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Ranking wide receivers by percentage of team yards

Bambi shouldered much of the Chargers passing offense.

Bambi shouldered much of the Chargers passing offense.

Seven years ago, Doug wrote this post analyzing wide receivers by team receiving yards. That post was overdue for an update for three reasons: (1) it was written seven years ago; (2) Doug only went back to 1978, while we now can go back to 1932; and (3) I think using Adjusted Catch Yards (which gives receivers 5 additional yards for every reception and 20 additional yards for every touchdown) is better than just using receiving yards.

For every year of every receiver’s career, I computed the percentage of his team’s Adjusted Catch Yards that he accounted for. I then averaged together each receiver’s 6 best six seasons according to that metric, and ignored all wide receivers who have played in fewer than six seasons. The results are listed below for the 161 receivers to hit the 25% mark, along with the six years selected for each receiver. As always, you can use the search box to find your favorite receiver, and the table is sortable, too.

Rk
Name
Perc
Years
1Don Hutson49.11939-1941-1942-1943-1944-1945
2Jim Benton39.11938-1939-1944-1945-1946-1947
3Lance Alworth37.51963-1964-1965-1966-1968-1969
4Hugh Taylor36.21949-1950-1951-1952-1953-1954
5Michael Irvin35.71991-1992-1993-1994-1995-1997
6Steve Smith35.72003-2005-2006-2007-2008-2011
7Lionel Taylor35.21960-1961-1962-1963-1964-1965
8Billy Wilson34.91953-1954-1955-1956-1957-1959
9Jimmy Smith34.71997-1998-1999-2001-2002-2004
10Don Maynard34.51960-1962-1964-1965-1967-1968
11Billy Howton34.41952-1954-1955-1956-1957-1961
12Art Powell34.41960-1961-1962-1963-1964-1965
13Marvin Harrison34.31999-2000-2001-2002-2003-2006
14Jerry Rice34.21986-1988-1990-1993-1994-1995
15Herman Moore34.21993-1994-1995-1996-1997-1998
16Harold Jackson34.11969-1972-1973-1975-1976-1977
17Paul Warfield33.71964-1967-1968-1969-1971-1973
18Tim Brown33.31994-1995-1996-1997-1999-2000
19Randy Moss33.31999-2000-2001-2002-2003-2007
20Andre Johnson33.22003-2004-2006-2008-2009-2012
21Chad Ochocinco32.82003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2009
22Sterling Sharpe32.81989-1990-1991-1992-1993-1994
23Terrell Owens32.82000-2001-2002-2003-2006-2007
24Brandon Marshall32.72007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012
25Otis Taylor32.71966-1967-1969-1970-1971-1972
26Rod Smith32.41997-1998-2000-2001-2004-2005
27Hines Ward32.22001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2008
28Bob Hayes32.21965-1966-1967-1968-1970-1971
29Elbie Nickel32.11949-1950-1951-1952-1953-1954
30Ken Burrough31.91972-1975-1976-1977-1978-1979
31Roddy White31.82007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012
32Bobby Mitchell31.71960-1962-1963-1964-1965-1966
33James Lofton31.71978-1980-1981-1982-1984-1985
34Steve Largent31.61978-1979-1981-1983-1984-1985
35Max McGee31.61958-1959-1960-1961-1962-1963
36Joey Galloway31.51995-1996-1998-2002-2005-2006
37Harold Carmichael31.51973-1976-1977-1978-1979-1981
38John Gilliam31.41969-1970-1971-1972-1973-1975
39Raymond Berry31.31956-1957-1958-1959-1960-1961
40Alfred Jenkins31.21975-1976-1977-1979-1980-1981
41Cris Carter31.21991-1993-1995-1996-1997-2000
42Pete Pihos30.91948-1950-1951-1953-1954-1955
43Larry Fitzgerald30.92005-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011
44Joe Carter30.81933-1934-1935-1937-1938-1939
45Eric Moulds30.81998-1999-2000-2002-2004-2005
46Laveranues Coles30.82001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006
47Buddy Dial30.71959-1960-1961-1962-1963-1965
48Harlon Hill30.61954-1955-1956-1957-1958-1959
49Torry Holt30.62000-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007
50Sonny Randle30.61960-1961-1962-1963-1965-1967
51Tommy McDonald30.41959-1960-1961-1962-1963-1965
52Mac Speedie30.41946-1947-1948-1949-1950-1952
53Derrick Mason30.42001-2003-2004-2005-2007-2008
54Bob Chandler30.31972-1973-1975-1976-1977-1980
55Henry Ellard30.31985-1988-1989-1990-1993-1994
56Muhsin Muhammad30.21999-2000-2002-2004-2005-2008
57Keyshawn Johnson30.21998-1999-2000-2001-2002-2004
58Isaac Bruce30.21995-1996-1997-1999-2000-2004
59Joe Horn30.12000-2001-2002-2003-2004-2005
60Gene A. Washington30.11970-1971-1972-1974-1975-1977
61John Stallworth30.11977-1978-1979-1981-1984-1985
62Andre Rison301990-1991-1992-1993-1994-1997
63Del Shofner301958-1959-1961-1962-1963-1965
64Bill Smith301934-1935-1936-1937-1938-1939
65Roy Jefferson29.91966-1968-1969-1970-1971-1972
66Carroll Dale29.81963-1966-1968-1969-1970-1971
67Red Phillips29.81959-1960-1961-1962-1963-1966
68Cliff Branch29.71974-1975-1976-1977-1980-1982
69Anthony Miller29.71989-1990-1992-1993-1994-1995
70Dante Lavelli29.61946-1947-1950-1951-1953-1954
71Pete Retzlaff29.61958-1960-1963-1964-1965-1966
72Art Monk29.41980-1984-1985-1986-1989-1991
73Andre Reed29.31988-1989-1990-1991-1994-1996
74Gary Clark29.21985-1986-1987-1989-1990-1991
75Eric Martin29.11987-1988-1989-1990-1992-1993
76Gary Garrison29.11968-1969-1970-1971-1972-1974
77Calvin Johnson292007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012
78Stanley Morgan291978-1979-1980-1982-1983-1986
79Reggie Wayne292006-2007-2009-2010-2011-2012
80Charley Taylor291964-1966-1967-1969-1972-1973
81Santana Moss292003-2004-2005-2006-2008-2010
82Tony Gonzalez291999-2000-2004-2006-2007-2008
83Brian Blades28.91988-1989-1991-1993-1994-1995
84Gary Collins28.61963-1964-1965-1966-1967-1969
85Danny Abramowicz28.51967-1968-1969-1970-1971-1972
86Ray Renfro28.51955-1956-1957-1958-1959-1961
87Plaxico Burress28.42001-2002-2003-2005-2006-2007
88Fred Biletnikoff28.41968-1969-1970-1971-1972-1973
89Elroy Hirsch28.21951-1952-1953-1954-1956-1957
90Drew Hill28.21985-1986-1987-1988-1989-1991
91Tony Martin28.21994-1995-1996-1997-1998-1999
92Charley Hennigan28.11960-1961-1962-1963-1964-1965
93Dwayne Bowe28.12007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012
94Irving Fryar281990-1991-1992-1994-1996-1997
95Carl Pickens281993-1994-1995-1996-1998-1999
96Lee Evans27.92004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009
97Pat Tilley27.81978-1979-1980-1981-1982-1985
98Keenan McCardell27.71996-1997-1998-2000-2001-2003
99Roy Green27.71981-1982-1983-1984-1988-1990
100Rob Moore27.71991-1992-1994-1996-1997-1998
101Bernie Casey27.71962-1963-1964-1965-1967-1968
102Charley Malone27.61934-1935-1936-1937-1938-1939
103Boyd Dowler27.61959-1962-1963-1964-1967-1968
104Anquan Boldin27.52003-2005-2006-2008-2009-2010
105Frank Clarke27.51961-1962-1963-1964-1965-1966
106Jackie Smith27.41964-1966-1967-1968-1970-1973
107Todd Christensen27.31982-1983-1984-1985-1986-1987
108Gail Cogdill27.31960-1961-1962-1963-1964-1969
109Val Jansante27.21946-1947-1948-1949-1950-1951
110Wesley Walker27.21977-1978-1981-1982-1983-1986
111Drew Pearson27.11974-1975-1976-1977-1978-1979
112Wes Welker272007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012
113Amani Toomer26.91999-2000-2001-2002-2003-2004
114Tom Fears26.91948-1949-1950-1952-1954-1955
115Bill Brooks26.91986-1988-1989-1990-1991-1995
116T.J. Houshmandzadeh26.92004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009
117Nat Moore26.81974-1975-1976-1977-1978-1979
118Reggie Rucker26.81972-1973-1975-1976-1977-1978
119Darrell Jackson26.82000-2001-2002-2003-2004-2006
120Antonio Gates26.82004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009
121Don Stonesifer26.71951-1952-1953-1954-1955-1956
122Louis Lipps26.61984-1985-1986-1988-1989-1990
123Al Denson26.61964-1966-1967-1968-1969-1970
124Alyn Beals26.61946-1947-1948-1949-1950-1951
125Mark Carrier26.51988-1989-1990-1991-1995-1996
126Jimmy Orr26.51958-1959-1962-1964-1965-1968
127Mike Quick26.51983-1984-1985-1986-1987-1988
128Terance Mathis26.41994-1995-1997-1998-1999-2000
129Steve Watson26.41981-1982-1983-1984-1985-1986
130Rich Caster26.41971-1972-1973-1974-1975-1976
131Paul Flatley26.31963-1964-1965-1966-1969-1970
132Jack Ferrante26.31945-1946-1947-1948-1949-1950
133Chris Burford26.21960-1961-1962-1963-1965-1966
134Lynn Swann26.11975-1976-1977-1978-1979-1980
135Chris Chambers26.12001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006
136Dick Gordon26.11966-1967-1968-1969-1970-1971
137J.T. Smith26.11979-1981-1986-1987-1988-1989
138Mel Gray261974-1975-1976-1977-1978-1980
139Donald Driver262002-2004-2005-2006-2008-2009
140Frank Gifford261955-1956-1957-1958-1959-1962
141Elbert Dubenion261960-1961-1962-1963-1964-1966
142Perry Schwartz25.91938-1939-1940-1941-1942-1946
143Al Toon25.91986-1987-1988-1989-1990-1991
144Ozzie Newsome25.81979-1981-1982-1983-1984-1985
145Johnnie Morton25.81996-1997-1998-1999-2000-2001
146Mike Ditka25.81961-1962-1963-1964-1965-1966
147Terry Glenn25.81996-1999-2000-2003-2005-2006
148Kyle Rote25.71953-1954-1955-1956-1960-1961
149Anthony Carter25.71985-1987-1988-1989-1990-1993
150Cris Collinsworth25.71981-1982-1983-1984-1985-1986
151Isaac Curtis25.71973-1974-1975-1976-1978-1979
152Haven Moses25.71968-1969-1970-1977-1978-1979
153Lenny Moore25.71957-1958-1959-1960-1961-1964
154Shannon Sharpe25.61993-1994-1996-1997-2000-2003
155Frank Lewis25.31972-1978-1979-1980-1981-1982
156Antonio Freeman25.21996-1997-1998-1999-2000-2001
157Charlie Joiner25.11971-1976-1977-1979-1980-1981
158Bobby Joe Conrad25.11962-1963-1964-1965-1967-1968
159Gary Ballman25.11963-1964-1965-1966-1968-1970
160Lance Rentzel25.11967-1968-1969-1970-1971-1972
161Homer Jones251965-1966-1967-1968-1969-1970

