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Advanced Stats: What can We Expect from the 2017 Colts Receivers?

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Faraz Majid has been a member of Stampede Blue writing under the moniker brownmamba13 since March of 2013. He is particularly interested in analyzing the performance of the Colts teams and individual Colts players or positions from a statistical perspective. He has started generating his own metrics to assist in this analysis. Please welcome him and if you’re particularly interested in statistics, provide your feedback as Faraz continues developing his own metrics.

The Indianapolis Colts have put a lot of effort into the wide receiver position over the past few years. So far, both basic statistics and the eyeball test indicate that most of these investments have yet to pan out — not uncommon for former GM Ryan Grigson.

But sometimes the simple ways of analyzing the game don’t tell us enough of the story, so I decided to investigate if a closer analysis would uncover something deeper.

To achieve this goal, I have created my own set of advanced statistics and applied them to the league’s top 21 wide receivers, based upon receiving yards during the 2016 season. I’ve also included other Colts receivers (bringing the total to 25) and put them all together in one chart per statistical category.

The four metrics that I have created are: Explosiveness %, Yards After Catch %, Catching Efficiency Rating (CER), and True Catching Efficiency Rating (TCER).


METRIC EXPLANATION

Explosiveness % is the number of 20+ yard catches divided by number of total catches (20+ catches/# of catches). This is to measure how much of a deep threat, or how explosive, a player is.

Yards After Catch % divides a player’s yards after catch by total receiving yards (YAC/Receiving Yards), in order to gauge the player’s ability with the ball in his hands.

CER (Catching Efficiency Rating) and TCER (True Catching Efficiency Rating) go hand-in-hand, and are a more comprehensive equation of a receiver’s abilities. CER = [(2 x touchdowns + first downs) – (1.25 x drops)] / catches] and TCER = CER x yards per catch.

The rating metrics weight touchdowns and drops due to their importance. Scoring is the most important offensive play of the game and first downs are also valuable. Drops can cost the offense a down, a possession, or a score. While not all catches are created equal, I’ve weight drops to impact CER and counter-balance the weighting of touchdowns.

I divide these figures by catches to prevent the data from becoming a volume number. With TCER, the addition of YPC is there to mitigate the potential of a receiver’s efficiency being due to situational circumstances.


RESULTS

Leaders by Yards

# Name 2017 Team Catches Yards TDs EXPL% YAC% CER TCER
# Name 2017 Team Catches Yards TDs EXPL% YAC% CER TCER
1 T. Hilton Colts 91 1448 6 30.77% 23.34% 0.77 12.32
2 J. Jones Falcons 83 1409 6 32.53% 30.02% 0.87 14.79
3 O. Beckham Giants 101 1367 10 19.80% 37.89% 0.77 10.36
4 M. Evans Bucs 96 1321 12 15.63% 12.79% 1 13.87
5 A. Brown Steelers 106 1284 12 20.75% 30.14% 0.81 9.76
6 J. Nelson Packers 97 1257 14 19.59% 27.05% 0.9 11.73
7 B. Cooks Patriots 78 1173 8 19.23% 31.63% 0.73 11.01
8 A. Cooper Raiders 83 1153 5 25.30% 40.42% 0.64 8.92
9 M. Thomas Saints 92 1137 9 19.50% 41.69% 0.84 10.45
10 J. Landry Dolphins 94 1136 4 17.02% 55.81% 0.61 7.4
11 D. Baldwin Seahawks 94 1128 7 17.02% 41.22% 0.69 8.27
12 J. Edelman Patriots 98 1106 3 11.22% 45.66% 0.56 6.31
13 D. Thomas Broncos 90 1083 5 11.11% 31.02% 0.57 6.83
14 G. Tate Lions 91 1077 4 14.28% 58.96% 0.54 6.35
15 Ty. Williams Chargers 69 1059 7 27.54% 44.19% 0.81 12.44
16 P. Garcon 49ers 79 1041 3 18.99% 34.68% 0.72 9.48
17 E. Sanders Broncos 79 1032 5 15.19% 25.09% 0.76 9.95
18 L. Fitzgerald Cardinals 107 1023 6 7.48% 35.19% 0.63 6.03
19 M. Wallace Ravens 72 1017 4 13.89% 41.59% 0.67 9.49
20 T. Pryor Washington 77 1007 4 14.29% 18.77% 0.66 8.68
21 D. Jackson Bucs 56 1,005 4 33.93% 28.56% 0.7 12.62
22 P. Dorsett Colts 33 528 2 24.24% 29.55% 0.61 9.82
23 K. Aiken Colts 29 328 1 10.34% 32.01% 0.6 6.82
24 D. Moncrief Colts 30 307 7 10.00% 18.89% 1.16 11.82
25 C. Rogers Colts 19 273 0 31.58% 19.78% 0.62 8.91
WR Receiving Yards Leaders w/ Colts

Obviously, we all know where the horseshoe receivers lie in terms of total yards, with T.Y. Hilton at the top, so there’s no need to delve into that any further.


