Monday, July 27, 2009

1200 Yards, 8 TDs As A Standard For WR

Last week Chris asked me to handicap the chance that Mark Clayton could have a 1200 yard, 8 TD season. I took a quick look at '08 and saw that those numbers would put him solidly in the top ten of both categories. I reasoned that since Clayton had never put up numbers close to this and since the Ravens had never even had a player put up these types of numbers that it was pretty unlikely and I replied 75:1. The question resonated with me over the weekend so I decided to take a little closer look this afternoon. Looking at the top ten receivers over the last six years, it turns out that 1200/8 really is a solid barometer of an elite season. Receivers who put up exactly those numbers would have made the top ten in at least one of those categories every year, two years exactly 1200/8 would have been in the top ten in both.

While it is fun to see forgotten names like Marc Boerigter jump off the page, it might be a little more interesting to see how likely it is for any receiver to put up those kind of numbers. Rather than strictly looking at 1200/8, I set the bar at the top ten in both of those categories. The top ten never dipped lower than 8 TDs but it did dip below 1200 yards a couple of times.

Anyhow, in the last six seasons, players have made both lists 41 times, an average of nearly seven times per year, suggesting that the two accomplishments are well correlated. Only once did a player finish at the top of one list without landing one the other. In 2006 Chad Johnson led the NFL with 1369 receiving yards, scoring 7 times while his teammates Houshmandzadeh and Chris Henry each tallied 9 TDs.

Landing on both of these lists has been accomplished by 25 different players. Marvin Harrison and Torry Holt did this four times over the last six years, Terrell Owens, Reggie Wayne and Larry Fitzgerald three times, while Chad Johnson, Hines Ward, Steve Smith and Randy Moss did it twice each.

I'm not exactly sure what to conclude from this. I guess it might be a little more likely that a guy like Clayton hits these types of numbers than I first thought, because the parlay isn't quite as difficult. I still wouldn't expect him to do it very often for a number of reasons. In every case either the receiver was already much more highly regarded than Clayton when they accomplished this or their quarterback and passing offense was much more prolific than Baltimore's, such as in the case of Marques Colston.

I guess maybe we can handicap this at 74:1 instead.


  1. >> the Ravens had never even had a player put
    >> up these types of numbers

    WR Michael Jackson, 1996. He led the league in TD catches (tied) and finished 6th in receiving yards.

    That same season Derrick Alexander was only 100 yards behind, and tied for 9th in TD catches (with Herman Moore, among others).

    Alexander had a similar season the following year, finishing 6th in TD catches and 1,000 yards.

  2. We both know that those were Brown teams

  3. Wasn't the old Browns coaching staff. That was Ted Marchibroda, a Baltimore coach thru and thru.

  4. pedant.

    You know I've made that assertion twice now and both times I thought to myself; 'self, you really should go look to see if that's accurate'.

    I knew it was very possible that the high-flying Vinny Testaverde Ravens could have had a guy reach that plateau.

  5. Ismael actually had 1,100 yards one season with Tony Banks. Two 1,000+ yard's amazing to me to think he was once a viable receiver. {rolleyes}

    I noted the other day that while Clayton's data set is obviously WAY too small to put much faith in the numbers, his avg yardage is around 650 and his standard deviation is around 210. 95% he'd be within 230 and 1,070 yards. 99.6% he's within three which gets you to the 1,200 yards.

    I actually don't think 75 to 1 is all that far off, really. He's bumped by the fact that he's the default go-to receiver so he's more likely to produce better than his career average as the #1 than he would as the #2. But factor the possibility of injury into the equation and it probably drags it back down.

    BTW Jim, that Michael Jackson season was CLEARLY an anomaly. He had a 918 yard season after that, and otherwise never broke 760 yards in a season. That whole season offensively was a statistical blip. You have to go back to pre-1988 for when this franchise had a top ten offense in both points and yards other than that year where they were both top 6. In fact, there was only one other season they were top ten in points and one in yardage between 1988 and 2008. That is an impressive track record of historical badness...

  6. You're trying to tell me that the season Vinny Testaverde goes to the Pro Bowl is an anomaly? Really??


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