Earlier in the week we looked at receivers who could see a decline in targets in 2012 (click here to view). Today, let’s take a peek at those who could see a major increase:
Jacoby Ford – Oakland Raiders
2011 Targets = 33
Ford was limited to just 8 games last season which, in part, helps to explain the low number of targets. Still, even when he played he barely averaged 4 targets per game. However, let’s remember that Carson Palmer didn’t join the Raiders until Week 7 and didn’t start until Week 9. Ford only appeared in three games from Week 9 on and one of them was a 5 reception, 105 yard and 1 TD game.
A better quarterback alone should lead to more opportunities for Ford, who should operate as the third receiver behind Darius Heyward-Bey (always a potential bust) and Denarius Moore (33 receptions in 13 games in 2012). Ford may not be a star, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him emerge as the Raiders top receiver. He’s definitely a name to keep in mind.
Emmanuel Sanders – Pittsburgh Steelers
2011 Targets = 43
He is not going to start over Mike Wallace (assuming his contract situation is sorted out) or Antonio Brown, but you have to like Sanders seeing a significantly increased role this season. With Hines Ward gone, Sanders should have the inside track of working as the teams third receiver.
A year ago Brown led the team in targets with 123, followed by Wallace at 113. Yes, Heath Miller could get a bump from his 75, but you would have to think a lot of the 63 targets Ward had would go to Sanders. I am not about to suggest that he is going to be targeted 90+ times, but 75-80 may not be unrealistic given their offense.
Give that to a healthy Sanders and is 50 receptions an unrealistic mark?
Sidney Rice – Seattle Seahawks
2011 Targets = 57
Golden Tate – Seattle Seahawks
2011 Targets = 58
I am lumping these two guys together because their story is exactly the same. The Seahawks did not bring in Matt Flynn to sit back and hand the ball off (plus, with Marshawn Lynch’s recent legal troubles who knows if a suspension is looming). You have to think they are going to throw the ball significantly more than they did a year ago, when no Seahawks player was targeted more than 61 times (Ben Obonamu).
If I had to guess I would put my money on Rice being the guy, given his contract and previous production. Keep in mind, however, that he has been limited to a total of 15 games the past two years. You need to be on the field to get looks and, if he is forced out again, Tate could finally break out.
Robert Meachem – San Diego Chargers
2011 Targets = 61
He moves from New Orleans to San Diego, which should give him a tremendous boost in opportunities. It’s not that the Chargers don’t have other options, but Drew Brees and the Saints always moved the ball around and routinely got 7, 8 or 9 receivers into the mix. In San Diego, that’s not going to be the case.
We will finally find out if Meachem has what it takes to be a must use fantasy option. He should be the top option in SD, though, which means a huge boost in targets.
Demaryius Thomas – Denver Broncos
2011 Targets = 70
We have talked about him enough that I am not going to repeat everything again. The fact is that if Peyton Manni g is healthy Thomas has the chance to emerge as a WR1 this season and surpass 100 targets. That statement alone is all you really need to know.
What are your thoughts on these receivers? Who are you buying? What other receivers do you think will see a big boost in targets?
Make sure to check out our 2012 fantasy football rankings: