It’s third and long. You’ve got to pick up a first down. Running it probably won’t work, so you’ve got to pass. The only problem is that the defense knows you’re going to pass. They’re going to try to eliminate your #1 option. Can your receiver elevate his game and come through in the clutch?
Using this awesome RotoViz tool, I ran a little experiment. I wanted to see which receivers had the strongest performance on 3rd and 4th down with 5+ yards to go. I thought this would lend some insight into who has that extra gear that can be utilized in critical spots. Unsurprisingly, DeAndre Hopkins was really impressive, but what about the rest of the players eligible for the 2013 NFL Draft? These were the results on a yards/target basis (min 12 targets, Defense quality>20)
|Mike Shanahan (TE)||Pittsburgh||2012||20||257||12.85||1||5%|
|Tobais Palmer||North Carolina State||2012||18||226||12.56||2||11%|
|Marquess Wilson||Washington State||2012||17||208||12.24||2||12%|
|Chad Bumphis||Mississippi State||2012||15||180||12||3||20%|
|Kerwynn Williams (RB)||Utah State||2012||17||202||11.88||2||12%|
|Vance McDonald (TE)||Rice||2012||18||206||11.44||1||6%|
|Darrin Moore||Texas Tech||2012||14||159||11.36||2||14%|
|Corey Fuller||Virginia Tech||2012||29||329||11.34||3||10%|
|Marcus Davis||Virginia Tech||2012||26||292||11.23||3||12%|
|Theo Riddick (RB)||Notre Dame||2012||13||144||11.08||0||0%|
|Terence Davis||Wake Forest||2012||13||143||11||1||8%|
|Sam McGuffie (WR/RB)||Rice||2012||15||164||10.93||1||7%|
|Chris Smith||Mississippi State||2012||16||171||10.69||1||6%|
|Matt Austin||Utah State||2012||17||181||10.65||1||6%|
So, for every time you throw the ball to DeAndre Hopkins on third and long situations, he is going to reward you with 13 yards. Damn!
To see Kenny Stills and Tavarres King so high on the list makes me think that they can be solid, if unspectacular contributors in the NFL, like Steve Smith was for the NY Giants. It’s interesting that they also have the two highest TD% in these situations. Those two are similar builds, have similar workout numbers and have been praised as being excellent route runners, which the data supports. Look for them to get drafted in rounds 3-4.
Ranking third in TD% is CHAD BUMPHIS!!! In case you missed it, I am the driver of the Chad Bumphis bandwagon (a.k.a. the Bumphiswagon). What else is it going to take to get you on board?
The first running back to appear on this list is Utah State’s Kerwynn Williams. As we’ve already seen, he compares favorably to Giovani Bernard. No, he won’t be an every-down back, but the guy looks like a future 3rd down back/ PPR demon. Especially if your league awards points for return yardage, this is a guy to target late in dynasty drafts.
Vance McDonald has a very interesting TE profile and his appearance on this list makes me even more curious. Stay tuned to see where he ranks in the upcoming RotoViz composite rankings.
Darrin Moore is a name worth noting. I wrote about him in December and Matthew Freedman is about to revisit the Darrin Moore Awareness campaign. In short he has 1,000 yards and 10+ touchdowns and is being completely ignored.
One last note of interest: In 2011 Keenan Allen led the nation in yardage in these situations. I’m skeptical about Allen, but that named jumped off the leaderboard at me and I thought you might be interested.
Okay, this is really the last note. My man Jeremy Ebert was in the top ten in this category in both 2010 and 2011. I’m just saying…