Advanced Targets – 2012 Top 10

| 4 years ago
Calvin Johnson

Advanced Targets – 2012 Top 10

Throughout the offseason, PFF Fantasy will be using the advanced statistical splits generated by Advanced Targets and Advanced Touches to review the accomplishments of wide receivers and running backs from 2012. The first article will look at the 10 best wide receivers in terms of fantasy points. We’ll look at their snaps, targets, and routes to see which players have the most sustainable profiles for 2013. We’ll also break down their target rate, route rate, and yards per route to see who may offer the best value next season.

Last season in this space, Advanced Targets projected another dominant performance from Calvin Johnson, even though most pundits were preaching regression. Although logic seemed to dictate a decline in opportunities, the numbers suggested Megatron could become more efficient on a per-snap basis. That turned out to be both true and false. His yardage efficiency rose while his touchdown percentage plummeted. In addition, he added to what should have been an unsustainable number of routes. The moral of the story is not to bet against greatness.

The table that follows shows the top 10 in terms of their Advanced Targets splits. To see their splits in terms of fantasy points, scroll to the bottom of the article.


Top 10 WRS 2012
  FPTS Snaps Targets Routes TA/SN TA/PR PR/SN YPRR
 Calvin Johnson 348 1181 199 770 0.169 0.258 0.652 2.55
 Brandon Marshall 335 995 181 546 0.182 0.332 0.549 2.76
 A.J. Green 302 982 158 583 0.161 0.271 0.594 2.32
 Dez Bryant 302 951 137 650 0.144 0.211 0.683 2.13
 Demaryius Thomas 297 1046 138 570 0.132 0.242 0.545 2.51
 Andre Johnson 296 997 159 531 0.159 0.299 0.533 3.01
 Wes Welker 291 1089 166 618 0.152 0.269 0.567 2.19
 Reggie Wayne 271 1099 179 688 0.163 0.260 0.626 1.97
 Roddy White 269 999 138 648 0.138 0.213 0.649 2.08
 Eric Decker 269 1075 120 590 0.112 0.203 0.549 1.80



No. 1 Calvin Johnson recorded nearly 100 snaps more than Wes Welker, logged 119 more routes than Dez Bryant, and saw over 50 more targets than Demaryius Thomas. While he should be the favorite to lead in all of those categories next year, history continues to suggest a steep decline across the board. Don’t be misled into thinking Megatron’s legendary season was entirely based on volume. He was also shockingly efficient, ranking near the top of the yards per route category (2.55) and just barely getting edged by Lance Moore in yards per snap (1.66). His touchdown rate should skyrocket in 2013, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the best player in football leads fantasy receivers by an even larger margin next year.

No. 2 Brandon Marshall was targeted on 33 percent of his snaps in 2012, a clearly unsustainable number. Percy Harvin was the only other player targeted on even 30 percent of his snaps. But before you project steep regression in Marshall’s targets, keep in mind that he ran routes on only 55 percent of his snaps, a very low number in today’s NFL. If you project Marshall to 1,025 snaps, a 61 percent route percentage, and 29 percent target percentage, he ends up with exactly the 181 targets he accrued in 2012.

No. 3 (tie) In the first half of 2012, A.J. Green made Julio Jones’ advocates look silly. The Bengals’ offense dispelled some of the concerns about his route percentage (59 percent), and he went on to average 2.3 yards per route and 0.31 fantasy points per snap. The struggles of Andy Dalton are overstated – Dalton was far better during the regular season than soon-to-be $20 million man Joe Flacco – but Green’s ceiling remains slightly lower than the other superstars due to team style and pace.

No. 3 (tie) Dez Bryant exploded down the homestretch, but his route percentage may be a red flag. Among receivers with at least 500 routes, only Marques Colston and Andre Roberts went out into the pattern more often than Bryant (69 percent). Dez was still only targeted on 21 percent of his routes, which means Tony Romo doesn’t force the ball his direction. If the Jerry Jones’ shakeup causes a return to the plodding, DeMarco Murray-centric offense, Bryant could be a disappointment for drafters who take him in the same range as Demaryius Thomas or Brandon Marshall.

No. 5 Demaryius Thomas averaged a sterling 0.28 fantasy points per snap despite only running a route on a very disappointing 55 percent of his plays. Although Peyton Manning received credit for his breakout in many circles, there’s reason to believe that Thomas was actually being held hostage by Manning’s weak arm and Mike McCoy’s conservative play-calling. The Broncos will face a more difficult schedule in 2013 – because it would be impossible not to – and that could force Denver to be more aggressive.

No. 6 Andre Johnson notched a career high 3.01 yards per route in 2012. We don’t see any evidence of even superstars sustaining that gaudy pace in the following season, and Johnson’s target rate – both in terms of per snap and per route – should fall next year. On the other hand, he ran routes on only 53 percent of his snaps last season, a number that is low even for a run-heavy team like Houston. Similar to Megatron, his touchdown percentage figures to jump.

No. 7 Wes Welker’s fantasy prospects take a hit in moving to Denver, but he remains the possession receiver by which all others will be judged.

No. 8 Reggie Wayne, however, probably will see a steep decline in his age 34 season. Wayne recorded 1,099 snaps, a number that is likely to fall. He saw a target on 16.3 percent of his snaps, another number which should decline into the 14.5 percent range. Wayne only averaged 0.25 fantasy points per snap in 2012. Unless his per-snap value spikes as the Colts go to a more conservative scheme, Wayne is a candidate to be dramatically overvalued in fantasy drafts.

No. 9 (tie) Roddy White got off to a fast start in 2012 but fell off down the stretch. Splitting opportunities with Gonzalez and Jones, he was targeted on only 21 percent of his routes. With Gonzalez changing course on retirement and Steven Jackson joining the juggernaut, White is a candidate to be overvalued next season.

No. 9 (tie) Eric Decker saw a big boost in his 2012 ADP as drafters compared him favorably to former Manning No. 2 receivers. He rewarded them with a top 20 season in both targets and fantasy points, but it could have been so much better if Decker hadn’t finished 57th in targets per snap and 41st in yards per snap. Decker’s role in 2013 is difficult to project with Welker on board, but his breakout season was heavily dependent on red zone production. He will remain an elite threat inside the 20.


Fantasy Splits 2012
 Calvin Johnson 348 0.29 0.45 1.75
 Brandon Marshall 335 0.34 0.61 1.85
 A.J. Green 302 0.31 0.52 1.91
 Dez Bryant 302 0.32 0.46 2.20
 Demaryius Thomas 297 0.28 0.52 2.15
 Andre Johnson 296 0.30 0.56 1.86
 Wes Welker 291 0.27 0.47 1.75
 Reggie Wayne 271 0.25 0.39 1.51
 Roddy White 269 0.27 0.42 1.95
 Eric Decker 269 0.25 0.46 2.24


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