Chet Gresham

Targets and Touches

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Week 8 Target Watch: NFC

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Welcome to the NFC targets and touches for Week 8 of the NFL season. The AFC portion will be up tomorrow night, so try to contain your excitement. 


This week I’m using just the targets for the last five games so we can stay up to date on the goings on and I’m also adding the total red zone targets over the last five weeks to give a fuller picture of how targets are distributed.


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: 6-9-6-12-5 (38)” which just means that Fitzgerald had 6 targets in Week 3, 9 targets in Week 4, 6 in Week 5, 12 in Week 6 and 5 in Week 7 with 38 total.  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 8. It's $25 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.



Below I have all the running backs from both conferences with seven or more carries inside the opponent’s 10-yard line followed by the number of touchdowns they’ve made from those carries.


Frank Gore: 17 (4), Jamaal Charles: 17 (6), Marshawn Lynch: 15 (5), Knowshon Moreno: 14 (6), Fred Jackson: 12 (4), Willis McGahee: 12 (1), Matt Forte: 10 (4), Ray Rice: 10 (3), BenJarvus Green-Ellis: 9 (3), DeMarco Murray: 9 (3), Arian Foster: 9 (1), Rashard Mendenhall: 9 (3), Adrian Peterson: 9 (3), Maurice Jones-Drew: 8 (2), Danny Woodhead: 8 (1), Le'Veon Bell: 8 (2), Zac Stacy: 8 (0), Mike Tolbert: 7 (3),

LeSean McCoy: 7 (1), Jackie Battle: 7 (1), Brandon Bolden: 7 (1), Ben Tate: 7 (1), Bernard Pierce: 7 (2)


Knowshon Moreno and Mike Tolbert lead the way with 42.9% of their carries inside the 10-yard line going for touchdowns, while Matt Forte (40%) and Jamaal Charles (35.3%) come in at third and fourth.



Arizona Cardinals


Michael Floyd: 6-10-7-6-10 (39), Larry Fitzgerald: 6-9-6-12-5 (38), Andre Ellington: 6-6-4-5-5 (26), Andre Roberts: 4-2-1-4-8 (19), Rob Housler: 3-2-2-5-7 (19), Alfonso Smith: 1-1-3-1-4 (10), Rashard Mendenhall: 1-4-2-1-0 (8), Jim Dray: 0-1-2-2-2 (7), Jaron Brown: 2-2-0-1-2 (7), Stepfan Taylor: 1-0-0-0-0 (1)


Over the last five games Floyd and Fitzgerald have had nearly the same amount of targets with Fitzgerald hampered by a hamstring injury.  Interestingly Andre Ellington has actually seen the third most targets while Roberts and Housler cancel each other out for the most part.  Once Fitzgerald is healthy he should see the bulk of the targets, but Floyd has established himself as a sound target.


Bruce Arians has stayed true to his word about Ellington being a 30-32 snap guy. In each of the last two games he’s had exactly 32 snaps while Rashard Mendenhall has had 23 and 24. That seems like the baseline we can assume going forward, but touches of course will fluctuate.


Red Zone Targets (Weeks 3-7): Michael Floyd: (3), Andre Ellington: (3), Larry Fitzgerald: (3), Andre Roberts: (3), Jim Dray: (2), Jaron Brown: (1), Rob Housler: (1)


The Cardinals have played some tough defenses of late and they haven’t spent much time in the red zone. Four players have three targets each over the last five weeks. Floyd’s size is a good fit for the red zone and with his first touchdown of the season coming against San Francisco two weeks ago we may see more of him when they get down there.



Atlanta Falcons


Tony Gonzalez: 5-14-14-BYE-4 (37), Julio Jones: 12-13-11-BYE-dnp (36), Harry Douglas: 6-6-4-BYE-7 (23), Jacquizz Rodgers: 3-6-4-BYE-9 (22), Roddy White: 4-9-4-BYE-dnp (17), Jason Snelling: 5-3-5-BYE-0 (13), Levine Toilolo: 1-2-2-BYE-0 (5), Darius Johnson: dnp-dnp-dnp-BYE-3 (3), Drew Davis: 1-0-0-BYE-1 (2), Kevin Cone: 0-0-1-BYE-0 (1), Brian Robiskie: dnp-dnp-dnp-BYE-1 (1)


With both Roddy White and Julio Jones out the target leader was Jacquizz Rodgers with nine, then Harry Douglas with seven and then Tony Gonzalez’s four. Gonzalez saw extra attention from the Buccaneers and it showed in the box score.


Drew Davis was the clear #2 wide receiver, but only had one target, which he did catch for 24 yards. The target distribution will depend a lot on if Roddy White and/or Steven Jackson are able to go in Week 8.


