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2012 Target Report: AFC West

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 fourth division to examine is the AFC West.

Denver Broncos

Target Leaders: Demaryius Thomas (141 total/8.8 per game), Eric Decker (122/7.6), Jacob Tamme (85/5.3)
Catch Rate Leaders: Knowshon Moreno (80.8 percent), Willis McGahee (78.8 percent), Brandon Stokley (77.6 percent),
Yards Per Target Leader: Demaryius Thomas (10.2), Brandon Stokley (9.4), Eric Decker (8.7)
Fantasy Points Per Target Leader: Eric Decker (1.51), Brandon Stokley (1.46), Demaryius Thomas (1.45)
Red Zone Quarterback Performance: Peyton Manning -- 30.1 percent touchdown rate third best in NFL (93 opportunities/ second in NFL with 28 touchdowns)
Red Zone Carry Leader: Willis McGahee (29/four)
Red Zone Target Leader: Eric Decker (25/12 both most in NFL)
Red Zone Touchdown Rate Leader: Eric Decker (48 percent), Brandon Stokley (40 percent)
Goal Line Quarterback Performance: Peyton Manning -- 47.4 percent (19 opportunities/nine touchdowns)
Goal Line Carry Leader: Willis McGahee (12/four)
Goal Line Target Leader: Eric Decker (six/three)
Goal Line Touchdown Rate Leader: Jacob Hester (100 percent), Knowshon Moreno (50 percent), Eric Decker (50 percent), Joel Dreesen (50 percent)

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As long as Peyton Manning is piloting this ship, both Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker will be Fantasy gold. Thomas is the more explosive of the two and will lead this team in targets, receptions, yards per target (10.2 is studly) and big plays. ... Decker was the go-to man in the red zone, where he led the NFL with both 25 targets and 12 touchdowns. Decker is that safety valve for Manning and had a touchdown in nine of the last 13 games in 2012. ...One of the most impressive facts about the 2012 season is that Thomas, Decker and Stokley are the only wide receiver trio to all average over 1.4 Fantasy points per target; they ranked seventh, eighth and ninth respectively among all receivers with at least 50 targets. In other words, Peyton and his receivers were the most efficient scoring group in the NFL. ... Dreessen and Tamme would have been a good combo tight end, but neither did enough to be reliable week in and week out. Dreessen was actually better than Tamme in terms of catch rate and Fantasy points per target, but averaged only 6.1 yards per target. ...Willis McGahee was the main man before his injury and was supplanted by Moreno. Moreno helped many Fantasy owners win championships and actually had better scoring rates both inside the 20 and inside the five than McGahee in 2012. Whomever ends up as the main runner and goal line back for the Broncos in 2013 will once again be a solid No. 2 runner. ... Thomas is reportedly still learning how to be a complete NFL wide receiver and if he makes more strides in the offseason, he has a shot to be the top Fantasy receiver in 2013.

Kansas City Chiefs

Target Leaders: Dwayne Bowe (114 total/8.8 per game), Dexter McCluster (77/4.8)
Catch Rate Leaders: Shaun Draughn (80 percent), Jamaal Charles (73.5 percent), Dexter McCluster (67.5 percent)
Yards Per Target Leader: Tony Moeaki (8.1), Dwayne Bowe (7.0)
Fantasy Points Per Target Leader: Tony Moeaki (0.92), Dwayne Bowe (0.86)
Red Zone Quarterback Performance: Matt Cassel 18.2 percent touchdown rate (18 opportunities/ four touchdowns)
Red Zone Carry Leader: Jamaal Charles (25/one)
Red Zone Target Leader: Tony Moeaki (eight/one)
Red Zone Touchdown Rate Leader: Dwayne Bowe (25 percent)
Goal Line Quarterback Performance: Matt Cassel -- 67 percent (three opportunities/two touchdowns)
Goal Line Carry Leader: Peyton Hillis (four/one)
Goal Line Target Leader: Tony Moeaki (three/one)
Goal Line Touchdown Rate Leader: Dwayne Bowe (50 percent)