Leaders by EXPL%

# Name 2017 Team Catches Yards TDs EXPL% YAC% CER TCER
# Name 2017 Team Catches Yards TDs EXPL% YAC% CER TCER
1 D. Jackson Bucs 56 1,005 4 33.93% 28.56% 0.7 12.62
2 J. Jones Falcons 83 1409 6 32.53% 30.02% 0.87 14.79
3 C. Rogers Colts 19 273 0 31.58% 19.78% 0.62 8.91
4 T. Hilton Colts 91 1448 6 30.77% 23.34% 0.77 12.32
5 Ty. Williams Chargers 69 1059 7 27.54% 44.19% 0.81 12.44
6 A. Cooper Raiders 83 1153 5 25.30% 40.42% 0.64 8.92
7 P. Dorsett Colts 33 528 2 24.24% 29.55% 0.61 9.82
8 A. Brown Steelers 106 1284 12 20.75% 30.14% 0.81 9.76
9 O. Beckham Giants 101 1367 10 19.80% 37.89% 0.77 10.36
10 J. Nelson Packers 97 1257 14 19.59% 27.05% 0.9 11.73
11 M. Thomas Saints 92 1137 9 19.50% 41.69% 0.84 10.45
12 B. Cooks Patriots 78 1173 8 19.23% 31.63% 0.73 11.01
13 P. Garcon 49ers 79 1041 3 18.99% 34.68% 0.72 9.48
14 J. Landry Dolphins 94 1136 4 17.02% 55.81% 0.61 7.4
15 D. Baldwin Seahawks 94 1128 7 17.02% 41.22% 0.69 8.27
16 M. Evans Bucs 96 1321 12 15.63% 12.79% 1 13.87
17 E. Sanders Broncos 79 1032 5 15.19% 25.09% 0.76 9.95
18 T. Pryor Washington 77 1007 4 14.29% 18.77% 0.66 8.68
19 G. Tate Lions 91 1077 4 14.28% 58.96% 0.54 6.35
20 M. Wallace Ravens 72 1017 4 13.89% 41.59% 0.67 9.49
21 J. Edelman Patriots 98 1106 3 11.22% 45.66% 0.56 6.31
22 D. Thomas Broncos 90 1083 5 11.11% 31.02% 0.57 6.83
23 K. Aiken Colts 29 328 1 10.34% 32.01% 0.6 6.82
24 D. Moncrief Colts 30 307 7 10.00% 18.89% 1.16 11.82
25 L. Fitzgerald Cardinals 107 1023 6 7.48% 35.19% 0.63 6.03

Once we move on to the EXPL%, there’s an eye-opening revelation. DeSean Jackson and Julio Jones at spots #1 and #2 is expected, but peer your eyes at #3. I was surprised by this outcome.

Chester Rogers appears in the top 3 spot and I can only theorize as to how this happened.

Could it be that he was an overlooked part of the Colts offense that took advantage of unsuspecting defenses who were looking in another direction? After all, Colts receivers also maintain the #4 and #7 spots — TY Hilton and Phillip Dorsett — and they are both 4.3 40-yard dash deep threats.

No matter the reason, I will surely watch Rogers more closely on deep balls in 2017.

Speaking of Dorsett, it was a pleasant surprise to see him that high up on the list against some of the top receivers in the NFL. The other 2 Colts receivers: Kamar Aiken and Donte Moncrief, were 23 and 24 out of 25 on the list, which is utterly disappointing.


