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Brown was number one in 2014

Brown was number one in 2014

On Monday, I noted that Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown led the NFL in True Receiving Yards for the second straight season. He also, by the slimmest of margins, your leader in Adjusted Catch Yards per Attempt, too.

On October 1st, I looked at the leaders in Adjusted Catch Yards per Team Pass Attempt; at the time, Jordy Nelson had a big lead on the rest of the NFL, although Brown was in second place. You can read the fine details of the system in that post, but the short version is:

  • Begin with each player’s number of receiving yards. Add 9 yards for every first down gained, other than first downs that resulted in touchdowns, to which we add 20 yards. For Brown, this gives him 2,624 Adjusted Catch Yards (1,698 receiving yards, 87 first downs, 13 touchdowns).
  • Divide that number by the number of team pass attempts, including sacks, by that player’s offense. Pittsburgh recorded 645 dropbacks in 2014, which means Brown averaged 4.07 ACY/TmAtt. Jordy Nelson (1519/71/13) had 2,301 Adjusted Catch Yards and the Packers had 566 team pass attempts. That translates to .. 4.07 ACY/TmAtt, too. But go to three decimal places, and Brown (4.068 to 4.065) becomes your winner.
  • I have also included a column for Adjusted Catch Yards per Estimated Team Dropback; here, we use the same formula, but multiply the numerator by 16, and the denominator by the number of games played by the receiver. Let’s use Odell Beckham as an example. The Giants wide receiver finished with 1,959 ACY (1305/58/12) and New York had 637 dropbacks, giving Beckham 3.08 ACY/TmAtt. But if we adjust for the fact that Beckham missed four games, he gets credited with 4.10 ACY/EstTmAtt, which is the highest rate in the NFL.

The table below shows the top 50 receivers in ACY/TmAtt:

RkReceiverTmRecYardsTDFDACYTmAttACY/TmAttACY/EstTmAtt
1Antonio BrownPIT1291698138726246454.074.07
2Jordy NelsonGNB981519137123015664.074.07
3Dez BryantDAL881320166020365064.024.02
4Demaryius ThomasDEN1111619116923616243.783.78
5Randall CobbGNB911287127120585663.643.64
6Julio JonesATL104159367623436633.533.77
7DeAndre HopkinsHOU76121065717895113.53.5
8Emmanuel SandersDEN101140496921246243.43.4
9Odell BeckhamNYG911305125819596373.084.1
10Anquan BoldinSFO83106255616215393.013.01
11Golden TateDET99133146119246492.962.96
12Jeremy MaclinPHI851318105619326532.962.96
13T.Y. HiltonIND82134576419986902.93.09
14A.J. GreenCIN69104164615215262.893.56
15Rob GronkowskiNWE821124126017966352.833.02
16Andre JohnsonHOU8593635014195112.782.96
17Alshon JefferyCHI851133106017836502.742.74
18Mike EvansTAM681051124615975832.742.92
19Kelvin BenjaminCAR73100895215755872.682.68
20Steve SmithBAL79106564515365732.682.68
21Greg OlsenCAR84100865515695872.672.67
22Eric DeckerNYJ7496254714405452.642.82
23Calvin JohnsonDET71107785916966492.613.22
24DeSean JacksonWAS56116963715686052.592.76
25Vincent JacksonTAM70100225014745832.532.53
26Doug BaldwinSEA6682534312454962.512.51
27Travis KelceKAN6786254613315422.462.46
28Sammy WatkinsBUF6598264814806182.392.39
29Jason WittenDAL6470354811905062.352.35
30Brandon LaFellNWE7495375014806352.332.33
31Andrew HawkinsCLE6382424412425332.332.49
32Julian EdelmanNWE9297245014666352.312.64
33Mohamed SanuCIN5679053811875262.262.26
34Roddy WhiteATL8092175514936632.252.57
35Antonio GatesSDG69821124413496112.212.21
36Rueben RandleNYG7193834814036372.22.2
37Delanie WalkerTEN6389043412405632.22.35
38Mike WallaceMIA67862104713956412.182.18
39Jimmy GrahamNOR85889105414856892.162.16
40Torrey SmithBAL49767113812305732.152.15
41Martellus BennettCHI9091664313696502.112.11
42Dwayne BoweKAN6075404211325422.092.23
43Malcom FloydSDG5285663912736112.082.08
44Jordan MatthewsPHI6787284313476532.062.06
45Greg JenningsMIN5974264011685682.062.06
46Michael FloydARI4784163412135962.042.04
47Kenny StillsNOR6393134713876892.012.15
48Marques ColstonNOR5990254513626891.981.98
49Eddie RoyalSDG6277873912066111.971.97
50Jarvis LandryMIA8475855012636411.971.97
  • Dez Bryant really stands out in this metric, coming in third place and not too far behind Brown and Nelson.
  • Eric Decker had 962 yards, 47 first downs, and 5 touchdowns for 1,440 ACY. The Jets had 545 attempts, which means Decker averaged 2.82 ACY/EstTmAtt (given that Decker missed one full game (and parts of more than one full game), I think it makes more sense to grade him on ACY/EstTmAtt). In 2013, Decker had 1,288 yards, 63 first downs, and 11 touchdowns. That gave him 1,976 ACY; given that the Broncos had 695 dropbacks, Decker averaged … 2.84 ACY/EstTmAtt. That’s pretty interesting, given the dropoff from Peyton Manning to Geno Smith.
  • Compared to the True Receiving Yards list, DeAndre Hopkins moves up a bit, from 10th to 7th; of course, we give a “full” adjustment to players on run-heavy offenses here, compared to just 50% of that adjustment in True Receiving Yards. Similarly, Doug Baldwin jumps from 36th on Monday to 26th today.
  • Antonio Brown caught a first down on 13.5% of Pittsburgh’s dropbacks, or one out of every 7.4 times the Steelers went back to pass. Wow.
  • Calvin Johnson fared well in this category (11.2% of estimated team dropbacks), while Golden Tate (9.4%) struggled. That’s kind of interesting, given how Tate edged Johnson in most other metrics.
  • Among the top receivers, Jeremy Maclin had by far the worst percentage of first downs per estimated team pass attempt. For whatever reason, just 8.6% of Eagles pass attempts wound up being a first down to Maclin. The rest of the top 12 receivers in ACY/TmAtt converted first downs on 11.6% of their team’s estimated number of pass attempts. Unsurprisingly, another big outlier in this metric was DeSean Jackson, who had a pitiful 6.5% rate.

What do you think of this metric as a way to analyze wide receiver production?

  • I’m starting to worry that Antonio Brown is replacing Steve Smith in your heart, Chase.
    I don’t think Antonio Brown wears a Ric Flair robe, though.

    • It’s not my fault he keeps topping the charts!

  • Chris

    Have you considered using Per Routes Run like PFF?

    • Yes, I am on record as being a big proponent of that metric.

  • Neil Paine

    Yeah, but what was his QBWOWY? 🙂