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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
Shanahan: Struggles of Robert Griffin III unrelated to injury
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:13 pm ET) Former Redskins coach Mike Shanahan does not believe injuries have prevented quarterback Robert Griffin III from maximizing his potential in the NFL. Rather, he feels it was the team not creating an offensive system that best fits his talents and his own belief that he could play a traditional role at that position.

Griffin sustained a serious knee injury in the 2012 playoffs. He then struggled in 2013 in an offense designed to transform him into a drop-back quarterback rather than one that took advantage of his mobility. He suffered another knee injury last year and did not perform well in the offense of new coach Jay Gruden.

"I don't think getting hurt has anything to do with it," Shanahan told 106.7 The Fan. "In college he didn't have a route tree, didn't have a playbook. That does take some time. ... If you take a quarterback like that you must run the kind of system that allows him to be successful. ... I really believe Robert thought he was more of a drop-back quarterback. He hasn't done things the NFL asks you to do. It does take some growing pains. You better really work on it inside and out."

Some have wondered why the Redskins went so hard after Griffin if they weren't willing to create an offense that maximizes his skill set.


Sheldon Richardson not at Jets' OTAs because 'I have a life'
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(1:05 pm ET) Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson is skipping the team's OTAs this week, a decision that earned him criticism from fans and media. 

Richardson's explanation isn't likely to win anyone over. 

Richardson went on Twitter and told fans he missed the workouts because, "I have a life outside of football."

"I chose to enjoy my family a little longer," he continued. "So to (you) fans that know everything, please worry 'bout yourself."

Richardson pointed out in another tweet that he "jus' wasn't at practice," but that he was still "putting in work tho'"


Jaguars relying on young WRs Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(12:54 pm ET) The Jaguars will be young at wide receiver this year, but that doesn't concern the team. 

The Jaguars don't have a receiver with more than 59 career receptions on the roster. The team is relying heavily on a trio of second-year players in Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson

"Those guys all had 40-some catches," general manager David Caldwell said, per ESPN. "It’s not like they didn’t produce at all or missed a whole year. They did some good things ... They’re no longer young guys. They have to be our veterans."


Raiders sign draft pick Neiron Ball
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(12:46 pm ET) The Raiders signed their fifth-round draft pick, Neiron Ball , the team announced

Ball is a linebacker out of Florida. With his signing, the Raiders have seven of their 10 picks from the 2015 draft under contract. 


Eagles DB Maxwell: 'We're going to do big things here'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(12:45 pm ET) Byron Maxwell knows what it takes to win big. He won a Super Bowl ring with the Seahawks two seasons ago and was one play away from winning a second last year.

Maxwell wants to continue his tradition of winning with the Eagles. The Eagles signed Maxwell to a six-year, $60 million contract this offseason in hopes he can help get them to the playoffs.

"I'm starting to get adjusted to Philadelphia. I love this city. I love the people around here. It's cool," Maxwell said. "I think we're going to do big things around here." "I'm starting to get adjusted to Philadelphia. I love this city. I love the people around here. It's cool," Maxwell said. "I think we're going to do big things around here."

Maxwell recorded 39 tackles and two interceptions in 13 games played last season. And though he just got a huge contract, he still motivated to getting that second Super Bowl ring.

"I'm more addicted to that feeling of getting another one. Winning is addicting. The fun is in the winning. I'm chasing after that," Maxwell said. "I'm excited about the season."


Colts' Phillip Dorsett has impressed at team OTA's
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(12:28 pm ET) Rookie wide receiver Phillip Dorsett is not experiencing any rookie blues early on with the Colts, per ESPN.com.

The first-round pick out of the University of Miami wrapped up an impressive week of organized team activities, leaving a good impression on his veteran teammates.

"It's definitely not too big for him," quarterback Andrew Luck said about the receiver. "He fits in very, very well."

Dorsett averaged more than 24 yards per catch during his last season as a Hurricane, a stat that if he maintains as a Colt will get him on the field despite a talented group of receivers.

