Sig Stats: YPRR, Wide Receivers

Matt Claassen looks back at the 2014 wide receiver performances through the yes of PFF's Yards Per Route Run Signature Stat.

| 2 years ago

Sig Stats: YPRR, Wide Receivers

2014-Sig-Stats-YPRR-WRStarting off the final day of looking at our Signature Stats, we turn to Yards Per Route Run for wide receivers. Our YPRR takes into account the opportunity players had to gain their receiving yards, potentially separating two receivers with similar yardage numbers but a significant difference in the number of routes run, or showing players who were among the most effective on a per-play basis, but did not have the same playing time opportunities as those near the top in total receiving yards.

Overall YPRR

Our leader A.J. Green had a career-low for total receiving yards in a season due to missing time with a toe injury, but he had one of his most effective seasons when on the field. His 2.96 YPRR is over a half-yard more on average than his previous high of 2.32 in his second year. Despite having more receiving weapons than most NFL offenses, the Broncos boasted two players in the Top 10 in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Pittsburgh also had two players near the top, and Antonio Brown makes the list even with having run more routes than any other player last year.

(To qualify a player must have logged at least 200 routes run this season).

Rank Name Team Targets Rec. Yards Snaps in Route YPRR
1 A.J. Green CIN 109 1041 352 2.96
2 Demaryius Thomas DEN 178 1619 583 2.78
3 Martavis Bryant PIT 48 549 200 2.75
4  Odell Beckham Jr. NYG 129 1305 476 2.74
5  Julio Jones ATL 156 1593 585 2.72
6 Dez Bryant DAL 135 1320 494 2.67
7 Jordy Nelson GB 146 1519 570 2.66
7 Antonio Brown PIT 178 1698 638 2.66
9 Emmanuel Sanders DEN 140 1409 574 2.45
10 DeSean Jackson WAS 87 1169 479 2.44


Rookie Watch

It is impressive enough that Martavis Bryant and Odell Beckham Jr. cracked the Top 10 in their first seasons, but it should be noted just how much more effective they were than their fellow rookies. They were well ahead of third-place Mike Evans (2.05 YPRR) and last year’s breakout rookie Keenan Allen (2.06). They also eclipsed the previous high of 2.31 YPRR by Percy Harvin in his 2009 rookie campaign by a significant margin.


We also have the ability to look at the snaps and effectiveness of each wide receiver based on their alignment. Although Randall Cobb easily gained the most yards from the slot, Sanders edges him out in YPRR. Cobb’s 1,067 receiving yards are the third-most from the slot since 2008, but his 501 routes ran were also the most ran by any receiver over the same time period. T.Y. Hilton showed he can line up anywhere on the field and still be productive (2.60 YPRR when lined up outside). Continuing the trend of a strong 2014 draft class for wide receivers, Jordan Matthews and Jarvis Landry round out our Top 5.

(To qualify a player must have logged at least 200 routes run from a slot position).

Rank Name Team Targets Rec. Yards Snaps in Route YPRR
1 Emmanuel Sanders DEN 42 485 212 2.29
2 Randall Cobb GB 106 1067 501 2.13
3 T.Y. Hilton IND 51 461 231 2.00
4 Jordan Matthews PHI 94 835 447 1.87
5 Jarvis Landry MIA 78 623 355 1.86


Top on the Team

One last thing to look at is the most effective wide receiver on each team on a per-route basis and where that ranked across the league.

Rank Name Team Targets Rec. Yards Snaps in Route YPRR
1 A.J. Green CIN 109 1041 352 2.96
2 Demaryius Thomas DEN 178 1619 583 2.78
3 Martavis Bryant PIT 48 549 200 2.75
4 Odell Beckham Jr. NYG 129 1305 476 2.74
5 Julio Jones ATL 156 1593 585 2.72
6 Dez Bryant DAL 135 1320 494 2.67
7 Jordy Nelson GB 146 1519 570 2.66
8 DeSean Jackson WAS 87 1169 479 2.44
9 T.Y. Hilton IND 123 1346 572 2.35
10 Calvin Johnson DET 124 1077 470 2.29
11 DeAndre Hopkins HST 120 1210 534 2.27
12 Steve L. Smith BLT 130 1068 494 2.16
13 Steve Johnson SF 49 435 204 2.13
14 Jeremy Maclin PHI 140 1318 622 2.12
15 Eric Decker NYJ 110 962 456 2.11
16 Mike Evans TB 116 1051 513 2.05
17 Kenny Stills NO 80 931 458 2.03
17 Andrew Hawkins CLV 101 825 406 2.03
19 Julian Edelman NE 124 971 510 1.90
20 Kelvin Benjamin CAR 142 1008 543 1.86
21 Alshon Jeffery CHI 135 1133 622 1.82
22 Jarvis Landry MIA 105 755 434 1.74
23 Charles Johnson MIN 55 476 276 1.72
4 Doug Baldwin SEA 90 825 500 1.65
25 Allen Robinson JAX 76 548 334 1.64
26 Kenny Britt SL 81 748 468 1.60
27 Sammy Watkins BUF 124 982 619 1.59
28 Keenan Allen SD 112 783 494 1.59
29 Dwayne Bowe KC 90 755 479 1.58
30 Kendall Wright TEN 86 715 456 1.57
31 Larry Fitzgerald ARZ 100 784 506 1.55
32 Andre Holmes OAK 91 693 474 1.46


