Chet Gresham

Targets and Touches

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Target Watch: Week 4

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Miami Dolphins

Brandon Marshall
- 7 (31), Davone Bess - 9 (21), Brian Hartline - 4 (18), Reggie Bush - 1 (12), Anthony Fasano - 2 (10), Daniel Thomas - 3 (4), Charles Clay - 1 (1), Lex Hilliard - 1 (1)

The Dolphins’ #1 running back position is now filled. No new applicants are being considered.  Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.  Thomas’ 26 touches compared to Reggie Bush’s 11 is a pretty big gap, but if you factor in production it is a Grand Canyon sized chasm. Thomas finished the day with 122 yards and a touchdown compared to Bush’s 25 yards and, well, that’s it.  And the fact that Thomas saw 3 passes compared to Bush’s 1 doesn’t even bode well for Reggie having PPR value.

Minnesota Vikings

Percy Harvin
- 5 (17), Michael Jenkins - 10 (16), Bernard Berrian - 5 (11), Adrian Peterson - 5 (10), Visanthe Shiancoe - 2 (10), Kyle Rudolph - 3 (5), Devin Aromashodu - 2 (4), Jim Kleinsasser - 2 (3), Toby Gerhart - 2 (3)

Percy Harvin leads the Vikings with 17 targets on the season. Wes Welker and Roddy White had 20 and 17 targets just in week 3. The Vikings passing game is beyond dismal right now. Mike Jenkins had 10 targets and caught 9 of them for 88 yards. That was a nice PPR day, but he had 3 targets each in weeks 1 and 2. I wouldn’t trust this game to be much more than an anomaly at this point. And I’m finding it hard to trust any Viking not named Adrian Peterson.

New England Patriots

Wes Welker
- 20 (43), Deion Branch - 3 (22), Rob Gronkowski - 9 (22), Aaron Hernandez - dnp (18), Chad Ochocinco - 4 (9), Danny Woodhead - 5 (8), Julian Edelman - 3 (5), Stevan Ridley - 1 (1)

Wes Welker’s twenty targets is a whole heckuva lot of footballs being thrown in a person’s direction. He is outpacing the rest of the league in targets by 8. Roddy White has 34 to his 42. This uptick in targets seems to be in direct correlation to the loss of Aaron Hernandez and Tom Brady having him on his fantasy team.
After Deion Branch had 9 targets in week 1 and 10 in week 2 it seemed inevitable that he would have exactly 11 in week 3! Right? Well, sadly this fake football game doesn’t work like the ACTs so he had 3 instead and caught zero of them. The good news for Branch is that Chad Ochocinco had 4 targets and only caught 2 of them and dropped a sure touchdown in the process. Branch should still get his looks.
The running back situation as far as time on the field goes is still dominated by Benjarvus Green-Ellis, but in production, at least for week 3, it was Stevan Ridley. His 7 yards a carry is slightly better than The Law Firm’s 1.8 yards a carry. Yes, that is based on the smallest sample size ever, but it’s a start and worth monitoring.

New Orleans Saints

Darren Sproles
- 9 (28), Jimmy Graham - 8 (22), Robert Meachem - 8 (20), Devery Henderson - 4 (16), Lance Moore - 9 (13), Pierre Thomas - 1 (10), David Thomas - 2 (6), Mark Ingram - 2 (2)

Darren Sproles is a PPR monster. He is currently the 7th ranked PPR running back and is averaging over 9 targets a game. Even with Lance Moore fully back and also getting targets on shorter routes in week 3 Sproles kept up his target fun. That is good news for his owners, but that running back position in New Orleans is still a little scary.
Mark Ingram finally found the end zone, but was only on the field for 20 snaps compared to 37 for Sproles and 19 for Pierre Thomas. These running back numbers are gong to be contingent on the flow of the game and if the Saints have a lead or not.  So that leads me to believe the numbers will eventually even out and Sproles remaining as the 7th best PPR running back seems like a lot to ask.

New York Giants

Hakeem Nicks
- 5 (23), Mario Manningham - dnp (14), Ahmad Bradshaw - 5 (12), Victor Cruz - 5 (9), Jake Ballard - 1 (5), Brandon Jacobs - 3 (5), Henry Hynoski - 1 (4), Brandon Stokley - 2 (3), Travis Beckum - 1 (1)

The Giants passing game was extremely productive, especially going up against a tough Eagles pass defense, but that production came from very few targets.  Not one player saw over 5 targets or over 26 passing routes. Against easier pass defenses these numbers should expand.
Victor Cruz was the story of this game, but with Mario Manningham set to return in week 4 there won’t be as many targets to go around. The three targets, including a touchdown reception for Brandon Jacobs is nice for his owners, but Bradshaw still remains the PPR back to own with 12 targets on the season.

New York Jets

Dustin Keller
- 9 (23), Derrick Mason - 10 (18), Plaxico Burress - 6 (17), Santonio Holmes - 2 (16), LaDainian Tomlinson - 6 (15), Shonn Greene - 7 (10), Jeff Cumberland - 1 (5), Matthew Mulligan - 1 (4), Patrick Turner - 1 (1)

Santonio Holmes’ lack of targets is disturbing. He is their best receiver and should be seeing the ball more. He also wasn’t thrilled with seeing only 2 targets so the squeaky wheel could get the ball thrown at it more in week 4.  I’ll chalk this one up as an anomaly.
There wasn’t a lack of targets to go around for the other Jets players. Even Shonn Greene got into the action with 7 targets and 7 receptions, but Old Man Tomlinson did most of the damage out of the two running backs on 11 less touches. Greene has been less than productive on the ground so getting some work in the passing game is extremely helpful to his fantasy numbers, but I’m not holding my breath for long term success.
Dustin Keller is still Sanchez’s main guy and is the only receiver that has had consistent targets from week to week. Derrick Mason had a big target day, but Sanchez also threw 43 passes which won’t happen every week.  

Oakland Raiders

Denarius Moore
- 6 (15), Darren McFadden - 3 (12), Derek Hagan - 3 (11), Darrius Heyward-Bey - 3 (10), Brandon Myers - 1 (9), Marcel Reece - 0 (8), Chaz Schilens - 4 (5), Michael Bush - 2 (3), Kevin Boss - 2 (2), Rock Cartwright - 1 (1), Taiwan Jones - 1 (1)

The Raiders are a run first team with Darren McFadden leading the way. Only the inept Seahawks have a target leader with less than Denarius Moore’s 15 total. With Jacoby Ford most likely coming back this week the receiver position gets even more muddled, but it seems that Denarius Moore should continue to see targets since he has done the most with them.

Philadelphia Eagles

Jeremy Maclin
- 7 (25), DeSean Jackson - 6 (21), Jason Avant - 5 (16), Brent Celek - 2 (12), LeSean McCoy - 3 (10), Steve Smith - 5 (7), Owen Schmitt - 1 (3), Clay Harbor - 1 (1)

The Eagles passing game is a bit of a mess right now. They had to rely on the ground game in week 3 and LeSean McCoy obliged with another big day, but it was once again hard to decipher who will get targets in the passing game. Michael Vick was being harassed most of the game, Jeremy Maclin left the game with a hamstring injury and then Mike Kafka came in and threw 2 interceptions.
Steve Smith did see 5 targets, which is an increase from 2 in week 2, but he was only on the field for 12 plays. That can be read in two ways; first, he only was out there 12 plays, which doesn’t bode well for production, but second, he was targeted on 5 of those plays, which means they have some faith in him. If Maclin were to miss any games with his hamstring issue Smith would probably see a big increase in time on the field.

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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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