Matt Forte 6, Devin Hester 5, Kellen Davis 5, Roy Williams 4, Earl Bennett 4, Johnny Knox 4, Matt Spaeth 2, Kahlil Bell 1, Dane Sanzenbacher 1
So with all the press about who was who on the Bears depth chart it didn’t really matter when it came down to targets. The target numbers are about as evenly distributed as you can get. Matt Forte is the clear winner here and most likely will continue to be the only safe fantasy play for the Bears week to week.
Looking at the number of pass plays run by each Bears receiver is interesting: Hester 33, Bennett 28, Forte 21, Williams 20, Knox 16 and Sanzenbacher 9, but for fantasy purposes we need one of those guys (preferably Knox and/or Bennett) to run 35-plus pass routes. I’ll call you when it happens.
Jerome Simpson 9, Jermaine Gresham 8, A.J. Green 4, Brian Leonard 2, Jordan Shipley 2, Cedric Benson 1, Andre Caldwell 1
Simpson and Gresham hoarded most of the targets in this tilt and if they had a seasoned quarterback I’d be all over both, but there are going to be plenty of growing pains in Cincinnati and that will most likely lead to inconsistency all around in the passing game. But it does make us double take on Jerome Simpson. He finished last season strong and was on many a sleeper list, but the addition of A.J. Green and subtraction of Carson Palmer helped quell the hype. It seems likely that Green, who does have elite skills, will edge ahead of Simpson in the target department. Can you wait it out? The tension is killing me.
Peyton Hillis 8, Ben Watson 7, Mohamed Massaquoi 7, Evan Moore 6, Josh Cribbs 3, Brian Robiskie 3, Greg Little 3, Jordan Norwood 1, Colt McCoy 1
Colt McCoy’s arm is more suited for tossing the ball to running backs and tight ends, which he did often. Hillis led the team in passing targets and rushing attempts. Montario Hardesty did have 5 rushes, but no pass targets. I believe that the every down back status for Hillis is safe.
Both Browns tight ends could be viable fantasy players if they weren’t on the same team. The Browns offense can only sustain so many fake football starters. They unfortunately don’t have Tom Brady throwing to them. Moore had 2 targets in the end zone and if that continues he will become more attractive in fantasy. And yes, Colt McCoy did catch his own pass for -5 yards.
Greg Little is the only receiver I trust to come out of this mess as a No. 1 receiver, but with only 3 targets he has a ways to go.
Jason Witten 9, Miles Austin 9, Dez Bryant 8, Felix Jones 4, Kevin Ogletree 2, John Phillips 2, Tashard Choice 1, DeMarco Murray 1
This breakdown looks about perfect. If the top 4 continue to get targets like this they will all continue to be every week starters on your team. Even the red zone looks were spread out between the big 4 with Jones 4, Austin 3, Bryant 2 and Witten 2. As long as they can stay healthy they shouldn’t hurt each others value as the season goes on.
Brandon Lloyd 11, Willis McGahee 7, Daniel Fells 6, Eddie Royal 6, Eric Decker 5, Knowshon Moreno 3, Julius Thomas 3, Matt Willis 2, Lance Ball 1
It doesn’t look like Brandon Lloyd owners have much to fear (except fear itself). He will continue to be the No. 1 target week in and week out because he is actually pretty good at his job. We saw some good things out of Eric Decker and it’s good to see Eddie Royal get targets again, but for the most part this game was such a disaster it’s hard to judge what will happen from here on out.
Both McGahee and Moreno were unremarkable and their numbers are going to fluctuate dramatically until one of them steps up. The battle between Daniel Fells and Julius Thomas was won by Fells, but the fact that Julius Thomas got a red zone look and 3 targets says he is doing what he needs to in practice to get on the big boy field. Look for him to keep moving up the target list.
Calvin Johnson 10, Brandon Pettigrew 6, Nate Burleson 5, Jahvid Best 5, Maurice Morris 2, Rashied Davis 1, Tony Scheffler 1, Maurice Stovall 1, Titus Young 1
For some unknown reason Matthew Stafford threw the ball to Calvin Johnson more than any other receiver. Weird. These numbers seem to jibe with what we expected coming into the season. I was worried that we might see Tony Scheffler take away looks from Brandon Pettigrew, but he looks safe for now. Pettigrew ran 27 pass routes compared to Scheffler’s 10.
The red zone stats favor Nate Burleson with 3 targets to Johnson 2, Best 2, Pettigrew 2, Scheffler 1 and Harrison 1. And I’d be pushing hard for the fantasy world to go after Burleson if it wasn’t for the fact that Titus Young ran 23 routes, which makes him the statistical No. 3 receiver. After missing much of preseason it’s encouraging to see him out there that much. And if he continues to progress he could start taking looks away from Burleson.