Drag King" with 29 drag routes in 2016, seven more than runner-up Stefon Diggs (22). When he averaged 10.3 YAC and had a league-high 103 DYAR on those routes, it makes sense that San Diego used Williams so often that way. Travis Benjamin also had a respectable 48 DYAR on 11 drag routes, but just missed the cutoff for our table, or he would have ranked fifth in DYAR. Jeremy Kerley missed the table too, but had a league-worst -50 DYAR on 10 drag routes.

Kelce again shows how the Chiefs are able to use his unique skills to produce offense in ways that other teams just haven't been able to do. Kelce had 82 DYAR on 19 drag routes. The rest of the NFL's tight ends had -51 DYAR on 342 drag routes. The next closest tight end to Kelce was Martellus Bennett with 43 DYAR in New England (13 targets). The Ravens also tried to use Dennis Pitta on 19 drag routes, but his -40 DYAR was the worst among tight ends.

The biggest DYAR gain on a drag route in 2016 belonged to Baltimore's Breshad Perriman. Yes, he actually did something beyond just getting drafted in the first round and then getting hurt. Against the Dolphins, Perriman went 53 yards for a score with 49 YAC, earning 32 DYAR.

Go/Fly

It doesn't get much simpler than the go (or fly) route. That is just pure speed running in a straight line down the field for a deep ball. Since the average go route comes more than 30 yards down the field, these were only completed 29.9 percent of the time in 2016, but it was almost always a big gain when a connection was made. There were 934 of these last season, and we looked at 23 players with at least 13 go/fly routes.

Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
88-D.Bryant 140 130.4% 13 285 54.5% 29.8 7.0
16-T.Lockett 106 91.3% 14 276 50.0% 32.6 5.0
89-A.Cooper 103 78.8% 15 257 61.5% 23.5 2.4
11-D.Jackson 85 68.9% 14 256 20.0% 40.0 12.5
84-A.Brown 69 46.2% 14 208 53.8% 24.0 4.7
17-A.Jeffery 45 26.3% 15 231 40.0% 32.1 1.8
15-G.Tate 44 34.4% 13 229 30.8% 31.0 22.3
17-D.Adams 37 18.3% 15 180 33.3% 27.6 8.2
88-D.Thomas 28 5.2% 20 210 23.5% 30.6 5.3
16-Ty.Williams 24 8.3% 15 202 33.3% 28.3 8.2
18-K.Britt 22 10.1% 13 182 30.8% 29.2 13.0
Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
11-M.Jones 17 -0.6% 18 211 29.4% 28.8 1.6
14-S.Coates 17 0.6% 15 202 26.7% 39.1 11.8
13-M.Evans 9 -6.2% 21 139 20.0% 32.4 1.3
87-J.Nelson -4 -16.3% 16 101 25.0% 27.6 1.8
15-B.Marshall -6 -15.8% 23 182 23.8% 23.7 7.8
11-T.Pryor -8 -20.2% 15 125 15.4% 33.8 0.5
15-A.Robinson -16 -21.4% 23 192 20.0% 25.5 5.8
11-M.Lee -43 -48.9% 15 64 7.7% 26.8 1.0
10-E.Sanders -46 -53.0% 14 95 14.3% 33.9 14.5
10-D.Hopkins -51 -55.7% 15 57 7.1% 31.5 0.0
15-W.Fuller -65 -59.9% 18 88 11.1% 30.4 8.0
11-R.Anderson -68 -57.1% 20 105 15.0% 32.0 4.3
NFL Go/Fly 1,681 11.3% 934 10,996 29.9% 30.2 6.3

Dez Bryant was not always at his sharpest with rookie Dak Prescott last year, but the duo was money more often than not on the deep ball. Bryant's 140 DYAR, 130.4% DVOA, and 285 receiving yards led all receivers in 2016.

DeSean Jackson will hope to improve the deep passing game in Tampa Bay this year. He only caught 20 percent of his go routes last year, but so did Mike Evans. The difference was that Jackson produced 85 DYAR to just 9 DYAR for Evans. That was due to the four penalties Jackson helped draw for defensive pass interference. Those "hidden yards" helped produce 145 yards and four first downs for his offense. Evans only produced one 21-yard flag on his go routes.

