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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
Raiders bring back Kaelin Burnett
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Raiders have inked exclusive-rights free agent Kaelin Burnett to a one-year deal. He's expected to compete for a roster spot in training camp. 

Dekoda Watson moving to strong-side LB
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) In the wake of the release of veteran linebacker Russell Allen, the Jaguars are expected to make Dekoda Watson their new starting strong-side linebacker, ESPN reports. He'll also play as a pass rusher and potentially line up as a defensive end on third downs. 

Watson had 42 total tackles, two sacks, an interception, a pass defensed, a forced fumble and a blocked punt with the Bucs last year. 


Brandon Gibson begins light jobbing
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Brandon Gibson has begun light jogging as he works his way back from a torn patellar tendon, the Miami Herald reports. The Dolphins are expected to keep him on the roster, if only because of the cap hit he'll cost, per the report. He said recently he expects to be ready for Week 1. 

'Humbled' Richardson explains 2013, promises a better 2014
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Colts running back Trent Richardson spoke openly about his disappointing 2013 season, saying that it took him too long to learn a new playbook and get over leaving Cleveland after Week 2. Richardson also told the official team website that he's planning to do everything within his power to be as prepared as possible for 2014. 

"Y'all will see a big significant difference in the way I play, the speed. I won't have to think about a lot of stuff," Richardson said earlier this offseason. "It's going to be big -- timing with the offensive line, timing with Andrew (Luck), just knowing a lot more with the program, the whole system.

"They haven't seen everything they're going to get out of me yet. A lot of it is going to come next year. A lot of it is going to come in the offseason. I'm going to put in a lot of work, as I've been doing this whole season. This season humbled me. ... This season was a lesson to me."

Colts coach Chuck Pagano has had Richardson's back, says the running back, and the coach stressed back in March that his running back's involvement in the offseason program will be key. 

"It's going to be very, very important for (Richardson) to be here for the offseason program and to dive into this thing full steam ahead, which he will," Pagano said. "He wants to be great. He's got all the talent. He's got all the ability. We would have never done what we did if we didn't believe that deep down in our core. So we look for him to have a great offseason and to have a great 2014 campaign."


Saints bring back Robert Meachem
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Saints announced Friday that the club has re-signed veteran free agent wide receiver Robert Meachem to a one-year contract.

Meachem is a seven-year NFL veteran who was originally the club's first round draft pick (27th overall) in 2007. He re-signed with the Saints prior to the start of the 2013 regular season and appeared in 15 games with five starts. He finished with 16 receptions for 324 yards with two touchdowns.

Meachem said signing with the Saints now should help with his preparations as he will be able to take part in the team's offseason conditioning program, OTAs and mini-camp. Plus, "this is home," he said.


Can Chris Johnson turn into Tomlinson?
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Jets are hoping running back Chris Johnson can do for them what LaDainian Tomlinson did in 2010, reports ESPN.

That season, Tomlinson came from San Diego to New York after he was released. He responded with a team-high 914 yards with six touchdowns on 219 carries and caught 52 passes. He was supposed to be Shonn Greene's backup, but Tomlinson was so impressive that he won the starting job and became an integral part of a team that came within one game of the Super Bowl.

Maybe Johnson, who was let go by the Titans, can do the same thing.

"I can turn the bad things people are saying into a good thing for me, to give me motivation, to keep me hungry and to keep a chip on my shoulder and prove the naysayers wrong," he said Thursday.

Johnson had a disappointing year in 2013 when he averaged just 3.9 yards per carry, but he played 13 games on a torn meniscus and was running behind a suspect offensive line for a team that didn't have its starting quarterback for half the season. The situation in New York should be improved, and hopefully being teamed with Chris Ivory will allow him to play like Tomlinson did in 2010.


Aikman worried about Tony Romo
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(4/18/2014) Former Cowboys quarterback and Hall of Famer Troy Aikman is worried about current Dallas quarterback Tony Romo coming off back surgery, reports the team's official website.

Romo, 34, is coming off back surgery in December, which was the second procedure on his back in a year.

"I came back in a relatively short period of time because of when I had my surgery, so he's at least afforded more time to get ready," Aikman said. "But having said that, two back surgeries in less than a year at his age, I would be a bit concerned.

"I'm hopeful that he's able to come back -- everybody is. This team won't be the same if he's not able to. I anticipate that he will come back. But to say that, 'Hey, he's ahead of schedule and everything's going fine,' I'm not sure how you can really measure that here in April."


Bengals, A.J. Green not talking extension - yet
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Bengals are expected to exercise the fifth-year option on receiver A.J. Green's contract by May 3, reports Pro Football Talk. But the sides have yet to discuss a long-term contract extension, according to the report.

The Bengals hold the rights to Green through the 2015 season. And in 2016, if a long-term deal hasn't been signed yet, the Bengals can use the franchise tag on Green for that season.

The report says Green can force the issue by trying to boycott offseason workouts or hold out from training camp. But Bengals coach Marvin Lewis is confident Green will be there.


Chris Snee will give it a shot this spring
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Giants guard Chris Snee will attempt to go through the Giants offseason program once he's healthy, the New York Daily News reports. Snee had hip surgery last season and an elbow surgery earlier this year. There is no timeline for him to be at 100 percent but he is expected to be on the field for the "bulk" of offseason activities. 

Report: Niners won't release Aldon Smith
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The 49ers might expect a suspension for pass rushing linebacker Aldon Smith, but they are not planning to release him, NFL Network reported on Friday.

Smith was arrested recently for making false bomb reports at a Los Angeles airport, the latest of a string of troubles for the highly talented linebacker. He was also arrested for suspicion of DUI in January, 2012 and again September, 2013. He also had marijuana on him during that September arrest. In October, 2013 he was charged with three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon. 


 
 
 
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