Advanced Targets - Week 10
If you drafted Megatron with your first round pick this season and are still alive in your league, his 13-target, 12-catch, 207-yard performance could be just the beginning. Over the next six weeks, the Lions have a dream schedule featuring dome games and potential shootouts.
Moreover, Matthew Stafford appears to have turned a corner. After starting the season with six games where he completed 62% of his passes for 6.7 yards per attempt, he’s improved to 68% of his passes for 7.8 yards per attempt over the last three. Struggling to complete eight of his first 30 deep passes – with his receivers accounting for six ugly drops – he’s hit on five of his last eight, most those to Johnson.
Calvin Johnson leads the NFL with 420 pass routes, sits fourth in targets, and kept pace with Brandon Marshall and Demaryius Thomas by recording his fifth 100-yard games. He’s poised to win a lot of fantasy titles over the next month and a half.
As we jump into the rest of the target leaders, keep in mind that our key metrics are yards per pass route (YPRR), targets per snap (TA/SN), targets per pass route (TA/PR), and pass routes per snap (PR/SN).
|Double Digit Targets|
With the Jags playing the entire game in comeback mode, Laurent Robinson and Cecil Shorts crawled to the top of the leaderboard. Although a ton of attention has deservedly gone to Randall Cobb’s breakout season, Shorts is averaging significantly more yards per route (2.34 to 2.07) and the difference between Aaron Rodgers and Blaine Gabbert is one of the largest at any position in all of sports. On the far opposite end of the spectrum, Justin Blackmon was targeted on only 7% of his routes and averaged 0.49 yards per. He looked heavy, slow, and disinterested.
Hakeem Nicks had a mild breakout performance, but given the game environment and attention paid Victor Cruz, the results were decidedly mixed. 1.53 yards per route won’t sustain fantasy viability.
The Texans promised they would double Brandon Marshall all over the field. Add rain, wind, and Jason Campbell, and you had a recipe for a down game. The Central Florida product responded with 13 targets and an impressive 2.82 yards per route. He continues to be the most matchup proof receiver in the game.
Danny Amendola’s ability to sustain productivity has concerned scouts and fantasy players alike because of his perceived weakness in running after the catch. Amendola’s 2012 has not been any different. (He consistently averages almost 2.0 yac less than Wes Welker, for example.) But Amendola has compensated with an incredibly high target rate. He’s been targeted on 19.5% of his snaps for the year, leading all players with at least 200 snaps. Percy Harvin is the only other player above 18%. When you combine that with a 72% catch rate, you end up second to Brandon Marshall in terms of yards per route (2.77 on the season).
|Big Week 10 Performances|
A.J. Green is nipping at Marshall’s heals in fantasy points per game. Game context led the sophomore superstar to see only 29 routes on Sunday, but he responded with targets on 31% of them and his weekly touchdown.
Advanced Targets recommended Donald Jones for deep leaguers last week, and he managed nine targets and a score. Although his peripherals are not encouraging – Jones saw 78 snaps, which inflates his other totals – the Youngstown State alumnus remains an intriguing player.
Michael Crabtree, Dez Bryant, and Torrey Smith all saw fewer than 30 routes and play in offenses that limit them to WR3 status. Their owners will have to deal with the inconsistencies, however. All three players averaged 2.3 or more yards per route, while combining for four touchdowns.
|Overrated on the Field and on Paper|
|Steve L. Smith||54||4||35||0.07||0.11||0.65||0.54|
Whether it’s fantasy or reality, these players are hurting their teams. Although on pace for a career high in yards, DeSean Jackson currently ranks 31st in yards per route and isn’t a red zone threat. Outside of the top 25 in fantasy points per game, he’s not worth the contract that pays him an average in excess of $9 million per year.
Anquan Boldin (32) and Brandon Lloyd (31) are both over the age threshold you want to target for fantasy teams. They turned a combined 13 targets into only 83 yards last weekend and are quickly heading for the cliff if they haven’t already fallen over it.
Steve Smith (33) joins them in that category. Smith is still averaging 16.6 yards per reception, but he’s seen four or fewer targets in six of nine games and is a red zone ghost. His 7% target rate in Week 10 mirrors that of Brandon LaFell. Both players are little more than situational deep threats. Cam Newton’s development is being held back by the absence of a true No. 1.
|Mike A. Williams||37||4||20||0.11||0.20||0.54||3.20|
Dwayne Bowe is 28, which tends to be my age cutoff for selecting players in redraft, much less dynasty. Bowe, however, might prove an exception, especially for owners who don’t mind older rosters. To get a full picture of Bowe’s dominance, you have to understand that he’s played his whole career with quarterbacks like Damon Huard, Brodie Croyle, Matt Cassell, and Tyler Palko. His route percentage is at the very bottom of viable fantasy wide receivers, but his target percentage and yards per route gravitate toward the top.
Despite playing in the NFL’s worst offense – and without any other passing game targets to draw coverage – Bowe is still averaging more yards per route than players like Marques Colston, Torrey Smith, Jordy Nelson, Hakeem Nicks, DeSean Jackson, Dez Bryant, and Larry Fitzgerald. He posted another solid line in Week 10, and that’s without a phantom go-ahead touchdown that was called back on a bogus holding penalty.
Regardless of where he plays next season – and the chances he is re-franchised in K.C. under completely different management are better than people think – Bowe should finally be able to show off his talent. I’ve long contended the closest comparison for Bowe is Terrell Owens. If you want to get a feel for the uptick Bowe should see next season, take a look at what Reggie Wayne has done this year after being freed from the Curtis Painter Experience.