At the bottom of the table, it may come as no surprise to see two Osweiler receivers (Hopkins and Will Fuller) and a Jets receiver (Robby Anderson). Still, how does one have a talent like Hopkins and only connect on 1-of-14 go routes? None of those were dropped, but nine of them were overthrown. As for Anderson, it appears that he will take on a much larger role this season after the news broke Monday that Quincy Enunwa (neck) is out for the season.

Speaking of the Jets, their terrible 2016 secondary allowed the biggest DYAR gain on a go/fly route all year. In Week 2, Tyrod Taylor found Marquise Goodwin for an 84-yard touchdown after Goodwin burned Darrelle Revis. Goodwin is now with the 49ers while a 32-year-old Revis is still a free agent in August.

WR Screen

The wide receiver screen, which is often a bubble screen, is one of the easiest completions in the game (89.3 percent completion rate last year). It was used 794 times last year, even though in the modern game it feels like we see so many more. We can spend a lot of time berating this play, but we'll let these numbers do some of the talking for us. Here are the 22 receivers with at least 10 wide receiver screens last year.

Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
11-C.Beasley 51 37.6% 13 135 92.3% -2.5 13.8
18-T.Gabriel 31 36.5% 10 101 100.0% -4.1 14.2
11-A.Humphries 25 1.8% 24 200 87.5% -0.3 9.8
16-T.Lockett 24 17.4% 11 104 90.9% -2.5 13.0
15-G.Tate 19 -3.8% 29 220 96.6% -1.4 9.4
83-T.Boyd 10 0.8% 10 62 90.0% -2.5 9.3
18-A.Green 4 -7.7% 11 84 90.9% -1.5 10.0
15-J.Huff 3 -8.7% 12 80 83.3% -2.3 10.5
11-J.Edelman -2 -14.5% 14 95 100.0% -2.7 9.5
80-J.Crowder -6 -23.7% 10 114 90.0% -1.4 14.0
11-M.Lee -11 -27.9% 10 51 80.0% 0.0 6.9
Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
11-B.LaFell -21 -42.8% 10 42 90.0% -1.6 6.4
15-M.Crabtree -21 -37.7% 11 64 90.9% -2.0 8.6
11-L.Fitzgerald -29 -33.4% 19 90 84.2% -0.9 6.7
84-A.Brown -34 -31.1% 24 110 95.8% -1.5 6.3
84-C.Patterson -35 -40.5% 18 114 88.9% -2.0 9.3
19-T.Ginn -36 -68.3% 10 31 90.0% -1.5 4.7
89-D.Baldwin -41 -51.6% 14 72 100.0% -3.4 8.6
81-J.Matthews -46 -60.9% 12 31 91.7% -2.4 5.2
10-T.Hill -58 -45.5% 23 91 91.3% -1.6 6.0
14-J.Landry -64 -48.4% 24 97 87.5% -2.0 6.5
11-T.Austin -74 -64.9% 19 81 84.2% -2.7 7.6
NFL WR Screens -709 -24.9% 797 4,567 89.3% -1.7 8.1

Some of the players thought to have the best skill set for these plays were allowed to execute them often, but note that the bottom three in DYAR consists of Tavon Austin (-74), Jarvis Landry (-64), and Tyreek Hill (-58). They all produced a below-average amount of YAC on these plays. At some point, these plays became far too predictable in those offenses, and everyone knew exactly which player would be on the receiving end of them.

Meanwhile, Cole Beasley has again led all receivers with 51 DYAR, and Taylor Gabriel was very solid after the catch for the Falcons last season. Golden Tate had the most screens with 29, but at least he turned in a respectable 19 DYAR when the league actually had -709 DYAR on the season. These are just rarely ever effective plays. Though they can serve a purpose to gain some easy yards or burn the clock, as an overall offensive strategy, they fail miserably.

While Hill struggled to do much on his chances in Kansas City, a few of the Chiefs' most effective players weren't even listed. Kelce had 49 DYAR on eight screens where he was lined up out wide. All other NFL tight ends combined for 34 such screens for -95 DYAR. Running back Spencer Ware also had 31 DYAR on three of these screens, so the predictability seemed to be a problem for the Chiefs last year with Hill. It will be very interesting to see how he develops this season with an expected increase to his workload without Jeremy Maclin.

