Chet Gresham

Targets and Touches

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Week 4 Target Watch: AFC

Thursday, September 26, 2013

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Welcome to the AFC version of Target Watch. You will find all of the AFC teams below, with all of their passing targets, plus some snap count data and words I came up with in a dream. If you click here you’ll find the NFC version of this article and if you click here you will be transported into a magical world called my Twitter.


Baltimore Ravens

Torrey Smith: 8-13-9 (30), Dallas Clark: 12-1-7 (20), Brandon Stokley: 10-5-1 (16), Marlon Brown: 6-6-3 (15), Ray Rice: 11-3-dnp (14), Vonta Leach: 4-2-2 (8), Ed Dickson: 5-1-0 (6), Jacoby Jones: 4-dnp-dnp (4), Bernard Pierce: 1-1-2 (4), Billy Bajema: 0-1-0 (1)


The Ravens want to run the ball and play good defense. It’s what their personnel calls for. Last week that’s what happened against Houston. Joe Flacco only threw the ball 24 times, completing 16 of those for 171 yards and over half of those yards went to their best receiver Torrey Smith. After that insane opening game against Peyton Manning their defense hasn’t allowed a passing touchdown. Of course they allowed seven to Manning and that’s the second worst number in the league! But they seem to be back on track now.


Torrey Smith is ranked 11th overall in targets and that isn’t a number inflated from week one since he was the fourth most targeted Ravens player against the Broncos. They will try their best to get Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce going along with the defense and picking their spots on play action to Smith. Those are their three keys to winning for the Ravens and against equal to lesser opponents it should work. Smith has zero touchdowns this season, but in his previous two seasons he’s averaged a touchdown for every 6.6 receptions. He’s at 16 receptions now and on pace for a career high 85. The touchdowns will come.


Ed Dickson has been relegated to blocking duties and Dallas Clark is just too old, so the tight ends are non-factors. Marlon Brown came back to earth with just three targets. He’s still the #2 guy and should be owned in deeper leagues, but if that pattern of run game, defense and Smith are working, Brown will be under targeted.



Buffalo Bills


Steve Johnson: 6-10-13 (29), Scott Chandler: 6-6-6 (18), Robert Woods: 2-6-10 (18), Fred Jackson: 5-6-5 (16), C.J. Spiller: 6-5-1 (12), T.J. Graham: 1-3-5 (9), Tashard Choice: 0-1-1 (2), Frank Summers: 0-2-0 (2), Marquise Goodwin: 1-dnp-dnp (1)


E.J. Manuel continues to keep Steve Johnson relevant with double-digit targets, but his accuracy leaves something to be desired. Scott Chandler has the targets from hell with six in each game. He did something with them last week and had a big game, but he’ll remain inconsistent as long as the offense is run through Spiller, Jackson and Johnson.


Robert Woods saw his season high with 10 targets, but could only wrangle in two of them. According to Pro Football Focus only eight of his 18 targets have been catchable this season and he dropped one of those.


Spiller was shut down and Jackson broke out for one long run, but overall the Jets kept them in check. Spiller left the game with a quad injury, but looks to be ok for this week. They’ll need to get him more looks in space going forward, i.e. more passing targets.



Cincinnati Bengals


A.J. Green: 13-14-8 (35), Jermaine Gresham: 5-9-5 (19), Mohamed Sanu: 5-8-5 (18), Tyler Eifert: 5-5-2 (12), Marvin Jones: 2-4-4 (10), Giovani Bernard: 2-2-4 (8), BenJarvus Green-Ellis: 1-1-0 (2), Alex Smith: 0-1-0 (1),


The Bengals/Packers game was a turnover festival and made the game and its stats a little odd. The most telling stat is Aaron Rodgers throwing just one touchdown to two interceptions. And that came after starting each drive at the 41-yard line on average, the best for any team this season. The Bengals defense is real and it is spectacular.


The Packers tried their best to shut down AJ Green and did so for much of the game, but he still got a touchdown, which is what he does. Mohamed Sanu looks like a player on the verge of busting out, but will need more than six targets a game to do so.


The fake football scribes and prophets got the changing of the guard at running back correct. Giovani Bernard had 14 touches and 30 snaps compared to BenJarvus Green-Ellis’ 10 touches and 23 snaps. The writing has been on the wall ever since you saw Bernard and Green-Ellis touch the ball during the same game. Bernard out played him on each touch once again accumulating 99 yards and a touchdown while BJGE accumulated 29 yards, a touchdown and a fumble.


For the season Green-Ellis has 48 touches for 138 yards and two touchdowns while Bernard has 28 touches for 194 yards and three touchdowns. For those scoring at home that’s 2.875 yards per touch for Green-Ellis and 6.928 yards per touch for young Mr. Bernard.



Cleveland Browns


Jordan Cameron: 13-7-11 (31), Greg Little: 10-12-8 (30), Davone Bess: 10-8-10 (28), Josh Gordon: dnp-dnp-19 (19), Chris Ogbonnaya: 3-3-5 (11), Travis Benjamin: 8-1-0 (9), Tori Gurley: 2-1-dnp (3), Bobby Rainey: 0-0-1 (1), Gary Barnidge: 1-0-0 (1)


The Browns have thrown the ball on 74% of their plays this season, which is the most in the league and correlates to their league high 47 attempts per game. Nineteen of those pass attempts went to Josh Gordon last week in his first game back from suspension. He caught 10 of those 19 targets for 146 yards and a touchdown.


