Remember last year when Russell Wilson had a perfect passer rating targeting Tyler Lockett? Well, Lockett has not (yet) been perfect for Wilson this year, but he’s still performing well, and he’s no longer as alone as he was in 2018. Actually outpacing him this season is second-year tight end Will Dissly.
Dissly is currently gifting Russell Wilson a 149.9 passer rating on 26 targets, including a catch rate over 88 percent and 10.1 yards per target. The only thing holding him back from a perfect 158.3 rating at the moment are a few yards. But how do they stack up against the NFL’s elite receiving duos this season?
As fantastically as you probably imagined after watching the last five games and before reading this article.
Let’s start off using the same measurements from before: passer rating. Though we took passer rating to task in its ability to evaluate quarterbacks, I actually think it’s a better metric for the overall effectiveness of a receiver. All four stats are affected significantly by drops, rewarding consistency of hands. Passer rating also notes the different (lesser) effectiveness of the underneath, dink-and-dunk style of say Cooper Kupp, who currently sits at a meager 109.4 when targeted.
Looking at the top two receivers on a team, in terms of rating when targeted, and averaging it out, here are the top five results on a minimum of 50 targets:
1) Seattle Seahawks
Will Dissly (TE) + Tyler Lockett 149.9 / 140.4
Average: 145.15 on 62 combined targets
Tied 2) Kansas City Chiefs
Mecole Hardman + Demarcus Robinson 136.7 / 145.2
Average: 140.95 on 50 combined targets
*Patrick Mahomes rating when targeting Travis Kelce is 109.1
Tied 2) Jacksonville Jaguars
James O’Shaughnessy (TE) + DJ Chark Jr 125.6 / 156.3
Average: 140.95 on 57 combined targets
Lockett and Dissly are at or near the top of the charts in several other advanced metrics. All the following can be found in one form or another at Football Outsiders wide receiver and tight end sites, and Pro Football Reference.
Lockett is best the business at 83 percent, having passed Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints this week.
Dissly is first among TEs with more than 15 receptions at 88.5 percent.
From our list above, Cooper and Witten come in second at 74 and 85 percent catch rates, respectively. Those ranks are 8th and 2nd among receivers above 15 receptions.
For the record, Mike Evans’ catch rate this season is 47.4 percent.
Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement (DYAR), and Defense-adjusted Value Over Average
The way it’s commonly explained is that DVOA is a better indicator of value per play, while DYAR better measures total value. Seattle’s two threats are absolutely killing it right now in both areas.
Lockett currently comes in at fifth for WRs in both DVOA and DYAR. Dissly ranks second in DYAR, and is the NFL’s best tight end by DVOA. Once again, only Cooper and Witten are in the same neighborhood. Cooper is second among wide receivers and Witten is fifth among tight ends by DYAR.
Right Place, Right Time
Lockett has drawn the third most defensive pass interference yards at 38. Only seven tight end plays have drawn any, and two of them are Jimmy Graham.
Dissly leads all tight ends with four touchdowns, which is also the highest mark in the NFL. Lockett is tied with about half the league at three TDs. Only Evans and Godwin have a higher mark with 10 total TDs. Seattle’s duo also tied with one other pair in this category: Cooper and Witten.
Other Fun Observations
It’s interesting that four of the top five teams have a tight end as one of their most threatening options.
For everyone around the nation quickly jumping on board Gardner Minshew Mania, how fun is it to see him already finding incredible success when targeting his top two options? His overall completion percentage sucks of late, but this dude is no joke.
Chris Godwin is really, reall… really good. If you haven’t been paying attention, his DYAR and DVOA are an unbelievable 40-50 percent above the second ranked WR in each category. Put simply that means, go watch him make some plays.
I personally did my own math, just to make sure I knew how it worked, on Russell Wilson’s passer rating when targeting Will Dissly. It reminded me once again how truly insane it was that he hit a perfect 158.3 going to Tyler Lockett for the entirety of last season. The way the four categories work together, this is only possible for a 1) real deep threat who 2) has fantastic hands, and 3) is thrown to by a QB not just chucking it deep and hoping for the best. In other words, we Seahawks fans are in the midst of some more special years with Wilson.
Let’s make this official
So where would you put Seattle’s offensive stars? I don’t see any possible way of putting them below third right now. For points, yards, and flash, it’s gotta be Evans and Godwin at the top. For consistency across the board, the only pair that rivals Lockett and Dissly is Witten and Cooper. Of the top six pairs in terms of passer rating, those three combos have seen the most targets in 2019, so that feels fair as well.
We are a country mile away from the Seahawks’ receivers being a mundane and pedestrian group any longer. We’re at the point of legitimately talking about Lockett and Dissly being a top three option in this league.
Consider that teams have already gone for 395+ yards twice against Seattle (and lost both times), and that Tampa Bay is 2-3. Consider also that Dak Prescott can be erratic and is on a worrisome downward trend right now.
You could make the argument for any of these combos as the most effective weapons in the league, but right now? I’m thinking that through the first five weeks of the season the best receiving combo in the NFL plays for the Seahawks.
(More options not mentioned in article can be found in poll below. Open for discussion!)
NFL’s best receiving duo in 2019
This poll is closed
Julio/One of the other ones
2 of 3 Rams