Taking a look at the passer rating generated by each New York Jets WR and TE when they were targeted in 2020.
One of the most interesting methods for evaluating the receiving production of a player is looking at the passer rating that his quarterbacks posted when targeting him. It does a solid job of summing up how much success the offense had when throwing to that particular receiver.
Of course, this is a stat that the receiver himself has a limited amount of control over. There are plenty of interceptions and incompletions thrown a receiver’s way that have nothing to do with his performance and everything to do with the performance of the quarterback, pass protection, and/or play-calling. For these reasons, a receiver’s passer rating when targeted is not the best metric for evaluating his actual performance level independent of his surroundings. However, there is still a lot that can be taken away from it, namely a few things:
- The receiver’s chemistry level with the quarterback
- How effectively the offense created favorable opportunities for the receiver
- How the receiver’s productivity compared to other receivers in the same offense
The best way to utilize this stat is to take the passer rating generated when a particular player is targeted and compare it to the passer rating generated by that player’s offense when targeting all other players. This way, we are adjusting for the quality of the quarterback(s) and supporting cast to get an idea of the player’s impact.
Taking a look at the New York Jets‘ current crop of weapons – including new faces like Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Kenny Yeboah, Keelan Cole, and Tyler Kroft – which guys did the best job of making their quarterbacks look better in 2020?
Let’s dig into the passer ratings produced by each wide receiver and tight end on the Jets’ roster (min. 15 targets in 2020) and compare them to their teams’ passer ratings when targeting other players.
- Jets passer rating when targeting Berrios: 98.6
- Jets passer rating when targeting all other players: 73.0
- Differential: +25.6
Braxton Berrios was a solid target for the Jets, snatching 37 of 55 targets (67.3%) for 394 yards (7.2 per target) and three touchdowns while only one interception was thrown on a pass intended for him.
However, Berrios’ numbers are pumped up a bit by a 43-yard touchdown reception from Jamison Crowder on a trick play in Week 16. Outside of that play, Berrios’s passer rating when targeted was 89.4, a plus-16.4 differential.
Berrios was a reliable target in terms of completion percentage and touchdown-to-interception ratio, but he did not offer much explosiveness. Sans the Crowder play, Berrios averaged a measly 6.5 yards per target. While that is better than the Jets’ team average of 6.2 yards per pass attempt, a plus-0.3 differential is lackluster for a wideout. Leaguewide in 2020, the average wide receiver caught for 8.2 yards per target while the average team threw for 7.2 yards per pass attempt, a plus-1.0 margin.
- Titans passer rating when targeting Davis: 123.6
- Titans passer rating when targeting all other players: 101.8
- Differential: +21.8
Playing in a Titans offense where Ryan Tannehill was having success throwing to everybody, the bar was high for Corey Davis, but he still cleared it by a huge margin.
Tannehill ranked fifth in the NFL with a 106.5 passer rating, but on passes to Davis, he posted a 123.6 rating that was even better than Aaron Rodgers’ league-leading mark of 121.5. When targeting Davis, Tannehill completed 65 of 92 passes (70.7%) for 984 yards (10.7 per target), five touchdowns, and zero interceptions.
Among wide receivers with at least 60 targets, only A.J. Brown (126.1), Julio Jones (126.5), Tyreek Hill (129.1), Will Fuller (134.3), and Davante Adams (136.0) generated a better passer rating than Davis.
- Rebels passer rating when targeting Davis: 125.8
- Rebels passer rating when targeting all other players: 98.8
- Differential: +27.0
When throwing to Elijah Moore, Ole Miss completed 86 of 101 passes (85.1%) for 1,193 yards (11.8 yards per target), eight touchdowns, and four interceptions.
The completion percentage, yardage production, and touchdown frequency are outstanding here, but Moore’s rating was dragged down by the four picks. Watching those interceptions back on film, I found that three of them were not Moore’s fault at all while one looked like a possible miscommunication in the back of the end zone.
Moore’s dominance in the Ole Miss offense was staggering. He had over twice as many receiving yards as the team’s second-leading receiver, future Jets teammate Kenny Yeboah (524 yards). Moore’s total of 86 receptions was more than triple that of Yeboah’s second-ranked total of 27.
As a 19-year-old sophomore in 2019, Moore was an even bigger focal point for the Rebels. He had over quadruple as many receiving yards as the team’s second-ranked player in the category (850 yards to 192) and over triple as many receptions (67 catches to 20).