Joique Bell may be one of those players you picked up and dropped more than once in your PPR leagues this season. He flashed ability and opportunity, but it never stayed consistent. Even in PPR leagues your running back has to score touchdowns and Bell's three on the season didn't cut it. Ray Rice's overall touches and numbers are down this season in comparison to last. The two coincide enough that it looks like Rice hasn't lost anything, but that the Ravens just want to keep him fresh. That makes sense in real life at times, but makes us fake football players cry ourselves to sleep every night.
C.J. Spiller's numbers have gone up a bit since Fred Jackson was injured again. We want Spiller to touch the ball 20 times a game, but in real football that may not be what's best for him. But I do think he should at least be getting more targets to help him get out into space, which is better on his small frame that 10-15 runs between the tackles a game. LeSean McCoy hit the target bonanza last week and showed why he is a top fantasy running back as long as he's on the field.
Hello Rotoworlders! Thanks for reading along as we explored the magical world of targets this season. Here are some notes for week 17. Next week I’ll wrap up the year by looking at who the target studs were over the full 17 weeks. Don’t miss out on that. You may regret it for the rest of your life.
The top-five target guys over the last month look pretty familiar as well as many that follow, but there are a few players we aren't used to seeing up here. Michael Crabtree hadn't seen 10 or more targets until Week 13, so this is no doubt a high volume stretch for him. During these last four weeks Crabtree ranks sixth in receptions with 27, sixth in yards with 366 yards and not so oddly sixth in targets. His two receiving touchdowns are keeping him from being a huge fantasy contributor, but he does still rank seventh in fantasy points over that time. It looks like Colin Kaepernick likes him some Crabtree. Pierre Garcon has been high on the target list since returning from his foot injury, but he wasn’t fully back until Week 12. Over these last four weeks Garcon has 41 targets compared to Josh Morgan's 17, Santana Moss' 12, Leonard Hankerson's 11, and Logan Paulsen's 10. RG III has thrown the ball 71 times during that span, so Garcon has seen 58% of the targets. That's some craziness. Justin Blackmon is tied for 10th in targets over the last four weeks, but ranks 37th in fantasy points during that span. That has a lot to do with Chad Henne and that Cecil Shorts was the #1 guy while in the game.
Reggie Wayne's numbers have fallen off a bit from the start of the season when he was consistently at the top of the targets list each week. In real life this is probably due to Andrew Luck getting the offense down a little better and distributing the ball better, but it has hurt Wayne's fantasy numbers some. As you can see, the top guys are also the only guys on their team that get targets. Brandon Lloyd's numbers continue to stand steady over the last three weeks. This seems like a real trend going into the last week and playoffs, but is more of a backhanded slap to those who thought this should have happened throughout the season. Antonio Brown has found the end zone for three straight games which means the Mayans were right on target. He has had tremendous trouble scoring touchdowns so far in his career, but he is the most complete receiver on the team and it's hard not to believe his touchdown numbers will start looking more like the last three weeks than they have in his early career. Dez Bryant and Tony Romo have been extremely productive on just eight targets a game. With his ability to catch balls in traffic and run after the catch it doesn't take many targets to make him a top three fantasy receiver.
Eric Decker isn't getting a ton of targets, but he's getting into the end zone enough for it not to matter. Demaryius Thomas is 10th in targets over the last four weeks while Decker is 37th. That makes Thomas the safer fantasy player, but Manning does love Decker in the red zone. T.Y. Hilton's target numbers continue to surprise me. Donnie Avery is up there at 17th overall, while Hilton, the more dynamic receiver, is down here at 40. His target numbers are still too unreliable for fantasy in Week 17, but I'm high on him going into next season. Greg Jennings leads all Packers' wide receivers in targets over the last four weeks with 28, but it's close with Randall Cobb at 26, James Jones at 24 and Jermichael Finley with 24 as well. Rodgers is spreading the ball around well, but Jones has been finding the end zone more than the rest. Of course with Cobb hurting and Jordy Nelson practicing in full, these numbers are quite volatile.
Aaron Hernandez continues to lead the way despite a down game last week in fantasy title games. But as we've talked about here before, the tight end position has been painfully inconsistent this season, while Hernandez has been the most consistent tight end of late. Jimmy Graham continues to get good target numbers, but is dropping passes and isn't 100% healthy. I guess keeping basketball player sized tight ends healthy throughout a season may be a tougher proposition than we thought. Not everyone can be Tony Gonzalez. Ben Watson is tied for fifth on this list, but only has 14 receptions for 182 yards and no touchdowns over the last four games, ranking him 20th in fantasy points for tight ends. Touchdowns are king in tight end land.
Lance Kendricks' fantasy numbers are a bit skewed by his 80 yard touchdown last week, but he has come on a bit of late with three touchdowns in his last five games, but you can't expect his yardage totals to be anywhere near his 119 yards last week. His high this season before last week was 48 yards. Jermichael Finley ranks fourth in receiving yards for tight ends over the last six weeks, but has only found the end zone once. He's a safer play than he was early in the season, but he's still not living up to what we thought he was so let's not let him off the hook because he is what we thought he was or I mean isn't, or, hey Denny, can you help!? Woe are Brandon Myers' target totals! Seeing that 15 from Week 13 and then the utter desolation during the fantasy playoffs brings a tear to my eye.