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College WR Statistics, with Target Data


ZWK

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Bill Connelly has posted a massive Excel spreadsheet with beautiful, beautiful data that is available for download at Football Study Hall. There is an entry for (almost) every season in the past 8 years by any FBS player who was targeted at least once in the passing game, which includes:

- number of targets

- target rate (the percent of the team's pass plays on which he was targeted)

- target no. (where he ranked on his team in terms of number of targets that season)

- receptions

- receiving yards

and various stats that you can get by combining those numbers (including catch rate and yards per target).

I've been playing around with those stats and will post some of my results below. There are also a few other goodies that I haven't looked at closely yet, including splits for passing downs vs. standard downs and a statistic that he calls RYPR.

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Here are the top 50 statistical college WR seasons since 2005, based on a statistic that I made up which combines receiving yards, yards per target, and yards per team pass attempt. It does not adjust for the quality of opponents or the team's style of play (except as that is reflected in the 3 statistics that I used). Leading the list is Demaryius Thomas's 2009 season, when he gained 7.4 yards (on average) every time that Georgia Tech threw the ball. Some players don't even average 7.4 yards on the passes that are thrown to them (*cough*Robert Woods*cough*).In this year's draft class, Terrance Williams, Stedman Bailey, DeAndre Hopkins, and Marquess Wilson (2011 season) all make the list, as do Marqise Lee, Jordan Matthews, Amari Cooper, and Noel Grigsby.

Rating	Year	Player		School		Tar	Rec	Yd	Yd/Tar	Yd/Pass9.54	2009	Demaryius Thomas Georgia Tech	80	45	1120	14.0	7.47.68	2011	Stephen Hill	Georgia Tech	54	28	820	15.2	5.77.43	2012	Terrance Williams Baylor	151	97	1832	12.1	4.17.15	2008	Dez Bryant	Oklahoma State	126	87	1480	11.7	4.86.82	2009	Danario Alexander Missouri	159	113	1781	11.2	4.06.71	2011	Kendall Wright	Baylor		145	108	1672	11.5	4.06.65	2008	Brennan Marion	Tulsa		63	43	1112	17.7	2.86.61	2010	Justin Blackmon	Oklahoma State	148	111	1782	12.0	3.56.45	2010	Alshon Jeffery	South Carolina	132	88	1517	11.5	4.16.40	2010	Greg Salas	Hawaii		160	119	1889	11.8	3.26.21	2006	Adarius Bowman	Oklahoma State	93	60	1181	12.7	4.26.20	2012	Marqise Lee	USC		168	118	1721	10.2	4.15.85	2008	Hakeem Nicks	North Carolina	105	68	1222	11.6	4.25.82	2010	Vincent Brown	San Diego State	105	69	1352	12.9	3.35.78	2011	Patrick Edwards	Houston		138	88	1747	12.7	2.65.69	2011	Jordan White	Western Mich	203	140	1911	9.4	3.65.69	2009	Tim Brown	Rutgers		93	55	1150	12.4	3.95.63	2005	Mike Hass	Oregon State	140	90	1532	10.9	3.65.51	2006	Harry Douglas	Louisville	102	70	1265	12.4	3.55.45	2009	Golden Tate	Notre Dame	134	93	1496	11.2	3.45.42	2012	Stedman Bailey	West Virginia	146	113	1627	11.1	3.15.41	2007	Brennan Marion	Tulsa		81	39	1244	15.4	2.45.34	2010	Greg Jones	Navy		51	33	662	13.0	4.85.33	2007	Michael Crabtree Texas Tech	183	134	1962	10.7	2.75.30	2008	T.Y. Hilton	Florida Int	69	41	1013	14.7	3.05.18	2011	Nick Harwell	Miami-OH	129	97	1425	11.0	3.45.15	2007	Donnie Avery	Houston		131	91	1455	11.1	3.35.15	2011	Nelson Rosario	UCLA		99	64	1161	11.7	3.75.00	2011	Gerell Robinson	Arizona State	113	77	1397	12.4	2.84.92	2006	Robert Meachem	Tennessee	114	71	1298	11.4	3.34.87	2007	Jordy Nelson	Kansas State	159	120	1586	10.0	3.34.84	2008	Austin Collie	BYU		151	106	1534	10.2	3.34.80	2012	Jordan Matthews	Vanderbilt	139	94	1323	9.5	4.04.80	2012	Amari Cooper	Alabama		76	58	999	13.1	3.24.77	2012	DeAndre Hopkins	Clemson		128	82	1405	11.0	3.14.76	2011	Rishard Matthews Nevada		132	91	1364	10.3	3.54.75	2006	Johnnie Lee Higgins UTEP	116	82	1319	11.4	3.14.72	2010	Titus Young	Boise State	99	71	1215	12.3	3.04.71	2005	Brandon Williams Wisconsin	94	59	1095	11.6	3.54.69	2008	Kenny Britt	Rutgers		136	87	1371	10.1	3.54.69	2006	Sammie Stroughter Oregon State	117	74	1293	11.1	3.34.66	2009	Greg Salas	Hawaii		154	106	1591	10.3	2.94.66	2011	Marquess Wilson	Washington St	122	81	1383	11.3	2.94.64	2007	Marko Mitchell	Nevada		92	53	1126	12.2	3.14.60	2007	Kenny Britt	Rutgers		115	62	1217	10.6	3.64.58	2005	D Juan Woods	Oklahoma State	75	56	879	11.7	3.94.57	2011	Jalen Saunders	Fresno State	75	50	1065	14.2	2.54.56	2011	Dwight Jones	North Carolina	111	85	1196	10.8	3.54.55	2012	Noel Grigsby	San Jose State	112	82	1306	11.7	2.94.52	2006	Chris Williams	New Mexico St	120	92	1415	11.8	2.6
Details on my statistic: I took the square root of receiving yards and then re-scaled that number so that players who were their team's #1 target would have an average of 0 and a standard deviation of 1. Then I did the same with the square root of yards per target and the square root of yards per team pass attempt. Then I added those 3 numbers, and that is the rating you see here. (Taking the square root is helpful because it reduces the value of seasons which score really high on one or two of the three stats but low on the other(s). Without it, strange seasons like Jordan White on the pass-wacky Western Michigan offense and Greg Jones on the run-wacky Navy offense would be even higher on the list.)
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That's really good stuff. Impressive, thanks.

Rating	Year	Player		School		Tar	Rec	Yd	Yd/Tar	Yd/Pass6.65	2008	Brennan Marion	Tulsa		63	43	1112	17.7	2.85.41	2007	Brennan Marion	Tulsa		81	39	1244	15.4	2.4
1,200 on 40 receptions is filthy. He and Mike Wallace and 1998 Randy Moss must be buds.
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Seems like as good a place to ask as any... Anyone ever seen Yards After Catch for collegiate players?

Nope. I'd love to have that, yards after contact, and broken/missed tackles. And dropped passes (for receivers and for QBs). And missed tackles for defenders too. And a pony.
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Here are the main prospects in this year's draft class, with every season (with 20+ targets in an FBS school) included, sorted by their rating in their best season.

