Team by team WTPRR takeaways

Drawing actionable conclusions from Weighted Targets Per Route Run

I’ve been talking about Weighted Targets Per Route Run for a few weeks now, but haven’t done a deeper look at it yet. Shout out to reader Will, who sparked my interest in the specific idea after I wrote about TPRR a few weeks ago. If you missed that post, it’s a good place to start as I’m going to build off that background.

As a quick recap, TPRR is the more stable of the component parts of YPRR, and YPRR is not really an “efficiency” stat in the traditional way we’ve used that label in the fantasy industry and only differs from YPT through this form of target rate. So you have TPRR as this strong indicator of players who are earning volume on the routes they are running, but there’s a key component missing — air yards.

How air yards fit in

Air yards are very important to understanding pass-catching opportunity, which Josh Hermsmeyer has taught us for several years. I’ve probably told this story before but I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time when Josh uncovered air yards data hidden in plain sight in the NFL’s database, and I recall fondly the initial excitement Josh had as he ran some quick tests on whether it was useful data. It very much was.

I was out of my depth, but we had been very loosely talking about another WR project so there I was in a three-person Slack channel with Josh and FD, mostly just watching them discuss the ramifications of this. This little detour is me saying I’m an an air yards hipster — I thought they were cool before they were cool.

That was 2016, and I’ve used air yards closely over the years since — from the early days when “air yards” was a punchline, frequently mocked on FF Twitter, to the 2020 landscape where we hear the stat referenced on broadcasts — and it has only ever been a very useful piece of receiver context. If you don’t know a lot about air yards yet, that’s fine, but you need to learn.

On of the ways that YPRR is likely better than TPRR is it includes some depth-of-target effect — while TPRR is just counting targets, YPRR is layering in the yards gained. Air yards are so important because the deeper the target, the more potential yards gained, so it would stand to reason that YPRR is gathering some of the value there that TPRR is not.

There are important considerations with air yards like it being more difficult to catch passes that travel further downfield, and we expect deep shots to have much lower catch rates than, say, a quick hitter at the line of scrimmage. Expected yards after the catch also differs by depth — short targets mean more YAC — but I don’t want to go in-depth into all the elements of air yards here, which I’ve done many times.

Setting aside those contextual elements of the stat, the simplistic way to think about air yards is they are to receiving yards what targets are to receptions. Whether a player sees 10 targets all 10 yards down the field for 100 total air yards, or four targets all 25 yards down the field, the 100 air yards they racked up are a measure of potential receiving yards in the same way the number of targets a player racked up are a measure of potential receptions. If the player caught all the passes, this is essentially the number of receiving yards he’d have (again, yards after the catch notwithstanding).

One of the very early things Josh did was see how targets and air yards interact. He learned that targets were more predictive of fantasy scoring than air yards were, and this is where a lot of the initial skepticism of air yards came in. It was very common for people to say “Why not just use targets?!”

But the important thing Josh discovered is that targets plus air yards were more predictive of fantasy scoring than just targets alone. Air yards added important context about the value of the target. And with that, Josh created Weighted Opportunity Rating (WOPR), a stat that weights a player’s share of his team’s targets and his team’s air yards and combines them into one number. It’s weighted so that target share has more of an impact, because that’s what his fancy models said would make the stat most predictive.

So WOPR is a stat I consult frequently. For those of you who are newer to Signals, I haven’t written about it as much this year largely because Josh had some data issues at the great airyards.com (since fixed) which meant I spent less time on that site early this year. I have always had that as one of a few sites open in a tab while writing Signals; my process had to change a bit this year; as a result, I haven’t covered WOPR as regularly while going team by team each week. That’s on me and and the result of a rigid process.

Though I haven’t referenced it enough, WOPR really is my favorite receiving stat. The different between a stat like WOPR and a stat like YPRR is that WOPR tells us a lot more that we can’t already learn in a box score. I will argue in a later post that the stats we should care about are the ones that tell us more than what we can already learn from traditional box score stats, and that the sign of a good stat is that it’s as simple as it can be while telling us as much new information as possible. In many cases, the stats you see referenced in fantasy analysis go too far, get too complicated. It’s my opinion that WOPR does a better job of meeting these goals than YPRR, as YPRR more closely reflects the actual stats players put up, which is something we don’t really need fancy stats to parse. A player who has a 100-yard game will always have a great YPRR; he won’t necessarily have a great WOPR.

The one potential flaw in WOPR? Because it’s based on team share of volume, you have to understand offenses at the extremes that won’t throw much or will wind up throwing a ton. This seems like a bigger issue than it probably is. Passing volume is largely dictated by game flow — teams that trail throw more, while teams that lead run.

But even as we account for the variability of team volume, we do know there are teams that are just more prone to passing and some to running. This is why I keep referencing Ben Baldwin’s great work on early-down pass rate in Signals, as it shows us which teams are passing with intent in neutral situations. Seattle, Buffalo, and Green Bay have all been more aggressively choosing to pass than expected, and all of their offenses have been better for fantasy as a result.

That’s not a fatal flaw for WOPR at all. But as we circle back to what WTPRR is and how to use it, it’s important to understand.

