Tricks of the trends after Week 11
Fresh off of being the highlighted star of this space, Jordy Nelson turned in another one of his extremely efficient performances in Week 11.
Nelson caught six of his seven targets for 123 yards and two touchdowns against the Buccaneers. You would have to go back to Week 5 to find a week where Nelson did not catch two of his targets. That's right, in his last five games, Nelson has seen 25 targets and has caught 22 of them for 447 yards and six touchdowns! Over the last five games, he is catching 88 percent of his targets, is averaging 17.9 yards per target and is scoring 3.2 points per target.
If you drafted Jordy this year, I think he deserves a little shout out at the Thanksgiving table because you have to be thankful for that kind of efficient and explosive production.
Target observations after Week 11...
• If Roddy White can stop dropping touchdowns, he will have a big second half of the year. The leg injury that slowed him down in the first seven games is a thing of the past and his metrics clearly show that he is back to being an explosive playmaker. After averaging just 10.9 yards per catch and 6.2 yards per target to start the year, White is up to 19 yards per catch and 9.5 yards per target after declaring himself to be 100 percent. The touchdowns are there for the taking as well, but the Hot Rod needs to hold onto that ball. Look for the scores to join the increased productivity on the yardage front, meaning Roddy will be a top 10 receiver the rest of the way.
• Nate Washington may be hoping for Jake Locker to take over in Tennessee. In the fourth quarter, Locker targeted Washington four times and they connected on every one of them for 68 yards and two touchdowns. Do not give up on teammate Damian Williams however, despite having just one catch for 16 yards. He did see 11 targets, but was not quite on the same page with Jake Locker . If he is available in your league, I think Williams still has some good value.
• The Cruz ship is the top target for Eli Manning in New York right now and why not? Victor Cruz has seen 40 targets in his last four games and has caught 25 of them for 402 yards and two touchdowns. He has not been below six catches or 84 yards receiving in any of those games and has become an elite wide receiver for fantasy purposes with that kind of quality production week in and week out.
• In his last six games, Steve Johnson has gone into a free fall, just like his quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick . He has topped 60 yards just once in his last seven games and has only one touchdown during that span. In his last four, Johnson has seen 28 targets (a healthy seven per game) but has only produced 13 catches for 165 yards. In his last two games, Johnson has caught just four of his 13 targets for 24 yards, which is a pathetic 1.84 yards per target. In fact, over these last two weeks, Johnson is averaging .18 points per target -- lowest in the NFL -- and just 3.32 points per target, behind Jordy Nelson who is averaging a league high 3.5 points per target. If you had said that Nelson's points per target would almost double Johnson’s yards per target over the last weeks I would have thought that was impossible.
• Greg Little continues to hold the dubious distinction of having seen the most targets of any pass catcher (73) without scoring a single touchdown this year. Second on the list is Legedu Naanee , who has not scored despite seeing 58 targets on the year.
• Poor Marcedes Lewis . After a monster 2010 season in which he caught 58 of his 88 targets for 700 yards and 10 touchdowns, Lewis is having a nightmarish season in Jacksonville. No tight end has seen more targets than Lewis' 50 without scoring a touchdown this year and his metrics are brutal. Nobody is catching fewer of their targets or averaging fewer yards per catch than Lewis, who checks in with a 46 percent catch rate and is at 4.7 yards per target. What a difference a year makes.
• Speaking of what a difference a year makes: how about taking the 160 combined targets and 18 touchdowns that Austin Collie and Lewis had in 2010 and comparing that to their performance this season. Last year, they scored once for every 8.9 targets. This year, they have yet to score on 107 combined targets, which is well, brutal.
• One of the main reasons I am not too down on Matt Leinart as a Fantasy quarterback is that his running back can turn any checkdown into a big play. Arian Foster is second to only Michael Bush at 9.9 yards per target and 14.4 yards per catch and I expect him to be very busy with the hot tub efficianado and checkdown specialist under center. Look for Foster's value to only go up in point-per-reception leagues for the rest of the 2011 season.
• Target Leaders by position for Week 11: Wide receiver: Brandon Lloyd and Roddy White (14); Tight end: Kellen Winslow and Marcedes Lewis (11); Running back: Ray Rice (10), DeMarco Murray and Mike Tolbert (7)
• Yards Per Target Leaders among qualifying players by position after Week 11: Wide receiver: Jordy Nelson (14.3) and Mike Wallace (12.5); Tight end: Jake Ballard (10.5) and Rob Gronkowski (10.1); Running back: Michael Bush (12.7) and Arian Foster (9.9)
• Worst Yards Per Target among qualifying players by position after Week 11: Wide receiver: Eddie Royal (3.9) and Austin Collie (4.3); Tight end: Marcedes Lewis (4.7), Ed Dickson and Zach Miller (5.3); Running back: Willis McGahee (2.9), Frank Gore (3.8) and Cadillac Williams (3.8)
• Did you know that only Adrian Peterson (10) has more red zone rushing touchdowns than quarterback Cam Newton? Not too shabby for the burgeoning Fantasy superstar.