The Chiefs were an historically bad offense in 2012 and Andy Reid will hope to turn that around in 2013. ...Charles had been one of the best red zone scorers in the league (averaged over 2.0 Fantasy points per red zone carry prior to 2012), until he found the end zone on just one of his 25 carries in 2012. Charles will be better in 2013, but a four percent red zone scoring rate is a killer. ... No wide receiver on the Chiefs averaged 7.0 yards or 1.0 points per target in 2012, worst in the NFL. ... Dwayne Bowe was the main man in the passing game at 8.8 targets per game, but he produced just a 52 percent catch rate and averaged 6.9 yards and 0.86 points per target. Bowe has just four touchdowns and two games with 100 yards receiving in his last 24 starts. He had none of either in his last nine games. Bowe could be gone in 2013 and no one seems ready to step up. ... Jon Baldwin caught 42 percent of his targets last year and averaged just 6.91 yards and 0.82 points per target. ... Tony Moeaki was the team's most efficient pass catcher, averaging 8.0 yards and 0.92 points per target. ... The key for the Chiefs will be getting Charles back in the passing game like he was in 2010. That year, Charles caught 45 passes for 468 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 10.4 yards per catch and 7.3 yards per target. In 2012, Charles averaged 6.6 yards per catch and 4.8 yards per target.

Oakland Raiders

Target Leaders: Denarius Moore (114 total/7.6 per game), Brandon Myers (105/6.6), Darrius Heyward-Bey (80/5.3)
Catch Rate Leaders: Brandon Myers (75.2 percent), Marcel Reece (71.2 percent) Yards Per target Leader: Rod Streater (8.0), Brandon Myers (7.7), Darrius Heyward-Bey (7.6)
Fantasy Points Per Target Leader: Darrius Heyward-Bey (1.13), Rod Streater (1.05), Denarius Moore (1.02)
Red Zone Quarterback Performance: Carson Palmer -- 20 percent touchdown rate (75 opportunities/ 15 touchdowns)
Red Zone Carry Leader: Darren McFadden (31/one)
Red Zone Target Leader: Denarius Moore (15/five)
Red Zone Touchdown Rate Leader: Denarius Moore (33 percent)
Goal Line Quarterback Performance: Carson Palmer -- 61.5 percent (13 opportunities/eight touchdowns)
Goal Line Carry Leader: Darren McFadden (eight/one)
Goal Line Target Leader: Brandon Myers (five/three)
Goal Line Touchdown Rate Leader: Brandon Myers (60 percent)

Thankfully the zone blocking scheme that hindered Darren McFadden in 2012 will be gone and I expect a bounceback from Run DMC in 2013. ... McFadden was the worst red zone scorer (3.2 percent) among all runners with at least 13 red zone carries. He also had the worst goal line scoring rate among all runners with at least five chances. ... Denarius Moore went from averaging over 10 yards per target as a rookie to just 6.5 in his second season. Moore must catch a higher percentage of his targets (44 percent this year) if he ever wants to become a consistent producer in Oakland. He has been under a 50 percent catch rate in both NFL seasons. Moore did improve in the red zone, catching five touchdowns in 2012 with a 33 percent scoring rate, but must become more consistent between the 20s to realize his full potential. ... No receiver in Oakland caught more than 54 percent of his targets in 2012 and that will have to be fixed for this offense to really click. ... Rod Streater led the team at 8.0 yards per target and Darrius Heyward-Bey was the leader at 1.13 points per target, but neither was elite. ... Myers was the star of this passing game, catching 79 passes for 806 yards and four touchdowns. The fact that Myers caught 75 percent of his targets is even more impressive. He's a free agent and I would love to see him end up in Atlanta (replacing Tony Gonzalez) or Tampa Bay in 2013. ... McFadden also had his worst year as a pass catcher in 2012, averaging a career low 4.1 yards per target. ... The Raiders have some playmakers out wide, but Moore, DHB and Streater -- along with quarterback Carson Palmer -- will need to become more efficient and more consistent to produce steady Fantasy numbers week in and week out, because the potential is there.

