Wide Receiver Regression Risk: Whose Targets Could Diminish In 2012 (Lloyd, Bowe & More)

Yesterday we looked at our Top 50 Wide Receivers for the 2012 season (click here to view).  Today, I went to dig a little bit deeper and look at which receivers could see a dramatic drop in targets for the coming season (thus leading to a decline in fantasy appeal):

Brandon Lloyd – New England Patriots
2011 Targets = 150 (5th)
He spent the majority of last season playing for a St. Louis Rams team that saw receiver after receiver go down due to injury.  Now, playing in New England, he is going to have to battle Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Deion Branch for looks.  While the Patriots may be a pass first offense, there is no way Lloyd is one of the most targeted players in the league this season.

Of course, his production last season was nothing to brag about, as he had just 70 receptions for 966 yards and 5 TD.  It wouldn’t be surprising to see him come close to matching that production this year, though it’s no guarantee as he may struggle to see 100 targets.

Dwayne Bowe – Kansas City Chiefs
2011 Targets = 141 (8th)
He is going to continue on as the Chiefs’ top wide receiver, though it’s not that they don’t have other options like second year receiver Jonathan Baldwin, tight end’s Tony Moeaki and Kevin Boss as well as veteran Steve Breaston.  Throw in the return of Jamaal Charles and the addition of Peyton Hillis and the Chiefs simply may not throw the ball quite as much as they did a year ago and, when they do, they likely will spread the ball around.

Bowe wasn’t the sharpest receiver, with 81 receptions for 1,159 yards and 5 TD.  He has shown the ability to get 70+ catches for around 1,000 yards and 5 TD during his five year career, so it’s hard to bet against him getting to those marks even with a decline in targets.  That said, he’s more of a mid-WR2 and nothing more.  The upside just isn’t there.

Dustin Keller – New York Jets
2011 Targets = 116 (tied for 24th)
He was the most targeted Jet receiver a year ago. In fact, Keller was tied for the sixth most targets among tight ends.  I have a hard time thinking that will happen again.  Regardless of it is Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow under center, you would think they will be trying to get the ball more to Santonio Holmes and rookie Stephen Hill.

While he had a productive season in 2011 (65 receptions, 815 yards, 5 TD), a fall in targets will lead to a fall in overall production.  Throw in the identity crisis of the Jets (are they a running team?  are the a big play team?) and it is impossible to project what Keller may do.  I’d much rather have him as a TE2 than my starting option.

Mike Williams – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2011 Targets = 124 (tied for 16th)
It felt like they tried to force feed him the ball last season, as evidenced by the number of targets versus his receptions (65 catches). That’s not going to be the case this time around thanks to the addition of Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin. That’s not to say that I don’t think he is going to improve, because I do (especially in the touchdown department), but he is going to get less looks. Just keep that in mind when you are valuing him. That said, he likely will be a draft day bargain.

Tony Gonzalez – Atlanta Falcons
2011 Targets = 116 (tied for 24th)
At 36-years old how much does he really have left in the tank? Obviously he’s not going to completely disappear, but you can’t go into the year expecting he’s tossed this many looks again, not with Roddy White and Julio Jones on the outside. He’s worth owning, but he is more of a low-end option.

What are your thoughts of these receivers?  Whose value is going to decline?

Make sure to check out our 2012 fantasy football rankings:

Sleeper Spotlight: Will Isaiah Pead Prove Valuable In 2012 Or Beyond?
Late Round Target: Could Martellus Bennett Develop Into A Viable Option At TE?

6 comments

  1. muddy cleats says:

    as he had just 70 receptions for 966 yards and 5 TD. – he could do that in half a season….I HATE the pat’s but they could be a pinball machine this year with that schedule. damn, I think I might have to draft a couple of them….

  2. GT says:

    “Beat writer Rich Cimini doesn’t expect Keller to be surpassed by second-round WR Stephen Hill one season after leading the Jets in targets.”

    It wouldn’t be surprising to see Keller be the #2 for NYJ given the options around him. I’m not sure why you have faith in Holmes/Hill – haven’t Jets (and rookie) wideouts disappointed us enough? Now Holmes is pouting once again and LDT/Plax are gone. And no matter what the Jets identity is (ground v. air) or who their QB is, Keller could play an consistent role as a dump off TE.

  3. muddy cleats – The problem is that there are just so many balls to go around and I don’t see Lloyd getting the bulk of the looks.

    GT – It’s not that I have faith in the receivers, I have no faith in the Jets to do anything that makes sense. If (or should I say when) Tebow takes over, it’s going to be run the ball and throw it up deep to the receivers, just like we saw in Denver.

  4. muddy cleats says:

    Brady hasn’t had a wr as good as Lloyd in a long time. not sayin he is as good as Moss was but you never know…would you take Lloyd over some of the other wr’s in adp range like A Brown or Maclin?

  5. Will says:

    I’d throw Roddy White up there. White had a huge amount of targets last year (again). Imagine if his catch % was higher. But, Julio Jones should get more looks. Jacquizz Rodgers figures to get some looks each game.

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