Targets Are Like Pouring Gasoline on the Flame of Talent

Earlier today I posted perhaps an unneeded Michael Floyd article where I posited that even though I’m not targeting Floyd now, I’m paying attention to see if the conditions might materialize for Floyd to become a value. I offered a sensitivity table in that article which had some hypothetical fantasy point totals based on varying numbers of targets. As I was doing that I realized that it’s kind of helpful to be able to translate targets into a fantasy positional finish. For instance, here’s a graph I made where I plotted targets versus WR finish for the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

Rplot138

You can see that getting up over the 145 number in targets will also mean about a WR12 finish. I think it’s important to keep that trend in mind as we think about 2015 because usage is the immovable object in fantasy football. It’s true that crazy seasons like Jordy Nelson’s 96 target/15 TD season can happen. And the flip side can also happen as Andre Johnson rolled up 146 targets and not very many fantasy points in 2014. But you’re better off counting on your player landing somewhere around league average in efficiency, than you are planning for him to wildly exceed league average in efficiency. That’s why the targets are so important.

Below is a table I made where I took the trend line from above and calculated the positional finish at WR for various target numbers. It’s important to think about as we really bear down and try to figure out who this year’s league winners will be. Can you really tell yourself a story about your guy getting into the 130 target range? That’s probably about what’s needed for a WR that you draft in the WR30-WR40 range to really make a noticeable difference on your roster. You want every player to exceed draft cost, but not every draft pick you make will actually do that. But if you draft a player at WR30+ and they can make it up into the WR18 or higher range then you’ve made a real profit.

Targets  PosRank
80        39.9
85        38.4
90        37.0
95        35.6
100        33.9
105        32.1
110        30.1
115        27.79
120        24.2
125        20.7
130        18.0
135        15.6
140        13.6
145        11.9
150        10.3
155          8.8
160          7.6
165          6.5
170          5.7
175          5.0
180          4.5
185          4.2
190          4.0
195          4.0
200          4.2