I have been doing a lot of statistical research on wide receivers lately, in an attempt to unravel the mystery behind there success. I already wrote a post about how the explosion of the passing game has affected the overall value of fantasy wide receivers, and I have been analyzing the numbers for 1,000-yard receivers over their careers. Before I start the rankings, here are a few interesting statistics.
There have been 83 different receivers who have had at least one 1,000-yard season in the pass 11 years. Of those 83 players, 7 recorded their first 1,000 yard season in their rookie year and only 33% of those receivers had a 1,000 yard season in the following season, 21 players recorded their first 1,000-yard season in their second season and a little over 50% of those players record their second 1,000-yard season in the following year, 22 players recorded their first 1,000-yard season in their third season and just under 50% of those players followed up their first 1,000 yard season with a second, 15 players had their first 1,000-yard season in their 4th season and just over 50% of those players has another 1,000 yard season the following year.
That is a lot of numbers squished into a single paragraph, but basically it says that players typically have their first 1,000 yard season between their 2nd and 4th season in the league (66.4% of all players who ever have a 1,000 yard season have their first one before their fifth season). A similar number of players (67.9%) have a second 1,000-yard season in their careers. Additionally, of the 210 1,000 yard seasons over the last 11 years, 190 of those have come from players with two or more 1,000 yard seasons in their career. Simply put, any player who manages to have a 1,000 yard season, especially early in their career, is significantly more likely to have multiple 1,000 yard seasons, although not necessarily the next season.
From the data collected, there should be 4-6 players who have their first 1,000-yard season in 2012. Of those, most will be in the first four years of their career. There will likely be 3-5 players who return to 1,000-yard form (players like Greg Jennings and Andre Johnson), and there should be about 10-12 players who remain on the 1,000-yard list. That does mean that approximately 7 players will not reach 1,000 yards this season who did make it last season. This could be due to injury or different situations (Nate Washington, for instance), but it is almost certainly going to happen. All of this data will be taken into account when I rank my top-48 wide receivers.
As always, if you are interested in seeing the spreadsheets used to compile this data, all you have to do is ask.