By DYAR, the best wide receiver screen of 2016 truly did deserve the title. Washington's Jamison Crowder can thank his blockers for opening a path for a 55-yard touchdown against the Giants on a third-and-15 situation. The play was worth 34 DYAR. Even the most optimistic fan would have viewed that call as a give-up play to gain some field position, but this one broke for the Redskins. The fact that they break open every once in a while, and the fact that it always surprises us when they do, is why we will continue to see this play every week.

Post

The post route is another longer throw (average depth: 21.6 yards), but no route produced more DYAR (2,470) in the NFL last year. There were 746 post routes in 2016. We looked at the 23 receivers with at least eight post routes.

Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
11-J.Jones 115 69.9% 17 332 60.0% 27.4 5.1
13-T.Hilton 112 73.2% 17 272 56.3% 23.1 2.0
11-D.Jackson 78 88.8% 10 186 50.0% 31.9 9.8
88-P.Garcon 77 96.2% 9 188 77.8% 20.6 8.3
10-B.Cooks 67 90.0% 8 151 50.0% 30.3 6.5
11-M.Lee 62 91.8% 8 123 71.4% 20.3 3.0
81-Q.Enunwa 52 46.9% 12 184 54.5% 18.2 6.7
13-K.Benjamin 50 43.8% 12 124 58.3% 18.8 2.7
18-T.Gabriel 48 57.7% 8 144 50.0% 28.6 6.3
17-D.Funchess 48 54.3% 9 122 37.5% 17.7 8.3
11-T.Pryor 40 51.9% 8 144 62.5% 23.4 3.0
Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
13-M.Evans 39 23.6% 15 147 60.0% 18.2 2.4
16-Ty.Williams 37 45.3% 8 101 37.5% 24.8 10.0
88-D.Bryant 35 32.7% 10 113 60.0% 17.4 4.0
84-A.Brown 30 35.0% 8 101 42.9% 24.8 4.0
15-A.Robinson 24 16.1% 11 152 54.5% 16.5 9.8
18-R.Matthews 19 14.9% 9 89 44.4% 20.1 4.3
14-J.Nelson 12 -1.8% 14 112 42.9% 23.2 2.2
19-T.Sharpe 9 2.6% 8 70 37.5% 19.6 1.3
17-M.Wallace 8 -1.1% 9 104 44.4% 24.8 2.0
10-E.Sanders 5 -5.4% 9 75 33.3% 22.3 5.7
11-L.Fitzgerald -1 -15.0% 8 63 37.5% 14.9 4.0
15-W.Fuller -41 -53.0% 13 63 23.1% 28.2 2.3
NFL Posts 2,470 32.6% 746 8,905 48.9% 21.6 4.4

Julio Jones and T.Y. Hilton led the league with 17 post routes each. Jones barely had more DYAR, while Hilton barely had a higher DVOA. This was also a very productive play in Washington's offense with Jackson and Pierre Garcon racking up 155 DYAR on 19 targets. We'll see how Cousins fares without those two receivers this year. It should be noted that newcomer Terrelle Pryor had a solid 40 DYAR on eight post routes in Cleveland, but will he adjust to a ball as well as Jackson did here on an 80-yard touchdown against the Eagles? That was 2016's biggest DYAR gain (37) on a post route.

Will Fuller had a league-low -41 DYAR on post routes, but he won't have Osweiler as his quarterback this year. He'll also miss some time with a broken collarbone. Aside from Fitzgerald's -1 DYAR, Fuller was the only player we listed with negative DYAR. If you were curious, Fuller had two drops on his 13 post routes.

Comeback

If we had this data for a decade ago, Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne would have probably led the league in efficiency on the comeback route for their exploits in Indianapolis. These plays have the lowest average YAC (1.3) of any route type with at least 50 attempts, but when the play is well timed and the pass is accurate, it is nearly impossible to defend. There were 582 comeback routes last year. We looked at 20 players with at least eight comeback routes.

Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
87-J.Nelson 44 34.0% 12 108 83.3% 10.2 1.8
88-D.Thomas 39 50.0% 8 91 75.0% 12.3 1.5
13-M.Evans 33 28.6% 10 86 70.0% 11.8 1.3
18-R.Matthews 29 34.3% 8 65 62.5% 10.4 3.2
13-O.Beckham 19 15.5% 9 89 77.8% 8.9 3.7
10-D.Hopkins 18 13.0% 9 74 77.8% 10.9 0.0
11-T.Pryor 12 -4.3% 18 120 72.2% 9.3 0.2
88-P.Garcon 12 -1.1% 12 80 54.5% 9.8 1.7
15-B.Marshall 10 -1.6% 11 83 54.5% 12.5 0.2
15-M.Crabtree 8 -1.3% 9 56 62.5% 10.2 0.2
Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
10-B.Cooks 8 -1.4% 10 79 70.0% 10.6 0.0
14-J.Landry 7 -4.7% 11 66 63.6% 7.6 2.3
11-J.Jones 6 -3.0% 8 65 42.9% 15.0 4.0
19-T.Sharpe 3 -9.6% 12 67 54.5% 10.9 0.7
14-S.Diggs 3 -8.1% 8 47 62.5% 9.1 1.6
13-T.Hilton -1 -13.7% 10 48 50.0% 9.8 0.0
11-B.LaFell -9 -21.4% 13 73 46.2% 12.5 0.2
15-A.Robinson -21 -36.4% 11 57 40.0% 13.3 1.5
88-M.Goodwin -22 -31.5% 15 69 40.0% 12.1 0.0
10-K.Stills -23 -46.9% 9 33 33.3% 11.3 0.7
NFL Comebacks 215 -7.4% 582 3,835 59.1% 10.3 1.3

Yes, Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson are a worthy duo to the mantle of being the best at this route. They have mastered the back-shoulder fade over the years, so a similarly-timed play in the deep comeback should be in their wheelhouse. Demaryius Thomas (50.0%) had the best DVOA listed, but we are getting to a point where many players in our table had a single-digit number of targets. For instance, Edelman (-24 DYAR) and Michael Thomas (-24 DYAR) had the lowest DYAR in the league on comeback routes, but we're talking about four passes for Edelman and two for Thomas. It's not like Brees can't throw a comeback, though we wonder what Kenny Stills' numbers were like on these plays in New Orleans. He had -23 DYAR for Miami last year, lowest in this table.

We do not have a video link for 2016's biggest comeback route in DYAR, because it did not produce a touchdown. Against the Raiders, Travis Benjamin caught a 15-yard pass from Philip Rivers and turned it into a 54-yard gain. This 22-DYAR play was the only comeback that gained at least 20 DYAR in 2016.

Broken Play

These are always fun and unpredictable. This is not a broken play like an aborted snap, but a play where the quarterback scrambles and the receivers break their original routes. This is backyard/sandlot football in number format. You should expect to see a lot of Green Bay players listed in this table, but does that mean the Packers were the best at doing this last year? If we used a minimum of six targets, then yes, Jordy Nelson would have the most DYAR (40). But we wanted to get at least 20 players for every route, so we used a minimum of five targets, giving us 25 players. There were 567 broken play targets in 2016.

Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
19-M.Mitchell 45 113.7% 5 105 60.0% 23.4 17.0
87-J.Nelson 40 19.5% 16 99 56.3% 11.6 0.6
88-J.Graham 34 113.3% 5 88 60.0% 19.4 4.7
11-J.Jones 26 57.6% 5 69 80.0% 12.6 5.3
85-E.Ebron 21 43.2% 7 65 71.4% 7.3 4.8
13-M.Evans 18 8.4% 11 92 54.5% 13.0 -0.2
13-T.Hilton 18 28.1% 6 50 66.7% 12.0 1.3
84-A.Brown 14 12.8% 7 45 42.9% 18.6 0.3
80-A.Boldin 13 6.2% 9 45 55.6% 8.2 1.0
18-R.Cobb 7 -1.1% 8 43 50.0% 15.3 0.0
11-T.Pryor -2 -17.0% 6 26 33.3% 14.5 0.0
88-M.Goodwin -8 -32.4% 6 23 33.3% 11.8 0.0
Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
17-C.Conley -10 -43.0% 5 31 20.0% 8.2 21.0
17-M.Wallace -10 -40.5% 5 18 40.0% 13.2 0.5
10-R.Woods -13 -35.6% 8 42 37.5% 12.4 2.0
14-J.Landry -14 -47.5% 5 8 20.0% 8.2 4.0
13-K.Benjamin -17 -55.6% 5 19 20.0% 6.8 3.0
83-T.Williams -22 -69.3% 5 15 20.0% 10.2 0.0
89-D.Baldwin -24 -79.9% 5 8 20.0% 15.4 0.0
82-T.Smith -25 -78.6% 5 11 40.0% 7.0 1.0
88-T.Montgomery -26 -74.4% 5 6 20.0% 6.4 2.0
11-J.Edelman -27 -68.5% 6 28 16.7% 23.5 3.0
19-T.Sharpe -32 -82.3% 6 8 16.7% 14.7 0.0
15-J.Kearse -46 -99.3% 7 0 0.0% 10.4 -
17-D.Adams -57 -102.5% 9 0 0.0% 16.2 -
NFL Broken Plays -467 -23.5% 567 3190 41.1% 11.1 3.8