Rating	Best	Year	Player				School		Tar	Rec	Yd	Yd/Tar	Yd/Pass7.43	7.43	2012	Terrance Williams		Baylor		151	97	1832	12.1	4.12.76	7.43	2011	Terrance Williams		Baylor		83	59	957	11.5	2.35.42	5.42	2012	Stedman Bailey			West Virginia	146	113	1627	11.1	3.13.75	5.42	2011	Stedman Bailey			West Virginia	114	72	1279	11.2	2.5-4.24	5.42	2010	Stedman Bailey			West Virginia	41	24	317	7.7	0.94.77	4.77	2012	DeAndre Hopkins			Clemson		128	82	1405	11.0	3.10.87	4.77	2011	DeAndre Hopkins			Clemson		107	71	961	9.0	1.9-1.56	4.77	2010	DeAndre Hopkins			Clemson		81	51	626	7.7	1.61.23	4.66	2012	Marquess Wilson			Washington St	88	52	813	9.2	1.44.66	4.66	2011	Marquess Wilson			Washington St	122	81	1383	11.3	2.93.21	4.66	2010	Marquess Wilson			Washington St	95	55	1006	10.6	2.94.16	4.16	2012	Tavarres King			Georgia		68	42	950	14.0	2.5-1.23	4.16	2011	Tavarres King			Georgia		88	46	677	7.7	1.70.39	4.16	2010	Tavarres King			Georgia		40	27	504	12.6	1.5-2.03	4.16	2009	Tavarres King			Georgia		38	18	377	9.9	1.22.12	3.71	2012	Keenan Allen			California	89	60	746	8.4	2.33.71	3.71	2011	Keenan Allen			California	147	97	1336	9.1	3.2-2.67	3.71	2010	Keenan Allen			California	77	47	511	6.6	1.63.65	3.65	2012	Cobi Hamilton			Arkansas	141	88	1321	9.4	3.1-1.58	3.65	2011	Cobi Hamilton			Arkansas	58	34	542	9.3	1.20.35	3.65	2010	Cobi Hamilton			Arkansas	54	32	630	11.7	1.4-2.19	3.65	2009	Cobi Hamilton			Arkansas	29	19	347	12.0	0.71.15	3.17	2012	Josh Boyce			TCU		101	66	891	8.8	2.33.17	3.17	2011	Josh Boyce			TCU		96	61	998	10.4	3.01.86	3.17	2010	Josh Boyce			TCU		51	34	646	12.7	2.03.01	3.01	2012	Quinton Patton			Louisiana Tech	157	103	1383	8.8	2.72.74	3.01	2011	Quinton Patton			Louisiana Tech	125	78	1177	9.4	2.62.67	2.67	2012	Mike Davis			Texas		86	57	939	10.9	2.5-1.38	2.67	2011	Mike Davis			Texas		82	45	609	7.4	1.8-3.52	2.67	2010	Mike Davis			Texas		70	47	478	6.8	1.12.64	2.64	2012	Tavon Austin			West Virginia	142	111	1287	9.1	2.52.20	2.64	2011	Tavon Austin			West Virginia	127	100	1180	9.3	2.31.06	2.64	2010	Tavon Austin			West Virginia	82	58	787	9.6	2.2-6.95	2.64	2009	Tavon Austin			West Virginia	22	15	151	6.9	0.52.39	2.63	2012	Tevin Reese			Baylor		85	53	957	11.3	2.12.63	2.63	2011	Tevin Reese			Baylor		71	51	877	12.4	2.1-5.02	2.63	2010	Tevin Reese			Baylor		68	45	401	5.9	0.92.60	2.60	2012	Cody Hoffman			BYU		145	100	1248	8.6	2.71.89	2.60	2011	Cody Hoffman			BYU		92	61	943	10.3	2.2-2.77	2.60	2010	Cody Hoffman			BYU		73	42	527	7.2	1.32.59	2.59	2012	Alec Lemon			Syracuse	103	73	1067	10.4	2.40.59	2.59	2011	Alec Lemon			Syracuse	96	68	834	8.7	2.1-3.36	2.59	2010	Alec Lemon			Syracuse	55	32	397	7.2	1.3-4.85	2.59	2009	Alec Lemon			Syracuse	43	29	295	6.9	0.92.59	2.59	2012	Emory Blake			Auburn		81	50	789	9.7	3.30.84	2.59	2011	Emory Blake			Auburn		60	36	613	10.2	2.20.21	2.59	2010	Emory Blake			Auburn		49	32	526	10.7	1.9-0.40	2.56	2012	Robert Woods			USC		118	76	851	7.2	2.02.56	2.56	2011	Robert Woods			USC		166	111	1292	7.8	3.0-0.69	2.56	2010	Robert Woods			USC		104	64	786	7.6	1.82.54	2.54	2012	Markus Wheaton			Oregon State	140	90	1235	8.8	2.60.70	2.54	2011	Markus Wheaton			Oregon State	121	73	986	8.1	2.1-1.29	2.54	2010	Markus Wheaton			Oregon State	92	54	660	7.2	1.90.87	2.47	2012	Ryan Swope			Texas A&M	102	72	927	9.1	2.02.47	2.47	2011	Ryan Swope			Texas A&M	128	89	1207	9.4	2.4-0.53	2.47	2010	Ryan Swope			Texas A&M	103	72	825	8.0	1.7-6.50	2.47	2009	Ryan Swope			Texas A&M	22	19	172	7.8	0.42.43	2.43	2011	DaRick Rogers			Tennessee	115	67	1040	9.0	2.92.37	2.37	2012	Martel Moore			Nor. Illinois	121	75	1083	9.0	2.8.77	2.37	2011	Martel Moore			Nor. Illinois	75	48	752	10.0	1.9-0.45	2.37	2010	Martel Moore			Nor. Illinois	52	40	525	10.1	1.7-5.46	2.37	2009	Martel Moore			Nor. Illinois	25	16	189	7.6	0.72.14	2.14	2012	Chad Bumphis			Mississippi St	87	58	922	10.6	2.3-4.24	2.14	2011	Chad Bumphis			Mississippi St	48	25	339	7.1	1.00.20	2.14	2010	Chad Bumphis			Mississippi St	73	44	634	8.7	2.3-2.93	2.14	2009	Chad Bumphis			Mississippi St	51	32	375	7.4	1.51.88	1.88	2012	Chris Harper			Kansas State	94	58	857	9.1	2.8-1.73	1.88	2011	Chris Harper			Kansas State	79	40	547	6.9	2.0-3.02	1.88	2010	Chris Harper			Kansas State	37	24	325	8.8	1.11.86	1.86	2012	Marcus Davis			Virginia Tech	98	51	953	9.7	2.3-1.47	1.86	2011	Marcus Davis			Virginia Tech	54	30	510	9.4	1.3-5.35	1.86	2010	Marcus Davis			Virginia Tech	33	19	239	7.2	0.71.07	1.54	2012	Conner Vernon			Duke		128	85	1074	8.4	2.11.17	1.54	2011	Conner Vernon			Duke		103	70	956	9.3	2.01.54	1.54	2010	Conner Vernon			Duke		103	73	973	9.4	2.2-0.84	1.54	2009	Conner Vernon			Duke		90	55	746	8.3	1.51.48	1.48	2012	Justin Hunter			Tennessee	132	73	1083	8.2	2.4-0.32	1.48	2011	Justin Hunter			Tennessee	20	17	314	15.7	0.9-2.26	1.48	2010	Justin Hunter			Tennessee	43	16	415	9.7	1.10.14	0.14	2012	Cordarrelle Patterson		Tennessee	84	46	778	9.3	1.7-0.10	-0.10	2012	Kenny Stills			Oklahoma	123	82	959	7.8	1.8-0.50	-0.10	2011	Kenny Stills			Oklahoma	103	61	849	8.2	1.6-1.60	-0.10	2010	Kenny Stills			Oklahoma	103	61	786	7.6	1.3-1.37	-0.51	2012	Aaron Dobson			Marshall	91	57	679	7.5	1.2-0.51	-0.51	2011	Aaron Dobson			Marshall	76	49	668	8.8	1.7-0.87	-0.51	2010	Aaron Dobson			Marshall	86	44	689	8.0	1.7-1.72	-0.51	2009	Aaron Dobson			Marshall	31	15	362	11.7	1.0-1.65	-0.75	2012	Rodney Smith			Florida State	57	38	524	9.2	1.3-0.75	-0.75	2011	Rodney Smith			Florida State	58	36	561	9.7	1.5-2.90	-0.75	2010	Rodney Smith			Florida State	57	31	448	7.9	1.2-2.30	-2.30	2012	Ace Sanders			South Carolina	73	45	531	7.3	1.5-2.48	-2.30	2011	Ace Sanders			South Carolina	44	29	383	8.7	1.3-3.60	-2.30	2010	Ace Sanders			South Carolina	36	26	319	8.9	0.9-4.70	-3.23	2012	Marquise Goodwin		Texas		40	25	299	7.5	0.8-3.23	-3.23	2011	Marquise Goodwin		Texas		58	33	421	7.3	1.3-5.89	-3.23	2010	Marquise Goodwin		Texas		58	31	324	5.6	0.8-6.10	-3.23	2009	Marquise Goodwin		Texas		43	30	279	6.5	0.5
A rating of 0 is "average" for a college team's WR1. I've adjusted for players who missed games in 2012 (missing games hurts your raw rating a lot, since it drastically reduces both your receiving yards and your yards per team pass attempt) - receivers who played less than 12 games were pro-rated up to 12 games. But I haven't done that for previous seasons, since it requires looking up the "games played" numbers elsewhere.

Surprisingly low on this list (given their reputations): Robert Woods, the Tennessee WRs, Tavon Austin, and Quinton Patton. Robert Woods never topped 8.0 yards per target - not in 2011 when he put up amazing raw stats and not this year when he had Marqise Lee putting on a show across from him and attracting the coverage. The Tennessee receivers at least have decent excuses: Patterson doesn't get credit here for his rushing or returns, Hunter missed most of last year with his ACL injury, and was playing at less than 100% this year, and Da'Rick Rogers missed his last year which is typically a receiver's best. Austin and Patton both scored much better on the other stats which I previously looked at (big plays: TDs & long gains), partly because I'm just looking at their best year here and I looked at the last two years in that post (they were both similarly good in 2011; Austin also has his rushing & returns which aren't counted here). I may try to combine those numbers and these ones into a single analysis, if I can find the time for it.

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Here are the main prospects in this year's draft class, with every season (with 20+ targets in an FBS school) included, sorted by their rating in their best season.

Rating	Best	Year	Player				School		Tar	Rec	Yd	Yd/Tar	Yd/Pass7.43	7.43	2012	Terrance Williams		Baylor		151	97	1832	12.1	4.12.76	7.43	2011	Terrance Williams		Baylor		83	59	957	11.5	2.35.42	5.42	2012	Stedman Bailey			West Virginia	146	113	1627	11.1	3.13.75	5.42	2011	Stedman Bailey			West Virginia	114	72	1279	11.2	2.5-4.24	5.42	2010	Stedman Bailey			West Virginia	41	24	317	7.7	0.94.77	4.77	2012	DeAndre Hopkins			Clemson		128	82	1405	11.0	3.10.87	4.77	2011	DeAndre Hopkins			Clemson		107	71	961	9.0	1.9-1.56	4.77	2010	DeAndre Hopkins			Clemson		81	51	626	7.7	1.61.23	4.66	2012	Marquess Wilson			Washington St	88	52	813	9.2	1.44.66	4.66	2011	Marquess Wilson			Washington St	122	81	1383	11.3	2.93.21	4.66	2010	Marquess Wilson			Washington St	95	55	1006	10.6	2.94.16	4.16	2012	Tavarres King			Georgia		68	42	950	14.0	2.5-1.23	4.16	2011	Tavarres King			Georgia		88	46	677	7.7	1.70.39	4.16	2010	Tavarres King			Georgia		40	27	504	12.6	1.5-2.03	4.16	2009	Tavarres King			Georgia		38	18	377	9.9	1.22.12	3.71	2012	Keenan Allen			California	89	60	746	8.4	2.33.71	3.71	2011	Keenan Allen			California	147	97	1336	9.1	3.2-2.67	3.71	2010	Keenan Allen			California	77	47	511	6.6	1.63.65	3.65	2012	Cobi Hamilton			Arkansas	141	88	1321	9.4	3.1-1.58	3.65	2011	Cobi Hamilton			Arkansas	58	34	542	9.3	1.20.35	3.65	2010	Cobi Hamilton			Arkansas	54	32	630	11.7	1.4-2.19	3.65	2009	Cobi Hamilton			Arkansas	29	19	347	12.0	0.71.15	3.17	2012	Josh Boyce			TCU		101	66	891	8.8	2.33.17	3.17	2011	Josh Boyce			TCU		96	61	998	10.4	3.01.86	3.17	2010	Josh Boyce			TCU		51	34	646	12.7	2.03.01	3.01	2012	Quinton Patton			Louisiana Tech	157	103	1383	8.8	2.72.74	3.01	2011	Quinton Patton			Louisiana Tech	125	78	1177	9.4	2.62.67	2.67	2012	Mike Davis			Texas		86	57	939	10.9	2.5-1.38	2.67	2011	Mike Davis			Texas		82	45	609	7.4	1.8-3.52	2.67	2010	Mike Davis			Texas		70	47	478	6.8	1.12.64	2.64	2012	Tavon Austin			West Virginia	142	111	1287	9.1	2.52.20	2.64	2011	Tavon Austin			West Virginia	127	100	1180	9.3	2.31.06	2.64	2010	Tavon Austin			West Virginia	82	58	787	9.6	2.2-6.95	2.64	2009	Tavon Austin			West Virginia	22	15	151	6.9	0.52.39	2.63	2012	Tevin Reese			Baylor		85	53	957	11.3	2.12.63	2.63	2011	Tevin Reese			Baylor		71	51	877	12.4	2.1-5.02	2.63	2010	Tevin Reese			Baylor		68	45	401	5.9	0.92.60	2.60	2012	Cody Hoffman			BYU		145	100	1248	8.6	2.71.89	2.60	2011	Cody Hoffman			BYU		92	61	943	10.3	2.2-2.77	2.60	2010	Cody Hoffman			BYU		73	42	527	7.2	1.32.59	2.59	2012	Alec Lemon			Syracuse	103	73	1067	10.4	2.40.59	2.59	2011	Alec Lemon			Syracuse	96	68	834	8.7	2.1-3.36	2.59	2010	Alec Lemon			Syracuse	55	32	397	7.2	1.3-4.85	2.59	2009	Alec Lemon			Syracuse	43	29	295	6.9	0.92.59	2.59	2012	Emory Blake			Auburn		81	50	789	9.7	3.30.84	2.59	2011	Emory Blake			Auburn		60	36	613	10.2	2.20.21	2.59	2010	Emory Blake			Auburn		49	32	526	10.7	1.9-0.40	2.56	2012	Robert Woods			USC		118	76	851	7.2	2.02.56	2.56	2011	Robert Woods			USC		166	111	1292	7.8	3.0-0.69	2.56	2010	Robert Woods			USC		104	64	786	7.6	1.82.54	2.54	2012	Markus Wheaton			Oregon State	140	90	1235	8.8	2.60.70	2.54	2011	Markus Wheaton			Oregon State	121	73	986	8.1	2.1-1.29	2.54	2010	Markus Wheaton			Oregon State	92	54	660	7.2	1.90.87	2.47	2012	Ryan Swope			Texas A&M	102	72	927	9.1	2.02.47	2.47	2011	Ryan Swope			Texas A&M	128	89	1207	9.4	2.4-0.53	2.47	2010	Ryan Swope			Texas A&M	103	72	825	8.0	1.7-6.50	2.47	2009	Ryan Swope			Texas A&M	22	19	172	7.8	0.42.43	2.43	2011	DaRick Rogers			Tennessee	115	67	1040	9.0	2.92.37	2.37	2012	Martel Moore			Nor. Illinois	121	75	1083	9.0	2.8.77	2.37	2011	Martel Moore			Nor. Illinois	75	48	752	10.0	1.9-0.45	2.37	2010	Martel Moore			Nor. Illinois	52	40	525	10.1	1.7-5.46	2.37	2009	Martel Moore			Nor. Illinois	25	16	189	7.6	0.72.14	2.14	2012	Chad Bumphis			Mississippi St	87	58	922	10.6	2.3-4.24	2.14	2011	Chad Bumphis			Mississippi St	48	25	339	7.1	1.00.20	2.14	2010	Chad Bumphis			Mississippi St	73	44	634	8.7	2.3-2.93	2.14	2009	Chad Bumphis			Mississippi St	51	32	375	7.4	1.51.88	1.88	2012	Chris Harper			Kansas State	94	58	857	9.1	2.8-1.73	1.88	2011	Chris Harper			Kansas State	79	40	547	6.9	2.0-3.02	1.88	2010	Chris Harper			Kansas State	37	24	325	8.8	1.11.86	1.86	2012	Marcus Davis			Virginia Tech	98	51	953	9.7	2.3-1.47	1.86	2011	Marcus Davis			Virginia Tech	54	30	510	9.4	1.3-5.35	1.86	2010	Marcus Davis			Virginia Tech	33	19	239	7.2	0.71.07	1.54	2012	Conner Vernon			Duke		128	85	1074	8.4	2.11.17	1.54	2011	Conner Vernon			Duke		103	70	956	9.3	2.01.54	1.54	2010	Conner Vernon			Duke		103	73	973	9.4	2.2-0.84	1.54	2009	Conner Vernon			Duke		90	55	746	8.3	1.51.48	1.48	2012	Justin Hunter			Tennessee	132	73	1083	8.2	2.4-0.32	1.48	2011	Justin Hunter			Tennessee	20	17	314	15.7	0.9-2.26	1.48	2010	Justin Hunter			Tennessee	43	16	415	9.7	1.10.14	0.14	2012	Cordarrelle Patterson		Tennessee	84	46	778	9.3	1.7-0.10	-0.10	2012	Kenny Stills			Oklahoma	123	82	959	7.8	1.8-0.50	-0.10	2011	Kenny Stills			Oklahoma	103	61	849	8.2	1.6-1.60	-0.10	2010	Kenny Stills			Oklahoma	103	61	786	7.6	1.3-1.37	-0.51	2012	Aaron Dobson			Marshall	91	57	679	7.5	1.2-0.51	-0.51	2011	Aaron Dobson			Marshall	76	49	668	8.8	1.7-0.87	-0.51	2010	Aaron Dobson			Marshall	86	44	689	8.0	1.7-1.72	-0.51	2009	Aaron Dobson			Marshall	31	15	362	11.7	1.0-1.65	-0.75	2012	Rodney Smith			Florida State	57	38	524	9.2	1.3-0.75	-0.75	2011	Rodney Smith			Florida State	58	36	561	9.7	1.5-2.90	-0.75	2010	Rodney Smith			Florida State	57	31	448	7.9	1.2-2.30	-2.30	2012	Ace Sanders			South Carolina	73	45	531	7.3	1.5-2.48	-2.30	2011	Ace Sanders			South Carolina	44	29	383	8.7	1.3-3.60	-2.30	2010	Ace Sanders			South Carolina	36	26	319	8.9	0.9-4.70	-3.23	2012	Marquise Goodwin		Texas		40	25	299	7.5	0.8-3.23	-3.23	2011	Marquise Goodwin		Texas		58	33	421	7.3	1.3-5.89	-3.23	2010	Marquise Goodwin		Texas		58	31	324	5.6	0.8-6.10	-3.23	2009	Marquise Goodwin		Texas		43	30	279	6.5	0.5
A rating of 0 is "average" for a college team's WR1. I've adjusted for players who missed games in 2012 (missing games hurts your raw rating a lot, since it drastically reduces both your receiving yards and your yards per team pass attempt) - receivers who played less than 12 games were pro-rated up to 12 games. But I haven't done that for previous seasons, since it requires looking up the "games played" numbers elsewhere.Surprisingly low on this list (given their reputations): Robert Woods, the Tennessee WRs, Tavon Austin, and Quinton Patton. Robert Woods never topped 8.0 yards per target - not in 2011 when he put up amazing raw stats and not this year when he had Marqise Lee putting on a show across from him and attracting the coverage. The Tennessee receivers at least have decent excuses: Patterson doesn't get credit here for his rushing or returns, Hunter missed most of last year with his ACL injury, and was playing at less than 100% this year, and Da'Rick Rogers missed his last year which is typically a receiver's best. Austin and Patton both scored much better on the other stats which I previously looked at (big plays: TDs & long gains), partly because I'm just looking at their best year here and I looked at the last two years in that post (they were both similarly good in 2011; Austin also has his rushing & returns which aren't counted here). I may try to combine those numbers and these ones into a single analysis, if I can find the time for it.
So throw away 2010/2009 WVU (Austin/Bailey) The HC (RIP Bill Stewart) and OC were not good at footballs
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I added in the counts for receiving touchdowns and long receiving plays (I went with 30+ yarders & 40+ yarders) for the 2012 season. Combining those stats (similarly rescaled) with the Rating I made up before (using the yards & targets data) gives a new rating, which I'll call "Score" since I already used "Rating". (I should work on this naming scheme.) The stats that go into this Score are:Receiving TDs per game30+ yard receptions per game40+ yard receptions per gameReceiving yards per targetReceiving yards per team pass attempt (adjusted upward for guys who missed games)Receiving yards (adjusted upward for guys who missed games)With a roughly equal weighting between the three parts: TDs, long receptions, and receiving yards.Here are the top 30 receivers from this season according to this number (note that "Score" and "Rating" are on different scales, and thus not directly comparable):

Score	Rating	Player			Team		Yr	Games	Tar	Rec	Yd	Yd/Tar	Yd/Pass	TD	30+ Rec	40+ Rec17.59	7.43	Terrance Williams	Baylor		SR	13	151	97	1832	12.1	4.1	12	22	1416.12	5.42	Stedman Bailey		West Virginia	JR	13	146	113	1627	11.1	3.1	25	16	713.75	6.20	Marqise Lee		USC		SO	13	168	118	1721	10.2	4.1	14	13	1112.39	4.77	DeAndre Hopkins		Clemson		JR	13	128	82	1405	11.0	3.1	18	13	711.04	3.76	Robert Herron		Wyoming		JR	8	51	31	657	12.9	1.7	8	8	710.15	3.01	Quinton Patton		Louisiana Tech	SR	12	157	103	1383	8.8	2.7	13	12	99.27	3.46	Austin Franklin		New Mexico St	SO	12	139	74	1245	9.0	3.3	9	14	98.70	4.49	Austin Hill		Arizona		SO	13	118	81	1364	11.6	2.7	11	12	68.63	2.64	Tavon Austin		West Virginia	SR	13	142	111	1287	9.1	2.5	12	13	98.01	2.78	Davante Adams		Fresno State	FR	13	146	102	1312	9.0	2.6	14	11	67.58	3.32	Alex Neutz		Buffalo		JR	11	118	65	1070	9.1	3.0	11	9	47.53	4.80	Amari Cooper		Alabama		FR	14	76	58	999	13.1	3.2	11	9	67.38	4.16	Tavarres King		Georgia		SR	14	68	42	950	14.0	2.5	9	12	86.77	1.60	Nick Harwell		Miami-OH	JR	9	110	68	870	7.9	1.9	8	9	56.61	3.66	A.J. Barker		Minnesota	JR	8	46	30	577	12.5	1.9	7	5	36.12	4.80	Jordan Matthews		Vanderbilt	JR	13	139	94	1323	9.5	4.0	8	8	56.10	2.39	Tevin Reese		Baylor		JR	13	85	53	957	11.3	2.1	9	11	85.75	2.27	Donte Moncrief		Ole Miss	SO	13	102	66	979	9.6	2.6	10	11	65.70	2.69	Jordan Leslie		UTEP		SO	12	95	51	973	10.2	2.7	6	13	75.68	4.55	Noel Grigsby		San Jose State	JR	13	112	82	1306	11.7	2.9	9	8	35.61	2.37	Martel Moore		Nor. Illinois	SR	14	121	75	1083	9.0	2.8	13	9	55.27	3.77	Brandin Cooks		Oregon State	SO	13	97	68	1160	12.0	2.5	5	10	95.11	2.10	Chip Reeves		Troy		SR	12	104	65	1050	10.1	2.2	6	13	74.95	2.67	Mike Davis		Texas		JR	13	86	57	939	10.9	2.5	7	11	74.91	1.10	Allen Robinson		Penn State	SO	12	126	77	1018	8.1	2.3	11	9	54.72	2.54	Markus Wheaton		Oregon State	SR	13	140	90	1235	8.8	2.6	11	7	44.60	2.14	Chad Bumphis		Mississippi St	SR	13	87	58	922	10.6	2.3	12	5	54.46	3.65	Cobi Hamilton		Arkansas	SR	12	141	88	1321	9.4	3.1	5	9	64.40	3.48	Stefon Diggs		Maryland	FR	11	80	54	848	10.6	3.0	6	6	54.12	1.48	Justin Hunter		Tennessee	JR	12	132	73	1083	8.2	2.4	9	7	6
Da'Rick Rogers's 2011 would sneak in near the bottom of this list with a 4.79, just ahead of Markus Wheaton. Players scoring below zero (which still represents something like "average college WR1") include Robert Woods (-.02), Sammy Watkins, Cordarrelle Patterson (-1.15), Chris Harper, Emory Blake, Ace Sanders, Aaron Dobson (-4.85), and Marquise Goodwin (-9.70).I still haven't included rushing & return plays, which would probably allow Tavon to top the other Austins and bring Patterson out of the negatives.
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I've come up with a measure which I think includes all of the most important statistics. For each player season, I took into account (approximate relative weights in parentheses):(30%) Receiving TDs per game(30%) 40+ yard receptions per game(12%) Receiving yards per target(12%) Receiving yards per team pass attempt (adjusted upward for guys who missed games)(12%) Receiving yards (adjusted upward for guys who missed games)(4%) Other big plays: Return TDs per game (kick & punt), Rushing TDs per game, and 40+ yard runs per game (each of these big plays was worth about as much as a receiving TD, which added a lot of value for a small number of players)I have these data for every college season since 2005 for 20 WRs who have been successful in the NFL, and for 29 WR prospects in this year's draft class (plus Marqise Lee). I've combined them into a single score, where 0 is roughly an average season for a college WR that is his team's top target. I've ranked players by their Career Score ("Car Sc"), which takes the score for their best season and adds 50% of the score for their second-best season (if their second best season was above a zero).Here are the scores for the 20 successful WRs:

Car Sc	Best Yr	2 Best	Last Yr	Team		Player24.1	19.0	10.2	2011	Oklahoma State	Justin Blackmon20.2	15.2	9.9	2009	Oklahoma State	Dez Bryant16.2	13.4	5.6	2008	Texas Tech	Michael Crabtree13.5	11.0	5.0	2011	Florida Int	T.Y. Hilton13.4	13.4	-0.9	2009	Georgia Tech	Demaryius Thomas11.4	7.6	7.5	2008	Florida		Percy Harvin11.0	8.4	5.1	2008	Missouri	Jeremy Maclin10.5	9.2	2.7	2007	Kansas State	Jordy Nelson10.3	7.1	6.3	2008	Rutgers		Kenny Britt9.3	8.1	2.5	2010	Georgia		AJ Green9.1	9.1	-0.6	2006	Georgia Tech	Calvin Johnson9.0	8.8	0.5	2008	North Carolina	Hakeem Nicks8.0	6.6	2.9	2006	LSU		Dwayne Bowe7.4	5.2	4.3	2009	Minnesota	Eric Decker7.1	6.7	0.9	2010	Maryland	Torrey Smith5.3	5.3	-1.9	2010	Alabama		Julio Jones5.2	4.8	0.9	2009	Cent. Michigan	Antonio Brown5.2	5.0	0.4	2010	Kentucky	Randall Cobb4.7	4.7	-9.8	2007	Kentucky	Steve Johnson4.6	3.4	2.3	2008	Ole Miss	Mike Wallace
There are some interesting patterns that you can see here, even without comparing them to other WRs in their draft classes who haven't been successful. They all scored above a 4.5 (where 0 is an average season for a college WR1). More than half scored at least a 9.0, and most of the guys below that mark weren't NFL first rounders and haven't become fantasy WR1s (Julio Jones is a striking exception).How does this year's class look?
Car Sc	Best Yr	2 Best	Last Yr	Team		Player20.0	13.8	12.5	2012	USC		Marqise Lee20.0	17.1	5.9	2012	Baylor		Terrance Williams20.0	15.6	8.8	2012	West Virginia	Stedman Bailey15.1	13.2	3.8	2012	West Virginia	Tavon Austin12.9	9.6	6.6	2012	Louisiana Tech	Quinton Patton12.5	9.1	6.8	2012	Washington St	Marquess Wilson11.8	11.8	-1.8	2012	Clemson		DeAndre Hopkins8.2	5.6	5.2	2012	Baylor		Tevin Reese7.5	7.5	0.0	2012	USC		Robert Woods6.8	6.8	-1.2	2012	Georgia		Tavarres King6.4	5.1	2.6	2012	Nor. Illinois	Martel Moore6.3	4.5	3.6	2012	Tennessee	Justin Hunter5.6	4.9	1.3	2012	Texas A&M	Ryan Swope5.3	5.3	-1.6	2012	Mississippi St	Chad Bumphis5.3	5.3	-4.2	2012	Oregon State	Markus Wheaton5.0	5.0	-1.7	2012	Auburn		Emory Blake4.5	3.9	1.1	2012	Arkansas	Cobi Hamilton4.3	4.0	0.8	2012	TCU		Josh Boyce4.2	4.2		2011	Tennessee	DaRick Rogers3.9	3.2	1.4	2012	California	Keenan Allen2.7	2.7	-2.1	2012	Syracuse	Alec Lemon2.4	2.4		2012	Tennessee	Cordarrelle Patterson2.3	2.0	0.6	2012	Duke		Conner Vernon2.1	1.6	1.0	2012	Marshall	Aaron Dobson2.1	2.1	-3.2	2012	Virginia Tech	Marcus Davis0.0	0.0	-0.2	2012	Oklahoma	Kenny Stills-1.9	-1.9	-4.7	2012	Kansas State	Chris Harper-3.0	-3.0	-6.4	2012	Florida State	Rodney Smith-3.4	-3.4	-7.1	2012	South Carolina	Ace Sanders-5.8	-5.8	-6.3	2012	Texas		Marquise Goodwin
Just six guys in this draft class above the 9-point cutoff (plus Marqise Lee): Terrance Williams, Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Quinton Patton, Marquess Wilson, and DeAndre Hopkins. Nearly half the class doesn't reach the 4.5 mark, including the players who a lot of folks have as the top 2 WRs, Keenan Allen and Cordarrelle Patterson. Some of these guys have excuses for their mediocre scores, and college production is only one piece of the picture, but this lack of production & big plays looks like a cause for concern with everyone outside of those 6.
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great stuff!Feel free to run similar stats for RBs and QBs please :)

I don't have similar data sets for RBs and QBs, unfortunately. I have done some number crunching on this year's RB class, though, which is one piece of what fed into my RB rankings. Maybe I should post on that in more detail at some point.In brief, I looked at long gains, short yardage, receiving, and fumbles. If I was going solely by those numbers, the ranking would be:27.3 Kerwynn Williams22.4 Eddie Lacy9.0 Johnathan Franklin8.9 Giovani Bernard8.9 Kenjon Barner8.3 Joseph Randle7.5 Montee Ball7.5 Marcus Lattimore3.7 Knile Davis (2010)3.6 Andre Ellington3.2 Zac Stacy3.2 Ray Graham2.6 Rex Burkhead2.1 Le'Veon Bell-1.2 Montel Harris-1.4 Cierre Wood-1.5 Robbie Rouse-2.1 D.J. Harper-2.3 Stepfan Taylor-3.1 Cameron Marshall-3.3 Akeem Shavers-3.5 Dennis Johnson-3.6 Theo Riddick-4.6 Christine Michael-5.5 Knile Davis-6.1 Stefphon Jefferson-7.0 Curtis McNeal-8.4 Isi Sofele-8.6 Spencer Ware-9.3 Jawan Jamison-9.5 Mike Gillislee-14.3 Michael FordI think that some of these numbers are pretty misleading - on video I saw Kerwynn Williams running through a lot of wide open spaces, and Kenjon Barner graded out as one of the better power runners but I assume that's just because he wasn't running from many power formations. But a lot of them match what I saw on video and are reflected in my rankings - my top 7 all have either good stats (Lacy, Gio, Lattimore, Franklin, Ball) or a good injury-based excuse (Christine Michael & Knile Davis).
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  • 2 weeks later...

I added in the counts for receiving touchdowns and long receiving plays (I went with 30+ yarders & 40+ yarders) for the 2012 season. Combining those stats (similarly rescaled) with the Rating I made up before (using the yards & targets data) gives a new rating, which I'll call "Score" since I already used "Rating". (I should work on this naming scheme.) The stats that go into this Score are:Receiving TDs per game30+ yard receptions per game40+ yard receptions per gameReceiving yards per targetReceiving yards per team pass attempt (adjusted upward for guys who missed games)Receiving yards (adjusted upward for guys who missed games)With a roughly equal weighting between the three parts: TDs, long receptions, and receiving yards.Here are the top 30 receivers from this season according to this number (note that "Score" and "Rating" are on different scales, and thus not directly comparable):

Score	Rating	Player			Team		Yr	Games	Tar	Rec	Yd	Yd/Tar	Yd/Pass	TD	30+ Rec	40+ Rec17.59	7.43	Terrance Williams	Baylor		SR	13	151	97	1832	12.1	4.1	12	22	1416.12	5.42	Stedman Bailey		West Virginia	JR	13	146	113	1627	11.1	3.1	25	16	713.75	6.20	Marqise Lee		USC		SO	13	168	118	1721	10.2	4.1	14	13	1112.39	4.77	DeAndre Hopkins		Clemson		JR	13	128	82	1405	11.0	3.1	18	13	711.04	3.76	Robert Herron		Wyoming		JR	8	51	31	657	12.9	1.7	8	8	710.15	3.01	Quinton Patton		Louisiana Tech	SR	12	157	103	1383	8.8	2.7	13	12	99.27	3.46	Austin Franklin		New Mexico St	SO	12	139	74	1245	9.0	3.3	9	14	98.70	4.49	Austin Hill		Arizona		SO	13	118	81	1364	11.6	2.7	11	12	68.63	2.64	Tavon Austin		West Virginia	SR	13	142	111	1287	9.1	2.5	12	13	98.01	2.78	Davante Adams		Fresno State	FR	13	146	102	1312	9.0	2.6	14	11	67.58	3.32	Alex Neutz		Buffalo		JR	11	118	65	1070	9.1	3.0	11	9	47.53	4.80	Amari Cooper		Alabama		FR	14	76	58	999	13.1	3.2	11	9	67.38	4.16	Tavarres King		Georgia		SR	14	68	42	950	14.0	2.5	9	12	86.77	1.60	Nick Harwell		Miami-OH	JR	9	110	68	870	7.9	1.9	8	9	56.61	3.66	A.J. Barker		Minnesota	JR	8	46	30	577	12.5	1.9	7	5	36.12	4.80	Jordan Matthews		Vanderbilt	JR	13	139	94	1323	9.5	4.0	8	8	56.10	2.39	Tevin Reese		Baylor		JR	13	85	53	957	11.3	2.1	9	11	85.75	2.27	Donte Moncrief		Ole Miss	SO	13	102	66	979	9.6	2.6	10	11	65.70	2.69	Jordan Leslie		UTEP		SO	12	95	51	973	10.2	2.7	6	13	75.68	4.55	Noel Grigsby		San Jose State	JR	13	112	82	1306	11.7	2.9	9	8	35.61	2.37	Martel Moore		Nor. Illinois	SR	14	121	75	1083	9.0	2.8	13	9	55.27	3.77	Brandin Cooks		Oregon State	SO	13	97	68	1160	12.0	2.5	5	10	95.11	2.10	Chip Reeves		Troy		SR	12	104	65	1050	10.1	2.2	6	13	74.95	2.67	Mike Davis		Texas		JR	13	86	57	939	10.9	2.5	7	11	74.91	1.10	Allen Robinson		Penn State	SO	12	126	77	1018	8.1	2.3	11	9	54.72	2.54	Markus Wheaton		Oregon State	SR	13	140	90	1235	8.8	2.6	11	7	44.60	2.14	Chad Bumphis		Mississippi St	SR	13	87	58	922	10.6	2.3	12	5	54.46	3.65	Cobi Hamilton		Arkansas	SR	12	141	88	1321	9.4	3.1	5	9	64.40	3.48	Stefon Diggs		Maryland	FR	11	80	54	848	10.6	3.0	6	6	54.12	1.48	Justin Hunter		Tennessee	JR	12	132	73	1083	8.2	2.4	9	7	6
Da'Rick Rogers's 2011 would sneak in near the bottom of this list with a 4.79, just ahead of Markus Wheaton. Players scoring below zero (which still represents something like "average college WR1") include Robert Woods (-.02), Sammy Watkins, Cordarrelle Patterson (-1.15), Chris Harper, Emory Blake, Ace Sanders, Aaron Dobson (-4.85), and Marquise Goodwin (-9.70).I still haven't included rushing & return plays, which would probably allow Tavon to top the other Austins and bring Patterson out of the negatives.
Im really tired of harping here, but Stedman Bailey is the real deal. He put up stats against LSU, OU, UT, Clemson, etc. He is a good if not great prospect who lacks the measurables most people like. I expect his floor to be Earl Bennett and ceiling Marvin Harrison. To be homer'esque if you look at his tape, he plays a lot like Jerry Rice :homer:
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Post-combine update:

6 WRs in this year's class stuck out for their productivity in college, but 5 of the 6 put up pedestrian numbers at the combine (only Tavon Austin excelled). I suspect that being a successful WR requires both a certain amount of skill (which should come through in college stats) and a certain amount of athleticism/explosiveness (which should come through in combine drills - particularly the 40, vertical, and broad jump), which is bad news for this year's WR crop - only 1 guy stands out on both measures.

The easiest way to show that information is probably with a picture. High scores on the x-dimension (being on the right rather than the left) represent good college stats (based on Career Score, and high scores on the y-dimension (being up rather than down) represent good combine numbers on the 40 & the jumps. Each player is shown by their initials. The axes roughly indicate average numbers for a combine participant.

You can see Tavon Austin (TA) all alone in the upper right, as the only player with elite numbers both in college and at the combine. Marquise Goodwin is in the upper left as the combine standout with bad college stats, while Terrance Williams and Stedman Bailey are essentially on top of each other at the far right with great college stats but mediocre combine numbers. To their left, with somewhat less impressive college stats, are Quinton Patton, Marquess Wilson, and DeAndre Hopkins. Also in or near the upper right quadrant are (top to bottom) Ryan Swope, Justin Hunter, Josh Boyce, Markus Wheaton, Mark Harrison, Da'Rick Rogers, and Tavarres King. Cordarrelle Patterson is just to the left of those guys (worse college stats), and Keenan Allen is not shown since he didn't participate in the combine drills.

