Stat Analysis
Advanced analytics on player and team performance

2019 Slot vs Wide: Running Backs and Tight Ends

San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Recent discourse in the "do running backs matter?" debate involves what to do with backs that play a significant role in their team's receiving game. Should a player such as Christian McCaffrey be valued like a wide receiver? Does a running back's receiving value make them less of a replaceable commodity? Well, if we're going to try to evaluate running backs like receivers, it makes sense to look at what they do when they actually line up like receivers.

Our annual look at slot/wide splits in the passing game continues, thanks to the charting efforts from our friends at Sports Info Solutions. Following our looks at wide receivers and quarterbacks, we finish off our look at offensive skill positions by taking a quick glance at running backs and tight ends.


RUNNING BACKS

Slot/tight targets made up 9.9% of running back targets in 2019, basically unchanged from 2018. Those targets had a combined DVOA of 11.0%, compared to 3.0% when backs were lined up out wide or -0.7% when lined up in the backfield. It's important to remember that these numbers aren't directly comparable to those for receivers; running backs are compared to other running backs, and opponent adjustments take into account the player's position on the roster, not on the field. If you were to code even Christian McCaffrey (this year's running back receiving DYAR leader) as a wide receiver, he'd have a below-average DVOA. Still, it's clear that running backs can do more damage when lined up at more traditional receiving positions, assuming they can handle the role.

And not all running backs can. Only five of the 50 qualified running backs from a year ago had less than two-thirds of their total targets out of the backfield, and only three -- McCaffrey, Tarik Cohen, and Austin Ekeler -- would have hit the 25-target threshold on their slot and wide targets alone, with only Cohen even hitting two targets per game. Most running backs who are prolific receiving threats end up with a target outside of the backfield every game or two -- see the Alvin Kamaras and James Whites of the world -- or are basically backfield-only options, such as Dalvin Cook. For most running backs, the concept of slot/wide splits is more a matter of trivia than something that can be used to draw real conclusions.

Slot vs. Wide, Running Backs, 2019

    Targets Target%
Player Team Total Backfield Slot/Tight Wide Backfield Slot/Tight Wide
Christian McCaffrey CAR 142 113 22 7 79.6% 15.5% 4.9%
Austin Ekeler LAC 110 80 10 20 72.7% 9.1% 18.2%
Tarik Cohen CHI 104 58 38 8 55.8% 36.5% 7.7%
Leonard Fournette JAX 101 95 2 4 94.1% 2.0% 4.0%
Alvin Kamara NO 98 81 12 5 82.7% 12.2% 5.1%
James White NE 95 79 5 11 83.2% 5.3% 11.6%
Le'Veon Bell NYJ 78 66 5 7 84.6% 6.4% 9.0%
Saquon Barkley NYG 73 66 2 5 90.4% 2.7% 6.8%
Ezekiel Elliott DAL 72 66 5 1 91.7% 6.9% 1.4%
Devonta Freeman ATL 70 64 2 4 91.4% 2.9% 5.7%
Aaron Jones GB 68 54 6 8 79.4% 8.8% 11.8%
Kenyan Drake 2TM 68 62 2 4 91.2% 2.9% 5.9%
Duke Johnson HOU 63 52 4 7 82.5% 6.3% 11.1%
Miles Sanders PHI 63 57 2 4 90.5% 3.2% 6.3%
Dalvin Cook MIN 63 62 1 0 98.4% 1.6% 0.0%
Jaylen Samuels PIT 58 42 15 1 72.4% 25.9% 1.7%
Nyheim Hines IND 58 41 13 4 70.7% 22.4% 6.9%
Chris Thompson WAS 58 49 5 4 84.5% 8.6% 6.9%
Melvin Gordon LAC 55 49 5 1 89.1% 9.1% 1.8%
Todd Gurley LAR 50 43 5 2 86.0% 10.0% 4.0%
Royce Freeman DEN 50 42 0 8 84.0% 0.0% 16.0%
Nick Chubb CLE 49 47 0 2 95.9% 0.0% 4.1%
Phillip Lindsay DEN 48 43 3 2 89.6% 6.3% 4.2%
David Johnson ARI 47 31 13 3 66.0% 27.7% 6.4%
Chris Carson SEA 47 39 5 3 83.0% 10.6% 6.4%
Dare Ogunbowale TB 46 35 8 3 76.1% 17.4% 6.5%
Jamaal Williams GB 45 35 6 4 77.8% 13.3% 8.9%
Joe Mixon CIN 45 37 3 5 82.2% 6.7% 11.1%
Kareem Hunt CLE 44 33 8 3 75.0% 18.2% 6.8%
Jalen Richard OAK 44 38 4 2 86.4% 9.1% 4.5%
Giovani Bernard CIN 43 33 8 2 76.7% 18.6% 4.7%
Latavius Murray NO 43 42 0 1 97.7% 0.0% 2.3%
J.D. McKissic DET 42 29 9 4 69.0% 21.4% 9.5%
Devin Singletary BUF 41 29 4 8 70.7% 9.8% 19.5%
DeAndre Washington OAK 41 38 0 3 92.7% 0.0% 7.3%
Ronald Jones TB 40 38 1 1 95.0% 2.5% 2.5%
James Conner PIT 38 33 5 0 86.8% 13.2% 0.0%
Rex Burkhead NE 38 25 4 9 65.8% 10.5% 23.7%
Damien Williams KC 38 36 2 0 94.7% 5.3% 0.0%
David Montgomery CHI 35 32 1 2 91.4% 2.9% 5.7%
LeSean McCoy KC 35 35 0 0 100.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Dion Lewis TEN 32 29 3 0 90.6% 9.4% 0.0%
Ty Johnson DET 31 26 1 4 83.9% 3.2% 12.9%
Tevin Coleman SF 30 27 2 1 90.0% 6.7% 3.3%
Patrick Laird MIA 30 25 1 4 83.3% 3.3% 13.3%
Mark Ingram BAL 29 26 0 3 89.7% 0.0% 10.3%
Boston Scott PHI 27 20 5 2 74.1% 18.5% 7.4%
Josh Jacobs OAK 27 27 0 0 100.0% 0.0% 0.0%
C.J. Ham MIN 26 16 9 1 61.5% 34.6% 3.8%
Kyle Juszcyzk SF 25 14 10 1 56.0% 40.0% 4.0%