Nelson had the most broken play targets with ease (16), but New England rookie Malcolm Mitchell actually had more DYAR on just five targets. Tom Brady has never been known for extending the play, and Jimmy Garoppolo was the quarterback on two of those five targets, but this 55-yard touchdown from Brady to Mitchell against the 49ers accounted for 33 DYAR. That was only the third-biggest DYAR gain on a broken play in 2016. The biggest was 35 DYAR when Carson Wentz found Darren Sproles for a 73-yard touchdown pass against the Steelers in Week 3. That was also known as the peak of the 2016 Eagles, as it was all downhill from there.

Mitchell aside, the two receivers at the top of this table (Nelson and Jimmy Graham) and the two at the bottom (Kearse and Davante Adams) played with Russell Wilson or Rodgers as their quarterback. That makes a lot of sense, as does the big split in results given the caliber of these players. Adams did not catch a single pass on the nine broken plays where Rodgers targeted him, including one drop and three throwaways. Kearse was 0-for-7, but Wilson threw five of those passes away according to SIS charting, so that's not really Kearse's fault.

As always, pass pressure makes the game volatile.

Fade

We move onto everyone's most hated red zone strategy: the fade pass. Unless you have Peyton Manning throwing a low-arching ball on a rope to Marvin Harrison, this has never seemed like a good tactic. The stats aren't very fond of it either in 2016. On 478 fades, only 33.0 percent were completed, with -12.3% DVOA. We looked at the 20 players with at least six fade routes.

Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
13-M.Thomas-NO 102 88.9% 12 146 75.0% 12.6 3.3
84-A.Brown 65 50.2% 13 160 63.6% 15.8 1.6
88-M.Bennett 37 92.3% 6 113 80.0% 14.7 9.0
15-M.Crabtree 35 47.2% 8 88 42.9% 17.1 4.3
11-J.Jones 35 37.9% 8 69 50.0% 12.0 1.8
11-M.Jones 26 9.3% 15 163 40.0% 15.0 10.5
13-O.Beckham 26 21.7% 9 83 50.0% 16.9 0.5
87-J.Nelson 22 23.3% 7 65 57.1% 14.4 0.8
13-M.Evans 19 8.8% 11 99 40.0% 19.7 3.5
17-D.Adams 13 8.3% 7 40 42.9% 12.1 1.7
Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
81-J.Matthews 10 2.4% 8 60 28.6% 19.4 0.0
15-G.Tate -13 -35.0% 7 36 28.6% 17.7 2.0
17-M.Wallace -21 -57.5% 6 16 16.7% 18.5 3.0
15-B.Marshall -21 -45.4% 8 21 25.0% 15.9 1.0
11-T.Pryor -25 -38.4% 13 63 18.2% 20.5 2.0
89-A.Cooper -31 -47.5% 10 44 25.0% 10.3 2.0
88-D.Bryant -40 -56.1% 11 23 18.2% 11.5 0.5
13-K.Benjamin -41 -72.8% 9 5 11.1% 18.7 0.0
15-A.Robinson -49 -50.8% 16 67 25.0% 14.7 3.3
10-D.Hopkins -56 -70.4% 11 19 11.1% 11.0 1.0
NFL Fades -8 -12.3% 478 3,203 33.0% 16.2 3.2

It feels right that Hopkins would rank last in DYAR here given the Osweiler situation. In 2016, Osweiler was tied with Wentz for a league-worst 9-for-37 passing efficiency on throws into the end zone. However, this one is not so much on Osweiler, who at least drew two pass interference flags on fades into the end zone to Hopkins. Tom Savage was 0-for-5 on his fades to Hopkins, including four overthrows. Have we mentioned that Savage is still looking to start in Week 1 for this Houston team?

Blake Bortles went to the fade well a league-high 16 times with Allen Robinson, but that only led to four completions and one touchdown. Robinson had seven of these targets defensed away (no drops). Once again, we needed Brees and the rookie Thomas to show us how things should be done. Thomas caught 9-of-12 fades, including four touchdowns.

Marvin Jones had 15 fades from Matthew Stafford in Detroit in an attempt to make up for the retirement of Calvin Johnson. Overall, he did alright with them, but he turned in 2016's biggest DYAR gain with a 73-yard fade for a touchdown against the Packers. Let that serve as a reminder that not all fades have to be in the red zone, and the back-shoulder fade, as opposed to the lazy "lob it up and let the big man come down with it" can be a deadly play.

Seam

Who doesn't love a good seam route down the field, exploiting the area between the linebackers and the safeties? Can we get a Rob Gronkowski appearance with our 12th and final route type? Yes! He missed most of 2016, but it has still been surprising to not mention him once yet. There were 452 seam routes last season. We looked at 21 players with at least six seam routes.

Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
88-J.Graham 117 134.2% 13 256 91.7% 15.5 6.3
87-R.Gronkowski 93 246.3% 6 194 83.3% 25.0 18.2
82-C.Fleener 93 126.3% 12 247 66.7% 20.9 9.8
13-K.Benjamin 70 124.6% 7 130 71.4% 16.6 8.2
88-G.Olsen 67 75.2% 13 207 53.8% 22.0 9.1
88-M.Bennett 54 118.1% 6 65 66.7% 13.3 1.5
82-K.Rudolph 50 99.9% 7 138 71.4% 16.7 9.0
85-T.Eifert 45 81.4% 9 136 55.6% 12.4 12.2
83-W.Snead 37 70.7% 6 118 83.3% 17.8 6.4
82-D.Walker 35 63.5% 8 116 50.0% 20.0 4.3
83-T.Boyd 35 67.4% 6 105 60.0% 24.0 3.3
Player DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
84-C.Brate 34 33.9% 12 134 58.3% 15.3 3.7
88-C.Walford 29 62.0% 6 61 66.7% 15.2 1.8
87-S.Shepard 25 37.0% 7 56 42.9% 24.9 1.7
88-D.Pitta 18 22.3% 10 112 44.4% 16.2 7.8
89-L.Green 17 31.6% 7 81 42.9% 16.9 7.7
18-R.Matthews 16 20.7% 6 62 33.3% 30.2 1.5
85-E.Ebron 13 31.0% 7 54 42.9% 17.7 6.7
45-W.Tye 9 17.8% 6 68 50.0% 17.3 10.0
86-Z.Ertz 7 3.9% 9 89 55.6% 16.0 4.2
81-J.James -13 -31.2% 7 36 42.9% 8.4 4.7
NFL Seams 1,665 44.0% 452 5,620 50.9% 19.2 6.0

There's Gronk, second in DYAR (93) on just six targets. Graham had 24 more DYAR, but also seven more targets. Only five wideouts appear on this table, though the Panthers were good at attacking the seams with Cam Newton last year. Not only was tight end Greg Olsen (67 DYAR) solid as expected, but wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin had 70 DYAR on seven targets in his return from injury.

The placement of Jesse James at the bottom of this list is a reminder that the Steelers' biggest hole on offense is tight end. Ladarius Green was damaged goods for the team, though he had 30 more DYAR on the same number of targets last year.

The biggest DYAR gain of the season on a seam route happened in New England, but Gronkowski was not the target. Neither was Martellus Bennett. The biggest play was a simple throw from Brady to Chris Hogan, right down the seam for a 79-yard touchdown against the Ravens. That play was worth 34 DYAR.

We began this study with a look at Julio Jones, the DYAR leader in 2016. We are going to end our look at receivers with a similar breakdown for Tavon Austin, the bottom-ranked wide receiver with an astonishing -219 DYAR. We mentioned Austin a few times already, but he could have been mentioned for a lot of these routes as one of the bottom players in DYAR.

Tavon Austin: 2016 Play Design
Route Type DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
Corner 29 60.6% 5 67 40.0% 19.6 10.0
Out & Up 15 173.3% 1 31 100.0% 29.0 2.0
Out 9 -7.0% 21 146 66.7% 6.1 3.6
Angle 6 58.6% 1 7 100.0% 4.0 3.0
Quick 4 5.6% 3 19 100.0% -0.7 7.0
Go/Fly 4 10.3% 2 22 0.0% 35.0 -
Chip -1 -42.6% 1 5 100.0% 1.0 4.0
Swing -3 -104.5% 1 0 0.0% -6.0 -
Fade -4 -29.4% 3 21 0.0% 19.3 -
Broken Play -4 -34.6% 3 15 33.3% 7.7 1.0
Comeback -6 -44.4% 2 12 50.0% 12.5 0.0
Route Type DYAR DVOA Passes Yards Catch% PYD YAC
Sluggo -7 -105.3% 1 0 0.0% 36.0 -
Post -8 -30.3% 6 16 33.3% 23.7 0.5
Whip -9 -68.7% 2 5 50.0% 1.5 2.0
RB Screen -13 -90.5% 2 4 100.0% -6.0 8.0
Wheel -14 -103.7% 2 0 0.0% 23.5 -
Slant -18 -44.8% 7 39 28.6% 9.9 5.0
Dig -22 -54.9% 7 30 42.9% 6.6 2.3
Flat -23 -68.7% 5 9 80.0% -0.4 2.5
Drag -33 -73.8% 7 14 28.6% 5.9 -0.5
Curl -47 -91.3% 7 9 28.6% 5.4 2.0
WR Screen -74 -64.9% 19 81 84.2% -2.7 7.6
Totals -219 -39.1% 108 552 54.7% 7.3 4.7

Well, the good news is the corner route worked out (29 DYAR on five targets). The bad news is the corner route was cut from our article as a 13th route type, because no one had even 10 such targets in the NFL last season. It has been four seasons already and we are waiting to see what Austin is actually good at as a wide receiver in this league.

In Part II on Thursday, we'll look to see if we can find any sign of hope for Austin's quarterback Jared Goff in an analysis of last year's routes. And if you're looking to do further research on this data, please contact Sports Info Solutions directly.

Posted by: Scott Kacsmar on 08 Aug 2017

16 comments, Last at 17 Aug 2017, 3:02pm by jtr

Comments

1
by andrew :: Tue, 08/08/2017 - 2:50pm

So... who lead the league in "No Video" routes?

2
by Scott Kacsmar :: Tue, 08/08/2017 - 2:52pm

Rishard Matthews, Julian Edelman, and Terrelle Pryor each had four such plays.

15
by ssereb :: Thu, 08/10/2017 - 2:56pm

I don't totally understand how there can be no video of an NFL play from 2016.

3
by andrew :: Tue, 08/08/2017 - 3:04pm

Very interesting read.... I guess the next logical step is looking at defenses or defensive backs versus these routes...

7
by Dales :: Tue, 08/08/2017 - 9:32pm

"might indicate that this was much more of an Eli Manning problem than a flaw with his receivers."

Or, the lack of a credible way to attack the seam led to this type of route being smothered constantly.

ETA: Or, the lack of variety in our playcalling and personnel packages.`

4
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 08/08/2017 - 3:30pm

Tavon Austin is good at signing contract extensions.

5
by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 08/08/2017 - 3:42pm

Rams a lto of probelsm figurtring out how to use t. Austin. v ery dopey team recently. will see if new heaf coach any better. then will conclude whether or not t. Austin any good,. still think he has too much speed and quickn ess to be complete dung in NF

11
by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 08/09/2017 - 11:20am

I would think as a Raiders fan you'd be pretty aware that speed and quickness often lead to complete dung; during the 15 year or so doldrums between SB XXXVII and the rebirth of the current good team the Raiders drafted a lot of really fast guys who were, well, pretty dung.

