Chet Gresham

Targets and Touches

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Week 2 Target Watch – AFC

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Welcome to the AFC version of Target Watch. You will find all of the AFC teams below, with all of their passing targets, plus some snap count data and words I came up with in my brain after tackling the NFC teams on Wednesday.



Baltimore Ravens


Dennis Pitta: (9), Anquan Boldin: (5), Ray Rice: (4), Vonta Leach: (3), Jacoby Jones: (3), Torrey Smith: (3), Ed Dickson: (3), Deonte Thompson: (2)

This was very much the Dennis Pitta target three hours of power. Pitta ran 28 passing routes compared to Ed Dickson’s 16. Last year it was quite difficult to predict who would see the most targets between the two from week to week.  This could be the start of something good for Pitta, especially since he saw three red zone targets, but I would like to see a pattern develop.

Torrey Smith’s mediocre three targets were a bit disappointing. I don’t think it will be the norm, because it looked as if he wouldn’t just be the deep threat this season. This is another storyline to keep an eye on, but I think they’ll make a point to get him more looks this weekend.

Ray Rice only had 10 carries, but thankfully found the end zone twice. His overall usage was a little alarming, but there’s no doubt they want him with the ball in the red zone. This is yet another bit of usage we’ll need to watch as the Ravens new pass oriented offense finds its legs.



Buffalo Bills


Stevie Johnson: (10), Donald Jones: (7), Scott Chandler: (6), David Nelson: (5), C.J. Spiller: (3), Lee Smith: (1)

The Bills were flattened by the Jets and also lost David Nelson and Fred Jackson. That is what I’d call a bad game. Thankfully C.J. Spiller did his thing and went fantasy football crazy, gaining 194 yards and a touchdown on just 16 touches. That’s a pretty good 12 yards per touch.

Donald Jones saw plenty of targets and should continue to get them with Nelson out for the season.

Tight end Scott Chandler didn’t have six targets until week 11 last season, so that is good news for him. He’ll need to get that average a little above six to be fantasy relevant in single tight end leagues, but in two tight end leagues, he could be worthwhile soon.



Cincinnati Bengals


A.J. Green: (11), Andrew Hawkins: (9), Jermaine Gresham: (8), Armon Binns: (5), Brandon Tate: (2), BenJarvus Green-Ellis: (2)

Andrew Hawkins was the big news on Monday night for the Bengals as they were beaten like things that get beaten a lot. He was Dalton’s go to guy over the middle, catching eight passes for 86 yards on nine targets.

Armon Binns actually saw more work than Hawkins, 35 to 26 pass routes, but Hawkins was easily the go to guy when he was out there. He’s worth looking into for PPR aficionados.

Jermaine Gresham had a healthy eight targets, but only came up with three of them. I believe this is an anomaly and he’ll get back on track. The targets will be there and just like last season, he is a favorite of Dalton’s in the red zone where he had three targets on Monday.



Cleveland Browns


Mohamed Massaquoi: (8), Travis Benjamin: (6), Josh Gordon: (4), Greg Little: (4), Brandon Jackson: (4), Trent Richardson: (3), Owen Marecic: (2), Ben Watson: (2), Alex Smith: (1), Jordan Cameron: (1)

It’s hard to get too excited about any of these target numbers with Brandon Weeden having a terrible debut. Unless he can improve and quickly, there’s no Cleveland receiver worth gambling on.

The best news here is Trent Richardson’s three targets. He was rusty against the Eagles, but with the workload it looks like he’ll be getting on the ground and through the air, it will be hard for him not to be a fantasy starter.


Denver Broncos


Demaryius Thomas: (7), Eric Decker: (7), Jacob Tamme: (5), Brandon Stokley: (3), Joel Dreessen: (2), Matt Willis: (1), Willis McGahee: (1)

All the guessing as to who would be Peyton Manning’s go-to guys was pretty much right on. The duo of Thomas and Decker will continue to lead in targets, while Decker looks to be the guy in the red zone with two targets to Thomas’ none.

Jacob Tamme had 24 receiving routes to Dreessen’s 19, but had three more targets, including a red zone target that resulted in a touchdown. He’s the guy to own in Denver, but he is splitting time and has a better chance of throwing up a dud.


Houston Texans


Andre Johnson: (10), Owen Daniels: (8), Ben Tate: (3), Arian Foster: (3), James Casey: (2), Kevin Walter: (2), Lestar Jean: (2), Keshawn Martin: (1)

Andre Johnson was Andre Johnson and will continue to be Andre Johnson while of sound body. If he gets hurt he turns into Andy Johns P.I.

No other receiver really stepped up except for Owen Daniels, who continues to be the tight end to own in Houston. I was a little worried James Casey and Garrett Graham would cut into his targets, but it doesn’t seem to be the case.

Arian Foster was Arian . . . okay, we get it! He played 50 snaps to Ben Tate’s 21. Tate isn’t going away, but Foster had seven looks inside the red zone compared to Tate’s zero. He’s going to continue doing what he does.



Indianapolis Colts


Reggie Wayne: (18), Coby Fleener: (10), Donnie Avery: (8), Kris Adams: (4), Donald Brown: (2), Mewelde Moore: (1), LaVon Brazill: (1)

Eighteen targets for Reggie Wayne gave me a warm fuzzy guttural feeling because I felt a big target year coming his way. Of course the addition of Austin Collie might cut into those targets a bit, but Andrew Luck will be throwing the ball often this season.

Wayne also had four red zone targets to Donnie Avery’s three. We most likely will see Collie get those instead of Avery if he’s back to full speed this week.

Coby Fleener ran 44 pass routes compared to Dwayne Allen’s 17 and Allen didn’t even see a target. Fleener is the guy to own no doubt.

The running backs were spread out quite a bit, with Donald Brown getting 28 snaps compared to 19 for Mewelde Moore and 11 for Vick Ballard. With Brown not being the passing down back, he will have trouble remaining fantasy relevant unless he can take one of his few carries into the end zone like he did against the Bears.


Jacksonville Jaguars


Laurent Robinson: (9), Cecil Shorts: (7), Justin Blackmon: (6), Marcedes Lewis: (5), Maurice Jones-Drew: (5), Montell Owens: (3), Greg Jones: (2), Mike Thomas: (1), Rashad Jennings: (1)

I’m still not sold on Blaine Gabbert as a quarterback who can sustain fantasy receivers. They faced a poor Minnesota Viking pass defense and Gabbert had his best game as a pro and Cecil Shorts was the fantasy star. And Shorts was only on the field for 14 plays. Unless he gets a big boost in playing time next week, he’ll be impossible to trust on your fantasy team.

The real fantasy winners should have been Laurent Robinson and Justin Blackmon, but they weren’t. I’m not giving up on Blackmon because his skills after the catch are impressive.

Maurice Jones-Drew was on the field for 49 plays compared to Rashad Jennings’ 19. Jennings sustained an injury, but Jones-Drew was going to take over the lead back duties anyway.


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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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