Chet Gresham

Targets and Touches

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Week 4 Target Watch – NFC

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Welcome to the NFC Target Watch for Week 3, but actually Week 4, because we like to keep our eyes on the prize here at Rotoworld. And I guess that prize is Week 4? Dunno, but here we are.  



Arizona Cardinals


Larry Fitzgerald: 11-5-9 (25), Andre Roberts: 9-1-6 (16), Todd Heap: 4-9-dnp (13), Early Doucet: 3-4-1 (8), Ryan Williams: 3-2-2 (7), Jeff King: 3-0-2 (5), Michael Floyd: 1-0-2 (3), La’Rod Stephens-Howling: 1-2-0 (3), Rob Housler: 0-1-2 (3), Anthony Sherman: 1-1-0 (2), Beanie Wells: 0-1-0 (1)


The defense is still leading the way for the Cardinals, but we finally got to see the old Larry Fitzgerald in Week 3. After catching only five of his first 11 targets, he caught nine of nine against the Eagles. That’s a good sign, especially with Kevin Kolb at quarterback, who hadn’t been as productive for Fitzgerald as John Skelton has been in the past.


The running back situation has been about as bad as possible through the first two weeks, but we saw a glimmer of hope in Week 3 as Ryan Williams took over for the ailing Beanie Wells and went for 95 total yards. Williams looked much better than he has this preseason and early season and hopefully he is getting back to his pre-injury speed.


Andre Roberts moved back up to six targets after just one last week. If he can stay consistently at six or above, he’ll be worth looking at in deeper leagues.



Atlanta Falcons


Tony Gonzalez: 6-10-12 (28), Roddy White: 8-11-8 (27), Julio Jones: 9-7-7 (23), Harry Douglas: 4-3-2 (9), Jacquizz Rodgers: 2-1-5 (8), Michael Turner: 0-1-2 (3), Michael Palmer: 1-0-1 (2), Jason Snelling: 0-1-1 (2)


The Falcons were on cruise control against the Chargers and spread the ball around well. Old man Gonzalez had a team high 12 targets, which put him into the team lead for the season. He’s not going to Gronk over a defense, but he’s so sure handed and slick at finding the open spaces, that in this more up-tempo offense, he’ll continue to be a fantasy asset.


The Roddy White vs. Julio Jones contest for fantasy supremacy is close right now. Jones leads based on his three touchdowns to White’s one, but White is very close in PPR scoring. I believe Jones will continue to see similar targets, but his big play ability will keep him ahead of White throughout the season. It will be interesting to see how this plays out as the season goes on.


Michael Turner has officially been passed by Jacquizz Rodgers in time on the field. For this week at least. And he had his most productive fantasy game of the season. But there’s no doubting that Rodgers fits this offense better.  The numbers for Week 3 break down like so: Turner, 32 total snaps, 14 run plays, 12 pass, 6 pass blocking – Rodgers, 34 total snaps, 10 run plays, 21 pass, 3 pass blocking. Turner is still going to get goal line carries, but Rodgers will be in the red zone just as much or more, since the Falcons have run the ball 17 times to 21 times passing the ball once they hit the opponent’s 20 yard line.



Carolina Panthers


Greg Olsen: 7-3-14 (24), Steve Smith: 11-4-4 (19), Brandon LaFell: 5-8-5 (18), Mike Tolbert: 3-2-5 (10), Louis Murphy: 5-0-3 (8), DeAngelo Williams: 1-0-2 (3), Kealoha Pilares: 1-1-0 (2), Jonathan Stewart: dnp-1-dnp (1)


There wasn’t much good to come out of the Thursday night game for the Panthers, but one good thing was the usage of Greg Olsen. He only caught half of his targets, but Cam Newton wasn’t exactly having his best day as a pro. There’s a very good chance that Olsen continues to lead this team in targets all season.


There wasn’t too much else to glean from this game, other than the fact that Jonathan Stewart is a big part of this offense and brings a dimension that they just can’t get from Mike Tolbert or DeAngelo Williams.