Austin's four years into his career, and I think he's pretty much who he's going to be; a small, quick guy who doesn't run routes and doesn't do much all that well, like a shorter, less crappy Cordarelle Patterson. He feels like a guy who if he was on a team like the Saints or Patriots could be coached up and used in some really innovative ways, but he's been stuck on a bad team with a terrible offense and awful QBs so he can't be used as a gadget guy, and has been mis-cast as one of the focuses of the offense.

6
by skibrett15 :: Tue, 08/08/2017 - 8:33pm

Really excited for the context that the QB numbers provide, since then we will start to see DVOA drops for interceptions?

Clearly it would be nice to go deep and throw in-breaking dig and post routes every time... but do sacks and INTs happen when these are the play design and the throws are covered?

8
by Dan :: Wed, 08/09/2017 - 2:47am

How would WR Screen rate if you used the baseline for running plays? It is pretty close to being a running play - it has a very high completion rate and (I'd guess) the pass gets thrown on most of the plays where it is called (unlike most routes, where the QB might get sacked, scramble, or throw it elsewhere depending on how the play develops).

12
by ChrisLong :: Wed, 08/09/2017 - 9:27pm

I like this line of reasoning. WR screens are very risk-free plays, which holds value in and of itself. Certainly less likely to lose yards than a running play, little chance of turnover or sack, etc.

Here's something else I'd like to see: correlation of route DVOAs for a player. Are burners like Desean Jackson also above average at comebacks because of the pressure they put on corners to not give up the big play?

13
by Vincent Verhei :: Thu, 08/10/2017 - 3:15am

OK, I went and checked.

The average RB run gained 4.2 yards last year. The average WR screen gained 5.7.

RB runs had a success rate of 40.0%. WR screens: 39.8%.

RB runs lost yards 10.5% of the time. WR screens: 9.4%. However, when you include 0-yard gains in that stat, WR screens jump ahead, 24.2% to 19.4%.

Once crossing the line of scrimmage, WR screens were better at picking up yards than RB runs. They were more likely to gain at least 5 yards (46.5% of the time for WR screens to 32.7% of RB runs), 10 yards (19.3% to 10.2%), or 20 yards (4.5% to 2.2%).

Part of that, though, is that WR screens are often called against softer defenses. The average WR screen came with 10.2 yards to go for a first down. The average RB run came with 8.2 yards to go.

In fact, there's a lot of stat-padding on going on with those screens. The average third-down RB run came with 4.3 yards to go and was converted 52 percent of the time. The average third-down WR screen came with 11.5 yards to go and was converted 23 percent of the time. And 24 percent of WR screens came on third downs, compared to just 9 percent of all runs. So a good chunk of those WR screens are just give-up plays on third-and-long.

14
by nat :: Thu, 08/10/2017 - 9:38am

Yup. Yup. Yup... WTF?

A 23% conversion rate with an average of 11.5 yards to go on third down is hardly a sign of a "give-up play".

For comparison, the set of all third down plays with 11-12 yards to go (average 11.5 to go) in 2012-16 has a conversion rate of 23%. That's right. They're the same (within rounding). Unless you believe that most teams run "give-up plays" with 12 yards to go....?

Sure, there are bound to be some low-probability plays with longer yardage to go in the mix, balanced by higher-probability plays with moderate yards-to-go. Once you get to third-and-15, everything is low probability.

Basically, your "stat-padding" and "give-up plays" assertions look like confirmation bias.

9
by T-Vector :: Wed, 08/09/2017 - 4:45am

Interesting numbers by the New Orleans receivers:

Thomas tops on Curl and Fade and also on the slant list

Snead high on the Out, low on the drag and also on the seam list

Cooks on the post, on the low end of the out and the comeback

Fleener high on the seam

The NO passing offense is worth an article on its own.

Did any other team have four players on so many lists?

10
by Guest789 :: Wed, 08/09/2017 - 10:27am

If I can make a request - adding a column for "Team" would be great if possible. Would be nice to Ctrl+F and find all the players from a given team on these tables.

16
by jtr :: Thu, 08/17/2017 - 3:02pm

I would be curious to see this data used to show which receivers are most or least dependent on a particular route. For instance, it seems like every TY Hilton highlight comes on a deep crossing route. Does that route actually make up a really disproportionate fraction of his production, or is that just confirmation bias on my part? Would be curious to see that kind of thing.