Mike Clay’s research of touchdown rates got me thinking about the myriad of NFL statistics that could function in the same manner. I will be taking a look at a number of statistics to find trends that can put the odds in fantasy owners’ favor in terms of predicting the future. In this article, I look at wide receivers and tight ends with a Yards/Reception (YPR) of 15+ over the past five seasons. The minimum number of receptions for the season in question is 40 as well as in their Y+1 campaign to consider only fantasy-relevant players.
The resulting sample size:
Excluding the 2011 class, that gives the study 57 players from 2006 to 2010, organized by YPR.
|2008||Steve L. Smith||18.2||14.7||-3.5|
|2006||Roy E. Williams||16.0||13.1||-2.9|
Here is a breakdown of how those 57 pass-catchers did in their following season:
Overall, the study shows an 82% chance for a decline in YPR with an increase to 87% for players with 17+ YPR since 2006. Essentially that is a 6-out-of-7 proposition. I like those odds in terms of predictive statistics. Now, the important part: Who are the 21 players from 2011 that are affected by this study? Without further ado, the hot list:
|2011||Steve L. Smith||17.6|
There were eight players above 17.0 YPR in 2011 with 40+ receptions. The past four years of data says that seven of them are likely to see a significant decline in that metric in 2012, assuming they can surpass 40 receptions again. Based on the track record of those eight players, I would give Malcom Floyd and Vincent Jackson the best chance to repeat their YPR in 2012. Malcom Floyd has always been a vertical threat in San Diego’s system with four straight seasons of 17+ YPR. Vincent Jackson leaves San Diego for Tampa Bay. His track record will likely remain as a down-the-field target to compliment Greg Schiano’s ideal run-heavy attack. Outside of Jackson’s injury-filled 2010 season, he has surpassed 17 YPR in every other season going back to 2008.
Rookies like Julio Jones, A.J. Green, and Torrey Smith are wild cards on this list as their metrics and team-use go back just one season to this point. Anquan Boldin and Brandon Marshall stand out as mortal locks to see a decline in YPR in 2012. Boldin’s YPR high-water mark from 2008-2010 was just 13.1, while Marshall’s was just 12.2 over that span.
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