You may remember that back in the preseason, I introduced a new concept called Route DVOA. I've been doing receiving DVOA for 20 years, but it's always been based on value per target. Route DVOA is based on value per routes run, which accounts for the skill of getting open and earning targets. It's probably a better measurement of receiver quality and it's definitely more consistent and predictive from year to year.

We don't yet have all our methods streamlined enough to update Route DVOA automatically after each week's games, but I have been putting it together once I get the FTN Data charting of routes run. My plan was to share the numbers with all of you readers after every six weeks. But I found myself with some extra time this week, so we'll share numbers now. Next week, we'll look at Route DVOA for defenses vs. types of receivers instead.

There are a couple of differences between this Route DVOA and what I did in the preseason from past years. First of all, thanks to FTN Data, I have actual routes run! No need for estimates. Now I'm not counting when a receiver is in the game but, for example, blocks for a screen to a different receiver. This means we can also produce Route DVOA for tight ends and running backs, not just wide receivers. The second change is that the work I did in the preseason only looked at passes with intended receivers, which is what counts in regular receiving DVOA. This new version of Route DVOA also incorporates routes run on sacks, scrambles, and passes thrown away with no intended receiver.

We're still not at the point where we can adjust the value per route for which personnel grouping is on offense, but I'm hoping to do that in the near future.

Wide Receivers Through Week 5, 2023

There's a couple of ways to look at these stats. We've got Route DVOA, or value per route. We've got Route DYAR, or total value based on routes. The player ranks are closer than they are for normal receiving DVOA, but not exactly the same. We can also look at the difference between a player's regular receiving DVOA and his Route DVOA. To do this, I use z-scores, because Route DVOA has a wider scale than regular receiving DVOA. Z-scores look at the difference in standard deviations over average for each metric

OK, let's take a look at the numbers. It is probably no shock that Tyreek Hill is leading the league in both Route DVOA and Route DYAR. Hill led the league in these stats in 2022 and he's probably having an even better season this year. Hill stands out because he just doesn't run as many routes as other No. 1 wide receivers. So his efficiency with the routes he does run is absurd. I have him down with 4.75 yards per route run, although this may differ from numbers you find elsewhere on FTN because of slight differences in counting routes (and because I add in DPI yardage, although Hill doesn't have any of that yet). The only other receiver over 3.25 yards per route run is Brandon Aiyuk at 4.20.

The surprising name in here is Rashee Rice, the rookie receiver in Kansas City. He barely makes my minimum to be ranked, with 24 targets and only 65 routes, but he's been targeted on a higher percentage of routes than any other wide receiver in the league. (These numbers do not include last night's game against Denver.) Rice is third in Route DVOA and 18th in Route DYAR, which is really high despite the lack of usage. The Chiefs absolutely need to use him more and, in fact, started using him more last night, as he had four catches for 72 yards.

My minimum to be ranked here is 100 routes or 20 targets. First, here's a look at the top wide receivers.

PlayerTeamRoute
DVOA
RankRoute
DYAR
RankRoutesTgt
Rate
Yd/RR
Tyreek HillMIA148.8%1404113736%4.75
Brandon AiyukSF131.1%223499030%4.20
Rashee RiceKC101.9%3132186537%2.66
Stefon DiggsBUF89.0%4324218029%3.27
Davante AdamsLV87.6%5313417532%2.67
Keenan AllenLAC77.4%6240814930%3.00
A.J. BrownPHI74.0%7279618029%3.11
Mike EvansTB71.8%81641410630%3.25
Ja'Marr ChaseCIN68.1%9315321429%2.39
Justin JeffersonMIN66.3%10285520027%2.91
Nico CollinsHOU66.2%112151115324%3.05
DeAndre HopkinsTEN59.2%121721313731%2.60

It's also worth noting rookie Puka Nacua of the Rams, who ranks seventh in Route DYAR and 14th in Route DVOA.

Here are the bottom qualifying wide receivers.

PlayerTeamRoute
DVOA
RankRoute
DYAR
RankRoutesTgt
Rate
Yd/RR
Darnell MooneyCHI-57.7%86-1078313512%0.77
Donovan Peoples-JonesCLE-57.5%85-1048213510%0.56
Van JeffersonLAR-56.9%84-125861599%0.68
Jalin HyattNYG-56.6%83-77781015%0.98
Rondale MooreARI-56.1%82-988012813%0.63
Jaxon Smith-NjigbaSEA-53.7%81-65759421%0.66
Alec PierceIND-48.1%80-1098417610%0.80
Jahan DotsonWAS-45.7%79-1188520015%0.70
Parris CampbellNYG-45.2%78-627411121%0.77
Brandin CooksDAL-43.5%77-597110519%1.05

Jalin Hyatt has five targets this year. FIVE! Maybe the Giants should consider trying to throw to him a little bit more?

Here are some players who do better in Route DVOA than regular DVOA. The first one is a particular surprise.

