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Leaders in Percentage of Team Targets

On Friday, I wrote about Rob Moore’s 1997 season, when he set the still-standing record for targets in a year. Moore had 208 targets, but as alluded to in that post, he did not set the record for percentage of team targets in a season, which is simply targets divided by team pass attempts (excluding sacks).

That honor belongs to Brandon Marshall, who was targeted on 40% of all passes for the 2012 Bears, and wound up with a post-1978 record 46% of the Bears receiving yards that year.  Remarkably, Marshall saw over 30% of his team’s targets on three different teams, and saw 29% of a fourth franchise’s targets in a season (2015 Jets). The table below shows all players since 1992 with at least 30% (okay, 29.5%) of their team’s targets in a season:

RkPlayerTeamYearTarTm PassPercRANY/ARecYdTD
1Brandon MarshallCHI201219248539.6%-0.83118150811
2Sterling SharpeGNB199318952835.8%-0.76112127411
3Marvin HarrisonIND200220559134.7%0.74143172211
4Rob MooreARI199720860234.6%-0.979715848
5Roddy WhiteATL200814843434.1%1.308813827
6Herman MooreDET199520660534%1.62123168614
7Andre JohnsonHOU200616348133.9%-0.6610311475
8Marvin HarrisonIND199918454633.7%1.64115166312
9Rod SmithDEN200117251133.7%-0.48113134311
10Steve SmithCAR200515044933.4%1.05103156312
11Michael IrvinDAL199516549433.4%1.49111160310
12David BostonARI200117552633.3%0.539815988
13Randy MossMIN200218555833.2%-0.3610613477
14Randy MossMIN200317252033.1%1.92111163217
15Brandon MarshallDEN200717051533%0.5710213257
16Eric MouldsBUF200415246133%-0.688810435
17Jimmy SmithJAX200117653433%-0.1511213738
18Herman MooreDET199617854132.9%-0.6110612969
19Antonio BrownPIT201519359032.7%0.44136183410
20Julio JonesATL201520362132.7%-0.0913618718
21Laveranues ColesWAS200416851432.7%-1.60909501
22Muhsin MuhammadCHI200513641832.5%-1.90647504
23Cris CarterMIN200016149532.5%1.749612749
24Jimmy SmithJAX199917353532.3%0.6311616366
25Yancey ThigpenPIT199714946632%0.297913987
26Hines WardPIT200114545431.9%0.779410034
27Lee EvansBUF200613743131.8%-0.218212928
28Chad JohnsonCIN200417053631.7%-0.759512749
29Isaac BruceSTL199519963231.5%-0.51119178113
30Herman MooreDET199717054031.5%-0.0910412938
31Brett PerrimanDET199617054131.4%-0.619410215
32Joey GallowayTAM200515248731.2%-0.4283128710
33Isaac BruceSTL199615048131.2%-1.258413387
34Steve SmithCAR200812941431.2%1.027814216
35Laveranues ColesNYJ200615248831.1%-0.079110986
36Vincent JacksonTAM201316051431.1%-1.027812247
37Reggie WayneIND201219562831.1%-0.2910613555
38Roddy WhiteATL201017957731%0.47115138910
39DeAndre HopkinsHOU201519261931%-0.35111152111
40Marty BookerCHI200216854330.9%-0.789711896
41Anquan BoldinSFO201312941730.9%0.798511797
42Carl PickensCIN199617456330.9%0.13100118012
43Anquan BoldinARI200316553430.9%-1.1710113778
44Tony MartinATL199813142430.9%1.556611816
45Steve SmithCAR200314246030.9%0.378811107
46Larry FitzgeraldARI201017356130.8%-2.029011376
47Andre JohnsonHOU200817155530.8%0.7511515758
48Sterling SharpeGNB199216252730.7%0.30108146113
49Cris CarterMIN199519764230.7%0.67122137117
50Peerless PriceATL200314146030.7%-1.68648383
51Terrell OwensSFO200115550630.6%1.4793141216
52Andre RisonKAN199715149330.6%0.257210927
53Tim BrownOAK199716252930.6%1.0510414085
54Tony MartinSDG199516554030.6%-0.179012246
55Torry HoltSTL200318360030.5%0.06117169612
56Keyshawn JohnsonTAM200118059230.4%-0.4310612661
57Rod SmithDEN200017356930.4%1.9110016028
58Joe HornNOR200015149730.4%0.579413408
59A.J. GreenCIN201216454030.4%-0.1097135011
60A.J. GreenCIN201317858730.3%0.4598142611
61Demaryius ThomasDEN201418460730.3%1.53111161911
62Roddy WhiteATL201118059430.3%0.8510012968
63Terance MathisATL199915450930.3%0.078110166
64Torry HoltSTL200617959230.2%0.9993118810
65O.J. McDuffieMIA199816554630.2%0.199010507
66Laveranues ColesWAS200315952730.2%-0.468212046
67Hines WardPIT200410835830.2%0.808010044
68Jimmy SmithJAX199715250430.2%1.648213244
69Michael IrvinDAL199314347530.1%1.928813307
70Andre JohnsonHOU201414648530.1%0.14859363
71Hines WardPIT200511437930.1%1.276997511
72Brandon MarshallMIA201114146930.1%-0.328112146
73Eric MouldsBUF200016454630%0.629413265
74Mike EvansTAM201617357829.9%-0.1996132112
75Chris ChambersMIA200516655629.9%-0.1582111811
76Muhsin MuhammadCAR200416053629.9%0.6093140516
77Cris CarterMIN199616756129.8%0.3896116310
78Plaxico BurressNYG200516655829.7%0.287612147
79Marty BookerCHI200115752829.7%-0.3610010718
80Jimmy SmithJAX200213746229.7%0.048010277
81Terrell OwensDAL200615050629.6%0.9085118013
82Pierre GarconWAS201318161129.6%-0.8311313465
83Chad JohnsonCIN200315452029.6%0.5290135510
84Marvin HarrisonIND200016957129.6%2.01102141314
85Brett PerrimanDET199517960529.6%1.6210814889
86Antonio BrownPIT201418161229.6%1.67129169813
87Carl PickensCIN199815452129.6%0.008210235
88Jerry RiceSFO199415151129.5%2.69112149913

