mckelvin

Presenting: Adjusted Punt Return Yards Above Replacement

Unlike many folks, I actually truly enjoy playing in return yardage leagues and have tried for years to try and quantify who is good at punt returns and who isn’t. Given the fluky nature of punt return touchdowns, I imagine that predicting success year to year is pretty difficult, and the best way to approach it is to simply look for opportunity and raw physical skill. However, that didn’t stop me from trying! I present to you Punt Return Yards Above Replacement and Adjusted Punt Return Yards Above Replacement.

For Punt Return Yards Above Replacement, I simply eliminated all players with 2 or less punt returns and averaged together all of the returns by the remaining players. I found that the average punt return in the NFL in 2012 was 9.985 yards (after the adjustment). To find a players ability, I simply subtracted the league average from each remaining players’ average. The idea of removing players with only 1 or 2 returns was to eliminate some noise, although I don’t believe this statistic is close to perfect.

Adjusted Punt Return Yards Above Replacement was even more difficult. Essentially, I wanted to take the ideas from Adjusted Yards Per Attempt that touchdowns are good and that not moving the ball is bad. However, after repeated attempts to find a way to punish fair catches, I just realized that it was impossible. Could not be done until I attached an expected point evaluation for each and every fair catch by each and every player. Therefore, to create the ‘adjusted’ part of the statistic, I averaged the length of every punt return touchdown in 2012 (subtracting Darius Reynaud’s pitch to Tommie Campbell for the Titans) and found that the average length was 76.7 yards. Each returner was awarded 76.7 yards for each touchdown. That explains why Leodis Mckelvin basically broke the scale.

What I have created here is a very imperfect, rudimentary way to look at punt returning performance from 2012. If there is more interest, I will go back and look at the numbers from 2011 and 2010 to create a 3-year average and see if there if the numbers have any predictive value. Very interested in feedback. Feel free to email me spfocusfilms@hotmail.com , leave a comment, or contact me on twitter @davismattek .

