Greg Jennings and the NFL's 75 Best Wide Receivers
We have a quarterback rating, so why not a wide receiver rating?
A few years ago, the infamous people over at STATS came up with a formula to provide us with just that, a formula to judge the Wide Receivers in the NFL based on a certain criteria.
Sadly though, very few people have ever come across this formula and STATS doesn't actually use it themselves. Luckily for everybody reading this, I jotted down this formula and saved it to share with the die-hard football fans of today!
So without further ado, let's dive into the components of the wide receiver rating.
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Wide Receiver Rating
Yards After Catch Avg = ((Yards After Catch / Receptions) - 1) / 4.5
Drop Avg = (((Receptions / Receptions + Drops) - .8 ) / .4)
Touchdown Avg = ((Receiving Touchdowns / Games) / 1.25)
Reception Avg = (((Receptions / Games) - 2) / 5.5)
1st Down Avg = ((1st Downs / Receptions) / 2)
Receiver rating = ((Yards After Catch Avg + Drop Avg + Touchdown Avg + Reception Avg + 1st Down Avg) / 4) x 100
*Note: All the stats I used to calculate these avg's and the total formula came from a combination of ESPN and STATS.
That is the formula as put together by the people over at STATS. They had a few "restrictions," such as the Yards After Catch Avg must be between zero and one, and this was to avoid statistical anomalies. However, that was mainly to avoid flukes with a high amount of yards after catch on a very low number of receptions. In order to try and avoid dealing with this as well, I set another restriction:
Each receiver must have played in double-digit games to be included.
Therefore, each receiver included has enough production to show they aren't just flukes. If I were to have followed this rule, I wouldn't have been able to include Miles Austin, Percy Harvin, DeSean Jackson, or Mike Wallace, all top-20 receivers with this formula.
In the event of a tie, I gave the receiver with the least amount of games amongst the two the higher rating, under the idea that they had less chances to further boost their stats.
If both receivers were tied in receiver rating and had the same amount of games played, I then gave the receiver with more receptions the higher ranking.
But, there are still some receivers who didn't play in enough games to be included.
Didn't Cut It
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Randy Moss may do best to forget this past season.
Due to the formula, in order to calculate the Reception Avg, a receiver needs to have at least two times the amount of receptions as he has games played. If the receiver doesn't, then he will receive a negative score in this category and therefore, I can't calculate his rating.
Only two receivers really come of note for this—Randy Moss and Arrelious Benn.
They simple just didn't catch enough passes to factor in. Even aside from that, Randy Moss' season was quite abysmal, producing only 70 yards after catch and dropping six passes in comparison to only 28 receptions.
A few guys didn't make it due to the restriction I set on a minimum of 10 games. The four most important receivers that fit this are Austin Collie, Vincent Jackson, Roscoe Parrish and Steve Smith (of the New York Giants).
Austin's receiver rating would've actually been tops in the league. Collie was exceptionally productive in only nine games and boosted a high Yards After Catch Avg, which turns out to be the biggest factor in the formula.
None of the other receivers would've even placed in the Top 40, but they are certainly worth mentioning seeing as Vincent Jackson is an elite talent and Steve Smith is arguably one of the top slot receivers in the game.
A Few Familar Names: No. 75 through No. 26
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There are certainly a few notable names in the first group I'm going to list.
Some of them are deserving to be in this group of average, below average, and downright terrible receivers—according to the receiver rating—while a few others are clearly out of place.
T.O. tops the list after a bounce-back season with the Bengals, clearly outproducing teammate Chad Ochocinco.
Some young pass catchers are near the top of of this group as well, including Jeremy Maclin, James Jones, Michael Crabtree, Josh Morgan, Davone Bess and Kenny Britt.
You'll see a few names a bit out of place though. Two big examples are Larry Fitzgerald and Brandon Marshall.
As I stated in a previous slide, the Yards After Catch Avg is the key component in this formula. Larry Fitzgerald's below-average rating can be identified directly by his very low 187 yards after his 90 receptions. That's barely an average of over two yards a catch.
To put that into comparison, the receiver rated right above him—Earl Bennett—more then doubles that yards-after-catch production. Still, I highly doubt anybody believes Earl Bennett is a better receiver then the five-time pro-bowler Fitz.
With Brandon Marshall, it's quite obvious he isn't the third-best receiver on his team, behind Bess and Brian Hartline. But, that still doesn't ignore the fact that he had some clear flaws in his performance last year. 185 yards after catch, 11 drops and only three receiving touchdowns—none of that is good.
Then again, Chad Henne was throwing him the football.
This formula truly does show how much Ochocinco, Derrick Mason and Donald Driver fell off this past year, all of which are in their 30's and far past their primes.
Good luck to the names at the bottom of the list when it comes to playing time next season.
