Chet Gresham

Targets and Touches

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Week 3 Target Watch: NFC

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $250,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 3. It's $25 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.




Welcome to the NFC targets and touches for Week 2 of the NFL season. The AFC portion will be up tomorrow, so stay tuned for that craziness. And if you are new to the column let me take you through a quick look at how I set things up. You'll see something like this "Matt Forte: 6-11 (17)" which just means that Forte had 6 targets in Week 1, 11 targets in Week 2 and 17 total.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.



Follow me on Twitter for more target talk and interpretive target dance.



Targets for running backs are one of the most important stats for fantasy since receptions give running backs space to work and a whole extra dimension for yards and of course in PPR it's all the rage. So here are the top running back targets so far:


Matt Forte: 6-11 (17), Jamaal Charles: 6-10 (16), DeMarco Murray: 10-6 (16), Ray Rice: 11-3 (14), Darren Sproles: 6-8 (14), Joique Bell: 6-8 (14), Arian Foster: 8-4 (12), Da'Rel Scott: 8-4 (12), Daryl Richardson: 6-6 (12), Danny Woodhead: 3-9 (12), Reggie Bush: 8-3 (11), Fred Jackson: 5-6 (11), C.J. Spiller: 6-5 (11), Trent Richardson: 6-5 (11)


Bad games for running backs with a bag of targets are much harder to come by than those running backs who get no targets (see DeAngelo Williams).



And now for the rest of the story:


Arizona Cardinals


Larry Fitzgerald: 14-5- (19), Andre Roberts: 9-8- (17), Michael Floyd: 6-7- (13), Jim Dray: 2-7- (9), Andre Ellington: 3-2- (5), Jaron Brown: 2-2- (4), Rashard Mendenhall: 1-2- (3), Alfonso Smith: 1-1- (2), Kory Sperry: 1-0- (1)


With Larry Fitzgerald hobbled in Week 2 Andre Roberts, Michael Floyd and tight end Jim Dray took on most of the targets, but there wasn’t much production with the looks spread around and the run game finding room.


Rashard Mendenhall put up decent numbers including a short yardage touchdown, but Andre Ellington also got in on the action with a long touchdown reception. The touches and snaps were led by Mendenhall with 17 touches and 39 snaps to Ellington’s 6 and 21.



Atlanta Falcons


Julio Jones: 9-14- (23), Tony Gonzalez: 6-8- (14), Harry Douglas: 6-5- (11), Steven Jackson: 8-2- (10), Jason Snelling: 3-4- (7), Jacquizz Rodgers: 1-4- (5), Roddy White: 2-3- (5), Bradie Ewing: 1-1- (2), Levine Toilolo: 0-1- (1)


Roddy White was once again limited and only saw three targets, so Julio Jones did his thing and took over, especially after Steven Jackson went down with a thigh injury. Tony Gonzalez is still getting his targets, but seems like he should be doing more with White out, but he hasn’t been that efficient so far this year. He’ll get his still, but I think we have to curb our top 5 upside thoughts.


With Steven Jackson out Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling shared snaps, but Rodgers was the first running back on the field after Jackson went down. Rodgers saw 40 snaps, 11 rushing attempts and 4 targets to Snelling’s 30, 2 and 4. But Snelling out did him in rushing yards, receiving yards and touchdowns. If I’m gambling on one of them to produce while Jackson is hurt it’s Snelling.



Carolina Panthers


Steve Smith: 8-11- (19), Greg Olsen: 10-8- (18), Ted Ginn: 1-8- (9), Brandon LaFell: 0-6- (6), Mike Tolbert: 1-3- (4), DeAngelo Williams: 3-0- (3), Armanti Edwards: 0-2- (2)


The Panthers’ offense is not a smooth running machine right now, but at least there are targets to look at! Your normal target studs for the Panthers, Steve Smith and Greg Olsen, led the way once again, but an interloper named Ted Ginn saw a goodly amount with 8 total. He also found the end zone, which is always good. Brandon LaFell actually had some targets this week after getting skunked Week 1, but only averaged 3 yards for each of his 4 receptions. He ran more routes than any of the other receivers, but didn’t do much. We may see Ginn getting more snaps to go with his targets soon.


DeAngelo Williams had 22 carries, but zero targets compared to Mike Tolbert’s 3. Williams is a player that could use some help getting into space and it seems odd he isn’t getting more targets. Tolbert was in on third downs often, but Williams still ran more routes than he did. I think there’s a chance this will change, but as it is, you can’t hope for much more than flex numbers out of Williams even with so many carries. 



