Analytics & Advanced Metrics

Meet The Metric – True Catch Rate

by Aaron Stewart, June 7, 2021

In 2020, Emmanuel Sanders led the NFL with a 110.9-percent True Catch Rate, and that’s not a typo. What does this tell the RotoUnderworld audience? Despite a 67.1-percent (No. 97 among qualified wide receivers) Catchable Target Rate and 6.04 (No. 108) Target Accuracy, Sanders was able to utilize his 10.29 (92nd-percentile) Catch Radius to haul in a majority of his targets, even those deemed uncatchable. He caught 61 passes even though only 55 targets were deemed catchable.

Last season, Denzel Mims finished the season with a 51.1-percent (No. 103) Catch Rate. Box score hunters see this stat and assume “This guy can’t play and is a bust.” Mims’ 88.5-percent (No. 29) True Catch Rate and 14.1 (No. 12) Average Target Distance add context to his situation. A quarterback upgrade in 2021 would lead to an increase in Mims’ 57.8-percent (No. 107) Catchable Target Rate in 2020, and thus increase his Catch Rate that box score hunters overvalue.


Meet the Metric – Burn Rate

by Corbin Young, May 31, 2021

The cornerback with the league’s highest Burn Rate, Jaylon Johnson faced several top-end wide receivers in his 13 games played in 2020. Meanwhile, he managed a +36.5 (No. 13 among qualified cornerbacks) Coverage Rating and 16 (No. 4) Pass Break-ups. We have a mix of notable receivers that performed well against Johnson in Mike Evans, D.J. Moore, and Justin Jefferson. Interestingly, we find low production from A.J. Brown and Marquez Valdes-Scantling with Johnson covering them.

On the flip side, let’s look at Jaire Alexander, who allowed a 0.0-percent (No. 1) Burn Rate, tying with several other defensive backs. Meanwhile, he ranked No. 2 with a +54.9 Coverage Rating and No. 1 with 18 Pass Break-ups. Alexander dominated. Overall, it’s wild to think he didn’t allow a single burn against Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Calvin Ridley, Mike Evans, Will Fuller, and Allen Robinson twice. 


Meet the Metric – True Yards Per Carry

by Steve Smith, May 24, 2021

Derrick Henry and Aaron Jones led the way in 2020 with 4.9 True YPC averages. With a whopping 378 carries, King Henry nearly doubled Jones in attempts and still managed the same stellar average. In fact, Henry posted the highest True YPC for any RB seeing over 200 carries in the last three seasons. Rounding out the top performers are Dalvin Cook and Jonathan Taylor.

In his rookie campaign, J.K. Dobbins led the league with a dazzling 5.4 True YPC average. Boosted by a No. 1-ranked 8.2-percent Breakaway Run Rate, his True YPC should be expected to dip as he earns more work. However, this elite average gives him plenty of room to stay in the upper echelon. He produced an impressive 2.18 (No. 3) Yards Created Per Touch with a 30.9-percent (No. 5) Juke Rate.


Meet the Metric – Opportunity Share

by Edward DeLauter, May 17, 2021

Last season, both Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette saw roughly the same amount of snaps in the Buccaneers offense. However, Jones was the preferred fantasy option, averaging over two points more per game. His production was largely driven by seeing more than 15-percent more opportunities than Fournette. This Opportunity Share was the reason to be “on him” in 2020.

What many seem to be overlooking about Joe Mixon is his opportunity monopoly on an ascending Bengals offense. Last season, he saw an 81.5-percent (No. 2 among qualified running backs) Opportunity Share during his six active games. Additionally, when he last played a full season in 2019, he saw a 77.1-percent (No. 6) Opportunity Share.


Meet the Metric – Production Premium

by Neil Dutton, May 10, 2021

Production Premium is particularly helpful when assessing players after they change teams in free agency or are traded. Two players, both making their way to new teams in 2021, featured among the top seven last season while on their old teams. Nelson Agholor posted a +26.3 (No. 6 among qualified wide receivers) Production Premium, while Corey Davis delivered a +24.3 (No. 7) mark.

At the other end of the scale, the Arizona Cardinals may have bid against themselves in signing former star A.J. Green. His 2020 campaign showed a player a long way past his best. He was neither productive, nor efficient, and finished with a -37.0 (No. 89) Production Premium.