San Diego Chargers

Target Leaders: Malcom Floyd (85 total/5.1 per game), Antonio Gates (80/5.3), Danario Alexander (62/6.2)
Catch Rate Leaders: Ronnie Brown (83.1 percent), Ryan Mathews (69.6 percent), Malcom Floyd (65.9 percent)
Yards Per Target Leader: Danario Alexander (10.6), Malcom Floyd (9.6)
Fantasy Points Per Target Leader: Danario Alexander (1.74 -- best among all receivers with at least 60 targets), Malcom Floyd (1.31), Antonio Gates (1.2)
Red Zone Quarterback Performance: Philip Rivers -- 25 percent touchdown rate (72 opportunities/ 18 touchdowns)
Red Zone Carry Leader: Jackie Battle (16/three)
Red Zone Target Leader: Ronnie Brown (13/zero)
Red Zone Touchdown Rate Leader: Danario Alexander (67 percent), Antonio Gates (55 percent)
Goal Line Quarterback Performance: Philip Rivers -- 50 percent (10 opportunities/five touchdowns)
Goal Line Carry Leader: Jackie Battle (nine/three)
Goal Line Target Leader: Malcom Floyd (three/two)
Goal Line Touchdown Rate Leader: Malcom Floyd (67 percent)

You know the Chargers offense was messed up when they had four total rushing touchdowns inside the red zone all season long. ... Ronnie Brown was the team's top target in the red zone, but he did not catch one of their 15 red zone passing touchdowns. ... For all of the hate directed at Ryan Mathews, some of the blame has to fall on the coaches, as Mathews had 15 red zone carries all year and did not receive a single carry or target inside the five yard line. In 2011, Mathews scored on four of his five goal line carries. Hopefully the new regime will let Mathews play on third downs and in the red zone, because if they do not, he will be forever known as an injury-prone bust. ... Danario Alexander led all receivers with a 1.74 points per target average and his 10.6 yards per target was also tops in the NFL. Alexander has battled health problems for his entire career, but showed that he can be a dominant receiver in the NFL, catching 37 passes for 658 yards and seven touchdowns in just nine games. Yes, Alexander was the most efficient receiver in the NFL in 2012. ... Malcom Floyd was once again extremely efficient in 2012, catching 65.9 percent of his passes and averaging 9.6 yards and 1.31 points per target (both Top 20 at the position). Floyd just needs more targets, but he has never been able to stay healthy enough to receive them for an extended period of time. ... Antonio Gates was great in the red zone last year with six scores and a 55 percent scoring rate, but his game in the middle of the field is falling off of a cliff. Gates averaged a career low 11 yards per catch in 2012 and his 6.6 yards per target was, you guessed it, also the worst number he has ever produced. If Gates were to fall below seven touchdowns in 2013, his Fantasy production would be crushed because he was held to less than 50 yards receiving in all but three games in 2012. Gates did not reach 50 yards in a single game over the last seven games of the season. ... New head coach Mike McCoy should help this offense, but I am not sure Philip Rivers or Gates will ever be the same and both seem to be on the downside of their respective careers, so buyer beware in 2013.

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Player News
Seahawks place Kevin Pierre-Louis on IR, claim Loucheiz Purifoy
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(6:00 pm ET) The Seahawks have claimed defensive back Loucheiz Purifoy off waivers from the Colts and placed linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis on injured reserve, ending his season, per KJR-950 AM in Seattle. Pierre-Louis injured his shoulder Week 11 against Kansas City. His season ends with 13 combined tackles and one fumble recovery in seven games played.

