Chet Gresham

Targets and Touches

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Target Watch: Week 4

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dallas Cowboys

Jason Witten
- 9 (32), Miles Austin - dnp (24), Kevin Ogletree - 7 (13), Dez Bryant - 4 (12), Felix Jones - 3 (9), Laurent Robinson - 5 (5), Tashard Choice - 1 (4), Martellus Bennett - 3 (3), Tony Fiammetta - 2 (2)

This was one of the uglier games I’ve seen in a while. Tony Romo was obviously hurting and the absence of Miles Austin showed just how horrid the Cowboys receiving corps are. The fact that Kevin Ogletree wasn’t benched and had 7 targets shows you how bad they were hurting. The lack of targets and production for Dez Bryant is a little worrisome, but hopefully stemmed from his injury and his quarterback’s injury.
Felix Jones played well with his separated shoulder until he separated from it again in the 4th quarter. Why can’t those two just work it out!? Jones played 32 snaps to Tashard Choice’s 24 and Demarco Murray’s 10.  With the bye looming in week 5 there’s a chance they may rest Jones to give him 2 weeks off. Choice would most likely split time with Murray, but get a few more touches.

Denver Broncos

Eric Decker
- 12 (26), Brandon Lloyd - 7 (18), Willis McGahee - 5 (14), Daniel Fells - 4 (12), Matt Willis - 3 (9), Lance Ball - 5 (7), Virgil Green - 1 (1)

Not much good came from this game in terms of fantasy, but the rise of Eric Decker is still in effect. Yes, his fantasy numbers were lackluster, but 12 targets with Brandon Lloyd back shows that he should continue to see the football. And Decker’s emergence should help Lloyd find some room as well.  
The running back situation is still pretty murky with Knowshon Moreno being held back once again due to injury. In his absence Willis McGahee didn’t distinguish himself so look for the committee approach to return when Moreno does.

Detroit Lions

Calvin Johnson
- 11 (28), Brandon Pettigrew - 13 (22), Jahvid Best - 7 (20), Titus Young - 8 (16), Nate Burleson - 2 (16), Tony Scheffler - 1 (5), Maurice Morris - 2 (4), Jerome Harrison - 2 (2)

The Lions saw plenty of pressure from Jared Allen and friends, but adjusted in the second half and did what they do in the passing game. This week’s PPR Lion King was Brandon Pettigrew with 13. His targets have gone 6, 3, 13 in the first 3 weeks. That doesn’t leave me too excited about him seeing consistent targets with Tony Scheffler, Nate Burleson and Titus Young all in the mix.
And that target discrepancy can now be said for Nate Burleson as well. With only 2 targets in week 3 he is now tied with Titus Young for 4th on the target list. Burleson was still on the field for 73 snaps compared to Young’s 46, but this makes him a riskier start going forward and even though Young has seen 7/8 targets the last 2 games I’d still like to see it again before I’d feel comfortable with him.

Green Bay Packers
Greg Jennings - 10 (26), Jermichael Finley - 8 (18), Jordy Nelson - 5 (15), Donald Driver - 2 (10), James Jones - 6 (9), James Starks - 4 (9), Randall Cobb - 1 (5), John Kuhn - 1 (5), Ryan Grant - 1 (5)

This game, as far as the targets go, looks like the perfect spread for Green Bay, or at least close to it. Jennings with 10, Finley with 8, Nelson with 5 and then the rest fight over the scraps. Of course Finley got the touchdowns, but those will get spread out.
Donald Driver is losing targets quickly. His week 1-3 target numbers were 7, 1, and 2. Randall Cobb is his replacement, but for now Jordy Nelson is the lowest rung you can grasp at this point.

The running back situation just got dicey. James Starks looked as if he would continue to be the lead back, but then went and had a horrible game in Chicago while Ryan Grant had a great game.  But now that Grant has made this statement it doesn’t mean Starks is done.  We most likely will see the targets and touches tilt to Grant’s side going forward, but Starks has plenty of life left in his legs to fight back.  

Houston Texans

Andre Johnson
- 12 (32), Owen Daniels - 9 (16), James Casey - 7 (10), Jacoby Jones - 2 (9), Ben Tate - 4 (8), Kevin Walter - 3 (5), Joel Dreessen - 1 (4),

The rise of James Casey is the headliner for the Texans this week. The TE/FB position hasn’t been a hot bed for fantasy greatness or for much of anything for that matter, but Casey is out to champion the TE/FB and lead them to world domination! He was used nearly as much as Kevin Walter in the passing game and much more than Jacoby Jones. And as far as targets and production go he started to lap them.

There is a decent chance that Houston is going to take a cue from Bill Belichick and work with 2 even 3 tight end sets and get matchup problems with Daniels and Casey. With Steve Slaton being released there are no small passing down backs to bring in and tip the playbook to the defensive coordinator. If you can have 2 tight ends and a TE/FB out there and still open up the passing game, that can be effective.

Indianapolis Colts

Reggie Wayne
- 13 (32), Pierre Garcon - 10 (21), Austin Collie - 7 (20), Dallas Clark - 6 (19), Joseph Addai - 2 (10), Brody Eldridge - 1 (2), Delone Carter - 1 (1)
Oh what to do with this team? Reggie Wayne had 13 targets and 3 receptions for 24 yards. That about sums it up. The Colts can’t move the ball consistently and that means whatever Colts’ player you have on your team will be inconsistent. Austin Collie has 20 targets for the season and 4 standard fantasy points. That’s an average of  1.3 points per game. That is the opposite of good.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Mike Thomas
- 8 (29), Jason Hill - 5 (10), Maurice Jones-Drew - 3 (7), Deji Karim - 2 (6), Marcedes Lewis - 2 (5), Cecil Shorts - 1 (2)

Mike Thomas is the biggest football hog in the NFL. He has garnered 42% of all passes thrown by the Jaguar quarterbacks.  Even in a downpour he managed 8 targets. Of course with a rookie quarterback these targets aren’t going to all turn into receptions. He’s only catching 54% of his targets, but I have hope for him because he is consistently getting these targets and can put up serviceable PPR numbers.

Kansas City Chiefs

Dwayne Bowe
- 6 (22), Dexter McCluster - 6 (16), Leonard Pope - 3 (12), Steve Breaston - 6 (10), Keary Colbert - 1 (4), Jackie Battle - 1 (2), Thomas Jones - 1 (1)

Not much can be said for this group of misfits. Dexter McCluster’s 9 rushes and 5 receptions were good to see, but on such an inept offense it will be difficult for him to get into the end zone enough to make up for 15 or less touches a game. The best case scenario for him is in full PPR leagues against soft defenses.

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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 .
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