Chet Gresham

Targets and Touches

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Week 4 Target Watch: NFC

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

New Orleans Saints


Jimmy Graham: 7-16-15 (38), Marques Colston: 6-7-8 (21), Darren Sproles: 6-8-6 (20), Pierre Thomas: 4-5-6 (15), Lance Moore: 4-4-3 (11), Kenny Stills: 5-1-2 (8), Ben Watson: 3-0-2 (5), Robert Meachem: dnp-1-2 (3), Jed Collins: 0-1-1 (2), Mark Ingram: 0-1-dnp (1)


Jimmy Graham has 31 targets over the last two games and is second in total targets this season. If you drafted him in the second round that is exactly what you want to hear. Oh, and the fact that he leads all receivers, not just tight ends, in fantasy points.


The only problem with Graham having 38 targets is that Drew Brees is great at spreading the ball around and if he’s targeting one player that much the others are most likely missing a few targets. Drew Brees has thrown six touchdowns and ran another in. The Saints have seven offensive touchdowns total and four of them have gone to Graham. Teams will adjust. Not enough to shut Graham down, but 122 receptions for 1,909 yards and 21 touchdowns seems a little unrealistic. These numbers will start to spread out to Marques Colston, Darren Sproles, etc…


The running back situation with Mark Ingram out last week was led by Pierre Thomas. He had 42 snaps compared to Darren Sproles’ 34.  He also had 17 looks to Sproles’ nine. That’s a pretty big discrepancy. Neither did all that much with the looks they got and Mark Ingram may be back sooner rather than later, so these numbers have room to change quite a bit, but for now Thomas has to be squarely on the fantasy radar.



New York Giants


Victor Cruz: 8-11-8 (27), Brandon Myers: 9-10-6 (25), Rueben Randle: 6-9-4 (19), Hakeem Nicks: 8-7-1 (16), Da'Rel Scott: 8-4-3 (15), Bear Pascoe: 0-2-2 (4), Jerrel Jernigan: 0-1-1 (2), David Wilson: 1-1-0 (2), Henry Hynoski: 1-0-1 (2),

Brandon Jacobs: dnp-1-0 (1), Louis Murphy: 0-0-1 (1)


Holy Schnikeys, this game was a disaster zone. Last season Eli Manning was sacked a league low 20 times. That’s barely over a sack a game. Against the Panthers he was sacked seven times. That’s way over one sack. He finished the game predictably completing just 12-of-23 passes for 119 yards and an interception. The lack of a run game and blocking made every snap perilous. The target numbers are fairly useless with that kind of pressure, as he couldn’t do anything he wanted.


David Wilson wasn’t great, but did seem like he was trying to win more playing time. He had a nice touchdown called back on a holding call and Da'Rel Scott and Brandon Jacobs underwhelmed as usual. Wilson led in snaps 26 to Scott’s 21 and Jacob’s six.



Philadelphia Eagles


DeSean Jackson: 9-15-7 (31), Jason Avant: 3-7-8 (18), Riley Cooper: 6-3-7 (16), Brent Celek: 3-1-5 (9), LeSean McCoy: 1-6-1 (8), Zach Ertz: 3-2-1 (6), James Casey: 0-1-0 (1), Bryce Brown: 0-1-0 (1)


Michael Vick had his worst game of the season completing just 13 of 30 passes and throwing two bad interceptions compared to one touchdown. He did make up for a bit with four rushing attempts for 99 yards, which kept him from being a complete fantasy dud and is why you can start him even in tough matchups.  Of course his 13 completions didn’t leave many fantasy points for his receivers and finally kept DeSean Jackson from a big game. Brandon Flowers helped in that regard as well.


With Jackson being blanketed it did allow for Jason Avant to have a decent game with five receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown, unlike Riley Cooper who had a terrible game catching just two of his seven targets.


LeSean McCoy did his usual damage with 158 yards and a touchdown on twenty carries, but only had one passing target compared to six last week. In a losing effort with DeSean Jackson being shut down it seems McCoy would have seen more targets. It will be interesting to see how it plays out this year. If the first three weeks are a pattern he’ll have six this week.  Of course that won’t happen, but it would be fun.



San Francisco 49ers


Anquan Boldin: 17-4-8 (29), Kyle Williams: 6-6-6 (18), Vernon Davis: 9-5-dnp (14), Frank Gore: 2-3-4 (9), Bruce Miller: 2-5-1 (8), Vance McDonald: 2-2-3 (7), Marlon Moore: 1-1-1 (3), Garrett Celek: 0-0-2 (2), Kendall Hunter: 0-0-1 (1), Quinton Patton: 0-0-1 (1)


The 49er’s passing game was again shut down this week, but rather than getting somewhat predictably shut down by Seattle in Seattle, this was against the Colts in Candlestick. The absence of Vernon Davis had to contribute to a degree. The 49ers had one reliable receiver in Anquan Boldin without Davis playing and Boldin could be Kaepernick’s grandpappy. Well, close at least. So for now we’ll attribute this to a lack of weapons and a good game plan by the Colts to stop any Kaepernick runs and the bad game plan by the 49ers to stop running Frank Gore.


With Davis out I was interested in seeing Vance McDonald, but his three targets resulted in one reception for six yards. Kyle Williams was second in targets, but caught just two for 12 yards.  This offense needs Davis.