Leaders by YAC%

# Name 2017 Team Catches Yards TDs EXPL% YAC% CER TCER
# Name 2017 Team Catches Yards TDs EXPL% YAC% CER TCER
1 G. Tate Lions 91 1077 4 14.28% 58.96% 0.54 6.35
2 J. Landry Dolphins 94 1136 4 17.02% 55.81% 0.61 7.4
3 J. Edelman Patriots 98 1106 3 11.22% 45.66% 0.56 6.31
4 Ty. Williams Chargers 69 1059 7 27.54% 44.19% 0.81 12.44
5 M. Thomas Saints 92 1137 9 19.50% 41.69% 0.84 10.45
6 M. Wallace Ravens 72 1017 4 13.89% 41.59% 0.67 9.49
7 D. Baldwin Seahawks 94 1128 7 17.02% 41.22% 0.69 8.27
8 A. Cooper Raiders 83 1153 5 25.30% 40.42% 0.64 8.92
9 O. Beckham Giants 101 1367 10 19.80% 37.89% 0.77 10.36
10 L. Fitzgerald Cardinals 107 1023 6 7.48% 35.19% 0.63 6.03
11 P. Garcon 49ers 79 1041 3 18.99% 34.68% 0.72 9.48
12 K. Aiken Colts 29 328 1 10.34% 32.01% 0.6 6.82
13 B. Cooks Patriots 78 1173 8 19.23% 31.63% 0.73 11.01
14 D. Thomas Broncos 90 1083 5 11.11% 31.02% 0.57 6.83
15 A. Brown Steelers 106 1284 12 20.75% 30.14% 0.81 9.76
16 J. Jones Falcons 83 1409 6 32.53% 30.02% 0.87 14.79
17 P. Dorsett Colts 33 528 2 24.24% 29.55% 0.61 9.82
18 D. Jackson Bucs 56 1,005 4 33.93% 28.56% 0.7 12.62
19 J. Nelson Packers 97 1257 14 19.59% 27.05% 0.9 11.73
20 E. Sanders Broncos 79 1032 5 15.19% 25.09% 0.76 9.95
21 T. Hilton Colts 91 1448 6 30.77% 23.34% 0.77 12.32
22 C. Rogers Colts 19 273 0 31.58% 19.78% 0.62 8.91
23 D. Moncrief Colts 30 307 7 10.00% 18.89% 1.16 11.82
24 T. Pryor Washington 77 1007 4 14.29% 18.77% 0.66 8.68
25 M. Evans Bucs 96 1321 12 15.63% 12.79% 1 13.87

Moving on to YAC%, the top of the list has some familiar names with Golden Tate, Jarvis Landry, and Julian Edelman leading the way. What is also not surprising is that the blue and white is absent from the top 10.

In fact, we don’t see a Colts player crack this list until spot #12 out of 25, where the newly acquired Aiken leads the group. This ability could be what helps Aiken find his way onto the field in 2017 -- at least as compared to his teammates who are renting out space in the basement of this list.


CER Leaders

# Name 2017 Team Catches Yards TDs EXPL% YAC% CER TCER
# Name 2017 Team Catches Yards TDs EXPL% YAC% CER TCER
1 D. Moncrief Colts 30 307 7 10.00% 18.89% 1.16 11.82
2 M. Evans Bucs 96 1321 12 15.63% 12.79% 1 13.87
3 J. Nelson Packers 97 1257 14 19.59% 27.05% 0.9 11.73
4 J. Jones Falcons 83 1409 6 32.53% 30.02% 0.87 14.79
5 M. Thomas Saints 92 1137 9 19.50% 41.69% 0.84 10.45
6 Ty. Williams Chargers 69 1059 7 27.54% 44.19% 0.81 12.44
7 A. Brown Steelers 106 1284 12 20.75% 30.14% 0.81 9.76
8 O. Beckham Giants 101 1367 10 19.80% 37.89% 0.77 10.36
9 T. Hilton Colts 91 1448 6 30.77% 23.34% 0.77 12.32
10 E. Sanders Broncos 79 1032 5 15.19% 25.09% 0.76 9.95
11 B. Cooks Saints 78 1173 8 19.23% 31.63% 0.73 11.01
12 P. Garcon 49ers 79 1041 3 18.99% 34.68% 0.72 9.48
13 D. Jackson Bucs 56 1,005 4 33.93% 28.56% 0.7 12.62
14 D. Baldwin Seahawks 94 1128 7 17.02% 41.22% 0.69 8.27
15 M. Wallace Ravens 72 1017 4 13.89% 41.59% 0.67 9.49
16 T. Pryor Washington 77 1007 4 14.29% 18.77% 0.66 8.68
17 A. Cooper Raiders 83 1153 5 25.30% 40.42% 0.64 8.92
18 L. Fitzgerald Cardinals 107 1023 6 7.48% 35.19% 0.63 6.03
19 C. Rogers Colts 19 273 0 31.58% 19.78% 0.62 8.91
20 J. Landry Dolphins 94 1136 4 17.02% 55.81% 0.61 7.4
21 P. Dorsett Colts 33 528 2 24.24% 29.55% 0.61 9.82
22 K. Aiken Colts 29 328 1 10.34% 32.01% 0.6 6.82
23 D. Thomas Broncos 90 1083 5 11.11% 31.02% 0.57 6.83
24 J. Edelman Patriots 98 1106 3 11.22% 45.66% 0.56 6.31
25 G. Tate Lions 91 1077 4 14.28% 58.96% 0.54 6.35

CER and TCER is where a case can be made for one of my favorite Ryan Grigson draft picks — Donte Moncrief.

