Efficiency statistics suck! Or, at least that’s what we’re told. As I explored earlier in the week, that isn’t entirely true. Efficiency wasn’t very meaningful when looking at our data sample as a whole, but when ignoring the middle-bulk of the spectrum and focusing on the polar ends (especially efficient or inefficient players), efficiency proved to be very useful when projecting future volume and efficiency.
Some efficiency metrics certainly do suck (even among the polar ends), but the one that sucks least of all is yards per route run.
Yards per route run and fantasy points per route run trump all other efficiency metrics on a per-target or per-snap basis. This makes sense intuitively. Anything on a per-snap basis skews against wide receivers on run-heavy teams. Anything on a per-target basis unneedingly smears highly targeted receivers, when targets are actually a positive indicator of talent.
As you can see below, wide receivers ranking top-20 in yards per route run are much more likely to have fantasy success in the following season. The reverse is true for bottom-20 wide receivers.