clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Using PFF’s season simulator to project Zonovan Knight’s 2023 stat line

What should we expect out of Zonovan Knight this year?

NFL: Detroit Lions at New York Jets Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

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 fourth foray into this task, I am going to focus on the output of New York Jets running back Zonovan Knight. Regarding running backs, the tool outputs receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, rush attempts, rush yards, rush touchdowns, and total yards; additionally, using these figures I went ahead and calculated yards per catch (receiving yards divided by receptions) and yards per carry (rush yards divided by carries).

Estimates for Zonovan Knight’s 2023 output

 Receptions Touchdowns Yards Yards per reception Rushes Rush TDs Rush Yards Yards per carry Total yards
 Receptions Touchdowns Yards Yards per reception Rushes Rush TDs Rush Yards Yards per carry Total yards
Average 32.20 1.20 307.10 9.60 96.00 3.30 732.00 4.48 424.90
Standard deviation 6.18 1.03 77.54 1.97 11.88 1.42 125.11 0.92 74.10
Min 24.00 0.00 178.00 6.14 70.00 2.00 612.00 3.48 347.00
Max 45.00 3.00 452.00 12.59 106.00 6.00 940.00 6.08 566.00
Credit to profootballfocus for their game simulator tool

While no simulation is perfect and 10 simulations is hardly representative, PFF’s simulator has some surprisingly glowing projections for Zonovan Knight. Specifically, while they don’t anticipate him receiving a ton of reps, they do project him to be rather efficient with the reps he’s given, as shown by an average yards per carry of 4.48 (which would have ranked in the top 20 in 2022) and a maximum yards per carry of 6.08 (not shown in table but this simulation was within a season where he had 84 carries). For a backup running back, this would be a strong degree of efficiency that would adequately spell Breece Hall; this may be especially important in a season where Breece is recovering from an ACL injury. Additionally, they anticipate Zonovan being a useful if not exceptional pass catcher with an average of ~32 catches for ~300 yards, which again would be respectable numbers for a backup running back.

Overall, PFF’s simulation projects Zonovan to be a relatively lightly used running back (max rush attempts of 106), but an effective one when used. Based on their expectations for carries, they also clearly expect Breece Hall to be a true bell cow back, which would be an optimal outcome given Breece’s success last season (assuming he is at full strength post injury).