Advanced Targets - Week 1 Wrap
Welcome back to Advanced Targets, the only place on the Internet that goes behind the scenes and provides snap and pass route splits in addition to target numbers. Yards per route (YPRR), targets per snap (TA/SN), and targets per route (TA/PR) are exclusive PFF metrics that will help inform your start/sit, waiver wire, and trade decisions in a way no other service can.
While Andre Johnson, Brandon Marshall, and many of the traditional target hogs placed high on the Week 1 leaderboard, there were a few notable absences. We’ll start with the players who helped get their squads off to a fast start.
Week 1 Stars
All of these players saw at least 10 targets and averaged 2.5 or more yards per route. Demaryius Thomas was utterly dominant a year ago, but his targets per snap rate was disappointing. Although he scored 33 points in points-per-reception (PPR) leagues, his 14 percent target rate continues to cap an otherwise astronomical upside.
A.J. Green and Anquan Boldin were the two biggest stars of Week 1. Their target rates on a per-snap and per-route basis help to underscore the explosiveness of their raw numbers. This might be a good time to sell on Green. Only Calvin Johnson possesses more trade value at wide receiver, and the Bears consistently yield strong fantasy performances to opposing stars. Green was also largely responsible for both of Andy Dalton’s interceptions.
Danny Amendola’s sterling performance was somewhat lost in the headlines generated by Wes Welker’s explosion in Denver and the two touchdowns scored by running mate Julian Edelman. Amendola was spectacular in his own right, getting open at will and pulling in the kinds of passes Welker has dropped the last several seasons.
Week 1 Most Efficient Receivers
Jerome Simpson is the most surprising player from this group. Nothing about his line screams unsustainability other than his own past history. He was the only Vikings player consistently gaining separation on Sunday and should be added in all but the shallowest leagues.
During their rookie years in 2011, Doug Baldwin averaged more yards per route run than either A.J. Green or Julio Jones. With Percy Harvin out at least temporarily, it shouldn’t be a surprise if Baldwin outscores the trendier Golden Tate.
The target and route splits paint an interesting snapshot of the Giants’ wide receiver situation. Victor Cruz saw the most routes and obviously splashed with three touchdowns, but Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle both received more targets and were more efficient on a per-route basis. Randle recorded 11 fewer snaps than Nicks but only two fewer routes, suggesting he’s a fine fantasy play in his own right.
Week 1 Route Leaders – Minimum 45 Routes
Routes can be less consistent than targets since they are heavily influenced by game situation, but it never hurts to know who’s seeing opportunities. Some teams trail consistently and certain receivers can be fantasy assets even without strong efficiency numbers.
The pass route leaderboard sports three Ravens, two Cowboys, and two Jaguars. The Dallas receivers may be the most notable since they played with a lead. In the aftermath, Jason Garrett suggested the team needs to be more balanced, but Bill Callahan is a pass-oriented playcaller and the team’s strength is clearly in the passing game.
Contrast the target rates of Marlon Brown and Brandon Stokley and you can see why both players could be difficult to utilize. Meanwhile, Cecil Shorts and Ace Sanders combined for 17 targets but only 54 yards. With Chad Henne sliding under center for Week 2, this could actually be positive news. Shorts is a threat to lead the league in routes and finish among the leaders in targets.
Week 1 Least Efficient Players
The biggest concerns here are Mike Wallace, Eric Decker, and Vincent Brown. Wallace averaged fewer yards per reception in 2012 than new teammate Brian Hartline, and his Dolphins debut suggests he could be in for more of the same. A consistently overrated player, Wallace will bounce back but was probably overdrafted in your league. Had Eric Decker not dropped a touchdown, his fantasy numbers would have looked better but not necessarily his advanced splits. Constantly promoted in the offseason, Brown slipped in for a short touchdown but otherwise wasn’t a factor.
Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant, and Dwayne Bowe have all proven the ability to dominate double teams in the past and should have little trouble putting Week 1 behind them. If there’s a concern, it’s probably Bowe. He and teammate Donnie Avery both averaged less than 1 yard per route. Alex Smith flashed the ability to get his receivers involved during a preseason shredding of the Steelers, but questions remain after a checkdown fest against the Jaguars.
The Rest – Sorted By Targets
|Mike A. Williams||64||8||32||0.13||0.25||1.63|
|Steve L. Smith||46||7||24||0.15||0.29||2.13|
Notable players with fewer than four targets: Sidney Rice (3), Chris Givens (2), Roddy White (2), Kenny Britt (1).