print 2010 Catch Rate Analysis

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by John Hansen, Publisher

Published, 3/8/11 

I’ve whined enough the last few years about the unstable nature of the NFL, and it’s time to do something about it.
 
I’m not a big “numbers guy,” but the fact remains the league is tough to handicap right now, and something has to be done to gain (or regain) an edge. I believe the edge may lie in statistical analysis.
 
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not necessarily changing my ways. I will continue to approach my fantasy football analysis more so in NFL scouting terms in that I will consider first and foremost a player’s skill set, supporting cast, system, durability, etc. But this year, one of my goals is to pay more attention to what the numbers tell us. Obviously, we haven’t been ignoring them, but I’m more convinced than ever – in a league that is more unstable than ever – that an edge can be gained by playing more attention to the digits.
 
We’ll have more stat-related articles up as the off-season unfolds, most of them written by someone other than yours truly, but I thought a nice way to kick off my new-found appreciation of the numbers would be to break down some simple stats, stats that I actually understand. As I’ve said many times, while I think I do have a relatively high degree of intelligence, in general, my mathematical skills are remedial, at best. That is why I lean heavily on our stat savant, Mike Horn.   
 
If you read our player previews, you know we always cover the percentage of targets caught, since it’s an important stat. We will continue to, of course, but I think it’s an interesting enough topic to merit its own article, one I’ve attempted to construct. The percentage of pass targets caught is a very useful number, but it can be misleading. For example, if a good receiver has a terrible QB, the number’s probably not going to reflect that receiver’s potential properly. However, in general, I think it’s a revealing number, and in this article I will look at some of the more intriguing numbers and decipher whether or not the number is promising, cause for concern, or neither.
 
We’ll start with the most important position for this study, the Wide Receivers.
 
Wide Receivers
 
Note: We included only players with 20 or more receptions 2010.