Red Zone Targets (Weeks 3-7): Tony Gonzalez: (10), Julio Jones: (7), Jacquizz Rodgers: (6), Harry Douglas: (5), Roddy White: (4), Jason Snelling: (3), Levine Toilolo: (3), Brian Robiskie: (1)


With Gonzalez being smothered in the red zone last week it was all Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling as they got close to the end zone. Douglas and Gonzalez didn’t have one red zone target.



Carolina Panthers


Steve Smith: 7-BYE-10-7-6 (30), Greg Olsen: 8-BYE-6-4-4 (22), Brandon LaFell: 5-BYE-9-4-4 (22), Ted Ginn: 4-BYE-5-3-2 (14), DeAngelo Williams: 2-BYE-3-5-1 (11), Mike Tolbert: 0-BYE-1-3-0 (4), Armanti Edwards: 0-BYE-2-dnp-dnp (2), Kenjon Barner: dnp-BYE-2-dnp-dnp (2), Domenik Hixon: 1-BYE-0-0-0 (1)


Steve Smith has gotten back on track with a touchdown in each of the last two games, but he’s still not in the elite targeted receivers. The Panthers just don’t throw the ball as much as other teams and since their defense is playing well I doubt they start.


DeAngelo Williams, Mike Tolbert and Cam Newton couldn’t get going against a weak Rams run defense. They rushed 38 times for 102 yards; a pitiful 2.7 yards per carry. That is a commitment to the run.


Mike Tolbert once again took all short yardage looks, which shouldn’t be even close to a surprise. It’s actually kind of nice to be assured that we cannot count on DeAngelo Williams to ever score a touchdown.



Red Zone Targets (Weeks 3-7): Steve Smith: (7), Brandon LaFell: (3), Greg Olsen: (2), Mike Tolbert: (1), Kenjon Barner: (1)


Smith is the preferred option for red zone looks, which is why he has scored twice over the last two weeks. Right now that’s what’s saving his fantasy value since he’s not seeing as many overall targets.



Chicago Bears


Brandon Marshall: 8-14-5-11-10 (48), Alshon Jeffery: 8-11-13-5-7 (44), Martellus Bennett: 5-12-5-7-3 (32), Matt Forte: 4-6-6-6-3 (25), Earl Bennett: 3-4-3-2-4 (16), Michael Bush: 1-0-0-2-dnp (3), Joe Anderson: 0-dnp-0-1-0 (1), Steve Maneri: 1-0-dnp-dnp-dnp (1), Marquess Wilson: dnp-dnp-0-dnp-1 (1), Dante Rosario: 0-0-1-0-0 (1), Tony Fiammetta: 0-0-0-1-0 (1)


Marc Trestman’s offense is allowing multiple fantasy players to have value, but we’ll have to see how Josh McCown leads the offense. Thankfully last week against Washington he came right on and looked good.  The target breakdown feels about right with Marshall slightly ahead of Jeffery. Forte is solidly around 5 per game and Bennett gets the biggest fluctuation.


Red Zone Targets (Weeks 3-7): Martellus Bennett: (8), Brandon Marshall: (8), Alshon Jeffery: (7), Earl Bennett: (4), Matt Forte: (3)


The good thing about Bennett is that even though his target numbers are up and down he is always a threat to score as seen in his team leading red zone targets.



Dallas Cowboys


Dez Bryant: 6-9-10-8-16 (49), Jason Witten: 6-10-10-5-6 (37), Terrance Williams: 0-8-4-2-7 (21), Cole Beasley: 1-3-4-5-7 (20), Miles Austin: 5-dnp-dnp-4-3 (12), DeMarco Murray: 3-5-1-2-dnp (11), Joseph Randle: dnp-0-0-2-4 (6), Gavin Escobar: 2-0-3-0-1 (6), Dwayne Harris: 1-2-2-0-0 (5), Phillip Tanner: 0-0-0-0-2 (2), James Hanna: 0-0-1-1-0 (2)


Dez Bryant is targeted like the elite receiver he is, so there’s nothing new to report there. Jason Witten has seen a slight dip in targets with the emergence of Cole Beasley as another underneath target. We’re on a pretty limited sample here so I’m not shooting up the SOS flares just yet, but it’s worth keeping an eye on. Miles Austin has seven targets over the last two games and no receptions while Terrance Williams has nine targets with eight receptions for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Plus it looks like they may be shutting Austin down for a while to get his hamstring back to 100%. It very much looks like Williams is the man going forward.


With DeMarco Murray out Joseph Randle played 45 snaps to Phillip Tanner’s 21 and dominated touches 22 to 3.  But if Lance Dunbar can return this week there is no telling how snaps and touches will shake out since Dunbar was the #2 back, but not a type of player projected for a big rushing load.


