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The Truth is in the Targets

As a finance guy, nothing excites me more than the two months leading up to a draft. You pore over hours of stats, figures and projections until you concoct what you believe amounts to the perfect formula for success. Fantasy football is so similar to investing – I’m convinced I could turn any knowledgeable, competitive fantasy football player into a successful stockbroker (please hold your applications … ok … maybe I’ll just look at one, but I expect nothing less than a three-time champion). You trade your income statements for team offensive totals, your balance sheets for rush-pass ratios, and your statement of cash flows for red zone efficiency. It’s that simple (I’m not even kidding, it literally is …)

Now, before I invest in any company, the first question I ask myself is, “Can the company make money?” Simply put, it’s safer to invest in companies you know can create revenue versus companies you assume
can. Granted, some companies create large revenue streams (targets), but due to high expenses (dropped passes and minimal red zone targets), their net income isn’t what you’d hoped for (fantasy points). But for the most part, companies with higher revenue streams tend to be safer investments. Fantasy football is no different. We look to minimize risk while maximizing value. Let’s take a look at some of the safer investments across the league.

A few questions to get us started … see how close you come.

1. How many players were targeted more than 100 times last season?

(Stop scrolling here if you don’t want to see the answer)

A: 39

2. How many of those players were tight ends? How many were running backs?

A: 9 TE, 1 RB

3. How many tight ends lead their team in targets?

A: Six. Comically, the top two tight ends targeted (Dallas Clark and Tony Gonzalez) didn’t lead their team in targets.

4. Of the Top 38 wide receivers and tight ends targeted, how many of them were in the Top 38 fantasy scorers for their respective position on the year (based on standard scoring)?

A: Thirty-two, with Greg Olsen missing out by a point. That’s more than 84 percent. And if Olsen would’ve caught another 18-yard pass, it would’ve been roughly 87 percent.

5. How many teams had two guys targeted more than 100 times? How many had none?

A: Twelve teams had two; five teams had none (Cleveland, St. Louis, New York Jets, Kansas City and Tennessee). A few teams barely squeaked in … Chicago (Greg Olsen had 108), new Orleans (Marques Colston – 106), Buffalo (Terrell Owens – 103) and Oakland (Zach Miller – 100).

As you can see, targets are directly related to fantasy consistency and are crucial
when drafting in the all important middle to late rounds of your draft. Without further ado, the target list for last season …

Name

Targets

Receptions

Yards

TDs

Fantasy Points

Andre Johnson

170

101

1569

9

205

Roddy White

165

85

1153

11

174

Wes Welker

162

123

1348

4

155

Steve Smith (NYG)

159

107

1220

7

158

Brandon Marshall

154

101

1120

10

166

Larry Fitzgerald

153

97

1092

13

180

Reggie Wayne

149

100

1264

10

177

Randy Moss

138

83

1264

13

196

Santanio Holmes

138

79

1248

5

145

Hines Ward

137

95

1167

6

143

Calvin Johnson

137

67

984

5

124

Tony Gonzalez

136

83

867

6

117

T.J. Houshmandzadeh

135

79

911

3

100

Derrick Mason

132

73

1028

7

138

Dallas Clark

132

100

1106

10

163

Steve Smith (Car)

130

65

982

7

136

Vernon Davis

129

78

965

13

129

Chad Ochocinco

128

72

1047

9

148

Kellen Winslow

127

77

884

5

111

Anquan Boldin

126

84

1024

4

121

Jason Witten

125

94

1030

2

107

Miles Austin

125

81

1320

11

194

Sidney Rice

122

83

1312

8

169

Santana Moss

121

70

902

3

97

Greg Jennings

118

68

1113

4

133

DeSean Jackson

118

63

1167

9

190

Antonio Gates

114

79

1157

8

156

Davone Bess

113

76

758

2

74

Donald Driver

112

70

1061

6

135

Brent Celek

112

76

971

8

137

Mike Sims-Walker

110

63

869

7

120

Terrell Owens

109

55

829

5

115

Greg Olsen

108

60

612

8

103

Vincent Jackson

107

68

1167

9

166

Marques Colston

106

70

1074

9

150

Torry Holt

103

51

722

0

64

Nate Burleson

103

63

812

3

90

Ray Rice

103

78

702

1

76 – on receiving

Zach Miller

100

66

805

3

91

What initially jumps out at you when looking at this? It could be a plethora of different things from Wes Welker nearly leading the lead in targets despite missing nearly three games this past year (could be a great late-round stash this year), Steve Smith of the Giants being in the Top 4 (currently ranked 13th on fantasy sharks), Hines Ward being borderline Top 10 or Calvin Johnson ranking 12th despite missing nearly three games last year. Whatever the case may be, I want you to remember one thing, “The more you know, the bigger your advantage.” For instance, take a look at a few scenarios from a few of my recent mock drafts …

Third round – Roddy White, Miles Austin or DeSean Jackson?

Fourth round – Sidney Rice or Marques Colston?

Fifth round – Mike Sims-Walker or Steve Smith of the Giants?

Sixth round – Hines Ward or Donald Driver?

10th round – Santana Moss, Lee Evans or Antonio Bryant?

Opinions will vary, but when I was faced with these decisions I went White, Rice (assuming Favre is back), Smith, Ward and Moss.

Like finance, revenues (targets) are only the tip of the iceberg. Next comes off-season injuries coupled with personnel additions and subtractions, anything from a new quarterback, running back, tight end or wide receiver and how their production will be effected, but that’s for a different day and a different article.

Until next time …

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