What this means for TPRR and WTPRR

Weighted Targets Per Route Run is everything I explained about TPRR but with air yards layered in. I had Targets Per Route Run; I found Air Yards Per Route Run. Then I had to weight them, basically just copying Josh’s much more complicated work on WOPR that showed target share was worth roughly twice as much as air yard share. (I’ll readily admit I don’t have the perfect ratio; I did it roughly; it’s close to an accurate weight. Someone smarter could and should do it better.)

But just so you understand the process, TPRR is on a zero-to-one scale, which can be written as a percentage. A good TPRR might be 0.30, or 30% of routes ending in a target. But a TPRR can never be more than 1.0 because you can never have more than one target per routes.

Air yards per route are of course going to be different. A good AYPRR might be 3.0, because a player can see 40 air yards on one target and might not run 40 routes in a game.

So I essentially scaled the two numbers to make the ranges from top to bottom roughly equal. Then I made TPRR worth about twice as much as AYPRR. And then I added them together, and for good measure I scaled that to where it’s close to the roughly zero-to-one scale Josh has always used for his traditional WOPR stat (now his new scaled WOPR, which is a little different).

This all might seem complicated to some of you and to those more used to this stuff I surely sound like an idiot cutting corners, but I want the process to be as clear as possible as we’re going to compare WTPRR and WOPR for basically every player below. For many players, WTPRR doesn’t provide much additional context that WOPR doesn’t already provide. Among the 161 players who have run at least 100 routes this season, the r-squared between the two stats is high, at 0.742, meaning they correlate very strongly, as we’d expect.

And WOPR correlates more strongly with PPR points and I’m sure in Josh’s out-of-sample testing he considered routes run and he landed on WOPR as the most predictive of future PPR scoring and I’m not questioning any of that. WOPR is a tremendous stat.

But on the individual level, there’s useful information in the discrepancies between the two stats. WOPR has long loved players like Terry McLaurin and Marquise Brown, who play in lower-volume passing offenses. McLaurin and Brown mostly dominate the air yards in their offenses, but then their production sometimes feels more like a WR2 than the high-end WR1 that their WOPR indicates.

Interestingly, while McLaurin leads the league in WOPR right now, he ranks 13th in WTPRR among the 161 players with 100 routes. That’s still a very good number, but in this particular gap I would argue WTPRR is closer to accurate — I think McLaurin is closer to the 13th-most-valuable fantasy receiver than the first. (I don’t want to get that confused with being down on McLaurin, who is very good.)

How WTPRR is helping to bridge that gap is by focusing on McLaurin’s specific volume — the targets and air yards he sees per route — whereas WOPR is for lack of a better term “boosting” him a bit because there are few other viable options in his offense. The flip side might be a guy like Keenan Allen. By WOPR, he’s tied for sixth in the league, in part because the Chargers take plenty of deep shots to other receivers so Allen’s air yards share isn’t necessarily elite. (It’s also in part because Allen left a game early.) But Allen is second in the league by WTPRR, which is saying that for the number of routes he’s run, his volume has been extremely elite. To be clear, I’d rather have Allen right now than McLaurin. I like what WTPRR is telling me about these two specific players.

In no way do I think WTPRR should replace WOPR, but yet another overly long introduction from me should be read this way: More information is better. I think WTPRR is ultimately a very good stat to use in conjunction with WOPR.

Let’s get to more of these types of conclusions that might help us understand the volume players have seen so far this year. For each team, I’ll list all players who have run at least 50 routes and seen at least one target. I’m also going to include some useful names that haven’t yet run 50 routes and denote those players with an asterisk.

The first number you’ll see next to a player’s name is WTPRR, the second in parenthesis is traditional WOPR. Because the first number is based on routes run and the second on team volume, there will sometimes be big discrepancies for part-time players, but that can be useful in identifying players that could excel if they ever find themselves running a lot of routes by injury or otherwise.

Arizona

  • DeAndre Hopkins: 0.63 (0.68)

  • Chase Edmonds: 0.49 (0.23)

  • Andy Isabella: 0.48 (0.21)

  • Christian Kirk: 0.43 (0.42)

  • Larry Fitzgerald: 0.33 (0.30)

  • Dan Arnold: 0.29 (0.16)

  • Darrell Daniels: 0.19 (0.06)

  • Kenyan Drake: 0.12 (0.06)

When Andy Isabella (0.48 WTPRR) is running routes, he sees volume at a slightly better clip than Christian Kirk (0.43). His WOPR is far lower because he’s been a part-time player whereas Kirk runs a ton of routes.

There are 25 RBs who have run at least 100 routes. Chase Edmonds’ WTPRR is second only to Alvin Kamara. Kenyan Drake’s is dead last. The volume Edmonds sees in the passing game should be very helpful during this next stretch where he is the lead back.

Atlanta

  • Calvin Ridley: 0.66 (0.62)

  • Julio Jones: 0.56 (0.44)

  • Russell Gage: 0.49 (0.33)

  • Olamide Zaccheaus: 0.42 (0.19)

  • Hayden Hurst: 0.36 (0.31)

  • Brian Hill: 0.34 (0.09)

  • Brandon Powell: 0.33 (0.05)

  • Todd Gurley: 0.23 (0.11)

  • Ito Smith: 0.16 (0.03)

Julio Jones has been in-and-out of the lineup, but even on a per-route basis Calvin Ridley has seen more volume this year. Some of that is Jones playing through injury. The duo should probably be thought of as relatively equal in value, if not a slight edge to Ridley, but both are strong options.

Hayden Hurst’s WTPRR is fine for a TE. Not great but not awful. Then he’s propped up a bit by an offense that’s helped him run the most routes of any TE so far.

Baltimore

  • Marquise Brown: 0.73 (0.70)

  • Mark Andrews: 0.57 (0.48)

  • Devin Duvernay: 0.46 (0.13)

  • Miles Boykin: 0.36 (0.27)

  • Willie Snead: 0.27 (0.19)

  • Nick Boyle: 0.27 (0.13)

  • J.K. Dobbins: 0.27 (0.14)

  • Mark Ingram: 0.24 (0.05)*

Unlike McLaurin, Marquise Brown looks good in both WOPR and WTPRR. That’s because Brown doesn’t run quite as many routes as McLaurin, both as a percentage of his team’s dropbacks and because Washington drops back more. The takeaway for me there would be that in games where Brown’s routes peak, his ceiling would be a touch higher. (McLaurin of course still has a very high weekly ceiling, so we’re mostly splitting hairs on ceiling here, and McLaurin runs far more routes overall and has the more stable floor and weekly median; McLaurin’s overall value is much higher than Brown’s.)

Mark Andrews also has an elite WTPRR for a TE, and both of the Ravens’ top two pass-catchers should benefit from some closer games in the future. Baltimore has played just one game decided by fewer than 14 points, and while they are very good, their rate of blowout game atmospheres is unlikely to stay so extreme.

Devin Duvernay hasn’t run many routes, but he’s had strong volume when on the field. The problem for him scaling that may be that a lot of his of touches seem to be designed plays and if he suddenly finds himself running a ton of routes he won’t likely have the same ratio of designed touches per route, unless they turn him into Deebo Samuel.

Buffalo

  • Stefon Diggs: 0.65 (0.65)

  • Cole Beasley: 0.54 (0.41)

  • Isaiah McKenzie: 0.48 (0.09)

  • John Brown: 0.45 (0.43)

  • Dawson Knox: 0.39 (0.15)

  • Devin Singletary: 0.31 (0.18)

  • Gabriel Davis: 0.30 (0.21)

  • Tyler Kroft: 0.28 (0.12)

  • Zack Moss: 0.24 (0.08)

Stefon Diggs is dope as hell. Cole Beasley gets a slight bump in WTPRR we should ignore because he’s not (and won’t be, as a slot guy) a super high route percentage player. Zack Moss isn’t seeing targets the way Devin Singletary is but it’s a small sample and I see them as close to a 50/50 split in usage and value, with Moss maybe having a slight lead given a stronger green zone presence.

Carolina

  • Robby Anderson: 0.65 (0.67)

  • D.J. Moore: 0.58 (0.63)

  • Mike Davis: 0.43 (0.26)

  • Curtis Samuel: 0.39 (0.31)

  • Christian McCaffrey: 0.29 (0.19)

  • Seth Roberts: 0.24 (0.06)

  • Chris Manhertz: 0.14 (0.04)

  • Ian Thomas: 0.13 (0.11)

Robby Anderson maintains the slight lead in opportunity/value of role over D.J. Moore in WTPRR.

It doesn’t sound like Christian McCaffrey will play tonight, and it’s hard to imagine them limiting him when he does come back, but here’s more evidence Mike Davis is good and there are scenarios where that matters to the Panthers enough that McCaffrey isn’t the same massive snap share back we’ve come to love.

Chicago

  • Allen Robinson: 0.68 (0.59)

  • Darnell Mooney: 0.53 (0.36)

  • Cordarrelle Patterson: 0.49 (0.09)

  • Demetrius Harris: 0.48 (0.10)

  • Anthony Miller: 0.44 (0.27)

  • Jimmy Graham: 0.39 (0.31)

  • Cole Kmet: 0.36 (0.06)

  • Tarik Cohen: 0.30 (0.13)

  • David Montgomery: 0.30 (0.19)

  • Javon Wims: 0.25 (0.06)

I talked this week how Darnell Mooney played his biggest role of the season in Week 7. His WTPRR paints a picture of a guy who could be solid if that extra share of routes sticks. I don’t expect him to be a league-winner, but I do expect him to have a better WOPR the rest of the way than his current number. The offense is an obvious limitation.

Rookie TE Cole Kmet looks capable of doing a pretty good Jimmy Graham impression already, should Graham miss time.

David Montgomery’s WTPRR is strong for a back now running a ton of routes with Cohen out. I’m not high on him, but I won’t be surprised if he has some ceiling games.

