In case you missed it, the AFC Targets and Touches for Week 3 can be found here.
Per usual, I will caution readers that these numbers shouldn’t be taken as the gospel early in the year. We’re still dealing with only a two game sample and players’ roles will change and fluctuate as the season goes along. Note: An asterisk next to a number indicates that player was injured during the game for the given week.
Let’s hit it.
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Targets: Larry Fitzgerald (8, 9), John Brown (7, 5), Darren Fells (5, 0), Andre Ellington (3, 0), J.J. Nelson (3, 1), David Johnson (2, 2), Michael Floyd (1, 1), Jaron Brown (1, 3), Chris Johnson (1, 1)
Analysis: Through two weeks, Larry Fitzgerald has commanded 30.9% of the Cardinals targets while John Brown has seen a 21.8% share of Carson Palmer’s looks. Chris Johnson out-snapped (34:22) and out-touched David Johnson in Week 2 while Andre Ellington is on the shelf with a knee injury.
Analysis: Tevin Coleman left the Falcons Week 2 matchup against the Giants with a broken rib and will be sidelined “a couple of weeks”. That leaves Devonta Freeman as the Falcons' lone back for Week 3. Freeman is averaging a putrid 2.0 yards per carry – but has a decent floor due to his pass catching ability out of the backfield. Julio Jones would be my bet to lead the league in targets this year. 68% of Leonard Hankerson’s routes have been ran out of the slot and he could very well be much closer to becoming Matt Ryan’s No. 2 target than perceived after Week 1.
RB Touches: Jonathan Stewart (22, 18)
Analysis: After not being involved in Week 1, Greg Olsen saw an otherworldly 37.8% of Cam Newton’s targets against Houston in Week 2. Jonathan Stewart is seeing workhorse-level touches but that hasn’t equated to a ton of fantasy success yet. Stewart is in a perfect spot to remedy that this week; the Panthers are heavy home favorites (-7.5) against a Saints’ defense that has allowed a combined 52.6 PPR points to opposing RBs in the opening two weeks (ARI/TB).
Analysis: With Jay Cutler (hamstring) out for a “few weeks”, Jimmy Clausen will start for the Bears in at least Week 3 and 4. Alshon Jeffery is dealing with a calf and hamstring issue of his own leaving Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte as the lone ‘studs’ on the Bears’ offense healthy. Switching gears, the Bears secondary is going to be one to target on DFS sites all year long. Combined, Alan Ball, Kyle Fuller, and slot corner Sherrick McManis have bled 16-223-6 to Packers’ and Cardinals’ receivers in the first two weeks.
Targets: Jason Witten (9, 8), Terrance Williams (8, 7), Lance Dunbar (9, 5), Dez Bryant (7, 0), Cole Beasley (6, 5), Joseph Randle (3, 1), Gavin Escobar (2, 3), Darren McFadden (1, 2), Devin Street (1, 2)
Analysis: Now down Dez Bryant and Tony Romo, the Cowboys offense is in complete shambles. They will still try to control the clock with Brandon Weeden at the helm, but beyond Terrance Williams and Jason Witten the Cowboys’ offensive skill-players immediate future is murky at best. I’m very interested to see how things shake out for Dallas in the coming weeks on offense.
Red zone Carries: None
Analysis: After seeing just four targets in Week 1, Matthew Stafford fed Calvin Johnson 32.7% of team targets against the Vikings. ‘Megatron’ hopped back on the low-end WR1 bus with a 10-83-1 performance. It’s clear after two weeks Lions’ OC Joe Lombardi is content using Abdullah, Bell, and Riddick in a convoluted rotation that eats away at the ceiling and floor of each back. Abdullah is still the RB to own out of the group but he’s going to need to need more than 9 touches/game to have any type of consistency.
Green Bay Packers
Analysis: Randall Cobb (shoulder) is healthier now and while he won’t see 35.5% of team targets every week, he’ll flirt with a 25-30% target share for the entire season. We’re awaiting more news on Eddie Lacy’s sprained ankle – but if he does miss time, James Starks becomes an attractive RB2 in the league’s most efficient offense regardless of matchup. James Jones has scored on three of his seven targets this season. Jones’ red zone ability cuts into Davante Adams’ weekly floor and ceiling, but there is no way Jones keeps scoring at that ridiculous clip.