Chicago Bears


Brandon Marshall: 10-10- (20), Matt Forte: 6-11- (17), Martellus Bennett: 6-9- (15), Alshon Jeffery: 8-5- (13), Earl Bennett: 1-2- (3), Michael Bush: 1-0- (1), Steve Maneri: 0-1- (1)


According to Pro Football Focus, “after dropping 13 passes last year, which was third-most for wide receivers, Brandon Marshall has yet to drop a pass in 2013.”  That’s a good sign that Trestman’s offense is clicking and Cutler and Marshall on the same page. Marshall has 10 targets in each of the first two games, so it goes to reason he will have 10 for each game from here on out. Science!


Matt Forte actually led the team in targets Week 2, which is a Trestman marker and something that should make every Forte owner very happy and non-owner very sad. It does seem to cut into Alshon Jeffery’s upside. Jeffery did have 2 rushing attempts for 30 yards, which is interesting, but with just 1 reception on 5 targets we are left wanting.



Dallas Cowboys


Dez Bryant: 8-13- (21), Jason Witten: 9-8- (17), Miles Austin: 12-4- (16), DeMarco Murray: 10-6- (16), Terrance Williams: 4-3- (7), James Hanna: 0-5- (5), Dwayne Harris: 3-1- (4), Gavin Escobar: 2-1- (3), Phillip Tanner: 1-0- (1), Lance Dunbar: dnp-1- (1)


It was the Dez Bryant show in Week one, but it looks like he was the only one attending. The Chiefs gave him single coverage, which helped him to 13 targets and a bunch of fantasy points, but allowed them to shut down the Cowboys’ other weapons. Witten saw similar targets as he had in Week 1, but not similar production and Austin was the main loser in the single coverage of Bryant.


DeMarco Murray once again led the way at running back, but didn’t have much room to roam. His work in the passing game allowed him some space and kept him from a complete dud of a game. It looks as though his targets will continue, which is very good news.



Detroit Lions


Calvin Johnson: 9-8- (17), Nate Burleson: 6-8- (14), Joique Bell: 6-8- (14), Reggie Bush: 8-3- (11), Brandon Pettigrew: 4-6- (10), Kris Durham: 2-2- (4), Patrick Edwards: 3-0- (3), Joseph Fauria: 3-0- (3), Theo Riddick: 0-1- (1), Tony Scheffler: 1-0- (1)


Much like Kansas City manning Dez Bryant with Brandon Flowers, the Cardinals manned Calvin Johnson with Patrick Peterson. And even though Johnson owned Peterson, it allowed them to divert help elsewhere and keep the rest of the Lions in check.  Not one receiver besides Johnson topped 45 yards or scored a touchdown and with Reggie Bush hurting he was a non-factor.


Joique Bell caught all 5 of his 8 targets, but only totaled 31 receiving yards. Decent for PPR, but not so great for standard and also dropped a couple of those, so meh.




Green Bay Packers


Randall Cobb: 12-10- (22), Jermichael Finley: 8-7- (15), James Jones: 2-12- (14), Jordy Nelson: 10-4- (14), James Starks: 1-5- (6), Andrew Quarless: 0-3- (3), Eddie Lacy: 2-0- (2), John Kuhn: 1-0- (1)


Randall Cobb is quickly becoming a consistent stud with back-to-back double-digit target games. He’s now caught 16 of 22 for 236 yards and two touchdowns. The touchdowns for Cobb were the only thing holding him back from elite status. We’ll see if he can keep it up.


James Jones went from 2 targets Week 1 to 12 in Week 2. That’s a bit of a jump. Jordy Nelson only had 4 targets, but of course two of those he caught for touchdowns. Jermichael Finley is also doing good work with his targets, which all goes to show you that many receivers can have value if Aaron Rodgers is throwing them the ball.




Minnesota Vikings


Jerome Simpson: 8-5- (13), Greg Jennings: 7-6- (13), Kyle Rudolph: 4-6- (10), Adrian Peterson: 4-2- (6), Jarius Wright: 2-2- (4), John Carlson: 1-2- (3), Cordarrelle Patterson: 1-2- (3), Toby Gerhart: 0-2- (2), Zach Line: 1-1- (2)


Greg Jennings only had 6 targets, but he was much more efficient this week against the Bears, catching 5 for 84 yards.  He still has some gas left in the tank. Kyle Rudolph also saw 6 targets, and caught 3 for 42 yards and a touchdown. He’s never topped 67 yards receiving in his career so he is completely touchdown dependent.


Jerome Simpson fell back to earth this week and Ponder will most likely learn to feed Jennings if he wants to save his starting job.


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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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