The target hog to appear most frequently on this list? That’s Football Perspective favorite and former Jacksonville Jaguar Jimmy Smith.  Also noteworthy: the top five players by RANY/A among the group of receivers who saw at least 30% of their team’s targets: Rice, Harrison, Moss, and Irvin are the first four of those names.  That’s arguably the top four receivers since 1992. The fifth? Rod Smith.

As always, please leave your thoughts in the comments.

  • sacramento gold miners

    Herman Moore is among the line of players who was building a HOF case before wearing down in their early 30s. I think Moore is overlooked when talking about the great receivers of the 90s.

    • Those Lions teams were very interesting. Unsurprisingly for an explosive team, they were pretty boom/bust.

      In ’95 and ’96, it was the Moore and Perriman show: both had 30% of the targets those years. The Lions didn’t really throw to their TE, or to Barry Sanders much (at least in ’96). And Johnnie Morton, at least in those years, didn’t take away enough of the targets. Of course, the most likely conclusion – Moore and Perriman were really, really good.

      In ’97, Morton became the WR2 with Perriman gone, and the Lions went to a pro-set offense with a FB (Vardell or Schlesinger) under Ross and Croom. They threw to the FB and TE a lot more, enough to offset the loss of a WR3 being a big part of the offense. That year, David Sloan, Tommy Vardell, and Pete Metzelaars received 20% of the offense’s targets.

  • Ryan

    Rice, harrison, moss, and irvin 4 of top 5 with owens?

    Chase, thanks and kudos to highlighting brandon marshall, feels like a hof from the articles ive read hear, while the usual narrative leaves him short. Mediocre to poor qb play can do that.

    • sacramento gold miners

      The off-field issues, and lack of any postseason appearances is a problem for Brandon Marshall. With other HOF-caliber receivers on the ballot, he’s going to need some playoff production to help his case. This is the type of player you worry about after the career has ended.

      • Ryan

        Exactly, perpetually stuck on bad teams = no fair opportunities to shine in the playoffs.

        • sacramento gold miners

          If Marshall wasn’t such a distraction, I would agree, but he was part of the problem for those teams he’s played for. Jimmy Smith’s off-field baggage is likely preventing more support for him as well. When you have other HOF-caliber receivers with strong qualifications and no issues, it’s difficult for guys like Marshall and Smith.