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2012 Target Report: AFC East

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Throughout the year I highlighted various statistical facts and trends. With the year now complete, it's time to look back at each team and see what we can learn from the 2012 target, red zone and goal line data as we begin our preparations for the 2013 Fantasy season. I will profile each division separately in the coming weeks.

Buffalo Bills

Target Leaders: Steve Johnson (148 total/9.2 per game), Scott Chandler (74/4.9), Donald Jones (67/5.6)
Catch Rate Leaders: C.J. Spiller (75.4 percent), Brad Smith (63.6), Donald Jones (61.2)
Yards Per target Leader: C.J. Spiller (8.1), Scott Chandler (7.7)
Fantasy Points Per Target Leader: Scott Chandler (1.26), Brad Smith (1.24), C.J. Spiller (1.02)
Red Zone Quarterback Performance: Ryan Fitzpatrick -- 24.6 percent touchdown rate (69 opportunities/ 17 touchdowns)
Red Zone Carry Leader: C.J. Spiller (21/four touchdowns)
Red Zone Target Leader: Steve Johnson (17/three)
Red Zone Touchdown Rate Leader: Scott Chandler (50 percent), Donald Jones (25 percent)
Goal Line Quarterback Performance: Ryan Fitzpatrick -- 44.4 percent (18 opportunities/eight touchdowns)
Goal Line Carry Leader: Fred Jackson (five/two)
Goal Line Target Leader: Steve Johnson (four/zero)
Goal Line Touchdown Rate Leader: Lee Smith (100 percent), Scott Chandler (67 percent), Brad Smith (67 percent)

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The Bills were one of the most inefficient passing teams in 2012 as not a single tight end or wide receiver caught at least 65 percent of their targets or averaged 8.0 yards per target. ... If you need another reason to like Spiller take a look at his efficiency in the passing game. Spiller led the Bills with a 75.4 percent catch rate and led the 40 most targeted running backs in the NFL with an 8.1 yards per target average. ... Chandler was solid in the red zone with a 50 percent touchdown rate but needs to be more involved in the red zone if he is ever going to be Fantasy relevant. That's why Chandler had a Fantasy-killing six games of three or fewer points. ... Johnson was only successful in 2012 due to his large target volume. In fact, Johnson saw twice as many targets as everyone else on the Bills in 2012. He struggled in every available metric and if he were to see a decrease in targets or efficiency next year, he would really be a bust candidate. Johnson caught only 53.4 percent of his targets and averaged just 7.0 yards and 0.95 points per target. Johnson also struggled in the red zone with only three scores on 17 targets. If things change in Buffalo, he could see his 1,000-yard streak of three seasons come to an end.

Miami Dolphins

Target Leaders: Brian Hartline (131 total/8.2 per game), Davone Bess (105/8.1), Anthony Fasano (68/4.2)
Catch Rate Leader: Daniel Thomas (68 percent), Reggie Bush (67.3), Davone Bess (58.1)
Yards Per target Leader: Brian Hartline (8.3), Rishard Matthews (7.6), Davone Bess (7.4)
Fantasy Points Per Target Leader: Charles Clay (1.01), Anthony Fasano (0.93), Brian Hartline (0.87)
Red Zone Quarterback Performance: Ryan Tannehill -- 18.9 percent touchdown rate (53 opportunities/10 touchdowns)
Red Zone Carry Leader: Reggie Bush (23/three)
Red Zone Target Leader: Anthony Fasano (13/five)
Red Zone Touchdown Rate Leader: Jorvorskie Lane (50 percent), Anthony Fasano (38.4 percent)
Goal Line Quarterback Performance: Ryan Tannehill -- 46.7 percent touchdown rate (15 opportunities/seven touchdowns)
Goal Line Carry Leader: Daniel Thomas (nine/four)
Goal Line Target Leader: Anthony Fasano (seven/four)
Goal Line Touchdown Rate Leader: Jorvorskie Lane (100 percent), Anthony Fasano (57.1 percent), Daniel Thomas (44 percent)