26. Terrell Owens—Cincinnati Bengals=54.75 Receiver Rating
27. Jeremy Maclin—Philadelphia Eagles=54.50 Receiver Rating
28. Roy Williams—Dallas Cowboys=53.50 Receiver Rating
29. Hines Ward—Pittsburgh Steelers=53.50 Receiver Rating
30. Malcolm Floyd—San Diego Chargers=53.25 Receiver Rating
31. James Jones—Green Bay Packers=53.25 Receiver Rating
32. Michael Crabtree—San Francisco 49ers=53.00 Receiver Rating
33. Josh Morgan—San Francisco 49ers=52.75 Receiver Rating
34. Davone Bess—Miami Dolphins=52.50 Receiver Rating
35. Kenny Britt—Tennessee Titans=52.00 Receiver Rating
36. Anquan Boldin—Baltimore Ravens=51.75 Receiver Rating
37. Mike Thomas—Jacksonville Jaguars=50.50 Receiver Rating
38. Danny Amendola—St. Louis Rams=50.00 Receiver Rating
39. Pierre Garcon—Indianapolis Colts=49.50 Receiver Rating
40. Johnny Knox—Chicago Bears=49.25 Receiver Rating
41. Brian Hartline—Miami Dolphins=49.00 Receiver Rating
42. Earl Bennett—Chicago Bears=48.50 Receiver Rating
43. Larry Fitzgerald—Arizona Cardinals=48.00 Receiver Rating
44. Jordy Nelson—Green Bay Packers=47.00 Receiver Rating
45. Louis Murphy—Oakland Raiders=45.50 Receiver Rating
46. Jacoby Jones—Houston Texans=45.25 Receiver Rating
47. Mike Sims-Walker—Jacksonville Jaguars=44.50 Receiver Rating
48. Jordan Shipley—Cincinnati Bengals=44.25 Receiver Rating
49. David Gettis—Carolina Panthers=43.75 Receiver Rating
50. Brandon Marshall—Miami Dolphins=43.25 Receiver Rating
51. Mike Williams—Seattle Seahawks=43.25 Receiver Rating
52. Devin Hester—Chicago Bears=43.00 Receiver Rating
53. Chad Ochocinco—Cincinnati Bengals=42.75 Receiver Rating
54. Derrick Mason—Baltimore Ravens=42.00 Receiver Rating
55. Anthony Armstrong—Washington Redskins=41.75 Receiver Rating
56. Jabar Gaffney—Denver Broncos=40.75 Receiver Rating
57. Steve Smith—Carolina Panthers=39.50 Receiver Rating
58. Brandon Gibson—St. Louis Rams=39.25 Receiver Rating
59. Kevin Walter—Houston Texans=39.00 Receiver Rating
60. Chansi Stuckey—Cleveland Browns=39.00 Receiver Rating
61. Lee Evans—Buffalo Bills=38.75 Receiver Rating
62. Jason Avant—Philadelphia Eagles=38.00 Receiver Rating
63. Donald Driver—Green Bay Packers=37.50 Receiver Rating
64. Nate Washington—Tennessee Titans=37.00 Receiver Rating
65. Michael Jenkins—Atlanta Falcons=36.75 Receiver Rating
66. Steve Breaston—Arizona Cardinals=36.00 Receiver Rating
67. Blair White—Indianapolis Colts=34.75 Receiver Rating
68. Robert Meachem—New Orleans Saints=34.25 Receiver Rating
69. Deon Butler—Seattle Seahawks=34.00 Receiver Rating
70. Mohamed Massaquoi—Cleveland Browns=33.75 Receiver Rating
71. Devery Henderson—New Orleans Saints=30.75 Receiver Rating
72. Laurent Robinson—St. Louis Rams=30.25 Receiver Rating
73. Brandon LaFell—Carolina Panthers=29.50 Receiver Rating
74. Jerricho Cotchery—New York Jets=27.75 Receiver Rating
75. Bernard Berrian—Minnesota Vikings=24.75 Receiver Rating
Yards After Catch Dominate: No. 25 through No. 11
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I'm sure nobody expected Eddie Royal to crack the top 15 receivers.
This group helps to show just how much the Yards After Catch Avg is important in the formula.
Amongst this group, only Brandon Lloyd and Marques Colston are below-average in that area, while some grade out freakishly, such as Miles Austin, Mike Williams (Tampa), Mario Manningham, Eddie Royal, Braylon Edwards, Wes Welker and Nate Burelson.
The rest of the group also scores solidly in that category.
Honestly, I think this is a pretty solid representative of how the receivers in the NFL rank, with a few give or takes, such as Calvin Johnson and Miles Austin belonging in the Top 10.
