It only took a week to confirm the value of using Advanced Targets to go beyond the simple target data. Last week Jeremy Maclin and Vincent Jackson both ran more than 40 pass routes and yet were targeted a scant handful of times. While few fantasy owners probably jumped ship after just one week, it made sense to worry that Maclin’s health was still an issue or that Vincent Jackson was going to be limited by an unending stream of double and triple teams. Of course, such a promising number of routes portended future glory and owners didn’t have to wait long. This week they exploded for a combined 30 targets and 343 receiving yards.
The three metrics we focus on in this column are pass routes run, targets per route, and routes per snap. All are heavily influenced by game environment, but many interesting nuggets pop out even when correcting for context. Before we get to that, however, let’s take a look at the raw target data.
Julio Jones had twice as many targets in Week 2 as Roddy White. The Philadelphia defense is well on their way to proving they’ll take away top receivers. Greg Jennings was targeted four times as often as any other Green Bay WR. He’s the only Packer you can start with confidence.
Big Mike Williams saw half as many targets as Ben Obomanu and is droppable – or at the very least unplayable – in all leagues. Plaxico Burress was only targeted once. I still don’t think he has value in any but the deepest of leagues.
Week 2 Targets by Team:
AZ – Larry Fitzgerald 8, Andre Roberts 5, Early Doucet 3, Chansi Stuckey 3
ATL – Julio Jones 8, Roddy White 4, Harry Douglas 2, Roscoe Parrish 2, Ruvell Martin 2
BAL – Anquan Boldin 7, Lee Evans 5
BUF – Steve Johnson 14, David Nelson 12, Donald Jones 6
CAR – Steve Smith 13, Legedu Naanee 7, Brandon LaFell 5
CHI – Devin Hester 7, Dane Sanzenbacher 7, Johnny Knox 6, Sam Hurd 2, Earl Bennett 1
CIN – A.J. Green 14, Jerome Simpson 9, Andre Caldwell 4, Jordan Shipley 3
CLE – Mohamed Massaquoi 6, Greg Little 5, Joshua Cribbs 3
DAL – Miles Austin 15, Kevin Ogletree 4, Jesse Holley 3
DEN – Eric Decker 8, Matt Willis 4, Eddie Royal 3
DET – Nate Burleson 9, Calvin Johnson 6, Titus Young 6
GB – Greg Jennings 8, Jordy Nelson 2, James Jones 2, Randall Cobb 2, Donald Driver 1
HOU – Andre Johnson 8, Jacoby Jones 3, Bryant Johnson 1
IND – Austin Collie 8, Reggie Wayne 6, Pierre Garcon 5
JAX – Mike Thomas 9, Cecil Shorts 1, Jarett Dillard 1
KC – Dwayne Bowe 7, Jerheme Urban 3, Steve Breaston 1
MIA – Brandon Marshall 10, Brian Hartline 7, Davone Bess 4, Clyde Gates 1
MIN – Percy Harvin 7, Bernard Berrian 3, Michael Jenkins 3, Devin Aromashodu 2
NE – Wes Welker 11, Deion Branch 10, Chad Ochocinco 2
NO – Lance Moore 4, Robert Meachem 4, Devery Henderson 3, Adrian Arrington 2
NYG – Mario Manningham 7, Hakeem Nicks 6, Victor Cruz 2, Domenik Hixon 2, Brandon Stokley 1
NYJ – Santonio Holmes 4, Derrick Mason 2, Plaxico Burress 1
OAK – Denarius Moore 8, Derek Hagan 7, Chaz Schilens 1
PHI – Jeremy Maclin 15, Jason Avant 4, DeSean Jackson 3, Steve Smith 3
PIT – Mike Wallace 10, Hines Ward 6, Antonio Brown 5, Emmanuel Sanders 3
SD – Vincent Jackson 15, Malcolm Floyd 2, Bryan Walters 2, Richard Goodman 1
SEA – Ben Obomanu 6, Mike Williams 3, Kris Durham 3, Golden Tate 2, Doug Baldwin 2
SF – Ted Ginn 7, Josh Morgan 4, Braylon Edwards 2, Kyle Williams 1
STL – Mike Sims-Walker 10, Greg Salas 7, Brandon Gibson 6, Danario Alexander 5
TB – Preston Parker 7, Dez Briscoe 4, Mike Williams 3, Arrelious Benn 2
TEN – Kenny Britt 13, Nate Washington 11, Lavelle Hawkins 4, Marc Mariani 2
WAS – Santana Moss 8, Jabar Gaffney 8, Donte Stallworth 4, Anthony Armstrong 3
Steve Smith ran 57 routes and was targeted on 13 of them. He’s averaging a robust 3.27 yards per pass route run. Steve Johnson ran 48 routes and was targeted 14 times. Emerging star A.J. Green ran 44 routes against the Champ Bailey-less Broncos and turned his 14 targets into 124 yards. Kenny Britt and Miles Austin each turned 40+ routes into 13 or more targets and 130+ yards.
