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2011 Primary Receivers Report
David Dorey
August 17, 2011

The 2011 Ultimate RBBC Report is always popular and has prompted calls for a similar review of receivers. The position is always the least consistent so learning how teams use their primary receiver can help make important decisions on valuing players. A primary receiver gets the most amount of pass targets thrown to him in a game. So in a similar vein to the running backs, I did some crunching to see which players were the primary receiver (wide receiver or tight end) in each of their games. WIth some teams it was a constantly changing job. For others, it mostly the same.

For the 16 game season of 2010, here are which receivers were thrown the most passes in a game for their team.

Arizona Cardinals Gms Targets Target % Yards % of Yards Catches TDs
Larry Fitzgerald 12 11.9 41% 80 46% 6.4 0.3
Steve Breaston 2 10.0 34% 67 35% 4.5 0.5
Andre Roberts 1 9.0 47% 110 66% 5.0 1.0
Early Doucet 1 10.0 37% 60 43% 5.0 0.0

Never a doubt who is in charge here since Anquan Boldin left. Bringing in Kevin Kolb can only help Fitzgerald remain a productive primary receiver. Moving up Andre Roberts ensures that the Cardinals receivers all play a distant #2 to Fitzgerald.

Atlanta Falcons Gms Targets Target % Yards % of Yards Catches TDs
Roddy White 11 12.9 43% 95 46% 8.2 0.7
Tony Gonzalez 3 10.7 38% 74 37% 7.7 0.3
Michael Jenkins 2 10.0 36% 70 40% 5.0 0.0

This is going to be interesting since the Falcons jumped on the second best receiver in the NFL draft and added Julio Jones to immediately give them what they never had with Michael Jenkins - a real wide receiver across from Roddy White. In 2010, White was already #3 in the NFL for collecting the highest percentage of targets for wide receivers compared to the rest of his team. Hard to believe he'll get any more catches since he averaged around 8 receptions in the games he was the primary last year. Jones will take some unknown share of catches but in addition to collecting what Jenkins would have done, Jones should also be more of a detriment to the declining Tony Gonzalez. White remains a safe bet even with Jones on the roster.

Baltimore Ravens Gms Targets Target % Yards % of Yards Catches TDs
Anquan Boldin 7 9.3 37% 76 38% 5.4 0.9
Derrick Mason 5 9.0 42% 72 43% 5.8 0.8
Todd Heap 3 7.0 31% 65 36% 4.7 0.0
T.J. Houshmandzadeh 1 4.0 33% 15 16% 1.0 0.0

The Ravens don't throw a lot and when they do, Joe Flacco has spread the wealth. Last season Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason produced nearly exact stats (64-837, 7 TD vs. 61-802, 7 TD) and that doesn't bode that well for Boldin even with Mason leaving the team. Lee Evans was signed and will replace Mason though Evans is more of a long ball catcher while Mason was a possession guy. Boldin might get an incremental increase in targets but it won't equate to making him as valuable as he once was in Arizona.

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