Advanced Fantasy Metrics: Week 9 True Catch Report

Written by Jody Smith
October 30, 2019
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Advanced Fantasy Metrics: True Catch Rate

Now that we've moved into the second half of the NFL season, FantasyData's True Catch Rate is starting to take shape. When it comes to determining which wide receivers are truly showcasing the best hands, the cream has certainly risen to the top and the players that are struggling present a unique "buy low" opportunity. Well, at least the ones that are commanding consistent targets. 

Among the numerous advanced football metrics available, True Catch Rate eliminates uncatchable targets to give a true measure of which wideouts truly have the best hands. By discounting batted balls, defended passes, and other uncatchable targets, TCR measures a receiver's ability to consistently haul in all catchable passes and which players are struggling. 

Using all the data from the first half of the NFL season, here are the league's least, and most efficient pass-catchers via True Catch Rate.

The League's Least Efficient Receivers

RANK PLAYER TEAM TGTS REC YDS TD CUSHION TGT SEP. TRUE CATCH RATE CONTEST TGT CONTEST REC CONTEST% YDS/REC YDS/TGT YDS/ROUTE DROP DROP%
1 Chris Conley JAX 40 21 429 2 4.32 1.14 63.6 % 10 3 30.0 % 20.4 10.7 2 4 10.0 %
2 John Ross CIN 32 16 328 3 4.23 1.66 64.0 % 4 1 25.0 % 20.5 10.2 2.54 5 15.6 %
3 Mike Williams LAC 50 26 419 0 3.43 1 68.4 % 13 2 15.4 % 16.1 8.4 1.81 5 10.0 %
4 Darius Slayton NYG 27 16 267 3 3.4 1.17 69.6 % 7 3 42.9 % 16.7 9.9 1.72 4 14.8 %
5 D.K. Metcalf SEA 45 23 402 4 4.6 1.38 69.7 % 10 6 60.0 % 17.5 8.9 1.99 3 6.7 %
6 Golden Tate DET 36 23 280 1 3.23 0.94 71.9 % 14 5 35.7 % 12.2 7.8 2.15 0 0.0 %
7 Odell Beckham Jr. CLE 61 34 488 1 3.57 2.11 72.3 % 13 6 46.2 % 14.4 8 2.27 6 9.8 %
8 Dede Westbrook JAX 55 32 383 1 4.23 1.54 72.7 % 11 2 18.2 % 12 7 1.75 4 7.3 %
8 DeVante Parker MIA 46 24 343 3 5.36 1.33 72.7 % 13 6 46.2 % 14.3 7.5 1.53 3 6.5 %
10 Jarius Wright CAR 25 14 150 0 3.87 1.86 73.7 % 1 0 0.0 % 10.7 6 0.91 4 16.0 %

Chris Conley had an excellent Week 8 outing against the Jets, hauling in 4-of-7 targets for 103 yards. The majority of that production came via a 70-yard TD grab against a haggard Jets' secondary. Overall, Conley improved his True Catch Rate score but another drop assured that he's been the least efficient wide receiver for at least one more week, even as his weekly fantasy value is rising. Jaguars' slot receiver Dede Westbrook has also been hindered by drops and now is dealing with a neck injury that could keep him sidelined for a week or two.

Where Mike Williams was among the most efficient touchdown producers of 2018, his luck seems to have run out in Season Three. Despite ranking fifth in the league with eight end-zone targets, Williams has yet to score his first touchdown of the season. Williams also has yet to eclipse 90 receiving yards in any one contest and his five drops are tied for third-most in football. Some positive touchdown regression can be expected but a Week 9 matchup against Green Bay doesn't look too promising. 

Predictably, Darius Slayton is struggling to consistently reel in passes and seems destined for the bench once Sterling Shepard (concussion) returns to the lineup. Slayton's 14.8% drop rate is the third-worst average in the NFL and is highly-likely to land the fifth-round rookie a reserve role in the season's second half. Slayton is best suited in a complementary role behind Shepard and Golden Tate, who is also struggling.

D.K. Metcalf has exceeded expectations but there is still room for the second-round rookie to improve. Metcalf has fared well in contested-catch situations and is on pace to score eight touchdowns but is struggling to gain separation, which is causing too many passes to be deflected. As Metcalf gains experience and confidence, these areas should improve and his TCR figures should get better.

While the Giants' current wideouts are burdened with their own issues, a former Giant, Odell Beckham Jr., has been plagued by drops and lousy quarterback play to fall off the fantasy radar. Beckham has a pair of 100-yard outings but has been held under 60 receiving yards four times and has only scored a single touchdown in seven games. Cleveland's schedule eases up significantly in the second half, which makes Beckham an intriguing 'buy low' candidate, but his struggles to catch the ball also make him a boom-or-bust trade target.

DeVante Parker continues to get better, although his three-week scoring stretch came to an end in Pittsburgh. Parker has either scored or exceeded 50 receiving yards in six of Miami's seven games and has been a decent WR3/4 since Ryan Fitzpatrick reclaimed the starting job.


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Jody Smith

Jody is a member of both the Pro Football Writer's of America (PFWA) and Fantasy Sports Writer's Association (FSWA) and has been covering the NFL and fantasy football for over a decade. Jody won FantasyPro's Most Accurate Expert contest and also garnered the FSTA's accuracy award in 2012. A Houston native, Jody has covered the Texans locally since 2016 for both digital and radio audiences. Past writing stops include CBS Sportsline, Gridiron Experts, Pro Football Focus, Fanball, FantasyPro's. Jody is also a frequent guest on SiriusXM and Houston radio and his work regularly appears in print on newsstands each summer.