Yesterday we at Roto Professor looked at our top 50 wide receivers for the 2012 season (click here to view).
Today, I want to dig a little bit deeper and look at which receivers could see dramatic drops in targets for the coming season (thus leading to declines 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 five touchdowns. 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 ends Tony Moeaki and Kevin Boss, and 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 last year, with 81 receptions for 1,159 yards and five touchdowns. He has shown the ability to get 70-plus catches for around 1,000 yards and five touchdowns per season during his five-year career, so it’s hard to bet against his 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 Jets receivers a year ago. In fact Keller was tied for the sixth most targets among league tight ends.
I have a hard time thinking that will happen again.
While he had a productive season in 2011 (with 65 receptions, 815 yards and five touchdowns), 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 they 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 additions 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 fewer 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 that he'll be 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 on these receivers? Whose value is going to decline?
Make sure to check out our 2012 fantasy football rankings: