In 2016, Odell Beckham gained 34% of all Giants receiving yards, the highest share in the NFL. For 31 of 32 teams, at least one player gained 20% of their team’s receiving yards, but for the Bills, Robert Woods led the team in receiving despite being responsible for only 19% of Buffalo’s receiving yards.
But since Drew Brees came to the Saints in 2006, no team has spread it around more than New Orleans. On average, Brees’ leading receiving has been responsible for only 22% of the Saints receiving yards each year. The table below shows the average percentage of team receiving yards gained by the top receiver (RB, WR, or TE) for each team in each season over the last 11 years. The Falcons, buoyed by long runs of success by Roddy White and then Julio Jones, have been the most WR1-heavy passing game, while the Saints have been the most diverse:
In yesterday’s post, I discussed how second-year wideout Michael Thomas is in a great position to produce monster stats. This appears to be the only thing holding him back: Brees has shown a consistent preference for spreading the ball around. The question now becomes whether or not the disparity between Thomas and the rest of the passing game is significant enough to change that equation.
Last year, Brandin Cooks was responsible for just 22.3% of the Saints receiving yards, which ranked 26th among all top receivers last year. In 2015, Cooks had 21.9% of the Saints receiving pie, which ranked 28th. The table below shows the percentage of the receiving pie, and where that ranked among the league as a whole, for the Saints top receiver in each year since 2006.
What do you think? Any other fun thoughts on what to do with this type of data, or other ways (better ways?) to measure how much quarterbacks spread it around?