11. Calvin Johnson—Detroit Lions=63.25 Receiver Rating
12. Miles Austin—Dallas Cowboys=62.50 Receiver Rating
13. Mike Williams—Tampa Bay Buccaneers=61.25 Receiver Rating
14. Mario Manningham—New York Giants=60.75 Receiver Rating
15. Eddie Royal—Denver Broncos=60.00 Receiver Rating
16. Reggie Wayne—Indianapolis Colts=59.50 Receiver Rating
17. Braylon Edwards—New York Jets=59.25 Receiver Rating
18. Wes Welker—New England Patriots=58.25 Receiver Rating
19. Deion Branch—New England Patriots=57.00 Receiver Rating
20. Brandon Lloyd—Denver Broncos=56.50 Receiver Rating
21. Nate Burleson—Detroit Lions=56.00 Receiver Rating
22. Lance Moore—New Orleans Saints=55.75 Receiver Rating
23. Santonio Holmes—New York Jets=55.25 Receiver Rating
24. Dez Bryant—Dallas Cowboys=55.25 Receiver Rating
25. Marques Colston—New Orleans Saints=55.00 Receiver Rating
Have Mercy Percy
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10. Percy Harvin—Minnesota Vikings=63.50 Receiver Rating
Yards After Catch Avg = 1.03
Drog Avg = .37
Touchdown Avg = .29
Reception Avg = .56
1st Down Avg = .29
2010-11 Stats: 14 Games, 400 Yards After Catch, Four Drops, 71 Receptions, 868 Receiving Yards, Five Receiving Touchdowns, 41 1st Downs
If you were to list the biggest topics regarding the Minnesota Vikings this past season, it would probably include the likes of Brett Favre, Brad Childress, Sidney Rice and the Metrodome collapsing.
No love for Percy though.
Percy Harvin had a pretty stellar season that was heavily downplayed. Most of it came without a capable receiver playing with him and also came with the likes of Brett Favre— in arguably his worst season ever—Tavaris Jackson and rookie Joe Webb throwing to him.
And let's not forget, Webb was drafted to play wide receiver.
Harvin is one of the most explosive receivers in the game and his yards after catch ranked amongst the games best.
If the Vikings can get Sidney Rice back for next season and find a capable quarterback, one can only imagine the kind of numbers Percy could put up.
Why So Serious?
9. Steve Johnson—Buffalo Bills=64.50 Receiver Rating
Yards After Catch Avg = .86
Drop Avg = .28
Touchdown Avg = .5
Reception Avg = .57
1st Down Avg = .37
2010-11 Stats: 16 Games, 401 Yards After Catch, Eight Drops, 82 Receptions, 1073 Receiving Yards, 10 Receiving Touchdowns, 61 1st Downs
Where did this man come from?
Steve Johnson was a seventh-round pick from Kentucky who had a huge season in only his second year in the NFL.
Luckily for the Bills, it came at a good time.
The Bills had to deal with the loss of Roscoe Parrish and Lee Evans during the season, but were greatly aided in their passing game by Johnson.
Without Stevie, the Bills offense would've been even worse this past season.
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8. Roddy White—Atlanta Falcons=65.00 Receiver Rating
Yards After Catch Avg = .46
Drop Avg = .38
Touchdown Avg = .5
Reception Avg = .94
1st Down Avg =.32
2010-11 Stats: 16 Games, 351 Yards After Catch, Six Drops, 115 Receptions, 1389 Receiving Yards, 10 Receiving Touchdowns, 73 1st Downs
Roddy White was arguably the best receiver in the NFL this season.
Sadly, the receiver rating robs him a bit.
Roddy had an incredible season, consistently embarrassing opposing secondaries. However, his below-average Yards After Catch Avg hurts him a bit.
I don't think Rowdy Roddy is going to be getting too upset about his past season anytime soon though.
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7. DeSean Jackson—Philadelphia Eagles=65.25 Receiver Rating
Yards After Catch Avg = 1.45
Drop Avg = .22
Touchdown Avg = .34
Reception Avg = .25
1st Down Avg = .35
2010-11 Stats: 14 Games. 354 Yards After Catch, Six Drops, 47 Receptions, 1056 Receiving Yards, Six Receiving Touchdowns, 33 1st Downs
DeSean Jackson provided fans with plenty of action this season.
As electrifying as his punt return was to cap the game against the Giants (as pictured above), Action Jackson was just as electrifying as a receiver.
DeSean's ridiculous Yards After Catch Avg (best in the league) is enough for evidence of his explosiveness.
I still don't know who benefits more from the marriage in Philadelphia of Mike Vick and DeSean. Either way, I'm sure Andy Reid is happy.
Andre The Giant
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6. Andre Johnson—Houston Texans=65.25 Receiver Rating
Yards After Catch Avg = .63
Drop Avg = .31
Touchdown Avg = .49
Reception Avg = .84
1st Down Avg = .34
2010-11 Stats: 13 Games, 328 Yards After Catch, Seven Drops, 86 Receptions, 1216 Receiving Yards, Eight Receiving Touchdowns, 59 1st Downs
Ever since this former Miami Hurricane came into the league, he's dominated in every sense of the word.
