Top 10 slot receivers this season
Now that we’re six weeks into the NFL season, it is time to take a look at which receivers have been playing the best out of the slot.
Playing the slot position requires not only bulk production, but also high efficiency. So, while touchdowns, yardage, and receptions were taken into account, so too were our signature stats, such as slot target percentage, yards per route run (YPRR), drop rate, and catch rate.
Editor’s note: To qualify for consideration, players had to run at least half of their routes out of the slot.
1. Doug Baldwin, SEA
Baldwin posts very strong stats across the board; he owns the best drop rate and second in catch rate, despite being eighth in total targets. He is currently third in slot receptions, fourth in yards, and has caught two touchdown passes. All of this equates to Baldwin having an all around great season so far.
2. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI
Larry Fitzgerald is in the middle of a renaissance season, and part of it has to do with his extremely productive work in the slot. Fitzgerald is third in total yards from the slot, which has been fueled by his 2.44 yards per route run, the second-highest YPRR for all slot receivers.
3. Anquan Boldin, SF
Boldin boasts high efficiency from the slot, sporting the third-highest slot target percentage, fourth-highest YPRR, and has not dropped a ball. Those numbers have translated to top-10 traditional stats as well, checking in at 10th in both slot receptions and yards from the slot.
4. Jordan Matthews, PHI
Jordan Matthews plays a higher percentage of his snaps in the slot than any other receiver in the league. He’s first in slot targets, receptions, and yards. He’s also highly efficient from the slot, ranking first in slot target percentage and sixth in YPRR.
5. Randall Cobb, GB
Randall Cobb might be the league’s best-known slot receiver, so it’s no surprise to see him on this list. Cobb trails only Jordan Matthews in slot targets, receptions, and yards, but he leads all receivers in touchdowns scored while lined up in the slot. That makes up for slightly less-than-stellar catch rate (11th overall) and drop rate (15th overall).
6. Eric Decker, NYJ
Decker has been having a good season for the Jets, highlighted by his first overall YPRR out of the slot. He’s also found the endzone three times already, and owns the second highest slot target percentage. Plus, even though he missed one game and part of another, he still remains tenth in yards gained.
7. Mohamed Sanu, CIN
Sanu posts solid metrics across the board, even in a high power offense best known for outside receivers AJ Green and Marvin Jones. Sanu is currently fifth in yards from the slot and he hasn’t dropped a pass yet. He’s eighth in YPRR and also sports a solid catch rate.
8. Jamison Crowder, WAS
Jamison Crowder is emerging as the top target for Washington while DeSean Jackson is out. He’s seventh in both catch rate and targets from the slot, and ranks 10th in slot target percentage and 11th in both YPRR and yards from the slot, showing he’s been a solid player in all aspects.
9. Jarvis Landry, MIA
Landry’s numbers have actually dropped off a little from his stellar rookie campaign, but he’s still been productive enough to rank in the top 10 slot receivers. He’s the fourth-most targeted slot receiver, sixth in slot target percentage, and eighth in yards from the slot. If he gets his drop rate and catch rate numbers in line with where they were last year, he should have no problem climbing this list.
10. Golden Tate, DET
Golden Tate has still managed to produce solid numbers, despite Calvin Johnson’s massive presence in the Lions offense. Tate is third overall in targets, and he’s been able to translate those targets into enough yardage to be ranked seventh in yards from the slot.
Bryan Walters has yet to drop a pass, is fifth in YPRR, and is first in the league in catch rate from the slot. However, he’s just not getting enough usage. He’s 21st in targets and 17th in slot target percentage and receptions, just fourteenth in slot yards, and has yet to score. If he could maintain this efficiency while securing a larger role, he could easily make an appearance on this list.