How does this compare to the 20 guys who have turned out to be successful NFL wide receivers? 17 of the 20 performed at either the combine or their pro day (Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Michael Crabtree did not), and here's a graph of those 17 (with their initials in parentheses, for reasons that will quickly become apparent, and an asterisk for Pro Day numbers). You can see that they're almost all in the upper right quadrant or on the edge of it, with only Antonio Brown and Steve Johnson down below, and Randall Cobb near the origin.

Putting both groups of WRs on the same graph, you can see a large region of the upper right quadrant that is full of the successful NFL WRs (in parentheses) with almost no one from this year's class. Almost all of the successful NFL receivers did better at the combine than Williams, Bailey, Patton, and Hopkins. Marquess Wilson is right around the lower cutoff of where the bulk of successful WRs have come from (he's also essentially directly to the right of Hakeem Nicks & Dwayne Bowe). Almost all of the successful NFL receivers had better college stats than the cluster of six (Swope, Hunter, Boyce, Wheaton, Harrison, Rogers), although Julio Jones and Torrey Smith are basically near that cluster (and just slightly better on one dimension or the other).

Tavon Austin is the only prospect this year who is deep into the territory marked off by the guys in parentheses; about a dozen other players are around the edges. So, going just by this graph, I'd say that there is one amazing prospect and 12 borderline prospects with significant questions (with Justin Hunter, Stedman Bailey, Terrance Williams, Marquess Wilson, and Ryan Swope looking like the most promising of the 12). Of course that is leaving out a lot of information (tape analysis, size, various reasons for lack of college production, etc.). Both Cordarrelle Patterson and Keenan Allen are absent from that set of 13 prospects (at least until Allen's Pro Day).

Here are the raw numbers. "Stats" are an updated version of the college performance career score that I gave in a previous post, with the axis at a score of 5.0. "Combine" is based on a combination of 40 time, vertical, and broad jump which is designed to have an average close to zero among all WRs at the combine (around 4.51 40, 35.5" vertical, and 10'0" broad jump). They are sorted based on a combination of the two numbers, roughly from best (upper right corner of the graph) to worst (lower left):

Init.	Player			Stats	Combine(JB*)	Justin Blackmon		24.1	0.4(TH*)	T.Y. Hilton		13.5	1.1(DB*)	Dez Bryant		20.2	0.6(PH)	Percy Harvin		11.4	1.2(CJ)	Calvin Johnson		9.1	1.5(JM)	Jeremy Maclin		11.0	0.6(TS)	Torrey Smith		7.1	1.2(MW)	Mike Wallace		4.6	2.0	Michael Crabtree	16.2	(JJ)	Julio Jones		5.3	1.4(KB)	Kenny Britt		10.3	0.4(AG)	AJ Green		9.3	0.4	Demaryius Thomas	13.4	(HN)	Hakeem Nicks		9.0	0.1(JN)	Jordy Nelson		10.5	-0.1(DB)	Dwayne Bowe		8.0	0.1	Eric Decker		7.4	(RC)	Randall Cobb		5.2	0.1(SJ)	Steve Johnson		4.7	-0.5(AB)	Antonio Brown		5.2	-0.8TA	Tavon Austin		15.3	1.3JH	Justin Hunter		6.1	1.3SB	Stedman Bailey		19.7	-0.2TW	Terrance Williams	19.7	-0.2RS	Ryan Swope		4.8	1.3MW	Marquess Wilson		12.2	0.1MH	Mark Harrison		5.8	0.8TK	Tavarres King		6.8	0.4MW	Markus Wheaton		5.3	0.8JB	Josh Boyce		4.6	1.2QP	Quinton Patton		13.0	-0.3DH	DeAndre Hopkins		11.8	-0.4DR	DaRick Rogers		4.2	0.6RW	Robert Woods		6.7	-0.2	Keenan Allen		4.1	CP	Cordarrelle Patterson	2.4	1.0CF	Corey Fuller		1.7	0.7MD	Marcus Davis		2.1	0.3CH	Cobi Hamilton		4.4	-1.1KS	Kenny Stills		0.3	0.9DJ	Darius Johnson		3.2	-1.0AL	Alec Lemon		2.7	-0.9CV	Conner Vernon		2.1	-1.0CH	Chris Harper		-1.9	-0.3RS	Rodney Smith		-3.6	0.4MG	Marquise Goodwin	-6.2	2.3AS	Ace Sanders		-3.4	-0.7
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  • 2 weeks later...

Time to dig deeper and look back at some previous draft classes. There are a lot of young WR prospects who could still break out.

Here is last year's draft class, sorted by college production (what I've been calling "Career Score"). Recall that, of the 20 successful NFL WRs that I looked at, every one had at least a 4 on this measure and more than half had a 9 or better.

23.7	Oklahoma State	Justin Blackmon14.4	Baylor		Kendall Wright14.1	Oklahoma	Ryan Broyles13.4	Florida Int	T.Y. Hilton9.7	Georgia Tech	Stephen Hill9.3	South Carolina	Alshon Jeffery8.9	Arizona		Juron Criner8.3	Notre Dame	Michael Floyd8.2	North Carolina	Dwight Jones7.8	Ohio		LaVon Brazill7.7	Iowa		Marvin McNutt7.5	Arkansas	Jarius Wright7.3	Michigan State	B.J. Cunningham7.3	Wake Forest	Chris Givens7.2	Nevada		Rishard Matthews6.6	Illinois	A.J. Jenkins6.4	East Carolina	Lance Lewis5.7	LSU		Rueben Randle4.7	Wisconsin	Nick Toon4.7	Virginia Tech	Jarrett Boykin3.4	Arkansas	Greg Childs2.9	Miami-FL	Tommy Streeter2.1	Michigan	Junior Hemingway1.8	NC State	T.J. Graham1.7	Ohio State	DeVier Posey1.1	Temple		Rod Streater1.0	Stanford	Chris Owusu1.0	Miami-FL	Travis Benjamin1.0	Arkansas	Joe Adams0.2	California	Marvin Jones0.0	Baylor		Josh Gordon-0.1	Virginia Tech	Danny Coale-0.8	SMU		Cole Beasley-1.2	Rutgers		Mohamed Sanu-1.3	Michigan State	Keshawn Martin-2.3	Fresno State	Devon Wylie
This suggests that Broyles, Hill, and Jeffery could be buys, and maybe Criner & Floyd. But probably stay away from Martin, Sanu, Marvin Jones, Streater, Posey, and Graham. Childs & Gordon get asterisks since they didn't have much chance to show what they could do in college.

Going back to the 2011 draft class:

15.8	Hawaii		Greg Salas14.5	San Diego State	Vincent Brown13.2	Boise State	Titus Young12.8	UTEP		Kris Adams12.8	SMU		Aldrick Robinson8.9	Georgia		AJ Green8.5	Pittsburgh	Jonathan Baldwin8.0	Tennessee	Denarius Moore7.6	Maryland	Torrey Smith6.9	Hawaii		Kealoha Pilares6.9	Miami-FL	Leonard Hankerson6.4	Auburn		Darvin Adams5.7	Kentucky	Randall Cobb5.7	Cincinnati	Armon Binns5.7	Ohio State	Dane Sanzenbacher5.4	Alabama		Julio Jones3.5	Boise State	Austin Pettis2.7	Stanford	Doug Baldwin2.4	East Carolina	Dwayne Harris1.2	Stanford	Ryan Whalen0.6	Georgia		Kris Durham0.3	Troy		Jerrel Jernigan-0.1	Indiana		Tandon Doss-0.3	Colorado	Scotty McKnight-0.5	Nebraska	Niles Paul-1.2	TCU		Jeremy Kerley-1.3	North Carolina	Greg Little
If Titus Young or Jonathan Baldwin gets another chance in the NFL, then you may want to give them another chance in fantasy too. Asterisk for Little.

Class of 2010:

18.9	Oklahoma State	Dez Bryant17.2	Notre Dame	Golden Tate16.0	Kansas		Dezmon Briscoe13.3	Missouri	Danario Alexander13.1	Georgia Tech	Demaryius Thomas10.0	Cincinnati	Marshwan Gilyard8.0	Texas		Jordan Shipley8.0	SMU		Emmanuel Sanders8.0	Buffalo		Naaman Roosevelt6.8	Idaho		Max Komar6.7	Syracuse	Mike Williams6.3	Toledo		Stephen Williams6.2	Arkansas	Damian Williams5.5	Minnesota	Eric Decker5.2	Cent Michigan	Antonio Brown3.6	Connecticut	Marcus Easley3.3	Florida		Riley Cooper2.9	Illinois	Arrelious Benn2.7	LSU		Brandon LaFell2.3	Michigan State	Blair White2.1	Utah		David Reed1.6	Arizona State	Kyle Williams1.1	Fresno State	Seyi Ajirotutu1.1	Fresno State	Marlon Moore0.4	Kansas		Kerry Meier0.1	Ole Miss	Dexter McCluster-0.3	South Florida	Carlton Mitchell-0.8	Ohio		Taylor Price-0.8	Baylor		David Gettis-1.0	Fresno State	Chastin West-1.0	Clemson		Jacoby Ford
Some interesting names near the top in Tate, Alexander, and Sanders, to go along with the obvious studs. Asterisk for McCluster. If I'd done this analysis sooner I could've freed up a roster spot instead of carrying Kyle Williams around.

2009:

16.2	Texas Tech	Michael Crabtree15.2	Rice		Jarett Dillard11.2	Florida		Percy Harvin11.0	Missouri	Jeremy Maclin10.3	BYU		Austin Collie10.3	Rutgers		Kenny Britt9.0	North Carolina	Hakeem Nicks8.4	Nevada		Marko Mitchell5.5	Oklahoma	Juaquin Iglesias5.5	Ohio State	Brian Robiskie4.3	Texas		Quan Cosby4.2	Ole Miss	Mike Wallace4.1	Oregon State	Sammie Stroughter3.4	Arizona		Michael Thomas3.0	Georgia		Mohamed Massaquoi2.8	Rutgers		Tiquan Underwood2.4	South Carolina	Kenny McKinley2.1	USC		Patrick Turner1.1	Penn State	Deon Butler0.1	North Carolina	Brandon Tate0.1	LSU		Demetrius Byrd-0.1	Florida		Louis Murphy-1.1	Northwestern	Eric Peterman-1.2	Maryland	Darrius Heyward-Bey-2.2	North Carolina	Brooks Foster-2.2	Virginia	Kevin Ogletree-2.5	Ohio State	Brian Hartline-3.4	Penn State	Derrick Williams-5.2	Florida State	Preston Parker
Quite a receiver class, as you can see by looking at the top of this list. If only Britt & Collie could stay healthy.

Some may consider DHB to be a bust, but he has had one of the better careers among WRs who scored below 4.0 on this metric. Although he may be topped by the guy a few spots below him, Brian Hartline. Going back to the class of 2007, receivers with a score below 4.0 have combined for a total of four 1000-yard seasons. Hartline has one of them; the other 3 belong to Sidney Rice, Steve Smith (USC), and Steve Breaston. DHB and Eddie Royal join the club if you reduce the cutoff to 900 yards, and Danny Amendola has a good chance to join it this year.

Two more draft classes, shared without comment (note that these are only based on their college numbers from 2005-2007, since I'm missing all college seasons before 2005).