Seattle Seahawks


Golden Tate: 7-2-8 (17), Sidney Rice: 3-5-7 (15), Doug Baldwin: 8-1-2 (11), Zach Miller: 4-4-3 (11), Luke Willson: 0-1-5 (6), Marshawn Lynch: 3-3-0 (6), Robert Turbin: 2-1-1 (4), Jermaine Kearse: 2-0-1 (3), Derrick Coleman: 3-0-0 (3), Kellen Davis: dnp-0-2 (2), Stephen Williams: 1-0-0 (1)


The Seahawks didn’t have to really show up for their matchup with the Jaguars, but they did and they predictably dominated. Tarvaris Jackson completed seven of eight passes for 129 yards and a touchdown and also ran in a touchdown and this was after Russell Wilson left the game with four touchdown passes. I figured it would be a beat down, but this was an epic beat down. 


Many of the backups played in this one, so it’s hard to get a great read on targets and touches and even production since the Jaguars have fallen into such disarray. It was good to see Sidney Rice catch five of seven targets for 76 yards and two touchdowns and Golden Tate total 117 yards including two rushing attempts for 29 yards. He’s not a physically dominant receiver and needs to get the ball in space. I’m glad they are trying to get him the ball in other ways.



St. Louis Rams


Tavon Austin: 7-12-7 (26), Jared Cook: 10-6-7 (23), Austin Pettis: 6-11-5 (22), Chris Givens: 3-8-8 (19), Lance Kendricks: 4-3-5 (12), Daryl Richardson: 6-6-dnp (12), Isaiah Pead: dnp-4-7 (11), Brian Quick: 2-1-4 (7), Benny Cunningham: 0-1-3 (4), Cory Harkey: dnp-1-1 (2), Stedman Bailey: 0-0-1 (1), Mike McNeill: 0-1-dnp (1)


This Rams season can probably be summed up by the number 47. That’s the number of times Sam Bradford has averaged throwing the ball each game. That would set a record for most pass attempts if it were to continue unabated. The main reason for such insane numbers is the fact that the Rams can’t seem to stop anyone. Their defense should be better than it is, but we’ve yet to see it on the field.


There were plenty of completions, 29 to be exact, but not many yards, 240 to also be exact. That’s barely over 8 yards per reception and just five yards per attempt. The lack of running game is making it difficult to get anything down the seam or over the top and with no playmakers stepping up it’s mostly catch and fall down old Danny Amendola style. Or now, Tavon Austin style, he is averaging 6.5 yards per reception. Until he can beat someone after the catch he’s going to have a hard time keeping defenders from worrying about him catching those five yarders.


Daryl Richardson had just one snap that ended his day when someone stepped their big fat foot on his already hurt foot. After he left Isaiah Pead had 42 snaps to Benny Cunningham’s 23. Since they were in comeback mode most of the game Pead saw most of the work as he’s the better receiver, which he showed by catching all seven of his targets for seven yards. Richardson should return next week, but if they continue to play from behind, Pead should see a good amount of targets. He’s averaging six per game now.



Tampa Bay Buccaneers



Vincent Jackson: 13-11-6 (30), Mike Williams: 8-6-9 (23), Doug Martin: 6-1-6 (13), Kevin Ogletree: 2-3-6 (11), Eric Page: 0-0-5 (5), Nate Byham: 1-1-1 (3), Brian Leonard: 1-0-2 (3), Tim Wright: 0-0-2 (2), Erik Lorig: dnp-0-1 (1)


Once again Josh Freeman couldn’t complete 50% of his passes. Last season Freeman averaged 7.28 yards per attempt and this season he’s sitting at 6.07.  He has regressed. The team has playmakers, but he can’t orchestrate a productive offense. It has to be frustrating for all involved.


Doug Martin leads the league in rushing attempts and is second in rushing yards, but has just one touchdown and four receptions. That sounds a lot like DeAngelo Williams, but Martin is a superior player to Williams and should have more opportunities near the goal line and in the passing game. Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams are legitimate #1 and #2 receivers in this league. Of Jackson and Williams 53 targets only 29 were catchable according to Pro Football Focus.


But then again, Freeman has had trouble with his receivers catching the passes that were catchable. His receivers have dropped 10 passes, but even if they had caught all ten his completion percentage would still be just 58%. In comparison Peyton Manning has had 13 of his passes dropped. If they had caught those, his completion percentage would be 84.3%.



Washington Redskins


Pierre Garcon: 11-13-13 (37), Santana Moss: 9-5-9 (23), Leonard Hankerson: 7-3-7 (17), Jordan Reed: 6-3-6 (15), Josh Morgan: 5-6-2 (13), Logan Paulsen: 0-3-6 (9), Fred Davis: 4-2-dnp (6), Roy Helu: 2-1-3 (6), Aldrick Robinson: 2-2-2 (6), Alfred Morris: 1-2-1 (4), Darrel Young: 1-0-0 (1), Niles Paul: 0-0-1 (1)


Washington is 0-3, but that means there are plenty of targets to go around.  Pierre Garcon has been one of the most consistently targeted receivers in the league. Only Randall Cobb and Cecil Shorts have had double-digit targets each week. Alfred Morris ranks 24th in rushing attempts per game with 13.3. Last season he ranked third in the league with 21.2 carries per game. You would think they would rather have him running 21 times a game, but in the first two weeks the defense was so poor and Robert Griffin III started off slow, which coupled with the poor defense means a bunch of second half pass attempts.  But this week they actually had the lead for much of the game and RGIII threw the ball 50 times to Morris’ 15 rushing attempts, which he averaged 4.9 yards per carry and scored a touchdown, while RGIII threw for 326 yards, but no touchdowns and one interception.


Snap count 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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