Chet Gresham

Targets and Touches

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Week 1 Target Watch: NFC

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

New Orleans Saints


Jimmy Graham: (7), Darren Sproles: (6), Marques Colston: (6), Kenny Stills: (5), Lance Moore: (4), Pierre Thomas: (4), Ben Watson: (3)


The Saints receivers all played a predictable number of snaps, but rookie Kenny Stills’ five targets were more than expected. Brees spread the ball out as he often does, but maybe thinner than even his usual giving self. But it is what it is and Graham, Colston and Moore were on the field the most with 31 to 35 routes run while Stills had 23. If Stills continues to get targets, he will cut into Lance Moore’s production the most it seems.


The running back usage is always interesting in New Orleans. Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram split the running plays evenly, but Thomas saw three more snaps and four more targets and outplayed Ingram by a substantial margin. If we don’t see Thomas take a bigger step in front of Ingram in usage next week I’ll be surprised.



New York Giants


Brandon Myers: (9), Hakeem Nicks: (8), Victor Cruz: (8), Da'Rel Scott: (8), Rueben Randle: (6), Henry Hynoski: (1), David Wilson: (1)


The receiving core for the Giants came up big in this one with all three wide receivers topping 100 yards and catching 15 of 22 targets. There’s not much to say about the group except that they were all on the field a similar amount of time due to many three-receiver sets. And if they can’t get the running back position shored up that may continue to be a theme.


Oh, and Brandon Myers had nine targets and a touchdown. It's going to be impossible to keep this many mouths fed all season. Myers will need touchdowns to stay relevant I'd suspect.


We all know what happened with David Wilson fumbling twice and his subsequent benching. Da’Rel Scott came in afterward and did most of his damage in the receiving game, catching five of eight targets for 51 yards. If Wilson can’t get over his fumbling woes, the passing game would be Scott’s only real upside.



Philadelphia Eagles


DeSean Jackson: (9), Riley Cooper: (6), Jason Avant: (3), Zach Ertz: (3), Brent Celek: (3), LeSean McCoy: (1)


There weren’t many targets to go around for the Eagles after getting to an early lead and then running the clock out, but they made each target count. With the speed in which the Eagles run plays, teams have little time to rush the passer and Michael Vick can also create extra time by scrambling which helps someone like DeSean Jackson easily get open, which he did often.


Jason Avant, DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper ran 30 to 34 routes while Brent Celek ran 16 and Zach Ertz ran eight.  There aren’t going to be a ton of opportunities for the Eagles pass catchers when they aren’t behind and the run game is working, but the opportunities they do get are going to be productive as long as they execute.  Jackson is easily the best receiver on the team so he has a great advantage for getting targets, but after him it may be tough to decipher who will produce.


We just saw what could be the future of the running game in the NFL. Actually we could call it a track meet instead of a running game. LeSean McCoy ran the ball a whopping 31 times while Bryce Brown spelled him with nine attempts. McCoy was on the field for 67 plays and Brown for 16 and coach Chip Kelly thought they weren’t playing fast enough! That could easily set Bryce Brown up for more like 10-15 carries if things go as planned. Of course they won’t always go as planned, but they sure did Week one.



San Francisco 49ers


Anquan Boldin: (17), Vernon Davis: (9), Kyle Williams: (6), Frank Gore: (2), Vance McDonald: (2), Bruce Miller: (2), Marlon Moore: (1)


Well, how about 17 targets for old man Boldin? That’s not too shabby, oh and 200+ yards and a touchdown will work as well.  His 13 receptions, even without all the yards and touchdown would put his owners in PPR heaven. It seems a fairly safe assumption that he’ll be the top target getter most weeks and a PPR asset. 


Vernon Davis on the other hand is more of a playmaker and showed it with two touchdowns from his nine targets. His nine targets are more than he saw in any game last season, which is great news going forward because we know he can produce, he’s just needed those darn targets!


Frank Gore didn’t have the best of games, but he was the lead back without a doubt and the Packers were committed to stopping the run. He saw 67 snaps to Kendall Hunter’s 16. Hunter did look like he had more burst than Gore, but for now I wouldn't project many more touches for Hunter.



Seattle Seahawks


Doug Baldwin: (8), Golden Tate: (7), Zach Miller: (4), Marshawn Lynch: (3), Derrick Coleman: (3), Sidney Rice: (3), Jermaine Kearse: (2), Robert Turbin: (2), Stephen Williams: (1)


The Seahawks seem to be still feeling out their passing identity, but Doug Baldwin took a step forward as a go to guy while Golden Tate at least has the eye of Russell Wilson. Sidney Rice will need to really show he is healthy to start getting targets and hold off Jermaine Kearse and Stephen Williams.


Baldwin is working almost exclusively from the slot and it suits Wilson’s comfort zone.



St. Louis Rams


Jared Cook: (10), Tavon Austin: (7), Austin Pettis: (6), Daryl Richardson: (6), Lance Kendricks: (4), Chris Givens: (3), Brian Quick: (2)


Jared Cook has found a home. Much like Vernon Davis in San Francisco, Cook is the biggest playmaker on his team at the moment and he’s going to continue getting looks. Tavon Austin was used strictly in the slot and looks to be a chain mover at best right now. He should have value in PPR leagues, but he just doesn’t look explosive and will need to be able to stretch the field to give him more room after the catch.



Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Vincent Jackson: (13), Mike Williams: (8), Doug Martin: (6), Kevin Ogletree: (2), Nate Byham: (1), Brian Leonard: (1)


Vincent Jackson ran 50% of his routes from the slot in Week 1 compared to 36% all of last year. He had eight of his 13 targets from the slot and caught 4 of them for 104 of his 154 yards. Josh Freeman had a pretty horrible game, but was bailed out by Jackson and his 98 yards after the catch. According to Pro Football Focus Freeman only completed 3 of his 12 passes that went over 10 yards in the air.


Doug Martin was bottled up all day by the Jets tough defensive line, but he has no worries of losing touches to anyone. Not one running back other than him received a carry and Brian Leonard was on the field for only nine snaps.



Washington Redskins


Pierre Garcon: (11), Santana Moss: (9), Leonard Hankerson: (7), Jordan Reed: (6), Josh Morgan: (5), Fred Davis: (4), Aldrick Robinson: (2), Roy Helu: (2), Darrel Young: (1), Alfred Morris: (1),


Leonard Hankerson sure made his seven targets count, catching five of them for 80 yards and two touchdowns. Pierre Garcon led the way with 11 targets, but wasn’t as touchdown lucky as Hank. He did catch all seven of his catchable targets though, which is good and the fact that he saw the bulk still puts him squarely as the go to guy.


The one big downside to Alfred Morris is that if the Redskins get down big and must go into pass first hurry up, in comes Roy Helu. Helu didn’t see much work, but he was in there instead of Morris for 41 snaps while Morris only saw 37.  As a Morris owner you have to hope for closer games.



Snap count, formation and pass depth data comes from our friends at Pro Football Focus.

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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