In an ongoing effort to find better ways to understand the usage of each player, Pro Football Focus analyst Mike Clay recently started analyzing Average Depth of Target (aDOT). Tracked by his game analysts at Pro Football Focus, ‘depth of target’ refers to the average distance the player is downfield on each target. Basically a better version of the popular and mainstream Yards-Per-Reception statistic, aDOT removes volatile YAC (yards-after-catch) from the equation. It's a new, better method of tracking the way NFL pass-catchers are utilized...or so says Mike Clay.
DeSean Jackson ranked 9th out of 100 on the brand new "Average Depth of Target" measurement with an average pass reception depth of 15.8 yards based on 95 targets in 2011...
Because they're analyzing targets and not receptions, their sample of pass plays nearly doubles in size, which is key in developing predictable statistics. In fact, a recent study showed that a normalized version of aDOT could be predicted on a year-to-year basis with 95-percent accuracy. That is opposed to 41-percent prediction accuracy for Yards-Per-Reception, and 27-percent for Yards-Per-Target. The fact is: aDOT is predictable, while YPR is not.
Today, let's take a look at wide receivers with notably high and notably low "average depth of targets" during the 2011 season. Only wideouts who saw 30-plus targets during the 2011 season (including playoffs) are included
Ravens WR Torrey Smith
2011 aDOT: 19.7 (Rank: 1)
Preseason WR Fantasy Ranking: 30
Working in a passing game that features an aging possession receiver, Anquan Boldin, and a pair of tight ends, Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson, it’s no surprise that Smith was heavily-utilized as a down-field threat. He saw 41 percent of his 99 targets 20-plus yards down field. That compares to an NFL wide receiver average of 19 percent. Five of his eight touchdowns came on 20-plus yard throws. The Baltimore passing attack won’t be much different in 2012, so expect to see more of the same.
Raiders WR Denarius Moore
2011 aDOT: 18.9 (Rank: 2)
Preseason WR Fantasy Ranking: 32
Boosted by the high-risk, chuck-it-deep mentality Carson Palmer initially brought to the table last season, Moore saw 40 percent of his targets 20-plus yards down field. Four of his five touchdowns came on these deep throws. Palmer calmed down as the year progressed, but Moore was still featured as a deep threat. His aDOT will take a little bit of a dive with Jacoby Ford back from injury and Darrius Heyward-Bey (Rank: 18) also able to do damage down field. Ford worked from the slot on 40 percent of his snaps last season and saw his aDOT dive to 9.2. He figures to be the team’s primary underneath threat, but has to speed to add a few big plays.
Chargers WR Vincent Jackson
2011 aDOT: 18.6 (Rank: 3)
Preseason WR Fantasy Ranking: 25
Jackson’s situation is a bit unique since he’s moved on to Tampa Bay, but we can still take a look at his tendencies. A hefty 35 percent of his targets came 20-plus yards downfield last season. Since 2008, 14 of Jackson’s 29 touchdowns have come on 20-plus yard throws. Another 11 came in the 10-to-19 range. He’ll be the primary deep threat in Tampa. Mike Williams will handle a good chunk of the mid-range throws, while Preston Parker and Dallas Clark will do the underneath damage.
Seahawks WR Sidney Rice
2011 aDOT: 17.1 (Rank: 5)
Preseason WR Fantasy Ranking: 38
Rice is arguably the biggest injury risk on fantasy draftboards this season, but there is certainly plenty of big-play upside here. Rice saw 39 percent of his 56 targets 20-plus yards down field a season ago. He hauled in six of those throws for 223 yards and a touchdown. Assuming he can stay healthy, Rice will stick as the team’s primary deep threat. Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, and the tight ends will work in the short-to-mid range.
Chargers WR Malcom Floyd
2011 aDOT: 17.0 (Rank: 6)
Preseason WR Fantasy Ranking: 45
With the aforementioned Vincent Jackson off to Tampa Bay, Floyd joins newcomer Robert Meachem as potential deep threats for Philip Rivers. Only 21 percent of Floyd’s 68 targets came beyond 20 yards last season, but a whopping 63 percent (NFL WR average is 30 percent) came in the 10-to-19 range. He hauled in an impressive 8-of-14 20-plus yard targets last season, scoring on three of the receptions.