Tannehill was not the most accurate quarterback as a rookie, but he showed the ability to get the ball down the field to his top target Hartline, who topped 1,000 yards and averaged 8.3 yards per target. ... Hartline had 253 yards and his only touchdown in Week 4 against Arizona, so he averaged just 55.3 yards per game in the other 15. ... Hartline did not score a single touchdown on 12 red zone targets and is much better suited to be a No. 2 receiver. ... Hopefully the team lands Greg Jennings as has been speculated, giving Tannehill a legit No. 1 receiver. ... Bess caught a career-worst 58.3 percent of his targets, but that should go up if he gets to move back into the slot in 2013 as Tannehill progresses as a quarterback. ... Should Reggie Bush move on, both Daniel Thomas (68.2 percent catch rate and 7.0 yards per target) and Lamar Miller (75 percent catch rate and 5.6 yards per target) look capable of stepping up in the passing game. ... The bottom line is that if there is going to be a weekly Fantasy play in the Miami passing game in 2013, that name is not currently on this roster. ... Chad Johnson wanted me to note that he is "still open."

New England Patriots

Target Leaders: Wes Welker (175 total/10.9 per game), Brandon Lloyd (131/8.2), Aaron Hernandez (83/8.3), Rob Gronkowski (79/7.2)
Catch Rate Leader: Danny Woodhead (72.7 percent), Rob Gronkowski (69.6), Wes Welker (67.4), Julian Edelman (65.6)
Yards Per target Leader: Rob Gronkowski (10.0), Danny Woodhead (8.1), Wes Welker (7.7)
Fantasy Points Per Target Leader: Rob Gronkowski (NFL-Best 1.84), Julian Edelman (1.3), Danny Woodhead (1.14)
Red Zone Quarterback Performance: Tom Brady -- 29.8 percent touchdown rate (94 opportunities/28 touchdowns - second in NFL)
Red Zone Carry Leader: Stevan Ridley (62/12) -- both second in NFL
Red Zone Target Leader: Wes Welker (18/five), Rob Gronkowski (17/eight)
Red Zone Touchdown Rate Leader: Rob Gronkowski (47.8 percent), Aaron Hernandez (33 percent), Julian Edelman (33 percent)
Goal Line Quarterback Performance: Tom Brady -- NFL-best 68.2 percent (22 opportunities/NFL-best 15 touchdowns)
Goal Line Carry Leader: Stevan Ridley (20/eight -- third most in NFL)
Goal Line Target Leader: Rob Gronkowski (eight, five -- most in NFL)
Goal Line Touchdown Rate Leader: Wes Welker (100 percent), Julian Edelman (100 percent), Rob Gronkowski (62.5 percent), Aaron Hernandez (60 percent), Shane Vereen (60 percent)

Make no mistake about it, Gronkowski was every bit as dominant in 2012 as he was in his record-setting 2011 season. Gronk led the NFL by averaging 1.84 points per target, which was just about the same as the 1.88 he averaged in 2011. Let's hope Gronk can bounce back from his broken arm and be the star he was pre-injury. ... Should Welker depart in the offseason and Edelman recover from his injury, there is good evidence to support a breakout in 2013. Edelman caught a similar percentage of his passes to Welker (65.6 vs. 67.4), was similar in terms of yards per catch (11.2 vs. 11.5) and yards per target (7.34 vs. 7.74). Edelman did out-produce Welker in terms of Fantasy points per target 1.3 to 0.98 thanks to scoring three times on 32 targets as opposed to just six scores on 175 targets for Welker. ... Hernandez set career lows in terms of catch rate (61.4), yards per catch (9.5), yards per target (5.82) and Fantasy points per target (0.94) in 2012 but still averaged a healthy 7.8 points per game. If Hernandez can get back to his past efficiency levels, he could blow up in 2013. ... Lloyd was a big disappointment in 2012, catching a team-worst 56.6 percent of his targets, which is tough to do when Brady is your quarterback. Lloyd finished the year with seven games of five Fantasy points or fewer and as a result, he will enter 2013 with plenty of upside and a very cheap price tag. Still, he did not improve one bit as the season wore on and you have to be careful when drafting him. ... Woodhead was fantastic in his role again and was actually second on the team at 8.1 yards per target and third at 1.14 points per target. ... Vereen is ready to step up if called upon, averaging 11.4 yards and 1.6 points per target in limited action. Vereen also caught five passes for 83 yards and two scores in his first playoff game, so he has tremendous big-play ability in the passing game. ... Ridley was a touchdown machine in the red zone and at the goal line and that will continue in 2013, making him very reliable despite playing for Bill Belichick. ... Finally, Brady is "Tom Terrific" for a reason and will remain a top option, despite not being a trendy runner/passer at the quarterback position. His prowess in scoring situations is almost unparalleled and this New England offense is as good as any in the game today.