Cincinnati

  • A.J. Green: 0.62 (0.51)

  • Tyler Boyd: 0.50 (0.47)

  • Tee Higgins: 0.50 (0.39)

  • Mike Thomas: 0.44 (0.13)

  • C.J. Uzomah: 0.40 (0.26)

  • Giovani Bernard: 0.34 (0.13)

  • John Ross: 0.31 (0.13)

  • Joe Mixon: 0.28 (0.15)

  • Drew Sample: 0.25 (0.16)

Even on a per-route basis, A.J. Green is dominating volume. Tee Higgins has lagged Green’s opportunity a bit. I still see this as a huge positive for Higgins, who has been productive despite limitations to his volume ceiling that may not be there all season. Week 7 won’t be the last shootout this Bengals team is in.

Joe Mixon’s target rates have improved since we last did the TPRR check-in.

Cleveland

  • Odell Beckham Jr.: 0.68 (0.56)

  • David Njoku: 0.63 (0.18)*

  • Jarvis Landry: 0.50 (0.44)

  • Austin Hooper: 0.49 (0.38)

  • Harrison Bryant: 0.45 (0.18)

  • KhaDarel Hodge: 0.41 (0.21)*

  • Rashard Higgins: 0.40 (0.21)

  • Kareem Hunt: 0.37 (0.18)

  • Donovan Peoples-Jones: 0.28 (0.09)*

  • Nick Chubb: 0.13 (0.05)*

We have small sample on most of the Browns’ pass-catchers, but a ton of available opportunity. The first thing I’ll note is Jarvis Landry seeing a solid WTPRR and perhaps being overlooked a bit as people try to identify who else in the Browns’ WR corps will step up.

KhaDarel Hodge has been out since Week 3, while Rashard Higgins and Donovan Peoples-Jones are coming off strong performances in Week 7. But the TEs are significant in this offense too, and none of those WRs has been particularly great on a per-route basis so far. Higgins was a popular add this week, but he feels a little like fool’s gold.

Dallas

  • Cedrick Wilson: 0.61 (0.15)

  • Amari Cooper: 0.57 (0.54)

  • CeeDee Lamb: 0.53 (0.43)

  • Dalton Schultz: 0.36 (0.27)

  • Tony Pollard: 0.36 (0.07)

  • Noah Brown: 0.33 (0.08)

  • Michael Gallup: 0.33 (0.35)

  • Ezekiel Elliott: 0.30 (0.21)

  • Blake Bell: 0.29 (0.06)

This is sort of what we’d expect, with the issue being whether the Cowboys can be anything close to what they were with Dak Prescott under center. Cedrick Wilson obviously pops and he might be interesting if his role ever expands. There are not a lot of positive signs about Michael Gallup.

Denver

  • Albert Okwuegbunam: 0.92 (0.42)*

  • Jerry Jeudy: 0.57 (0.45)

  • Tim Patrick: 0.55 (0.43)

  • Noah Fant: 0.53 (0.40)

  • K.J. Hamler: 0.40 (0.25)

  • Royce Freeman: 0.39 (0.06)*

  • Melvin Gordon: 0.30 (0.17)

  • DaeSean Hamilton: 0.30 (0.17)

  • Phillip Lindsay: 0.09 (0.02)*

Rookie tight end Albert Okwuegbunam’s limited sample has been insane. You have to expect it to regress, but it’s a positive sign.

K.J. Hamler has been in and out of the lineup but hasn’t had strong per-route rates yet. My hopes for him being a big factor dimmed a bit this week when he returned to a smaller role, and because Tim Patrick has established a presence over the past few weeks.

Phillip Lindsay has only run 22 routes and doesn’t seem to have much chance at a pass-catching role with both Gordon and Freeman playing passing downs ahead of him.

Detroit

  • Kenny Golladay: 0.66 (0.59)

  • D’Andre Swift: 0.57 (0.21)

  • Danny Amendola: 0.49 (0.31)

  • Quintez Cephus: 0.49 (0.24)

  • T.J. Hockenson: 0.44 (0.33)

  • Jamal Agnew: 0.43 (0.08)*

  • Marvin Jones: 0.34 (0.35)

  • Jesse James: 0.26 (0.09)

  • Adrian Peterson: 0.23 (0.06)

  • Kerryon Johnson: 0.16 (0.04)

D’Andre Swift has had a pretty awesome receiving role for a running back. He’s seen a target on over 30% of his routes, he’s seen some air yards, it’s all very good for the explosive rookie who is also getting green zone work.

Marvin Jones has run a lot of routes, but three receiving options in this offense have a lower WOPR but a higher WTPRR. Jones is not seeing strong per-route usage and while he’s No. 2 in this passing game by WOPR, he’s more like No. 3 or No. 4 if we combine T.J. Hockenson with Jesse James and Danny Amendola with Quintez Cephus.

Green Bay

  • Davante Adams: 0.79 (0.74)

  • Aaron Jones: 0.64 (0.31)

  • Marquez Valdes-Scantling: 0.56 (0.50)

  • Allen Lazard: 0.45 (0.41)

  • Jace Sternberger: 0.35 (0.06)*

  • Jamaal Williams: 0.35 (0.15)

  • Robert Tonyan Jr.: 0.35 (0.22)

  • Darrius Shepherd: 0.34 (0.15)

  • Tyler Ervin: 0.16 (0.06)*

  • Malik Taylor: 0.15 (0.04)

Davante Adams is a true dominator of volume and the other numbers are all inflated simply because Adams missed time. This passing offense is Adams and then some solid RB value for Jones (who has 114 air yards on the season to tie for the RB league lead) and then everyone else.

