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Slot vs. broad: Yet another record for Cooper Kupp

Thanks to Sports Info Solutions’ charting, we will break receiving DVOA and DYAR down into slot versus broad splits. Much of this information seems in Football Outsiders Almanac 2022, and we will spend the following couple of weeks breaking down these splits, beginning at present with broad receivers. Yes, meaning extra Cooper Kupp and Ja’Marr Chase love, as a result of while you’re coming off seasons like they’d, you find yourself on the prime of almost each desk you qualify for.

Before we get to the specifics, we should always cowl the generalities.

League-Wide Trends

Throwing to the slot continues to be simpler than throwing out broad on a per-play foundation. In 2021, receivers working both tight or out of the slot had a 2.7% DVOA, whereas receivers cut up out broad have been at -3.7%. The hole really widens should you take a look at simply broad receivers, from 4.1% to -4.2%. Getting a proficient wideout lined up towards a 3rd or fourth nook is normally a bonus for the offense, and figuring out of the center of the sphere additionally provides receivers extra potential choices for route operating. Add in the ever-increasing amount of nickel defense opening house in the midst of the sphere, and it seems lining up within the slot is a small however persistent profit for receivers. It’s not an enormous hole, and the dimensions varies from yr to yr, however it’s persistently there.

Last season, 56.3% of all receiver targets went to wideouts within the slot, and 26 groups noticed over half their passes go to fit receivers. Those numbers are each barely down from final yr, however it’s nonetheless the predominant technique for utilizing wideouts. Every group noticed a minimum of 46% of its receiver targets go to the slot besides for the Pittsburgh Steelers, which makes a bit little bit of sense when your prime goal out of the slot is Ray-Ray McCloud; extra on him in a bit. Nearly each group with any diploma of competency at wideout was discovering methods to get targets to its guys inside.

When all the league zigs, somebody has to zag. In 2020, we did not have a single broad receiver with a minimum of 80% of his targets cut up out broad. Well, broad receivers got here again in 2021, with DeVante Parker, A.J. Green and Diontae Johnson basically dwelling exterior. Fourteen completely different wideouts noticed twice as many targets exterior as inside, together with a few of the bigger names within the sport. Who Dey? Well, you will simply have to attend and see.

Individual Totals

The following desk exhibits broad receiver goal and efficiency splits within the slot and out broad in 2021. Those charting labels come from gamers’ places on the sphere whatever the positioning of their teammates. A receiver who was a couple of ft away from the offensive line was thought of to be within the slot even when he was the widest receiver on that aspect. Receivers in movement have been charted based mostly on their unique places, which tends to be within the slot on jet motions. We have grouped targets from the normal tight finish spot in with slot targets due to their similarity, however that is not a huge effect on the information; there have been solely 225 targets to broad receivers lined up tight, with Amon-Ra St. Brown and Cooper Kupp the one ones to hit double digits.

