Advanced Targets – WR2 Tier in Review

| 4 years ago
Julio Jones

Advanced Targets – WR2 Tier in Review

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. Last week, we looked at the ten best wide receivers in terms of fantasy points. Today we tackle numbers 11 through 20.

Most target analyses must focus on the big picture and make guesses at future sustainability. Due to the ridiculous depth of information provided by PFF game charters, we can search for regression red flags across a wide variety of metrics. As we did during the season, our Year in Review will focus on target rate, route rate, and yards per route to find future breakout candidates.

The table that follows shows receivers 11-20 in terms of their advanced target splits. To see their splits in terms of fantasy points, scroll to the bottom of the article.

WR2 Tier
  FPTS Snaps Targets Routes TA/SN TA/PR PR/SN YPRR
 Julio Jones 262 846 127 579 0.150 0.219 0.684 2.07
 Vincent Jackson 258 1003 137 587 0.137 0.233 0.585 2.36
 Marques Colston 258 854 126 627 0.148 0.201 0.734 1.84
 Victor Cruz 255 918 137 541 0.149 0.253 0.589 2.02
 Michael Crabtree 250 692 118 433 0.171 0.273 0.626 2.55
 Randall Cobb 237 651 102 422 0.157 0.242 0.648 2.26
 James Jones 226 1023 93 610 0.091 0.152 0.596 1.29
 Steve Johnson 220 965 144 551 0.149 0.261 0.571 1.9
 Steve L. Smith 217 928 127 527 0.137 0.241 0.568 2.23
 Mike A. Williams 217 923 120 570 0.130 0.211 0.618 1.75

No. 11 Julio Jones dismayed those who took him as the second receiver off the board, but his efficiency numbers were right in line with expectations. He actually edged fellow sophomore superstar A.J. Green in both fantasy points per snap (0.31) and fantasy points per target (2.06). Those numbers are probably slightly misleading because the Falcons often removed Jones on run plays due to his ankle woes. On the other hand, Jones would have been a great late-second-round value in 2013 drafts if not for blowing up during the reality playoffs.

No. 12 (tie) Vincent Jackson immediately made good on the mammoth contract he received in Tampa, finishing eighth in yards per route with 2.34. If you’re considering a Bucs wideout in 2013, it might make sense to take a flyer on Mike Williams instead. Jackson and Williams had identical 13 percent target-per-snap ratios, and Jackson edged Williams in fantasy points per snap by the relatively slim margin of 0.25 to 0.23. Jackson was one of 11 receivers to log more than 1,000 snaps. When you combine that with Josh Freeman’s accuracy woes and Tampa’s desire to be run-heavy, V-Jax is an obvious candidate to be overvalued in 2013.

No. 12 (tie) Marques Colston led No. 1 receivers by running a route on 73 percent of his snaps. Removed on many running plays, Colston only logged 854 snaps and disappointed with 1.84 yards per route. His role in the Saints offense gives him a high floor if healthy, but other players in the same 2013 ADP range will have higher ceilings.

No. 14 Victor Cruz is a good example of why any YPRR number above 2.5 should be seen as automatic grounds for regression. A year after posting a league-leading 3.08, Cruz fell to 2.02 in 2012. Because Cruz saw his fantasy production collapse after Week 7, the Giants’ slot receiver will probably be undervalued heading into 2013. He managed 137 targets on the combination of 918 snaps and a 59 percent route percentage, which means Eli continues to look his way often.

No. 15 Michael Crabtree was perhaps the most frustrating receiver to own in all of fantasy. After scoring seven points or fewer four times in the first 12 weeks, he exploded down the stretch. If you had any WR depth last season, odds are you benched Crabtree for some of his best performances. 2013 owners will be paying for the Colin Kaepernick effect, but a change in snap percentage might offer a better reason for his emergence. Prior to Week 16, Crabtree played fewer than 70 percent of the Niners’ snaps on nine occasions. Over the final five games, including the playoffs, he never played in less than 80 percent.

No. 16 Randall Cobb’s 2012 breakout was predicated on ridiculous efficiency numbers, finishing second in fantasy points per snap (0.36), fifth in fantasy points per route (0.56), and sixth in fantasy points per target (2.32). I’m one of the few who remains bearish on his 2013 prospects.

No. 17 James Jones played 372 more snaps than Cobb, but scored 11 fewer fantasy points. Fortunately for his dynasty owners, Jones is the one who will gain far more from Jennings’ defection. 2012 was a strange season due to all the injuries, but 2011 provides something of a template for what might have happened if Jennings stayed. Jones’ former teammate played just less than 50 percent of his snaps in the slot that year and caught six of his nine touchdowns when split out wide.

No. 18 The Bills weren’t as pass-heavy as reputation suggested in 2012, but Stevie Johnson quietly finished with 144 targets despite running routes on only 57 percent of his snaps. He finished with 0.23 fantasy points per snap, an identical number to Steve Smith. If you’re a believer in Doug Marrone and whoever ends up starting at QB, Johnson should be a clear-cut value target.

No. 19 (tie) Steve Smith averaged a solid 2.23 yards per route again last season, but his fantasy numbers were vaguely disappointing due to a 57 percent route rate and 24 percent target percentage.

No. 19 (tie) Expected by many to go the Michael Clayton route after a disastrous second season, Mike Williams didn’t seem to be a great bounceback candidate with the entrance of run-minded Greg Schiano and the acquisition of clear No. 1 Vincent Jackson. Williams responded with 120 targets and an overall line that is encouraging while containing room to grow.

WR2 Tier
 Julio Jones 262 0.31 0.45 2.06
 Vincent Jackson 258 0.26 0.44 1.88
 Marques Colston 258 0.30 0.41 2.05
 Victor Cruz 255 0.28 0.47 1.86
 Michael Crabtree 250 0.36 0.58 2.12
 Randall Cobb 237 0.36 0.56 2.32
 James Jones 226 0.22 0.37 2.43
 Steve Johnson 220 0.23 0.40 1.53
 Steve L. Smith 217 0.23 0.41 1.71
 Mike A. Williams 217 0.24 0.38 1.81



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