Chet Gresham

Targets and Touches

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Week 7 Target Watch: NFC

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Welcome to the NFC targets and touches for Week 7 of the NFL season. The AFC portion will be up tomorrow night, so be sure to camp outside Rotoworld HQ awaiting its release.  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, "Larry Fitzgerald: 14-5-6-9-6-12 (52)", which just means that Fitzgerald had 14 targets in Week 1, 5 targets in Week 2, 6 in Week 3, 9 in Week 4, 6 in Week 5 and 12 in Week 6 for a total of 52. It’s as easy as following me on Twitter.



Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $300,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 7. It's $25 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.



Here are the target leaders for both the AFC and NFC per game. Now that we are into the byes, total numbers get a little skewed, so for the true leaders I’ll usually look at per game stats. Here are the players with eight or more targets per game, no matter how many games they’ve played.


Justin Blackmon: (14.5), Pierre Garcon: (11.8), Julio Jones: (11.8), A.J. Green: (11.5), Vincent Jackson: (11), Andre Johnson: (10.8), Josh Gordon: (10.8), Antonio Brown: (10.6), Cecil Shorts: (10.5), Julian Edelman: (10.2), Victor Cruz: (10), Shane Vereen: (10), Jimmy Graham: (9.8), Brandon Marshall: (9.7), Calvin Johnson: (9.6), Tony Gonzalez: (9.4), DeSean Jackson: (9.2), Torrey Smith: (9.2), Dez Bryant: (9), Danny Amendola: (9), Jordan Cameron: (9), Randall Cobb: (9), Jamaal Charles: (8.8), Emmanuel Sanders: (8.8), Mike Wallace: (8.8), Larry Fitzgerald: (8.7), Steve Smith: (8.6), Reggie Wayne: (8.5), Anquan Boldin: (8.3), Eric Decker: (8.3), Alshon Jeffery: (8.3), Wes Welker: (8.3), Owen Daniels: (8.2), Antonio Gates: (8.2), Kenbrell Thompkins: (8.2), Demaryius Thomas: (8.2), Jason Witten: (8)



Arizona Cardinals


Larry Fitzgerald: 14-5-6-9-6-12 (52), Michael Floyd: 6-7-6-10-7-6 (42), Andre Roberts: 9-8-4-2-1-4 (28), Andre Ellington: 3-2-6-6-4-5 (26), Jim Dray: 2-7-0-1-2-2 (14), Rob Housler: dnp-dnp-3-2-2-5 (12), Rashard Mendenhall: 1-2-1-4-2-1 (11), Jaron Brown: 2-2-2-2-0-1 (9), Alfonso Smith: 1-1-1-1-3-1 (8), Stepfan Taylor: 0-0-1-0-0-0 (1), Kory Sperry: 1-0-0-0-0-0 (1)


Larry Fitzgerald had the most targets he’s seen since Week 1 and this coming on a day when it looked as if he might not even play. Overall this was a good game for the Cardinals fantasy starters. Fitzgerald got his on a 75-yard catch and run touchdown (think Super Bowl XLIII). Michael Floyd finally found the end zone and caught five of six targets for 44 yards.  He now has five receptions in each of his last three games.  Rob Housler finally did more than nothing and had his most targets and receptions on the season with five and four, while Andre Roberts continued to lose targets to Housler and prove a non-factor once again. This all comes from an overly inconsistent Carson Palmer, but thankfully a pass happy Carson Palmer.  He wasn’t very good, especially early in the game, but 41 pass attempts, 298 yards and two touchdowns is a good bulk sum for the offensive players to get their fantasy points.


Andre Ellington continues his great play on around half of the snaps. This week in a heavy passing game, he had 32 snaps to Rashard Mendenhall’s 23 and his high in receptions, rushing yards, total yards and fantasy points, as he caught all five of his targets, rushed seven times for 56 yards and a touchdown and totaled 92 yards. Mendenhall continues to do a good job as an early down back with a bad offensive line, but Ellington fits the offense and their personnel much better.



