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2012 Target Report: NFC 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 final division to examine is the NFC West.

Arizona Cardinals

Target Leaders: Larry Fitzgerald (156/9.8 per game), Andre Roberts (114/7.6), Michael Floyd (86/5.4)
Catch Rate Leaders: William Powell (76 percent), Rob Housler (66.1 percent), no one else over 60 percent
Yards Per target Leader: Andre Roberts (6.6), Michael Floyd (6.5)
Fantasy Points Per Target Leader: Andre Roberts (0.93), Michael Floyd (0.79)
Red Zone Quarterback Performance: Kevin Kolb -- 26.9 percent touchdown rate (26 opportunities/seven touchdowns)
Red Zone Carry Leader: LaRod Stephens-Howling (21/four), Beanie Wells (13/four)
Red Zone Target Leader: Larry Fitzgerald (20 -- sixth most in NFL/two), Andre Roberts (eight/four)
Red Zone Touchdown Rate Leader: Andre Roberts (50 percent), Beanie Wells (30.7 percent)
Goal Line Quarterback Performance: Kevin Kolb -- 60 percent (five opportunities/three touchdowns)
Goal Line Carry Leader: LaRod Stephens-Howling (seven/four)
Goal Line Target Leader: Larry Fitzgerald (four/one)
Goal Line Touchdown Rate Leader: Andre Roberts (100 percent), LaRod Stephen-Howling (57 percent), Chris Wells (50 percent)

The 2012 season was about as forgettable an offensive season as a team with Larry Fitzgerald could have. One year after posting 80 catches for 1,411 yards and eight touchdowns on 156 targets despite poor quarterback play, Fitz fell off the map in 2012. Fitz saw three more targets (156 vs. 153) and caught 71 passes but they went for just 798 yards and four touchdowns. Fitzgerald saw his yards per target fall from 9.2 to a career-low 5.1 in 2012. Fitz ranked dead last among the 70 most targeted receivers in the NFL at 5.1 yards per target and was third worst at 0.67 Fantasy points per target trailing only Louis Murphy and Dexter McCluster. Fitz was equally brutal in the red zone, where he converted just two of his 20 targets into scores. It was the worst Fantasy season of his career and he did not even finish in the Top 36. The Cardinals need to address the quarterback position to get their star receiver back on target. I do not believe Fitz is done, but expecting a return to the 17.6 yards per catch he averaged in 2011 is a pipe dream.. ... Andre Roberts actually led the team at 6.6 yards and 0.93 points per target, which gives you an idea of just how bad it was in Zona in 2012. ... Roberts did excel in the red zone, where he scored on four of his eight targets. ... That was the third best touchdown rate among the 65 receivers who saw at least eight targets. ... Roberts did not score after Week 7 however. ... First round pick Michael Floyd showed flashes in Week 17 with eight catches for 166 yards and a touchdown. ... That game was only his second with more than 50 yards receiving all year. ... Rob Housler needs to improve on his 9.3 yards per catch average if he wants to become a Fantasy factor. ... The Cardinals did not get to the goal line often, but when they did, they ran the ball effectively. ... Stephens-Howling and Wells combined to score seven goal line touchdowns on 13 carries. ... Ryan Williams was the only Arizona back to fail to score despite taking three carries. ... There are some talented pieces here for Bruce Arians, but they need to address the quarterback position and become more explosive on offense in general.

San Francisco 49ers

Target Leaders: Michael Crabtree (127/7.9 per game), Vernon Davis (61/3.8 per game), Mario Manningham (57/4.8 per game)
Catch Rate Leaders: Frank Gore (77.8 percent), Mario Manningham (73.7 percent), Vernon Davis (67.2 percent)
Yards Per target Leader: Vernon Davis (9.0), Randy Moss (8.9), Michael Crabtree (8.7)
Fantasy Points Per Target Leader: Vernon Davis (1.4), Delanie Walker (1.33), Michael Crabtree (1.3)
Red Zone Quarterback Performance: Colin Kaepernick -- 19.6 percent (46 opportunities/ nine touchdowns)
Red Zone Carry Leader: Frank Gore (40/seven), Colin Kaepernick (14/four)
Red Zone Target Leader: Michael Crabtree (11/five), Randy Moss (nine/one)
Red Zone Touchdown Rate Leader: Vernon Davis (60 percent), Michael Crabtree (45.5 percent)
Goal Line Quarterback Performance: Colin Kaepernick -- 8.25 percent (12 opportunities -- one touchdown)
Goal Line Carry Leader: Frank Gore (11/six)
Goal Line Target Leader: Vernon Davis (three/three), Michael Crabtree (three/one)
Goal Line Touchdown Rate Leader: Vernon Davis (100 percent), Frank Gore (54.5 percent)

The 49ers made a great run to the Super Bowl with new quarterback Colin Kaepernick and 2013 promises to be an exciting offensive season. ... Kap turned Michael Crabtree into a star in 2012 and look for that to continue in 2013. ... in 10 games together, Crabtree was targeted 94 times and caught 61 passes for 880 yards and eight touchdowns. ... taken over 16 games, that is a season of 98 receptions, 1,406 yards and 13 touchdowns. ... with Kap under center Crabtree averaged 9.4 targets per game, 9.4 yards per target and a sensational 1.4 Fantasy points per target while scoring an average of 13.6 points per game. ... Crabtree had five games of 100 yards or more receiving with Kap, again in just 10 games. ... Crabtree had four games with 100 yards in his previous 52 games as a member of the 49ers. ... Crabtree is a great No. 2 receiver for you in 2013 and he has Top 10 potential. ... after all, Crabtree was the No. 5 Fantasy receiver from Week 11 on. ... Vernon Davis needs more targets, plain and simple. ... he was second among the 40-most targeted tight ends in both yards per target (9.0) and Fantasy points per target (1.4) and he caught an excellent 67.2 percent of his targets. ... there is no excuse for Davis being the 30th most targeted tight end in the NFL, behind Anthony Fasano, Rob Housler and Lance Kendricks. ... when Davis was heavily involved with Kap at quarterback, the results were outstanding. ... Davis saw six or more targets in three games with Kap. ... in those three games, he caught 17 of his 22 targets for 293 yards and three touchdowns. ... in his other seven games with Kap, Davis had seven catches for 105 yards TOTAL. ... get Davis six targets per game and we have a mega superstar on our hands. ... Frank Gore received only 36 targets in 2012 and caught 28 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown. ... he is not a factor in the passing game under Jim Harbaugh, with less than 40 targets, 30 catches and 240 yards in both of their seasons together. ... prior to Harbaugh, Gore had at least 40 catches in five straight seasons and averaged nearly 440 yards per year. ... The Niners need one more receiver to really step up in 2013 and this offense will be unstoppable. ... Randy Moss (8.9 yards per target) and Mario Manningham (74 percent catch rate) were good, but they need a legit consistent third option. ... Delanie Walker averaged a very solid 8.7 yards per target and scored three times with Kap at quarterback. ... keep an eye on where he ends up or who replaces him at tight end for the 49ers, who use two tight ends on over 60 percent of their snaps. ... look for Kap to make major strides in scoring situations in 2013. ... last year he was dead last in goal line touchdown rate among quarterbacks with at least 10 chances and he was third worst in the red zone among the 24 busiest quarterbacks. ... with more experience and savvy, he will improve those numbers and when he does, look out.

Seattle Seahawks

Target Leaders: Sidney Rice (81/5.1 per game), Golden Tate (67/4.5 per game)
Catch Rate Leaders: Marshawn Lynch (76.7 percent), Zach Miller (71.7 percent), Golden Tate (67.2 percent)
Yards Per target Leader: Anthony McCoy (10.4), Golden Tate (10.3), Sidney Rice (9.2)
Fantasy Points Per Target Leader: Anthony McCoy (1.68), Golden Tate (1.65), Sidney Rice (1.44)
Red Zone Quarterback Performance: Russell Wilson -- 28.8 percent (73 opportunities/21 touchdowns -- seventh most)
Red Zone Carry Leader: Marshawn Lynch (55 -- fifth most/eight -- seventh most)
Red Zone Target Leader: Sidney Rice (13/four), Golden Tate (12/four)
Red Zone Touchdown Rate Leader: Anthony McCoy (50 percent), Golden Tate (33 percent), Zach Miller (33 percent)
Goal Line Quarterback Performance: Russell Wilson -- 45.5 percent (11 opportunities/five touchdowns)
Goal Line Carry Leader: Marshawn Lynch (11/five)
Goal Line Target Leader: Sidney Rice (two/zero)
Goal Line Touchdown Rate Leader: A bunch with one chance and one touchdown at 100 percent, Marshawn Lynch (45.5 percent)