Even for the three running backs who line up as a receiver on an occasional basis, the bulk of their work comes on traditional running back routes, which produce significantly fewer yards on average than even the most basic receiver patterns. Each of McCaffrey, Cohen, and Ekeler had over half of his targets come at or behind the line of scrimmage; a heavy diet of swings, screens, and check-and-release plays. That's not to say that these plays can't be valuable, or that these players aren't good at them (or, at least, that McCaffrey and Ekeler weren't good at them; Cohen had negative DVOA in most of his splits because the Bears' offense was broken a year ago). And it's not to say that their receiving chops don't make them significantly more valuable than their more ground-focused contemporaries. But the arguments that they should be paid like wide receivers tend to fall flat for me as long as their teams aren't actually using them as wide receivers.

Should their teams be using them as wide receivers? Well, that's a more complicated question. At the very least, it behooves us to look at the backs who were the most effective when asked to line up as receivers.

Slot/Tight Efficiency, Running Backs, 2019

Player Team Tgt aDOT Catch% DYAR DVOA
Tony Pollard DAL 7 -1.1 100% 36 65.5%
Christian McCaffrey CAR 22 5.0 82% 94 60.1%
Kyle Juszcyzk SF 10 8.3 70% 35 49.0%
David Johnson ARI 13 9.5 77% 41 38.0%
C.J. Ham MIN 9 1.1 100% 26 25.0%
Austin Ekeler LAC 10 5.0 80% 19 17.6%
J.D. McKissic DET 9 0.7 78% 12 11.8%
Alvin Kamara NO 12 2.5 82% 9 0.4%
Tarik Cohen CHI 38 4.5 76% 28 -0.8%
Kareem Hunt CLE 8 0.8 88% 3 -7.7%
Chase Edmonds ARI 10 3.7 60% 0 -14.3%
Dare Ogunbowale TB 8 4.0 50% -11 -32.9%
Jaylen Samuels PIT 15 3.3 60% -26 -43.6%
Nyheim Hines IND 13 1.2 77% -24 -49.5%
Giovani Bernard CIN 8 1.4 75% -14 -51.8%
Minimum seven slot/tight targets

