On the Decline with Reggie Wayne
Luck’s raw efficiency numbers were below average last year, although part of the explanation there was that he led the league in Air Yards per Completion. I suspect his numbers will look a lot better in year two. But Reggie Wayne led the NFL in targets last season and ranked 2nd to only Brandon Marshall in percentage of team targets. The Colts have a very young offense that’s extremely dependent on a wide receiver who turns 35 in November. And avert your eyes, Indianapolis fans. Only one player in NFL history ever gained more receiving yards at age 34: Wayne’s old running mate, Marvin Harrison, who was pretty much washed up after 34.
…then again, perhaps the age concerns are overblown. I took a look at all wide receivers, ages 33-35, who gained 1,000 yards in a season and then played for the same team in Year N+1 (there were 45). I then compared how they did to a control group of receivers in their 20s who gained 1,000 receiving yards and then played in Year N+1 for the same team…Some decline is expected, but that’s typical regression to the mean decline and not “you’re too old to be good” decline. Even the yards per game drop wasn’t that bad, and it rises [from 55.5] to about 60 if you exclude the receivers [ages 33-35] who played in fewer than 8 games in Year N+1.
It’s hard to think of anyone in their mid 30’s as old. That is, unless we’re talking about sports. With Reggie Wayne coming into the 2013 season at age 34, there are definitely concerns about his regression from an elite receiver to a mediocre one. In his analysis of the 2012 Colts, Chase Stuart doesn’t deny that a Wayne regression will occur. However, he compares the regression to most receivers who show a slight decline after a 1,000 yard receiving season. Nevertheless, Stuart isn’t the only one warning against Reggie Wayne in 2013. Check out this profile on Reggie Wayne and his decline in scoring efficiency by our RotoViz staff.
Furthermore, in his piece on offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton’s potential schemes for the 2013 Colts, Davis Mattek warns that Hamilton enjoys spreading the ball around and a possible decrease in targets might be in store for Wayne.
Still, the silver lining in the new potential offense is that Wayne actually could be a bit more effective since the defense won’t key in on him every single passing down. That being said, it’s safe to assume that Reggie Wayne’s production will face a downward trajectory in 2013. Make sure to check out Reggie Wayne’s full 2013 projections using the RotoViz WR Similarity Score App and check out Wayne’s career graphs using the RotoViz WR Career Graphs App.