2012 Summary and 2013 Outlook: Seattle was the most interesting target study team in the NFL, because it had the league’s most efficient pass catchers but they saw such limited targets. ... Seattle was the only team in the NFL to have all of their Top 5 targets (running backs excluded) average at least 1.0 Fantasy points per target. ... Seattle was also the only team in the NFL that did not have a single pass catcher averaging at least 5.2 targets per game. ... their top target, Sidney Rice ranked just 51st among all receivers with 81 targets...Golden Tate ranked 66th among all receivers with 67 targets. ... however, both Rice and Tate finished in the Top 36 in 2012 thanks to amazing efficiency. ... Among the 70 most targeted receivers, Tate was second in yards per target (10.3), fourth in points per target (1.65) and eighth in catch rate (67.2 percent). ... he had six games with six or more targets. ... in those six games, Tate caught 28 passes for 406 yards and six touchdowns. ... in other words, if Seattle opens up the offense in year two for Russell Wilson, Tate could be a sneaky big time producer. ... Tate still remains risky unless targets pick up significantly because even last year, he had only five games with at least 60 yards receiving, so that puts a ton of pressure on touchdowns. ... Sidney Rice was not far behind Tate, checking it at ninth in points per target (1.44) and 16th at 9.2 yards per target. ... like Tate, Rice needs to be targeted more often to be a consistent Fantasy producer. ... in the seven games in which Rice saw six or more targets, he produced 30 catches for 433 yards and six touchdowns. ... I do not see Seattle drastically changing their offensive approach (they were dead last in the NFL at 25.3 pass attempts per game), but they will throw it more in 2013 and these receivers should be snagged as upside late round values. ... also keep an eye on tight ends Anthony McCoy and Zach Miller. ... McCoy was the most efficient tight end in the NFL last year among the 48 who saw at least 28 targets. ... McCoy led all tight ends at 16.2 yards per catch, ranked second in yards per target (10.5) and points per target (1.68). ... he was also tied with Rob Gronkowski averaging 2.4 yards per target more than his team averaged per pass attempt. ... McCoy saw six targets in the team’s final five games (including the playoffs), so I doubt he is in the plans as a primary pass catcher, but his statistical prowess deserved mention. ... Zach Miller on the other hand, was a bigger factor late in the year and is someone to tag as a sleeper for 2013. ... he scored in three of the team’s final six games. ... in the two playoff games, Miller was targeted 15 times and caught 12 of them for 170 yards and a touchdown. ... don’t forget that Miller had a three year stretch in Oakland where he averaged over 60 catches and 750 yards per year. ... he could really emerge next year if the Hawks incorporate the tight end like they did in the playoffs. ... Russell Wilson was incredibly efficient in the red zone as a rookie, which is incredibly impressive. ... with defenses having to always concern themselves with Marshawn Lynch, look for Wilson and the Seattle passing game to remain very efficient in 2013. ... if they start throwing it 30 times per game, Wilson will be a Fantasy beast and Tate, Rice and Miller could all deliver excellent value to their owners.

St. Louis Rams

Target Leaders: Danny Amendola (100/9.1 per game), Brandon Gibson (82/5.1 per game), Chris Givens (80/5.3)
Catch Rate Leaders: Steven Jackson (71.7 percent), Daryl Richardson (66.7 percent), Lance Kendricks (65.6 percent)
Yards Per target Leader: Chris Givens (8.7), Brandon Gibson (8.4), Lance Kendricks (8.1)
Fantasy Points Per Target Leader: Brandon Gibson (1.21), Lance Kendricks (1.19), Chris Givens (1.1)
Red Zone Quarterback Performance: Sam Bradford -- 20.6 percent touchdown rate (68 opportunities/ 14 touchdowns)
Red Zone Carry Leader: Steven Jackson (29/four)
Red Zone Target Leader: Danny Amendola (12/two), Austin Pettis (nine/four), Brandon Gibson (nine/three)
Red Zone Touchdown Rate Leader: Austin Pettis (44 percent), Lance Kendricks (33 percent), Brandon Gibson (33 percent)
Goal Line Quarterback Performance: Sam Bradford -- 58.8 percent (17 opportunities/10 touchdowns -- sixth most)
Goal Line Carry Leader: Steven Jackson (nine/two)
Goal Line Target Leader: Austin Pettis (five/four -- tied for most among receivers)
Goal Line Touchdown Rate Leader: Austin Pettis (80 percent), Brandon Gibson (67 percent)

