Chet Gresham

Targets and Touches

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Target Watch: Week 3

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Week 2 might have brought us more questions than answers, but that is usually how this faux football thing works. I’m hoping some patterns start to emerge so I’ve put the Week 2 targets before the yearly targets which are in parentheses. I’ll do that all season to bring some order into the volatile world of NFL statistical geekery.

All snap count data comes from our friends over at Pro Football Focus.

Arizona Cardinals

Larry Fitzgerald 9 (16), Andre Roberts 7 (11), Early Doucet 6 (9), Chansi Stuckey 3 (3), Jeff King 2 (5), Beanie Wells 2 (6), Todd Heap 1 (4)

You know who is going to get the majority of targets each week (yeah, it’s Larry) so the true tea leaf reading comes down to Doucet and Roberts. So far it is too close to give one a real edge in fantasy and that makes it tough to recommend either except in deeper leagues. Jeff King keeps making the most out of his targets, but that 2.5 per game average isn’t what you want for your tight end. His touchdown numbers will regress or I guess he could end up with 16! Or not. The lack of targets for Larod Stephens-Howling is a good sign for Beanie Wells' continued passing down dominance.

Atlanta Falcons

Tony Gonzalez 9 (16), Julio Jones 7 (13), Roddy White 4 (17), Jason Snelling 3 (10), Harry Douglas 2 (6), Michael Turner 1 (5)

The Falcons took what was given to them against the Eagles and those were mismatches for Tony Gonzalez. Roddy White won’t usually be shut down like this, but it just goes to show you that pretty much any single player can be limited, but thankfully he still managed a touchdown. These target numbers just reinforce the idea that you should start tight ends against the Eagles soft underbelly.

Last week it looked good for Jacquizz “Master” Rodgers, but his snap count dropped this week to a measly 13. The coaches did give him two rushing attempts in the red zone so they still trust him with the ball in critical situations, but he’s still not the No. 2 running back. The hope for Harry Douglas in a new pass happy Falcons’ offense has been shelved, keep it there.

Baltimore Ravens

Ray Rice 8 (13), Anquan Boldin 7 (14), Ed Dickson 6 (11), Lee Evans 5 (9), Dennis Pitta 3 (5), Vonta Leach 1 (4)

Rice will continue to be first or second in targets, which makes him a top 5 back every week. Boldin’s targets have been consistent so far so he should be a safe start every week, especially since Flacco has only completed two passes to any receiver not named Boldin. And he also had two red zone targets, which is what you want to see. The battle between Pitta and Dickson continues to go Dickson’s way, which makes it easier to think of him as a possible No. 1 tight end.

Buffalo Bills

Steve Johnson 14 (20), David Nelson 13 (19), Donald Jones 6 (11), Scott Chandler 4 (9), Ruvell Martin 3 (3), Roscoe Parrish 2 (4), Fred Jackson 2 (3), C.J. Spiller 1 (2)

With Steve Johnson sidelined for portions of this game David Nelson stepped up as the clear No. 2 receiver. I don’t think we can expect 13 targets again very soon, but in Chan Gailey’s offense there should be enough targets to go around. As long as this trend continues I don’t see any reason that Nelson can’t be an every week starter in PPR leagues.

Scott Chandler strikes again! Unlike Jeff King he does get an ok amount of targets and all four of his targets this week were in the red zone! That’s what us fake footballers like to see. It makes him intriguing even though he’s not getting on the field enough.

Carolina Panthers

Steve Smith 13 (24), Jonathan Stewart 8 (11), Legedu Naanee 7 (12), Jeremy Shockey 5 (8), Brandon LaFell 5 (10), DeAngelo Williams 4 (6), Greg Olsen 4 (10)

If you drafted Mr. Smith this season you got a huge steal. If he can average anywhere close to double digit targets this year you are going to be bathing in the fantasy points Scrooge McDuck style.

The oddest and maybe most telling target stat is Jonathan Stewart receiving eight pass targets! And catching all 8 for 100 yards! (yes, I believe the exclamation marks are deserved.) How much of an aberration this is has yet to be seen, but I think we have to give it some weight. The Panthers defense isn’t top shelf and they will be close or trailing in a good number of games this season. Whichever running back is in on passing downs should end up having more value and Stewart was on the field for 49 snaps compared to DeAngelo Williams who was out there for just 26.

The tight end situation got a little stickier this game. Until Shockey hurts himself (it will be soon) you’ll have to hold off on starting Greg Olsen. He is the No. 1 tight end and is on the field more often than Shockey, but his targets are being eaten into by the gluttonous tight end.

Chicago Bears

Matt Forte 14 (20), Devin Hester 9 (14), Dane Sanzenbacher 7 (8), Johnny Knox 6 (10), Sam Hurd 3 (3), Earl Bennet 1 (5), Kellen Davis 1 (6), Matt Spaeth 1 (3), Kahlill Bell 1 (2), Tyler Clutts 1 (1)

That’s a lot of players to spread over a big target cracker. Matt Forte once again was a PPR beast and will continue to be until further notice. But those other guys, blurgh.  Nine targets for Hester sure look nice. Maybe it’s time to get him on our fake football radar. Let’s see, what did he do with those targets? Oh, never mind. 

One catch. One stinking catch. Might not want to target him so much.  I wouldn’t own any Bears’ receiver until one steps up, which may be a while.

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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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