Rank
Player
Team
G
Rec
Tgt
RZT
GLT
Rec/Tgt
1
Austin Collie
IND
9
57
71
9
4
80.3%
2
Jerome Simpson
CIN
4
20
25
3
0
80.0%
3
Brandon Stokley
SEA
11
31
43
4
0
72.1%
4
Lance Moore
NO
15
66
92
23
3
71.7%
5
Jason Avant
PHI
16
51
72
17
5
70.8%
6
Wes Welker
NE
15
86
122
23
3
70.5%
7
Jordy Nelson
GB
16
45
64
10
0
70.3%
8
Jordan Shipley
CIN
15
52
74
11
2
70.3%
9
Patrick Crayton
SD
8
28
40
3
1
70.0%
10
Andre Caldwell
CIN
10
25
36
4
1
69.4%
11
Danny Amendola
STL
16
85
123
24
7
69.1%
12
Ben Obomanu
SEA
12
30
44
3
1
68.2%
13
Robert Meachem
NO
16
44
65
5
1
67.7%
14
David Nelson
BUF
14
31
46
8
0
67.4%
15
Nate Burleson
DET
14
55
82
12
1
67.1%
16
Mike Thomas
JAC
16
66
99
13
2
66.7%
17
Deion Branch
SEA
15
61
92
14
2
66.3%
18
Jacoby Jones
HOU
15
51
77
13
1
66.2%
19
Arrelious Benn
TB
13
25
38
5
0
65.8%
20
Percy Harvin
MIN
14
71
108
9
2
65.7%
21
Earl Bennett
CHI
14
46
70
18
3
65.7%
22
Mario Manningham
NYG
16
60
92
11
1
65.2%
23
Santana Moss
WAS
16
93
143
19
4
65.0%
24
Roddy White
ATL
16
115
178
23
3
64.6%
25
Kevin Walter
HOU
14
51
79
11
2
64.6%
26
Dez Bryant
DAL
12
45
70
8
2
64.3%
27
Blair White
IND
12
36
56
10
4
64.3%
28
Reggie Wayne
IND
16
111
173
18
4
64.2%
29
Hines Ward
PIT
16
59
92
12
2
64.1%
30
Marques Colston
NO
15
84
131
22
4
64.1%
31
Steve Smith
NYG
9
48
75
8
2
64.0%
32
Davone Bess
MIA
16
80
126
10
1
63.5%
33
Chansi Stuckey
CLE
15
40
63
1
0
63.5%
34
Greg Jennings
GB
16
76
120
18
3
63.3%
35
Andre Johnson
HOU
13
86
136
13
3
63.2%
36
Hakeem Nicks
NYG
13
79
126
17
4
62.7%
37
Jeremy Maclin
PHI
16
70
112
17
2
62.5%
38
Sammie Stroughter
TB
12
25
40
3
0
62.5%
39
Roscoe Parrish
BUF
8
33
53
4
1
62.3%
40
Derrick Mason
BAL
16
61
99
10
1
61.6%
41
Brian Hartline
MIA
12
43
70
9
4
61.4%
42
Mike Wallace
PIT
16
60
99
10
2
60.6%
43
Brian Robiskie
CLE
13
29
48
4
0
60.4%
44
Steve Johnson
BUF
16
82
136
17
3
60.3%
45
Brandon Marshall
MIA
14
86
143
14
4
60.1%
46
Mike Williams
SEA
13
65
109
16
4
59.6%
47
Demaryius Thomas
DEN
10
22
37
9
1
59.5%
48
Donald Driver
GB
15
51
86
10
0
59.3%
49
Anquan Boldin
BAL
16
64
108
12
2
59.3%
50
Josh Cribbs
CLE
15
23
39
6
0
59.0%
51
James Jones
GB
16
50
85
18
4
58.8%
52
Greg Camarillo
MIN
16
20
34
7
0
58.8%
53
Devery Henderson
NO
16
34
58
3
1
58.6%
54
Brandon Gibson
STL
14
53
91
10
2
58.2%
55
Jabar Gaffney
DEN
16
65
112
13
2
58.0%
56
Miles Austin
DAL
16
69
119
18
8
58.0%
57
Calvin Johnson
DET
15
77
133
15
2
57.9%
58
Roy Williams
DAL
15
37
64
11
2
57.8%
59
Kenny Britt
TEN
11
42
73
11
1
57.5%
60
Pierre Garcon
IND
14
67
117
19
5
57.3%
61
Derek Hagan
NYG
7
24
42
8
2
57.1%
62
Michael Jenkins
ATL
11
41
72
6
0
56.9%
63
Eddie Royal
DEN
16
59
104
14
1
56.7%
64
Antwaan Randle El
PIT
16
22
39
5
1
56.4%
65
Mark Clayton
STL
5
23
41
6
1
56.1%
66
David Gettis
CAR
15
37
66
4
2
56.1%
67
Emmanuel Sanders
PIT
13
28
50
8
0
56.0%
68
Michael Crabtree
SF
16
55
99
9
2
55.6%
69
Devin Hester
CHI
16
40
72
5
1
55.6%
70
Dexter McCluster
KC
11
21
38
5
0
55.3%
71
Golden Tate
SEA
11
21
38
8
0
55.3%
72
Josh Morgan
SF
16
44
80
6
0
55.0%
73
Santonio Holmes
NYJ
12
52
95
15
0
54.7%
74
Moh. Massaquoi
CLE
15
36
66
4
1
54.5%
75
T Houshmandzadeh
BAL
16
30
55
7
0
54.5%
76
Dwayne Bowe
KC
16
72
133
19
4
54.1%
77
Danario Alexander
STL
8
20
37
5
1
54.1%
78
Chad Ochocinco
CIN
14
67
124
13
6
54.0%
79
Steve Breaston
ARI
13
47
87
7
3
54.0%
80
Buster Davis
SD
7
21
39
7
1
53.8%
81
Bernard Berrian
MIN
12
28
52
3
2
53.8%
82
Mike Sims-Walker
JAC
14
43
80
16
7
53.8%
83
Anthony Armstrong
WAS
15
44
82
8
3
53.7%
84
Braylon Edwards
NYJ
16
53
99
12
3
53.5%
85
Brandon Tate
NE
16
24
45
3
1
53.3%
86
Deon Butler
SEA
13
36
68
13
3
52.9%
87
Larry Fitzgerald
ARI
16
90
171
26
10
52.6%
88
Louis Murphy
OAK
14
41
78
11
3
52.6%
89
Terrell Owens
CIN
13
72
138
22
4
52.2%
90
Johnny Knox
CHI
16
51
98
12
3
52.0%
91
Chris Chambers
KC
12
22
43
4
0
51.2%
92
Mike Williams
TB
16
64
126
19
5
50.8%
93
Brandon Lloyd
DEN
16
77
152
20
3
50.7%
94
DeSean Jackson
PHI
14
47
93
12
1
50.5%
95
Legedu Naanee
SD
9
23
46
6
1
50.0%
96
Brandon LaFell
CAR
14
38
77
11
2
49.4%
97
Malcom Floyd
SD
11
37
75
16
2
49.3%
98
Andre Roberts
ARI
14
24
49
5
0
49.0%
99
Steve Smith
CAR
14
46
96
8
2
47.9%
100
Jerricho Cotchery
NYJ
14
41
86
7
2
47.7%
101
Randy Moss
NE
13
28
59
10
1
47.5%
102
Jacoby Ford
OAK
15
25
53
4
1
47.2%
103
Nate Washington
TEN
16
42
90
10
4
46.7%
104
Laurent Robinson
STL
13
34
73
9
2
46.6%
105
Justin Gage
TEN
11
20
43
4
1
46.5%
106
Lee Evans
BUF
12
37
82
10
1
45.1%
107
Early Doucet
ARI
10
26
59
9
2
44.1%
108
Harry Douglas
ATL
15
22
51
3
0
43.1%
109
Darrius Heyward-Bey
OAK
14
26
63
6
4
41.3%

