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Notes: Matthew Stafford sure loves throwing to running backs

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PFF details which quarterbacks target positions most and least often.

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Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

While we know a whole bucket of factors play into who a quarterback targets, it’s still interesting to see the data on where they tend to throw the ball.

Pro Football Focus’ Scott Barrett took a look at which quarterbacks target specific positions most frequently using data from the past decade (2009-2018) and likely starters with at least 800 career pass attempts. That came out to 22 qualifying quarterbacks. He notes that the findings are heavily skewed by roster talent the quarterback has to work with, of course.

For each position, Barrett listed the top five and the bottom five quarterbacks who have targeted that position most often. Matthew Stafford ranks fourth among active quarterbacks that targeted running backs at 22.6 percent. That’s likely due to fantasy gem Theo Riddick, but it could also mean something for Kerryon Johnson. Drew Brees tops the list at 27.1 percent and Aaron Rodgers ranks last at 15.3 percent.

The Lions quarterback ranks somewhere in the middle in percentage of throws targeting tight ends (as mentioned, Barrett only listed top five and bottom five). That may change in the future with all the new tight end tools, such as T.J. Hockenson and Jesse James, says our leader Jeremy Reisman. The top quarterback on the list is Carson Wentz at 32.4 percent and the bottom is Ryan Fitzpatrick at 10.6 percent.

Stafford also ranks somewhere in the middle in targeting outside wide receivers, the top being Ben Roethlisberger at 45.3 percent and the bottom being Wentz at 31.1 percent. He ranks among the bottom five quarterbacks who target slot wide receivers—eighteenth at 18.9 percent.

With all the offseason additions, it’ll be interesting to see how or whether Stafford’s rankings change.

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