Hey y’all, I wanted to come here to post an analysis on this year’s "Tier 1 WRs" that I did. I’m actually a Dolphins fan and did something similar last year for WRs due to our consistent need for a WR(posted on Finheaven.com somewhere), but I figured since I've heard a lot about you guys needing a wide receiver- I'd post it here too.
I went through these player’s games and marked down a variety of factors. I noted where they caught the ball, how many yards they picked up after the catch and more. Statistics don’t tell the whole story, but now when someone tells you that a certain wide receiver is a beast at picking up yards after the catch – you’ll know better. For the purposes of this post, I’ve considered the top 4 wide receivers as Keenan Allen, DeAndre Hopkins, Cordarrelle Patterson and Stedman Bailey (you’ll see why).
Where Are They Catching the Ball?
This represents what zones they caught the ball in, before yards after the catch. Unfortunately, I don’t have the exact routes or what side of the field they caught it on. That will have to wait until the next iteration of this.
Keenan Allen lives on the short passes. 63.3% of Allen’s passes were caught within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. Only 3.33% of his passes were past 20 yards. A low for all WRs I looked at. This may not be a bad thing if his yards after the catch are good.
Stedman Bailey’s game consisted of a lot of screens. Unlike Keenan Allen though, we see a much more distributed catching range. 18% of his passes were caught in the 11-20 yard range with 10.5% deep catches.
Surprisingly, Hopkins was a major deep threat. This surprised me because I thought of Hopkins as a guy who ran a lot of curls and mid-range outside routes. We see that 70% of his catches were past 6 yards. The highest in the major WRs for this class, excepting Terrance Williams
Patterson’s numbers are just interesting. We don’t see many passes caught past 20 yards, but 33% of his passes were caught in the 11-20 yard range. It’s like he decided to ignore catching the ball in the screen and 20+ yard game and just catch intermediate passes.
What’s Happening After the Catch?
This chart represents the yards from the LOS that they caught the ball before YAC and then the yardage after the catch in the second bar.
DeAndre Hopkins shows us how much deeper he caught the ball than the others. On average he caught the ball 12 yards from the LOS, before YAC.
Stedman Bailey’s yards after the catch is great. In this class, most WRs YAC hovers around 5.3-5.5 yards. Bailey’s is the highest at 6.24. Even though 33% of his catches were screens, having good yard after the catch skills makes it worthwhile.
Allen’s numbers are not so superb. On average he caught the ball 4.57 yards from the LOS. This is 3 yards lower than the next wide receiver (Quinton Patton). Plus his yards after the catch is simply average
How Did Their Systems Help/Hurt Them?
This one is going to require a little explaining. I didn’t just chart their catches, I charted every pass thrown to each wide receiver. In that, I was able to derive how often a QB targets his number one wide receiver and how often QBs miss their wide receiver. Thus I averaged out the percentage of targets, miss percentage, and average amount of throws per game, to give each WR the same amount of targets. Then I adjusted to see how their season numbers would have been, had they been in an average system
Patterson is helped by this the most, by far. First off, Tyler Bray was just bad in terms of missing his wide receivers. However, Patterson was also targeted far less than a normal number 1. Had he been targeted at the same rate, he would have gained 549 yards, for a season total of 1327 yards. There were certainly be no questions about his production with those numbers.
Bailey incidentally is hurt by this. This of course is due to the high powered passing offense of West Virginia. I don’t think this drops Bailey’s value at all, because he’d still have 1378 yards, but it shows you the influence of WV’s offense.
Hopkins numbers would be obscene with more targets. He’s looking at north of 1600 yards with more targets, this of course is due to his high average catch distance.
*One final note on all of this. I realize this is imperfect. Would Hopkins have been as much of a deep threat without Tajh Boyd? Thus if he had a different QB, would he have caught as many deep passes with more targets? Possibly. I’m trying to work on a way to solve this, but this is my first pass at the WRs.
I didn't want to make it too long (people stop reading after 1000 words and multiple charts), so there is more data/ charts on the site, like red zone yardage, yardage by down, yardage by quarter and drop percentage. You can find that here:http://secondroundstats.com/2013/02/04/tier1-wrs/
I hope y'all enjoyed and hope it helps you think about your decision in the upcoming draft.
I'll be posting a Tier 2 one later one my site, I've already got everything done for Wheaton, Williams, Patton and Hunter and that'll be up in a few days. I've been getting a lot of requests on some other places, so I'll probably also be doing Cobi Hamilton, Aaron Dobson, Robert Woods, and maybe one more.
If you liked this stuff and want to hear more like it, you can follow me on twitter at
I just started this up to post all my work online, so I'm trying to get the word out and get people to follow on twitter so they can keep up. I do work pretty much every day breaking down prospects and I'll be tweeting out interesting stats that I come across (today I found out Justin Hunter drops ~10% of his passes), future articles/ breakdowns (going to break down Tavon Austin individually), or let you know when I post new things (more WR posts/ DEs). Probably won't be tweets every 20 minutes, but the good stuff will get out there. Thanks and good luck this year!