 The Good:
 
·         As you would expect, a lot of the WRs at the top of the list are inside/slot guys. These players are generally possession types who excel due to their good hands and route-running, and they typically run shorter routes inside the numbers, so it’s easier to complete passes to them. Still, Indy’s Austin Colliewith an 80% catch rate is fantastic. Hopefully, that guy can play again. Otherwise, you would expect a high number from guys like Wes Welker and Lance Moore.
 
·         Although the sampling is very small, one name who jumps out at me is Cincy wideout Jerome Simpson, checking in at an 80% conversation rate. Of all WRs with 20 or more catches, Simpson caught the 2nd-highest percentage of passes thrown to him. That’s a great sign for his future, but that future may not be with the guy who was tossing him the pill last year in Carson Palmer. Still, it’s a revealing number for a young player who might be ready to emerge. Andre Caldwell is up there, too, at 69%, and he saw time on the outside late in the season. Maybe Palmer wasn’t the issue last year, and it was actually #85 and #81.
 
·         Known for his drops in the playoffs but also for his production, I really like Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson’s high catch rate (70.3%) in 2010 and think it’s an excellent sign for the future. I’ve always really liked Nelson, and while it’s been slow going in terms of his emergence – and might be slower for another year – there’s no denying his potential based on his talent, situation, and this high number. He is more of an inside guy, which helps his number for our purposes here, but I saw him line up outside, too.
 
·         He didn’t exactly seem to be making plays within the framework of the offense and was more of a role player (deep threat), so Dez Bryant’s 64.3% seems more impressive for the Cowboys. Most of that was with Tony Romo at QB, which is a good sign going forward. Quite simply, it might be a function of his elite physical talent, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
 
·         Another guy who stands out a little is Giant Mario Manningham. He’s a downfield threat for the most part, yet he caught a very solid 62.5% of his targets on a relatively high 60 receptions, which just goes to show his chemistry with QB Eli Manning is good. I heard second-hand from a Giant coach last year they were a little down on Manningham in practice, but the guy produces on the field.
 
·         Although it remains to be seen if he’s going to be in the mix to start in 2012, it’s worth noting that Seattle’s Ben Obomanu caught an impressive 68.2% of his passes in 2010. That was a smaller sampling with only 30 receptions, but Obomanu was a pretty big factor the second half of the season, and he was used as their deep threat, so the high percentage is a positive sign.
 