Atlanta Falcons


Julio Jones: 9-14-12-13-11-BYE (59), Tony Gonzalez: 6-8-5-14-14-BYE (47), Harry Douglas: 6-5-6-6-4-BYE (27), Roddy White: 2-3-4-9-4-BYE (22), Jason Snelling: 3-4-5-3-5-BYE (20), Jacquizz Rodgers: 1-4-3-6-4-BYE (18), Steven Jackson: 8-2-dnp-dnp-dnp-BYE (10), Levine Toilolo: 0-1-1-2-2-BYE (6), Bradie Ewing: 1-1-dnp-dnp-dnp-BYE (2), Kevin Cone: 0-0-0-0-1-BYE (1), Drew Davis: 0-0-1-0-0-BYE (1)


Of course the biggest news to come out for the Falcons is the foot injury to Julio Jones.  It looks like he will miss the season unless Magneto can take care of those screws in his foot. So the 1-4 Falcons now are without the player Matt Ryan had targeted 59 times, or in other words, 27% of his passes. With Roddy White Black Knighting it all over the field, he may never be 100% again and Tony Gonzalez gets his work by his “savvy veteran play,” i.e. he’s old and slow, but can catch anything within arm's reach.  But he can be stopped if teams don’t have to double up Jones. You can see what happened to the Lions last week without Calvin Johnson, Jones is that caliber of player.  So don’t expect any one player to just explode with Jones gone. Harry Douglas of course will get more snaps and targets, but even with Roddy White playing on a stump, Douglas was unable to do much with Jones getting extra attention and White getting very few targets. He’s worth a grab for a bye week filler, but he’ll be inconsistent in an inconsistent offense.


With the bye week coming up hopefully Roddy White can get some mandatory rest for his ankle and hamstring and pridefulness.  In his first five games of the season, which he played in every single one with a high ankle sprain, he caught 22 passes for 129 yards and no touchdowns. That’s 2.8 receptions and 25.8 yards per game. And for some reason the Falcons are 1-4 during this stretch. I know there is more to their record than one player, but him sitting out the first four weeks to get healthy makes too much sense. Add to that his hamstring injury that probably wasn’t helped by him compensating for his ankle and you have a bad cluster of events.


Drew Davis will most likely become the slot receiver in three receiver sets with White and Douglas on the outside. Douglas won’t command the attention from Ryan that Jones or White does, so Davis could see enough looks to be worthwhile in deep leagues.



Carolina Panthers


Steve Smith: 8-11-7-BYE-10-7 (43), Greg Olsen: 10-8-8-BYE-6-4 (36), Brandon LaFell: 0-6-5-BYE-9-4 (24), Ted Ginn: 1-8-4-BYE-5-3 (21), DeAngelo Williams: 3-0-2-BYE-3-5 (13), Mike Tolbert: 1-3-0-BYE-1-3 (8), Armanti Edwards: 0-2-0-BYE-2-dnp (4), Kenjon Barner: dnp-dnp-dnp-BYE-2-dnp (2), Domenik Hixon: dnp-0-1-BYE-0-0 (1)


This game didn’t call for much exertion by the Panthers as they were up 14-3 at half and 28-3 to start the 4th quarter. Cam Newton had a big game, but on the whole, the team leaned on the short passing and running game.  Newton’s one long pass of the game went to Brandon LaFell for a 79-yard touchdown, helped by Ted Ginn’s great block.


Steve Smith got his second touchdown of the year on a goal line crossing route. It was almost a carbon copy of the pass he dropped in Arizona, so that is good news for his confidence (like Smith ever needs a confidence boost). But with Newton completing 20-of-28 passes for 242 yards (including the 79 yarder) there weren’t many passing yards to go around and Smith, Ginn and Greg Olsen didn’t have many chances to put up stats.