Vikings WR Percy Harvin
2011 aDOT: 5.9 (Rank: 99)
Preseason WR Fantasy Ranking: 9
Considering Harvin lined up in the backfield on 14 percent of his snaps and in the slot on another 51 percent, it’s hardly a surprise to see him here. Of his 118 targets, 65 percent were delivered within nine yards of the line of scrimmage. Impressively, Harvin hauled in 79 percent of those targets and scored five of his six touchdowns on short throws. Jerome Simpson will help as a deep threat, allowing Harvin to continue doing his damage underneath.
Buccaneers WR Preston Parker
2011 aDOT: 6.9 (Rank: 97)
Preseason WR Fantasy Ranking: N/A
In his first NFL season as a regular contributor, Parker worked out of the slot on over 90 percent of his snaps. The result was 79 percent of his targets coming within nine yards downfield. He went without a reception on two targets 20-plus yards down field. The zero-to-nine yard range was where Parker shined. He caught 72 percent of his 46 targets, scored three touchdowns, and averaged an impressive 8.8 yards after the catch. With Vincent Jackson now in the picture, Parker can focus even more on underneath routes. He’ll enter camp pushing Mike Williams for a starting job opposite Jackson. An increase in looks would put him in the WR3 conversation in PPR formats.
Lions WR Nate Burleson
2011 aDOT: 7.0 (Rank: 96)
Preseason WR Fantasy Ranking: 72
Handling 73 percent of his targets within nine yards of the line of scrimmage (17 percent of which came behind the LOS), Burleson was a capable safety gap for Matthew Stafford during the 2011 season. Burleson caught a strong 78 percent of his targets in the zero-to-nine yard range, but two of his three scores came when beyond 10 yards down field. With Titus Young emerging across from Calvin Johnson, Burleson is left competing with rookie Ryan Broyles for primary slot duties. The odds favor him in the short-term, but the more-talented Broyles is likely to emerge at some point in the next six months.
Patriots WR Wes Welker
2011 aDOT: 7.6 (Rank: 95)
Preseason WR Fantasy Ranking: 15
Wes Welker’s average depth of target actually jumped up 1.9 yards from 2010-to-2011, but he still saw just over two-thirds of his targets in the zero-to-nine yard range. Interestingly, his catch, yards-per-reception, touchdown, and YAC rates were almost exactly identical in that zone both years. The big jump in his overall yards-per-reception (9.7 to 12.3) can be attributed to two items: (1) his 9.0 YAC/Reception mark in the 10-19 yard range, which was significantly inflated by a 99-yard touchdown and (2) a slight boost in 20-plus yard throws (from two percent to six percent). The 2012 Patriots figure to bring back the deep ball, but with Brandon Lloyd now in the picture, Welker can continue to focus on his short game.
Colts WR Austin Collie
2011 aDOT: 7.6 (Rank: 94)
Preseason WR Fantasy Ranking: 43
Only five of Austin Collie’s 92 targets came on 20-plus yard throws last season, as the Colts slot man focused primarily on the zero-to-nine yard range. Although he slid a bit in a down year for the offense a season ago, Collie had a dominant short game with Peyton Manning. Consider that he’s caught 100 percent (29-of-29) of balls thrown to him behind the line of scrimmage in his career. Additionally, during the 2010 season (his last with Manning), he caught 41-of-43 (95 percent) of balls thrown within nine yards of the line of scrimmage. The Indianapolis offense was completely overhauled this offseason, but Collie is still the primary slot/underneath target and Andrew Luck is an upgrade at quarterback.
That's pretty analytic stuff there from Mike Clay. Our own DeSean Jackson ranks pretty high at #9 in the overall stat rankings of this new measure. It may be notable to observe the lowest rankings on the aDOT charts for 2011--- Greg Little of the Browns bottomed out the list at 113 targets at 10.1 yards depth... Not far behind him were Donald Driver of Green Bay with 9.9 yards based upon 57 targets, and Andre Roberts of the Cardinals with 9.8 yards based upon 91 targets.
I'm not smart enough to correlate all the variables of this new stat. I know intutively that you can have a greater passing attack based upon the deeper penetration of your receiving target. But you still have to catch the ball...and you still have to run after the catch. My biggest critical concern over this new aDOT rating system is it does not factor in game situations... i.e., are you up by 20 points when you set the lower yardage target? Are you down by 20 points when you set the deep target? If you're protecting a lead, why on God's green earth would you want to be far downfield anyway?
But I quibble... I guess the new aDOT system assumes the game situations average themselves out over the course of 16 games...
Life goes on...Training Camp is 8 days away...
To me...the last few games against the friggin Giants and Dallas tell an interesting story...even though we struggled last year we played well against dem guys....I'd like to see that trend continue...