·         Pretty good sign for Patriot Deion Branch that he caught 66.3% of his passes, while navigating through a team switch during the season. His timing with QB Tom Brady was certainly good, so we should expect more of the same if he’s back and healthy in 2011.
 
·         Although his number wasn’t extremely high, I’m encouraged that Steeler Mike Wallace caught 60.6% of his passes in 2010 because he was kind of thrown into the fire as a starter with only one year’s experience from 2009 (and used a lot inside that year) and was still working on his route-running. Bottom line, if you’re north of 60% and averaging 21 yards a grab, you’re doing something right.
 
·         I’m a little surprised by Houston’s Jacoby Jones’ high catch percentage at 66.2%. I’m not expecting a breakout from him at this point, but he did catch 51 balls in 2010, so the sample size is fairly large. If he’s back in Houston and it looks like he’s going to be a bigger factor, I’ll go back to this number as a reason for optimism. One thing impressive about his catch rate is that it didn't change much when Andre Johnson was out (65% vs. 67% when AJ played)
 
·         Very small sampling with only 25 catches, and he's more of a possession guy (and coming off a serious knee injury), but not a bad sign that Buc Arrelious Benn caught a high 65.8% of his passes in 2010. He has a chance to be a solid PPR contributor in 2011 if healthy.
 
·         I found it to be a decent sign that Bill Steve Johnson had as many pass targets as Andre Johnson (136), and he managed to catch 60% of his targets, despite playing in a much less effective offense. Johnson clearly has a good chemistry with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, and I would think he’d be a relatively safe fantasy option if Fitz is back in the saddle as the starter.
 
·         The ship has probably already sailed in terms of New Orleans’ Robert Meachem being an impact featured receiver for the Saints, but it’s still possible he emerges as such. Meachem told me a couple of years ago that his role was that of their deep threat, which he basically was in 2010. That said, his high 67.7% catch percentage on a decent 44 catches was encouraging.
 
·         Proving he still is what we thought he was, Lion Nate Burleson can be a reliable possession receiver, as evidenced by his nice 67.1% catch rate on a decent 55 grabs, and with three QBs in the mix for the Lions.
 
The Bad:
 
·         Boy, how sad is Lee Evans’ career right now? He’s in DHB territory with his miserable 45.1% catch rate. Meanwhile, the inexperienced Stevie Johnson was over a 60% clip. Evans is more of a deep threat, thus more hit-or-miss, but this guy’s been missing for years. The shame is that he’s actually a very talented player.
 
·         I actually felt Darrius Heyward-Bey(the aforementioned DHB) showed flashes and signs of definite potential in 2010, but he unfortunately had way too much “shoulda-coulda-woulda” plays and finished with a 41.3% catch rate. Of all WRs in the league with 20 or more catches, that was the worst percentage. In other words, the Raiders still need help at WR in 2011.
 
·         Of the 10-worst catch totals for WRs with 20 or more catches, three of them played for the Titans, which we can probably take as an indictment of QB Vince Young. He didn’t play the whole season, of course, but that’s quite damning. To be fair, WRs Nate Washington and Justin Gage are downfield threats, and Randy Moss joined the team midseason. But it certainly makes Kenny Britt’s 57.5% catch rate look good.
 
·         As you would expect, a lot of guys with a low catch rate are deep threats, like Johnny Knox, DeSean Jackson, and Malcom Floyd. That goes along with the territory, but it just goes to show that when a player is hit-or-miss, he better make it count when he hits. Jackson certainly did, but he was still frustrating. Floyd clearly had potential, but he was also a tad frustrating. Knox at least was in a new system and his team suffered with OL issues.
 
·         I could argue that Tampa’s Mike Williams is a deep threat, so his poor 50.8% catch rate is understandable, plus he was just a rookie playing with a QB who was still learning on the job. But since Williams was a very good fantasy option all year, I’m actually encouraged. His poor catch rate is a clear sign that there’s room for significant improvement.
 
·         There’s no disputing Denver’s Brandon Lloyd was a deep threat, so his 50.7% catch rate is understandable. However, that still is a poor number, and it’s hard to be as optimistic about this veteran, at least compared to a very young player like Williams, who’s much younger, an ascending player, and is in a better situation.
 
