Pierre Garcon led the NFL in targets (184) and receptions (113) last year. With the addition of DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts, the fantasy football community’s knee-jerk reaction is to say Garcon’s numbers will take a hit—he can’t maintain that clip with the new weapons in town.
People have just accepted Garcon’s looks will decrease as fact and are saying that he’s overvalued, even at his sinking, fourth-round ADP.
Instead of accepting conjecture as conclusion, I’ve broken down the individual players’ stats to see if Garcon could retain his 2013 value for 2014 drafters.
Washington gave RGIII the green light to throw on 611 plays in 2013. That total accounted for the 9th-most pass attempts per game (38.2) last year.
And they didn’t forget about the run either. Washington ran the ball an average of 28.3 times per game last season, which was the 13th-most in the league.
Targets By Player
First let’s look at DeSean Jackson. He saw a tremendous jump in receptions in 2013 as compared to the rest of this career. He went from averaging 54.8 receptions per year over his first five years, to catching 82 balls in 2013.
But I’m not throwing out his 2013 season. I just mention it to say I think 2013 was an outlier.
Jackson had the ball thrown his way 650 total times in his career and has played in 87 games (missing 9 games over 6 years). He’s averaging 7.47 targets per game, which would put him at 119.5 targets if he played an entire season.
The next receiving threat will be Jordan Reed. Reed only played in 9 games last year and had 59 targets in those games. Extrapolated over an entire season, Reed is looking at about 104.8 targets this season.
Andre Roberts was brought in from Arizona. Taking out his rookie season where he didn’t get much run, Roberts has a total of 287 targets in 47 games—that’s 6.1 targets per game, which is 97.6 targets per season.
And because people have bought into Jay Gruden being a guy who throws to his running backs (this is only partially true—he didn’t much in 2011 or 2012, prior to having Giovani Bernard), I’ll take a look at Bernard’s targets.
Bernard had 71 targets in 2013 under Gruden. And I know Giovani isn’t donning a Redskins uni, but if you think Roy Helu can play that role, then we gotta throw those targets in the pot too.
So let’s add this up: a cup of DeSean with 119.5 targets, a heaping tablespoon of Reed with his 104.8 targets, a smidge of Roberts with his 97.6 targets and add a pinch of Helu with his 71 targets. That gives us 392.9 targets based on averages.
Now we gotta knead in Garcon’s 184 league-leading targets from 2013, and that takes us to 576.9 total targets. (My wife was cooking when I wrote this last section).
Again, the Redskins threw the ball 611 times last year. We’ve accounted for 576.9 of those pass attempts, which leaves 34.1 more to distribute. Perhaps those are for Alfred Morris or the full back, or heaven forbid, Santana Moss (yes, he’s still on the roster).
Next-level fantasy owners may say, “Well, Gruden never ran an offense who threw the ball more than 600 times.” You’re right.
In three seasons with Cincinnati, Gruden threw the ball (well, not him...you know what I mean) 535 times in 2011, 540 times in 2012 and 587 times in 2013. He was calling more and more pass plays each year.
And you have to remember, he was working with a rookie quarterback (Andy Dalton) in 2011. As Dalton grew, so did the pass attempts. Six hundred passing attempts is not out of the question for the Redskins in 2014.
Garcon: 11.5 targets per game.
Jackson: 7.5 targets per game.
Reed: 6.6 targets per game.
Roberts: 6.0 targets per game.
Helu: 4.4 targets per game.
That adds up to an even 36 targets total, per game. Last year, Dalton averaged 36.7 passes per game. It works. Stop saying it doesn't.
So the next time you hear someone say Garcon can’t possibly keep up his 11.5 targets per game average with Jackson and Roberts on the roster, please use a link to this article as a bitch slap to that dude’s face.