Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

17 Aug 2010

ESPN: YAC+ For 2010 Fantasy Football

Our ESPN feature this week applies YAC+ to identify some sleepers and likely regressors in 2010.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 17 Aug 2010

7 comments, Last at 19 Aug 2010, 9:18am by dbostedo


by Tim Wilson :: Tue, 08/17/2010 - 1:34pm

Wow this is shoddy. The original YAC+ post on FO's site was significantly better-- here, it seems like they're trying to drive traffic by coming up with "wow" or controversial, counterintuitive conclusions.

Sure, Miles Austin could have slipped and fallen after those 2 receptions that went for long TDs in the KC game. What the heck is the point of making this statement??? Unless you are going to go through and similarly speculate/adjust the long YAC plays of every WR in the NFL, it is utterly ridiculous to penalize Austin in such a specific and subjective way.

Miles Austin happens to be a very big, strong wide receiver. He is going to be significantly biger than the vast majority of CBs he comes up against. That is why he is able to break tackles and have such YAC and YAC+ success. There is nothing to suggest that that is due more to chance than a sustainable skill set which Austin possesses.

Also, Austin faced safety help over the top from Week 8 onward last season. The Eagles bracketed him in Week 17 and the playoff WC game and he still managed to break a long TD.

by jklps :: Tue, 08/17/2010 - 2:57pm

I think the interpretation some people are making of this article is off.

The article isn't implying Lee Evans is better than Miles Austin....what the article IS implying is that Lee Evans will possibly exceed the general expectations for him for fantasy purposes in 2010, and Miles Austin will not.

That doesn't mean Austin won't have better fantasy/yardage+td numbers than Evans, but that he could Miles overvalued in a fantasy draft in terms of where he is being drafted.

by Tim Wilson :: Tue, 08/17/2010 - 3:11pm

I didn't interpret it as saying that Evans would trump Austin (although the headline is clearly designed to create that impression, to draw traffic). My problem is with their rationale on why Austin will regress, for the reasons I stated above.

by jklps :: Tue, 08/17/2010 - 3:18pm



The consistency in YAC +/- from year to year shows no correlation, and since Austin was good/great at it last year, there is a good chance he will regress to average (0.0) somewhat this year. Now how much regression to the mean is the real question.

by Tim Wilson :: Tue, 08/17/2010 - 3:36pm

Right, I get that (although Patrick Crayton has been in the top few WRs for 3 consecutive years). And that "regress to the mean" logic would have been a better explanation than "What if Miles Austin slipped when making one of two 40+ touchdowns in the Kansas City game?", which you could say about any wide receiver.

The problem was that the article made the points relative to other WRs-- "look out for Miles Austin because he might fall down on some routes this year"-- which you could say about any receiver who had a few long plays last season.

Also, I understand that YAC+ has not been proven to be repeatable, but is YAC a different story? Do similar receivers end up having high YACs every year? Because that's all that matters for fantasy-- you don't get your points adjusted for YAC+. I know Steve Smith had top totals in YAC for a few seasons in the 2000s.

by Big Johnson :: Wed, 08/18/2010 - 9:49pm

Im not a big fan of YAC+. It seems like there is no conclusion with it except the traditional regression to the mean. I cant read the article because im not an insider but i can only imagine the names that were given. Desean jackson, the aforementioned Austin, wes welker, meachem, and some others (rj). Its kinda like the smoke and mirrors of the curse of 370. Of course a player will regress after 370 touches..... only about 1 or 2 players a year get that many touches. What are the odds of a player getting 370 touches 2 years in a row? The same chance that jamarcus russell has of becoming the mvp. Now thats its established that a player will regress on touches, one can also assume that his raw totals will suffer. Im failing to understand how a stat like YAC+ or the curse of 370 is any different than conventional wisdom.

by dbostedo :: Thu, 08/19/2010 - 9:18am

"Now thats its established that a player will regress on touches, one can also assume that his raw totals will suffer."

The "curse of 370" points to the amount of regression (and likelihood of a large regression), not purely the fact that there will be some regression at all. That's the number of carries where the probability of a large fall-off the next year starts to increase a lot. It's a change in the likelihood of a large regression.