DeAngelo Williams had a good game with 17 rushing attempts for 64 yards and five receptions on five targets for 53 yards.  The uptick in targets and receptions is great news for his fantasy outlook, especially since we once again watched as someone else cashed in his hard work near the goal line. Mike Tolbert took a shovel pass for a 10-yard touchdown and ran another in from one yard out, while Cam Newton ran one in for seven yards. Williams has 488 total yards and zero touchdowns. The closest running back to him in total yardage with no touchdowns is Ronnie Hillman with 271 yards. That’s a kick in the gut.



Chicago Bears


Brandon Marshall: 10-10-8-14-5-11 (58), Alshon Jeffery: 8-5-8-11-13-5 (50), Martellus Bennett: 6-9-5-12-5-7 (44), Matt Forte: 6-11-4-6-6-6 (39), Earl Bennett: 1-2-3-4-3-2 (15), Michael Bush: 1-0-1-0-0-2 (4), Steve Maneri: 0-1-1-0-dnp-dnp (2), Joe Anderson: 0-0-0-dnp-0-1 (1), Tony Fiammetta: 0-0-0-0-0-1 (1), Dante Rosario: dnp-0-0-0-1-0 (1)


This was Brandon Marshall’s make-up game for Alshon Jeffery breaking the Bears single game record for receiving yards last week. He complained a bit about his role in the offense after that game and then blew up the following game. The squeaky wheel syndrome as some call it (me mainly) looked to work, but in reality he didn’t see any more targets than usual, he just played very well. Alshon Jeffery had a down game, just catching one of five targets, but he was very close to having a much bigger game on a few of those long passes on which he had a step. So I’m taking this game as affirmation that both have good upside, but Marshall is still the go to guy.


Martellus Bennett had a productive game in which he caught six of seven targets for 68 yards, with five of those receptions going for first downs. Of course that matters little in fantasyland, but maybe it should. He also hasn’t seen the end zone after catching three touchdowns in the first two weeks. He had four red zone targets in those two games and six over the last four. That’s actually pretty good, so I’m not too worried. He’ll find the end zone more going forward.


Matt Forte had another good game, but his three touchdowns on the season are a little disappointing. But we knew from the start that he wasn’t going to lead teams to victory through touchdowns. He’s fourth in total yards for running backs and second in receptions. That’s where he butters his biscuit.


Dallas Cowboys


Dez Bryant: 8-13-6-9-10-8 (54), Jason Witten: 9-8-6-10-10-5 (48), DeMarco Murray: 10-6-3-5-1-2 (27), Miles Austin: 12-4-5-dnp-dnp-4 (25), Terrance Williams: 4-3-0-8-4-2 (21), Cole Beasley: dnp-dnp-1-3-4-5 (13), Dwayne Harris: 3-1-1-2-2-0 (9), Gavin Escobar: 2-1-2-0-3-0 (8), James Hanna: 0-5-0-0-1-1 (7), Joseph Randle: dnp-dnp-dnp-0-0-2 (2), Phillip Tanner: 1-0-0-0-0-0 (1), Lance Dunbar: dnp-1-0-0-0-dnp (1)


This game didn’t go like many fantasy players had hoped as Tony Romo finished with less fantasy points than Matt Flynn did when he faced Washington.  With two rushing touchdowns (one for DeMarco Murray who was later injured and one for his backup Joseph Randle) and a punt return touchdown from Dwayne Harris, there just weren’t many fantasy points to go around.


Cole Beasley saw his most work of the season as Washington did their best to take the deep pass away. This allowed for the Cowboys to run the ball and complete shorter passes, but slowed down the passing game. Terrance Williams caught Romo's lone touchdown pass and saw two more snaps than Miles Austin. Then after the game Coach Garrett wasn't happy with how Austin looked coming off his hamstring injury. Nothing is set in stone, but I think Williams gives them the best chance to win and we may be seeing a changing of the guard.