The Rams are a sleeper offense to keep an eye on in 2013, as they were a surprisingly efficient passing attack in 2012. ... Brandon Gibson was the steady veteran for the team and led in Fantasy points per target (1.21). ... Gibson was also second with an 8.4 yards per attempt average and was second among the team’s receivers with a 62 percent catch rate. ... Gibson only averaged 5.1 targets per game, but showed that he can produce when given the chance. ... Chris Givens is the real exciting receiver to look at for 2013. ... the speedster led the team in both yards per catch (16.6), yards per target (8.7) and was third in Fantasy points per target (1.1). ... if Givens can develop some of his intermediate routes and catch more than 52 percent of his targets in 2013, he could become a nice No. 3 Fantasy receiver. ... Danny Amendola is the wild card, because if he returns, he is the clear favorite target for Sam Bradford. ... Amendola led the team in targets per game at 9.1 and no one else saw more than 5.3 per game. ... he is a slot receiver, who rarely gets down the field as evidenced by his yards per catch (10.6) and yards per target (6.7) averages. ... he does have great hands however and is a high volume catch guy. ... Amendola had at least five catches in seven out of his nine full games last year and is a great PPR option. ... Amendola has 148 catches in his last 27 games, which is an average of 5.5 receptions per game. ... Brian Quick (the first receiver taken by the Rams in 2012) has a good shot to start in 2013 and while his overall numbers as a rookie were atrocious (40.7 percent catch rate, 5.8 yards per target), there is hope that he can get better in 2013. ... Quick still averaged over 1.0 Fantasy points per target as a rookie and we will have to see how he performs in full time duty before we can truly call him a bust. ... Austin Pettis tied with A.J. Green and Mike Williams for the most goal line receiving touchdowns by a wide receiver in the NFL last year with four. ... he is clearly a solid short yardage target, but Pettis only averaged 8.7 yards per catch in 2012, so his value may be limited to touchdown only leagues. ... to me, the real potential break out Fantasy star in St. Louis is tight end Lance Kendricks, who turned in a great 2012 season that saw him catch 65.6 percent of his targets, while averaging 8.1 yards and 1.2 points per target. ... the only other tight ends who matched his metrics in all three categories last year were Dustin Keller, Heath Miller, Vernon Davis and Rob Gronkowski. ... both Gronk and Miller were Top 4 Fantasy tight ends, while Davis and Keller did not receive enough overall targets (due to misuse and injury respectively). ... in other words, Kendricks showed real promise and if they decide to get him to 6.0 targets per game in 2013, rather than 4.0, we will have a Top 12 Fantasy tight end. ... there is reason for optimism, because in the last five games of 2012, Kendricks saw 28 targets (5.6 per game), caught at least three passes in every game and totaled 16 catches for 255 yards and two touchdowns. ... taken over 16 games, that would translate to 51 receptions, 812 yards and 6.4 touchdowns per year, which equals roughly 120 Fantasy points. ... 120 Fantasy points would have been good for a sixth place finish at tight end last year, so keep an eye on Kendricks as a sleeper. ... Steven Jackson caught 38 passes for 321 yards last year, averaging an impressive 8.4 yards per catch and 6.1 yards per target. ... he averages 8.2 yards per catch for his career and has at least 314 yards receiving in five straight seasons and seven of the last eight. ... if SJAX does depart St. Louis, keep an eye on the camp battle between Daryl Richardson (the early favorite) and Isaiah Pead for the starting job in 2013.

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Player News
Alfred Morris running into tough matchup
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(5:57 pm ET) For as good as Alfred Morris is, owning him in Fantasy can leave you disappointed at times, given the Redskins' sometimes-inconsistent usage of him. You might want to skip the headache in Week 5, with the Seahawks on the way Monday night.