Despite the Chiefs deficit, Dwayne Bowe ran only 25 routes. Kansas City may one of the few squads too weak offensively for their players to even benefit from garbage time. Donald Driver ran only 22 routes in the Packers’ wide open spread. Mohamed Massaquoi ran only 20 routes, seven fewer than Greg Little.
Percy Harvin continues to see limited snaps and limited routes. His 24 routes trailed both Bernard Berrian and Michael Jenkins. Mike Clay refers to this as the most mind-boggling depth chart situation in the league in the Snap Report. Leslie Frazier appears set on challenging Todd Haley for the twin titles of most bizarre implementation of personnel and first coach to be fired in 2011.
Mario Manningham has been an extreme disappointment for owners who banked on getting his late season performance from 2010, but before falling and suffering a concussion on what should have been an easy TD, he was on his way to a very heavily targeted night. His 37% target rate led all WRs with at least five targets.
Despite managing only 39 yards, Mike Thomas continues to be the most heavily targeted WR in the NFL on a per route basis (36%). If Blaine Gabbert develops as quickly as Cam Newton and Andy Dalton, Thomas could be very valuable later in the year.
Mike Wallace received 10 targets on 33 routes. Last year Wallace finished third in the NFL in yards per pass route but was targeted much less frequently than other elite receivers. With his target percentage rising, he now appears to have a very realistic chance of finishing as the No. 1 WR in all formats.
Denarius Moore, Eric Decker, and David Nelson validated recent buzz as their quarterbacks looked to them often. All were targeted on at least 26% of their routes.
Mike Williams (TB) and DeSean Jackson were each targeted on only three of 37 routes. As was the case for VJax and Maclin a week ago, these numbers figure to snap back. It is a concern, however, that the Eagles receivers could be maddeningly inconsistent.
Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson combined to receive only seven targets on 66 routes. Although they both scored touchdowns, those aren’t the results owners were hoping for in a Colston-less environment. Henderson’s low target rate is perhaps less surprising, but a few of us were still hoping for a breakout from Meachem now that he’s rumored to be healthier than ever before. It may be time to give up the ghost.
Donald Jones has 11 targets on 80 routes in 2011, including only six targets on a whopping 52 routes in Week 2. He’s dead last in yards per pass route among WRs who’ve played at least 25% of their team snaps (0.34). If there’s a ray of light here, it’s the nagging injury to Steve Johnson and the likelihood opponents will attempt to make the adjustment against David Nelson in the slot.
A week ago, Jordy Nelson was targeted on 8 of his 19 routes, and I worried that rate wasn’t sustainable. In Week 2, Nelson’s routes increased to 22 – although he was mysteriously absent on several red zone plays where the Pack went four wide – but his targets plummeted to two. Of course, when you take one of those targets for an 84-yard TD, your fantasy owners don’t mind, but Nelson’s peripherals warn against the possibility of a true breakout.
Although he caught an important fourth quarter TD against the Vikings, Arrelious Benn ran a pass route on only 44% of his snaps, one of the lowest numbers in the NFL last week. In stark contrast, Preston Parker and Dezmon Briscoe each ran patterns on at least 80% of their snaps.
Dane Sanzenbacher, Greg Salas, and Antonio Brown ran routes on virtually all of their snaps (85% or higher). Brown didn’t struggle with drops like Sanzenbacher and Salas (2 each), but the entire trio may maintain deep league value if Earl Bennett, Danny Amendola, and Emmanuel Sanders (26 snaps) continue to be limited by injury.
Hakeem Nicks and Andre Johnson were both in the bottom 10% of routes per snap. While they continue to score touchdowns, their offenses may need to run more pass plays for them to live up to their draft positions. Gutsy owners might look to trade Johnson or Nicks for Mike Wallace if they can structure the deal in such a way that they get significant value on the secondary players. (For example, Andre Johnson and Cedric Benson for Mike Wallace and Ryan Mathews.)