• Matt Forte , James Starks , and Ryan Grant have combined for just three red zone scores on 66 opportunities. Meanwhile John Kuhn and Marion Barber have 10 red zone scores on just 24 chances. No wonder Kuhn and Barber get all of the scoring carries for their teams lately.
• Shonn Greene has been as inefficient a scorer as anyone this year, punching in just two scores on 30 red zone chances. His 6.7 percent red zone touchdown rate is second worst among the 18 busiest backs inside the 20. Maybe Joe McKnight will start to get more run, because to my eye, he is the most complete and explosive back on the Jets’ roster.
• What is in a name? Jordy Nelson is the only receiver with a better than 50 percent red zone touchdown rate among the 61 receivers who have seen at least six targets. He is first by a mile at 62.5 percent and in second place is another Nelson. David Nelson of the Bills has scored four times on his nine red zone targets (44.4 percent).
• Of the 26 tight ends who have seen at least six red zone targets, only seven of them have touchdown rates of 40 percent or better. They are Scott Chandler (54.4), Antonio Gates (50), Rob Gronkowski (47.1), Jermichael Finley (45.5), Tony Scheffler (44.4), Tony Gonzalez (41.2) and Jermaine Gresham (40).
• No pass catcher has more red zone touchdowns than Gronkowski's eight scores this year through 10 games. In fact, the only non quarterbacks with more red zone scores than the amazing Gronk are Adrian Peterson (11), LeSean McCoy (10) and Ray Rice (9). They were all top five picks in drafts this year, while Gronk was not even among the first five tight ends taken in any drafts this year. Well actually, in the Fantasy Football Today draft, our own Randy Cross proved to be a prognosticator of prognosticators when he wisely took Gronk as the third overall tight end. He is having a monster year and does not seem to be slowing down any time soon.
• Matthew Stafford has a cannon and can toss the ball the length of the field, but he also knows how to fit the ball into tight places up close and his 70 percent goal line touchdown rate is second only to Matt Ryan this year among the quarterbacks with at least 10 chances.
• When you score in six straight games, you'd have to think you are either being extremely efficient in scoring situations or receiving a ton of chances. Well, in the case of Marshawn Lynch it is definitely the former. Lynch has scored on five of his eight goal line carries this year and his 62.5 percent touchdown rate is the best among the 19 runners with at least seven chances. Pretty darn impressive work from the Beast Mode runner who has been the key to many Fantasy playoff runs.
• LeGarrette Blount is someone you would expect to get to pound the football into the end zone whenever his team got up close, right? Well, think again. In 2011, Blount has exactly one goal line carry all season, which not surprisingly resulted in a touchdown. Is crazy play calling to blame? Actually it appears that the Buccaneers ineptitude on offense is to blame, as Josh Freeman has only seven goal line chances of his own this year, third fewest among the quarterbacks who have started every game. Got to hand it to the Bucs, though, as Freeman and Blount have combined to score seven times on their eight chances. If only they could get inside the five yard line more often.
• The goal line has not been kind to two very productive receivers named Brandon in 2011. Brandon Marshall and Brandon Lloyd have seen a combined eight goal line targets without producing a single touchdown. That wide receiver duo trails only the running back combo of Matt Forte and Tashard Choice , who have failed to score on 13 combined goal line chances in the battle for ultimate futility. Meanwhile, defensive tackle B.J. Raji has more goal line scores than all of them combined on only one carry. The amazing thing about that stat is that Marshall (20th at receiver), Lloyd (23rd) and Forte (6th at running back) have all been valuable weekly starters.
Target Conversion Rate or Catch Rate (TCR): The percentage
of a player's targets (passes thrown to them) that are converted
into receptions. Over 60 percent is excellent, 66 percent is elite
and under 52.5 percent is worrisome.
Yards per Target (YPT): A player's receiving yards divided by his targets. In other words, the numbers of yards a team gains on average every time they attempt a pass to a certain player. Over 10 is exceptional, over 8 is solid and 6 or lower is horrendous.
Red Zone Opportunities: A player's total number of pass+rush+targets inside the opponent's 20 yard line
Red Zone TD Rate: The percentage of a player's Red Zone opportunities that result in a TD
Goal Line Opportunities: A player's total number of pass+rush+targets inside the opponent's 5 yard line
Goal Line TD Rate: The percentage of a player's Goal Line opportunities that result in a TD
Consistency Rate: The percentage of quality starts a player gives you out of 16 games. For QBs that is a game with 300+ yards passing OR multiple TDs. For RBs/WRs: A game with 100+ yards rush/rec or a game with a TD. For TEs: A game with 60+ yards receiving or a TD. For a Kicker: A game with multiple FGs.
Big Game Rate: The percentage of dominant starts a player gives you out of 16 games (games missed with injury count as a bad game since they do not help your Fantasy teams). For a QB that is a game with 300+ yards and 2+ TDs or 200+ yards and 3+ TDs. For a RB/WR that is a game with 100+ combined rush/rec yards and a TD or a game with multiple TDs. For a TE that is a game of 60+ yards and a TD, 100+ yards or a game with multiple TDs.