·         I really like Oakland’s Jacoby Ford, and he is clearly a deep threat, but it’s a tad disconcerting how his catch rate was a poor 47.2%. But at least there’s a lot of room for improvement, and improved QB play would help.
 
·         If the Cardinals find a way to get a better QB this off-season, don’t be afraid to draft Larry Fitzgerald. He was 16th in total scoring in a non-PPR in 2010, yet his catch total was only 52.6, which is very poor for a player with his talents. An increase back to over 60%, like he had in 2009, likely means a top-10 finish, even without Kurt Warner.
 
·         I’d be somewhat skeptical on KC WR Dwayne Bowe based on his shaky 54% catch rate. There are always mitigating circumstances, but that’s a poor percentage for a guy who might be drafted high. I’m not going to avoid Bowe, but I’m going to be a little wary drafting him based on 2010’s huge numbers.
 
·         I thought he was clearly improved and more reliable in 2010, yet Jet Braylon Edwards caught only 53.5% of his passes in 2010. However, the QB was still a work in progress and Edwards was still a downfield guy. Edwards was 11.4 yards downfield on his average catch, while Santonio Holmes was at 9.6. Edwards had 9.1 yards per target, with Holmes at 7.9.  At least last year, Edwards was more effective.
 
·         Although it looks like he’ll be playing for a new team in 2011, it’s not a great sign how Mike Sims-Walker caught only 53.8% of his passes, since he’s supposed to be a possession receiver. His QB was inconsistent, but fellow wideout Mike Thomas was way up there at 66.7%.
 
·         Cowboy WR Miles Austin had a shaky season, and his catch rate was down to 58% from 65% in 2009. If he can climb back to that ’09 range, that would go a long way toward a bounce-back season. And actually, he had a 72% catch rate with QB Tony Romo with only 49% the rest of the year. That’s a clear sign that Austin might bounce back in 2011 with Romo back in the saddle.
 
·         Niner wideout Michael Crabtree should be a guy who grabs at least 60% of his passes, given the nature of his game, but he fell short in 2010, with only 55.6%. Whether that’s a function of his weak QB play, his performance, or both, remains to be seen. I’m inclined to believe it’s more a function of his poor QB play. If so, there’s reason to believe he can make a big jump in 2011 if they get a better QB.
 
·         Jet Santonio Holmes had a low catch rate, just like teammate Braylon Edwards. While it’s unfair to chastise Edwards and give Holmes a pass – their QB completed passes at only a 54% clip – the fact remains Holmes joined the team late (and just in 2010), and his history is much better than Edwards’. So basically, if Holmes is back and the QB improves, Holmes could definitely improve.
 
Running Backs
 
Note: We included only players with 20 or more targets in 2010.
 
