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The Alshon Jeffery Hypothesis

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The Alshon Jeffery Hypothesis states that a #2 wide receiver should excel if the #1 receiver is a very, very good receiver.

I first thought of this when I was pondering the role that Golden Tate will play for the Seahawks, now that Percy Harvin is coming back and Sidney Rice is out for the season. Many would say that Tate would be worse behind Harvin than he would behind Rice, but this hypothesis proposes quite the contrary. See, Golden Tate’s problem with Sidney Rice being the #1 receiver is quite obvious. Rice stole many targets away from Tate, though he wasn’t good enough to draw double coverage, putting a very capable CB on Tate. Now that Harvin, one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, will take Sidney Rice’s spot, this should be huge to Golden Tate, and lead to an excellent rest of the season for him. While Harvin will, of course, still get a whole lot of targets from Russell Wilson, he will draw a second defender, leaving a lesser CB on Golden Tate.

Right now, I’ll prove this hypothesis true by listing some of the “double coverage worthy” receivers, and their backups.

  • Larry Fitzgerald- Michael Floyd
  • Steve Smith- Brandon LaFell
  • Brandon Marshall- Alshon Jeffery
  • AJ Green- Marvin Jones
  • Dez Bryant- Terrance Williams
  • Demaryius Thomas/Wes Welker- Eric Decker
  • Calvin Johnson- Kris Durham
  • Jordy Nelson- Jarrett Boykin
  • Reggie Wayne- TY Hilton
  • Jimmy Graham- Kenny Stills
  • Victor Cruz/Hakeem Nicks- Reuben Randle
  • DeSean Jackson- Riley Cooper

Here are the stats of each of these players:

  • Larry Fitzgerald- 470 yds, 5 TDs; Michael Floyd- 433 yds, 2 TDs
  • Steve Smith- 335 yds, 3 TDs; Brandon LaFell- 278 yds, 3 TDs
  • Brandon Marshall- 540 yds, 5 TDs; Alshon Jeffery- 561 yds, 2 TDs
  • AJ Green- 734 yds, 5 TDs; Marvin Jones- 369 yds, 7 TDs
  • Dez Bryant- 641 yds, 8 TDs; Terrance Williams- 444 yds, 4 TDs
  • Demaryius Thomas- 685 yds, 6 TDs; Wes Welker- 555 yds, 9 TDs ; Eric Decker- 669 yds, 3 TDs
  • Calvin Johnson- 821 yds, 7 TDs; Kris Durham- 310 yds, 1 TD
  • Jordy Nelson- 649 yds, 7 TDs; Jarrett Boykin- 235 yds, 1 TD
  • Reggie Wayne- 503 yds, 2 TDs; TY Hilton- 412 yds, 2 TDs
  • Jimmy Graham- 630 yds, 8 TDs; Kenny Stills- 327 yds, 3 TDs
  • Victor Cruz- 677 yds, 4 TDs; Hakeem Nicks- 521 yds, 0 TDs; Reuben Randle- 373 yds, 4 TDs
  • DeSean Jackson- 673 yds, 5 TDs; Riley Cooper- 314 yds, 2 TDs

As you can see, the backups of these excellent receivers have really played well this season. This is due, largely in part, to the Alshon Jeffery Hypothesis. Every one of these guys draws double coverage for most, if not all, of each game. In fact,for the Giants and Broncos, who both have two #1 threats, sometimes both guys draw the double, leaving an even worse man on the 3rd WR. The average stats of the backups that we previously listed were approximately 394 yards and 3 touchdowns.

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Now, let’s take a look at some of the other #2 receivers, whose #1 threat isn’t quite good enough to draw double coverage:

  • Brian Hartline- Mike Wallace
  • Chris Givens- Tavon Austin
  • Nate Washington- Kendall Wright
  • Pierre Garçon- Josh Morgan
  • Antonio Brown- Emmanuel Sanders

Here are the stats of each of these player:

  • Brian Hartline- 438 yds, 2 TDs; Mike Wallace- 398 yds, 1 TD
  • Chris Givens- 354 yds, 0 TDs; Tavon Austin- 207 yds, 2 TDs
  • Nate Washington- 439 yds, 2 TDs; Kendall Wright- 433 yds, 1 TD
  • Pierre Garçon- 512 yds, 2 TDs; Josh Morgan- 124 yds, 0 TDs
  • Antonio Brown- 630 yds, 2 TDs; Emmanuel Sanders- 396 yds, 2 TDs

It is quite evident that these #2 wide receivers have had worse performances this season than the previously mentioned ones, which included Reuben Randle and Eric Decker. The average stats for these backups were approximately 312 yards and 1 touchdown.

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I believe that the Alshon Jeffery Hypothesis points to TY Hilton having a not-so-great rest of the season. Many expect for him to break out, being that he’s out of Reggie Wayne’s shadow, but I expect the contrary. Now that TY Hilton is Andrew Luck’s number one target, he may fall victim to the Alshon Jeffery Hypothesis in two ways: 1) he’ll most likely draw double coverage; and 2) he can no longer rely on the fact that he is facing off against a lesser CB, and will know face the best of the best.

If the Alshon Jeffery Hypothesis is of any significance, which I believe it is, Golden Tate should have an excellent rest of the season, and TY Hilton should have a disappointing rest of the season.

One comment on “The Alshon Jeffery Hypothesis

  1. Pingback: Week 12 Rankings: Wide Receivers | Neutral Zone Infraction

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This entry was posted on October 31, 2013 by in Analysis, NFL and tagged , , , , , , , .
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