≡ Menu

Over at Footballguys.com, I look at a different method to project receiving yards.

The number of receiving yards a player produces is the result of a large number of variables. Some of them, like the receiver’s ability, are pretty consistent from year to year. But other factors are less reliable, or less “sticky” from year to year. I thought it would be informative to look at three key variables that impact the number of yards a wide receiver gains and measure how “sticky” they are from year to year. These three variables are:

  • The number of pass attempts by his team;
  • The percentage of his team’s passes that go to him; and
  • The receiver’s average gain on passes that go to him.

We can redefine receiving yards to equal the following equation:

Receiving yards = Receiving Yards/Target x Targets/Team_Pass_Att x Team_Pass_Att.

You’ll notice that Targets and Team Pass Attempts are in both the numerator and denominator of one of the fractions, and they will cancel each other out: that’s why this formula is equivalent to receiving yards.

By breaking out receiving yards into these three variables, we can then examine the stickiness of each one, which should help our Year N+1 projections. Below are the best-fit equations for each of those variables in Year N+1:

Future Pass Attempts = 36 + (450 x Pass_Attempts/Play) + (0.255 x Offensive Plays)

Future Percentage of Targets = 6.2% + 71.3% x Past Percentage of Targets

Future Yards/Target = 5.5 + 0.29 x Past Yards/Targets

I then used those three equations to come up with a starting point for receiving yards projections for 28 wide receivers. You can read the full article here.