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As I sit here and ponder the upcoming season’s rankings for wide receivers, I start to look at the off-season moves of these guys and wonder what type of effect will be had on them by the quarterback they’re going to play catch with.  You see, just because you have a talented wide receiver like Vincent Jackson moving to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers doesn’t mean his stat line will follow him.  A dude has gotta get him the ball for him to be successful y’all.  If you don’t believe me, just ask Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers back in 2009 and 2010.  With that thought in mind, I thought I’d dig up some numbers on quarterbacks and their amount of down field pass attempts (which is a pass that is thrown for over 15 yards for this evaluation) as a percentage of their overall attempts.  Friends, what you find here is shocking and appalling and may forever scar your mind…Tim Tebow led the league last year with a whopping 33.5% of his attempts sailing out of bounds going for over 15 yards.  Of course, he completed just 46.3% of his passes so we know they didn’t find their target all that often.  I think we can safely say he was throwing (takes off sunglasses) a lot of hail marys (YEAAAAAAHHHH!).  Now one stat doesn’t mean much since there can be so many variables as to why it is low or high.  However, it’s a good starting point to use for evaluating the fantasy relevance or irrelevance of the wide receivers they have as well as the quarterbacks themselves.  With that said, let the fantasy football sleuthing begin!

Josh Freeman (14% deep) – Freeman tied two other quarterbacks for lowest percentage of deep balls thrown in 2011.  The other two limp limbs were Colt McCoy and Dan Orlovsky.  Even if you were in a coma for a year and woke only to watch one full weekend of football, you’d know that’s not good company to be in.  What’s odd is that Freeman was middle of the pack back in 2010 with the likes of Peyton Manning and Matt Hasselbeck with a 21.7% clip.  It’s even more baffling when you consider that the three teams of those quarterbacks combined to go 10-38, so you’d think there would have to be plenty of opportunities to sling the ball further than 15 yards at a decent rate; Cam Newton had a great season playing from behind with just over a 1/4th of his passes (25.7%) going deep.  Since 2011 was an odd year – both numerically and because of the hold out – there might be more hope in here for both Freeman and his #1 long ball target Vincent Jackson (career 17.5 YPR) than I would’ve previously had.  Take this info and tuck it under your cap for when the draft comes.  If you don’t have a cap, buy one; they’re really not that expensive.

Philip Rivers (23.7% deep) – Rivers has only had one season in which less than 20 percent of his passes didn’t go for over 15 yards and that was his first full season in 2006 when he had an 18.3% rate.  The rest of the time he’s finished in or near the top 10 with well over 20% most seasons.  Wanna know his career rate on this stat?  Too bad, this article’s getting long and I don’t have time to evaluate it down to the nitty gritty details.  Stop busting my balls deep analysis!  Anyways, I bring this info to you so that you can relish in the splendor that is Robert Meachem or ‘he of the 16.1 career YPR’ as I like to call him.  I’m seeing Meachem being ranked as the 29th best WR while Vincent Jackson is getting listed the 16th best by some guy at ESPN while I see mockdraftcentral putting Jackson 11th and Meachem 46th.  I’m gonna go out on a limb and say though it may take only one to Macarena, it takes two to tango and Meachem has the better set up at this point.  If that ranking holds, you can bet I will have Meachem on my team this year.

Alex Smith (17% deep) – Wait, I thought 2011 was Smith’s breakout year?  How could he have finished as low as 6th on this stat for the year?  Of course there were multiple factors for this.  Conservative coaching style with limited reps in pre-season with a new coach and offensive coordinator are surely a part of it.  Couple that with the team simply not needing much deep passing plays with the stout defense they had and you have set the course for a middling stat line at quarterback.  I only bring Alex up as he has a fairly decent corps of wide receivers for this year in Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham and – well this is a big maybe – Randy Moss.  The last two guys on that list are the ones I really want to highlight as their career YPRs – 14.5 and 15.6 respectively – are dangerously close to where Alex Smith doesn’t throw it.  That’s not to say they won’t get passes thrown their way, but that their fantasy relevance depends on catching the deep ball.  If I had any inkling of investing in San Fransisco WRs, this has pretty much broken me of it.

 

From Around The Web

  1. Chips Winston says:
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    Mark Sanchez – Holmes/Hill…..love to hear your thoughts.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Not excited at all, truthfully. Sanchez is going to lose some of those rushing TDs from last year to Tebow making it unlikely he finishes in the top 10 for QBs by the end of the season, especially when you consider the 26 TOs last year. Hill is a raw talent that would need a more consistent QB to be draft-worthy in my book. Holmes is stuck with the same problem at QB, of course, but at least he’s a veteran and knows how to play within the constraints of what he has.