Analysis: Adrian Peterson returned to form in Week 2 against Detroit posting a 29-134-0 rushing line while securing his two targets for 2-58. He saw an absurd 12 carries inside of the 20-yard line and commanded 54.2% of the Vikings touches in the red zone. That type of volume in the red zone won’t always be there, but Peterson is the clear centerpiece of the Vikings attack. I’m not sure this trend will continue throughout the course of the season, but Kyle Rudolph is leading the Vikes’ in targets (14) and red zone targets (3).
New Orleans Saints
Analysis: I’ll come clean here: I have no idea what to make of the Saints’ offense right now. Brandin Cooks is not ready to be the centerpiece of New Orleans’ passing attack. Drew Brees (shoulder) is hurt and if he plays in Week 3, he won’t be 100%. C.J. Spiller (knee) is still fighting to return to full health and played just seven snaps in Week 2. Marques Colston (older) is losing effectiveness. Mark Ingram is really the only player I trust on the Saints just based on the volume he’s receiving.
New York Giants
Analysis: A small rant: upon releasing Preston Parker, the Giants signaled they wasted 16.4% of team targets including three red zone targets in the first two weeks. As inefficient as he is, those targets would have still been better spent on Rueben Randle. Shane Vereen won’t ever be a 15-plus carry back for the Giants, but he’s secured a solid role in New York’s pass attack. Five of Vereen’s 12 receptions on the year have come on third down.
Analysis: Through two games, Philadelphia is tied for 28th in points per-game with Washington (17). That hurt to type. Their offensive line is abysmal, per Rotoworld’s Rich Hribar, Sam Bradford ranks 33rd in quarterback fantasy points per attempt, and Byron Maxwell – the CB Philadelphia gave $25 million guaranteed to – has been dusted for 15-240-2. Chip Kelly has a lot to fix in a hurry.
San Francisco 49ers
Analysis: After two weeks, Vernon Davis is averaging 18.1% of team targets and is finally a part of the ‘Niners attack after a down 2014 season in which he only saw 12.5% of team targets. Carlos Hyde left Week 2 with a concussion and a thigh contusion but was on pace for 20-plus touches before Mike Davis took over for the rest of the game.
Analysis: I’m not sure any other receiver in the league has compiled 17 targets through two weeks as quietly as Doug Baldwin. He’s sitting on a 14-127-1 line and faces the league’s worst secondary (Chicago) at home in Week 3. Jimmy Graham is reportedly “pissed” with his role in Seattle and I can only assume fantasy football-ers are as well. After being targeted on 16.7% (8-of-48) of his routes in Week 1, Graham saw a target on just 6.3% (2-of-32) of routes in Week 2. Graham’s usage is something I will be watching as closely this week.
St. Louis Rams
Red zone Targets: Tavon Austin (1, 0) – No red zone plays in Week 2
Analysis: Tavon Austin is currently the Rams’ leading rusher on the season with 57 yards. Per HC Jeff Fisher, St. Louis’ struggles in the run game will not change Todd Gurley’s timeline as his knee returns to 100%. Until Gurley is infused into the offense with a decent role, Benny Cunningham and Tre Mason will continue to split the majority of the work. Through two games, TE Jared Cook has secured 10 of his 13 targets for 132 yards.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Analysis: Austin Seferian-Jenkins is out 4-6 weeks strained shoulder and Mike Evans is coming off of a goose egg performance in a great spot against the Saints’ secondary. I’m very interested to see how Evans bounces back and how the Bucs’ allocate Seferian-Jenkins’ lost targets. Doug Martin is seeing the lion's share of work in Tampa’s backfield but will be a completely game flow dependent back week-to-week.
Analysis: Before we get to Washington’s backfield split, I just wanted to note how stellar Jordan Reed has been in the opening two games. He’s seen 17 Kirk Cousins targets and secured 13 for 145 yards and touchdown. Add in the fact he’s Cousins’ no-brainer red zone target, and he’s completely undervalued across the fantasy landscape.
In Week 1, Alfred Morris led Matt Jones in snaps (48:10) and touches while in Week 2 Morris still led in snaps (34:31), but Jones led in touches by a hair. I genuinely do not have a great feel on the situation. With new offensive line coach in Bill Callahan, Washington is primed for production from their running backs but Morris and Jones will likely eat into each other’s ceiling and floor for the immediate future.