YAC in football refers to the statistic yards after catch. This statistic keeps track of the number of yards a player gets after completing a catch.
Yards after catch only applies to plays in which a forward pass was thrown and caught. If it is a handoff or a lateral this is not considered a catch and therefore YAC does not apply.
YAC is a statistic that is kept throughout the year. Meaning once the year concludes you will be able to use this statistic to see the total yards you travelled with the ball after catching it throughout the season.
What Positions Get The Most YAC?
The position that typically gets the most YAC on the team is wide receiver. Especially wide receivers that have high end speed. These receivers are often able to use this speed to take off after catching the ball.
If you are in man to man coverage you will often find beating your defender with your speed will allow you to pick up a large amount of YAC on the play. A great example of a receiver that gets a large number of yards after the catch is Tyreek Hill.
The second most common position to have a fair amount of yards after the catch are running backs. Screen plays and dump offs are two common players that will lead to running backs getting more YAC.
Since these passes only travel a few yards in the air the team is relying on the runningback to pickup yards after catching the ball. This is different than routes in which you are expected to be tackled shortly after the catch such as a hook.
This leads to runningbacks picking up a fair amount of YAC per reception.
The other position that picks up some yards after the catch is tight end. Elite tight ends like Kelce and Kittle will amass large amounts of YAC over the year due to their athletic ability. But for most tight ends this isn’t the most flattering stats.
Tight ends are not known for speed and often fail to beat defenders once the ball is in their hands. This results in them having less YAC than most running backs and receivers.
What Plays Lead To The Most YAC?
YAC is a statistic that is heavily dependent on your offense and the type of routes you run. Here are a few routes that are going to increase your ability to pick up yards after the catch.
A crossing route is a great opportunity for any player to pick up some YAC. On these routes you will run sideways across the field crossing the face of your defender. If you are able to beat the man covering you on your crossing route you typically only have the secondary players left.
These routes are also great for YAC as they are typically caught in stride. Meaning when you catch the ball you are already running at full speed. Though to be clear YAC only records the yards you travel forward with the ball so crossing the field will not help you in that sense.
As we stated earlier screen passes are a great way for runningbacks to pickup YAC but they work for receivers and tight ends as well. These routes are typically thrown behind the line of scrimmage which means any positive yards gained on these plays will be considered yards after the catch.
Screen plays also tend to have several blockers setup to allow you to pick up some yards. The design of the play is meant to gain yards after the catch. This is why these sorts of routes can be so beneficial to gaining YAC.