Punch Drunk Wonderland

2013 Andrew Luck – The Average Depth of Target Flip-Flop

LuckA new quarterback stat that the folks at Pro Football Focus started keeping an eye on in recent years has been Average Depth of Target (aDOT).  The stat takes a look at what kind of distance a QB is looking at for his targets.  For instance, it might carry more meaning if a quarterback has a 60% completion percentage and Average Depth of Target of 10 yards than a quarterback with a 60% completion percentage and aDOT of 7 yards.  When looking at receivers we tend to note Yards Per Reception and Targets, so why not look at the same type of stat for QBs?

In 2012 Andrew Luck was the poster boy of the Bruce Arians offensive system.  Long drop backs, time for plays for develop, and a ton of long balls. Luck led all quarterbacks in Average Depth of Target with 10.8 yards.  That’s a pretty significant stat and it plays a great deal into Luck’s successful fantasy production in 2012.  Sure, he was under 60% in completion percentage, but he maximized big plays.  Opponents would see film and tag Luck as a quarterback looking for the deep target slam dunk and they would prepare for it.  That preparation likely is what opened up some scrambling lanes for the young QB while running for his life from the pass rush pouring through his O-Line like sand through a sieve.

2013 is going to be a different story for Luck and it’s going to make predicting his fantasy potential a bit tricky. The Colts are switching from Arians’ big play system to a new one that is more meticulous.  The new offense will likely feature more of a west coast style with a larger percentage of short to intermediate passes, plays over the middle, and a greater focus on the ground game.  This is going to mean Luck’s aDOT could drop like a stone.  Don’t be surprised if he winds up outside of the top 10 in this category in 2013.  It will be a complete flip-flop.

This statistical change doesn’t necessarily mean his fantasy production will be any better or worse.  His completion percentage will likely go up and the team could find greater success by more meticulously moving the chains in the new offensive system.  In all likelihood, Luck’s ability and potential will allow him to succeed in this system.  He is at least partially familiar with it already.  However, it does mean that fantasy production will look drastically different for the pieces in the system.  A player that could see a potentially significant production dip will be T.Y. Hilton.  His big play potential was off the charts in 2012, but if he’s seeing less deep targets there’s a good chance his numbers will suffer. These are things to keep in mind when offensive players change schemes. Time will tell.

The table below is a look at the top 20 quarterbacks of 2012 in terms of Average Depth of Target.

aDOT = Average Depth of Target; PPDB = Points Per Drop Back

Player Team aDOT FP PPDB
Andrew Luck IND 10.8 304.5 0.43
Josh Freeman TB 10.7 267.5 0.44
Jay Cutler CHI 10.4 206.6 0.42
Russell Wilson SEA 10.2 291.6 0.61
Eli Manning NYG 10.1 249.9 0.44
Colin Kaepernick SF 10 179.5 0.69
Joe Flacco BLT 10 250.9 0.44
Jake Locker TEN 10 151.4 0.41
Cam Newton CAR 9.8 340.9 0.61
Mark Sanchez NYJ 9.4 152.1 0.31
Chad Henne JAX 9.4 128.8 0.37
Michael Vick PHI 9.2 171.7 0.41
Tom Brady NE 9.1 348.3 0.52
Tony Romo DAL 9 300 0.43
Matt Cassel KC 9 104.3 0.33
Andy Dalton CIN 8.9 274.8 0.46
Matthew Stafford DET 8.9 298.3 0.38
Drew Brees NO 8.9 366.6 0.52
Ben Roethlisberger PIT 8.8 235.8 0.48
Ryan Tannehill MIA 8.8 199.9 0.38

K. Smelser About K. Smelser
Kelly Smelser is Owner/Senior Writer for Punch Drunk Wonderland and PDFantasy Sports. Architect of the PDW fantasy football world and general spinster of NFL and Fantasy Football news and analysis. Long walks on the beach, sunsets, and other such niceties are also fine...