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2012 Target Report: AFC South

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Throughout the year I highlighted various statistical facts and trends in my Tricks of the Trends article. With the year now complete, it is 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 and our third division to look at is the AFC South.

Houston Texans

Target Leaders: Andre Johnson (162 total, sixth most in NFL/10.1 per game), Owen Daniels (104/6.9), Kevin Walter (69/4.3)
Catch Rate Leaders: James Casey (75.6 percent), Garrett Graham (71.8 percent), Andre Johnson (69.1 percent)
Yards Per target Leader: Andre Johnson (9.9), Kevin Walter (7.5), James Casey (7.3)
Fantasy Points Per Target Leader: Garrett Graham (1.14), Andre Johnson (1.13), James Casey (1.13)
Red Zone Quarterback Performance: Matt Schaub -- 25.5 percent touchdown rate (55 opportunities/ 14 touchdowns)
Red Zone Carry Leader: Arian Foster (NFL-best 80/NFL-best 15 touchdowns)
Red Zone Target Leader: Owen Daniels (12/three)
Red Zone Touchdown Rate Leader: James Casey (60 percent), Garrett Graham (50 percent)
Goal Line Quarterback Performance: Matt Schaub -- 60 percent (15 opportunities/nine touchdowns)
Goal Line Carry Leader: Arian Foster (NFL-best 29/NFL-best 11 touchdowns)
Goal Line Target Leader: Arian Foster (four/two)
Goal Line Touchdown Rate Leader: Garrett Graham (100 percent), James Casey (100 percent)

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Andre Johnson is this passing game and he needs help. Johnson averaged a very impressive 9.9 yards per target in 2012 (fifth best among the 60 most targeted receivers) which was almost 2.5 yards better than anyone else on the team. Johnson had 1,598 yards -- which is great -- but had only four touchdowns. He has never had a 10-touchdown season in his career and has just six touchdowns in his last 23 regular season games. Part of the problem is that only seven of Johnson’s 162 targets came in the red zone, which is absurd. Kevin Walter does not cut it as a No. 2 receiver, but none of the youngsters other than LeStar Jean (12.6 yards per target, but he saw only 12 targets) had impressive efficiency numbers. Davier Posey has the most upside, but ruptured his Achilles tendon in the team’s playoff loss to the New England Patriots and will not be ready for the start of 2013. ... Owen Daniels finished with a solid 62 catches for 716 yards and six touchdowns, but it was a tale of two seasons. In his first 11 games, Daniels produced 47 catches for 555 yards (7.6 yards per target) and all six of his touchdowns. In the last five games following a back injury, he had just 15 catches for 161 yards (5.1 yards per target) and no touchdowns. Hopefully the two playoff games where he had 18 catches for 172 yards will be more indicative of things to come and Daniels remains a solid Top 12 tight end. ... Arian Foster paid his bills in the red zone this year, where he led the NFL with 80 carries (next closest was 62) and 15 rushing touchdowns. Foster also led the NFL with 29 goal line carries and 11 touchdowns. Unfortunately, Foster was not as successful in the pass game. Foster's receiving numbers in 2010: 66 catches for 604 yards (7.2 yards per target) and two touchdowns. Foster's receiving numbers in 2011: 53 catches for 617 yards (8.6 yards per target) and two touchdowns. Foster's receiving numbers in 2012: 40 catches for 217 yards (3.9 yards per target) and two touchdowns. He was not nearly the impact player in the passing game last year and that is something Fantasy owners want to see addressed in 2013. The good news is that in the two playoff games he had 15 catches for 99 yards (5.8 yards per target; this is OK, but not great) and a touchdown, so at least he had some legitimate use even if his efficiency was down from his 2010 and 2011 levels. One other bit of concern about Foster headed into 2013 is that he led the NFL with 405 carries and 460 total touches including the playoffs. You have to be worried about a breakdown. ... For Matt Schaub to ever be a consistent producer, the general manager of the Texans must get a credible, quality No. 2 wide receiver to provide a substantial upgrade over Kevin Walter.

