Efficiency Outliers at the Wide Receiver Position

by Corbin Young · Analytics & Advanced Metrics

Last week, we looked at efficiency outliers at the running back position. This week, we take a look at efficiency outliers at wide receiver with a few more and less efficient receivers. In terms of efficiency metrics, we analyze Production Premium, Yards per Target, and more, while comparing opportunities and production to help us figure out what to expect moving forward. When we analyze efficiency for wide receivers, their respective quarterback makes an impact. For instance, with Justin Jefferson and A.J. Brown, both receivers pair up with efficient quarterbacks. On the flip side, Jarvis Landry and Jerry Jeudy do not. With that said, let’s dive into the advanced stats for three positive and negative efficiency outliers at wide receiver.

Efficiency Outliers – More Efficient Wide Receivers

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

Rookie Justin Jefferson continues to impress and produce in Minnesota’s low volume passing offense. Although the Vikings rank No. 29 with 31.1 Team Pass Plays per Game, Jefferson ranks as one of the positive efficiency outliers at wide receiver. However, over the past three games, the team’s passing volume and yardage has increased. During that stretch, Kirk Cousins has averaged over 304 passing yards and 37 pass attempts per game with eight passing touchdowns.

Jefferson has a 23.5-percent (No. 19 among qualified wide receivers) Target Share, 960 (No. 15) Air Yards, and a 34.2-percent (No. 15) Air Yards Share. With those decent opportunities, Jefferson rocks a +43.2 (No. 3) Production Premium, 12.8 (No. 1) Yards per Target, and 0.57 (No. 6) Fantasy Points per Route Run. Cousins also ranks highly in the efficiency metrics with a +30.0 (No. 2) Production Premium and 8.6 (No. 2) Yards per Attempt. With the increased passing volume paired with the continued efficiency, it provides reasons for optimism for Jefferson as a locked-in WR2 moving forward.

A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans

Admittedly, I’ll take a massive loss after some hesitation on whether A.J. Brown would continue as one of the positive efficiency outliers at wide receiver coming into 2020. Tennessee’s passing volume and pace slightly increased, but Brown’s efficiency continued since he’s a unique talent. In 2019, the Titans ranked No. 30 with 31.5 Team Pass Plays per Game and averaged 2.20 plays per minute. They currently rank No. 28 with 31.9 Team Pass Plays per Game and run an average of 2.31 (No. 10) plays per minute. Similar to Kirk Cousins, Ryan Tannehill has proved efficient once again with a +54.9 (No. 1) Production Premium in 2019 and +22.0 (No. 6) mark in 2020.

Efficiency Outliers at Wide Receiver

A.J. Brown Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

After ranking among the most efficient wide receivers in 2019, Brown continues his efficient production while also being a monster in the yards after the catch department. In 2019, he finished with a +52.4 (No. 1) Production Premium, 0.71 (No. 2) Fantasy Points per Pass Route, and 12.5 (No. 2) Yards per Target. In 2020, Brown has managed a +30.9 (No. 6) Production Premium and averages 0.60 (No. 5) Fantasy Points per Route Run with 9.8 (No. 18) Yards per Target. Even with the lowered YPT, Brown ranks No. 10 with 318 yards after the catch. Overall, he possesses the talent, athleticism and efficiency to continue as a WR1.

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers

Chase Claypool rates among the league’s most efficient receivers partially due to touchdowns. He ranks No. 5 with 10 total touchdowns, four of which came in one game against the Eagles, and a 20.8-percent Touchdown Rate. The only other notable receivers with a higher rate include Mike Evans and Adam Thielen. In terms of efficiency metrics, Claypool has a +9.3 (No. 25) Production Premium and averages 0.57 (No. 6) Fantasy Points per Route Run. For most of the season, he has received a ton of Air Yards and broken off explosive plays, but the lack of opportunities early on skewed his productivity. With the high passing volume and good enough quarterback play from Ben Roethlisberger, all Steelers receivers, including Claypool, should rank as WR2s moving forward.