With no true go-to running back this passing rate should continue and their best two receivers are Gordon and Jordan Cameron. And with Gordon back, Cameron didn’t miss a beat and actually had a bigger fantasy game with three touchdowns. Of course we can’t expect such huge numbers every week, but if they continue with these pass happy ways I wouldn’t worry too much about a big fall off.


Willis McGahee was just signed so the snap numbers may be a bit skewed. Chris Ogbonnaya led the way with 47 snaps and had nine touches, Bobby Rainey was next with 22 snaps and five touches, while McGahee had 14 snaps and nine touches. The percentage of touches to snaps McGahee had shows that they want to get him involved. We’ll just have to see how quickly he can get acclimated. If he just can’t be productive it looks like Ogbonnaya would be your lead back.


Denver Broncos


Eric Decker: 7-13-8 (28), Demaryius Thomas: 11-6-11 (28), Wes Welker: 11-8-8 (27), Julius Thomas: 7-9-4 (20), Knowshon Moreno: 3-3-2 (8), Ronnie Hillman: 2-0-1 (3), Virgil Green: 0-1-2 (3), Andre Caldwell: 1-1-0 (2), Montee Ball: 0-2-0 (2), Jacob Tamme: 0-0-1 (1)


The even distribution of targets between the Broncos top three receivers is pretty amazing. It’s like Peyton Manning checks the numbers each week and targets accordingly. Of course that kind of distribution makes it impossible to shut down the “top” receiver since there is no top receiver based on targets.


According to Pro Football Focus the Broncos receivers have the most drops in the league with 10. 68 of the 83 targets have been catchable, but only 58 have been caught. But I’m not going to worry too much! They rank seventh, 10th and 19th in wide receiver fantasy points and you know where Manning ranks.


The running back situation is a bit of a mess still. Knowshon Moreno led in time on the field again, but was outproduced by Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman. This is a situation to avoid if at all possible for now, but Ball still seems like the most talented runner of the group.



Houston Texans

Andre Johnson: 16-13-6 (35), DeAndre Hopkins: 6-13-7 (26), Owen Daniels: 7-5-9 (21), Arian Foster: 8-4-2 (14), Garrett Graham: 5-5-0 (10), Ben Tate: 2-4-4 (10), Keshawn Martin: 0-2-3 (5), DeVier Posey: 0-0-4 (4), Lestar Jean: 0-1-dnp (1)


There aren't a ton of positives to take away from the Texans loss to the Ravens last week. Arian Foster and Ben Tate split time fairly closely with Foster getting 13 touches and 39 snaps to Tate’s 12 touches on 26 snaps.


Owen Daniels had his most targets for the year and DeAndre Hopkins had a good game, catching six of seven targets for 60 yards with Andre Johnson hurting, but the Ravens kept the offense in check in this one.


Indianapolis Colts

Reggie Wayne: 8-8-7 (23), T.Y. Hilton: 5-12-4 (21), Trent Richardson: 6-5-3 (14), Darrius Heyward-Bey: 4-5-5 (14), Coby Fleener: 1-8-2 (11), Ahmad Bradshaw: 1-3-4 (8), Griff Whalen: 0-3-0 (3), Stanley Havili: 0-2-1 (3), Dominique Jones: 0-2-0 (2), Dwayne Allen: 2-dnp-dnp (2), Vick Ballard: 2-dnp-dnp (2), Donald Brown: 0-0-1 (1)


The Colts rank seventh in the run to pass ratio; 49.7% of their plays are runs while 50.3% are passes. The running model worked against San Francisco in San Francisco so it’s hard to knock it, but I sure wouldn’t mind putting the game in Andrew Luck’s hands more often.


Luck completed 18 passes for 164 yards in this one, while Ahmad Bradshaw did most of the heavy lifting. T.Y. Hilton didn’t get much work as he managed his groin injury and Darrius Heyward-Bey remained the #2 receiver. As long as they continue to run the ball at this rate, which it looks like they will with Trent Richardson in the fold now, it’s going to be difficult for Hilton to be an every week fantasy starter as the #3 receiver.


Bradshaw had 38 snaps to Richardson’s 29 last week and out played him statistically. Supposedly we’re to see them split snaps again this week as Richardson learns the offense. I’d like to see Richardson at least get the edge in snaps against Jacksonville to feel like there’s a progression to him becoming the lead back.



Jacksonville Jaguars

Cecil Shorts: 11-14-15 (40), Ace Sanders: 9-7-3 (19), Stephen Burton: 0-3-9 (12), Maurice Jones-Drew: 2-1-5 (8), Allen Reisner: 5-2-1 (8), Clay Harbor: 1-4-1 (6), Justin Forsett: 5-1-0 (6), Jordan Todman: 4-2-0 (6), Will Ta'ufo'ou: 1-2-1 (4), Mike Brown: 3-dnp-dnp (3)


Cecil Shorts had some garbage time targets and production that helped him put together another decent game of eight receptions for 143 yards on 15 targets, but that’s about all the positive you can take from this one. The Jaguars can’t really sustain much fantasy production at this point.


Maurice Jones-Drew was shut down for the most part just averaging 2.26 yards per carry, but he did get into the end zone and this was before Seattle rested their starters. So that’s kind of like winning the game right?



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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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