Indianapolis Colts

Target Leaders: Reggie Wayne (195 total second most in NFL/12.2 per game), Donnie Avery (123/7.7), T.Y. Hilton (90/6.0)
Catch Rate Leader: Dwayne Allen (68.2 percent), Vick Ballard (63 percent)
Yards Per target Leader: T.Y. Hilton (9.6), Dwayne Allen (7.9)
Fantasy Points Per Target Leader: T.Y. Hilton (1.42), Dwayne Allen (1.06)
Red Zone Quarterback Performance: Andrew Luck -- 23.0 percent touchdown rate (89 opportunities/20 touchdowns)
Red Zone Carry Leader: Vick Ballard (26/two)
Red Zone Target Leader: Reggie Wayne (19/four)
Red Zone Touchdown Rate Leader: Delone Carter (60 percent), Dwayne Allen (37.5 percent)
Goal Line Quarterback Performance: Andrew Luck -- 45.8 percent touchdown rate (24 opportunities/11 touchdowns, second in NFL)
Goal Line Carry Leader: Andrew Luck (six/five)
Goal Line Target Leader: Reggie Wayne (six/two)
Goal Line Touchdown Rate Leader: Andrew Luck (83 percent on rushes), Delone Carter (75 percent)

Reggie Wayne was actually pretty mediocre in 2012, catching just 54.4 percent of his targets and averaging 6.9 yards and 0.85 Fantasy points per target. To be a quality Fantasy option again in 2013, Wayne will need to maintain his ridiculously high target volume or become significantly more efficient should his targets drop. He had only five touchdowns on 192 targets and has just 15 touchdowns in his last 48 regular season games. Wayne remains a much better option in PPR leagues and you have to be concerned about a drop in production from Wayne in 2013. ... T.Y Hilton is a star in the making and has everything I look for in a breakout receiver. He led the team with a 9.6-yards-per-target average (sixth best among the 60 most targeted receivers) and was dominant with a 1.42 points per target average (seventh best). He should easily take over for Donnie Avery in 2013 after besting Avery in every metric. Most importantly, Hilton was worth an extra 3.2 yards for the Colts on a per-target basis compared to Avery. Hilton ended the year seeing six or more targets in nine games and in those nine games he produced 45 catches for 742 yards and six touchdowns. Take those numbers over 16 games and that would be a season of 80 catches, 1,319 yards and 11 touchdowns, which would be pretty darn good. ... Dwayne Allen also seemed to be the better of the tight ends in Indianapolis, besting Coby Fleener in catch rate (68 percent to 54), yards per target (7.9 to 5.9) and Fantasy points per target (1.06 to 0.84). Keep Allen on your radar as a sleeper tight end for 2013. ... Andrew Luck proved to be a nice surprise as a running quarterback, scoring five times on the ground as a rookie. ... Vick Ballard was the man down the stretch for the Colts and is a solid No. 2 running back option to consider on Draft Day.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Target Leaders: Justin Blackmon (131 total/8.2 per game), Cecil Shorts (105/7.5), Marcedes Lewis (77/4.8)
Catch Rate Leader: Rashad Jennings (73.1), Marcedes Lewis (67.5)
Yards Per target Leader: Cecil Shorts (9.3), Marcedes Lewis (7.0), Justin Blackmon (6.6)
Fantasy Points Per Target Leader: Cecil Shorts (1.33), Marcedes Lewis (1.01)
Red Zone Quarterback Performance: Chad Henne -- 19.5 percent touchdown rate (41 opportunities/eight touchdowns)
Red Zone Carry Leader: Rashad Jennings (nine/two)
Red Zone Target Leader: Marcedes Lewis (14/four), Cecil Shorts (12/two)
Red Zone Touchdown Rate Leader: Marcedes Lewis (28.8 percent)
Goal Line Quarterback Performance: Chad Henne -- 54.5 percent (11 opportunities/six touchdowns)
Goal Line Carry Leader: Rashad Jennings (five/two)
Goal Line Target Leader: Marcedes Lewis (five/three), Cecil Shorts (five/two)
Goal Line Touchdown Rate Leader: Marcedes Lewis (60 percent), Justin Blackmon (50 percent)

