Fantasy WRs on the rise, decline

Yards per route run reveals Randy Moss' value, Deion Branch's slide

Originally Published: October 31, 2012
By Neil Hornsby | Pro Football Focus

Randy MossAP Photo/Paul SakumaThough seldom used, the 49ers' Randy Moss is the most productive YpRR receiver in the league.

If looking back on our last installment of Yards per Route Run (YpRR) for wide receivers teaches us anything, it's that while the statistic could be better when it comes to spotting players on the uptick, it's incredibly accurate at indicating players destined for prolonged failure.

The uptick-identified players -- Domenik Hixon, Leonard Hankerson, Jacoby Jones and Davone Bess -- have regressed to a lesser or greater degree, though all have performed reasonably well. Meanwhile, the four players labeled as fading -- Justin Blackmon, Robert Meachem, Greg Little and Nate Burleson -- did just that, as all have remained within 0.15 YpRR of their previous marks.

The issue with the former group is the limited sample size, meaning that the YpRR for each player is almost certain to go down. But, more importantly, how much will it slide?

Let's see if an extra four weeks of data can make a difference.

While our full list includes 126 eligible players with a minimum of 50 routes run, we've gone inside the numbers to identify four receivers flying under the radar and four pass-catchers whose numbers are only going to continue to decline.

Stealthy targets

Randy Moss, San Francisco 49ers (1st, YpRR of 2.90)

His twist out of two tackles and burst of speed to put him in the end zone on "Monday Night Football" will have piqued the interest of many fantasy owners. But where has Moss been the rest of the year? The inordinate amount of coverage given to him during 49ers broadcasts followed by low numbers in the box scores has led many to think that Moss is a spent force. The truth is that while San Francisco doesn't use him very much (32 percent of snaps), he's the most productive wideout in the league when he plays.


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