And some players who really decline when we use Route DVOA:

Tight Ends Through Week 5, 2023

For both running backs and tight ends, I'm using a minimum of 50 routes or 10 targets to be ranked. Here are the top tight ends:

PlayerTeamRoute
DVOA
RankRoute
DYAR
RankRoutesTgt
Rate
Yd/RR
Andrew OgletreeIND126.1%165103330%2.88
Travis KelceKC95.5%2161110436%2.13
Sam LaPortaDET67.3%3140212824%2.26
Noah FantSEA54.0%455126118%2.62
Cole KmetCHI43.7%597412923%1.87
Mark AndrewsBAL43.3%699313121%1.72
George KittleSF43.1%789511919%1.81
Jonnu SmithATL39.5%877711424%2.16
Donald ParhamLAC37.4%941155716%0.65
Jake FergusonDAL36.2%1072810726%1.64
Tre McBrideARI32.7%1129194622%1.72
Darren WallerNYG23.4%1280617920%1.46

Smith and Ferguson, in particular, get a jump from regular receiving DVOA to Route DVOA. Now here are the tight ends on the bottom:

PlayerTeamRoute
DVOA
RankRoute
DYAR
RankRoutesTgt
Rate
Yd/RR
Austin HooperLV-66.0%48-8548947%0.66
Taysom HillNO-59.2%47-40445212%0.31
Irv SmithCIN-45.9%46-54458911%0.43
Michael MayerLV-40.1%45-3442707%0.59
Daniel BellingerNYG-39.1%44-2439538%0.42
Juwan JohnsonNO-37.7%43-37438115%0.75
Adam TrautmanDEN-37.6%42-644714010%0.43
Dawson KnoxBUF-37.0%41-574612714%0.59
Pat FreiermuthPIT-26.9%40-28419514%0.56
David NjokuCLE-20.4%39-233812115%1.14

Maybe the Raiders want to try throwing to the tight ends a little more? Assuming they can get open. I'm surprised to see Taysom Hill here, because he's always had very good receiving stats by regular receiving DVOA. (He doesn't this year, though, with just 16 yards on six targets.)

Kelce, who ranks only 13th in regular receiving DVOA, is the big winner with Route DVOA. That makes a lot of sense, he earns a lot of targets. Cole Turner of Washington also takes a surprisingly big jump with Route DVOA, from -18.0% to 18.6%. Among the big falls with Route DVOA: C.J. Uzomah of the Jets goes from 30.1% to -19.9% and Durham Smythe of the Dolphins goes from 20.5% to -15.8%.

 

Running Backs Through Week 5, 2023

PlayerTeamRoute
DVOA
RankRoute
DYAR
RankRoutesTgt
Rate
Yd/RR
De'Von AchaneMIA86.8%16965221%1.29
Jaylen WarrenPIT85.0%29237633%2.18
Christian McCaffreySF76.8%3125110623%1.58
Josh JacobsLV64.9%4107210130%1.91
Derrick HenryTEN64.7%542104127%2.46
Samaje PerineDEN62.7%68648421%2.00
Jerome FordCLE43.7%75077517%1.03
Alvin KamaraNO43.0%829153845%1.32
Jahmyr GibbsDET38.3%940126130%1.15
Jerick McKinnonKC36.2%104396419%1.11
Ameer AbdullahLV35.7%1120203529%1.31
Bijan RobinsonATL33.0%1286514517%1.01

Alvin Kamara, in particular, has a huge difference between his regular receiving DVOA and his Route DVOA. He ranks 37 in receiving DVOA at -32.9%, but Route DVOA recognizes how often he earns a target on his routes. Gibbs also has a huge difference, going from -17.8% receiving DVOA to 38.3% Route DVOA.

Here are the running backs at the bottom:

PlayerTeamRoute
DVOA
RankRoute
DYAR
RankRoutesTgt
Rate
Yd/RR
Ezekiel ElliottNE-42.8%50-23456423%0.69
Najee HarrisPIT-42.8%49-26486514%0.57
Matt BreidaNYG-42.8%48-32508612%0.57
AJ DillonGB-40.1%47-2546788%0.32
Tyler AllgeierATL-33.9%46-14415118%0.63
Rachaad WhiteTB-32.0%45-264710512%0.82
Devin SingletaryHOU-31.6%44-1442579%0.44
Joe MixonCIN-31.3%43-284911315%0.71
Michael CarterNYJ-30.4%42-15436816%0.65
Antonio GibsonWAS-27.9%41-224411913%1.11

The running back with the biggest drop from regular receiving DVOA to Route DVOA is San Francisco fullback Kyle Juszczyk. He has been targeted just five times on 62 routes, so he ends up going from 90.9% DVOA to 10.3% Route DVOA. Zack Moss of the Colts also takes a big drop from 27.9% receiving DVOA to -12.6% Route DVOA.

Next week, I'll take a look at what it means to run DVOA by route for defenses against specific types of receivers, and how that differs from our usual receiving defense against types of receivers. And then we'll update Route DVOA again after Week 12 to see how receivers are doing when we consider how often they get targeted per route.