Receivers rank among the very best
By Kelly O’Day, Editor, Packerland Pride
As Packers’ fans, we often are accused of sporting a strong bias toward players on our team of choice (the greatest team in the history of sports, of course).
While sometimes the shoe doesn’t fit, at other times the general impression we labor under is proven to be undeniably true.
Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb easily passed the eye test in their performance last season, but how did they fare when Football Outsiders broke it down to the nth degree?
Even better. While other #1 receivers may have topped them in yards and catches, the duo was amazingly efficient.
Both rated very high in the DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Against Replacement). Nelson was second with a score of 482, behind only Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown (554). Cobb was fourth (479), right behind Denver’s Emmanuel Sanders (481). Dallas wide-out Dez Bryant ranked fifth with 430. Sixth-place Odell Beckhamn had a grade of 396, and Julio Jones was the only other receiver with a mark over 350 with a 356.
Cobb ended up as the #1 receiver in the DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) category with a mark of 35.7%, and Nelson ranked eighth at 26.8%.
What do those advanced stats mean? From Football Outsiders:
“This (DVOA) number represents value, per play, over an average WR in the same game situations. This (DYAR number) gives the value of the performance on plays where this WR caught the ball, compared to replacement level, adjusted for situation and opponent and then translated into yardage.”
“The simple version: DYAR means a wide receiver with more total value. DVOA means a wide receiver with more value per play.”
In more traditional stats, Nelson finished 4th in yards (1,519) and 7th in catches (98), while Cobb tied for 9th in catches (91) and rated 11th in yards (1,287). Jordy tied for 11th in yards per reception (15.50 while Randall was tied for 29th (14.1). Cobb ranked 7th with 556 yards after catch and Nelson was 10th with 481. They tied each other for3rd in first downs (71).
Not many bested them in the critical stat, touchdowns. Nelson tied Brown for second with 13 and Cobb tied Odell Beckham and Mike Evans for fourth with 12. Bryant led all receivers with 16.
Cobb and Sanders trailed only New Orleans’ Kenny Stills (75%) in catch rate at 72%, among players in the top 30 in DYAR. Nelson rang in at 65%.
Of course, having MVP Aaron Rodgers slinging you the rock doesn’t hurt. As Football Outsiders explains it:
“We cannot yet fully separate the performance of a receiver from the performance of his quarterback. Be aware that one will affect the other.”
(Also being a dual threat allows them to help each other): “These statistics measure only passes thrown to a receiver, not performance on plays when he is not thrown the ball, such as blocking and drawing double teams.”
It’s nice to know the ole eye-ball test holds up under closer scrutiny. Thanks, Football Outsiders.