Tony Pollard might take home the slot DVOA crown, but 21 of his 36 slot DYAR came on one play against Detroit, a drag route where the Lions opted not to cover him and Tracy Walker's tackle attempt just bounced off the Memphis rookie. Cut that play out, and Pollard's DVOA drops to 21.0% and he misses even the very generous seven-target minimum. No, Christian McCaffrey was the best running back out of the slot in 2019 -- he had the most DYAR and a very robust 60.1% DVOA that withstands picking and poking away a few highlight-reel plays. He put up those sorts of numbers with Kyle Allen and Will Grier throwing the ball. He didn't exactly run a full route tree, with most of his targets coming on quick outs, digs, and chips, and he had just one deep target all season long, but what he did run went well. It also was a significant jump up from his performance in 2018, where he had -2 DYAR and -15.8% DVOA on 19 targets. Part of that can be chalked up to McCaffrey improving between Year 2 and Year 3, but a significant portion of it can be chalked up to McCaffrey running more receiver routes and fewer jet sweeps and whips. McCaffrey has shown he can handle more productive routes and his efficiency numbers have improved as he has been given the chance to run them. It's another data point that indicates that the Panthers should try McCaffrey in the slot more often; those plays might have only made up 15% of his targets, but they were responsible for nearly 25% of his receiving DYAR.

(Remember, though, again: McCaffrey's 60.1% DVOA here comes from comparing his results to the average pass to a running back. It is not directly comparable to wide receiver DVOA ratings.)

The worst slot receiver for running backs was probably Jaylen Samuels, third-worst in DVOA but bottom of the table in DYAR. His big problem was drops; three of his five incomplete passes out of the slot hit him in the hands. There were only 19 drops in the slot for running backs league-wide, so having three on 15 targets isn't precisely ideal. Pittsburgh's quarterbacks had enough trouble in 2019 without their receivers dropping catchable passes. Last in DVOA was Giovani Bernard, who dropped from -6.5% DVOA in 2018 to rock-bottom a year ago; his eight targets did result in six completions, but just 31 yards, one first down, and a lost fumble.

Kyle Juszczyk, David Johnson, and Alvin Kamara all have had positive seasons out of the slot in each of the last two years; Kamara has pulled the feat off three years in a row, while Johnson has done it in his last three healthy seasons. I don't believe Johnson will be replacing DeAndre Hopkins' value out of the slot, but the consistency is nice to have. Tarik Cohen, on the other hand, dropped from a 35.3% DVOA in 2018 to a -0.8% total last season, as he became Mitchell Trubisky's "in case of panic" option, and there was plenty of room to panic. Throw out the 11 screens and Cohen's DVOA would have been back up to positive numbers, though nowhere near what he did in 2018. Keep that in mind as we go to the wide table.

Wide Efficiency, Running Backs, 2019

Player Team Tgt aDOT Catch% DYAR DVOA
Austin Ekeler LAC 20 7.0 79% 113 72.8%
Le'Veon Bell NYJ 7 4.0 100% 25 52.9%
Saquon Barkley NYG 5 0.6 80% 12 48.9%
James White NE 11 8.6 73% 28 32.1%
Alvin Kamara NO 5 6.8 80% 4 11.5%
Raheem Mostert SF 5 2.8 60% 8 5.3%
Rex Burkhead NE 9 5.3 67% 2 3.4%
Duke Johnson HOU 7 -0.3 86% 4 1.5%
Devin Singletary BUF 8 5.8 63% -3 -13.3%
Royce Freeman DEN 8 3.6 50% 1 -17.7%
Aaron Jones GB 8 7.5 88% -4 -29.2%
Christian McCaffrey CAR 7 1.9 57% -7 -37.1%
Joe Mixon CIN 5 7.2 40% -4 -38.4%
Tarik Cohen CHI 8 1.5 88% -18 -50.4%
Minimum five slot/tight targets

Austin Ekeler's role on the 2020 Chargers will be very interesting. Now that Melvin Gordon is gone, do they keep splitting Ekeler out wide with Justin Jackson or Josh Kelley in the backfield, or do more of Ekeler's routes come out of the backfield? The Chargers found ways to split Ekeler out wide even during Gordon's holdout, but not as often as they did when they had a full complement of backs to use. And Ekeler wasn't just running some quick slants or bubble screens split out wide, either; he was one of only three running backs to have multiple deep targets when split out wide, resulting in 61 of his 113 DYAR.

Ekeler running deep fades against linebackers is advantage Ekeler all day long.

And then you have Tarik Cohen, dead-last in DYAR and DVOA out wide. In 2018, he was also dead-last in DYAR and DVOA out wide. In 2017, he was also dead-last in DYAR and DVOA out wide. Last year, we suggested that Cohen's inefficiency out wide was likely a fluke of small sample size, but that really does not appear to be the case. This is what we in the business call "a pattern", and a ton of it is because the Bears keep trying to get him involved on receiver screens.