Wide Receivers Slot vs. Wide, 2021
Cooper KuppLAR15656032.8%23409.0%87.2%23.8%
Justin JeffersonMIN8137346.1%8925-9.0%47.6%55.0%
Davante AdamsGB10628621.3%7013712.1%60.2%9.2%
Tyreek HillKC11428218.1%4731-4.4%70.8%22.5%
Tyler LockettSEA6725735.9%44553.8%60.4%32.1%
Deebo SamuelSF8223425.1%3516-6.8%70.1%31.8%
Christian KirkARI8123023.9%206427.7%80.2%-3.8%
Hunter RenfrowLV11921210.4%106165.3%92.2%-54.9%
Mike WilliamsLAC4520343.0%8731-8.1%34.1%51.2%
Chris GodwinTB10520211.1%235920.2%82.0%-9.1%
Mike EvansTB4720040.7%6914012.6%40.5%28.1%
Brandon AiyukSF4718738.8%39401.0%54.7%37.9%
Allan LazardGB5118632.5%109-0.7%83.6%33.2%
Tee HigginsCIN4218642.3%7314814.3%36.5%28.0%
Byron PringleKC4317939.4%163010.3%72.9%29.1%
Kendrick BourneNE5015929.1%197340.8%72.5%-11.7%
Cedrick WilsonDAL5715922.6%5-5-24.9%91.9%47.5%
CeeDee LambDAL6613713.3%58661.8%53.2%11.5%
Bryan EdwardsLV3213340.3%30-20-21.3%51.6%61.5%
Amon-Ra St. BrownDET921325.8%195120.9%82.9%-15.1%
Tyler BoydCIN871296.2%6-11-36.1%93.5%42.4%
Darnell MooneyCHI1011293.8%42-74-33.6%70.6%37.4%
DeVonta SmithPHI4412524.7%6233-5.7%41.5%30.5%
Amari CooperDAL5112417.7%5754-0.7%47.2%18.4%
Marquez CallawayNO4112426.8%44-20-18.6%48.2%45.4%
Tim PatrickDEN5411815.4%327316.6%62.8%-1.1%
Corey DavisNYJ3510023.0%27-32-28.0%56.5%51.0%
Mecole HardmanKC59957.6%2320-2.3%72.0%9.9%
Okay.J. OsbornMIN57939.8%26-1-12.9%68.7%22.7%
Keenan AllenLAC12291-3.5%35475.1%77.7%-8.6%
Keelan ColeNYJ259033.9%2819-3.6%47.2%37.5%
Jalen GuytonLAC238834.7%254612.7%47.9%22.0%
Chase ClaypoolPIT368818.5%74-19-16.0%32.7%34.4%
Stefon DiggsBUF56886.6%112101-1.2%33.3%7.8%
Jarvis LandryCLE58835.9%28-53-38.4%67.4%44.3%
Gabriel DavisBUF318320.2%32372.5%49.2%17.7%
Michael PittmanIND65833.9%6612612.1%49.6%-8.2%
Marquez Valdes-ScantlingGB268331.2%29-91-51.1%47.3%82.3%
Quez WatkinsPHI458110.8%167-7.7%73.8%18.5%
Adam ThielenMIN397813.3%549810.5%41.9%2.9%
Zay JonesLV417812.2%3124-2.6%56.9%14.8%
Laquon TreadwellJAX257323.9%273-11.4%48.1%35.2%
Jaylen WaddleMIA9573-3.0%45522.5%67.9%-5.5%
Donovan Peoples-JonesCLE297018.5%32528.3%47.5%10.2%
DK MetcalfSEA397010.0%9250-5.7%29.8%15.6%
Nick Westbrook-IkhineTEN37649.5%21274.2%63.8%5.2%
Deonte HarrisNO366311.8%218137.3%63.2%-25.5%
Odell Beckham2TM39638.8%44-62-30.3%47.0%39.1%
Antonio BrownTB206225.5%43656.6%31.7%18.9%
Ja’Marr ChaseCIN276118.1%10126420.2%21.1%-2.0%
Russell GageATL6860-1.1%254511.1%73.1%-12.2%
Courtland SuttonDEN325912.3%72720.1%30.8%12.2%
Van JeffersonLAR52570.9%3827-3.9%57.8%4.8%
Jerry JeudyDEN50562.4%7-3-18.8%87.7%21.2%
DeAndre HopkinsARI155334.3%4816631.3%23.8%3.0%
Marvin JonesJAX5845-2.9%6243-3.6%48.3%0.7%
Emmanuel SandersBUF35434.1%378818.9%48.6%-14.8%
Brandin CooksHOU7740-5.9%6313213.8%55.0%-19.7%
Nelson AgholorNE26386.2%4322-5.8%37.7%12.0%
Olamide ZaccheausATL34371.1%193611.5%64.2%-10.4%
A.J. GreenARI173614.0%741259.0%18.7%5.1%
Robert WoodsLAR4828-5.3%2211152.3%68.6%-57.5%
Calvin RidleyATL24261.5%31-40-28.9%43.6%30.4%
Khalif RaymondDET4124-5.6%292-11.6%58.6%6.1%
Marquise BrownBAL9124-9.3%58-38-21.1%61.1%11.9%
Sterling ShepardNYG4223-5.4%14-20-29.9%75.0%24.5%
Josh Reynolds2TM2120-0.5%30384.0%41.2%-4.5%
Rashod BatemanBAL2016-2.9%51889.1%28.2%-11.9%
Jamison CrowderNYJ6614-9.9%4-12-48.7%94.3%38.8%
Jakobi MeyersNE11214-11.1%177-7.3%86.8%-3.8%
Rondale MooreARI5012-9.4%11-20-34.6%82.0%25.2%
Terry McLaurinWAS699-11.0%6313616.1%52.3%-27.1%
A.J. BrownTEN579-10.7%4910315.3%53.8%-26.0%
D.J. MooreCAR638-11.0%97-9-13.9%39.4%2.9%
Elijah MooreNYJ495-11.2%2818-4.3%63.6%-7.0%
Jalen ReagorPHI183-10.6%41-45-28.7%30.5%18.1%
DeVante ParkerMIA142-10.3%61712.2%18.7%-12.5%
Nico CollinsHOU22-1-13.2%4025-4.7%35.5%-8.5%
Cole BeasleyBUF98-1-12.8%14-44-52.8%87.5%40.0%
Diontae JohnsonPIT33-1-13.2%14170-6.4%19.0%-6.9%
Braxton BerriosNYJ57-4-13.5%71617.5%89.1%-31.0%
Allan RobinsonCHI37-6-14.8%3225-2.6%53.6%-12.2%
Tre’Quan SmithNO38-10-16.0%126057.4%76.0%-73.4%
Michael GallupDAL14-13-24.0%51632.2%21.5%-26.2%
Tyler JohnsonTB36-17-19.0%19-13-21.4%65.5%2.4%
Kadarius ToneyNYG34-18-19.6%213910.9%61.8%-30.4%
Adam HumphriesWAS56-25-18.5%71314.1%88.9%-32.6%
Darius SlaytonNYG16-26-34.0%44-82-37.0%26.7%3.0%
Robby AndersonCAR60-45-22.2%49-125-47.3%55.0%25.1%
Kenny GolladayNYG28-45-33.0%528-10.7%35.0%-22.3%
Laviska ShenaultJAX64-51-23.0%32-49-34.9%66.7%11.9%
Zach PascalIND61-99-34.2%112517.7%84.7%-52.0%
Ray-Ray McCloudPIT60-150-44.1%5-32-96.6%92.3%52.5%