Meet the Metric – Explaining Run Blocking Efficiency

by Corbin Young, May 3, 2021

J.K. Dobbins’ high marks in Run Blocking Efficiency and Yards Created Per Touch tell us he took advantage of running lanes and created yards on his own. He and Gus Edwards will likely share touches in 2021, and hopefully, Dobbins earns more opportunities in the receiving game to add to his fantasy production. The Ravens running backs, particularly Dobbins, seem like a rare case where a player creates yards while also benefitting from their offensive line. 

In PPR leagues, Myles Gaskins’ receiving production boosted him to RB1 status, helping him average 16.4 (No. 10 among qualified running backs) Fantasy Points per Game. But unless there’s a major improvement in performance across their offensive line, he and the other Miami running backs may need to create yards on their own to remain productive. 


Meet the Metric – Hog Rate

by Neil Dutton, April 26, 2021

In 2020, Mark Andrews was in on 67.1-percent of the team’s offensive snaps. This was No. 26 among qualified tight ends in terms of Snap Share. His teammate Nick Boyle recorded a 66.7-percent share of the offensive playing time. But Boyle saw just 17 (No. 59) targets in his ten games. Andrews drew 89 (No. 9) targets. This worked out to a target per snap, or Hog Rate, of 4.7-percent for Boyle and 15.4 percent (No. 9) for Andrews.

Jordan Reed, whenever he took to the field, was a focal point of the 49ers offense. He only logged a 36.9-percent (No. 74) Snap Share. But he posted a position-leading 19.7 percent-Hog Rate. As a result, he was able to average 0.44 (No. 8) Fantasy Points per Route Run. He benefitted from Kittle’s missing time, of course. But his Hog Rate told fantasy managers that he could be plugged in as a potential streamer thanks to his usage.


The Last Word on Pro Day vs. Combine 40-Yard Dash Times

by Josh Larky, April 25, 2021

There was no organized 2021 NFL Scouting Combine; rather, each college put on their individual pro day workouts, with the vertical jump, broad jump, 3-cone drill, and of course, the 40-yard Dash. In this piece, we’ll outline why we are adjusting the results of these 2021 pro day 40-times up by 0.05 seconds.

If widespread intuition is correct, and pro day 40-times are generally faster, then as an NFL player data authority, it is our duty to adjust pro day results to be on par with NFL Combine results, offering the sports public a true apples to apples comparison of every player at every position.  


Meet the Metric – Target Separation

by Dan Turner, April 19, 2021

Coming into the league, Davante Adams ran a 4.56 (45th-percentile among qualified wide receivers) 40-yard Dash, hardly setting the world on fire. He used his route running to become an elite receiver, as evidenced by his 2.13 (No. 9) Target Separation score. His ability to put space in between himself and a defender, as well as having a supremely accurate QB, is what makes him a good receiver.

Will Fuller looks to become the WR1 in Miami, where he will link up with Tua Tagovailoa and his 7.9 (No. 2) Accuracy Rating. His 1.77 (No. 35) Target Separation will be improved upon in a better offense for his skill set. It should be exciting to see how he does in his new home. 


Meet the Metric – Pace of Play

by Corbin Young, April 12, 2021

The Cowboys led the NFL with 42.7 Team Pass Plays Per Game and a 2.51 Pace of Play. Before Dak Prescott’s injury, he ranked highly in a number of efficiency metrics with a +18.8 (No. 4 among qualified quarterbacks) Production Premium and 8.0 (No. 6) Adjusted Yards Per Attempt. A -4.77 (No. 27) Game Script mark indicated they often played from behind with their poor defense, which will lead to high passing opportunities once again in 2021 if that unit continues to struggle. 

We have Josh Allen out here exploding in 2020 in all the metrics even though Buffalo ranked lowly with a 2.14 (No. 28) Pace of Play. Buffalo averaged 38.9 (No. 13) Team Pass Plays Per Game, and Allen finished with 4,546 (No. 5) Passing Yards and 37 (No. 5) Passing Touchdowns. With the leap in fantasy production and efficiency paired with his rushing production, expect Allen to dominate again in 2021.