With all the key free agent signings finished and the draft behind us now is a good time to review the teams I targeted in my initial installment of “Targeting Open Targets.” Besides reviewing these situations, I decided to take a look a few other teams where there are targets available for the taking that we’ll discuss in Part II of this article.
Baltimore Ravens – 42.4 Pass attempts per game (1st)
The off-season saw the Ravens sign one player with a history of heavy involvement in the passing game: Danny Woodhead. Woodhead has seen, over his last three healthy seasons:
Surely Woodhead will be heavily involved in the passing game, but coming off a torn A.C.L. and now 32 years old this may not be the Danny Woodhead of old and instead just an old Danny Woodhead. Assuming Woodhead is healthy and still the PPR monster he used to be he’ll be stealing targets from Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon (when he returns from his PED suspension). The Ravens selected no receivers in the NFL Draft so there’s nothing there to concern ourselves with.
The most significant occurrences from a target perspective were the retirement of Steve Smith and the departure of Kamar Aiken in free agency. Steve Smith was targeted 8.3 times per game over his three seasons with the Ravens, including 101 targets last season. Kamar Aiken left behind an additional 50 targets when he departed. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the departure of San Francisco 49ers big money free agent signing Kyle Juszczyk and his 49 targets as well.
Breshad Perriman, Mike Wallace, Chris Moore
I had hoped Mike Wallace(117 targets in 2016) might be a cap casualty to give Perriman an even bigger target hole to fill, but alas it was not to be. Even with Wallace still in Charm City Perriman should see a significant uptick from his 66 targets from 2016. Some are even calling Perriman Baltimore’s new #1 wide receiver(full disclosure, pretty sure it’s just me). It doesn’t take much projection to see Perriman’s 46.1% snap share increasing substantially in 2017. While Perriman will also need to improve upon his 50% catch rate, with increased snap shares and targets Perriman will produce, you have my word.
Mike Wallace will still see plenty of targets, even with Breshad Perriman’s ascension, and can be had on the cheap right now. In April DFF Mocks Wallace could be had around the end of the 14th round. While in DLF’s May Mock Drafts he’s slightly less discounted, going off the board in the middle of the 12th round. Mind you Wallace has scored between 196-250 fantasy points in six out of the last seven years. Wallace is wildly undervalued right now, and if I didn’t own so much stock in Perriman, I’d own more of Wallace.
Chris Moore is a 2016 4th round draft pick with well above average catch radius; burst, and agility scores who has a barren depth chart below him.
If you want to be zany, you could roster Michael Campanaro. The diminutive Campanaro boasts a 128.9 (96th percentile) Sparq-X score and comps favorably to the ” Slot God” Julien Edelman and put up an insane 59.5% college dominator rating. Campanaro has not been able to stay healthy so far his first 3 seasons in the league, but if he can get through training camp uninjured he’s worth a stash.
Philadelphia Eagles – 38.1 pass attempts per game (6th)
1-3 round draftee
First things first. The Eagles didn’t draft any offensive targets in the 1st three rounds of the NFL Draft. They did draft Mack Hollins in the 4th round. Hollins is an intriguing prospect, and if you have a taxi squad he’s worth a stash. The 6’4″ 221 pound Hollins has a height adjusted speed score of 109.3(88th%) and averaged 20.6 yards per reception in college. During his time at North Carolina, he never exceeded 35 receptions and finished his senior year with just 16 receptions. Hollins will fill a special teams role this year seeing the field on offense only if Torrey Smith flames out in 2017. Smith is on a glorified year to year contract so Hollins could see his role expand come 2018.
Updated Targets: Torrey Smith, Alshon Jeffery, Jordan Mattews
The Eagles addressed the wide receiver woes via free agency instead of the draft. The signings of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith bolstered the receiving corp and both players should be targeted, but Smith only so in bestball leagues.
Alshon Jeffery, on average, plays 12.5 games a season. It probably only feels like he’s been a game-time decision and/or non-practice participant for around 90% of the games he does play in. Even still, if you can obtain Jeffery for a late 1st you have to make that trade.
Someone that is going for a late 1st is Jordan Matthews. Miscast as the lead receiver for the last two seasons Matthews has still been a consistently productive wide receiver over that time, averaging 12.24 fantasy points per game in 2016 and 13.75 fantasy points per game in 2015. The past two seasons have seen Matthews targeted 116 and 128 times. Even with the additions of Jeffery and Smith, there’s no reason to expect Matthews target share to drop much, if at all.
Let’s work under the assumption the Eagles throw in 2017 less than they did in 2016(609 pass attempts), we’ll say by 5%, that would leave 578 targets to be distributed. Note a 5% decrease in pass attempts would be a significant reduction in target attempts.
Alshon Jeffery 148 Targets(Career-high)
Torrey Smith 91 Targets(Career Average)
Zach Ertz 77 Targets(Average over previous 2 seasons, his 2 highest targeted seasons)
Darren Sproles 72 Targets(Average targets per season with Eagles)
That would leave around 75 targets for the other pass-catchers on the roster to allow Matthews to reach 115 targets. This all assumes best case scenarios for Jeffery and Smith as far as target shares. Jeffery hasn’t played a full season, and Torrey Smith hasn’t seen 91 targets since 2014.
In short, what I’m saying is this. For Matthews not to garner at least 115-125 targets next season the Eagles would need to throw the ball less this coming season, and Jeffery, Smith and Ertz would need to be targeted at their historical peaks. Go trade the 1.10 straight up for Matthews and thank me later.
Washington Redskins – 37.9 pass attempts per game (7th)
The good news for Doctson and Crowder was the departure of Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson along with their 224 combined targets in 2016. The bad news was the addition of Terrelle Pryor who was targeted 140 times in Cleveland last season.
Updated Targets: Jamison Crowder
When we examine who this hurts between Doctson and Crowder it’s obvious the Pryor signing is a direct threat to the types of targets Doctson would receive. Washington targeted deep routes 19.71% of their pass attempts in 2016. These deep passes weren’t going Crowders way, his average target distance of 8.8 yards per target was #87th in the league where Pryor averaged 14.2 yards per target which was 16th. Crowder ran 55.7% of his routes out of the slot(in 3 WR or more sets) while Pryor ran 5.4% of his routes out of the slot. This all points to Pryor being a direct threat to Docton’s targets.
In DLF’s most recent ADP Pryor is being drafted at 44th overall, while Crowder is 46th and Doctson is being drafted 57th overall. Crowder’s ADP is that perfect area where it’s not too high and you can buy him now and possibly flip him later for a profit if you decide to move on from him. If Doctson starts 2017 slowly and Pryor continues where he left off last season I’d look to buy Doctson as his perceived value drops. I can foresee Doctson having a similar arc to Breshad Perriman. Rookie season decimated by injury, useful but not overwhelming second season and then finally a 3rd-year breakout(yes, I’m presupposing Perriman has a year 3 breakout).
Thanks for reading along if you have comments or critiques please comment below or find me on the Twitter @DFF_Shane.