Efficiency Outliers – Less Efficient Wide Receivers

Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams

With the Rams emphasizing the run game this season, the passing volume has decreased compared to 2019. Last season, they ranked No. 6 with 40.9 Team Pass Plays per Game. In 2020, the Rams rank No. 14 with 38.0 Team Pass Plays per Game, and Cooper Kupp holds a 25.0-percent (No. 11) Target Share with 97 (No. 10) total targets despite the team attempting fewer pass plays per game. In terms of efficiency, Kupp has a -7.7 (No. 61) Production Premium in 2020 compared to last year’s +16.4 (No. 17) mark.

Efficiency Outliers at Wide Receiver

Cooper Kupp & Jarvis Landry 2020 Efficiency Metrics

One main difference when comparing 2019 and 2020 involves the total touchdowns and Touchdown Rate. With 66 (No. 12) receptions and 758 (No. 16) receiving yards, we know Kupp provides a PPR floor. However, in 2019, he finished with ten (No. 2) total touchdowns with a 10.6-percent Touchdown Rate, near Chris Godwin and Amari Cooper. This season, he’s only scored two (No. 60) touchdowns for a 2.9-percent rate. One that ranks similarly to Robby Anderson, who also receives a high Target Share. However, Anderson looks slightly more efficient in terms of the catches and receiving yardage. Hopefully, Kupp starts falling into the end zone to rank more as a high-end WR2 than a mid-range WR2 in PPR leagues.

Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns

In a run-heavy Browns offense, Jarvis Landry earns a decent Target Share but lacks the production. The Browns rank No. 31 with 29.5 Team Pass Plays per Game and No. 4 with 32.0 Team Run Plays per Game. In contrary to the high-efficiency outliers at wide receiver, Landry’s lack of efficiency connects to Baker Mayfield‘s struggles and inconsistencies. Currently, Mayfield owns a -5.4 (No. 21) Production Premium with 2,105 (No. 22) passing yards or 191.4 per game. We also note that the weather has impacted the efficiency and productivity for both players in recent weeks.

Check out Jarvis Landry on PlayerProfiler’s New DYNASTY DELUXE Rankings:

Landry currently holds a 23.8-percent (No. 18) Target Share, with 46 (No. 30) receptions and 611 (No. 28) receiving yards. Efficiency-wise, Landry has a -7.9 (No. 62) Production Premium and averages 9.0 (No. 39) Yards per Target with 0.47 (No. 22) Fantasy Points per Route Run. Since Week 7, when Odell Beckham suffered a season-ending ACL injury, Landry’s volume has gone up and down with two 11-target games. In Week 12, he scored his only touchdown of the season in his best game so far, where he caught eight of 11 targets for 143 receiving yards. In summary, it’s risky to trust Landry, especially with the middling target volume and a quarterback that lacks efficiency.

Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos

Among the league leaders in Air Yards, Jerry Jeudy lacks productivity partly due to the rough efficiency and quarterback play by Drew Lock. Unsurprisingly, Lock averages 6.6 (No. 28) Yards per Attempt with 1,767 (No. 29) passing yards. He has totaled seven (No. 29) touchdowns and a -18.2 (No. 29) Production Premium. When looking at opportunities, Jeudy has earned a 21.4-percent (No. 32) Target Share with 1,142 (No. 4) Air Yards and a 31.8-percent (No. 24) Air Yards Share. With the high Air Yards total, it’s no surprise to see the 14.6 (No. 17) Average Target Distance, also known as aDOT. However, with 37 (No. 46) receptions, 589 (No. 31) receiving yards, and two (No. 60) touchdowns, he isn’t producing.

Efficiency Outliers at Wide Receiver

Jerry Jeudy Weeks 8-11

Jeudy ranks No. 77 with a -17.8 Production Premium, which makes sense when we consider the opportunities, production, and efficiency. Although he lacks efficiency, his opportunities have trended up over the past five games. We’ll toss out Week 12 as an outlier with the team essentially having no quarterback, so we’re looking at Week 8 through Week 11. During this four-game stretch, he earned a healthy amount of targets with Lock airing it out for 41.5 pass attempts and 272 passing yards per game. Overall, Jeudy’s production moving forward relies on volume moreso than efficiency, and Lock’s inefficiencies negatively impact Jeudy’s productivity.