There’s been a little bit of talk about Tyler Ervin, but his limited role (45 routes) hasn’t even produced much per-route value.

Houston

  • Will Fuller: 0.55 (0.51)

  • Brandin Cooks: 0.49 (0.50)

  • Kenny Stills: 0.47 (0.20)

  • Duke Johnson: 0.42 (0.12)

  • Randall Cobb: 0.39 (0.34)

  • Jordan Akins: 0.30 (0.24)

  • Darren Fells: 0.30 (0.17)

  • David Johnson: 0.25 (0.19)

Because Will Fuller has missed snaps at times, WTPRR gives him a little bit of a lead over Brandin Cooks as the No. 1, whereas WOPR has them about even.

David Johnson has seen some solid air yards, tying Aaron Jones for the RB lead with 114, but has seen a target on about half as many routes as Duke Johnson. Duke is not seeing many air yards, so you have David running some routes downfield but not really earning targets at a high clip, while Duke is being used on more dumpoffs.

Darren Fells has been solid at times with Jordan Akins out, but Akins was running more routes when both were healthy. With both having the same WTPRR, Fells would presumably have little value once Akins is back.

Indianapolis

  • Mo Alie-Cox: 0.60 (0.21)

  • Trey Burton: 0.58 (0.33)

  • T.Y. Hilton: 0.52 (0.48)

  • Marcus Johnson: 0.49 (0.36)

  • Nyheim Hines: 0.47 (0.21)

  • Zach Pascal: 0.39 (0.36)

  • Michael Pittman: 0.36 (0.26)

  • Jonathan Taylor: 0.29 (0.11)

  • Jack Doyle: 0.24 (0.14)

Mo Alie-Cox and Trey Burton have both done well on a per-route basis, while Jack Doyle has not. Burton has been running the most routes of late.

T.Y. Hilton has an easy team lead in WOPR, but we don’t see the same separation when we look at it on a per-route basis. This is of course reflected in Hilton’s WOPR not being particularly high for a No. 1 in his offense, but it’s interesting to view things this way as well.

Hilton has a TPRR of just 0.20. While Hilton may look like the No.1 because of rotations behind him, on any given route he runs Hilton will probably be accompanied by someone and perhaps two players with as much potential target value on that play as he has.

Jacksonville

  • Chris Conley: 0.58 (0.28)

  • D.J. Chark: 0.52 (0.51)

  • Laviska Shenault Jr.: 0.40 (0.30)

  • Keelan Cole: 0.40 (0.38)

  • James Robinson: 0.38 (0.18)

  • James O'Shaughnessy: 0.34 (0.15)

  • Tyler Eifert: 0.33 (0.22)

  • Chris Thompson: 0.33 (0.14)

  • Collin Johnson: 0.32 (0.10)

Chris Conley saw a bunch of volume in the one game where he easily ran his most routes of the season, Week 3. He wasn’t very good and has otherwise been a role player.

Laviska Shenault has set a season high in snap share three straight weeks and his volume has looked better on a per-route basis than his WOPR so far. It’s still not been great, though, and this offense is pretty unconcentrated so far. I’m still hopeful, especially since it sounds like Gardner Minshew has been playing hurt for some time. We don’t yet know if or how his injury could shake things up.

Kansas City

  • Tyreek Hill: 0.53 (0.55)

  • Travis Kelce: 0.50 (0.50)

  • Sammy Watkins: 0.43 (0.33)

  • Mecole Hardman: 0.35 (0.21)

  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire: 0.34 (0.22)

  • Demarcus Robinson: 0.28 (0.22)

  • Darrel Williams: 0.27 (0.07)

Le’Veon Bell wasn’t targeted in his first game with the Chiefs, but he did run 11 routes to Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s season-low 13, and Bell played on some early downs and seemed to get two full series to himself in a way the other Chiefs’ secondary backs have not yet this season.

Even on a per-route basis, Mecole Hardman’s volume hasn’t necessarily popped. But he’s continued to be very efficient this season after the target is earned. His usage has indicated his fantasy value is mostly just as Tyreek Hill’s backup, but he’s a unique player and something of a WR handcuff in the sense that his contingent value is high.

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Keenan Allen: 0.76 (0.67)

  • Hunter Henry: 0.49 (0.42)

  • Mike Williams: 0.47 (0.39)

  • Justin Jackson: 0.40 (0.15)

  • Austin Ekeler: 0.32 (0.17)

  • Joshua Kelley: 0.30 (0.10)

  • Jalen Guyton: 0.24 (0.21)

  • K.J. Hill: 0.21 (0.08)

Keenan Allen is the closest thing to Davante Adams in the league right now as a volume-dominant No. 1.

The three backs have all been reasonably close in per-route target value, with Justin Jackson’s slight lead probably mostly sample-size variance.

Jalen Guyton has hit on some deep shots, but he’s run a ton of routes all year and isn’t seeing any type of consistent volume. He’s basically just a clear-out guy with some boom potential if he does catch a long one like in Week 7.

