Michael Nania brings together a multitude of metrics to rank all 32 wide receiver groups in 2019. Where did the New York Jets rank?
Back in March, I conducted a study that blended a bevy of different metrics to get a solid estimate of exactly where the New York Jets’ offensive line ranked amongst the league’s 32 units in 2019.
I decided to apply that concept to the rest of the game’s positions. Today, we look at the Jets’ wide receiver group. Where did the unit led by Jamison Crowder, Robby Anderson, and Demaryius Thomas stack up?
Here’s how the rankings work – for each statistic, every team is scored on a scale of 0-to-10. The worst team receives a 0, the best team receives a 10, and the other 30 teams are scored relative to those two points. The final ranking is assembled according to each team’s average score across all statistics.
Let’s dig into the metrics that went into the 2019 wide receiver rankings.
Statistics are the combined totals of all wide receivers to play for each team. Regular season only unless otherwise noted.
Here is how the league’s wide receiver groups stacked up by drop rate.
The Jets checked in at 26th with a 9.4% drop rate (league average: 7.5%), flubbing 20 passes while hauling in 193. Depth was the primary issue here – Thomas, Vyncint Smith, Braxton Berrios, and Josh Bellamy combined for nine drops on 61 receptions, a terrible rate of 12.9%.
Yards per target
Yards per target is a good way to capture the explosiveness of a player (or group of players). It places a premium on game-breaking plays with less emphasis on consistency and chain-moving. Here is how the league stacked up.
Adam Gase‘s Jets landed at 25th with an average of 7.73 yards per target, below the league average of 8.41. As a speedy deep threat, Anderson was the team’s best producer in this category with a mark of 8.46.
The main reason that the Jets landed so low is the fact that Crowder, a pure slot receiver, led the team with 118 targets (26 more than second-ranked Anderson). Crowder is good in his role, but slot men naturally pick up fewer yards than other receivers since the majority of their work is done underneath. Crowder averaged 7.07 yards per target, dragging down the overall numbers. Teams with well-rounded wide receiver groups generally do not see their slot receiver rack up over twice as many targets as all but one other player (Crowder more than doubled Thomas’ third-ranked 55 targets).
First down rate
First down rate places more emphasis on efficiency and consistency than yards per target, with explosiveness thrown out the window. Here is how the league stacked up.
The Jets ranked 28th with a rate of 35.9% (league average: 40.1%). None of the Jets’ five wide receivers with 10-plus targets posted an above-average rate – Thomas led the way at 38.2%.