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Fantasy Football 2012: Target Report

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I am taking a step away from my fantasy baseball coverage, for my first foray into some fantasy football articles. Today, I am starting a new series which will run all season called the Target Report. This series will take a look at receivers/running backs who are seeing increases and decreases in targets week to week.

This article will take a look at the receivers who were targeted the most in 2011, and see which way their number of targets are trending over the last few years. Receiver rankings may vary across sites, so looking at the receivers who have had the most targets over the last few years may help you on draft day when trying to decide between two receivers.

Here is a list of receivers who received the most targets in 2011 with the number of times they were targeted over the last 3 seasons in parentheses:

1. Roddy White, ATL - (181, 179, 165)

2. Wes Welker, NE - (172, 122, 162)

3. Calvin Johnson, DET - (158, 137, 136)

4. Larry Fitzgerald, STL - (153, 174, 153)

5. Brandon Lloyd, NE - (150, 153, 18)

6. Jimmy Graham, NO - (149, 43, DNP)

7. Brandon Marshall, CHI - (145, 147, 154)

8. Dwayne Bowe, KC - (141, 132, 87)

9. Steve Johnson, BUF - (135, 143, 3)

10. Pierre Garcon,, WAS - (134, 119, 91)

I have read more than once in the last few months that Julio Jones might be the receiver to draft in Atlanta, but the number of targets Roddy White has seen over the past 3 years is trending up, not down. I think I would prefer a player who has the more established career than a receiver in his second year in the league.

Everyone knows Lions receiver Calvin Johnson is the best in the game, and his targets have increased in the past two seasons, so expect more of the same from him in 2012. Matt Stafford proved to be one the of top quarterbacks in the league last season, in just his second year in the league, and Johnson is his top target in the red zone.

Brandon Lloyd is moving to New England after playing for Denver and St. Louis the last 2 seasons, and he is still a top target anywhere he goes. In the Patriots spread offense, fantasy owners could see a 10 touchdown season from him this season, should teams start to focus on stopping Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in 2012.

A guy that I am targeting this season is Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe. Yes, I am a Chiefs fan, but as you can see from his target trends above, the KC offense is targeting him more and more over the last two seasons. With talk that the Chiefs will play a more up-tempo offense this season, with some no-huddle thrown in, Bowe could have a big season.

Brandon Marshall has moved onto Chicago to pair up with old friend Jay Cutler in 2012. Marshall scored just 9 touchdowns in his two seasons in Miami, but I can see him approaching double digits in Chicago. In his last two seasons in Denver, Marshall and Cutler teamed up for over 200 receptions and 13 touchdowns, and I see another 100 reception season from Marshall with around 8-10 touchdowns in 2012.

I will be interested in seeing how Pierre Garcon performs in Washington this season. He was the top target in Indianapolis the last two seasons, and he could be the top target in Washington as well, as Santana Moss is 33 years of age, and the Redskins may want to focus on the younger Garcon.