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Bills Mathia: Catch Rate, featuring WR Gabe Davis

I’m not making fun of him

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That’s right Buffalo Bills fans — everyone’s favorite weekly feature is back after an unexpected one-week hiatus. It likely should have been anticipated because it’s not like I haven’t lived through free agency coverage before. Anyway. What I’m trying to say is that Bills Mathia is back, which is a fact you likely knew from reading the thing you clicked on to get to this introduction.

This week I introduce what will likely be a reoccurring feature called “Skarey Stats.” In essence, I take a semi-deep dive into some of my favorite stats and we get to know them a little better. This time we’re diving into catch rate, aka “catch percentage” and emphasizing how this stat can easily be misused.

Don’t fear though. I go into just enough detail to give a primer on how we can use this stat to further our football knowledge.

Now if you couldn’t be bothered to listen to me drone on for five minutes about a stat, here’s a rough breakdown of what you missed (but really, you should just watch the dang video because #selfpromotion).

I lead off by arguing that this isn’t a good stat to use across teams, and even caution that it can be difficult to use within a single team. So wait? If I can’t directly compare players even on the same team, why is this a stat I say I’m using? It’s not that you can’t compare players on the same team, but you need companion stats to get a good picture.

I break down three non-catches (and one catch) for Gabe Davis and show how a drop, a pass leading him out of bounds, and a deflected pass all count the same when it comes to catch rate. I suggest that how a receiving target is asked to play the game matters.

Finally, I show how drastically different Gabe Davis is asked to play with a single metric comparing him to his fellow Bills. I have to leave you with one teaser to click that play button so here you go. Watch the video to find out how insanely different Davis is on this companion stat. I don’t completely exonerate Davis and his low catch rate, but I think I offer some pretty convincing mitigating factors.