The 2013 AYA Red Flag Receiving Team
Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time playing around with the AYA App. AYA stands for adjusted yards per attempt, a variation of yards per attempt that factors in touchdowns and interceptions. The AYA App lets you see how efficient QBs were when throwing to various targets, and you can even adjust it to cover different seasons, or a span of multiple seasons. It’s very informative and I encourage you to spend some time with it. My main goal was to find the players with surprisingly high or low adjusted yard per target (AYPT) numbers, which is equivalent to the AYA their QB had when targeting them. Today, I’m going to share some of those players with you.
We’ll continue on from the last article with the players who hindered their QBs and “provided” them with particularly low AYAs. For the sake of clarity, I’ve decided to only focus on players that are playing with the same starting QB in both 2013 and 2014.
Some of these numbers are concerning because they suggest a player’s production was largely volume driven. Others are concerning because they suggest a player doesn’t have a very good connection with their QB. Some are alarming because they simply suggest a player may not be very good. I have tried to come up with a more optimistic interpretation whenever possible. I am not saying the AYA numbers alone make any of these guys undraftable, these numbers are just reason for concern, thus, red flags.
Pierre Garcon– 6.03 AYPT
This was on 138 targets, before Robert Griffin III was “shut down” for the rest of the season. Garcon’s success was based on volume, not efficiency. The optimistic way to look at it is that Garcon was far more efficient in 2012 (11.47 AYA) when Griffin was healthy… but so was everybody else. Garcon has only scored 6 TDs on 191 targets from Griffin in Washington. The bad news is that DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts are now in town, and Kyle Shanahan, who has historically peppered his WR1 with targets, is not. The good news is that Jay Gruden, who gave A.J. Green 150 targets per year, is the head coach now. Oh, speaking of Mr. Green…
A.J. Green- 6.21 AYPT
…his efficiency hasn’t been very good either. His career AYPT with Andy Dalton isn’t much better, at 7.33. Hopefully, a new head coach, an increased ability to score TDs, or Andy Dalton’s hidden talents will lead to an increase in efficiency in 2014, because there’s a good chance his volume will decrease.
Coby Fleener– 6.36 AYPT
Andrew Luck’s AYA numbers aren’t great across the board, but the only receiver he targeted twenty times or more less efficiently was Darrius Heyward-Bey. Yes, Fleener was less effective than 2013 fantasy bust of the year Trent Richardson, who actually put up a fairly strong AYPT of 6.95. Dwayne Allen has a career AYA of 9.13 and was targeted more than Fleener in the trio’s rookie year, so maybe draft him instead.
Rueben Randle– 4.82 AYPT
The bad news is that Eli Manning threw 8 INTs but only 6 TDs when targeting Randle last year. There’s two pieces of good news though. The first is that new OC Ben McAdoo is supposedly getting rid of the option routes that led to the miscommunications between the two last year. The second is that Randle posted an AYPT of 11.55 his rookie year. The upside makes his price worth it.
Stephen Hill– 3.31 AYPT
There’s not any good news here. The Jets were right to bench him last year.
Tavon Austin– 5.17 AYPT
Sam Bradford was actually less efficient when targeting Austin than he was targeting anyone else that had at least twenty targets. Bradford also targeted Austin more than anyone else. I personally blame Brian Schottenheimer, but that won’t make Tavon any more efficient next year.
Mike Wallace– 5.11 AYPT
Wallace actually had an AYPT of 10.58 when catching passes from Ben Roethlisberger, so as much as I want to blame this completely on him, Ryan Tannehill is due some blame as well. Tannehill’s AYA numbers are bad across the board for his career, so I don’t see this changing drastically next year.
Levine Toilolo– 3.33 AYPT
Toilolo only received 15 targets last season, and he wasn’t very efficient with them. He’s a popular sleeper now that Tony Gonzalez is retired, but I just don’t see it, especially since we know he’s not filling Gonzalez’s role.
Larry Fitzgerald– 6.21 AYPT
Dwayne Bowe– 7.06 AYPT
Again, this isn’t that bad compared to other Chiefs. However, Bowe only received 103 targets, and he’s either going to need to be a lot more efficient or get a lot more volume to be valuable in fantasy.
Rob Gronkowski– 7.45 AYPT
That number’s not terrible in a vacuum, but over the rest of his career Gronkowski has posted an AYPT of 12.82. Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson, and Kenbrell Thompkins were all more efficient last year. Gronkowski had 66 targets last year, and he played nowhere near where he used to. It’s a very real chance injuries have finally sapped him of his superhuman athleticism. If you’re drafting him for his upside, that upside may not exist any more. I’m going to have to pass on him, the price is too much for me.
Jarrett Boykin– 8.38 AYPT
In a vacuum, that’s a solid performance from Boykin. Unfortunately, Aaron Rodgers is probably the best QB in the NFL and Boykin was less efficient than all of the guys Rodgers targeted more frequently. Suddenly, his performance is less solid. You may also remember that Boykin didn’t really break out until Rodgers was injured; that’s because Rodgers only targeted him 26 times last season. He’s almost certainly going to lose playing time to Davante Adams and the raw but freakish Jeff Janis as well. I won’t be drafting Boykin anywhere.
Ray Rice– 3.78 AYPT
Ray Rice was every bit as abysmal as you remember, and he’s likely to be suspended. Pass.
C.J. Spiller– 1.13 AYPT
This number increased all the way to a whopping 4.36 when Thad Lewis was under center. That’s sarcasm, by the way. It’s safe to say Spiller was hobbled by his injuries last year. His AYPT from Ryan Fitzpatrick was 8.75 in 2012. Still, I don’t know if I can condone drafting a guy who has ever been that bad, and I’m not sure he’ll ever see much volume.
Montee Ball– 5.11 AYPT
That was on 27 targets, and it’s really not terrible for a RB in general, but Knowshon Moreno’s AYPT was 8.22. Ronnie Hillman’s was 9.15. C.J. Anderson’s was zero, but he only had a single target. It’s very possible that Ball is the worst receiving back on the Broncos, and receiving ability was the source of much of Moreno’s playing time and fantasy value. Ball is almost always going off the board in the second round, and he doesn’t even have a clearly defined role. That is far too rich for my blood.
The Guys the Eagles Got Rid Of
Ok, I’m technically cheating here, as these guys are no longer catching passes from Nick Foles. But I wanted to point out the Eagles let all the guys who weren’t pulling their weight go, and made an effort to keep the guys who were performing. DeSean Jackson’s AYPT of 12.72 was very good, but not compared to other Eagles given the role he plays. Jason Avant only posted an AYPT of 5.59. Bryce Brown, who they traded to the Bills, only put up an AYPT of 4.44. This is just another piece of evidence to add to the “Chip Kelly really knows what he’s doing” pile.
Any objections? Think I missed someone or wrongly included someone else? Feel free to let me know in the comments, on our new message boards, or on Twitter @TheHumanHuman. But seriously, you need to check out the AYA App.