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Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Football Scientist: Nicks is Giants' No. 1 WR

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

No one appreciates "submetrics" like the NFC East blog, although we're not totally sure what the word means. KC Joyner, aka Football Scientist, writes a weekly column for ESPNNewYork.com, and it's quickly becoming a must-read for my legion (handful) of readers.

In today's column, the Scientist goes deep into his numerical laboratory to prove that Hakeem Nicks has become the New York Giants' No. 1 receiver. His favorite metric for wide receivers is yards per attempt (YPA), and Nicks is off the charts in that category. Steve Smith's still an excellent receiver, but Nicks has becomes the Giants' best vertical target. Try to digest the following submetrics from the '09 season. (Important to have coffee on hand to keep you mentally sharp):

Short pass (aerials thrown 1-10 yards downfield): Nicks 7.6, Smith 6.7.

Medium pass (11-19 yards): Nicks 16.1 (best in the league), Smith 9.2.

Deep pass (20-29 yards): Nicks 12.5, Smith 8.3.

Bomb pass (30+ yards): Nicks 12.8, Smith 19.4.

Vertical passes (medium, deep and bomb combined totals): Nicks 15.1 (fifth-best in the league), Smith 10.6.

This season, Nicks has four more targets (47) than Smith (43), who was one of the league leaders in that category in '09. Here are this season's numbers:

Short: Nicks 6.8, Smith 6.1.

Medium: Nicks 7.4, Smith 7.6.

Deep: Nicks 21.5, Smith 16.5.

Bomb: Nicks 14.3, Smith 0.0.

Vertical: Nicks 11.0, Smith 8.9.

All passes: Nicks 8.8, Smith 7.2.

Anyone want to argue with those numbers?