Seth Walder ESPN Analytics
DeSean Jackson and Michael Thomas entered Week 3 as the league's receiving leaders, but got there via very different paths, as you can see in their target plots.
Defenses gave Jackson an average of 8.0 yards of cushion, the fourth-most in the league entering the week, per NFL Next Gen Stats. Thomas received 4.9 yards of cushion (83rd-most) and has caught 11 passes on plays in which he received press coverage (3 yards of cushion or less), five more than Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins, who rank second in the category with six such receptions each. In other words, teams are defending Jackson and Thomas differently to try and take away their respective strengths, and yet both are succeeding anyway.