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Using PFF’s season simulator to project Allen Lazard’s 2023 stat line

What should we expect out of Allen Lazard this year?

Syndication: The Record Chris Pedota, / USA TODAY NETWORK

The other day I used the ProfootballFocus in-game simulator to run a one-game simulation for the New York Jets 2023 season. Upon examining the output, I decided a more fun way to use this tool might be to focus on the player stats, which are outputted for quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs.

To do so, I decided to run many simulations and then to examine how the outputs vary across simulations. In an ideal world where I had dozens of hours of manpower to dole out, I would have run this hundreds of times to provide the best estimate possible... however, I am but one man with a laptop so I’m going to settle for 10 runs.

As a third foray into this task, I am going to focus on the output of New York Jets wide receiver Allen Lazard. Regarding wide receivers, the tool outputs receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns; additionally, using these figures I went ahead and calculated yards per catch (yards divided by receptions).

Estimates for Allen Lazard’s 2023 output

 Receptions Touchdowns Yards Yards per catch
 Receptions Touchdowns Yards Yards per catch
Average 56.60 5.50 811.00 14.31
Standard deviation 8.73 1.90 137.00 0.86
Min 44.00 3.00 617.00 12.87
Max 78.00 9.00 1106.00 15.80
Credit to profootballfocus for their game simulator tool

While no simulation is perfect and 10 simulations is hardly representative, PFF’s simulator has some pretty mixed expectations for Allen Lazard. Generally, his average numbers (~55 catches, ~800 yards, 14.3 yards per catch) approximately recreate his stat line from last season (60 catches, 788 yards, 6 touchdowns, 13.1 yards per catch). However, his performance did range significantly, such that in some simulations he exceeded 1000 yards while in others he barely reached 600. This range makes sense given all of the uncertainty around the Jets’ passing offense, which could range from Lazard being quarterback Aaron Rodger’s “go-to” #1 guy due to familiarity or his #4 guy behind Garrett Wilson, Corey Davis, and Mecole Hardman due to the strength of the Jets’ wide receiver room.

Notably, what PFF does seem confident in is Lazard’s yards per catch, which had a mean of 14.3 and a standard deviation of only .8. This implies they think Lazard is a relatively safe bet to clear the 13 yards per catch plateau such as he did last year, which would rank him safely in the top 60 wide receivers in terms of efficiency. Given that Lazard was presumably signed as a #2 wide receiver, this would type of efficiency would likely be viewed as a solid return on investment as far as fans and the team are concerned.