Chet Gresham

Targets and Touches

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Target Watch: Week 7

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


The numbers by each name are targets for weeks’ 1-6 followed by the total year to date targets in parenthesis.

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


Arizona Cardinals

Larry Fitzgerald: 7-9-8-11-8-BYE (43), Early Doucet: 3-6-6-6-16-BYE (37), Andre Roberts: 4-7-6-0-6-BYE (23), Todd Heap: 3-1-10-6-dnp-BYE (20), Jeff King: 3-2-0-1-6-BYE (12), Beanie Wells: 4-2-dnp-2-1-BYE (9), Rob Housler: 0-0-0-1-8-BYE (9), Alfonso Smith: dnp-0-5-0-0-BYE (5)

When Larry Fitzgerald isn't hurt and gets out-targeted by Early Doucet by 8 there is little chance the Cardinals are winning. But as far as fake football goes, 16 targets is a whole lot, and Doucet is now clearly the 2nd (or sometimes 1st) read in this passing offense. He was targeted early and often and opportunity often trumps ability. Fitzgerald is still by far the most complete receiver on the team and most other teams and will get his, but teams are going to let Doucet try to beat them early and late.


Atlanta Falcons

Roddy White: 13-4-17-11-9-5 (59), Tony Gonzalez: 7-9-8-9-8-3 (44), Julio Jones: 6-7-7-17-4-dnp (41), Harry Douglas: 4-2-7-0-5-4 (22), Jason Snelling: 7-3-2-dnp-2-1 (15), Jacquizz Rodgers: 5-0-3-1-1-1 (11), Michael Turner: 4-1-0-2-0-3 (10), Ovie Mughelli: 0-1-1-1-1-2 (6)

Last week the Falcons went to a run first, second and third game plan against the weak Carolina Panthers rush defense. Julio Jones being out also played into that strategy as well. Roddy White led in targets and only had five so that tells you a lot. And with their run first mentality we saw more Ovie Mughelli in the blocking back role over Snelling and Rodgers. This of course won't be the game plan every week, but we now know we can't count on them airing it out unless the opponent and situation call for it.

On a side note Roddy White continues to have much less fantasy impact than in the past. In this last game he had a couple good chances for scores but drew pass interference calls. He leads the Falcons in red zone targets but still only has two touchdowns. The TDs should come.


Baltimore Ravens

Anquan Boldin: 7-7-14-2-BYE-9 (39), Ed Dickson: 5-6-9-12-BYE-3 (35), Ray Rice: 5-8-7-5-BYE-7 (32), Torrey Smith: 1-0-8-6-BYE-5 (20), Vonta Leach: 3-1-4-3-BYE-2 (13), Dennis Pitta: 2-3-1-1-BYE-5 (12), Lee Evans: 4-5-dnp-dnp-BYE-dnp (9)

The Ravens had a fairly balanced run/pass ratio with 30 rushing attempts to 33 passing attempts and got all their playmakers heavily involved. Anquan Boldin as the intermediate route runner and Torrey Smith as the deep threat worked well against the Texans and the targets seem about right for those two roles. Smith has shown more speed and ability to separate than Lee Evans and most likely will win that battle in the long run.

The tight end situation flipped back to Dennis Pitta’s side this week with five targets to Ed Dickson's three. I sure didn’t see that coming since Dickson had won the target battle every week of the season so far. This could be an anomaly but it doesn't bode well for Dickson's value.


Buffalo Bills

Stevie Johnson: 6-14-10-6-5-10 (51), David Nelson: 6-13-8-3-2-6 (38), Donald Jones: 5-6-10-8-2-dnp (31), Fred Jackson: 1-2-6-8-6-6 (29), Scott Chandler: 5-4-3-2-1-1 (16), Naaman Roosevelt: dnp-dnp-1-1-7-2 (11), C.J. Spiller: 1-1-1-1-2-5 (11)

Early on the Bills' receiver situation looked ripe for the fake football pickings but lately it has been difficult to figure out who the secondary receiver to trust might be, if any. Last week we saw Naaman Roosevelt once again put up a decent line, but this time with only two targets and one reception that went 60 yards for a touchdown. We just can't rely on him taking a slant for 6 every week with just two targets. David Nelson moved back up the target list and had six with four receptions and 64 yards. Even though he didn't get into the end zone that was a good sign for him after having low target numbers before Donald Jones was hurt.

I often make a point to point out the lack of time C.J. Spiller spends on the field but this week I can't do that. His 35 snaps were more than he had totaled in the three previous weeks combined. He also had a season high five targets and five receptions but for a measly 34 yards. With the injuries to Parrish and Jones, Spiller has stepped up in the slot. Chan Gailey says this isn't a permanent change but it at least gives Spiller some chance to touch the ball. He's not getting enough work to warrant picking him up yet but it's worth keeping an eye on.


Carolina Panthers

Steve Smith: 11-13-7-10-7-7 (55), Greg Olsen: 6-4-10-7-5-10 (42), Jeremy Shockey: 3-5-7-5-7-7 (34), Legedu Naanee: 5-7-2-11-7-2 (34), Jonathan Stewart: 3-8-3-4-1-3 (22), Brandon LaFell: 5-5-0-6-2-1 (19), DeAngelo Williams: 2-4-3-1-0-3 (13)

Superman targeted his little pal Olsen 10 times but not much came of it besides five receptions and 42 yards. Jeremy Shockey once again received too many targets for my liking, but if that's the way they want to play it, so be it. All I know is it's time for me to give up on Brandon LaFell, for now. Yes, I am the last one to do so.

The running back situation remains one to stay away from for the most part. Jonathan Stewart vultured a goal line touchdown from Cam Newton and ran more effectively than DeAngelo Williams but still just isn't seeing the ball enough to be trusted as anything more than a bye week filler.


Chicago Bears

Matt Forte: 6-14-8-5-7-7 (47), Devin Hester: 5-9-5-2-7-7 (35), Dane Sanzenbacher: 1-7-7-2-10-3 (30), Johnny Knox: 4-6-9-4-2-4 (29), Kellen Davis: 5-1-2-1-3-3 (15), Roy Williams: 4-dnp-4-1-1-4 (14), Sam Hurd: dnp-3-1-2-5-0 (11)

This was the Devin Hester show for the most part. He had his best game of the season as a wide receiver with seven targets, five receptions, 91 yards and a touchdown (and his 17th return TD). The Bears offensive line gave Jay Cutler some time for the first time this season and he made them pay. After Hester and Forte there were mainly just some scraps strewn about for the other receivers. Hester will have to repeat this type of game for me to even come close to believing that he has risen out of the muck of mediocrity.


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



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