In his three seasons in the league, the Bears have targeted Tarik Cohen 108 times from wide receiver positions, either in the slot or split out wide. Forty of those targets have been screens, resulting in -24 DYAR. The remaining 68 targets have resulted in 58 DYAR. In 2019, it was a -18 to 31 split between screens and non-screens, and that's without even considering DYAR lost on running back screens. Even when given a chance, Cohen isn't as efficient a receiver as McCaffrey or Ekeler, but the Bears are compounding that by putting him in situations which are not helping him out. Stop throwing screens.

Once again, this is the third straight season Alvin Kamara has had a positive DVOA when split out wide, and he's joined from last year's list by James White. On the negative side, this is the second straight season with negative DVOA out wide for Christian McCaffrey, though he jumps to the positive side of the ledger if you ignore his three wide screens -- not even McCaffrey can turn those into positive plays.


Tight Ends

Tight ends spent significantly more time split out as wide receivers than running backs did in 2019. Eighteen tight ends saw at least half of their targets from the slot, and seven more saw at least a tenth of their targets split out wide.

Slot vs. Wide, Tight Ends, 2019

    Targets Target%
Player Team Total Tight Slot Wide Tight Slot Wide
Travis Kelce KC 138 37 86 14 26.8% 62.3% 10.1%
Zach Ertz PHI 136 50 80 5 36.8% 58.8% 3.7%
Darren Waller OAK 119 41 63 15 34.5% 52.9% 12.6%
George Kittle SF 109 54 44 7 49.5% 40.4% 6.4%
Mark Andrews BAL 98 23 71 2 23.5% 72.4% 2.0%
Austin Hooper ATL 98 50 46 1 51.0% 46.9% 1.0%
Mike Gesicki MIA 91 51 35 4 56.0% 38.5% 4.4%
Tyler Higbee LAR 89 61 23 4 68.5% 25.8% 4.5%
Dallas Goedert PHI 87 44 37 3 50.6% 42.5% 3.4%
Jason Witten DAL 84 30 51 3 35.7% 60.7% 3.6%
Greg Olsen CAR 82 37 44 1 45.1% 53.7% 1.2%
Hunter Henry LAC 78 29 46 2 37.2% 59.0% 2.6%
Jack Doyle IND 73 37 33 2 50.7% 45.2% 2.7%
Evan Engram NYG 68 32 31 5 47.1% 45.6% 7.4%
Jared Cook NO 66 13 44 8 19.7% 66.7% 12.1%
Noah Fant DEN 66 44 15 4 66.7% 22.7% 6.1%
Tyler Eifert CIN 64 16 38 10 25.0% 59.4% 15.6%
Jimmy Graham GB 63 26 34 1 41.3% 54.0% 1.6%
Gerald Everett LAR 61 19 31 11 31.1% 50.8% 18.0%
Jacob Hollister SEA 60 30 28 2 50.0% 46.7% 3.3%
T.J. Hockenson DET 59 19 36 3 32.2% 61.0% 5.1%
Cameron Brate TB 55 24 27 2 43.6% 49.1% 3.6%
Jordan Akins HOU 55 26 21 0 47.3% 38.2% 0.0%
Vance McDonald PIT 55 42 9 3 76.4% 16.4% 5.5%
O.J. Howard TB 54 39 14 1 72.2% 25.9% 1.9%
Eric Ebron IND 53 12 38 2 22.6% 71.7% 3.8%
Dawson Knox BUF 51 33 11 6 64.7% 21.6% 11.8%
Kyle Rudolph MIN 50 46 3 0 92.0% 6.0% 0.0%
Irv Smith MIN 48 27 19 2 56.3% 39.6% 4.2%
Darren Fells HOU 48 35 9 0 72.9% 18.8% 0.0%
Jonnu Smith TEN 45 26 16 3 57.8% 35.6% 6.7%
Nick Boyle BAL 43 34 6 0 79.1% 14.0% 0.0%
Kaden Smith NYG 42 33 8 0 78.6% 19.0% 0.0%
Blake Jarwin DAL 41 19 21 1 46.3% 51.2% 2.4%
Ryan Griffin NYJ 41 33 7 1 80.5% 17.1% 2.4%
Jeremy Sprinkle WAS 40 34 6 0 85.0% 15.0% 0.0%
C.J. Uzomah CIN 40 33 4 2 82.5% 10.0% 5.0%
Hayden Hurst BAL 39 16 18 2 41.0% 46.2% 5.1%
Josh Hill NO 35 25 4 3 71.4% 11.4% 8.6%
Delanie Walker TEN 32 8 23 1 25.0% 71.9% 3.1%
Ian Thomas CAR 30 13 15 1 43.3% 50.0% 3.3%
Logan Thomas DET 28 10 14 3 35.7% 50.0% 10.7%
Rhett Ellison NYG 28 26 2 0 92.9% 7.1% 0.0%
Demetrius Harris CLE 27 17 9 1 63.0% 33.3% 3.7%
Will Dissly SEA 27 17 8 2 63.0% 29.6% 7.4%
Jesse James DET 27 18 8 1 66.7% 29.6% 3.7%
Anthony Firkser TEN 25 3 21 1 12.0% 84.0% 4.0%
Foster Moreau OAK 25 21 2 1 84.0% 8.0% 4.0%