New York Jets

Target Leaders: Jeremy Kerley (95 total/5.9 per game), Jeff Cumberland (53/3.5), Santonio Holmes (41/10.2), Dustin Keller (36/4.5)
Catch Rate Leader: Dustin Keller (77.8 percent), Chaz Schilens (68.3), Shonn Greene (63.3)
Yards Per target Leader: Dustin Keller (8.8), Jeremy Kerley (8.7)
Fantasy Points Per Target Leader: Dustin Keller (1.2), Jeremy Kerley (1.0)
Red Zone Quarterback Performance: Mark Sanchez -- 19.6 percent touchdown rate (51 opportunities/10 touchdowns)
Red Zone Carry Leader: Shonn Greene (47/eight)
Red Zone Target Leader: Jeremy Kerley (10/two)
Red Zone Touchdown Rate Leader: Santonio Holmes (50 percent), Jeff Cumberland (33 percent)
Goal Line Quarterback Performance: Mark Sanchez -- 28.6 percent (14 opportunities/4 touchdowns)
Goal Line Carry Leader: Shonn Greene (19/seven -- fourth most)
Goal Line Target Leader: Jeff Cumberland, Chaz Schilens (three/one)
Goal Line Touchdown Rate Leader: Bilal Powell (60 percent), Dustin Keller (50 percent)

The only bright spot on this team from an efficiency standpoint was Keller, who caught 77.8 percent of his targets while averaging 8.8 yards and 1.2 Fantasy points per target. Keller is a free agent and should he end up in a favorable situation (while staying healthy) he could put up massive numbers in 2013. ... Kerley was a nice surprise and posted a solid 8.7 yards and 1.0 points per target in 2012. If the team can get a legit No. 1 receiver (and an NFL caliber quarterback), I think Kerley could do well in a supporting role and produce No. 3 receiver numbers for Fantasy owners. ... Holmes was the top target when healthy, seeing over 10 targets per game, but had just one game of 10 Fantasy points out of his four starts. Holmes has 10 Fantasy points in just three of his last 14 games in New York. ... Rookie Stephen Hill showed some flashes as a rookie, but will have to massively improve on his 44.7 percent catch rate and 5.3 yards per target average if he wants to be any kind of a Fantasy factor. ... Keep an eye on Cumberland should Keller depart. Cumberland produced 50 yards or a touchdown in four of his last five games with at least four targets in 2012. ... Greene was not pretty, but he was a solid red zone scorer in 2012 and punched in eight red zone touchdowns (tied for seventh in the NFL). Greene scored seven times at the goal line -- fourth most in the NFL -- although Powell (three scores on five carries) was the more efficient goal line runner. For a third-down back, Powell was dreadful in the passing game, catching just 47 percent of his targets and gaining 3.8 yards per target. ... The Jets were an anemic passing attack in 2012 and I would not at all be surprised if that was the case again in 2013, but keep Holmes on your radar as a backup receiver on Draft Day if he returns as the top dog for the Jets.

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Player News
Patriots running back Stevan Ridley: 'I have something to prove'
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Patriots running back Stevan Ridley is expected to become a free agent in the coming weeks and he is ready for the experience.

"I'm excited about it," Ridley told Sirius XM Radio Friday. "As a player coming into the league, you get there and your first contract you kind of have to establish yourself and see what you can do. Everybody is a good player if you get to make it to the NFL, but there is something to be said if you get to that second contract."

Ridley has rushed for 2,817 yards and 22 touchdowns in his first four seasons in the league with the Patriots.

"Where I'll be playing, and who I'll be playing for, is still unknown, but I know I've come in and done my job up to this point and now I have to put it in my agent's hands to get me on another team, or stay where I'm at, and make sure I’m in pads playing ball somewhere next year. I know if you think about it too much it will worry you sick."

Ridley has played in 20 of a possible 32 games the last two seasons, starting in just 11 of them.

"I take it personal to any team or anybody that says I can't be a very productive player on whatever team I land on," he said. "I've been playing ball my whole life, I'm going to come in and be a leader, and I'm going to be a guy that comes in and busts his butt in the weight room and busts his butt on the field. I'm a good teammate, I have fun with my guys, but when the lights come on Sundays, it's all business and I plan on going out there and making plays."


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"He was talking about, 'When I go up there (to Foxboro) and they see me again, I want to make sure they know I'm in the best shape of my life.' He is really determined," Fischer said. "That is the underlying theme every day: 'Hey, I've got to be ready when April comes, be ready as far as the best shape of my life.' It's frustrating with two years of freaky-type stuff."

Dobson finished a disappointing 2014 season with three catches for 38 yards.

"He is doing great," Fischer said. "I'm really excited for him. He has put the time and effort into it, comes in early, gets all his work in and he is hungry. There are a few specific things we found, minor little things we're working on, that make his program a little bit unique to everybody else's. Nothing major."


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(2/27/2015) Broncos tight end Julius Thomas turned down a five-year, $40 million contract for a reason. That's because it's believed he will have a "very active market" when the new league year begins on March 10, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. 

Two teams that are expected to target Thomas in free agency are the Raiders and Jaguars, both of which need to upgrade considerably at their skill positions to help out their young quarterbacks. The expectation is for Broncos general manager John Elway to let Thomas test the waters in free agency to see what he's offered. 

The Falcons have also reportedly been interested, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter. 

Injuries slowed what was an otherwise fast start to his 2014 season. Thomas' season ended with 489 yards and 12 touchdowns. 


Report: Browns QB Brian Hoyer could be on the way out of Cleveland
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) With the signing of Josh McCown Friday, Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer could be looking elsewhere for employment. Coach Mike Pettine called Hoyer to inform him the team was signing McCown and Hoyer appears ready to move on, according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network.

Hoyer played in 14 games for the Browns in 2014, throwing for 3,326 yards with 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He lost his starting position to Johnny Manziel in Week 15, but was forced back into action after Manziel suffered a season-ending injury.


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(2/27/2015) Free agent quarterback Josh McCown has agreed to terms with the Browns on a contract, according to his agent Mike McCartney. The team later confirmed the report. The deal is reportedly set to have McCown on the Browns for three seasons, according to ESPN.

McCown, who will turn 36 before the season begins, previously visited with the Bills before signing with the Browns. McCown threw for 2,206 yards with 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 2014 with the Buccaneers.


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Harvin is slated to earn $10.5 million this season, something the Jets cannot afford. Teams around the league are interested signing Harvin to a short-term deal. With his expensive contract, though, the Jets will be hard-pressed to find a suitor interested in trading Harvin. 

The Seahawks traded Harvin to the Jets for a conditional pick during the 2014 season. 


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(2/27/2015) Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne underwent surgery Friday to repair his injured triceps, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Wayne, 36, is beginning rehab for the injury and is reportedly considering retirement, according to Rapoport.

Wayne played in 15 regular season games for the Colts in 2014, totaling 779 yards on 64 catches with two touchdowns.


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(2/27/2015) Though the Dolphins are shopping Mike Wallace to prospective suitors, there is one team that is of interest to the speedy receiver. 

According to CBSSports.com NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, Wallace has interest in potentially returning to the Steelers. Of course, the Steelers would have to decide if they'd be willing to take on a contract that's going to have a $12.1 million cap figure for 2015. 

Wallace has underperformed in relation to the five-year, $60 million contract he signed before the 2013 season. He's failed to reach 1,000 yards with the Dolphins in either season after recording that mark twice with the Steelers in his first four NFL seasons. 


Buccaneers' Vincent Jackson not accepting pay cut for 2015
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(2/27/2015) Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson is likely to remain with Tampa Bay this offseason, but he is not willing to accept a pay cut, according to CBSSports.com NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.

Jackson, who was shopped by the team before the trade deadline, is set to make $10 million in base salary and has a $12.2 million cap hit. He totaled 70 catches for 1,002 yards and two touchdowns in 2014.


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"With him, it's that toughness and the speed that he can play with so, yes, definitely someone that we're talking to," Quinn said via ESPN.com. "I know he's got that kind of attitude. And you know me, just from watching our style of defense, it's fast and physical. And that's what Sean is. So, we're certainly hoping that he can be a big part of it moving forward."

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