Andre Johnson is one of the most physically gifted to ever play the game and he puts those physical talents on display every week.
Whether it's running by defenses, going over them or plowing straight through them, nothing seems to stop 'Dre.
Coming in as the sixth-rated receiver doesn't seem to do justice...
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5. Mike Wallace—Pittsburgh Steelers=65.50 Receiver Rating
Yards After Catch Avg = 1.13
Drop Avg = .27
Touchdown Avg = .5
Reception Avg = .32
1st Down Avg = .4
2010-11 Stats: 16 Games, 364 Yards After Catch, Six Drops, 60 Receptions, 1257 Receiving Yards, 10 Receiving Touchdowns, 48 1st Downs
If Sam Shields can't keep up with you, you know you're fast.
And if the rest of the world doesn't realize how fast Mike Wallace is, then they should begin to.
Wallace clocked an insane 4.28 forty at the Combine and hasn't looked back since. He's been quite impressive in his young career with the Pittsburgh Steelers and really emerged this past season with the departure of Santonio Holmes.
Mike is a big-play threat who can score on any play. He proved that this past season and has already established himself as one of the best in the game.
Open Your Eyes
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4. Santana Moss—Washington Redskins=66.00 Receiver Rating
Yards After Catch Avg = .97
Drop Avg = .35
Touchdown Avg = .3
Reception Avg = .69
1st Down Avg = .33
2010-11 Stats: 16 Games, 499 Yards After Catch, Six Drops, 93 Receptions, 1115 Receiving Yards, Six Receiving Touchdowns, 61 1st Downs
I noted Percy Harvin as going under the radar this past season, so that must make Santana Moss near invisible.
Despite all the turmoil in Washington, Santana was insanely productive.
This came with the aging Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman slinging him the rock.
I'm not going to say Moss belongs in the conversation of a top five Wide Receiver, but I'd say he's at least top 15 and still displays the speed and explosiveness we've all come to know him for.
Somewhere Over Dwayne Bowe
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3. Dwayne Bowe—Kansas City Chiefs=67.50 Receiver Rating
Yards After Catch Avg = .81
Drop Avg = .31
Touchdown Avg = .75
Reception Avg = .45
1st Down Avg = .38
2010-11 Stats: 16 Games, 335 Yards After Catch, Six Drops, 72 Receptions, 1162 Receiving Yards, 15 Receiving Touchdowns, 55 1st Downs
Other than the San Diego Chargers, it seemed as if nobody could keep Dwayne Bowe from going right up and over them like a rainbow for a touchdown.
Alright—that might have been a bad way to try and conceptualize Bowe's awesome nickname, but I think everybody gets the general idea.
Bowe has worked past questions of poor work ethic to become a consistent touchdown machine for Matt Cassel.
After being taken in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft, Dwayne has established himself as one of the league's best.
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2. Hakeem Nicks—New York Giants=67.50 Receiver Rating
Yards After Catch Avg = .61
Drop Avg = .32
Touchdown Avg = .68
Reception Avg = .74
1st Down Avg = .35
2010-11 Stats: 13 Games, 297 Yards After Catch, Six Drops, 79 Receptions, 1052 Receiving Yards, 11 Receiving Touchdowns, 55 1st Downs
The Knicks aren't the only ones in New York who pronounce their names like that that can brag about the talent they have.
When you watch Hakeem Nicks on the field, it's quite evident why he's earned the nickname "Smooth" amongst teammates.
Blessed with good size, enough speed to boot and freakishly large hands, Nicks is a graceful receiver who makes the difficult seem easy.
The other impressive thing about Nicks is how good he is across the board; the guy simply does everything well.
If I were Eli Manning, I'd hope he doesn't miss anymore games in the seasons to come.
The Champ Is Here
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1. Greg Jennings—Green Bay Packers=70.25 Receiver Rating
Yards After Catch Avg = .99
Drop Avg = .38
Touchdown Avg = .6
Reception Avg = .5
1st Down Avg = .34
2010-11 Stats: 16 Games, 415 Yards After Catch, Four Drops, 76 Receptions, 1265 Receiving Yards, 12 Receiving Touchdowns, 52 1st Downs
It seems fitting that a member of the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers tops this list.
After this past season, Greg Jennings deserves it.
Jennings has come a long way since being a second-round selection out of Western Michigan. His explosiveness and knack for the big play are amongst the best in the game.
The thing that makes Greg special is how complete he is.
Greg had a very low amount of drops last season, consistently found the end zone and always moved the chains.
Greg Jennings has a great argument for being one of the best receivers in the game and boasting the highest Receiver Rating in the NFL this past season supports that.