Chet Gresham

Targets and Touches

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Week 5 Target Watch: NFC

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Have you ever thought to your self, “self? Are targets the best thing or the greatest thing in the world?” And then instead of answering yourself, you just smile smugly at your awesomeness?  Just me? Anyway, we have target info for you below. The team breakdowns are for the NFC, so if you are looking for the AFC teams, you’ll need to wait another day for me to write about them. It will all work itself out in the end.

For a little appetizer, here are the top targeted targets for each position so far.

Target Leaders


Wide Receiver Targ   Running Back Targ   Tight End Targ
Dwayne Bowe 49   Darren Sproles 32   Jimmy Graham 40
Victor Cruz 49   Ray Rice 30   Brandon Pettigrew 35
Brian Hartline 48   Darren McFadden 28   Dennis Pitta 33
A.J. Green 43   Trent Richardson 21   Tony Gonzalez 33
Calvin Johnson 43   LeSean McCoy 19   Jason Witten 33
Danny Amendola 43   Marcel Reece 18   Greg Olsen 31
Santonio Holmes 41   DeMarco Murray 17   Brent Celek 30
Brandon Lloyd 40   Pierre Thomas 16   Rob Gronkowski 29
Reggie Wayne 40   Jamaal Charles 16   Owen Daniels 28
Larry Fitzgerald 40   Joique Bell 16   Martellus Bennett 26
Brandon Marshall 39   Maurice Jones-Drew 15   Jermichael Finley 26
Roddy White 39   Doug Martin 15   Jacob Tamme 25
            Jermaine Gresham 25


Arizona Cardinals


Larry Fitzgerald: 11-5-9-15 (40), Andre Roberts: 9-1-6-9 (25), Early Doucet: 3-4-1-7 (15), Todd Heap: 4-9-dnp-dnp (13), Michael Floyd: 1-0-2-8 (11), Ryan Williams: 3-2-2-2 (9), Jeff King: 3-0-2-2 (7), Rob Housler: 0-1-2-3 (6), LaRod Stephens-Howling: 1-2-0-dnp (3), William Powell: dnp-dnp-dnp-2 (2), Anthony Sherman: 1-1-0-0 (2)


Andre Roberts now leads all wide receivers with four touchdown receptions. Last season Calvin Johnson had eight at this point. This tells us that wide receiver touchdowns are lame.  But is Andre Roberts? No and probably.


Roberts is a good receiver, but his touchdown rate is unsustainable at one touchdown for every 3.75 receptions or 6.25 targets. If he were getting more targets, I’d be fine with him regressing to a more sustainable touchdown rate, but right now, he’s just not getting consistent targets.


Against Miami, Kevin Kolb threw the ball 48 times; in his first two games he threw it 27 and 24 times. If for some reason the Cardinals turn into a run-and-shoot team, I’ll change my tune on Roberts.


But of course there are other players on the team. Larry Fitzgerald to name the best and he of course led in targets and in red zone targets with four. That’s what I like to see.


The running back situation is not a good one for fantasy with William Powell seeing the field more than Ryan Williams. This was due mainly to Powell being used as the passing-down back. Williams must not be up to snuff on pass protection quite yet. The good news is that the Cardinals normally have a better defense than they showed against Miami and won’t be throwing all over kingdom-come that often.



Atlanta Falcons


Roddy White: 8-11-8-12 (39), Tony Gonzalez: 6-10-12-5 (33), Julio Jones: 9-7-7-8 (31), Jacquizz Rodgers: 2-1-5-4 (12), Harry Douglas: 4-3-2-2 (11), Michael Turner: 0-1-2-5 (8), Jason Snelling: 0-1-1-4 (6), Michael Palmer: 1-0-1-dnp (2)

The Falcons are playing well right now, and Matt Ryan can do little wrong.  Much like Aaron Rodgers last season, Ryan will exploit the best matchups, which sometimes leaves players out of the fun.  And the Falcons have three of the best receivers in the league to choose from.


Michael Turner went all slow burner on us and racked up yardage through the air and ground. His five targets were the most he’s ever had and his receiving touchdown was the first of his career.  But Jacquizz Rodgers still was on the field for 43% of the time compared to Turner’s 53%. Last game Rodgers held the snap advantage, so I think we’ll continue to see about an even split, depending on circumstances.



Carolina Panthers


Greg Olsen: 7-3-14-7 (31), Steve Smith: 11-4-4-6 (25), Brandon LaFell: 5-8-5-3 (21), Mike Tolbert: 3-2-5-3 (13), Louis Murphy: 5-0-3-1 (9), DeAngelo Williams: 1-0-2-2 (5), Kealoha Pilares: 1-1-0-1 (3), Jonathan Stewart: dnp-1-dnp-1 (2), Armanti Edwards: 0-0-0-1 (1)


Greg Olsen is doing some work and it’s good to see. After being Mike Martz’d and Jeremy Shockey’d into obscurity, it’s finally time for him to show what he can do. He currently leads all tight ends in target percentage for his team. Cam Newton is targeting him 28% of the time. And he’s the sixth most targeted tight end in the league.


