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DeAndre Hopkins and 2012’s Clutch Receivers
Who’s gonna stop me?

It’s third and long.  You’ve got to pick up a first down.  Running it probably won’t work, so you’ve got to pass.  The only problem is that the defense knows you’re going to pass.  They’re going to try to eliminate your #1 option.  Can your receiver elevate his game and come through in the clutch?

Using this awesome RotoViz tool, I ran a little experiment.  I wanted to see which receivers had the strongest performance on 3rd and 4th down with 5+ yards to go.  I thought this would lend some insight into who has that extra gear that can be utilized in critical spots.  Unsurprisingly, DeAndre Hopkins was really impressive, but what about the rest of the players eligible for the 2013 NFL Draft?  These were the results on a yards/target basis (min 12 targets, Defense quality>20)

Chip Reeves Troy 2012 15 222 14.8 2 13%
DeAndre Hopkins Clemson 2012 29 386 13.31 4 14%
Kenny Stills Oklahoma 2012 23 298 12.96 5 22%
Mike Shanahan (TE) Pittsburgh 2012 20 257 12.85 1 5%
Alec Lemon Syracuse 2012 27 346 12.81 2 7%
Tobais Palmer North Carolina State 2012 18 226 12.56 2 11%
Tavarres King Georgia 2012 15 186 12.4 4 27%
Marquess Wilson Washington State 2012 17 208 12.24 2 12%
Chad Bumphis Mississippi State 2012 15 180 12 3 20%
Patrick Hearn UAB 2012 16 192 12 1 6%
Kerwynn Williams (RB) Utah State 2012 17 202 11.88 2 12%
Vance McDonald (TE) Rice 2012 18 206 11.44 1 6%
Darrin Moore Texas Tech 2012 14 159 11.36 2 14%
Corey Fuller Virginia Tech 2012 29 329 11.34 3 10%
Marcus Davis Virginia Tech 2012 26 292 11.23 3 12%
Theo Riddick (RB) Notre Dame 2012 13 144 11.08 0 0%
Terence Davis Wake Forest 2012 13 143 11 1 8%
Antavious Wilson Marshall 2012 19 208 10.95 3 16%
Sam McGuffie (WR/RB) Rice 2012 15 164 10.93 1 7%
Josh Boyce TCU 2012 24 259 10.79 4 17%
Chris Smith Mississippi State 2012 16 171 10.69 1 6%
Matt Austin Utah State 2012 17 181 10.65 1 6%
Michael Edwards UTEP 2012 28 297 10.61 3 11%

So, for every time you throw the ball to DeAndre Hopkins on third and long situations, he is going to reward you with 13 yards.  Damn!

To see Kenny Stills and Tavarres King so high on the list makes me think that they can be solid, if unspectacular contributors in the NFL, like Steve Smith was for the NY Giants.  It’s interesting that they also have the two highest TD% in these situations.  Those two are similar builds, have similar workout numbers and have been praised as being excellent route runners, which the data supports.  Look for them to get drafted in rounds 3-4.

Ranking third in TD% is CHAD BUMPHIS!!!  In case you missed it, I am the driver of the Chad Bumphis bandwagon (a.k.a. the Bumphiswagon).  What else is it going to take to get you on board?

The first running back to appear on this list is Utah State’s Kerwynn Williams.  As we’ve already seen, he compares favorably to Giovani Bernard.  No, he won’t be an every-down back, but the guy looks like a future 3rd down back/ PPR demon.  Especially if your league awards points for return yardage, this is a guy to target late in dynasty drafts.

Vance McDonald has a very interesting TE profile and his appearance on this list makes me even more curious.  Stay tuned to see where he ranks in the upcoming RotoViz composite rankings.

Darrin Moore is a name worth noting.  I wrote about him in December and Matthew Freedman is about to revisit the Darrin Moore Awareness campaign.  In short he has 1,000 yards and 10+ touchdowns and is being completely ignored.

One last note of interest:  In 2011 Keenan Allen led the nation in yardage in these situations.  I’m skeptical about Allen, but that named jumped off the leaderboard at me and I thought you might be interested.

Okay, this is really the last note.  My man Jeremy Ebert was in the top ten in this category in both 2010 and 2011.  I’m just saying…

Continue this conversation with me on Google+

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