I hope championship weekend brought you a championship, but more importantly, I hope the Target Report helped you pick up the right players and play the correct ones all season long. So let's look back at the top targeted WRs for 2011 and see how they served you and in what capacity. There's a couple of surprises on this list I'm really high on for 2012 that you can nab ahead of everyone else in your league.
Roddy White took a long time to start producing in Atlanta. If you held onto him, you were well served at the end of the season, however how many games did his non-production cost you early on? The smart play was to buy low on him mid-season. If you did that, congratulate yourself. You can take him in his normal spot next season (third or fourth round).
How did Pierre Garcon get on this list? He saw this kind of attention in a horrible year for Colts QBs, and still he had some games that he probably won for you single-handedly if you played him. He's a GREAT sleeper for next season, when the Colts QB situation is back to normal. Remember, there might not be any more Reggie Wayne in Indianapolis, and even if there is, Garcon could be the clear-cut No. 1. Grab him in the mid-to-late rounds and you'll be rewarded. He's ready to become a star WR in the league. Speaking of Wayne (121 targets so far), he showed enough late in the year that no matter where he is next season, he has some gas left in the tank. Just don't reach too high for him -- and take Garcon over him regardless.
The same can be said for Brandon Lloyd. Not even a mid-season trade could deter him from getting all the looks for the Rams. If they go into next season with the same caliber of wideouts (and the return of Danny Amendola), Lloyd is another nice mid-to-late round sleeper that you can count on for big numbers.
Brandon Marshall became the beast he used to be over the second half of the season. You're always wary about his production and motivation, but he explained it himself: He had bad chemistry with Chad Henne, and great chemistry with Matt Moore, who had tunnel vision for him all season long (just like Moore did previously in Carolina with Steve Smith). While a change at QB is likely for Miami, I think you can chalk up a good amount of Marshall's disappointment to he and Henne not being on the same page. You can draft him with confidence next season. Maybe not in the second round like he was earlier in his career, but by the third round he'll be off the boards.
Steve Johnson is one of those WRs that you hate drafting high, but love him as a value pick. He won't be a value pick anymore. Johnson has played his way into being a WR2 in just about all formats.
Hakeem Nicks still is terrific. But I'm taking Victor Cruz over him in fantasy next season. Cruz just missed the list with 120 targets, despite not really becoming a weapon until Week 3, and is almost uncoverable in the slot, while Nicks still has his invisible games and gets hurt more often than you'd like.
Also just off the list were Carolina's Steve Smith and the Buccaneers' Mike Williams with 122 targets each. Smith underwent a renaissance thanks to Cam Newton this season, having nine games of 12-plus fantasy points. If the Panthers bring back the same WR crew next season, Smith is a WR1 and will be gone by the end of the third round in your draft, possibly the second round if an owner drafts Newton in the first round, wants to pair him up with Smith, and takes him a bit earlier because he doesn't want to risk losing him. Outside of Weeks 11 and 12, Williams was non-existent in fantasy, but I'll chalk this up to a bad season that grew worse in Tampa Bay with each passing week. I think Williams is someone you buy really low in the draft next year, expecting a bounce-back year.
See Jason Smith on "NFL Fantasy Live," airing Sundays at 11:30 a.m. ET on the "NFL RedZone" channel, and Tuesday-Friday on NFL Network at 2 p.m. ET and 12 a.m. ET/9 p.m. PT. He writes fantasy and other NFL pith on NFL.com daily. Talk to him on Twitter @howaboutafresca. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.