News & Analysis

Top NFL receivers by passer rating on advanced routes in 2017

By William Moy
Apr 2, 2018

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Dec 25, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller (26) runs with the ball during the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, we looked at the basic route tree in the NFL and identified which receivers had the most success at running each individual route. This week, we’re going to expand the route tree and break down who had the most success on what we’ll call “advanced routes,” which include routes with double-moves, running back routes and end zone fades, among others. Just like last week we’re going to be ranking these guys by their wide receiver rating on each route, which is a quarterback’s passer rating when targeting said receiver.

Downfield Double-Moves (Min 5 Targets) – League Average WR Rating: 99.2

Marvin Jones

T-1. Marvin Jones Jr., Detroit Lions – 158.3

Jones Jr. ties with Hogan with a perfect wide receiver rating on downfield double-moves (routes such as corner-posts, out-and-ups, stop-and-go’s, etc.) after he hauled in 4-of-5 targets for 110 yards and two touchdowns (Hogan brought in 4-of-5 targets for 119 yards and two touchdowns).

T-1. Chris Hogan, New England Patriots – 158.3 wide receiver rating

3. Jared Cook, Oakland Raiders – 153.3

4. Paul Richardson, Seattle Seahawks – 143.8

5. Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams – 141.4

Seam Routes (Min 5 Targets) – League Average WR Rating: 108.7

Vernon Davis

1. Vernon Davis, Washington Redskins – 158.3 wide receiver rating

Davis hauled in 4-of-5 targets on seam routes in 2017 for a total of 169 yards and a touchdown. The one pass he didn’t reel in was ruled uncatchable due to a miscommunication.

2. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs – 149.3

3. Tyler Kroft, Cincinnati Bengals – 145.8

4. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals – 145.0

5. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers – 144.3

Back Shoulder Throws (Min 5 targets) – League Average WR Rating: 100.9

Keenan Allen

T-1. Keenan AllenLos Angeles Chargers – 158.3

The second route on this list so far where Jones earned a perfect WR rating in 2017 and tied with another receiver, this time in Allen. The Chargers receiver brought in 4-of-5 back shoulder throws for 73 yards and a touchdown. Jones also brought in 4-of-5 targets but for 103 yards and a score on back shoulder throws.

T-1. Marvin Jones Jr.Detroit Lions  – 158.3 wide receiver rating

3. Rob GronkowskiNew England Patriots – 135.4

4. Davante AdamsGreen Bay Packers – 120.0

5. Michael CrabtreeOakland Raiders – 110.8

End Zone Fades (Min 2 targets) – League Average WR Rating: 65.1

Antonio Brown

1. Antonio BrownPittsburgh Steelers – 129.2 wide receiver rating

There were only 89 end zone fades thrown in 2017 and league-wide the completion percentage on the route was just 28.1 percent. Brown was targeted twice on fades last year, both resulted in a Steelers’ touchdown. Lewis (listed right below him here) was targeted three times on fades and he caught all three for touchdowns, but the short-yardage nature of this route skews his rating downwards a little bit.

2. Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars – 124.3

3. Rob GronkowskiNew England Patriots – 109.7

T-4. DeAndre HopkinsHouston Texans – 95.8

T-4. Seth DeValve, Cleveland Browns – 95.8

Whip Routes (Min 4 targets) – League average WR rating: 90.3

Cooper Kupp

1. Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams – 122.2 wide receiver rating

Kupp hauled in 4-of-6 targets on whip routes for 36 yards and a touchdown, with two of those other catches resulting in a Rams’ first down.

2. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints – 113.5

3. Trent Taylor, San Francisco 49ers – 104.9

4. Jarvis LandryMiami Dolphins – 100.0

5. Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts – 99.2

Jet Sweeps (Min 2 targets) – League average WR rating: 122.5

1. Brandin Cooks, New England Patriots – 139.6 wide receiver rating

There were only 41 jet sweep passes attempted in 2017, with just 11 players seeing multiple opportunities on jet passes. Cooks caught both of his jet sweet passes (there was just one incompletion league-wide last year) for a total of 16 yards with both receptions going for touchdowns.

T-2. James White, New England Patriots – 118.8

T-2. Braxton Miller, Houston Texans – 118.8

T-2. Tyreek HillKansas City Chiefs – 118.8

5. Jarvis LandryMiami Dolphins – 91.7

Shovel Passes (Min 2 targets) – League average WR rating: 116.4

1. Duke Johnson Jr., Cleveland Browns – 139.6 wide receiver rating

Another scarce play last season, as there were just 63 shovel passes attempted in 2017. Johnson caught both of his targets on shovel passes for 16 yards and a touchdown.

2. Kyle Juszczyk, San Francisco 49ers – 133.3

3. Albert Wilson, Kansas City Chiefs – 128.5

4. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers – 122.9

T-5. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers – 118.8

T-5. Ty Montgomery, Green Bay Packers – 118.8

RB Screens (Min 10 targets) – League average WR rating: 105.4

1. Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers – 149.6 wide receiver rating

Williams caught 9-of-10 targets on screen passes for a total of 119 yards and a touchdown. 54 of his 119 yards came on one catch in Week 12 against Pittsburgh.

2. Jay Ajayi, Philadelphia Eagles – 145.1

3. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals – 132.2

4. Duke Johnson Jr.Cleveland Browns – 131.6

5. Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts – 129.8

RB Non-Screens (Min 20 targets) – League average WR rating: 98.5

1. Lamar Miller, Houston Texans – 120.1 wide receiver rating

There were 2,470 RB non-screens attempted in 2017 (we classify a RB non-screen as any route that originates from the backfield that is not a screen pass) with 46 different players seeing at least 20 targets out of the backfield. Miller hauled in 27-of-32 targets for 250 yards, 11 first downs and two touchdowns.

2. Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs – 118.9

3. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints – 117.2

4. DeVonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons – 117.0

5. Todd Gurley II, Los Angeles Rams – 116.3

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