  2. David_KOA says:
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    @Sky,
    Name value plays a big part when it comes to fantasy owners and who they draft. It is not a good way to go about drafting your fantasy teams! It is definitely showing it’s ugly face for MDC rankings. If you ask a fantasy owner, what comes to mind when they think Robert Meachem. You have a good chance of hearing inconsistent, can only go deep & disappointment. Yes, on the surface that may be what we see but when you delve deeper and explore. Maybe it was not so much Meachem but his role in the offense he played in.

    In the last three years(19 games) when Robert Meachem has garnered at least five targets in a ball game. He has totaled a stat line that looks like 84 catches(4.4), 1210 yards(63.7), 9 TDs(0.47) on 129 targets(6.6)

    Now Meachem is going to have competition for the vacant number one targets left behind by Vincent Jackson. The player he will be competing with is no slouch(when healthy) Malcom Floyd. As we saw last year in his final five games of the year with Jackson on the field. 24 catches(4.8), 455 yards(91) & 4 TDs(0.8).

    You also add in the mix the QB that will be throwing them the rock every sunday. You take out last year for Rivers and you take a look at his previous three. He gives you 4,324 yards, 31 TDs & 11 INTs. I would not be surprised in the least if we see his name as a top five fantasy QB in 2012. Yet he is not coming off the board till the last pick of round six(10th) QB. Owners paying too much attention to last year! I am not complaining and hope that trend stays the same through out the summer.

    Over at FFC and the ADP chart. You will find Robert Meachem coming off the board at 7.07(31st) WR off the board. A ton of value in this pick at the moment for fantasy owners. You are drafting him to be your WR3 and could be getting a high end WR2 in return. Malcom Floyd is coming off the board at 8.07(36th) WR. I also see some good value in this pick. As long as he can stay healthy for a full 16 you are looking at a high end WR3. Depending on how the targets play out between he and Meachem you are looking at the potential for WR2 production. The beauty is you are only paying for a WR4 come draft day.

    I am a really big fan of (Rivers & Meachem) especially for the cost. I also would not mind Floyd if I miss out on Meachem.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Def agree about name values. Helps the people who know what they’re doing, though. Meachem was in a pass-heavy offense that had just too many quality targets for him to ever get top end receptions. Nice find on those Meachem stats. I’m undercutting them in my rankings but my end line for him surprised even me by comparison to the other sites and their rankings.

      I’m definitely on board with Rivers this year; last year was an anomaly with those interceptions. Malcom is definitely in the mix but I have higher hopes for Meachem based on draft price at this point as well as health history.

      Just an FYI, I’ve got a date with a backyard project so will be away for most of the day. If my arms still work and you’ve responded, I’ll try to get back with you later in the evening.

      • David_KOA says:
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        @Sky,
        I am going to post what, I think we can expect from Robert Meachem based on the number of targets
        Best outcome- 110+ targets(V-Jax received) 1200+ yards & 6+ TDs more then happy- around 100 targets 1100+ yards & 5+ TDs

        We do have also realize that Robert Meachem has never been the focal point of an offense. The chargers also have Floyd, Gates & Brown. We could be looking at a situation nobody gets WR1 targets. If this plays out I could see a line of 80+ targets for around 1000 yards & 3-4 TDs

        Hopefully Norv was telling us the truth, when he came out and said they believe Robert can be the Chargers number 1WR. Even if He ends up not being a true WR1. You paid for a WR3 and that is what you get in return.

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          @David_KOA, though it’s true that Meachem has never been the focal point, we’d have to also say the same for Floyd. My numbers are near/in line to your best case scenario. We’ll see how Norv treats me, I guess :)

  3. Nick from Madison says:
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    I have an interesting fantasy question that, like all fantasy questions this time of year, really doesn’t need an answer for another 3 months…and yet here we are.
    My keeper league is adding a “practice squad” where teams can tab 2 rookies or second-year players that are not drafted in our normal fantasy draft to stow away for a year. However, if they start producing too well, other teams can claim them (for a cost).

    So, I need to find a few players who might not do much this year, but will be in a good position to produce in 2013 when I can keep them for a last round pick without giving up a year of keeper eligibility.

    It’s a 10-team league, but the benches are pretty deep, so quite a few upside rookies will end up drafted.

