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Turn on your Hartline

In deeper leagues, panning for gold is something that separates teams that are perennial contenders and can avoid the dreaded “rebuilding” from teams that can bottom out due to age, injury and/or busted prospects.  This does not only apply to finding the Arian Fosters or Victor Cruzes of the world, but also to the non-stud players who turn into solid contributors to your team, maybe just as bye-week and injury fillers, but sometimes sliding into your WR3 or flex spots.

Now, lets compare two wide receivers from 2009 through 2011 who are approximately one year apart in age.  In those three years, “WR A” caught 54% of his targets for an average of 13.6 yards per reception and had an elite quarterback for two of those three seasons.  In contrast, “WR B” caught 57% of his targets for an average of 15.3 yards per reception, and had a below average or average quarterback for all three of those seasons.  Who would you rather have on your dynasty team based on those stats?  “WR A” is Pierre Garcon and “WR B” is none other than Brian Hartline.  Of course those two statistics don’t tell the whole story, and Garcon’s situation in the immediate future is likely the better one.  Yet, using the ADP data of Brian Fontaine of ProFootballFocus, Garcon has an ADP of 91st overall as the WR39, while Hartline has an ADP of 234th overall as the WR91.

Here are more detailed statistics as to Hartline’s and Garcon’s statistics over that three year period:

Brian Hartline

Year Targets Receptions Target % Yards YPC
2009 56 31 55% 506 15.7
2010 70 43 61% 615 14.3
2011 66 35 53% 549 16.3
TOTALS: 192 109 57% 1670 15.3

Pierre Garcon

Year Targets Receptions Target % Yards YPC
2009* 92 47 51% 765 16.3
2010* 117 67 57% 784 11.7
2011 132 70 53% 947 13.5
TOTALS: 341 184 54% 2496 13.6

*Only played 15 games in 2009 and 14 games in 2010.

Now, if you use Hartline’s career Target Percentage and Yards Per Catch, and extrapolate Hartline’s targets to Garcon’s level in that same period, you get the following numbers:

Yards Targets Receptions Target % Yards YPC
Garcon 341 184 54% 2496 13.6
Hartline 341 194 57% 2968 15.3

Now, divided by three, that would provide an average year of 113 targets, 65 receptions and 989 receiving yards – good enough for 163.9 fantasy points, or 10.24 fantasy points per game, without even factoring in touchdowns. That would have been good to be the PPR WR36 last year, or on the fringe of WR3 production.  Add five touchdowns to the mix, and you end up with 193.9 fantasy points, which would have been good enough for ppr WR26 last year (just four spots below Garcon).

If you consider that Brandon Marshall had 146 targets in 2010 and 142 targets in 2011 that now need to be replaced, it is not a stretch that with only Davone Bess, Chad Ochocinco and a bunch of rookies at wide receiver for Miami, that Hartline could see somewhere between 95 and 115 targets this year.  He has a good work ethic, runs precise routes and has a decent mix of size and speed.

Granted, that 57% target percentage isn’t going to set the league on fire (58% tends to be the average). However, that can be partly explained by the number of go routes that Hartline has run in the past.  That role should be a prominent part of the new offense and Joe Philbin has already confirmed that Hartline is going to play on the outside.  Hartline’s concentration and ability to make plays down the field and take advantage of Matt Moore’s arm strength was on display during this 39 yard catch in Week 15 at Buffalo:

I do caution you not to take this too far and think you are getting the next Jordy Nelson.  Although Nelson only averaged 12.7 yards per catch in his first three years, he did have a 67% Target Percentage on 149 targets.  In fact, Nelson’s Target Percentage in 2011 was almost identical with his three-year average from 2008-2010 (102 targets, 68 receptions).  This ability to go and get balls in his catching radius separates Nelson from the pack and, in addition to the likely-to-regress touchdown numbers, explains his breakout top five season.

Hartline’s Target Percentage is likely to hover around the 57% mark, preventing him from ascending to WR2 status. [One final caution, Target Percentage is not the be all end all, especially if you are getting an ungodly amount of targets; see Johnson, Calvin (52% career Target Percentage – 695 targets,366 receptions].

