Wide receivers A.J. Brown and Corey Davis excelled for the Tennessee Titans in 2020, propelling Arthur Smith’s offense and many fantasy owners to successful seasons as a result. Judging by yards per route run (YPRR), both players appear to have improved greatly from 2019 to 2020: Brown’s YPRR increased from 2.41 to 2.53 and Davis jumped from 1.73 to 2.40 YPRR.
YPRR is a popular statistic for measuring receiver performance, but we want to add context to this measurement.
Receiving production often hinges on a player’s usage, and one of the ways we can quantify this is by looking at the different personnel groupings within which receivers run their routes. If more receivers are running routes on a play, each individual receiver has less opportunity to command targets and gain yardage. For example, wideouts who play in two-wide-receiver sets should be expected to gain more yardage than wideouts who see a lot of three-WR and four-WR looks.
Take a look at how a wide receiver’s average YPRR changed based on the number of WRs on the field in 2020:
|WRs||Average yards per route run||Total routes in 2020|
These differences show that while YPRR is a helpful stat, it struggles to account for context, as Hayden Winks pointed out in a recent post for Underdog Fantasy. With some simple calculations, however, we can create an adjusted version of YPRR that better accounts for differences in personnel packages.
Examining Personnel-Adjusted Yards Per Route