    Here are the guys I’ve been thinking about…

    QB:
    Dalton (may get drafted)
    Luck
    Locker

    RB:
    Alex Green
    K Hunter (probably drafted)
    Jacquizz Rodgers
    Mikel LeShoure
    Ryan Williams (probably drafted)
    D Wilson (prob drafted)
    Isaiah Pead

    WR:
    Randall Cobb

    I’d welcome your thoughts on 2013 sleepers :)

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      @Nick from Madison, Interesting draft idea. Fair warning, fantasy football crystal balls are usually a year to year thing. The stores don’t sell them until January of that year :)

      With this kind of draft set up, I think QB is the way to goIf we are targeting 2013, Luck might be a good gamble but Locker might be better. Long term, I like Luck but Locker should get a shot to lead in 2012 with a better shot to be productive in 2013. Luck’s going to take his lumps this year. It will really just depend on how much he learns in 2012 what his worth will be in 2013.

      If not, though the other backs I’d say have more talent, I see Rodgers having the better chance at a 2013 impact; Michael Turner is not long for this world with his age (30) and the workload he’s had over the last 4 seasons (average of 322 carries a year in a 16 game season). When you also consider he’s not a receiving back threat, I think Rodgers has a strong change to be fantasy viable in 2013, if not sooner.

  4. David_KOA says:
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    @Sky,
    Speaking of the 49ers and the trio of WRs. It seems like the early drafters are favoring Randy Moss.
    Current ADP show
    Randy Moss- 9.03(38th) WR off the board
    Mario Manningham- 11.09(49th) WR off the board
    Like you, I just don’t see the appeal at all in Moss or Manningham. I don’t see the value in either of the players current ADP. Especially when it comes to Moss and his ADP. No way am I touching either Moss or Manningham. Unless, I am in a 32 team league and then I might consider it.

    Now Michael Crabtree is a different story. Looking at his last season game log especially the final 11 games. He played strong with an avg of 5.4 catches, 67.4 yards & .36 TDs You add the fact that his QB has another year in the system & they added weapons(LaMichael James) to stretch the field vertically(Moss & Manningham).

    Michael Crabtree is not coming off the board till 10.02(46th) WR off the board. When I look at that, I can see myself drafting Michael Crabtree for his services in 2012. A good chance you are drafting this guy to be your WR5. You are really getting a WR that will give you WR3 production. That is the type of value, I am all about finding come draft day.

    • David_KOA says:
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      @David_KOA,
      Michael Crabtree is coming off the board at 10.12(not 10.02)

      • Sky

        Sky says:
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        @David_KOA, as a bench player, sure, I don’t mind Crabtree. It’s just not very exciting territory is all. With SF pursuing Manning over the off-season, I wonder how worried they are with Alex Smith at the helm this year.

        • David_KOA says:
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          @Sky,
          Agree on Michael Crabtree not being a sexy name. If you draft him, don’t expect anybody to say good pick or damn I wanted that guy. In ppr formats, I think he holds a little bit more value then standard. From week 6-17 he had at least 5 catches in 8 of those games.

          It just goes back to how deep the WR position is in 2012. Can we just eliminate the RB spot. have line ups consist of QBs, WRs & TEs!

          • Sky

            Sky says:
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            Agree on PPR. 72 receptions last year and outside of Davis, was the true target in that offense.

            There’s always Dexter McCluster and C.J. Spiller to fill your lineup with all WRs (at least over at ESPN). :)

  5. David_KOA says:
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    @Sky,
    The Current ADP of the Lions backfield
    Jahvid Best-6.09(28th)
    Mikel Leshoure-9.05(40th)
    Kevin Smith-12.08(52nd)

    What a shocker, another NFL team with a messy backfield for fantasy owners.

    I would like to say my preferred choice would be Best. The only problem is, I can not turn off the injury option like in Madden video games. Yes, reports are good this off season about his health and he is running with the first team. That being said they are playing with out pads and contact. I will be passing on Best unless, I see a drastic change in ADP.

    The next guy(Leshoure) has nothing but red flags around his name. We don’t know what his suspension will be, he is coming off an injury(Achilles) & he has never played a down in the NFL. All that being said, he is a player with very nice upside(especially at his current asking price). Hopefully he really is on track to being healthy and voids a long suspension. A player you will want to monitor this summer.

    Now on to the player(Smith) that at the moment, I like the most. From week 10-13 last year, we saw Kevin have a line of 91.8 Total yards, 3.75 catches & 1 TD. Then he suffered an injury and from that point did not seem to be himself. Being injured is not new to Smith and his NFL career. You factor in the question marks with the two other backs, his productivity when healthy and his current ADP. I am all for taking a shot on Kevin Smith in the 12th round or later come draft day.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Yeah, I find it extremely strange that Kevin is last in that bunching when it comes to ADP. They’re all risky plays. Jahvid/Mikel are probably the most explosive of the three but their injuries/issues scare me way more than Kevin does. He’s a bumps and bruises kind of back. Concussions and law issues are scary. I don’t mind drafting Kevin as a bench back that you can rotate in when healthy. I seriously question the production of the other two based on the issues they have.

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