Finally, I’m not very concerned about the signing of Chad Ochocinco.  That may turn out to be more about adding another sideshow for Hard Knocks than for actual football games.  If Ochocinco does end up playing, he’ll likely play on the outside along with Hartline, and with Bess manning the slot.  His presence on the field could potentially free up Hartline down the field (although I don’t really expect much from him).  Ultimately, at Brian Hartline’s relatively minimal cost (indeed, he may even be available on your league’s waiver wire), he might not take you for a trip across the moon, but he could turn out to be a low cost WR3 for your dynasty team and give it the WR depth necessary to make a championship run for the next couple of years.

Like what you see? Follow Jarrett on twitter @EyeoftheGator and check out his recent interview for FootballGuys right here.

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smudga
10 years ago

another very interesting read Jarrett but what about the extra attention with Marshall’s departure?

Bruce Blalock
10 years ago

Great article, it’s these guys that make bye weeks or injuries winnable…guys like Hartline, Jordan Shipley, Danny Amendola, Davone Bess, etc that in deeper PPR leagues are great cheap roster adds.

Invisibulman
10 years ago

Hartline is one of my favorite bye week fillers. There is a lot of value in a guy who can be counted on for 8-12 points every single week without fail. He won’t ever win you a game, but he is a very steady fill in.

10 years ago

I would rather have Bess in a PPR

Reply to  Jarrett Behar
10 years ago

If we’re talking about value, then I’d probably go Hartline. But if we’re talking about who’s more likely to become a WR3, I go Bess

nickdib123
10 years ago

Great article but in Hartline’s yearly stats, his catch % is: 55%, 51%, and 53%, respectively. How does that combine to make his total a 57% catch rate?

Meens
10 years ago

good article. you should do one of these on Malcolm Floyd. This guy will most likely miss a few games each year but when he does play his numbers are top 25 WR numbers. If you extrapolate his per game AVG’s the last 2 years numbers to 16 game seasons. You get a guy that gets about 1100 yards and 7 tds.
The only thing that has changed since then is Vincent Jackson was replaced by Robert Meachem. That means there is definitely more targets coming Floyds way.

Again this isnt a a guy that you can count on to be there for your team every week but its the perfect type of depth to have in a deep league. When hes healthy you start him confidently, when he doesnt you get to start someone else in his place. And you get him at an ADP of WR51 so your investment is small.

Meens
Reply to  Jarrett Behar
10 years ago

could be right. I dont see him breaking the bank though, unless he stays healthy all year. I do think hes a product of the Chargers throw it up in the air and go get it strategy. I think that will become more clear once Vincent Jackson isn’t the same player this year after leaving. Also my total non-belief in Meachem has me thinking Floyd is the WR1 there (not counting Gates). Vincent Brown flashed and VJax leaving definitely helps him too. I just think at his ADP even 1 year out of Floyd is worth it. Cheap production

Meens
Reply to  Jarrett Behar
10 years ago

exactly

Mangelo
10 years ago

Some guys are just meant to be role players. I highly doubt Hartline is good enough to square off against an opposing #1 cb and win the match-up.

HoppaLong CassID
10 years ago

Good logical extensions. You got me interested in Hartline as a Dynasty #1-WR on a team with the prospects of better QB player. Go Fuller.

Fitting that you provide and Sinko signs….smoke screened value now.

Sensei John Kreese
10 years ago

That ball hit the ground

#gobills

Sensei John Kreese
Reply to  Jarrett Behar
10 years ago

Even The Pacquiao judges could see that he didn’t catch that ball. 🙂

Look, I’m still upset over the music city forward lateral. Let me vent.

Richard
10 years ago

Good article! I do think Pierre Garcon is underrated in a dynasty format. He has an ADP of WR39, but in a PPR format he finished right around WR 20-24. Now he has RG3 throwing him the ball and could be in for a good year.

MR ROURKE
10 years ago

Hartline is a nice under the radar guy, but Garcon is one of the most over rated players in fantasy football. The players themselves are likely much more simlar in skill level then most would want to acknowledge. I doubt RGIII would make better or more accurate throws to help Garcon become a better WR then P.Manning was able to and Garcon wasn’t very good with P.Manning. Trying to make the Colts #3 WR into the Redskins #1 WR will likely not work. In 2010 (looking at P.Manning and not the messy 2011), rookie WR Blair White caught 63.2% of his targets, 2 drops, 5 TD’s while being new to the offense and running wrong routes at times. In 2010, Garcon caught 56.8% of his targets, 9 drops, 6 TD’s. Garcon was a complete after thought with only 1 TD in the 9 games that Collie played in for 2010. Forget Garcon and buy L.Hankerson.

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