I’ll leave the commentary to you guys.

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • JeremyDe May 25, 2013, 7:57 am

    No surprise that Hutson is #1.

    And Jimmy Smith cracks another top 10. I think he should pay Chase to be his agent for getting in the Hall.

  • Wade Iuele May 25, 2013, 11:39 am

    Where can I read more about Adjusted Catch Yards? That concept jumped out at me as potentially useful for fantasy projections. I would love to know more about how it is being used and how the yardage equivalents were decided upon for receptions and touchdowns.

    • Chase Stuart May 25, 2013, 11:49 am

      You can read about it here:

      http://www.footballperspective.com/the-greatest-wide-receivers-ever-version-2-0-part-i-methodology/

      The 20-yard bonus for a touchdown is something I feel very comfortable with. We use that in the formula for Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt for quarterbacks (Passing Yards + 20*PassTDs – 45*INT – SackYdsLost)/(Att + Sk). The 5-yard bonus for reception is something I’m less comfortable with, but I think it is in the right ballpark.

      • Wade Iuele May 25, 2013, 12:26 pm

        Thank you for the off topic link and info! I will continue my education on these adjusted stats; I can feel new neural pathways forming.

        Back to the topic of this post… One question that comes to mind upon reviewing this list of receivers who dominated their team’s passing games is: what about the second highest guy on their team those years? And year n+1?

        If we project a receiver to have 33+%, what is an acceptable % range to give the #2? If the #2 got choked out by the awesome #1 last year, is there any hope for the #2 this year? I’m looking at YOU Alshon Jeffrey!

        I’m not sure that’s the kind of work you do here, Chase. If I cannot find it, I will do it myself. Now I must know.

        • Kibbles March 2, 2014, 12:25 pm

          With the benefit of hindsight, I would say that there is some hope for Alshon Jeffery in the 2013 season.

          • Chase Stuart March 2, 2014, 12:26 pm

            I agree.

  • William Berry May 25, 2013, 2:32 pm

    Adj YPC is a nice idea, but why 20 yards per TD and not 15, or 19.75432? Ditto extra 5 per catch (4.99999 would do):)

    • Wade Iuele May 25, 2013, 8:01 pm

      So sorry for the derail.

      You should check that link Chase gave me for the how and why of the math. It reminds me of EV calculations in poker, which I was hard pressed to apply in the moment at the table.

      One benefit I can think of for ACY as a tool to evaluate receivers is that it smooths out weird stat lines that might make it hard on fantasy projections; like how few TDs Brian Hartline had last year for example.

      But, again, sorry for the derail.

  • Bob May 25, 2013, 8:44 pm

    The gap between Hutson (#1) and the rest of the field: 10.0 percent

    The gap between #2 and #50: 8.5 percent

    • Slash May 29, 2013, 4:51 pm

      Just another illustration of how revolutionary Hutson was

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