Rank
Player
Team
G
Rec
Tgt
RZT
GLT
Rec/Tgt
1
Pierre Thomas
NO
6
29
29
2
1
100.0%
2
Felix Jones
DAL
16
48
51
2
0
94.1%
3
LeSean McCoy
PHI
15
78
89
14
3
87.6%
4
Jason Snelling
ATL
14
44
51
12
1
86.3%
5
Mike Tolbert
SD
15
25
29
0
0
86.2%
6
Brandon Jackson
GB
16
43
50
7
0
86.0%
7
Ryan Mathews
SD
12
22
26
0
0
84.6%
8
Jacob Hester
SD
15
22
26
4
2
84.6%
9
Mewelde Moore
PIT
14
26
31
3
0
83.9%
10
Ahmad Bradshaw
NYG
16
47
58
10
1
81.0%
11
Reggie Bush
NO
8
34
42
4
0
81.0%
12
Le'Ron McClain
BAL
14
21
26
3
2
80.8%
13
Maurice Morris
DET
10
25
31
2
1
80.6%
14
Chester Taylor
CHI
16
20
25
2
0
80.0%
15
Peyton Hillis
CLE
16
61
77
11
2
79.2%
16
Owen Schmitt
PHI
14
19
24
3
1
79.2%
17
Darren Sproles
SD
16
59
75
7
0
78.7%
18
Arian Foster
HOU
16
66
84
12
1
78.6%
19
Ronnie Brown
MIA
16
33
42
3
0
78.6%
20
Marshawn Lynch
BUF
16
22
28
1
0
78.6%
21
Maurice Jones-Drew
JAC
14
34
44
4
1
77.3%
22
Danny Woodhead
NE
14
34
44
5
2
77.3%
23
Tashard Choice
DAL
12
17
22
3
0
77.3%
24
Chris Johnson
TEN
16
44
57
4
0
77.2%
25
Knowshon Moreno
DEN
13
37
48
6
0
77.1%
26
Darren McFadden
OAK
13
47
61
9
1
77.0%
27
Brian Leonard
CIN
11
20
26
5
2
76.9%
28
Ray Rice
BAL
16
63
82
8
1
76.8%
29
Steven Jackson
STL
16
46
60
9
1
76.7%
30
Ladell Betts
NO
7
23
30
5
0
76.7%
31
Rashad Jennings
JAC
12
26
34
1
0
76.5%
32
Cedric Benson
CIN
16
28
37
3
0
75.7%
33
Adrian Peterson
MIN
15
36
48
5
0
75.0%
34
Michael Bush
OAK
14
18
24
2
0
75.0%
35
C.J. Spiller
BUF
14
24
32
4
1
75.0%
36
Ahmad Hall
TEN
12
15
20
2
1
75.0%
37
Matt Forte
CHI
16
51
69
5
1
73.9%
38
Julius Jones
SEA
13
17
23
3
1
73.9%
39
Correll Buckhalter
DEN
14
28
38
4
1
73.7%
40
Joseph Addai
IND
8
19
26
6
1
73.1%
41
Jahvid Best
DET
15
58
80
10
1
72.5%
42
Toby Gerhart
MIN
15
21
29
5
0
72.4%
43
Ryan Torain
WAS
10
18
25
6
1
72.0%
44
Cadillac Williams
TB
16
46
64
6
1
71.9%
45
Donald Brown
IND
13
20
28
3
0
71.4%
46
Mike Goodson
CAR
16
40
56
4
1
71.4%
47
Jamaal Charles
KC
16
45
64
5
2
70.3%
48
Thomas Jones
KC
16
14
20
1
0
70.0%
49
LaRod Stephens-Howling
ARI
13
16
23
1
0
69.6%
50
Kevin Smith
DET
6
11
16
1
0
68.8%
51
LaDainian Tomlinson
NYJ
15
52
76
11
2
68.4%
52
Ricky Williams
MIA
16
19
28
0
0
67.9%
53
Rashard Mendenhall
PIT
16
23
34
7
1
67.6%
54
Justin Forsett
SEA
16
33
49
11
0
67.3%
55
Keiland Williams
WAS
14
39
58
4
0
67.2%
56
Shonn Greene
NYJ
15
16
24
6
0
66.7%
57
Brian Westbrook
SF
13
16
24
2
0
66.7%
58
Frank Gore
SF
11
46
72
9
1
63.9%
59
Michael Turner
ATL
16
12
20
4
0
60.0%
60
Marcel Reece
OAK
16
25
42
6
0
59.5%
61
Fred Jackson
BUF
16
31
54
4
1
57.4%
62
Mike Sellers
WAS
15
20
39
6
2
51.3%
63
Tim Hightower
ARI
16
21
42
7
3
50.0%

The Good
:
 
·         I was shocked the Saints re-signed RB Pierre Thomas earlier this month, but after seeing how he caught 100% of his targets in 2010, I at least can see a case for it, since he clearly helps the team in the passing game. At least he does when he’s actually on the field. Smaller sampling or not, that’s an impressive number.
 
·         Eagle LeSean McCoy did a heck of a job replacing Brian Westbrook in 2010, and his work in the passing game was quite solid, as he caught a very healthy 87.6% of his pass targets. For him to do that in his first year as the starter – and with a high number of targets with 89 – is a good sign.
 
·         Although he caught a lot of his passes near the line of scrimmage, it can’t be a bad thing for Felix Jones that he caught a very high percentage of the passes thrown to him, 94.1% to be exact. He needs all the positives he can get after a decent but underwhelming season.
 