Note that not all of these numbers add up to 100; there were 66 targets to tight ends who were lined up in the backfield, led by the seven of Andrew Beck. The line between tight end, fullback, and H-back is sometimes a blurry one.

Slot Efficiency, Tight Ends, 2019

Player Team Tgt aDOT Catch% DYAR DVOA
Jared Cook NO 44 10.5 70% 163 48.5%
Travis Kelce KC 86 10.5 69% 198 27.9%
George Kittle SF 44 5.4 86% 89 25.0%
Tyler Eifert CIN 38 9.5 73% 72 23.3%
Mike Gesicki MIA 35 10.3 65% 62 21.8%
Jason Witten DAL 51 7.8 80% 84 18.2%
Mark Andrews BAL 71 11.3 65% 109 18.0%
Hunter Henry LAC 46 9.3 69% 60 13.0%
Darren Waller OAK 63 8.5 72% 79 11.5%
Eric Ebron IND 38 10.8 59% 27 4.3%
Dallas Goedert PHI 37 7.7 70% 14 -1.4%
Austin Hooper ATL 46 7.5 67% 16 -2.1%
Zach Ertz PHI 80 9.0 62% 9 -5.5%
Greg Olsen CAR 44 8.3 61% -19 -14.2%
T.J. Hockenson DET 36 10.0 50% -22 -17.2%
Minimum 35 slot/tight targets

Travis Kelce, Jared Cook, and George Kittle almost went back-to-back as the top three slot tight ends in football, either by DYAR or DVOA. In 2018, Kyle Rudolph knocked Kelce to fourth in DVOA, while Mark Andrews' volume cut ahead of Kittle on this year's DYAR leaderboards, but still -- those three, in one order or another, are your top big slot players in football. Kelce, Cook, and Andrews are basically wide receivers in the tight end's locker room, three of the seven tight ends who saw fewer than 30% of their targets come from an inline position. This makes sense; Kelce and Andrews are solid blockers but nothing spectacular, while Cook's blocking the past couple of seasons has not exactly earned him plaudits. Kittle is, by a wide margin, the best blocker of this group, which goes a long way to explaining why he only had 44 targets in the slot; he's an integral part of the 49ers' run-based attack as a blocker, so San Francisco can't afford to split him out as often as the other names here. Kittle had 115 DYAR on when lined up tight, significantly above Cook's 40 and Kelce's 15.

You may be surprised to see Zach Ertz finish with a negative DVOA in the slot. You may be more surprised to learn this is the second year in a row he has been in the negatives, slipping down from 7.4% to -2.3% to -4.3% over the past three seasons. Ertz has struggled more as a receiver recently; he failed to crack the top 20 in receiving DYAR this year for the first time in his career. My gut feeling is that that has more to do with injuries and struggles the Eagles have had at other receiving positions, allowing defenses to focus coverage more on Ertz, than anything else, but it's worth noting.

At the very bottom of the table, catching 50% of your targets in any split is poor, but at least T.J. Hockenson has the trio of arguments that A) he was a rookie, and rookie tight ends generally don't do much; B) his average depth of target was 10 yards downfield, so he didn't have a lot of easy catches; and C) he didn't have Matthew Stafford to work with for the majority of the season. Excuse A holds up, but excuses B and C fall down when looking at his receiving plus-minus; he simply has to do better in 2020.