Los Angeles Rams

  • Van Jefferson: 0.60 (0.15)

  • Cooper Kupp: 0.52 (0.51)

  • Josh Reynolds: 0.48 (0.38)

  • Robert Woods: 0.46 (0.49)

  • Tyler Higbee: 0.45 (0.25)

  • Gerald Everett: 0.45 (0.17)

  • Darrell Henderson: 0.32 (0.10)

  • Malcolm Brown: 0.23 (0.13)

Rookie Van Jefferson has only run 53 routes, but he’s been able to earn strong per-route volume. Unfortunately, he’s taken a back seat for the No. 3 role to Josh Reynolds, and we see that Reynolds hasn’t been much worse. Reynolds and Jefferson essentially split those No. 3 routes in Weeks 1 and 2, but over the past two weeks Reynolds has been at 90% and 89% routes per dropback.

Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods clearly lead this offense in WOPR, but there are huge red flags here. Both of the No. 3 WR options being right there on a per-route basis suggests this should be seen as a passing offense that has three equally valuable WR slots regardless of who is running a route as the No. 3 on a given play. And then the TEs have both posted very comparable target value on a per-route basis to the WRs — there are essentially four equally viable downfield pass-catchers on any given pass play, not counting the RBs who also see their fair share of targets.

This is similar to the Hilton discussion above. Kupp and Woods don’t have amazing WOPRs right now, so this isn’t something WOPR “misses” as a stat. But when we look at the per-route stat WTPRR, I think it’s a bit easier to comprehend the exact effect.

One thing I will add is Kupp and Woods run routes on almost every play. But there are five skill position players on the field at a time, and this is an offense right now that balances target value to whichever five are on the field on any given play about as evenly as it gets.

Las Vegas

  • Darren Waller: 0.57 (0.56)

  • Henry Ruggs: 0.47 (0.36)

  • Hunter Renfrow: 0.47 (0.33)

  • Devontae Booker: 0.43 (0.06)*

  • Josh Jacobs: 0.41 (0.18)

  • Jalen Richard: 0.40 (0.10)

  • Nelson Agholor: 0.36 (0.28)

  • Zay Jones: 0.32 (0.12)

  • Jason Witten: 0.31 (0.06)*

  • Foster Moreau: 0.30 (0.05)*

  • Bryan Edwards: 0.26 (0.15)

Nelson Agholor has had a solid two-game run of late, but for the season his WTPRR isn’t anything exciting. I was surprised to see Bryan Edwards even lower, but that’s a very small sample. Edwards clearly played ahead of Agholor when healthy.

Henry Ruggs and Hunter Renfrow would both be more interesting than Agholor to me, but obviously Darren Waller runs things.

The three running backs all see about the same target value, and it’s a high WTPRR range as far as RBs are concerned. Josh Jacobs’ routes have been fairly consistent, but he’s typically not approaching 50% of dropbacks, so unless he starts to do that we can probably keep penciling him in for three catches per game like we’ve seen.

Miami

  • Jakeem Grant: 0.55 (0.20)

  • DeVante Parker: 0.53 (0.48)

  • Mike Gesicki: 0.45 (0.39)

  • Isaiah Ford: 0.41 (0.31)

  • Adam Shaheen: 0.40 (0.07)*

  • Preston Williams: 0.39 (0.36)

  • Myles Gaskin: 0.38 (0.22)

  • Durham Smythe: 0.32 (0.07)*

  • Matt Breida: 0.28 (0.06)*

Before their bye, the Dolphins had incorporated some other tight ends, but Mike Gesicki still easily led in routes and on a per-route basis he’s also been out ahead. Neither Shaheen nor Smythe has run even 40 routes on the season; Gesicki has run 166; Gesicki has solid per-route target value. There’s not much to be concerned about here yet.

Jakeem Grant is more of a bit player as evidenced by his WOPR. Myles Gaskin has a strong target value role for a RB, but is among many players for whom the switch to Tua Tagovailoa could have an impact. Gaskin has been particularly efficient as a receiver so far this year, catching 93% of targets. I think Gaskin’s been underrated all year literally since after Week 1 when he took a backseat to Malcolm Brown and Nyheim Hines in the first waiver run discussion, so consider this a minor concern relative to my higher opinion of his value than the market.

Minnesota

  • Adam Thielen: 0.74 (0.73)

  • Justin Jefferson: 0.58 (0.51)

  • Olabisi Johnson: 0.44 (0.13)

  • Alexander Mattison: 0.37 (0.11)

  • Chad Beebe: 0.36 (0.13)

  • Kyle Rudolph: 0.31 (0.17)

  • Irv Smith Jr.: 0.30 (0.20)

  • Dalvin Cook: 0.25 (0.16)

Justin Jefferson wasn’t a full-time player right away, and his WTPRR is thus a bit higher than his WOPR as we’d expect. But it’s still quite a bit lower than Adam Thielen’s elite number. Jefferson is still in a very good range there, and he of course could continue to get better.

New England

  • Jakobi Meyers: 0.62 (0.21)*

  • Julian Edelman: 0.55 (0.57)

  • James White: 0.51 (0.27)

  • N'Keal Harry: 0.47 (0.39)

  • Damiere Byrd: 0.38 (0.45)

  • Rex Burkhead: 0.33 (0.17)

  • Ryan Izzo: 0.17 (0.10)

Jakobi Meyers has only run 37 routes but that’s a very good WTPRR. This isn’t a great offense, but with Julian Edelman out I’d probably expect Meyers to be just as likely to produce as N’Keal Harry or Damiere Byrd, who have run more routes all season.