Detroit Lions


Calvin Johnson: 9-8-13-10-dnp-8 (48), Kris Durham: 2-2-3-4-8-13 (32), Reggie Bush: 8-3-dnp-6-6-6 (29), Joique Bell: 6-8-5-4-4-2 (29), Brandon Pettigrew: 4-6-2-7-5-4 (28), Kevin Ogletree: 2-3-6-9-3-2 (25), Nate Burleson: 6-8-9-dnp-dnp-dnp (23), Tony Scheffler: 1-0-2-2-7-dnp (12), Patrick Edwards: 3-0-dnp-dnp-5-3 (11), Joseph Fauria: 3-0-3-0-0-3 (9), Ryan Broyles: dnp-dnp-3-1-2-2 (8), Theo Riddick: 0-1-2-1-0-dnp (4)


With Calvin Johnson hurting and having his snaps limited (39-of-76), Kris Durham once again saw a healthy number of targets and this time he caught quite a few of them, 8-of-13 for 83 yards to be exact. But Reggie Bush was again the catalyst for the offense as he totaled 135 yards and a touchdown.


The finisher for the day was Big Joe Fauria. At six foot seven, 255 pounds, he is quite a large target in the red zone. And with Tony Scheffler out for this game, Fauria saw the most snaps of his young career, 29, but only had three targets, which he caught for three touchdowns. The thing is, each target was contested and Fauria went up and made great catches on all three. The guy can play football and we know what Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler can do, so I sure hope we continue to see Fauria see time on the field.



Green Bay Packers


Randall Cobb: 12-10-11-BYE-8-4 (45), Jordy Nelson: 10-4-9-BYE-7-10 (40), Jermichael Finley: 8-7-1-BYE-6-7 (29), James Jones: 2-12-8-BYE-6-1 (29), Andrew Quarless: 0-3-5-BYE-0-0 (8), Jarrett Boykin: 0-0-0-BYE-0-6 (6), James Starks: 1-5-0-BYE-dnp-dnp (6), Ryan Taylor: 0-0-3-BYE-1-0 (4), Eddie Lacy: 2-0-dnp-BYE-1-1 (4), Johnathan Franklin: dnp-0-3-BYE-0-1 (4), John Kuhn: 1-0-dnp-BYE-0-2 (3), Jeremy Ross: 0-0-2-BYE-dnp-dnp (2)


The Packers came out on top in this one, but lost their number one targeted receiver in the process.  Aaron Rodgers saved his day and the game with a beautiful touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson, but for the most part this game was ugly and injury riddled for the Packers. The true star was Eddie Lacy who rushed 23 times for 120 yards against a stout Ravens defense. With Randall Cobb out until Week 15, Lacy is going to be called on to produce.


Once Cobb and James Jones went down it became Jarrett Boykin’s job as he had six targets and saw 58-of-69 snaps. Unfortunately it didn’t go too well as he had a couple bad drops and caught just one of his six targets. Hopefully the stage won’t be too big for him next week with a week of practice and knowing he’s going to be counted on.



Minnesota Vikings


Jerome Simpson: 8-5-8-11-BYE-7 (39), Greg Jennings: 7-6-6-4-BYE-10 (33), Kyle Rudolph: 4-6-8-2-BYE-11 (31), Adrian Peterson: 4-2-6-1-BYE-4 (17), Cordarrelle Patterson: 1-2-4-2-BYE-2 (11), Jarius Wright: 2-2-4-1-BYE-2 (11), John Carlson: 1-2-2-2-BYE-2 (9), Toby Gerhart: 0-2-2-1-BYE-2 (7), Joe Webb: 0-0-1-1-BYE-4 (6), Zach Line: 1-1-1-dnp-BYE-dnp (3)


The Vikings barely showed up to their 35-10 beat down at home from the Panthers in Week 6.  It was a poor display by the home team led by interim quarterback Matt Cassel, who didn’t look like he really wanted to be there.  And with Josh Freeman most likely starting next week, the target numbers aren’t that indicative as to what will happen from here on out.


It was good to see Kyle Rudolph get the most targets he’s had this season, including a garbage time touchdown. Amazingly his nine receptions for 97 yards were two more receptions and 30 more yards than he’s ever had in a game.


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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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