Money Makers

There are many different kinds of scoring leagues in the Fantasy Football world.  The one constant is touchdowns.  The guys who get into the end zone are really the money makers for your team.  A good way to gauge who will score are red zone targets.  Lets take a look at some of the top from 2011.

1. Rob Gronkowski – Gronk had an amazing year in 2011.  He finished the regular season with 17 TD’s.  He was Tom Brady’s main target in the red zone, with 30.  21 percent of the balls thrown his way were in the red zone.  A trend that should continue in the up coming year.  He’ll be double and triple covered in the end zone.  He’s such a freak it wont matter.  look for 12-15 scores this season.

2. Jimmy Graham – Jimmy Graham finished his rookie year with a bang in the last 4 games.  He never looked back last season.  Graham scored 11 TD’s.  29 of his targets were in the red zone.  He will be looked upon again this year in that area and could score even more.

3. Roddy White – White’s touchdown numbers have gone down from 11, 10 to 8 last season.  Don’t be fooled.  His targets in the red zone were tied with graham at 29.  So there’s reason to believe his TD’s can rebound a bit.  I don’t think he’ll score 15 this year.  But back up to 11 is a possibility.  White is still an excellent fantasy option.

4. Aaron Hernandez – Hernandez gets over shadowed by Rob Gronkowski in the fantasy and real world for good reason, Numbers.  But one number that sticks out is his targets in the red zone.  Hernandez was thrown to 28 times in that area last season.  Gronkowski should get a lot of attention in 2012.  Aaron Hernandez should be the benefactor, especially early in the year before teams adjust.

5. Calvin Johnson – Surprise surprise, Megatron gets thrown to in the end zone.  Stafford looked his way 26 times in the red zone.  A trend that will continue this season.  Johnson is entering his prime and will continue to be a dominant force this year.  He is worth a first round selection.

6. – Wes Welker – Yes, another New England Patriot.  Brady has a ton of weapons and will continue to use them.  Welker got 23 chances in the red zone last season.  A number that could go down with Brandon Lloyd now in the mix. Not to mention the two guys on the same roster mentioned above and Jabar Gaffney. Who comes back to New England and had 18 red zone targets himself.   As always Welker will be a great WR in PPR leagues.  I wouldn’t count on the scores coming like they did last year.

7 – Brandon Pettigrew – After Calvin Johnson, the second look is tight end Brandon Pettigrew.  He was thrown at 21 times last year.  A number that should be similar this season.  The Lions Wide receivers don’t have a ton of size.  Pettigrew should have a good year for himself in theory.  Lets see if he can put it together.

8 – Darren Sproles – The only runningback in the top 20 of targets with 21. Sproles has been the biggest fantasy secret in PPR leagues for years.  Especially in leagues where return yards count.  The cat is out of the bag.  Look for similar numbers again for the diminutive speedster.  The saints runningbacks aren’t monster power backs and Brees seems to like Sproles.  I’m not letting him slide past round 3 and neither should you in PPR leagues.

9. A.J. Green – You never know what you’ll get with rookie wide receivers.  If you drafted Green last year you hit the jack pot.  Andy Dalton and A.J. Green have a full year under their belt together.  Things will only get better.  This season will be even better and the red zone numbers will go up.  20 looks in 2011 should be up to 24-26 in 2012.

10. – Brandon Marshall – The Bears brought in Jay Cutler’s former go to guy this season.  Marshall had 20 targets in the red zone, in a Miami offense that wasn’t always stable at the Quarterback position.  This number will go up in Chicago and so should his touchdowns. I think he’ll be top 5 in red zone targets. Beware of the drops with Marshall.  It can drive a sober man to drink.  He will be a great WR2.

Other notables:

(19) Dustin Keller, Hakeem nicks, Stevie Johnson

(17) Larry Fitzgerald, Nate Burleson, Percy Harvin, Tony Gonzalez

(16) Brent Celek

Just because a player is thrown at may not lead to big numbers.  But injuries happen and finding a guy on the waiver wire who has a chance to score could really help.  Especially in deep leagues.

Mike Lockhart

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