Cecil Shorts was phenomenal for the Jags and the only concerns I have about him headed into 2013 are concussions and the quarterback situation. As a starter, Shorts was fantastic for Fantasy owners and from Week 7 on, he was the No. 12 ranked Fantasy receiver despite missing two games due to injury. Shorts made nine starts and produced 10 or more Fantasy points seven times while totaling 47 catches for 774 yards and five touchdowns. I loved his production and his efficiency at 9.3 yards and 1.33 points per target (12th best in the NFL among the 60 most targeted receivers). Shorts has the makings of a solid No. 2 Fantasy receiver as long as he can stay healthy and get adequate quarterback play. ... Justin Blackmon was a new man once Chad Henne took over and you have to be optimistic about him in 2013. In Blackmon’s final seven games of 2012, he was the sixth ranked Fantasy receiver totaling 615 yards and four touchdowns. Granted, 236 yards and one of the scores game in Week 11 against Houston, but Blackmon produced 12 or more points in four of the last seven and nine or more in five of the games. Blackmon also had five or more catches in six of the seven games with Henne and had a solid 8.5 yards and 1.19 points per target averages during that run, so with the right quarterback, Blackmon could be a Top 20 Fantasy receiver in 2013. ... Marcedes Lewis was solidly efficient in 2012, but just did not see enough targets to be a regular producer. If his targets get to the six per game level, he will be worth a look on your waiver wire in 2013.

Tennessee Titans

Target Leaders: Kendall Wright (104 total/6.9 per game), Nate Washington (89/5.6), Kenny Britt (89/6.4), Jared Cook (73/5.6)
Catch Rate Leader: Chris Johnson (73.5 percent), Craig Stevens (69.7 percent), Damian Williams (66.7 percent)
Yards Per target Leader: Craig Stevens (8.3), Nate Washington (8.2)
Fantasy Points Per Target Leader: Nate Washington (1.09), Jared Cook (1.05)
Red Zone Quarterback Performance: Jake Locker -- 17.6 percent touchdown rate (34 opportunities/6 touchdowns)
Red Zone Carry Leader: Chris Johnson (27/three)
Red Zone Target Leader: Kendall Wright (13/three), Kenny Britt (12/three)
Red Zone Touchdown Rate Leader: Jamie Harper (50 percent), Craig Stevens (33 percent)
Goal Line Quarterback Performance: Matt Hasselbeck -- 25 percent (fouropportunities/one touchdowns)
Goal Line Carry Leader: Chris Johnson (six/one)
Goal Line Target Leader: Kenny Britt (three/two)
Goal Line Touchdown Rate Leader: Jamie Harper (100 percent), Kenny Britt (67 percent)

Kenny Britt was not at 100 percent in 2012, but his knee should be better in 2013 and he is a nice bounceback candidate. Britt finished the year with 100 yards or a touchdown in four of his last six games and should get back toward his career averages of nine yards and 1.32 Fantasy points per target (he was at 6.6 and 0.93 in 2012) making him a good upside pick later in your drafts. ... Kendall Wright led the Titans with 64 catches, nearly 20 more than second place (45 for Britt and Nate Washington), but was second on the team with 626 yards. Wright’s 9.8 yards per catch and 6.0 yards per target were the second- and third-lowest, respectively, among the 60 most targeted receivers in 2012. Wright must re-discover his big-play ability and get those numbers up in a big way to become a reliable Fantasy option. I believe he has nowhere to go but up, so keep an eye on him next year as a sleeper. ... Jared Cook has always shown flashes of brilliance and averaged a solid 1.05 Fantasy points per target in 2012. If he leaves via free agency and lands in a more stat-friendly passing attack, he will have lots of upside. ... Nate Washington was the team’s most efficient receiver again in 2012, pacing the team at 8.2 yards and 1.09 points per target, but has only been a Top 40 receiver once in his career and that was in 2011 when Britt basically missed the entire season. ... Jake Locker must improve in scoring situations, where his 17.6 percent red zone touchdown rate ranked 30th among starting quarterbacks. If he can become a more consistent touchdown thrower, Locker has upside given the weapons in Tennessee and his ability to produce points with his legs. ... Chris Johnson had a solid, albeit up-and-down 2012 season, but he must improve in the red zone to be a star in 2013. Johnson scored on only three of his 27 red zone carries. ... Tennessee has the pieces in place to be an explosive offense, but they must improve their consistency and efficiency to realize their potential.

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Player News
Report: Patriots hoping to sign Darrelle Revis to long-term extension
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) The Patriots are reportedly looking to sign cornerback Darrelle Revis to a long-term extension, according Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.

However, New England has not ruled out paying Revis the $20 million team option in 2015, Rapoport reports. The decision needs to be made by April 1, when a $12 million roster bonus kicks in for Revis.

Revis totaled 47 tackles in 16 games for the Patriots, grabbing two interceptions and forcing one fumble.


C.J. Spiller expecting 'March Madness' style free agency
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) Bills running back C.J. Spiller is getting healthy again. Spiller, who has fully recovered from a shoulder injury, just ended the final season of his contract and is looking at his options for next season.

"Physically, I’m back to 100 percent, back to doing normal activities," Spiller told The Post and Courier on Friday. "As far as football, free agency will start in March, and I’ll get with my people next week and get a game plan together."

Spiller has played five seasons for the Bills, only playing two full years. He ran for 1,244 yards in 2012 with six touchdowns.

"I guess you could say it’ll be March Madness," Spiller said with a smile. "It’ll be a fun March."


Report: Rams among teams interested in trade for Eagles' Foles
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) Teams are beginning to show interest in Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, as reports are surfacing Philadelphia is unsure of what to do with the third-year quarterback, per NJ.com. A source said the Rams have interest in Foles should the Eagles choose to trade him this offseason. 

The Titans and Texans have also been mentioned as teams that would have interest in Foles, if he hits the trade market.

It's still unclear if the Eagles would be willing to move Foles. NJ.com reported last week the Eagles, who have the 20th pick in the NFL Draft, are considering making a run at Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota in the draft. 

"From No. 20, it's certainly not going to be easy,'' a source said. "It's probably going to take moving up twice to do it. There's going to be some wheeling and dealing involved.

"Can it happen? I don't know. But they're going to try."

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly recruited Mariota to Oregon and coached him for two years.

"Obviously, [with] my relationship with coach Kelly, it'd be a lot of fun to be a part of that offense and be a part of that team," Mariota said when asked about a potential reunion with Kelly.

Foles is 15-9 as a starter in the NFL, but he has yet to play a full season. He has completed 61.6 percent of his passes for 6,753 yards, 46 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.


Colts' Luck on new contract: 'There's nothing there right now'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) An ESPN report surfaced last week stating the Colts were working on making quarterback Andrew Luck the highest-paid player in the NFL. When asked about the subject at the Pro Bowl, Luck seemed surprise when he heard the news.

"There's nothing there right now," Luck said, per The Indianapolis Star. "I didn't think about it all during the season and it's only been a few days since it ended. I haven't thought about it. I will have conversations with my agent just because you have to prepare, but I'm not sure where that report came from."

Luck has two years remaining on the $22 million deal he signed as a rookie in 2012. It includes a team option for 2016, which must be exercised later this year.

Luck just completed his third season in the NFL. He has been to the Pro Bowl every year he's been in the NFL. He's gone 11-5 in every season as an NFL starter. He threw for a career-best 40 touchdowns in 2014 and led Indianapolis to the AFC title game this season.


Seahawks' Sherman disappointed he won't receive gifts from Pro Bowl
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) In case you missed Sunday's Pro Bowl, Team Irvin knocked off Team Carter, 32-28, thanks to a second-half rally, which included touchdown catches by Emmanuel Sanders and Jimmy Graham.

While many Pro Bowl players that made the original roster were absent from the game due to injuries, Pro Bowl players from the Patriots and Seahawks also did not play due to preparations for next Sunday's Super Bowl.

One player who seemed upset about missing the Pro Bowl was Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. However, it was for a reason you probably wouldn't suspect.

“Only thing I’m disappointed in is they won’t give us our gifts from the Pro Bowl, which is kind of dumb,” Sherman said, per The Boston Globe. “The NFL is the only league that punishes the players who actually make the All-Star game by not giving them their gifts. It’s supposed to be watches and some other stuff, but we don’t get them so I couldn’t tell you.”


Patriots' Tom Brady on Deflategate: 'My feelings got hurt'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) If you have been out of the loop for the last week, then you might be unaware the Patriots have been under a lot of scrutiny since the AFC title game due to improperly inflated footballs used against the Colts. The media hoopla has transformed the controversy into what we know as Deflategate.

If you haven't been out of the loop, then you are well aware of the nonstop coverage it has received the last week and despite the Patriots pleas for it to go away, it just won't.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has had to deal with the backlash from Deflategate, and he found himself talking about the subject again Monday morning during an interview with WEEI.

“It’s all speculation,” Brady said. “I’ve tried to wrap my head around it, too. I’ve done that and I’m trying to move past that, because I continue to try to rehash things. I personalized a lot of things and thought this was all about me, and my feelings got hurt. Then I moved past it, because it’s not serving me. What’s serving me is try to prepare for the game ahead. I’ll deal with whatever happens later. I’ll have my opportunity to try to figure out what happened and figure out a theory like everyone else is trying to do. But this isn’t the time for that. Honestly, I’m not interested in trying to find out right now, because we have the biggest game of our season ahead.”

One topic Brady didn't have a problem addressing was the speculation coach Bill Belichick threw him under the bus during a press conference on Thursday. But Brady came to the defense of Belichick, who has won three Super Bowls as the Patriots coach.

“I’ve never once felt that we’re not on the same page,” Brady said. “He’s a great coach. He’s the only coach I’ve ever played for; he’s the only coach I’d ever want to play for. There’s a lot of people over the years that have criticized him, but I’d say there’s not one player who’s ever played for him who’s not had an unbelievable amount of respect for him and how he prepares and his diligence and his preparation."


Giants' Odell Beckham says he played with hamstring tears
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham said he played all season with two tears in his hamstrings, according to the New York Daily News.

Beckham took part in the Pro Bowl on Sunday, but admitted he's still not fully healed. Beckham said the injuries prevented him from getting to that "last gear that I wanted to have." He added that the injuries really bothered him against the Eagles and Colts. Beckham said he was "stumbling" and falling over during those games. He added that he's not sure whether he'll ever be 100 percent again.

The rookie had a tremendous season, hauling in 91 balls for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns. 


Patriots' Tom Brady meeting with NFL after Super Bowl 49
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Patriots quarterback Tom Brady doesn't expect to meet with the NFL until after Super Bowl XLIX, according to NFL.com.

The Patriots have been in the headlines all week due to Deflategate, and it appears the situation won't be resolved until after the season. "I believe they're going to do [a meeting] after the season," Brady said. "So we'll deal with it after this game. I think everybody is locked in, ready to go for the Super Bowl." Both Brady and coach Bill Belichick have held separate press conferences during the week to deny the team's involvement in deflating their footballs. 

The Patriots are subject to punishment from the NFL if the league finds any wrongdoing during the investigation. 


Earl Thomas on bad shoulder: 'I'll still play fearless'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, who dislocated his shoulder in the NFC Championship Game, could remain limited in practice this week ahead of the Super Bowl, reports the Seattle Times. But he said he won't be thinking about the injury against the Patriots.

"When I come alive nothing is limited,’’ he said. “I’ll still play fearless, throw my body around, and let whatever happens, happens.’’

Thomas did allow that he might have to rely more on his teammates.

“My mindset is I have an opportunity to really trust my teammates,’’ he said. “This is the first game I’m going to have to trust them because of my injury. So I really, really, really trust my teammates, and that’s what I’m banking on, my teammates doing what they need to do and I need to come through myself.’’

It's unclear if Thomas will need offseason surgery.

The Seahawks are 1-point underdogs after opening as 2.5-point favorites.


Colts QB Matt Hasselbeck pondering retirement
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Colts backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck told ESPN.com he's not sure if he'll retire or return for a 17th season. Hasselbeck, 39, appeared in four games this season and played well, posting a 102.6 passer rating.

He's set to hit unrestricted free agency.


 
 
 
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