@Birdcrazy I didn't get to see all games last year. The year before they seemed to show the Eagles nearly ever week on the cable channels.. I am looking at the D and the O-line closely now I got the chance...............No advertisements!!!!!!!!!!YaY!!!!!!!!!!!
@beanstalk O line play from first half to second half is like night and day from last year...see if you notice the improvement as you peruse those games...
I was waiting on that E-mail before I purchased the full gamepass...
Just gotta get a Video capture card now and i can e-mail you guys some goodies
Damn , anudder "stat"...getting to be a fan's gotta be a nuclear physicist to watch da games anymore...only stat I'm interested in is da score...cause I suk at math....
I gotta figure out how to get all of the Eagles games here in Florida without that satellite thingy - I have Fios.
Also - time for beddy - the last pill is really kicking in.
Nite all - thanks for putting up with me for yet another day.....
Nite Mrs Calabash
Just read an article about the last few months about Joe Pa and the Sandursky deal. Really unfortunate.
Good morning Beanstalk from the U.S. of A,
Yes, yes and yes, PhiladelphiaEagles.com will provide arguably our best coverage of Training Camp this year. Training Camp Live! with the one and only Dave Spadaro kicks off July 22 with Andy Reid's introductory press conference. From there, we will be live at 2 PM (EST) for the afternoon practice every day with live looks at the action.As for the Game Pass, the only thing I saw was a special where you can get a $15 discount if you purchase the entire season where it is just $2 more than just getting Eagles games. The link with the info is below.https://audiopass.nfl.com/nflap/secure/packages?ttv=1&ttp=3&icampaign=Prod_AP_NavThanks for your support and we're looking forward to a great 2012!
Go Eagles! Chris McPherson PhiladelphiaEagles.com Make sure to follow us on Twitter: @Eagles and @EaglesInsider Join the nearly 2 million fans who like us on Facebook.com/PhiladelphiaEagles
Hi team, I have recently noticed that coverage of Training Camps is a perk in the NFL.com Game Pass package. Is PE.com still going to broadcast with Spudz like usual, and in the future? Or is this the introduction of a new trend? Also, it mentions a Promo code that provides a discount for the Game Pass service. Can I get a Promo code from purchasing products from your shop, Or do I have to Purchase it through NFL.com. Thanks for your time. Can't wait to watch the team go all the way this year. Ben 'beanstalk' Williamson from Australia
I guess we would have only bid like a 4th or 5th rd pick on Gordon. But I'm happier we have our full compliment of picks for next draft.
not to stir things any - you seem pretty 'On' with your thoughts....
what do you think about Kafka?
The sad part about TO. What an absolute WASTE of a God-Given talent !! I believe - if they could give him a head transplant - even to this day - at his age - he could STILL be best WR in the game - period.
What a waste - what a mess of a man......
Oh----Kene---- PLEASE tell me that bit about TO is true.....
I've got the 2 Cowboys in my shop whipped to a froth now---- this would be the Cherry on the Ice Cream.
Was half watching a movie last night 'Nothing But Trouble' by Dan Aykroyd...
was all a Rob Zombie movie set... Classic... Then Tupac comes on in a Cameo... does a little rap...1991, he looked nothing like Thuglife and was sporting a Yankees jersey..
Keep yer chin up their Beans,.......gotta run for a little bit.
Palmer........make sure that bus is gassed up......we can't run it on Beaner's methane gas...............won't work.
See you guys later.
Noticed Spudz rip the idea of taking Gordon.. he reckons the Eagles might have spent a 5th pick! funny... Also Dismissive of newly released Mike Williams in Seattle...
Here is Kate.................carefull...........she's no stunner.
Ahh - thanks Dutch. The memories. Moose would always hang back and be the last one to spank Bernie after the Anthem - or whatever.
Bobby C - no teeth and all 'trying' to mouth the words. Van Impe - looking like - well Van Impe ( "patience my A** - I just wanna kill something" ).
Can'rt row a boat with one Orr.....
Of ALL of the Teams in ALL of Sports for us to beat...this City fell so head over heals in love with them - it'll NEVER wear off.
I am a little stoned right now - you just got me all choked-up...
That Man-Card of mine is in pretty bad shape right now.
@dutchrubb Flashback alright....
hey - I was just trying to cheer you up.
Pretty Australian girl
Never mind , forget it - just be quiet and take your seat - right next to PPW.
What do ou think of Lanie Lane's voice Palmy?