Fading Heroes: WRs
After yesterday's article about those WRs who played significantly better in the second half of the season, I received a few questions asking about those players who fared signicantly worse down the stretch.
There were 62 wideouts who averaged at least 5.0 FP/G in Weeks 1-9 and played at least three games in both halves of the season. Below is a table of the 30 worst finishes, ranked in order of the difference if FP/G between the first half and the second half.
|WEEKS 1-9||WEEKS 10-17||DIFF|
|59||Steve L Smith||CAR||8||9.1||14.4||8||7.0||8.2||-2.1||-6.2|
A few random observations:
- Simply appearing on this list isn't a huge deal, but when an appearance goes along with other red flags (like Mike Wallace's contract situation), it is cause for concern. Wallace averaged just 3.2 catches in his final six games even though his targets stayed pretty consistent.
- Andre Johnson battled a hamstring injury for most of the second half of the season, but played pretty well in the playoffs, hauling in 13 catches for 201 yards and a TD against the Bengals and Ravens. He should be fine for 2012, but does carry significant injury risk considering his age (30) and the number of missed games (12) over the last two seasons.
- Sure, Wes Welker's numbers took a big dip in the second half, but that was partly due to the fact that he was so good in the first half of the season. Had he averaged 9.9 FP over the course of the season, he would have finished WR13, so he wasn't a slouch down the stretch.
- The Panthers threw less over the second half of the season (35.9 attempts in the first eight games versus just 28.8 attempts over the last eight games) and it explains why Steve L Smith's targets dropped from 9.1 to 7.0 per game. We're projecting 32.3 attempts per game for Newton in 2012.
- Over the first half of the season, Greg Jennings led Jordy Nelson in targets per game (8.2 to 5.1). Over the final eight weeks, Jennings saw 6.6 T/G while Nelson saw 6.8 T/G, but that was partly due to the 15 targets Nelson saw in Week 17 while Jennings was sidelined. Just looking at W10-W14, Jennings led Nelson in T/G, 6.6 to 5.6. The other thing to note is that Mike McCarthy said in the offseason that Nelson deserved more looks since he was so productive in 2011.