2008:

11.8	Louisville	Harry Douglas9.2	Kansas State	Jordy Nelson8.4	Michigan	Mario Manningham8.1	California	DeSean Jackson6.1	Houston		Donnie Avery5.9	Oklahoma	Malcolm Kelly5.6	Arkansas	Marcus Monk5.5	Indiana		James Hardy5.4	Michigan State	Devin Thomas4.7	Kentucky	Steve Johnson4.4	Texas		Limas Sweed4.3	Hawaii		Davone Bess3.5	Kentucky	Keenan Burton3.2	San Diego State	Chazeray Schilens2.6	Vanderbilt	Earl Bennett1.4	LSU		Early Doucet1.0	UAB		Joe Webb0.9	New Mexico	Marcus Smith0.9	Missouri	William Franklin0.9	Michigan	Adrian Arrington0.8	San Diego State	Brett Swain0.4	Wake Forest	Kenneth Moore0.2	Florida		Andre Caldwell0.0	California	Lavelle Hawkins-0.9	Virginia Tech	Eddie Royal-1.4	Texas Tech	Danny Amendola

2007:

10.7	UTEP		Johnnie Lee Higgins, Jr.9.1	Georgia Tech	Calvin Johnson7.4	Tennessee	Robert Meachem6.6	LSU		Dwayne Bowe5.4	San Jose State	James Jones3.6	South Carolina	Sidney Rice3.5	San Jose State	John Broussard3.0	USC		Steve Smith2.6	USC		Dwayne Jarrett2.4	Miami-OH	Ryne Robinson2.1	Central Florida	Mike Walker1.8	Ohio State	Ted Ginn Jr.1.2	Clemson		Chansi Stuckey1.1	Auburn		Courtney Taylor1.0	Ohio State	Anthony Gonzalez0.3	LSU		Craig Davis0.0	Boise State	Legedu Naanee-0.5	Michigan	Steve Breaston-1.0	Florida State	Chris Davis-1.3	Washington St	Jason Hill-1.5	East Carolina	Aundrae Allison-2.0	Virginia Tech	David Clowney-2.4	Arizona		Syndric Steptoe-3.7	Kansas State	Yamon Figurs-5.9	Fresno State	Paul Williams-6.7	Ohio State	Roy Hall
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Here's another way to present some of those numbers. Sorted by draft spot, here is every receiver drafted in the first five rounds, 2007-2012, whose college production rated below a 4.0 (Career Score):

7	Darrius Heyward-Bey9	Ted Ginn Jr.30	Craig Davis32	Anthony Gonzalez36	Dexter McCluster *38	Josh Gordon *39	Arrelious Benn42	Eddie Royal44	Sidney Rice45	Dwayne Jarrett50	Mohamed Massaquoi51	Steve Smith59	Greg Little *68	DeVier Posey69	T.J. Graham70	Earl Bennett74	Yamon Figurs76	Jason Hill78	Brandon LaFell78	Austin Pettis79	Mike Walker80	Paul Williams81	Early Doucet82	Derrick Williams83	Mohamed Sanu83	Brandon Tate83	Jerrel Jernigan87	Patrick Turner90	Taylor Price91	Deon Butler97	Andre Caldwell100	Travis Benjamin104	Joe Adams105	William Franklin106	Marcus Smith107	Devon Wylie107	Kris Durham107	Michael Thomas107	Marcus Easley108	Brian Hartline108	Jacoby Ford118	Ryne Robinson121	Keshawn Martin123	Tandon Doss124	Louis Murphy126	Lavelle Hawkins128	Chris Davis128	Keenan Burton134	Greg Childs *136	Kenneth Moore141	Kenny McKinley142	Steve Breaston146	Aundrae Allison152	Danny Coale153	Jeremy Kerley155	Niles Paul156	David Reed157	David Clowney159	Riley Cooper160	Brooks Foster165	Kerry Meier166	Marvin Jones169	Roy Hall172	Legedu Naanee
* for the guys who had a good excuse for their lack of production (like a position change or an injury).

Not a lot of happy names on that list - a few who flashed briefly, a couple where you can blame injuries (Sidney Rice, Steve Smith), and some who are young enough to still have some promise.

Cordarelle Patterson (with an asterisk), Aaron Dobson, Marquise Goodwin, Kenny Stills, Chris Harper, and Conner Vernon are projected to join this list next month. Keenan Allen will just miss out, since his rating is now a 4.1 after a bit of fiddling with the formula (to deal better with players who missed some games).

And here are the players who rated an 8.0 or better:

2	Calvin Johnson4	AJ Green5	Justin Blackmon10	Michael Crabtree13	Michael Floyd19	Jeremy Maclin20	Kendall Wright22	Demaryius Thomas22	Percy Harvin24	Dez Bryant26	Jonathan Baldwin29	Hakeem Nicks30	Kenny Britt36	Jordy Nelson43	Stephen Hill44	Titus Young45	Alshon Jeffery49	DeSean Jackson54	Ryan Broyles60	Golden Tate82	Vincent Brown82	Emmanuel Sanders84	Harry Douglas84	Jordan Shipley92	T.Y. Hilton95	Mario Manningham99	Johnnie Lee Higgins, Jr.99	Marshwan Gilyard112	Greg Salas127	Austin Collie144	Jarett Dillard148	Denarius Moore168	Juron Criner
Much better.

Tavon Austin, DeAndre Hopkins, Quinton Patton, Terrance Williams, Stedman Bailey, and Marquess Wilson will join this list (assuming they're drafted).

For thoroughness, here are the last two groups. Scores of 4.0-8.0:

6	Julio Jones23	Dwayne Bowe27	Robert Meachem30	A.J. Jenkins33	Donnie Avery34	Devin Thomas36	Brian Robiskie41	James Hardy51	Malcolm Kelly53	Limas Sweed58	Torrey Smith63	Rueben Randle64	Randall Cobb77	Damian Williams78	James Jones79	Leonard Hankerson84	Mike Wallace87	Eric Decker96	Chris Givens99	Juaquin Iglesias101	Mike Williams118	Jarius Wright122	Nick Toon132	Kealoha Pilares
This fits in between the first two. Although after the first round and a half, it might be as good as the 8+ guys.

Finally, the small school guys who I don't have numbers for:

46	Jerome Simpson58	Dexter Jackson73	Jacoby Jones75	Laurent Robinson85	Ramses Barden88	Andre Roberts89	Armanti Edwards111	Clyde Gates114	Cecil Shorts125	Arman Shields140	Johnny Knox153	Matt Slater
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Not sure if it was already mentioned but I didn't not see Quick's score on your graph. Was he above the 4.0 cutoff? Interested in your thoughts on him.

Appalachian State - don't have his data. He should be in that last list, along with his fellow Mountaineers Dexter Jackson and Armanti Edwards.
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This analysis doesn't provide all that much guidance in terms of who to like in this year's draft class, since Austin is the only WR who profiles well in terms of both college stats and combine drills (and that's before taking his size into account). It agrees with conventional wisdom that this class is weak at the top but has a lot of depth in the second tier. It actually goes even further in that direction than most people by doubting Patterson and Allen, who are widely seen as first round talents.

If you can afford to wait until after the NFL draft, my inclination is to use draft order as the starting point, and then make adjustments based on this analysis:

Set 1: Expected performance better than their NFL draft position

Tavon Austin

Marquess Wilson

Justin Hunter

Stedman Bailey

Terrance Williams

Set 2: Expected performance similar to their NFL draft position

Quinton Patton

DeAndre Hopkins

Ryan Swope

Mark Harrison

Tavarres King

Markus Wheaton

Josh Boyce

Da'Rick Rogers

Set 3: Expected performance worse than their NFL draft position

Robert Woods

Keenan Allen

Cordarrelle Patterson

Cobi Hamilton

Set 4: Fliers at best

Corey Fuller

Marcus Davis

Kenny Stills

Darius Johnson

Alec Lemon

Conner Vernon

Chris Harper

Rodney Smith

Marquise Goodwin

Ace Sanders

When making post-draft adjustments for situation, I think that having a great QB could be especially important for Stedman Bailey, Terrance Williams, Quinton Patton, and DeAndre Hopkins. They have the college production without the athleticism, which suggests that they could benefit a lot by being in an offense which can sustain more than one viable fantasy WR.

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FWIW, I did a study going back to 2000, around 400 drafted WRs and the team QB rank in Y-1 of the team that drafted them. No real impact on their fantasy production in Y1-3. That was surprising to me as the general mindset is that a good QB helps....

I'd predict that being drafted to a top passing offense with an elite QB is a significant advantage, but going to a bad passing offense is not much of a disadvantage. Being on a bad passing offense is not a stable situation, since bad offenses make changes (like replacing their QB), but having an elite QB is a relatively stable situation.
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FWIW, I did a study going back to 2000, around 400 drafted WRs and the team QB rank in Y-1 of the team that drafted them. No real impact on their fantasy production in Y1-3. That was surprising to me as the general mindset is that a good QB helps....

I'd predict that being drafted to a top passing offense with an elite QB is a significant advantage, but going to a bad passing offense is not much of a disadvantage. Being on a bad passing offense is not a stable situation, since bad offenses make changes (like replacing their QB), but having an elite QB is a relatively stable situation.
Trust me, I thought the same thing going in, but not the case. No real impact on their future FF impact.
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FWIW, I did a study going back to 2000, around 400 drafted WRs and the team QB rank in Y-1 of the team that drafted them. No real impact on their fantasy production in Y1-3. That was surprising to me as the general mindset is that a good QB helps....

I'd predict that being drafted to a top passing offense with an elite QB is a significant advantage, but going to a bad passing offense is not much of a disadvantage. Being on a bad passing offense is not a stable situation, since bad offenses make changes (like replacing their QB), but having an elite QB is a relatively stable situation.
Trust me, I thought the same thing going in, but not the case. No real impact on their future FF impact.
I hadn't looked at this, but I'm not surprised. Maybe we should call it the 'Cecil Shorts' rule?It actually ties in with the argument I was making about Keenan Allen in the prospects thread -- QBs are responsible for getting the ball to a WR, but WRs are mostly responsible for what happens after the ball is in their hands.
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FWIW, I did a study going back to 2000, around 400 drafted WRs and the team QB rank in Y-1 of the team that drafted them. No real impact on their fantasy production in Y1-3. That was surprising to me as the general mindset is that a good QB helps....

I'd predict that being drafted to a top passing offense with an elite QB is a significant advantage, but going to a bad passing offense is not much of a disadvantage. Being on a bad passing offense is not a stable situation, since bad offenses make changes (like replacing their QB), but having an elite QB is a relatively stable situation.
I think the problem is that elite QBs tend to already have quality WRs, or be adept at getting quality production out of the WRs they already have. If Stedman Bailey winds up with Peyton Manning, for instance... how well is he going to do in the next three years sitting behind Demaryius, Welker, and Decker for a substantial portion? Or if he winds up with Aaron Rodgers, he's fighting for targets with Nelson, Cobb, Jones, and Finley. Tom Brady already has Gronk, Hernandez, and Amendola. Drew Brees arguably has the least imposing set of targets, but even he already has Jimmy Graham, Marquess Colston, Lance Moore, Darren Sproles, and a handful of quality 3rd or 4th targets fighting it out for 5th billing. The league's elite QBs tend to have STACKED WR corps. Obviously a huge argument could still be had about correlation and causation, but the fact remains that over the last decade or so, getting paired with an elite QB also meant starting way down the totem pole and having to fight and claw your way up. On the other hand, just as it's hard to find an elite QB without a stacked receiver depth chart, it's equally hard to find a stacked receiver depth chart without an elite QB already attached, which means when you get drafted into a bad passing offense, you can count on being proportionately a much larger piece of that pie.At first blush it seems counterintuitive, but on second thought, I can definitely get behind the theory that situation doesn't matter for rookie WRs (in their first 3 years- after 3 years, those depth charts for the elite QBs tend to thin out and you're left with a guy like Reggie Wayne in Indy. It's looking like Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson are also joining that list in GB- high draft picks who took several years to fight up the depth chart, but seem poised to pay large dividends going forward now that they have).
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  • 1 month later...

I added in the counts for receiving touchdowns and long receiving plays (I went with 30+ yarders & 40+ yarders) for the 2012 season. Combining those stats (similarly rescaled) with the Rating I made up before (using the yards & targets data) gives a new rating, which I'll call "Score" since I already used "Rating". (I should work on this naming scheme.) The stats that go into this Score are:Receiving TDs per game30+ yard receptions per game40+ yard receptions per gameReceiving yards per targetReceiving yards per team pass attempt (adjusted upward for guys who missed games)Receiving yards (adjusted upward for guys who missed games)With a roughly equal weighting between the three parts: TDs, long receptions, and receiving yards.Here are the top 30 receivers from this season according to this number (note that "Score" and "Rating" are on different scales, and thus not directly comparable):

Score	Rating	Player			Team		Yr	Games	Tar	Rec	Yd	Yd/Tar	Yd/Pass	TD	30+ Rec	40+ Rec17.59	7.43	Terrance Williams	Baylor		SR	13	151	97	1832	12.1	4.1	12	22	1416.12	5.42	Stedman Bailey		West Virginia	JR	13	146	113	1627	11.1	3.1	25	16	713.75	6.20	Marqise Lee		USC		SO	13	168	118	1721	10.2	4.1	14	13	1112.39	4.77	DeAndre Hopkins		Clemson		JR	13	128	82	1405	11.0	3.1	18	13	711.04	3.76	Robert Herron		Wyoming		JR	8	51	31	657	12.9	1.7	8	8	710.15	3.01	Quinton Patton		Louisiana Tech	SR	12	157	103	1383	8.8	2.7	13	12	99.27	3.46	Austin Franklin		New Mexico St	SO	12	139	74	1245	9.0	3.3	9	14	98.70	4.49	Austin Hill		Arizona		SO	13	118	81	1364	11.6	2.7	11	12	68.63	2.64	Tavon Austin		West Virginia	SR	13	142	111	1287	9.1	2.5	12	13	98.01	2.78	Davante Adams		Fresno State	FR	13	146	102	1312	9.0	2.6	14	11	67.58	3.32	Alex Neutz		Buffalo		JR	11	118	65	1070	9.1	3.0	11	9	47.53	4.80	Amari Cooper		Alabama		FR	14	76	58	999	13.1	3.2	11	9	67.38	4.16	Tavarres King		Georgia		SR	14	68	42	950	14.0	2.5	9	12	86.77	1.60	Nick Harwell		Miami-OH	JR	9	110	68	870	7.9	1.9	8	9	56.61	3.66	A.J. Barker		Minnesota	JR	8	46	30	577	12.5	1.9	7	5	36.12	4.80	Jordan Matthews		Vanderbilt	JR	13	139	94	1323	9.5	4.0	8	8	56.10	2.39	Tevin Reese		Baylor		JR	13	85	53	957	11.3	2.1	9	11	85.75	2.27	Donte Moncrief		Ole Miss	SO	13	102	66	979	9.6	2.6	10	11	65.70	2.69	Jordan Leslie		UTEP		SO	12	95	51	973	10.2	2.7	6	13	75.68	4.55	Noel Grigsby		San Jose State	JR	13	112	82	1306	11.7	2.9	9	8	35.61	2.37	Martel Moore		Nor. Illinois	SR	14	121	75	1083	9.0	2.8	13	9	55.27	3.77	Brandin Cooks		Oregon State	SO	13	97	68	1160	12.0	2.5	5	10	95.11	2.10	Chip Reeves		Troy		SR	12	104	65	1050	10.1	2.2	6	13	74.95	2.67	Mike Davis		Texas		JR	13	86	57	939	10.9	2.5	7	11	74.91	1.10	Allen Robinson		Penn State	SO	12	126	77	1018	8.1	2.3	11	9	54.72	2.54	Markus Wheaton		Oregon State	SR	13	140	90	1235	8.8	2.6	11	7	44.60	2.14	Chad Bumphis		Mississippi St	SR	13	87	58	922	10.6	2.3	12	5	54.46	3.65	Cobi Hamilton		Arkansas	SR	12	141	88	1321	9.4	3.1	5	9	64.40	3.48	Stefon Diggs		Maryland	FR	11	80	54	848	10.6	3.0	6	6	54.12	1.48	Justin Hunter		Tennessee	JR	12	132	73	1083	8.2	2.4	9	7	6
Da'Rick Rogers's 2011 would sneak in near the bottom of this list with a 4.79, just ahead of Markus Wheaton. Players scoring below zero (which still represents something like "average college WR1") include Robert Woods (-.02), Sammy Watkins, Cordarrelle Patterson (-1.15), Chris Harper, Emory Blake, Ace Sanders, Aaron Dobson (-4.85), and Marquise Goodwin (-9.70).I still haven't included rushing & return plays, which would probably allow Tavon to top the other Austins and bring Patterson out of the negatives.

Thoughts on this after the draft?

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I added in the counts for receiving touchdowns and long receiving plays (I went with 30+ yarders & 40+ yarders) for the 2012 season. Combining those stats (similarly rescaled) with the Rating I made up before (using the yards & targets data) gives a new rating, which I'll call "Score" since I already used "Rating". (I should work on this naming scheme.) The stats that go into this Score are:

Receiving TDs per game

30+ yard receptions per game

40+ yard receptions per game

Receiving yards per target

Receiving yards per team pass attempt (adjusted upward for guys who missed games)

Receiving yards (adjusted upward for guys who missed games)

With a roughly equal weighting between the three parts: TDs, long receptions, and receiving yards.

Here are the top 30 receivers from this season according to this number (note that "Score" and "Rating" are on different scales, and thus not directly comparable):

Score	Rating	Player			Team		Yr	Games	Tar	Rec	Yd	Yd/Tar	Yd/Pass	TD	30+ Rec	40+ Rec17.59	7.43	Terrance Williams	Baylor		SR	13	151	97	1832	12.1	4.1	12	22	1416.12	5.42	Stedman Bailey		West Virginia	JR	13	146	113	1627	11.1	3.1	25	16	713.75	6.20	Marqise Lee		USC		SO	13	168	118	1721	10.2	4.1	14	13	1112.39	4.77	DeAndre Hopkins		Clemson		JR	13	128	82	1405	11.0	3.1	18	13	711.04	3.76	Robert Herron		Wyoming		JR	8	51	31	657	12.9	1.7	8	8	710.15	3.01	Quinton Patton		Louisiana Tech	SR	12	157	103	1383	8.8	2.7	13	12	99.27	3.46	Austin Franklin		New Mexico St	SO	12	139	74	1245	9.0	3.3	9	14	98.70	4.49	Austin Hill		Arizona		SO	13	118	81	1364	11.6	2.7	11	12	68.63	2.64	Tavon Austin		West Virginia	SR	13	142	111	1287	9.1	2.5	12	13	98.01	2.78	Davante Adams		Fresno State	FR	13	146	102	1312	9.0	2.6	14	11	67.58	3.32	Alex Neutz		Buffalo		JR	11	118	65	1070	9.1	3.0	11	9	47.53	4.80	Amari Cooper		Alabama		FR	14	76	58	999	13.1	3.2	11	9	67.38	4.16	Tavarres King		Georgia		SR	14	68	42	950	14.0	2.5	9	12	86.77	1.60	Nick Harwell		Miami-OH	JR	9	110	68	870	7.9	1.9	8	9	56.61	3.66	A.J. Barker		Minnesota	JR	8	46	30	577	12.5	1.9	7	5	36.12	4.80	Jordan Matthews		Vanderbilt	JR	13	139	94	1323	9.5	4.0	8	8	56.10	2.39	Tevin Reese		Baylor		JR	13	85	53	957	11.3	2.1	9	11	85.75	2.27	Donte Moncrief		Ole Miss	SO	13	102	66	979	9.6	2.6	10	11	65.70	2.69	Jordan Leslie		UTEP		SO	12	95	51	973	10.2	2.7	6	13	75.68	4.55	Noel Grigsby		San Jose State	JR	13	112	82	1306	11.7	2.9	9	8	35.61	2.37	Martel Moore		Nor. Illinois	SR	14	121	75	1083	9.0	2.8	13	9	55.27	3.77	Brandin Cooks		Oregon State	SO	13	97	68	1160	12.0	2.5	5	10	95.11	2.10	Chip Reeves		Troy		SR	12	104	65	1050	10.1	2.2	6	13	74.95	2.67	Mike Davis		Texas		JR	13	86	57	939	10.9	2.5	7	11	74.91	1.10	Allen Robinson		Penn State	SO	12	126	77	1018	8.1	2.3	11	9	54.72	2.54	Markus Wheaton		Oregon State	SR	13	140	90	1235	8.8	2.6	11	7	44.60	2.14	Chad Bumphis		Mississippi St	SR	13	87	58	922	10.6	2.3	12	5	54.46	3.65	Cobi Hamilton		Arkansas	SR	12	141	88	1321	9.4	3.1	5	9	64.40	3.48	Stefon Diggs		Maryland	FR	11	80	54	848	10.6	3.0	6	6	54.12	1.48	Justin Hunter		Tennessee	JR	12	132	73	1083	8.2	2.4	9	7	6
Da'Rick Rogers's 2011 would sneak in near the bottom of this list with a 4.79, just ahead of Markus Wheaton. Players scoring below zero (which still represents something like "average college WR1") include Robert Woods (-.02), Sammy Watkins, Cordarrelle Patterson (-1.15), Chris Harper, Emory Blake, Ace Sanders, Aaron Dobson (-4.85), and Marquise Goodwin (-9.70).

I still haven't included rushing & return plays, which would probably allow Tavon to top the other Austins and bring Patterson out of the negatives.

Thoughts on this after the draft?

I think I'd tier players based on draft order, with tier breaks after Austin (8), Hunter (34), and Bailey (92). Within tiers, shuffle players around based on the categories in this post, as well as situation and other information that wasn't already accounted for, like drop rate. It looks like Dobson & Goodwin are the only two players with bad college numbers to go in the first 3 rounds - my inclination is to drop Goodwin out of tier 3 but give the benefit of the doubt to Dobson and keep him in that tier, since there are a few factors in Dobson's favor (great offense, late 2nd round pick, low drop rate). From round 4 onwards, the guys to target as fliers are the ones in the top 2 categories in the post I linked, plus the guys who are in great situations.

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Thoughts on this after the draft?

I think I'd tier players based on draft order, with tier breaks after Austin (8), Hunter (34), and Bailey (92). Within tiers, shuffle players around based on the categories in this post, as well as situation and other information that wasn't already accounted for, like drop rate. It looks like Dobson & Goodwin are the only two players with bad college numbers to go in the first 3 rounds - my inclination is to drop Goodwin out of tier 3 but give the benefit of the doubt to Dobson and keep him in that tier, since there are a few factors in Dobson's favor (great offense, late 2nd round pick, low drop rate). From round 4 onwards, the guys to target as fliers are the ones in the top 2 categories in the post I linked, plus the guys who are in great situations.

Here are my rookie WR rankings. Draft order is weighted heavily, with adjustments based on the stuff I posted about here (college performance & combine numbers), situation (good passing offense & availability of major receiving roles), size & like role, reputation, and other stuff (e.g., data on drops). Reasons for thinking about a player differently than a typical WR with the same draft position are noted in parentheses.

8 Tavon Austin St. Louis Rams (high risk due to size)

27 DeAndre Hopkins Houston Texans (very solid profile)

29 Cordarrelle Patterson Minnesota Vikings (high risk, high upside)

34 Justin Hunter Tennessee Titans (high risk, high upside)

79 Markus Wheaton Pittsburgh Steelers (great situation)

74 Terrance Williams Dallas Cowboys (elite college performance, pretty good size, good situation)

41 Robert Woods Buffalo Bills (meh)

59 Aaron Dobson New England Patriots (great offense balances out lousy college performance)

76 Keenan Allen San Diego Chargers (the negatives balance out the hype)

92 Stedman Bailey St. Louis Rams (elite college performance, undersized)

102 Josh Boyce New England Patriots (great offense)

128 Quinton Patton San Francisco 49ers (elite college performance, undersized, lousy situation)

216 Charles Johnson Green Bay Packers (great situation, great athleticism, lots of hype)

und Da'Rick Rogers Buffalo Bills (high upside, character risk)

78 Marquise Goodwin Buffalo Bills (track guy who didn't do much on the football field)

123 Chris Harper Seattle Seahawks (meh)

171 Corey Fuller Detroit Lions (great situation)

144 Kenny Stills New Orleans Saints (great situation)

236 Marquess Wilson Chicago Bears (flashed some talent, skinny, character risk)

238 Aaron Mellette Baltimore Ravens (great situation, small school)

186 Justin Brown Pittsburgh Steelers (great situation)

161 Tavarres King Denver Broncos (good college performance but stuck down the depth chart; move him to the top of this tier if you have huge rosters)

224 Kevin Dorsey Green Bay Packers (if he beats out Charles Johnson, will any of the hype transfer?)

209 Brice Butler Oakland Raiders (wide-open situation)

und T.J. Moe New England Patriots (sorta fits the welker profile)

174 Ryan Swope Arizona Cardinals (bad situation, limited upside)

A lot depends on your league rules and roster sizes, but for me I consider everyone after Charles Johnson to be guys to stash during the offseason (if you have room) and cut when the season starts unless they've shown something by then. The guys ahead of him are probably worth hanging onto for at least a year to see what they can do.

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Looks pretty good.

I wonder how much Williams, Patton, and Bailey benefited from their offensive schemes and supporting cast in college. They all have the gaudy stats, but I think a lot of WRs could have put up similar numbers on those teams. Baylor, Louisiana Tech, and West Virginia ranked 3rd, 4th, and 6th in passing yards out of 100+ programs last year. Stick any of these receivers on a team like Stanford and he would've been lucky to crack 800 yards. If there's a big failing of these stats-based approaches it's that they don't adequately account for system, usage, and supporting cast. Thus a flawed prospect with decent skills can look like a big time playmaker just because he's in a spread offense with a QB chucking it all day.

When I look at Stedman Bailey, I see Mark Clayton and Ryan Broyles. Not a guy who has the tools to impose his will on the next level.

Dobson is really scary as well. Marshall lead the nation in passing and he still couldn't crack 700 yards on the season. :unsure: Smells like a bust.

On the flipside, I'm a lot higher on Chris Harper than I would be if I just looked at the numbers. He's a converted QB who has only been playing WR for three seasons after transferring from Oregon. His stats are modest, but he improved steadily. 50+ yards in 10 of his last 11 games. When you watch his game cuts, you can see his QB leaving lots of yards on the table by missing wide open throws. Put a couple of those on the money and he suddenly looks like a playmaker on paper. That's not something that shows up in the box score and I don't know that any of these approaches have found a satisfactory way to account for it.

In general, I think most of these objective approaches are prone to the same mistakes that humans make. Sometimes teams overvalue production with players who don't look the part physically (Stedman Bailey). Other times teams overvalue elite physical traits with players who have no football skills (Marquise Goodwin). If you limit your picks to the good athletes who also possess good football skills you'll have more success, but that's easier said than done because the numbers can so easily mislead.

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I think Charles Johnson is flying under the radar. His comps are insane and even if you apply a steep discount to those it leaves him in solid WR territory.

In terms of small school guys with strong profiles most of them took three or four years to break out -- Driver VJax, Garcon, Austin. Though Shorts did it in year two and Colston managed it as a rookie. So you never know.

Regardless, I've got him in all but one league now and will be holding him until he either breaks out or the Packers cut him.

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I think Charles Johnson is flying under the radar. His comps are insane and even if you apply a steep discount to those it leaves him in solid WR territory.

In terms of small school guys with strong profiles most of them took three or four years to break out -- Driver VJax, Garcon, Austin. Though Shorts did it in year two and Colston managed it as a rookie. So you never know.

Regardless, I've got him in all but one league now and will be holding him until he either breaks out or the Packers cut him.

And if we use explosion of 2.5+ (very Explosive) instead of footspeed to cut the list down instead:

  • Vincent Jackson
  • Calvin Johnson
  • Dez Bryant
  • Jonathan Baldwin
  • Julio Jones
  • Charles Johnson

With the exception of VJax, all of those guys were 1st round picks. Even a very raw VJax went it the 2nd round so I have to wonder what teams found lacking in Johnson's game that they all passed on him at least 6 times.

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I think Charles Johnson is flying under the radar. His comps are insane and even if you apply a steep discount to those it leaves him in solid WR territory.

In terms of small school guys with strong profiles most of them took three or four years to break out -- Driver VJax, Garcon, Austin. Though Shorts did it in year two and Colston managed it as a rookie. So you never know.

Regardless, I've got him in all but one league now and will be holding him until he either breaks out or the Packers cut him.

>

And if we use explosion of 2.5+ (very Explosive) instead of footspeed to cut the list down instead:

  • Vincent Jackson
  • Calvin Johnson
  • Dez Bryant
  • Jonathan Baldwin
  • Julio Jones
  • Charles Johnson

With the exception of VJax, all of those guys were 1st round picks. Even a very raw VJax went it the 2nd round so I have to wonder what teams found lacking in Johnson's game that they all passed on him at least 6 times.

Possibly that he was expelled from Eastern Kentucky, left Antelope CC and was out of football a year, then went to Grand Valley state and is entering the league at 24 years old.

Alternately, nothing except he went to a small school. Garcon was a 7th round pick. Colston was a 7th round pick. Austin was an UDFA. They just don't trust small school prospects.

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I think playing at a small school is definitely one of the ways to fly under the radar.

On the other hand, in recent years we've had Brian Quick, Clyde Gates, Andre Roberts, and Jerome Simpson picked pretty high. Maybe a few others that I'm forgetting.

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I think playing at a small school is definitely one of the ways to fly under the radar.

On the other hand, in recent years we've had Brian Quick, Clyde Gates, Andre Roberts, and Jerome Simpson picked pretty high. Maybe a few others that I'm forgetting.

IMO it's a bit early to write of Quick. The other guys though I'd agree with.

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I think playing at a small school is definitely one of the ways to fly under the radar.

On the other hand, in recent years we've had Brian Quick, Clyde Gates, Andre Roberts, and Jerome Simpson picked pretty high. Maybe a few others that I'm forgetting.

IMO it's a bit early to write of Quick. The other guys though I'd agree with.

Didn't mean it that way.

I actually think Roberts has molded himself into a quality NFL starter.

Just pointing out that teams do occasionally roll the dice on these guys in the top 100-120 picks.

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I think playing at a small school is definitely one of the ways to fly under the radar.

On the other hand, in recent years we've had Brian Quick, Clyde Gates, Andre Roberts, and Jerome Simpson picked pretty high. Maybe a few others that I'm forgetting.

I'm not saying everyone from a small school falls. But some of them do for no obvious reason.

I think Johnson's roundabout route to the NFL + small school pedigree might be enough in and of themselves. We have no way of knowing if there's something else going on. There could be.

If there's not though he's a great prospect considering you can get him in the third round of most drafts. I got stuck picking him early in one league, but in most of them I snagged him with late or very late picks. He's essentially zero risk (both NFL and FF).

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I would take a chance on him in the 30-40 range of a rookie draft based on his measurables.

I like him more than comparable 7th round WRs like Brice Butler and Kevin Dorsey because of the mystery/small school factor.

The flipside is that it's easier for these guys to dominate at the lower levels because the competition is so bad. I got duped by Clyde Gates a couple years back because he looked like the total package on paper.

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The flipside is that it's easier for these guys to dominate at the lower levels because the competition is so bad. I got duped by Clyde Gates a couple years back because he looked like the total package on paper.

FWIW, I do try to control for this. It's a lot less precise than measuring big-school peformance, but you can get in the right ballpark by discounting the stats of small school guys.

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The flipside is that it's easier for these guys to dominate at the lower levels because the competition is so bad. I got duped by Clyde Gates a couple years back because he looked like the total package on paper.

FWIW, I do try to control for this. It's a lot less precise than measuring big-school peformance, but you can get in the right ballpark by discounting the stats of small school guys.

How so?

I think if you could somehow normalize college level performance that would go a long way for being able to compare college production. As it is while I realize a player from a smaller school is more of a risk to succeed, at the same time if I see that player perform well against a big school and that player still performs well against them, without having a comparable supporting cast to counter that team being overall much better on defense. That shows me that the player belongs playing at a higher level than the school they are on. Then if a nfl team invests in that player, well that is even more proof that they think that player will be able to perform well at the Nfl level as well.

If this could somehow be balanced I would put more stock in college performance stats than I do now but as it is I am curious how you approached this problem?

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If this could somehow be balanced I would put more stock in college performance stats than I do now but as it is I am curious how you approached this problem?

I have a measure I use to compare WR performance that rolls things up into a single number. It's pretty straightforward, though there are some adjustments to it that aren't as obvious.

It turns out that if you compare that number for players across different divisions you get something like this...

There's basically no difference between BCS conference and non-BCS conference teams in D-I. In other words, if you're dealing with a team like Louisiana Tech you don't need to make any special allowances for the level of competition.

For playoff subdivision schools though you do need to account for level of competition by discounting that performance measure. Basically I just compared the average scores for big school and small school players and discovered that the average score was ~28% higher for small school players. Which is interesting because that yielded a virtually identical discount number as I got for RBs even though I worked them out separately - 78.2% for WRs and 77.7% for RBs (1/.78 = 1.28).

There's more randomness in that discounted number though -- you have to treat it with more skepticism than the big school measures.

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If this could somehow be balanced I would put more stock in college performance stats than I do now but as it is I am curious how you approached this problem?

I have a measure I use to compare WR performance that rolls things up into a single number. It's pretty straightforward, though there are some adjustments to it that aren't as obvious.

It turns out that if you compare that number for players across different divisions you get something like this...

There's basically no difference between BCS conference and non-BCS conference teams in D-I. In other words, if you're dealing with a team like Louisiana Tech you don't need to make any special allowances for the level of competition.

For playoff subdivision schools though you do need to account for level of competition by discounting that performance measure. Basically I just compared the average scores for big school and small school players and discovered that the average score was ~28% higher for small school players. Which is interesting because that yielded a virtually identical discount number as I got for RBs even though I worked them out separately - 78.2% for WRs and 77.7% for RBs (1/.78 = 1.28).

There's more randomness in that discounted number though -- you have to treat it with more skepticism than the big school measures.

Ok. Which schools are actually small time schools, which are big schools and what about the ones in between? How often does that fluctuate? Do you determine this by their recruiting?

What are the factors that go into the combined score?

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