James White has been great on a per-route basis but for whatever reason ran just eight routes last week.

New Orleans

  • Alvin Kamara: 0.56 (0.41)

  • Emmanuel Sanders: 0.56 (0.52)

  • Deonte Harris: 0.50 (0.21)

  • Jared Cook: 0.43 (0.34)

  • Michael Thomas: 0.39 (0.45)*

  • Marquez Callaway: 0.39 (0.21)

  • Latavius Murray: 0.38 (0.08)

  • Josh Hill: 0.37 (0.06)*

  • Tre'Quan Smith: 0.28 (0.30)

  • Taysom Hill: 0.27 (0.05)*

  • Adam Trautman: 0.21 (0.07)*

As far as the secondary players go, Tre’Quan Smith has not been good at earning targets, certainly nowhere near Emmanuel Sanders, Deonte Harris, or Marquez Callaway on a per-route basis.

Whenever Michael Thomas returns, all these numbers get shaken up, obviously. I would still expect big things from Alvin Kamara, but expect his extremely high WTPRR to take a dip with Thomas back. And all those secondary pieces, and especially Smith, are unlikely to be consistently productive.

New York Giants

  • Sterling Shepard: 0.52 (0.40)

  • Darius Slayton: 0.51 (0.62)

  • Wayne Gallman: 0.45 (0.09)*

  • Evan Engram: 0.37 (0.41)

  • Golden Tate: 0.36 (0.31)

  • C.J. Board: 0.35 (0.16)

  • Kaden Smith: 0.34 (0.10)

  • Devonta Freeman: 0.28 (0.10)

  • Dion Lewis: 0.27 (0.13)

  • Damion Ratley: 0.25 (0.15)

Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton look close on a per-route basis, while Evan Engram and Golden Tate lag significantly. There has been consistent discussion about getting Engram more downfield looks, but the Giants can’t seem to figure out how that works. I’m holding out some hope for Engram, but not for Tate.

In Wayne Gallman’s limited run, he saw much better volume in the passing game than Devonta Freeman has been so far.

New York Jets

  • Jamison Crowder: 0.63 (0.67)

  • Braxton Berrios: 0.54 (0.28)

  • Denzel Mims: 0.50 (0.59)*

  • Jeff Smith: 0.50 (0.46)

  • Chris Hogan: 0.38 (0.37)

  • Breshad Perriman: 0.37 (0.35)

  • Chris Herndon: 0.31 (0.20)

  • Frank Gore: 0.25 (0.07)

  • La’Mical Perine: 0.23 (0.06)

  • Ryan Griffin: 0.20 (0.07)

Denzel Mims had a strong showing in his first game, and it’s going a bit underdiscussed because the Jets threw 23 times for 120 yards. The Jets are bad, but no NFL team can consistently be that bad. It’s just not possible.

Chris Herndon isn’t running a lot of routes and also isn’t seeing great volume when he does. There might be some dynasty hope just because of Adam Gase, but 2020 appears to be a lost cause.

Philadelphia

  • Travis Fulgham: 0.66 (0.61)

  • DeSean Jackson: 0.63 (0.41)

  • Dallas Goedert: 0.53 (0.29)

  • Zach Ertz: 0.44 (0.40)

  • Richard Rodgers: 0.43 (0.16)

  • Greg Ward Jr.: 0.40 (0.29)

  • John Hightower: 0.39 (0.24)

  • Jalen Reagor: 0.39 (0.28)

  • Miles Sanders: 0.37 (0.24)

  • J.J. Arcega-Whiteside: 0.26 (0.05)*

  • Boston Scott: 0.23 (0.09)

There’s that Travis Fulgham guy popping again.

With Jackosn out and Jalen Reagor set to return, expect to see Reagor’s low small sample rates jump. He’s a great add right now and someone I overlooked discussing in this week’s Signals when I talked about all of the opportunity in front of Fulgham. That same opportunity exists for Reagor.

Dallas Goedert is practicing, and with Ertz also out, expect Goedert to play a big role. He’s been much better on a per-route basis than his WOPR.

Though Miles Sanders is low on this list, his 0.37 WTPRR is solid for a RB.

Pittsburgh

  • Diontae Johnson: 0.70 (0.50)

  • Chase Claypool: 0.52 (0.34)

  • James Washington: 0.45 (0.31)

  • Eric Ebron: 0.45 (0.36)

  • Juju Smith-Schuster: 0.40 (0.41)

  • James Conner: 0.28 (0.15)

  • Vance McDonald: 0.22 (0.08)

  • Benny Snell: 0.17 (0.01)*

Diontae Johnson has been near elite at garnering volume on a per-route basis, and for as much as that’s been discussed he’s probably still a strong buy given his two duds in games he left early. His return last week really cut into Chase Claypool’s value, though Claypool retained a solid route share and it was James Washington as the odd man out. I expect Claypool to bounce back.

