Return of the YAC -- Response to the Rebuttal

I'm sure everyone is sick of this discussion by now, but I felt it necessary to respond to the hurried rebuttal to my original YAC post.

And so it goes...


This is mostly in response to the following:

RJ-Bs article left out whether or not the YACs was truly a Dink And Dunk approach or more of a 20 yard pass that was caught 20 yards [past] the Line of scrimmage and turned into a much bigger gain.

In all fairness, this is true -- but with all due respect to UBV, that data is not available. However, I took the time to approximate it to the best of my ability, and the results follow below.

Disclaimer: since there is no concrete information to verify my results, and because averages and projections are used, the following should be taken with a grain of salt. While I am confident everything checks out and should be in the 'ballpark', I hope anyone disagreeing with the numbers will refrain from calling out the potential flaws in my calculations. If you feel strongly enough about it, feel free to put in the time and effort to refute them.

The intention of this breakdown was to try and distinguish YAC on dink-and-dunk plays from those 20 yds or more. I used's Splits stats for each of the ten QBs in the original chart. The 'By Pass Play' splits are laid out in 10-yd increments, and for 'deep' plays they began at 21 yds (as opposed to 20) -- a negligible difference. These splits are labeled on the site as 'Pass Thrown __x__ yds', so it's safe to assume 'x' is air yards. I define this (any pass play 21+ yds) as 'Deep Pass' in my findings. The splits account for passes thrown 21-30 yds, 31-40 yds, and 41+ yds.

Obviously this 10-yd window is quite a bit to work with, so the most logical thing to do was to average the pass yards thrown to 25 yds (for 21-30), 35 yds (for 31-40), and 45yds (for 41+). I realize this isn't precise, but such is the way with averages. From there, I multiplied the number of completions by the average pass thrown yards (25, 35, et al), and subtracted that amount from total deep yards in each split (in other words, I removed the 'air yards' from 'total deep yards', thus leaving YAC). This is labeled as PDYAC -- Projected Deep Yards After Catch.

PDYAC = Deep Yds - (Deep Yds Cmp * Avg Pass Thrown Yds)


In 2006, Drew Brees completed 15 passes from 21-30yds for 572 total deep yds.

Average the 'pass thrown' range to 25.

572 - (15*25) = 197 Projected Deep YAC

Still with me?? Of course, it's not a perfect formula -- a handful of results churned out negative PDYAC. I think there's a little take-and-give here, though, as I'm sure the Saints receivers didn't average 13yds after each catch in the example above. I believe, for the most part, this averages out. (Again, I stress, we're working with approximations.)

Finally, while the ultimate goal was to approximate YAC on Deep Throws, I felt it was important to stress just how many passing plays were deep throws -- which is why I included Total Completion and Attempts, as well as Deep Completion and Attempts, to allow for comparison.


[Full-size image here]


[Unless you want to dig out your magnifying glass, the individual results can be seen here]


  • On the whole, 20% of completed passes (and 10% of pass attempts) were thrown 21+ yds.
  • To put it another way, 4 out of 5 passes completed (and 90% of pass attempts) were thrown from within 20 yds. This is raw data with no approximations.
  • When considering PDYAC, less than 10% of YAC were produced on throws 21+ yds. While the PDYAC results are approximations, it only follows that fewer deep throws produces fewer YAC.
  • PDYAC was typically lowest in the 41+ yd split -- which actually makes sense, as the ball is traveling longer distances through the air, and several of those passes were likely into or close to the endzone -- so there wasn't much allowance for YAC anyway.
  • Drew Brees' results scream "one of these things is not like the other" -- he's quite good.
Summary: While not perfect, careful and unbiased calculations show that the majority of YAC comes on completed passes 20yds and less. While not all of these throws can be classified as 'dink-and-dunk', one can infer that large amounts of YAC are not typically produced on throws over 20yds. Furthermore, YAC aside, the overwhelming percentage of short-to-intermediate throws should be noted, particularly by those who believe our team does too much of it -- it's actually quite common, and that's no projection.

I'm sure the discussion isn't completely exhausted yet, so feel free to share your thoughts below. Thanks.

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.

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