"I feel like I'm getting it pretty well," he said. "I came from a pro-style offense with a lot of concepts in college. It's basically the same concepts just different names. There's a lot more verbiage and differently terminology. So it's something that you just have to learn and get used to it."


After emergency surgery, Jets' Rontez Miles optimistic for another shot
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(12:15 pm ET) Jets safety Rontez Miles is lucky to have another chance in the NFL. A freak injury last season almost took this opportunity away, per ESPN.com.

Just before Miles was to make his 2014 debut last December, he suffered what appeared to be a basic calf bruise after a collision with teammate Marcus Williams. He soon realized this was no regular injury. Miles developed compartment syndrome, meaning the blood flow to his calf was restricted because of a buildup of pressure.

Miles was rushed to a hospital and underwent emergency surgery.

"It could've been amputated or the muscle could've been destroyed," Miles said after Wednesday's organized team activities. "It could've been a couple of months or a year or so of recovery, and it would've been hard to come back from that."

Miles has been fighting for a spot on the Jets' roster for the better part of two years. He played in one game in 2013 and was ready for another chance last season before his freak injury. His goal will be even harder now because the safety position is now very crowded, but that won't deter Miles.

"Hey, I can't complain," Miles said. "I'm here and I'm playing football."


Extension for Marshal Yanda will cost Ravens
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(11:52 am ET) The Ravens want to sign guard Marshal Yanda to a contract extension, but the price-tag could be significant, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Yanda is in the final season of a five-year, $32.5 million contract he signed in 2011. The four-time Pro Bowl selection will turn 31 years old in September so his side will not look to compromise in the negotiations.

Mike Iupati, a three-time Pro Bowl guard, signed a five-year, $40 million deal with the Cardinals at the start of free agency. The Chargers signed Orlando Franklin to a five-year, $36.5 million free-agent contract this offseason. Those deals set the bar high for the Ravens to retain one the NFL's premier guards.

Yanda was recently named the fifth-best player in the NFL by Profootballfocus.com.


Michael Sam finds new home with CFL's Alouettes
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(11:13 am ET) Michael Sam signed a two-year deal with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes on Friday.

The former joint SEC Defensive Player of the Year participated in the NFL's first-ever veterans combine earlier this year, where he was confident he would be playing professional football again.

“I am very excited and proud to join the Montreal Alouettes and want to thank team Owner Robert Wetenhall, General Manager Jim Popp and Head Coach Tom Higgins for this opportunity,” Sam said. “I cannot wait to put on the pads, get back on the field and work hard each and every day with my teammates to bring a Grey Cup to the great fans here in Montreal.”

Sam was drafted in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Rams before the team ultimately cut him. He joined the Cowboys' practice squad before being released in October.

CBSSports.com NFL Insider Jason La Canfora first reported Sam's signing.


New Broncos S Stewart: 'It's my position to lose'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:30 am ET) Adapting to the playing conditions in Denver is proven to be difficult. Newly-signed safety Darian Stewart isn't concerned by that one bit, according to ESPN.com.

Broncos strength and conditioning coach Luke Richesson warns all the new arrivals that is that athletic life a mile above sea level is very different and much drier than other locations. 

Stewart got the picture.

“You dehydrate pretty quickly, so you definitely have to stay hydrated," Stewart said. “Being up here and getting acclimated to the weather has been good. It’s going to help me when we go down south to wherever we have to play at."

Regardless of the new conditions, Stewart, who started 14 games last season for the Ravens, believes he will be the top guy at his position when the season rolls around.

“It’s my position, it’s my position to lose," Stewart said. "When I line up, I feel like at this level you’ve got to have confidence. When I signed here, I knew it was my job … I’m feeling well. Last year I was feeling well and it’s all about just staying consistent.’’

Stewart recorded 53 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble in 16 games last season.


 
 
 
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