A deeper look at Roddy White

| 5 years ago

A deeper look at Roddy White

In terms of scenery, not much changed between 2009 and 2010 for Roddy White. Tony Gonzalez was back as the Falcons tight end and #2 target. Michael Turner and Jason Snelling returned to handle the team’s rushing load. Finally, a young and improving Matt Ryan, albeit a little healthier than in 2009, was back as his quarterback. Still, we saw a shift from White. Up went his targets and catch rate, down went his yards-per-reception and touchdown rate. Why the change? Let’s dig deeper.

Yr Catch% YPR TD%
2008 63% 14.8 8.1%
2009 56% 13.6 12.9%
2010 69% 12.0 9.1%
Total 63% 13.3 9.8%
Lg Avg 60% 13.2 8.4%
20+ yards
Yr % of targ Catch% YPR TD%
2008 19% 47% 34.1 21.4%
2009 13% 25% 40.0 60.0%
2010 9% 53% 28.8 37.5%
Total 13% 42% 33.6 33.3%
Lg Avg 19% 33% 34.2 30.4%

In an article I wrote on Monday, it was pointed out that White was near the league’s basement in terms of percentage of his targets that were 20+ yards down field. 19% of the balls thrown his way were in that zone in 2008, which is right at the wide receiver league average, but that number fell to 13% in 2009 and to just 9% one year ago. White’s ridiculous 69% overall catch rate is partially a product of both that drop and a 53% catch rate on the 20+ yard targets he did see. Despite 5 fewer targets, White caught 3 more balls and racked up 30 additional yards. Add the improved production on the long passes to the additional targets closer to the quarterback, which are easier to catch, and you have a much-improved catch rate.

10-19 yards
Yr % of targ Catch% YPR TD%
2008 28% 61% 17.5 11.1%
2009 28% 51% 16.8 4.5%
2010 33% 62% 16.7 5.6%
Total 30% 59% 17.0 7.1%
Lg Avg 30% 56% 16.4 9.9%

Investigating White’s 10-19 yard production, we see a 5% increase in White’s targets in this range over the 28% he saw in both 2008 and 2009. Similar to the 20+ zone, we see a large increase in terms of catch rate in this zone (from 51% in 2009 to 62% in 2010). Interestingly, White’s yards-per-reception and touchdown rates remained about the same.

0-9 yards
Yr % of targ Catch% YPR TD%
2008 50% 67% 9.2 3.8%
2009 52% 64% 10.0 12.0%
2010 53% 73% 8.6 8.7%
Total 52% 69% 9.2 8.1%
Lg Avg 45% 71% 8.8 4.7%

Moving into the 0-9 range, we see some consistency in terms of targets, but changes in the yardage and scoring departments. After 50% of his targets were this range in 2008, that number jumped just 2% in 2009 and another 1% in 2010. Again, White’s catch rate made a significant jump (from 64% in 2009 to 73% in 2010). The noticeable changes here are a 1.4 drop in YPR to a below average 8.6 and a sharp drop in TD rate from 12% to 8.7%.

Behind LOS
Yr % of targ Catch% YPR TD%
2008 3% 100% 6.4 0.0%
2009 7% 80% 10.5 12.5%
2010 5% 89% 2.9 0.0%
Total 5% 88% 6.6 4.8%
Lg Avg 7% 89% 5.9 1.3%

Finally, we have passes thrown to White behind the line of scrimmage. We see some significant movement here, but the sample size is very small – 24 total targets over 3 seasons. We can’t take much from the touchdown data, but one interesting note is the sharp drop in yards-per-reception from 10.5 in 2009 to 2.9 in 2010.

White certainly was helped by seeing more of passes closer to the line of scrimmage, but, more importantly, he also saw a catch rate improvement of at least 9% in all four zones – an impressive achievement. His 1.3 yard drop in yards-per-reception can also be slightly blamed on the change in target location, but large drops in YPR on throws of 20+ yards and behind the line of scrimmage is the real culprit. Finally, we have a relatively significant 3.8% drop in touchdown rate. Considering White’s 8.1% mark in 2008 and 8.4% league average, this should be, to some degree, credited to regression after an inflated mark in 2009.

After proving his talent over the last few seasons, White proved in 2010 how reliable of target he can be. His catch rate is likely to regress a bit in 2011, especially if he sees more deep targets, but it’s clear that he’s a threat regardless of where his pass route takes him.

Mike Clay is the Director of Pro Football Focus Fantasy. His accolades include the 2013 Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) award for most-accurate preseason player rankings and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) award for the best online article in 2013. Under Mike’s leadership, PFF Fantasy has been nominated for eight industry awards over the past three years, including a 2014 win over the likes of NFL.com and BaseballHQ.com for Best Single-Sport Specialization Fantasy Site. Mike broke the first unrestricted free agent signing of 2013 (Martellus Bennett to the Bears). A stat-head, Mike has created several advanced football statistics, including average depth of target (aDOT) and opportunity-adjusted touchdowns (OTD). His award-winning offensive player projections power several top fantasy league sites, including Yahoo, RT Sports and Reality Sports Online. One of the most well-known fantasy analysts, Mike has a Twitter following of more than 43,500. Mike also contributes to ESPN Insider and ESPN the Magazine, and is a regular guest on ESPN Radio and the network’s Fantasy Focus football podcast. He has also contributed to NBC’s Rotoworld.com, Athlon Sports and at PhiladelphiaEagles.com. Mike was featured as a Virtual Analyst in EA Sports' Madden 25 and Madden 2015 video games. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and is on the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Board of Directors and Hall of Fame voting committee. He makes regular appearances on NFL-related podcasts and shows, including those on Sirius XM and FNTSY Sports Channel. Mike’s work has been referenced on several outlets across the web, including CSN New England, ESPN, Houston Chronicle, and NJ.com. Originally from Pottsville, PA, Mike now resides in Fleetwood, PA with his wife, daughter, and two dogs. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeClayNFL

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