Red Zone Targets (Weeks 3-7): Dez Bryant: (7), Jason Witten: (5), Terrance Williams: (5), Cole Beasley: (3), DeMarco Murray: (1), James Hanna: (1), Miles Austin: (1), Gavin Escobar: (1)


Oddly enough Terrance Williams has four red zone targets and Cole Beasley has two over the last two games compared to just one for Dez Bryant and zero for Jason Witten. I don’t see that holding true for Bryant by any means, but another sign to keep your eye on for Witten.



Detroit Lions


Calvin Johnson: 13-10-dnp-8-15 (46), Kris Durham: 3-4-8-13-8 (36), Brandon Pettigrew: 2-7-5-4-7 (25), Reggie Bush: dnp-6-6-6-5 (23), Kevin Ogletree: 6-9-3-2-2 (22), Joique Bell: 5-4-4-2-4 (19), Ryan Broyles: 3-1-2-2-4 (12), Tony Scheffler: 2-2-7-dnp-dnp (11), Joseph Fauria: 3-0-0-3-4 (10), Nate Burleson: 9-dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp (9), Patrick Edwards: dnp-dnp-5-3-dnp (8), Theo Riddick: 2-1-0-dnp-dnp (3), Jeremy Ross: 2-dnp-dnp-dnp-0 (2)


Megatron was fully back last week and he dominated targets and statistics. That of course is what he does, but we have seen big target numbers for Kris Durham of late. Of course many of those were related to Calvin Johnson’s injury, but he is no doubt the #2 wide receiver until Nate Burleson returns.


Red Zone Targets (Weeks 3-7): Calvin Johnson: (10), Joseph Fauria: (7), Kris Durham: (6), Reggie Bush: (3), Brandon Pettigrew: (3), Ryan Broyles: (1), Joique Bell: (1)


Joseph Fauria has been a touchdown machine this season. He’s seen four red zone targets in the last two games.  Last week he saw 40% of the snaps, his highest total of the season. With Tony Scheffler being released he should at least stay in that range and continue to see red zone targets.



Green Bay Packers


Jordy Nelson: 9-BYE-7-10-6 (32), Randall Cobb: 11-BYE-8-4-dnp (23), Jermichael Finley: 1-BYE-6-7-5 (19), Jarrett Boykin: 0-BYE-0-6-10 (16), James Jones: 8-BYE-6-1-dnp (15), Eddie Lacy: dnp-BYE-1-1-7 (9), Andrew Quarless: 5-BYE-0-0-1 (6),

Johnathan Franklin: 3-BYE-0-1-1 (5), Ryan Taylor: 3-BYE-1-0-dnp (4), John Kuhn: dnp-BYE-0-2-1 (3)


Week 7 was the Jarrett Boykin show as he led the team in targets, receptions and yards while also leading in snaps.  Myles White was the slot receiver while Boykin played on the outside. Boykin will most likely move back to the slot when James Jones returns, but with Cobb as the most targeted player before he was injured, we know the slot man gets plenty of looks.


Coming into Week 7 Eddie Lacy had four total targets and then in this game he gets seven and catches five.  It will be interesting to see if this keeps up when James Jones returns, but regardless it is a good sign that they trust him enough in the passing game.


Red Zone Targets (Weeks 3-7): Jordy Nelson: (5), James Jones: (4), Randall Cobb: (2), Jermichael Finley: (2), Jarrett Boykin: (2), Johnathan Franklin: (1), John Kuhn: (1), Myles White: (1)


Boykin led last week in red zone targets with two, but Jones and Nelson will remain big contributors near the goal line. Aaron Rodgers spreads the ball around well and doesn’t stick with one receiver near the end zone.



Minnesota Vikings


Jerome Simpson: 8-11-BYE-7-9 (35), Greg Jennings: 6-4-BYE-10-10 (30), Kyle Rudolph: 8-2-BYE-11-9 (30), Adrian Peterson: 6-1-BYE-4-4 (15), Cordarrelle Patterson: 4-2-BYE-2-6 (14), Jarius Wright: 4-1-BYE-2-5 (12), Toby Gerhart: 2-1-BYE-2-3 (8), John Carlson: 2-2-BYE-2-2 (8), Joe Webb: 1-1-BYE-4-1 (7), Jerome Felton: dnp-0-BYE-0-2 (2)


New Vikings’ quarterback Josh Freeman threw the ball 53 times and completed 20 of those for 190 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. Unfortunately there’s not much information to glean from all of these targets beside the fact Freeman is not an accurate passer.


Red Zone Targets (Weeks 3-7): Greg Jennings: (6), Kyle Rudolph: (2), Adrian Peterson: (2), Jerome Simpson: (2), John Carlson: (1), Toby Gerhart: (1)


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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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