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A Quick Note On Height, Weight And Touchdowns

ajgreen

You’ve heard alot about wide receivers. A lot. Like, seriously, SO MUCH WIDE RECEIVER TALK. Something that we have posited in basically every single article on this site about the 2014 wide receiver is “The bigger, the better”. We like our WR’s and TE’s very tall and with a solid accompanying weight… but why?

This is not an exhaustive post with correlations and causations. Rather, this is a simple explanation exercise demonstrating just WHY it is so important to us at Rotoviz for our WR’s to be larger than average. The following table was generated on Pro-Football-Reference by searching for all double digit receiving TD seasons over the last 5 NFL seasons.

Player Year Ht Wt Rec Yds TD
Jimmy Graham 2011 6’7 260 99 1310 11
Jimmy Graham 2013 6’7 260 86 1215 16
Rob Gronkowski 2012 6’6 265 55 790 11
Rob Gronkowski 2011 6’6 265 90 1327 17
Rob Gronkowski 2010 6’6 265 42 546 10
Marcedes Lewis 2010 6’6 255 58 700 10
Calvin Johnson 2010 6’5 239 77 1120 12
Calvin Johnson 2011 6’5 239 96 1681 16
Calvin Johnson 2013 6’5 239 84 1492 12
Marques Colston 2012 6’4 225 83 1154 10
Antonio Gates 2010 6’4 260 50 782 10
A.J. Green 2013 6’4 205 98 1426 11
A.J. Green 2012 6’4 205 97 1350 11
Julio Jones 2012 6’4 220 79 1198 10
Brandon Marshall 2013 6’4 229 100 1295 12
Brandon Marshall 2012 6’4 229 118 1508 11
Brandon Marshall 2009 6’4 229 101 1120 10
Randy Moss 2009 6’4 215 83 1264 13
Visanthe Shiancoe 2009 6’4 250 56 566 11
Julius Thomas 2013 6’4 251 65 788 12
Miles Austin 2009 6’3 215 81 1320 11
Dallas Clark 2009 6’3 257 100 1106 10
Vernon Davis 2013 6’3 250 52 850 13
Vernon Davis 2009 6’3 250 78 965 13
Eric Decker 2013 6’3 206 87 1288 11
Eric Decker 2012 6’3 206 85 1064 13
Larry Fitzgerald 2013 6’3 225 82 954 10
Larry Fitzgerald 2009 6’3 225 97 1092 13
Jordy Nelson 2011 6’3 215 68 1263 15
Demaryius Thomas 2013 6’3 229 92 1430 14
Demaryius Thomas 2012 6’3 229 94 1434 10
Dwayne Bowe 2010 6’2 221 72 1162 15
Dez Bryant 2012 6’2 225 92 1382 12
Dez Bryant 2013 6’2 225 93 1233 13
Steve Johnson 2010 6’2 210 82 1073 10
Laurent Robinson 2011 6’2 192 54 858 11
Mike Williams 2010 6’2 204 65 964 11
Jerricho Cotchery 2013 6’1 200 46 602 10
James Jones 2012 6’1 208 64 784 14
Marvin Jones 2013 6’1 199 51 712 10
Roddy White 2010 6’1 201 115 1389 10
Roddy White 2009 6’1 201 85 1153 11
Victor Cruz 2012 6’1 204 86 1092 10
Brandon Lloyd 2010 6’1 192 77 1448 11
Jeremy Maclin 2010 6’1 200 70 964 10
Hakeem Nicks 2010 6’1 210 79 1052 11
Mike Wallace 2010 6’1 180 60 1257 10
Reggie Wayne 2009 6’1 198 100 1264 10
Greg Jennings 2010 5’11 195 76 1265 12
Wes Welker 2013 5’9 190 73 778 10

Results

  • 37 of the 50 double-digit touchdown receiving seasons the last 5 seasons have come from players 6’2 or taller. That’s 74% of seasons.
  • 76% of the total TD’s in the table came from the >6’2 players.
  • What do 6 of the 13 sub-6’2 seasons have in common? Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers or Ben Rothlisberger as the quarterback. If a small WR is going to succeed, in a fantasy context, it’s likely that they will need elite QB play.
  • 37 of the 50 double-digit receiving seasons came from players weighing more than 205 pounds (that number extends to 39 if I would have made the cutoff 204 instead).

As I continually explain on twitter, street corners, classrooms (anyone who will listen really), size matters. The Wes Welkers and Reggie Wayne’s of the world are great, but they are not a relatively safe bet in any context. With fantasy football, it’s all about playing the percentages and putting your teams in the best position to score points and win games; but real NFL teams should be thinking that way too. It’s not that we hate players like Brandin Cooks for being short, it’s just that they have larger hurdles to climb to be a truly impactful NFL player. No one who weighs 195 pounds is going to be out there Gronkin’, plain and simple.

So what did we learn? Well, something that we already knew. Being tall helps score touchdowns, and if you aren’t tall, you better have an elite QB if you want to meet your peak fantasy value. DUH. I think the largest take away is this: in an argument, when someone points to Wes Welker or Reggie Wayne’s fantasy value as evidence that you don’t have to meet the height or weight threshold to produce fantasy numbers, what they are really doing is using an outlier as evidence for an un-true point.

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