Chet Gresham

Targets and Touches

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Target Watch: Week 3

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New England Patriots

Wes Welker 11 (23), Deion Branch 10 (19), Aaron Hernandez 8 (18), Rob Gronkowski 6 (13), Chad Ochocinco 2 (5), Danny Woodhead 2 (3), Benjarvus Green-Ellis 1 (1)

Deion Branch continues to get his fair share of looks and now that Aaron Hernandez is out a few weeks I would’t be surprised if they stayed where they are. The tight ends continue to dominate the red zone looks with 5 a piece in the first 2 games, but without Hernandez we should see Gronk see an extra helping. Ochocinco could see some more work with Hernandez out, but I’d like to see it before I believe it.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis flip-flopped week 1 looks with Danny Woodhead and put together a nice fantasy excursion in the process. You can expect about anything there. I would not be at all surprised to see Stevan Ridley start to cut into both of their touches any day now. I guess I need to watch that Belichick documentary and maybe I’ll be able to understand the methods behind his madness. And grow to love his soft, vulnerable side.

New Orleans Saints

Darren Sproles 10 (19), Jimmy Graham 7 (14), Robert Meachem 4 (12), Lance Moore 4 (4), Pierre Thomas 4 (9), Devery Henderson 3 (12), David Thomas 3 (4)

Lance Moore was only on the field for 25 plays compared to 40 for Devery Henderson and 61 for Robert Meachem. This seems most likely due to his groin pains and this number should rise next week. (don’t even think it!) That should also start to cut into the number of targets Sproles sees. It’s extremely hard to find any kind of pattern in this Saints offense, especially with injuries skewing things up.  Jimmy Graham looks like the safest play from week to week, but we did see Mark Ingram get five carries in the red zone and soon he should face a defense that isn’t a Bear or a Packer, unfortunately their week 3 opponent is Houston who is hopped up on free agents and Wade Phillips.

New York Giants

Hakeem Nicks 7 (18), Mario Manningham 7 (14), Ahmad Bradshaw 5 (7), Domenik Hixon 2 (4), Victor Cruz 2 (4), Henry Hynoski 2 (3), Jake Ballard 1 (4), Brandon Jacobs 1 (2), Brandon Stokley 1 (1), Bear Pascoe 1 (1)

It was nice to see Bradshaw get back in the target game and in turn, the reception game. He needs those stats to be the fantasy back you paid for. Jacobs also did what he is good at and had a couple red zone looks, one resulting in a touchdown. That’s the dynamic we are used to and the one we invested our hard earned fake football cash in.

Nicks and Manningham once again dominated the targets as they should, but Manningham had a bad case of the Crisco fingers and also left the game after getting a concussion. If he can’t go, and with Hixon now out for the season, Victor Cruz would most likely fill his shoes.

New York Jets

Dustin Keller 6 (14), Santonio Holmes 4 (14), Mathew Mulligan 3 (3), Plaxico Burress 2 (11), LaDainian Tomlinson 2 (9), Derrick Mason 2 (8), Jeff Cumberland 2 (4), Shonn Greene 2 (3), John Conner 1 (1)

This game was ruled by the defense and not much offense was needed. And the Jets provided just that. The best news here is that Keller, even with only 17 completions on the team, was able to get six of those. He seems to finally be getting consistent targets, plus those coveted red zone targets, which he’s had five of so far this season.

The green tide turned in favor of Shonn Greene this week because they weren’t playing from behind and in pass mode, so that hurt LaDainian Tomlinson who only had eight looks to Greene’s 18. Of course, Greene didn’t do much with those opportunities and you might want to stash Bilal Powell on your bench if you have a long bench.

Oakland Raiders

Darren McFadden 8 (9), Denarius Moore 8 (9), Derek Hagan 8 (8), Marcel Reece 5 (8), Brandon Myers 3 (8), Chaz Schilens 1 (1)

If every game could go like this for the Raiders we’d have ourselves a fake football goldmine! But sadly we are going to have to endure some growing and probably some groin pains, especially in this large amalgamation of wide receivers. Thankfully and hopefully we’ll see the talented Denarius Moore continue to get the opportunities he so nicely earned in Buffalo, and what happens in Buffalo should not stay in Buffalo, at least in this case.

It’s also good to see Run DMC back at it in the receiving game. His one target in Week 1 was disheartening, but his eight in Week 2 was, well, heartening. When he gets the ball in space there isn’t much a single defender can do. Yes, Michael Bush did vulture a goal line touchdown from him and that will most likely continue to happen, but McFadden saw the ball seven times in the red zone compared to three for Bush. I’ll take those odds with talent like his.

Philadelphia Eagles

Jeremy Maclin 15 (18), Brent Celek 7 (10), Jason Avant 4 (11), LeSean McCoy 4 (7), DeSean Jackson 3 (15), Steve Smith 2 (2)

Will Jeremy Maclin get 15 targets to DeSean Jackson’s three from here on out? Yeah, it’s a dumb question, but the anomaly is pretty striking. When they are both on the field the numbers are usually much closer, with Maclin leading one week and D-Jax the next, but never this big of a gap, so don’t worry about Jackson or think that Maclin is the clear No. 1. They do different things and their looks will be dictated by the defense. The good news is that Maclin is 100 percent back and should continue to put up good numbers.

The talk before the season started was that Celek might be used more often than he was last season, but Week q came and went and Brent was left crying in his three target soup. Week 2 brought him a present of seven targets including three in the red zone. He only had 12 red zone targets all last season. If this can keep up he may hold some value.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Mike Wallace 9 (20), Hines Ward 6 (15), Antonio Brown 6 (15), Heath Miller 3 (8), Emmanuel Sanders 3 (6), Rashard Mendenhall 2 (3), Isaac Redman 1 (1) Mewelde Moore 1 (3)

Through two weeks last season Mike Wallace had nine targets with four receptions and this year he has 20 targets with 16 receptions.  I think that’s more. If you thought Wallace was a one hit wonder deep threat it’s time to change your tune. He’s curling and crossing and fading all over the field and is on pace for 128 receptions and 1,864 yards. He better step up his game if he wants to get to his predicted 2,000 yards!

The battle between Brown and Sanders is at a standstill. Even though Brown is smoking him in targets Sanders continues to keep pace with him in production. It seems like that should lead to more looks for Sanders, but that hasn’t been the trend as of yet.

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Chet Gresham writes Target Watch and The Morning After for and is the founder of The Fake Football. Chet can be found on Twitter .
Email :Chet Gresham

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