Chet Gresham

Targets and Touches

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Week 8 Target Watch: NFC

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Here are the NFC Targets for Week 8. You will find all the target information you will ever desire and if you don’t, well, give me five bucks and I’ll make some up for you. Bang it here for Wednesday's AFC targets.

Here are the red zone target leaders through the first seven weeks of the season. Most of these guys are doing pretty well this year for some reason.

Red Zone Target Leaders


Rank Wide Receiver Tar   Rank Running Back Tar   Rank Tight End Tar
1 Marques Colston 15   1 Darren Sproles 9   1 Heath Miller 13
2 Victor Cruz 13   2 Joique Bell 6   2 Kyle Rudolph 9
3 Brandon Marshall 11   3 Ray Rice 6   3 Rob Gronkowski 9
4 Vincent Jackson 11   4 LeSean McCoy 5   4 Martellus Bennett 8
5 Percy Harvin 11   5 Jamaal Charles 4   5 Greg Olsen 7
6 Larry Fitzgerald 11   6 Adrian Peterson 4   6 Anthony Fasano 7
7 Julio Jones 10   7 Arian Foster 4   7 Jimmy Graham 7
8 James Jones 10   8 Ronnie Brown 4   8 Dennis Pitta 7
9 Eric Decker 10   9 Pierre Thomas 4   9 Aaron Hernandez 6
10 A.J. Green 10   10 Steven Jackson 4   10 Antonio Gates 6


To start saving space I’ll be showing you the last 6 weeks of targets on each individual player, but the total targets are for the whole season.



Arizona Cardinals


Larry Fitzgerald: 5-9-15-15-12-7 (74), Andre Roberts: 1-6-9-10-6-9 (50), Early Doucet: 4-1-7-7-3-6 (31), Rob Housler: 1-2-3-6-3-7 (22), Michael Floyd: 0-2-8-3-3-1 (18), Todd Heap: 9-dnp-dnp-dnp-0-dnp (13), Jeff King: 0-2-2-1-4-0 (12), Ryan Williams: 2-2-2-1-dnp-dnp (10), LaRod Stephens-Howling: 2-0-dnp-dnp-2-5 (10), William Powell: dnp-dnp-2-4-1-1 (8), Anthony Sherman: 1-0-0-2-0-dnp (4), Alfonso Smith: dnp-dnp-0-1-0-0 (1), Chris Wells: 1-0-dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp (1)


Larry Fitzgerald on a team with a good quarterback would be the only player with the skills and work ethic capable of challenging Jerry Rice’s unchallengeable records, but instead of getting Steve Young after Kurt Warner he gets a garbage truck full of Leinarts and Skeltons dumped on him. This of course has nothing to do with targets, but Fitzgerald deserves better than this.


Andre Roberts came up with another big game and led the team in targets, but when you check out his week-to-week stats, those big games are pretty far in between. He only has three games in double-digit fantasy points, weeks one, four, and seven.  So that makes four weeks where he was pretty much useless if you started him. And when you look back at the matchups, there is little rhyme or reason as to why he came up big. I’ll need to see more consistency from him.


After William Powell fumbled, it turned into the LaRod Stephens-Howling show. They had planned on splitting carries, but the fumble and The Hyphen playing well turned that plan around. I’d like to give The Howling a chance to be a Darren Sproles type player, but even if he is, the Cardinals are not nearly a New Orleans Saints type team. I don’t see Powell going away that easily and Beanie Wells will return at some point. With the 49ers up next we can safely sit him and see how his touches look.



Atlanta Falcons


Tony Gonzalez: 10-12-5-14-7-BYE (54), Julio Jones: 7-7-8-15-8-BYE (54), Roddy White: 11-8-12-6-8-BYE (53), Harry Douglas: 3-2-2-5-7-BYE (23), Jacquizz Rodgers: 1-5-4-2-4-BYE (18), Michael Turner: 1-2-5-5-1-BYE (14), Jason Snelling: 1-1-4-1-0-BYE (7), Tommy Gallarda: dnp-dnp-dnp-2-1-BYE (3), Michael Palmer: 0-1-dnp-dnp-dnp-BYE (2), Lousaka Polite: 0-0-dnp-dnp-1-BYE (1)


Atlanta took the bye off to clone Tony Gonzalez.



Carolina Panthers


Steve Smith: 4-4-6-13-BYE-9 (47), Greg Olsen: 3-14-7-3-BYE-5 (39), Brandon LaFell: 8-5-3-3-BYE-8 (32), Louis Murphy: 0-3-1-2-BYE-9 (20), Mike Tolbert: 2-5-3-1-BYE-1 (15), Jonathan Stewart: 1-dnp-1-4-BYE-4 (10), DeAngelo Williams: 0-2-2-2-BYE-0 (7), Kealoha Pilares: 1-0-1-0-BYE-0 (3), Armanti Edwards: 0-0-1-0-BYE-0 (1), Ben Hartsock: dnp-0-0-1-BYE-0 (1)


The best news to come out of the Panthers loss to the Cowboys was the usage of Jonathan Stewart. He didn’t have a great game, but was on the field for 58 snaps compared to 15 for Mike Tolbert and five for DeAngelo Williams. This is great news for a player who deserves a chance to be the guy.  He has shown top-10 ability most of his career and if he can get the touches, is very much worth your fantasy interest. Of course he gets the Bears this week who have been playing like another team on the lake from 1985.


Steve Smith continues to be the target hog in Carolina and put up decent numbers, even against a tough Dallas pass defense. He’s still legit. Louis Murphy saw his biggest target numbers on the season, but didn’t do all that much with them. There’s a good chance that will be Murphy’s high in targets on the season. Brandon LaFell and Smith are the two go to wide receivers and that shouldn’t change without an injury.


Chicago Bears


Brandon Marshall: 5-11-8-17-BYE-10 (66), Alshon Jeffery: 2-7-5-4-BYE-dnp (23), Matt Forte: 5-dnp-1-4-BYE-5 (21), Earl Bennett: 6-4-dnp-dnp-BYE-6 (20), Kellen Davis: 6-3-4-4-BYE-2 (20), Devin Hester: 1-2-4-4-BYE-6 (19), Michael Bush: 0-2-1-3-BYE-1 (7), Matt Spaeth: 2-0-0-0-BYE-1 (3), Dane Sanzenbacher: dnp-dnp-1-2-BYE-0 (3), Kyle Adams: dnp-1-0-1-BYE-1 (3), Kahlil Bell: dnp-1-0-dnp-BYE-dnp (1), Evan Rodriguez: 0-0-dnp-dnp-BYE-dnp (1)


With Alshon Jeffery out, Devin Hester became the clear #2 receiver, running 41 pass routes to Earl Bennett’s 29. But he’s still Devin Hester and isn’t going to do much for your fantasy team unless he gets a touchdown. Brandon Marshall remains Jay Cutler’s main target and will be for the foreseeable future.


Matt Forte is fully back, with 22 rushing attempts in each of his last two games. He gets a couple nice matchups against Carolina and Tennessee the next two weeks, but then faces a gauntlet of Houston, San Francisco, Minnesota, Seattle and Minnesota again. That’s some ugly business.



Dallas Cowboys


Dez Bryant: 7-8-13-BYE-15-3 (51), Jason Witten: 10-6-14-BYE-7-8 (48), Miles Austin: 10-9-6-BYE-5-9 (43), Kevin Ogletree: 1-7-5-BYE-4-6 (34), DeMarco Murray: 4-4-7-BYE-1-dnp (18), Felix Jones: 5-2-0-BYE-1-6 (16), John Phillips: 2-0-0-BYE-2-0 (5), Phillip Tanner: 0-0-3-BYE-0-1 (4), Lawrence Vickers: 0-1-0-BYE-1-1 (3), Cole Beasley: dnp-dnp-2-BYE-dnp-dnp (2), James Hanna: 0-0-0-BYE-0-0 (1), Andre Holmes: dnp-0-1-BYE-0-0 (1), Dwayne Harris: 0-0-1-BYE-0-0 (1)


If Dez Bryant says he’s fine, his targets and playing time say otherwise. After 28 targets in two games, he totaled a measly three against the Panthers when on the field. He played in 70% of the snaps, which was down from his normal 85-95%.


Miles Austin took up Bryant’s slack and looked much more like the pre-Bryant’s target bonanza Miles Austin.  Until we know Bryant is 100%, Austin is the safer bet going forward.


The post-DeMarco Murray running backs split time on the field almost evenly. Felix Jones was on the field for 33 snaps to Phillip Tanner’s 36, but saw five more targets and six more touches while accumulating 36 more yards. But really the biggest gap is in the passing game and as long as Jones can stay out of the infirmary, he’s got the most upside.



Detroit Lions


Calvin Johnson: 12-12-12-BYE-13-11 (67), Brandon Pettigrew: 4-12-9-BYE-7-6 (48), Nate Burleson: 3-12-8-BYE-9-3 (43), Titus Young: 3-7-3-BYE-5-8 (29), Tony Scheffler: 3-dnp-3-BYE-5-3 (22), Joique Bell: 3-5-8-BYE-2-4 (22), Mikel Leshoure: dnp-4-5-BYE-4-7 (20), Kevin Smith: 3-0-0-BYE-dnp-dnp (9), Ryan Broyles: dnp-0-1-BYE-0-4 (5), Will Heller: 1-1-0-BYE-0-0 (4), Stefan Logan: 0-1-0-BYE-0-0 (2), Keiland Williams: 0-0-1-BYE-0-dnp (2)


The biggest target news out of this game was the loss of Nate Burleson for the season. He was averaging eight targets a game and those targets will have to go somewhere. During this game they went to Titus Young and Ryan Broyles. Young had eight targets to Broyles’ four, but Broyles also had two red zone targets to Young’s zero. Both have highish ceilings going forward, but Young is the “veteran” of the two and has a better chance of winning the target race.


Mikel Leshoure touched the ball 18 times for 83 yards, which is pretty good when you think of how well the Bears defense has been playing. Unfortunately Joique Bell was given three red zone looks to Leshoure’s one, but Bell fumbled a golden opportunity at the goal line. Leshoure is still the guy to own in Detroit.


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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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