Morris has been productive in each game so far, and currently ranks fifth in the NFL in rushing yardage through four games. Unfortunately, he faces one of the toughest tests in the league this week. The Seahawks have yet to allow an opposing running back to score even six points this season, and their lone touchdown allowed came from little-used Packers fullback John Kuhn in Week 1. Morris has yet to face Seattle in his career, and they are unlikely to give him a very warm welcome.

Morris is nearly a must-start Fantasy option on a weekly basis, but this is one time you might want to avoid relying on him. The workload should be there, but Morris ranks outside of the top-30 for running backs in both Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard's Week 5 rankings.   


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(5:55 pm ET) The Jets signed cornerback LeQuan Lewis to their practice squad and released corner Brandon Smith from the squad, reports the New York Daily News.

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Seferian-Jenkins was targeted on seven of quarterback Mike Glennon's 42 throws in Sunday's game, a number that left him third on the team. He brought in three of those passes, a decent number considering Glennon struggled with his accuracy all game. The fact that Glennon looked his way so often might be a good sign, since it was the pair's first game together.

After a collegiate career that saw him total 1,840 yards in three seasons, Seferian-Jenkins has a chance to become a big part of this Tampa Bay offense. However, he obviously has a lot to prove before you want to rely on him. Keep an eye on Seferian-Jenkins' play in Week 5 against the Saints, and consider adding him if he and Glennon show a good rapport. 


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(5:47 pm ET) The Lions put running back Montell Owens on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, ending his season.

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by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:42 pm ET) Former 49ers running back LaMichael James signed with the Dolphins, reports Fox Sports. San Francisco released the oft-injured back following the season opener.

Luke Willson has a lot to prove with increased role
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(5:35 pm ET) The Seahawks will turn to Luke Willson to start at tight end in the coming weeks, with Zach Miller sidelined by ankle surgery. Should Fantasy owners take notice?

Miller had logged 83.5 percent of the team's snaps through three games, so Willson should be in line for a much larger role as the starter. Of course, Miller was nearly a nonfactor in the passing game so far, having been targeted just seven times. Between he and Willson, quarterback Russell Wilson has targeted tight ends just eight times on 87 attempts, after 20.6 percent of his passes went their way a year ago.

Willson might be the better pass catcher of the Seahawks tight end tandem, but we don't have much to go on here. There are better tight end options worth targeting on waivers, at least until Willson proves himself. 


Christian Ponder preparing to start
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:28 pm ET) Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder took the first-team reps Monday and Tuesday while rookie Teddy Bridgewater watched with an ankle injury. "I'm preparing to play, but we're hoping the best for Teddy," Ponder told reporters.

"I've talked to Teddy. He's doing everything he can to prepare and be ready to play."

Ponder has started 35 games, but none with Norv Turner as offensive coordinator. He could be under center Thursday in Green Bay. "It's a very different style of offense than what we've ran the previous three years," Ponder said. "Without Adrian [Peterson], it's different. Defenses play us differently without Adrian. I'm comfortable and fit well in it."


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(5:26 pm ET) Jaguars running back Denard Robinson has not made much of an impact since being given a larger role in the offense, but he might be someone worth taking a flier on in Fantasy anyways.

The Jaguars have relied on Toby Gerhart less and less as the season has gone on, and for good reason. He is averaging just 2.6 yards per carry through four games, with a long run of just 10 yards. And, while Robinson has not been much better (3.3 yards per carry), the team appears willing to give him a bigger role, if only for a change of pace.

Robinson might have some extra value long term in PPR leagues, even if he ultimately never overtakes Gerhart for the starting job. Robinson has been targeted seven times in 70 offensive snaps, compared to seven targets for Gerhart in 133 snaps.

Clearly, the Jaguars are not thrilled with their investment in Gerhart this offseason, so Robinson is going to get more chances to cut into his playing time if he can show a pulse. At this point, Robinson is a long way from starting, but in deeper leagues, he might have some upside.


Luke Willson gets starting opportunity
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(5:11 pm ET) With Seahawks tight end Zach Miller recovering from ankle surgery, Luke Willson will start Monday's game in Washington, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The second-year pro caught 20 passes for 272 yards and a touchdown as a rookie.

"When you're the backup guy, you're kind of always prepared for it," Willson said. "I don't really feel like I'm really entering any new territory."

A fifth-round pick out of Rice, Willson started two games last year when Miller hurt his hamstring.


 
 
 
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