·         Bigger backs Jason Snelling and Mike Tolbert showed that the big men can be effective catching the ball, or at least that they actually can catch the ball, both with around an 86% catch rate. Snelling had 51 targets, but Tolbert had only 29. Still, Tolbert fancies himself a complete back and a good receiver, and the numbers support that. If there was one positive with Ryan Mathews in 2010, it was that he caught a healthy 84.6% of his passes, so that’s something. He’s only scratched the surface on his receiving potential, but that was a good number. In 2009, Darren Sproles caught 79% of his targets with LaDainian Tomlinson only 67%. In 2010, Sproles caught 79%, so it’s not just QB Phil Rivers; it looks like Tolbert and Mathews are good receivers.
 
·         We’ve always felt Giant Ahmad Bradshaw was underutilized in the passing game, and the 2010 catch percentage numbers support that. Bradshaw caught a nice 81.0% of the passes thrown to him. However, he had poor yards per catch. He may not merit more targets based on that number.
 
·         Houston’s Arian Foster did everything the Texans asked him to do and he did it well, and that includes catching passing out of the backfield. While he was second only to McCoy with 84 targets, he still caught an extremely solid 78.6% of his passes. There’s nothing he can’t do, and do well.
 
·         Brown Peyton Hillis will be in a battle for playing time in 2011 with Montario Hardesty, who is well on track to be ready for training camp, and Hillis will clearly have an advantage in terms of catching the ball out of the backfield. Hillis ranked high with a 79.2% catch rate, on a healthy 77 targets.
 
·         It was hard to be totally sold on Oakland’s Darren McFadden as a receiving back going into 2010, but his solid 77% catch rate on 61 targets is a clear sign that he’s more than capable in the passing game.
 
·         It’s worth noting, because he doesn’t have a large margin for error generally, that Denver’s Knowshon Moreno was above-average with a 77.1% catch rate. That came after a disappointing 2009 season catching the ball.
 
·         As horrendous as his season was, there’s at least a glimmer of hope for Buffalo’s C.J. Spiller, as he caught an above-average 75% of his pass targets. The sampling was smallish (32 targets), but that’s something.
 
·         Although they are much more known for their running and not their receiving, it’s worth mentioning that RBs Cedric Benson, Adrian Peterson, and Michael Bush all checked in at around a very decent 75% catch rate. However, Benson stands out as the least effective receiver because he averaged only 4.8 yards per target. Peterson was a solid 7.1 and Bush was 8.1 (5.9 is average for RBs).
 
The Bad:
 
·         Indy’s Donald Brown basically had one good game in which he busted off a couple of nice runs. Otherwise, he came up small, and his 71.4% catch rate is just one of the many things he needs to improve. For now, it’s a bad sign because his versatility should be a strength of his.
 
·         I’m not sure what to make of Jamaal Charles’ poor 70.3% catch rate, as he wasn’t used down the field as a receiver as much as he was in his rookie season. But it’s probably a moot point, since he can do so much with so little. And his yards per target was a solid 7.1, so the low catch rate isn't significant
 
·         He was an effective receiver out of the backfield, but with only a 68% catch rate, LaDainian Tomlinson doesn’t scream “throw me the ball.”
 
·         If you’re wondering why Rashard Mendenhall isn’t used more in the passing game, his poor 67.6% catch rate may shed some light on why. He at least has room to improve and he does have the ability to catch the ball and make plays in the passing game.
 
·         I was disappointed in Seattle’s Justin Forsett in many ways in 2010, and his 67.3% was simply terrible. That’s not a good sign going forward.
 
·         Although the offense is changing this year, they still need a QB, and San Fran’s Frank Gore caught a terrible 63.9% of his passes, which needs to improve. It should, since QB Alex Smith at times couldn’t even deliver the ball to Gore with timing and accuracy in the flat.
 
·         So much for Falcon Michael Turner improving in the passing game, as he was expected to in 2010. He caught only 60% of his targets. At this point, this is what Turner is: a poor receiving back.
 
