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Streaky receivers

Measuring wide receiver consistency

Some receivers are streakier than others. Particularly with deep threats, they either catch a long touchdown (making for a good day) or they don’t – possibly making them more of a liability. You get those receivers who are catching 5-plus catches seemingly every week, on the other hand, and they’re providing more of a baseline of production.

I played around some with ways of expressing this. The attempt is to speak of these guys not just off a gut feel, but to actually have some numbers behind it.

I decided on the following model (which, admittedly, is just a ballpark stab at it): I took all wide receivers who started at least 12 games, then looked at their best six games, comparing them to their six worst. (For the many players who started more than 12 games, there are additional games between the best and worst six, and those games just got tossed out.)

Gabe Davis and Brandin Cooks are the most relevant receivers near the top of the list. Both caught 6 TDs in their six best games, and both caught only 10 passes, with no touchdowns, in their six worst. They were feast-or-famine receivers last year. Davis has long been that style of player (at least how the Bills used him). With Cooks, he was really effective around the goal line last year.

Calvin Ridley was also one of these players. He averaged 105 yards, with 7 TDs, in his six best games, but he averaged only 26 yards (with no TDs) in his six worst.

George Pickens was the receiver who got me started down this rabbit hole in the first place. He averaged 103 yards, with 5 TDs, in his nine best games last year, but he averaged only 30 yards, with no TDs, in his nine worst.

Only three receivers last year were over half as productive in their six worst games as their six best. That includes one player that makes a lot of sense – Amon-Ra St. Brown (who catches tons of balls) – and one that I consider to be a surprise. Courtland Sutton, who quietly played lights-out ball last year, was the No. 1 guy overall for consistency – he did the best job of keeping his lesser games the closest to his best games. (Helped along, I suppose, by not having any blow-it-off-the-roof games – he averaged 5 catches for 71 yards in his six best games, with 6 TDs.)

The 3rd- and 4th-most consistent receivers were the two Miami receivers – Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill. More so than other teams, the Dolphins tend to funnel their passing game through their two main receivers. (One reason I’m not excited about Odell Beckham.)

RkPlayerBest 6 GWorst 6 GPct
1.Josh Reynolds, Det.22-318-45-65-014.8%
2.K.J. Osborn, Min.27-360-39-50-017.3%
3.Brandin Cooks, Dall.32-442-610-106-018.0%
4.Rondale Moore, Ari.20-316-27-57-020.0%
5.Gabe Davis, Buff.34-575-610-136-020.1%
6.Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Ten.19-236-35-76-020.1%
7.DJ Chark, Car.20-315-57-100-020.9%
8.Darius Slayton, NYG24-472-411-89-020.9%
9.Adam Thielen, Car.54-589-417-123-021.1%
10.Alec Pierce, Ind.17-322-26-71-021.4%
11.Calvin Ridley, Jac.39-631-716-156-021.6%
12.George Pickens, Pitt.30-792-417-128-022.4%
13.Marquez Valdes-Scantling, K.C.12-231-16-33-022.6%
14.Davante Adams, L.V.52-611-817-196-022.7%
15.Drake London, Atl.39-561-211-138-022.7%
16.Jahan Dotson, Was.29-322-49-104-022.8%
17.DeAndre Hopkins, Ten.35-576-714-185-024.1%
18.Allen Robinson, Pitt.24-192-05-57-024.8%
19.Tyler Lockett, Sea.40-478-516-141-025.1%
20.DJ Moore, Chi.49-818-821-245-025.4%
21.Amari Cooper, Cle.40-817-519-202-025.5%
22.Darnell Mooney, Chi.21-312-19-63-026.3%
23.Jonathan Mingo, Car.26-297-09-58-026.6%
24.JaMarr Chase, Cin.60-771-622-195-127.4%
25.Jakobi Meyers, L.V.37-414-817-189-028.4%
26.Jordan Addison, Min.33-515-819-190-028.7%
27.Curtis Samuel, Was.36-360-515-146-029.0%
28.Marquise Brown, Ari.34-393-414-147-029.5%
29.Puka Nacua, LAR55-906-324-253-030.1%
30.Elijah Moore, Cle.33-355-214-107-030.7%
31.Zay Flowers, Balt.38-438-617-205-031.3%
32.Michael Wilson, Ari.26-412-312-159-032.0%
33.Mike Evans, T.B.38-714-818-275-132.7%
34.DeVonta Smith, Phi.38-558-622-207-032.9%
35.Wan'Dale Robinson, NYG34-423-215-143-033.2%
36.Romeo Doubs, G.B.30-349-515-165-033.2%
37.Trey Palmer, T.B.19-258-210-89-033.3%
38.Terry McLaurin, Was.34-495-517-213-033.7%
39.Nico Collins, Hou.46-891-626-328-034.4%
40.A.J. Brown, Phi.50-770-625-263-135.2%
41.Tyler Boyd, Cin.35-351-216-133-035.7%
42.Deebo Samuel, S.F.34-673-1019-329-135.9%
43.CeeDee Lamb, Dall.72-1009-826-334-335.9%
44.Rashid Shaheed, N.O.24-398-413-133-136.8%
45.Quentin Johnston, LAC22-279-210-128-036.8%
46.Allen Lazard, NYJ17-245-19-87-037.3%
47.Garrett Wilson, NYJ42-527-218-224-037.9%
48.Josh Downs, Ind.37-411-216-182-038.0%
49.Stefon Diggs, Buff.46-603-730-274-038.2%
50.Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Sea.30-333-318-138-039.1%
51.DK Metcalf, Sea.33-600-517-262-140.0%
52.Jerry Jeudy, Den.26-382-216-145-040.0%
53.Keenan Allen, LAC68-808-632-364-140.3%
54.Brandon Aiyuk, S.F.38-786-421-321-142.0%
55.Robert Woods, Hou.25-273-113-120-042.9%
56.Chris Godwin, T.B.38-574-218-205-143.3%
57.Chris Olave, N.O.42-598-222-173-244.3%
58.Michael Pittman, Ind.54-553-332-277-047.7%
59.Tyreek Hill, Mia.52-922-838-434-248.6%
60.Jaylen Waddle, Mia.41-542-424-369-051.1%
61.Amon-Ra St. Brown, Det.59-753-531-431-252.4%
62.Courtland Sutton, Den.31-425-619-267-252.7%

—Ian Allan

Fantasy Index