Wide Efficiency, Tight Ends, 2019

Player Team Tgt aDOT Catch% DYAR DVOA
Dawson Knox BUF 6 14.0 60% 16 31.5%
Mike Gesicki MIA 4 11.0 50% 10 24.1%
Tyler Higbee LAR 4 11.8 50% 7 21.1%
Darren Waller OAK 15 10.9 67% 29 19.7%
Stephen Carlson CLE 4 5.8 67% 4 9.3%
Jared Cook NO 8 10.1 50% 9 7.4%
Zach Ertz PHI 5 3.6 80% 4 2.9%
Gerald Everett LAR 11 11.2 45% -1 -8.1%
Travis Kelce KC 14 6.6 79% -5 -12.9%
Evan Engram NYG 5 7.0 60% -4 -19.5%
Tyler Eifert CIN 10 7.1 50% -17 -34.2%
George Kittle SF 7 1.1 71% -24 -51.0%
Noah Fant DEN 4 18.8 25% -16 -75.1%
Minimum four wide targets.

We really do have to scrape the bottom of our spreadsheets to find enough tight ends to populate a "wide" leaderboard. Especially notable, I find, is George Kittle's 1.1-yard average depth of target, hurt by -- you guessed it! -- three receiver screens, producing -15 of his -24 DYAR out wide. All together now: stop throwing screens.

It's interesting that Kittle and Kelce both finished with negative DVOAs when split out wide, and that Cook just barely managed to reach positive DYAR, considering how successful they've all been in the slot. It's not just a one-year thing, either; all three had negative DVOAs out wide in 2018. This is almost certainly a combination of "weird splits happen" and small sample sizes; one fumble cost Kelce 30 DYAR, while Cook suffered from a trio of overthrows from his usually very accurate quarterbacks. This is a stat where someone like Zach Ertz can go from -100.4% DVOA in 2018 on six targets to a 2.9% DVOA in 2019; for most players, there's just not enough signal here to really peak through the noise. In general, however, it seems that splitting tight ends out wide simply does not work; as a position, they had a -19.0% DVOA on 178 targets, compared to 3.5% in the slot and -0.1% lined up tight. If you have a tight end who can make catches, it's still in your best interest to try to get him lined up against a linebacker or safety rather than going one-on-one against a top cornerback. In the long run, if a tight end could win those sorts of matchups consistently, he likely would have been a wide receiver in the first place.

Comments

6 comments, Last at 07 Aug 2020, 7:45pm

1 The question of the value of…

The question of the value of running is an interesting one. Teams are more reticent to only pass than to only run. There are 5 post-merger games were teams ran 40+ times and passes 5 or fewer times. These teams were 4-0-1. There are no such games where teams passed 40+ times and ran 5 or less.

If you go to 30/10, there are 86 run-biased games and 89 pass-biased games. Run-biased teams are 79-6-1. Pass-biased teams are 5-84.

While yes, you run when leading and pass when trailing, in terms of David vs Goliath strategy, it's interesting that even really good passing teams haven't eschewed running, but really good running teams have eschewed passing.

---------

He didn't exactly run a full route tree, with most of his targets coming on quick outs, digs, and chips

But then, so did Michael Thomas.

2 We may do a full series of…

We may do a full series of articles on routes, so I'll refrain from getting into everything here, but your statement about Thomas isn't true.  Even if we just look at the slot for an apples-to-apples comparison, Thomas ran plenty of slants, drag routes and deep crosses.  Yes, he had plenty of quick outs -- second-most in the league behind Julian Edelman -- but Thomas absolutely ran a full route tree

3 The line between fast TE and…

The line between fast TE and big, slow WR can be pretty blurry, too. Is Larry Fitzgerald (6'3", 220lb) really all that different from Gerald Everett (6'3", 240lb)? Their tight/wide splits (and efficiency) are almost identical, and Fitzgerald has been discussed as functioning like a TE in the Arizona offense. Guys like Everett and Eifert are wide as often as they are tight.

What WR had the highest tight percentage. Godwin led in attempts with 8, but on like 122 targets. He's like the Bizarro version of George Kittle (7 wide on 109).

4 Wide receivers lining up…

Wide receivers lining up tight are rare enough that we generally don't think about it; there were only 169 targets to receivers lined up as tight ends in 2019.

The highest rate for a qualified receiver would be, I believe, Steven Sims, with four tight targets on 59 total targets.  He'd be joined by JuJu Smith-Schuster, Tyreek Hill, Zach Pascal, Chris Godwin, James Washington and DaeSean Hamilton with at least five percent of their targets coming lined in tight.