Chet Gresham

Targets and Touches

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Final Target Watch

Thursday, January 05, 2012


To wrap up the 2011 NFL season I thought I’d take a look at some of the final usage numbers for the 2011 season. And also look at the top totals from the 2010. Join me?


2011/2010 Target Leaders


2011 Rank Receiver Targets 2010 Rank Receiver Targets
1 Roddy White 179 1 Roddy White 177
2 Wes Welker 173 2 Reggie Wayne 175
3 Calvin Johnson 160 3 Larry Fitzgerald 172
4 Larry Fitzgerald 153 4 Brandon Lloyd 153
5 Brandon Lloyd 150 5 Brandon Marshall 146
6 Jimmy Graham 148 6 Santana Moss 145
7 Brandon Marshall 142 7 Stevie Johnson 142
8 Dwayne Bowe 142 8 Terrell Owens 139
9 Stevie Johnson 134 9 Calvin Johnson 137
10 Pierre Garcon 134 10 Andre Johnson 136
11 Victor Cruz 132 11 Dwayne Bowe 131
12 Reggie Wayne 132 12 Marques Colston 130
13 Hakeem Nicks 131 13 Jason Witten 128
14 Steve Smith 129 14 Hakeem Nicks 128
15 Brandon Pettigrew 125 15 Mike Williams (TB) 128
16 Mike Williams (TB) 125 16 Chris Cooley 126
17 Rob Gronkowski 124 17 Davone Bess 126
18 Antonio Brown 122 18 Chad Ochocinco 124
19 Nate Washington 121 19 Greg Jennings 123
20 Percy Harvin 120 20 Wes Welker 123
21 Greg Little 120 21 Danny Amendola 123



Eleven of the top 21 target mongers repeated their top 21 finish this season so that means there were 10 newcomers to the list and 10 that fell off the list. The newcomers are what we are most interested in. Out with the old, in with the new I always say. Hey, did I just make that up? Someone call the patent office.

Jimmy Graham led all the new guys with 147 targets, catching 99 of those for the third most receptions for a tight end in NFL history and woo hoo! He also broke Kellen Winslow's record for most yards for a tight end in a season with 1,310. Oh wait, he done got Gronk’d. Yes, Rob Gronkowski beat Graham to the punch and finished the season 17 yards richer.

The two most successful surprises on the list are Victor Cruz and Antonio Brown. Both were on sleeper lists to start the season but not many would have bet on them finishing 3rd and 13th in wide receiver receiving yards.


Target Effeciency

One name you won’t see on the above list is Jordy Nelson and that is due to the efficiency of Aaron Rodgers. That takes us into the next stat, yards per target. Here are the top receivers in yds/tgt with 50 or more targets.

1. Jordy Nelson -- 13.3
2. Malcom Floyd --12.2
3. James Jones -- 11.8
4. Victor Cruz -- 11.6
5. Brandon LaFell -- 10.9
6. Steve Smith -- 10.8
7. Laurent Robinson -- 10.7
8. Rob Gronkowski -- 10.7
9. Mike Wallace -- 10.6
10. Johnny Knox -- 10.5
11. Calvin Johnson -- 10.5
12. Marques Colston -- 10.5
13. Julio Jones -- 10.2
14. Robert Meachem -- 10.2
15. Devery Henderson -- 10.1
16. Jake Ballard -- 9.9
17. Vincent Jackson -- 9.7
18. Andre Johnson -- 9.6
19. Greg Jennings -- 9.6
20. DeSean Jackson -- 9.4
21. Jared Cook -- 9.4

As you can see Nelson is the clear leader and his teammate James Jones is not far behind with Greg Jennings slacking down at 19th. These guys are good no doubt, but Aaron Rodgers elevates their game. You’ll also see another trio of receivers on this list from another team, the New Orleans Saints. Mr. Drew Brees does a pretty good job of making the most out of his attempts. If you look at these top receivers in this category you’ll notice Rodgers, Rivers, Manning and Newton are the men behind the receivers. That Cam Newton was efficient enough with his attempts toward LaFell and Smith to give them 10 yards a target says a lot for the rookie. Not one of these other receivers’ quarterbacks was a rookie or even considered a sub-par quarterback.

And here I’ll return to the recording duo of Rodgers and Nelson. Of Nelson's 68 receptions 22 percent of them went for touchdowns. That led the league of course unless you count Ricardo Lockette’s 100 percent, but you really shouldn’t.


On the other end of this efficiency spectrum we can see some sad numbers, especially if these guys were on your fake team.

1. Mike Thomas – 4.6
2. Andre Caldwell – 4.7
3. Jonathan Baldwin – 5.0
4. Dane Sanzenbacher – 5.1
5. Mohamed Massaquoi – 5.2
6. Austin Collie – 5.4
7. Marcedes Lewis – 5.4
8. Dallas Clark – 5.4
9. Devin Aromashodu – 5.6
10. Ben Watson – 5.8
11. Jarett Dillard – 5.8
12. Visanthe Shiancoe – 5.8
13. Greg Little – 5.9
14. Ed Dickson – 5.9
15. Andre Roberts – 6.0
16. Hines Ward – 6.0
17. Greg Olsen – 6.1
18. Brandon Gibson -- 6.1
19. Santana Moss – 6.1
20. Mike Williams (TB) – 6.2
21. Lance Kendricks – 6.2

I’ll raise you 3 Blaine Gabbert’s and 3 Colt McCoy’s in this QB inefficiency card game from hell. Now I’m not saying these wide receivers are all the greatest things since sliced bread, but as a whole if you look at the quarterbacks that get their receivers to 10 yards per target compared to the guys that get their receivers to 5 yards per target, well, there’s a difference. Think of The Godfather (Aaron Rodgers) and White Chicks (Blaine Gabbert) . You don’t really need an Academy Award (MVP) to tell you which one is better.



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Chet Gresham writes Target Watch and The Morning After for Rotoworld.com and is the founder of The Fake Football. Chet can be found on Twitter .
Email :Chet Gresham



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