Hello Fantasy Faithfuls, the Correlation series continues today with a look at Wide Receivers. I have been busy working on analysis of the Wide Receivers for the Fantasy Snapshot Bundle, when I have been writing those text I have heavily leaned on this data for more in depth analysis of receiving trends. There are some really interesting trends that the best Receivers have compared to the good and mediocre ones.
I have measured everything today with a Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient test, which measures if two samples move in the same direction.
A positive correlation, when the correlation coefficient (r) is above 0, it signifies that both variables move in the same direction. When (r) is +1, it signifies that the two variables have a perfect positive relationship and when one of them move, up or down, the other variable moves in the same direction with the same speed, if one variable move up 2, the other one move up 2 as well.
As an example, the price of gas is directly related to the price of a bus ticket. With a correlation coefficient (r) of +0.8. The relationship between gas price and bus tickets have a very strong positive correlation since the value is close to +1. So if the price of gas decreases, bus tickets will follow. If the price of gas increases, so does the prices of the bus ticket. Let's dig in!
If you have not followed any of my previous content I divide the field into six zones. Short Left, Middle and Right and Deep Left, Middle and Right. Short means that a pass is less than 15 yards from the line of scrimmage and deep consequently 15 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.
Above you have the two most polarizing targeting trends for Wide Receivers, the Short Middle and the Short Right. The Short Middle has the strongest Correlation Coefficient (r) 0.22 with Fantasy Scoring per game. That means that in general, Receivers that are targeted more in the Short Middle zone will score more fantasy points. This says nothing on what they do with those targets, just that if a higher percentage of your targets go to this zone you are likely scoring a lot of fantasy points. The average percentage in the league is 18%, Tyreek Hill has 22%, Mr. Big Chest has 20%, Julio Jones 20%, I can go on, top Receivers have either average or above average percentage in this zone.
The Short Right is the zone that you should be careful with. If a Receiver leans heavily on the Short Right zone it should be a red flag. Sure, if he gets over 30% of his targets there and catches 80% of them for 11 yards per catch it is OK, but most guys don't do that. So, the more a Receiver leans on the Short Right zone the less likely he is to be a stud Receiver. The Correlation Coefficient (r) is -0.31 which means that the higher percentage the Receiver have of his targets in this zone fewer fantasy points will be scored.
The average percentage of targets to the short right in the league is 29%, player that have way above this are players like Taylor Gabriel (WR49) 35%, Curtis Samuel (WR41) 43%, Nelson Agholor (WR39) 41%, and again I can go on with this, it is very clear. It is way better to lean on the Short Left like Adam Humphries 46% and Courtland Sutton 36% as it has a Correlation with (r) 0.01 instead of a negative one.
With the catch rate I decided to put in three zones, Short Middle, Short Right and Deep Right. The Short Right is again the zone that has the least impact on fantasy scoring, Short Middle does not have the strongest Correlation this time but it is still much stronger than Short Right.
The strongest Correlation this time goes to the Deep Right. The Correlation Coefficient (r) is 0.41 which is the strongest Correlation that we'll see today. You can easily see how it impacts fantasy scoring in the scatter plot above. The green trend line has a much steeper incline the the other two trend lines. As discussed above, this means that a Receiver that has a higher catch rate on passes to the Deep Right zone will in general score more fantasy points. Players that excel in this zone are top guys like Mike Evans, DeAndre Hopkins and Adam Thielen while the bottom 4 guys that I analyzed all have the lowest catch rates.
I also want to bring up the Short Left here too, it has the same Correlation Coefficient (r) as Short Middle 0.22 while (r) for Short Right is 0.08. So in general, you want Receivers that have higher catch rates in Short Middle and Left. I came to the same conclusion for Quarterbacks, the QBs that are better in the Short Left zone are the ones that score more fantasy points.
When it comes to production the Short zones all have weak positive Correlations around 0.10 but nothing majorly interesting about that.
However, when it comes to the Deep zones we have two zones that go in almost opposite direction of each other. The Deep Right have a positive Correlation Coefficient (r) of 0.19 while Deep Left has -0.27. This is very interesting as it means that the better you are at gaining yards from the Deep Left zone the more likely you are to be a Receiver that don't score too many points in fantasy.
The reason behind this is the big plays to low end Receivers to the Deep Left. Throws that give a Receiver the whole field to work with, think broken coverage, and when you think broken coverage, it is usually not a top guy that ends up being uncovered.
All the Wide Receiver's receiving trends will be in the Fantasy Snapshot Bundle that will release in May so you don't have to wonder how to get these stats in time for your drafts!
On Thursday I will look into Phillip Lindsay and learn more about his rushing trends and fantasy scoring for 2018.
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The spreadsheets are dark and full of terror // CSD