Moncrief played (#GOGA) his way to the #1 spot on the CER charts, as well as coming in at #6 in TCER. While the young receiver has had issues with injuries, when he was on the field, he took full advantage of his opportunities.

The dip from his CER ranking to TCER could indicate that he is a bit more of a possession receiver. This very well could be seen as a positive, give that a team full of speedsters needs someone who has this type of ability.

Since Reggie Wayne was released, Luck has had to search for a player who can rely on to make a tough catch when it matters most — whether that is in the red zone or to get a first down. While, Hilton has done a fantastic job filling that role, a big possession receiver like Moncrief should be able to take some of that burden and help Luck in the long run.

Also, keep in mind that while Moncrief is the slowest member of Team Flash, he still ran a 4.40 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, so he isn’t exactly an Anquan Boldin type either.


TCER Leaders

# Name 2017 Team Catches Yards TDs EXPL% YAC% CER TCER
# Name 2017 Team Catches Yards TDs EXPL% YAC% CER TCER
1 J. Jones Falcons 83 1409 6 32.53% 30.02% 0.87 14.79
2 M. Evans Bucs 96 1321 12 15.63% 12.79% 1 13.87
3 D. Jackson Bucs 56 1,005 4 33.93% 28.56% 0.7 12.62
4 Ty. Williams Chargers 69 1059 7 27.54% 44.19% 0.81 12.44
5 T. Hilton Colts 91 1448 6 30.77% 23.34% 0.77 12.32
6 D. Moncrief Colts 30 307 7 10.00% 18.89% 1.16 11.82
7 J. Nelson Packers 97 1257 14 19.59% 27.05% 0.9 11.73
8 B. Cooks Patriots 78 1173 8 19.23% 31.63% 0.73 11.01
9 M. Thomas Saints 92 1137 9 19.50% 41.69% 0.84 10.45
10 O. Beckham Giants 101 1367 10 19.80% 37.89% 0.77 10.36
11 E. Sanders Broncos 79 1032 5 15.19% 25.09% 0.76 9.95
12 P. Dorsett Colts 33 528 2 24.24% 29.55% 0.61 9.82
13 A. Brown Steelers 106 1284 12 20.75% 30.14% 0.81 9.76
14 M. Wallace Ravens 72 1017 4 13.89% 41.59% 0.67 9.49
15 P. Garcon 49ers 79 1041 3 18.99% 34.68% 0.72 9.48
16 A. Cooper Raiders 83 1153 5 25.30% 40.42% 0.64 8.92
17 C. Rogers Colts 19 273 0 31.58% 19.78% 0.62 8.91
18 T. Pryor Washington 77 1007 4 14.29% 18.77% 0.66 8.68
19 D. Baldwin Seahawks 94 1128 7 17.02% 41.22% 0.69 8.27
20 J. Landry Dolphins 94 1136 4 17.02% 55.81% 0.61 7.4
21 D. Thomas Broncos 90 1083 5 11.11% 31.02% 0.57 6.83
22 K. Aiken Colts 29 328 1 10.34% 32.01% 0.6 6.82
23 G. Tate Lions 91 1077 4 14.28% 58.96% 0.54 6.35
24 J. Edelman Patriots 98 1106 3 11.22% 45.66% 0.56 6.31
25 L. Fitzgerald Cardinals 107 1023 6 7.48% 35.19% 0.63 6.03

Looking outside of Indianapolis, two names caught my attention in these metrics — Tyrell Williams and Michael Thomas.

Both players were consistently near the top of the rankings despite the fact that Thomas was a rookie and Williams is a young former undrafted free agent. These are two guys that warrant some extra attention in 2017, as well.

While these metrics offer a different angle at which to view production in the NFL, they do not tell the whole story.

A lot of these rankings could be the result of specific schemes, how certain players are used, or other outlying factors. Still, they can be another tool within the landscape of information to get a better view of the game.

Please provide feedback in the comments below. Are there any patterns you notice that are not included in this story? Do the numbers junkies have any comments or questions regarding the metrics? Feel free to comment below.