Newton’s recent love for Olsen is hurting Brandon LaFell. The Panthers passing game can’t give three receivers consistent fantasy production, so someone has to take a back seat. Right now it is LaFell. This of course could fluctuate, but I believe Olsen has a good hold on the target lead, even to the detriment of Steve Smith. Of course the good thing about Smith is that he is averaging over 20 yards a reception, so it doesn’t take many targets to put him in the fantasy money.


The running back situation is exactly what you would expect, a mess for fantasy players. Jonathan Stewart’s injury has thrown a wrench into analyzing playing time and touches, but last week we saw pretty much an exact split in time and touches. Guessing who gets a touchdown between DeAngelo Williams and Stewart is going to be tough.



Chicago Bears


Brandon Marshall: 15-5-11-8 (39), Alshon Jeffery: 5-2-7-5 (19), Kellen Davis: 1-6-3-4 (14), Earl Bennett: 4-6-4-dnp (14), Matt Forte: 6-5-dnp-1 (12), Devin Hester: 2-1-2-4 (9), Michael Bush: 0-0-2-1 (3), Matt Spaeth: 0-2-0-0 (2), Dane Sanzenbacher: dnp-dnp-dnp-1 (1), Evan Rodriguez: 1-0-0-dnp (1), Kahlil Bell: dnp-dnp-1-0 (1), Kyle Adams: dnp-dnp-1-0 (1)


Right now Brandon Marshall is receiving 33.3% of all the Bears targets, which puts him fourth overall in the league, while Alshon Jeffery is getting 16.2%. That’s just not enough for Jeffery to have any kind of consistency. 


Matt Forte’s ankle injury seemed to still be a bit of a problem Monday night, but he still played 32 snaps to Michael Bush’s 22. As long as he doesn’t have a setback, he should up that number this week.



Dallas Cowboys


Dez Bryant: 5-7-8-13 (33), Jason Witten: 3-10-6-14 (33), Miles Austin: 4-10-9-6 (29), Kevin Ogletree: 11-1-7-5 (24), DeMarco Murray: 2-4-4-7 (17), Felix Jones: 2-5-2-0 (9), John Phillips: 1-2-0-0 (3), Phillip Tanner: 0-0-0-3 (3), Cole Beasley: 0-dnp-dnp-2 (2), Lawrence Vickers: 0-0-1-0 (1), James Hanna: 1-0-0-0 (1), Andre Holmes: 0-dnp-0-1 (1), Dwayne Harris: 0-0-0-1 (1)


We’ve all been begging for more Dez Bryant targets and we got them. Of course he dropped some and made some bone-headed plays and made it harder for him to keep getting those targets, but he got them and topped 100 yards receiving for the second time in his career. Hopefully for his fantasy owner’s sakes he’ll keep getting them.


Jason Witten broke out of his slump in a big way and led all tight ends with 14 targets, catching 13 for 112 yards and a touchdown. Can’t argue with those numbers.


You can argue with DeMarco Murray’s 24 yards rushing on 11 carries, but thankfully he saved his PPR day with seven receptions on seven targets. That’s by far his best target and reception day of the year.


Miles Austin took a back seat in target bingo, but still got in for a touchdown. He continues to get his no matter what. We won’t go into Tony Romo’s evening of ill-repute.



Detroit Lions


Calvin Johnson: 7-12-12-12 (43), Brandon Pettigrew: 10-4-12-9 (35), Nate Burleson: 8-3-12-8 (31), Joique Bell: 0-3-5-8 (16), Titus Young: 3-3-7-3 (16), Tony Scheffler: 8-3-dnp-3 (14), Mikel Leshoure: dnp-dnp-4-5 (9), Kevin Smith: 6-3-0-0 (9), Will Heller: 2-1-1-0 (4), Keiland Williams: 1-0-0-1 (2), Stefan Logan: 1-0-1-0 (2), Ryan Broyles: dnp-dnp-0-1 (1)


The Lions can’t seem to put together much in the wins department, but they sure throw the ball enough to give us beaucoup target information.  Matthew Stafford is actually on pace to eclipse Drew Bledsoe’s record for most pass attempts. Of course Drew Brees has five more attempts than Stafford this season!


Calvin Johnson has been steady in his targets with 12 each of his last three games. His main problem has been getting into the end zone, which is really one of the Lions’ main problems as well. But you know he’s going to start crossing the goal line with the ball soon.


I’m not sure what Kevin Smith did to deserve such a plummet down the depth chart, but he didn’t step on the field last week, while Joique Bell backed up Mikel LeShoure once again.  And Bell did some good work on passing downs, catching six of eight targets for 72 yards. He currently ranks second in receiving yards for running backs behind Darren Sproles.


Titus Young saw his targets go back down to his normal three and has as many targets as Bell has on the season! That’s not good.


continue story »
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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