Follow Matt on Twitter: @PFF_MattC

| Analyst

Matt has been an analyst for PFF since 2013. He is also a contributor to 120 Sports and a former NCAA Division-III football player.

  • Jaguars28

    Our offense should improve with Allen Robinson and (hopefully) Justin Blackmon back.

    • Chris

      Blackmon and Gordon. Two guys with great talent who can’t seem to follow simple rules.

      • Jaguars28

        Yep. Blackmon reminds me of another great receiver who had drug problems early in his career- Jimmy Smith.

  • Malachi

    E-man sanders gonna be a beast in the slot in 2015 with welker gone. and cody latimer will be huuuugggeee, esp in the redzone, after doing nothing last year

  • Sheldon

    An interesting stat, but my only real problem is that the underlying assumption is that the goal in any individual play is to maximize the gain yards. However, in many instances this isn’t the case: for many 2nd or 3rd and short situations, or goal-line scenarios. Perhaps a better measure of *effectiveness* might measure first downs/scores per target. Using a per-target metric would also weed out the potential problem of “dummy” routes that may only be intended to distract opponents, although it may penalize receivers that are targeted by intrinsically riskier throws.

    • Sheldon

      I ended up following this thread up a bit and it yielded some interesting results. First a curious situation: it seems that TD’s are counted as first downs by ESPN. Some receivers on this list had more TD’s+1DN’s than receptions, so I ended up focusing on 1DN efficiency only. Based on the metric of first down efficiency (1DN’s per target) the top five rankings are (WR only):

      Randall Cobb 56.3%, Kenny Stills 55.3%, Emmanuel Sanders 48.9%, Miles Austin 48.6%, and Steve Johnson 48.0%.

      However, if TE’s are no slouch:
      Jason Witten 53.3%, Travis Kelce 51.7%, Julius Thomas 50.0%, Zach Ertz 48.8%, and Dwayne Allen 48.0%.

      RB’s have a very different profile as you might imagine compared to other receivers. Le’Veon Bell was not only the most efficient RB at 39.0% 1DN efficiceny, but he was also the second most targeted back which led to his crazy 854 receiving yards. Other notable RB performers were: Benjamin Cunningham 38.9%, Charles Clay 36.9%, Pierre Thomas 34.5% and Shane Vereen 31.2%.

      An interesting side note, you would expect a player to only add value to his team if his first down probability is above 33.3%, assuming most teams kick on fourth down. Well, there were a few teams that targeted a player as a receiver over 100 times that had lower than a 33.3% 1DN efficiency. Those teams were San Francisco (Michael Crabtree, 32.4%), Tennessee (Delanie Walker, 30.6%), Washington (Pierre Garcon, 30.5%), Arizona (John Brown, 30.1%), Oakland (Mychal Rivera, 28.7%), Jacksonville (Cecil Shorts III, 23.6%), and Chicago (Matt Forte, 21.5%). It’s not surprising to note that most of these teams had fairly poor season’s. Arizona, the obvious outlier, was probably helped by Larry Fitzgerald’s 37.9% efficiency on 103 targets. Repeatedly targeting a subpar receiving target seems like bad coaching.

      • Sheldon

        NOTE: I only used players that were targeted at least 50 times for the season.

    • Riffle,Rod&Fly

      It is a different stat. I’m not entirely sure what it is supposed to say about the player. Effort maybe? I guess it takes into account that one of the receiver’s primary jobs is to simply run his tail off, and it certainly reflects quality as that is a great group. I like it. It makes me look at the position in a new perspective.

    • Kirk Vollmer

      I think you bring up a good point is that there is really no intrinsic statistical way of measuring which WR’s where the most effective. It doesn’t take into account coverage patterns, how well thrown the ball was when they where targeted, what the intention of the play was. Etc etc. The game is so complex that stats, even advanced metrics can only tell part of the story.

    • LightsOut85

      A simple way to reward other things, is to add yardage bonuses** for TD & 1Ds

      **like the ones Pro Football Reference uses in their formulas for total value. Just use those values & divide by routes-run.

  • SeattleSteve

    Defenses know enough to cover Cobb, Sanders with more attention on him…
    idk… maybe he’ll be ‘The Greatest Slot WR evurz!’