JuJu Smith-Schuster had a solid Week 7, but the full season numbers are still pretty concerning. Hopefully he can string some strong performances together.

None of the secondary backs are running many routes, which is an obvious positive for James Conner.

San Francisco

  • George Kittle: 0.63 (0.60)

  • Raheem Mostert: 0.49 (0.17)*

  • JaMycal Hasty: 0.45 (0.04)*

  • Jerick McKinnon: 0.45 (0.22)

  • Jeff Wilson: 0.43 (0.07)*

  • Brandon Aiyuk: 0.41 (0.43)

  • Deebo Samuel: 0.41 (0.29)

  • Kyle Juszczyk: 0.41 (0.12)

  • Kendrick Bourne: 0.37 (0.34)

  • Trent Taylor: 0.30 (0.11)

George Kittle dominates, leading all TEs who have run at least 100 routes in both stats. The RBs have all seen high rates behind him, though JaMycal Hasty has run just 11 routes (and Jeff Wilson just 28).

That combination of TE and RB targets makes it tough for big WR value, but Brandon Aiyuk is well-positioned now that Deebo Samuel will miss a few weeks. Kendrick Bourne would be the other name to watch.

Seattle

  • Tyler Lockett: 0.58 (0.62)

  • D.K. Metcalf: 0.52 (0.57)

  • David Moore: 0.44 (0.20)

  • Chris Carson: 0.42 (0.19)

  • Jacob Hollister: 0.34 (0.05)*

  • Will Dissly: 0.32 (0.11)

  • Greg Olsen: 0.31 (0.22)

  • Carlos Hyde: 0.24 (0.07)*

  • Freddie Swain: 0.18 (0.08)

  • Travis Homer: 0.14 (0.03)*

Tyler Lockett’s huge Week 7 pushed him ahead of D.K. Metcalf this week, but both guys are huge parts of this offense, seeing strong volume, and catching passes from Russell Wilson. It’s not an either/or.

Chris Carson dominates the RB receiving work, so it will be interesting to see where that goes with him banged up.

Tampa Bay

  • O.J. Howard: 0.80 (0.31)

  • Cameron Brate: 0.52 (0.08)*

  • Scott Miller: 0.51 (0.35)

  • Rob Gronkowski: 0.51 (0.33)

  • LeSean McCoy: 0.50 (0.13)*

  • Leonard Fournette: 0.49 (0.13)

  • Chris Godwin: 0.48 (0.43)

  • Ke'Shawn Vaughn: 0.46 (0.11)*

  • Ronald Jones: 0.42 (0.16)

  • Mike Evans: 0.40 (0.36)

  • Justin Watson: 0.32 (0.14)

  • Tyler Johnson: 0.19 (0.09)

The Bucs have used a ton of guys, so routes matter quite a bit here. First thing, which is known: Mike Evans is running a ton of routes and not seeing much volume.

Chris Godwin’s been in and out of the lineup, but his per-route volume hasn’t been great either. Rob Gronkowski has come on of late, as has Scotty Miller. I went in depth on how I think Antonio Brown fits in with all this in Signals.

All the RBs are relatively close in terms of per-route target value, and all at high marks between 0.42 and 0.50. Leonard Fournette easily led in routes in Week 7.

Tennessee

  • Jonnu Smith: 0.59 (0.33)

  • A.J. Brown: 0.57 (0.57)

  • Kalif Raymond: 0.55 (0.18)

  • Corey Davis: 0.55 (0.52)

  • Anthony Firkser: 0.52 (0.24)

  • Adam Humphries: 0.52 (0.39)

  • Derrick Henry: 0.25 (0.13)

  • Cameron Batson: 0.15 (0.08)

  • Jeremy McNichols: 0.13 (0.05)

On a per-route basis, everything is very tight at the top. But A.J. Brown is closer to 0.60 than 0.50 and also a bit of a unicorn in terms of efficiency so I’m not as concerned about him as I was about Hilton and Kupp/Woods in similar situations above. Brown will have some down games when they go run heavy and targets go elsewhere, as we’ve always expected, but I’m comfortable with that tradeoff in my lineups.

Washington

  • Terry McLaurin: 0.63 (0.77)

  • J.D. McKissic: 0.41 (0.24)

  • Antonio Gibson: 0.38 (0.14)

  • Logan Thomas: 0.37 (0.40)

  • Dontrelle Inman: 0.30 (0.27)

  • Cam Sims: 0.28 (0.06)*

  • Isaiah Wright: 0.26 (0.22)

  • Antonio Gandy-Golden: 0.24 (0.05)*

  • Steven Sims Jr.: 0.21 (0.19)

I’ve talked about McLaurin throughout so I’m sure you get the gist of where I stand on him by now.

J.D. McKissic has run 146 routes to Antonio Gibson’s 94 but they’ve earned volume at nearly the same per-route clip and Gibson has been the more efficient pass-catcher, posting a catch percentage nearly seven percentage points higher and a YPT nearly a full yard higher. McKissic’s 76% catch rate and 5.5 YPT are basically average for a RB; Gibson’s 83% and 6.4 are strong. Hopefully we see the routes flip down the stretch, which past trends on rookie usage would suggest is if not possible than at least likely.