Chicago Bears


Brandon Marshall: 15-5-11 (31), Earl Bennett: 4-6-4 (14), Alshon Jeffery: 5-2-7 (14), Matt Forte: 6-5-dnp (11), Kellen Davis: 1-6-3 (10), Devin Hester: 2-1-2 (5), Matt Spaeth: 0-2-0 (2), Michael Bush: 0-0-2 (2), Evan Rodriguez: 1-0-0 (1), Kahlil Bell: dnp-dnp-1 (1), Kyle Adams: dnp-dnp-1 (1)


Brandon Marshall got back up to double digit targets, which is promising considering the Bears had a poor offensive showing against the Rams.  The best news really is for Alshon Jeffery owners. The percentage of snaps he’s played has gone from 55% to 63% to 74% in Week 3. And add that to Week 3 being his biggest target game with seven, and we have a nice trend.


With Matt Forte out, Michael Bush saw the bulk of the carries, but wasn’t a true work horse with Kahlil Bell getting 10 rushing attempts to Bush’s 18. If Forte can’t go again, you might want to drop Bush slightly in your rankings with that kind of split.



Dallas Cowboys


Miles Austin: 4-10-9 (23), Dez Bryant: 5-7-8 (20), Kevin Ogletree: 11-1-7 (19), Jason Witten: 3-10-6 (19), DeMarco Murray: 2-4-4 (10), Felix Jones: 2-5-2 (9), John Phillips: 1-2-0 (3), Lawrence Vickers: 0-0-1 (1), James Hanna: 1-0-0 (1)


The Cowboys offense isn’t nearly as explosive as I assumed it would be.  Their individual personnel stack up against any of the top offenses in the league, but they just aren’t moving the ball. Thankfully it’s still early, and there’s only room to go up.


The fact that Dez Bryant doesn't have one red zone target is disturbing. He is easily the best player on the Cowboys to make a contested reception. I wonder if Romo is getting a little gun shy.  But to be fair, the Cowboys haven’t been in the red zone all that often. They’ve only run 14 plays inside the red zone, which is the fourth least in the league.


Miles Austin is the clear fantasy winner so far in the passing game, but the lack of productive drives leaves few fantasy points to go around. Until that offense gets going, we’ll have trouble getting the 4-5 studs on that offense to all contribute to your team.



Detroit Lions


Calvin Johnson: 7-12-12 (31), Brandon Pettigrew: 10-4-12 (26), Nate Burleson: 8-3-12 (23), Titus Young: 3-3-7 (13), Tony Scheffler: 8-3-dnp (11), Kevin Smith: 6-3-0 (9), Joique Bell: 0-3-5 (8), Will Heller: 2-1-1 (4), Mikel Leshoure: dnp-dnp-4 (4), Stefan Logan: 1-0-1 (2), Keiland Williams: 1-0-0 (1)


Matthew Stafford is actually completing 69% of his passes this season, but has only three touchdowns to four interceptions. Add in that two of those interceptions came in the red zone, and we have a problem.


We did see Titus Young have his most targets on the season, but that can also be said about every other receiver as well.  He did get into the end zone, which was good to see.  As well as his 93% snap rate, which was a huge jump from 58% and 63% in the first two games, but that is most likely due to Tony Scheffler missing the game. We’ll probably see those numbers head back down into the 60’s.


Nate Burleson’s 10 receptions were the most he’s had in a game since he had 11 in November of 2004.  So that tells me he is really old. And that he’s still one of Stafford’s go to targets underneath. His yards per reception are a paltry 8.8, which makes his upside pretty much on the downside.


Mikel Leshoure was the big news for the Lions. He saw 30 touches to Joique Bell’s 9 and was on the field over 60% of the time, and those numbers are a bit skewed, because he lost some carries due to fatigue in overtime.


And the bad news for Kevin Smith owners is that it looks like he has lost his job to Bell. He was only on the field for five snaps and touched the ball zero times. That was with a total of 96 snaps on the day! He gone.



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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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