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Stats (Grimsey) v. Stats (Dunta): Who Should Defend Jennings?

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This series dissects each upcoming game from a statistic-driven viewpoint, focusing in on one or more positional battles of interest. Not predicting what will happen, just trying to narrow down what could happen, assuming past performance tells us something about future performance. If any of these statistics don't sound familiar, give our Statistics 101 Series a read.

The "Dunta is valuable because he never gets targeted" argument has been repeated ad nauseum by many a Falcoholic this year. My sense was that someone just made it up to justify why we're paying Dunta like a Pro Bowler that it wasn't true, or that the disparity was somewhat overblown.

Join me after the jump if you can handle the truth (insert Jack Nicholson voice)!

Standard Contradictory Disclaimer: These are the target #s for Dunta (defensive right) and Grimsey (defensive left). Did not include weeks 6 and 7 because Dunta was concussed.

They only cover #1 (defensive right) and #2 (defensive left) WR targets. Unfortunately yours truly doesn't have enough time to go back through each game film and chart complete target #s. Sites like Stats Inc. and Pro Football Football have those numbers, but it's paid content, and I'm a poor college student.

Did my best for y'all. But obviously there's more to the equation, so to speak. Undoubtedly Dunta and/or Grimsey received (or should have received) a little safety and/or LB (and/or DE in BVG's defense) help here and there. If I'm wrong about who the #1 or #2 WRs were, please let me know (and I'll make the necessary edits); if you're gonna be statistical, you gotta be accurate

Nonetheless, I think these #s may surprise some of you. So read on if you dare ...

Carolina game (week 17)

Clowney: 4 targets - 2 receptions - 56 yards

Gettis: 8 targets - 4 receptions - 33 yards

NO (week 16)

Colston: 5 targets - 2 receptions - 21 yards

Henderson: 4 targets - 3 receptions - 35 yards

Seattle (week 15)

Williams: 13 targets - 8 receptions - 66 yards

Obomanu: 8 targets - 1 reception - 7 yards

Carolina (week 14)

Smith: 3 targets - 2 receptions - 17 yards

Gettis: 4 targets - 2 receptions - 22 yards

TB (week 13)

Williams: 15 targets - 6 receptions - 68 yards

Stroughter: 5 targets - 5 receptions - 39 yards

GB (week 12)

Jennings: 8 targets - 5 receptions - 119 yards

Driver: 3 targets - 2 receptions - 26 yards

St. Louis (week 11)

Gibson: 10 targets - 5 receptions - 42 yards

Amendola: 8 targets - 8 receptions - 63 yards

Baltimore (week 10)

Mason: 6 targets - 4 receptions - 48 yards

Boldin: 7 targets - 5 receptions - 50 yards

TB (week 9)

Williams: 10 targets - 4 receptions - 89 yards

Parker: 2 targets - 0 receptions - 0 yards

Cleveland (week 5)

Massaquoi: 6 targets - 5 receptions - 55 yards

Robiskie: 1 target - 1 reception - 5 yards

SF (week 4)

Crabtree: 6 targets - 5 receptions - 58 yards

Morgan: 7 targets - 2 receptions - 20 yards

NO (week 3)

Colston: 5 targets - 4 receptions - 25 yards

Henderson: 5 targets - 2 receptions - 23 yards

Arizona (week 2)

Breaston: 5 targets - 3 receptions - 10 yards

Fitzgerald: 12 targets - 8 receptions - 83 yards

Pittsburgh (week 1)

Ward: 7 targets - 6 receptions - 108 yards

Wallace: 5 targets - 2 receptions - 62 yards

Total Against #1 Receiver (Dunta's side of the field): 102 targets - 61 receptions (59 percent completion percentage) - 782 yards (7.7 yards/target or 12.8 yards/reception)

Total Against #2 Receiver (Grimsey's side of the field): 79 targets - 45 receptions (56 percent completion percentage) - 468 yards (5.9 yards/target or 10.4 yards/reception)

Meanwhile Grimsey's Passes Defensed total (23) is the 2nd highest in the league. He has more interceptions (5 to 1) and his +EPA/game (2.86) is the 10th highest in the league (Dunta's +EPA/game is 0.90). While he has a better Success Rate (38.7 percent to 31.3 percent), Dunta has a better Tackle Factor (negative 2.02 to negative 1.49).

Jennings is downright scary. He has the 6th highest DVOA in the league (19.7 percent more successful than league average). Driver isn't quite as scary. He has a ton of experience, and nothing can replace that, but his DVOA (8.6 percent LESS successful than league-average) ranked 68/85 eligible WRs during the regular season (minimum of 50 passes).

Look, I'm not an NFL coach. Heck, with my one year of actual playing experience (starring as the third-string right tackle on my high school's freshman team), I'm probably not qualified to coach pee wee football. But we're fans, and second-guessing is what we do.

Come Saturday, all these fancy stats go right out the window. The coaches know best and given Grimsey's inexperience, I'm sure Dunta will be the one covering Jennings come game time. I'm not saying Dunta is worthless. I think he's a talented DB, and I'm glad he's a Falcon. Personally though, I'd prefer if Grimsey covered Jennings and Dunta covered Driver. But that's just me.

Curious what you all think. Comment early and often, and as always, GO FORTH AND BE STATISTICAL!