·         I was very surprised to see the versatile Fred Jackson’s horrible catch rate of 57.4%, but it’s probably a fluke, as he’s been over 70% for most of his career previously. Still, not a great sign if Ryan Fitzpatrick is back under center in 2011.
 
·         It was a miserable season all-around for Arizona’s Tim Hightower, and he hit rock bottom as a receiver with a catch rate of only 50.0%. However, he was about 80% in 2009 with Kurt Warner at QB, plus he was way more active (80 targets vs. 42 in 2010). It’s safe to assume the ugly QB play killed him, but Hightower has to get some of the blame.
 
Tight Ends
 
Note: We included only players with 20 or more targets in 2010.
 
Rank
Player
Team
G
Rec
Tgt
RZT
GLT
Rec/Tgt
1
Jimmy Kleinsasser
MIN
14
17
20
4
1
85.0%
2
Jermichael Finley
GB
4
21
26
2
0
80.8%
3
Antonio Gates
SD
10
50
64
15
5
78.1%
4
Zach Miller
JAC
10
20
26
2
0
76.9%
5
Randy McMichael
SD
14
20
27
4
0
74.1%
6
Jason Witten
DAL
16
94
128
15
6
73.4%
7
Jacob Tamme
IND
10
67
92
11
3
72.8%
8
Rob Gronkowski
NE
16
42
58
16
3
72.4%
9
Aaron Hernandez
NE
14
45
63
12
5
71.4%
10
Jeremy Shockey
NO
13
41
58
10
2
70.7%
11
Jimmy Graham
NO
12
31
44
9
2
70.5%
12
Martellus Bennett
DAL
15
33
47
5
0
70.2%
13
Dallas Clark
IND
6
37
53
4
1
69.8%
14
Bo Scaife
TEN
13
36
52
10
4
69.2%
15
Kellen Winslow
TB
16
66
97
12
2
68.0%
16
Fred Davis
WAS
13
21
31
5
2
67.7%
17
Benjamin Watson
CLE
16
68
102
9
3
66.7%
18
Zach Miller
OAK
15
60
91
13
2
65.9%
19
Marcedes Lewis
JAC
16
58
88
15
4
65.9%
20
Delanie Walker
SF
13
29
44
7
0
65.9%
21
Andrew Quarless
GB
12
21
32
5
2
65.6%
22
Joel Dreessen
HOU
15
36
55
7
2
65.5%
23
Tony Moeaki
KC
15
47
72
11
2
65.3%
24
David Thomas
NO
12
30
46
11
2
65.2%
25
Anthony Fasano
MIA
15
39
60
9
3
65.0%
26
Brandon Pettigrew
DET
16
71
110
11
5
64.5%
27
Jared Cook
TEN
13
29
45
6
0
64.4%
28
Tony Gonzalez
ATL
16
70
109
20
7
64.2%
29
Daniel Fells
STL
16
41
64
8
1
64.1%
30
Heath Miller
PIT
14
42
66
8
1
63.6%
31
Todd Heap
BAL
13
40
63
8
0
63.5%
32
Tony Scheffler
DET
15
45
71
13
1
63.4%
33
Jermaine Gresham
CIN
15
52
83
9
3
62.7%
34
Chris Cooley
WAS
16
77
124
11
3
62.1%
35
Evan Moore
CLE
9
16
26
4
1
61.5%
36
Vernon Davis
SF
16
56
93
12
2
60.2%
37
Greg Olsen
CHI
16
41
69
15
2
59.4%
38
Jeff King
CAR
14
19
32
3
1
59.4%
39
Michael Hoomanawanui
STL
7
13
22
5
3
59.1%
40
Visanthe Shiancoe
MIN
15
47
80
5
1
58.8%
41
Billy Bajema
STL
8
14
24
2
1
58.3%
42
Dante Rosario
CAR
16
32
56
6
2
57.1%
43
Owen Daniels
HOU
11
38
68
9
2
55.9%
44
Brent Celek
PHI
14
42
77
12
4
54.5%
45
Dustin Keller
NYJ
15
55
101
15
6
54.5%
46
John Carlson
SEA
14
31
57