Super Disagreements

The group that focused broad receivers probably the most incessantly within the slot, as soon as once more, was the Los Angeles Rams. In 2020, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods had the second- and third-most slot targets within the league. The workload was extra unfold out in 2021, however Kupp, Woods and Van Jefferson all spent extra time within the slot than in any other case. We’ll get to Kupp particularly in a second, however I wish to give attention to the group stage for only a second right here. Just like they’ve finished yearly throughout Sean McVay’s tenure, the Rams lined up in skinny formations and branched outward. The addition of Matthew Stafford at quarterback meant that additionally they branched downfield greater than they’d with Jared Goff—the common depth of goal to a Rams receiver within the slot jumped from 7.9 to 11.5 yards final season—however the primary philosophy remained intact: Use slender formations, line all of your receivers in tight after which reap the benefits of the house on the sphere opened up by the protection narrowing itself in response. L.A. did this barely much less final season, rating twenty eighth in formation width after rating thirty second in McVay’s first 4 seasons, however that is nonetheless a reasonably basic side of most playcallers within the McVay/Shanahan mould.

“Most” is an important phrase in that sentence, as a result of the group with the least frequent targets to receivers within the slot was … properly, it was the Steelers, however not far behind them have been the Cincinnati Bengals, led by McVay protégé Zac Taylor. The Bengals buck the normal McVay methods and cut up themselves broad, with each Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins within the prime 10 in broad targets final season. Again, we’ll get to Chase particularly in a second, however it’s hanging simply how completely different two coaches from the identical tree lined up, even with each utilizing basically the same personnel groupings. The Rams‘ three receivers are likely to line up in bunches or journeys; the Bengals have been extra conventional with all sides that includes a wideout out broad.

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