Patriots DT Siliga back at practice, but still on IR/DTR list
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(5:51 pm ET) Patriots defensive tackle Sealver Siliga has returned to practice, but he remains on the injured reserve/designated to return list as he continues his recovery from a foot injury that has limited him to three games this season.

Bears LB Lance Briggs lands on season-ending IR list
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:35 pm ET) Bears linebacker Lance Briggs may have played his last game in Chicago.

According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network, the Bears have placed him on the season-ending injured reserve list with a groin injury.

His season ends with one interception and one forced fumble, along with 35 combined tackles in eight games played. The 34-year-old will become a free agent at the end of the season.


Quartet of Raiders get red light for battle with Rams
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:34 pm ET) Four Raiders have been ruled out for their Sunday game in St. Louis, including running back Latavius Murray (concussion). The others are safety Jonathan Dowling (back) and cornerbacks Carlos Rogers (knee) and Neiko Thorpe (hand).

Listed as questionable is guard Gabe Jackson (knee) while safety Larry Asante (shoulder), cornerback T.J. Carrie (ankle) and tight end Brian Leonhardt (concussion) are probable.


Broncos rule out Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman for Week 13
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:29 pm ET) The Broncos ruled out running backs Montee Ball (groin), Ronnie Hillman (foot) along with cornerback Kayvon Webster (shoulder) for Week 13 against Kansas City. Deemed questionable were cornerback Aqib Talib (hamstring), tight end Julius Thomas (ankle) and safety Quinton Carter (ankle).

Meanwhile, the following players were ruled as probable for Sunday: Linebacker Brandon Marshall (concussion), defensive end Quanterus Smith (ankle), safety David Bruton (finger), tight end Virgil Green (calf) and backup running back Juwan Thompson (knee).


Broncos LB Brandon Marshall passes concussion tests
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:23 pm ET) Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall has passed the league-mandated concussion protocol and was back on the practice field as a full participant on Friday. The team has designated him as probable for Week 13 against Kansas City.

Marshall suffered the injury the previous week against Miami. He has totaled 94 tackles and one sack, along with two forced fumbles in 11 games.


Broncos' Aqib Talib returns to practice, questionable for Week 13
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:18 pm ET) Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib returned to the practice field on Friday after sitting out the previous two days of practice with a hamstring injury. The Broncos have officially listed him as questionable for Week 13 at Kansas City.

Talib suffered the injury Week 12 vs. Miami. He has registered two interceptions, one forced fumble and 43 total tackles through his first 11 games with the Broncos.


Safety Don Jones signs with Dolphins
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:11 pm ET) The Dolphins have signed defensive back and special teams standout Don Jones, who was let go Thursday by New England, per the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Jones played in 25 of 27 games for the Patriots during the last two seasons.


Nearly all on Chiefs injury report deemed probable
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:05 pm ET) The Chiefs have landed double-figures on their injury report for the Sunday night game against Denver, but only wideout Junior Hemingway (concussion) is set to sit. Cornerback Chris Owens (knee/abdomen) and defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson (calf) are questionable while the other seven are probable.

That group consists of wideout Donnie Avery (groin), punter Dustin Conquitt (calf), tight end Anthony Fasano (knee), defensive back Jamell Fleming (hamstring), linebacker Tamba Hali (knee), cornerback Sean Smith (groin) and offensive lineman Donald Stephenson (shoulder).


Rams will determine Chris Long's playing status Saturday
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(4:59 pm ET) Rams coach Jeff Fisher told reporters that a decision on whether or not defensive end Chris Long will play will be made over "the next couple of days," according to the team's official website. Long, currently on the short-term injured reserve list with an ankle injury, would need to be activated by 4 p.m. ET time on Saturday in order to have a chance to play Week 13 against Oakland.

"I think he had his best day of practice today," Fisher said. "We're going to discuss it this afternoon. If we make a decision, we'll probably make a decision tomorrow."


 
 
 
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