Player Team Num Yds Avg Adjusted Return Yards Adjusted Return Yards Average FC Lg TD PR Yards Above Replacement Adjusted PR Yards Above Replacement
Trindon Holliday Hou 47 481 10.2 557.7 11.8659574468 10 76t 1 0.215 0.6459574468
Joshua Cribbs Cle 38 457 12 457 12.0263157895 8 60 0 2.015 0.8063157895
Leodis McKelvin Buf 23 431 18.7 584.4 25.4086956522 14 88t 2 8.715 14.1886956522
Patrick Peterson Ari 51 426 8.4 426 8.3529411765 14 26 0 -1.585 -2.8670588235
Darius Reynaud Ten 31 410 13.2 563.4 18.1741935484 17 81t 2 3.215 6.9541935484
Leon Washington Sea 41 356 8.7 356 8.6829268293 17 52 0 -1.285 -2.5370731707
Dwayne Harris Dal 22 354 16.1 430.7 19.5772727273 11 78t 1 6.115 8.3572727273
Jacoby Jones Bal 37 341 9.2 417.7 11.2891891892 16 63t 1 -0.785 0.0691891892
Devin Hester Chi 40 331 8.3 331 8.275 6 44 0 -1.685 -2.945
Ted Ginn SF 32 326 10.2 326 10.1875 12 38 0 0.215 -1.0325
Marcus Thigpen Mia 26 316 12.2 392.7 15.1038461538 6 72t 1 2.215 3.8838461538
Javier Arenas KC 34 303 8.9 303 8.9117647059 4 27 0 -1.085 -2.3082352941
Adam Jones Cin 26 301 11.6 377.7 14.5269230769 0 81t 1 1.615 3.3069230769
T.Y. Hilton Ind 26 300 11.5 376.7 14.4884615385 18 75t 1 1.515 3.2684615385
Stefan Logan Det 33 300 9.1 300 9.0909090909 23 48 0 -0.885 -2.1290909091
Roscoe Parrish TB 30 298 9.9 298 9.9333333333 15 39 0 -0.085 -1.2866666667
Randall Cobb GB 31 292 9.4 368.7 11.8935483871 21 75t 1 -0.585 0.6735483871
Damaris Johnson Phi 26 291 11.2 367.7 14.1423076923 23 98t 1 1.215 2.9223076923
Marcus Sherels Min 32 287 9 363.7 11.365625 27 77t 1 -0.985 0.145625
Keshawn Martin Hou 22 267 12.1 267 12.1363636364 10 71 0 2.115 0.9163636364
Julian Edelman NE 17 263 15.5 339.7 19.9823529412 1 68t 1 5.515 8.7623529412
Wes Welker NE 25 243 9.7 243 9.72 7 31 0 -0.285 -1.5
Micheal Spurlock Jac 17 239 14.1 315.7 18.5705882353 16 63t 1 4.115 7.3505882353
Jeremy Kerley NYJ 19 208 10.9 284.7 14.9842105263 36 68t 1 0.915 3.7642105263
Brandon Tate Cin 21 187 8.9 187 8.9047619048 11 32 0 -1.085 -2.3152380952
Darren Sproles NO 23 183 8 183 7.9565217391 14 37 0 -1.985 -3.2634782609
Antonio Brown Pit 27 183 6.8 183 6.7777777778 8 29 0 -3.185 -4.4422222222
Brandon Banks Was 26 178 6.8 178 6.8461538462 5 27 0 -3.185 -4.3738461538
Dominique Franks Atl 21 163 7.8 163 7.7619047619 18 28 0 -2.185 -3.4580952381
Richard Crawford Was 8 156 19.5 156 19.5 2 64 0 9.515 8.28
Travis Benjamin Cle 3 149 49.7 225.7 75.2333333333 1 93t 1 39.715 64.0133333333
Phillip Adams Oak 25 139 5.6 139 5.56 9 47 0 -4.385 -5.66
Joe Adams Car 11 127 11.5 127 11.5454545455 11 21 0 1.515 0.3254545455
Danny Amendola Stl 17 122 7.2 122 7.1764705882 10 22 0 -2.785 -4.0435294118
Rueben Randle NYG 15 108 7.2 108 7.2 15 18 0 -2.785 -4.02
Jeremy Ross GB 4 103 25.8 103 25.75 1 58 0 15.815 14.53
Emmanuel Sanders Pit 9 93 10.3 93 10.3333333333 9 63 0 0.315 -0.8866666667
Jim Leonhard Den 15 89 5.9 89 5.9333333333 16 16 0 -4.085 -5.2866666667
Jordan Shipley Jac 13 85 6.5 85 6.5384615385 2 15 0 -3.485 -4.6815384615
Austin Pettis Stl 11 77 7 77 7 9 23 0 -2.985 -4.22
Captain Munnerlyn Car 14 72 5.1 72 5.1428571429 5 20 0 -4.885 -6.0771428571
Dez Bryant Dal 12 66 5.5 66 5.5 2 44 0 -4.485 -5.72
Eddie Royal SD 12 64 5.3 64 5.3333333333 2 14 0 -4.685 -5.8866666667
Mike Thomas Det 9 56 6.2 56 6.2222222222 4 18 0 -3.785 -4.9977777778
Tandon Doss Bal 4 53 13.2 53 13.25 4 40 0 3.215 2.03
Kyle Williams SF 4 52 13 52 13 6 20 0 3.015 1.78
Eric Weddle SD 7 48 6.9 48 6.8571428571 1 20 0 -3.085 -4.3628571429
Quan Cosby Jac 5 46 9.2 46 9.2 4 15 0 -0.785 -2.02
Janoris Jenkins Stl 9 46 5.1 46 5.1111111111 1 14 0 -4.885 -6.1088888889
Harry Douglas Atl 5 42 8.4 42 8.4 1 11 0 -1.585 -2.82
Domenik Hixon NYG 5 36 7.2 36 7.2 4 10 0 -2.785 -4.02
Denarius Moore Oak 9 32 3.6 32 3.5555555556 4 19 0 -6.385 -7.6644444444
Davone Bess Mia 4 30 7.5 30 7.5 18 11 0 -2.485 -3.72
Kyle Wilson NYJ 4 30 7.5 30 7.5 2 19 0 -2.485 -3.72
Devon Wylie KC 5 26 5.2 26 5.2 2 13 0 -4.785 -6.02
Chris Rainey Pit 3 16 5.3 16 5.3333333333 0 13 0 -4.685 -5.8866666667
Aaron Ross Jac 3 16 5.3 16 5.3333333333 3 6 0 -4.685 -5.8866666667
Sammie Stroughter TB 3 16 5.3 16 5.3333333333 3 13 0 -4.685 -5.8866666667
Andre Roberts Ari 3 15 5 15 5 0 10 0 -4.985 -6.22
Justin Rogers Buf 3 14 4.7 14 4.6666666667 4 14 0 -5.285 -6.5533333333

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