On Target: Looking at Week 1
Entering Week 1, there are several situations to pay close attention to with regards to targets. While Week 1 won't be the end all, it will help set the stage. The top situations to pay close attention to in Week 1 are:
The Ravens revamped their receiving corps during the offseason, re-signing Derrick Mason, while adding Anquan Boldin, Donte' Stallworth and most recently T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
Housh improves the offense
Stallworth (foot) is out until October, and Housh is still learning the offense, but how much offensive coordinator Cam Cameron loosens the leash on third-year quarterback Joe Flacco will be crucial.
Last year the team's receivers were targeted 277 times, with Mason leading the way with 134 targets. The next closest receiver saw 78 looks. The team's tight ends, dominated by Todd Heap, were targeted 78 times. Now Boldin, who saw 124 targets in Arizona last year, and Houshmandzadeh, who was targeted 135 times in Seattle, are in the fold; they will be hungry to see their looks, too.
Will there be enough looks to go around? Will the upgrade at receiver come at the expense of Heap's targets and those that go to running back Ray Rice, who had 81 targets a year ago? Stay tuned.
Much like their AFC North counterpart, the Bengals upgraded the targets for quarterback Carson Palmer, and he has a lot of new weapons: wide receivers Terrell Owens and Jordan Shipley as well as tight end Jermaine Gresham. They join Chad Ochocinco and Andre Caldwell in the Bengals' incredibly deep stable of options to attack secondaries.
Last year, Ochocinco blew away the team's other receivers with 130 targets - the next closest was 77 - but now Batman and Robin are together with TO, who was targeted 102 times in Buffalo, in the picture. We know Owens will ask for the ball ... and often. Caldwell (77 targets) and Shipley figure to be involved in multiple-receiver sets, and are no slouches, either.
Ocho looking to feed off TO
Then there is Gresham; a big, talented rookie the team made it a point to throw to during the preseason. Fourteen tight ends saw more targets individually than the Bengals attempted (70) to the entire position last year. Will Gresham's presence change that? Traditionally, offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski hasn't used the position.
The options for Palmer to hit in the passing game are there, but will the play calling and opportunity for an aerial assault extend to fantasy owners?
Now that you're thinking targets entering Week 1, check back next week as KFFL.com's On Target will be breaking down the key target and utilization statistics for you all season long.
About Ryan R. Bonini
Founding KFFL in 1996, Bonini now serves as VP of Fantasy Sports Solutions for USA
TODAY SPORTS, KFFL's parent company. Bonini was named 2009 Fantasy Football Writer
of the Year by the FSWA,
received honors with the Best Fantasy Football Series in '10 and was named into their Hall of Fame in '13.
His work has been found in USA TODAY Sports, Yahoo!
Sports, FOX Sports, CBS Sports, NFL.com, and many others. He has also been featured
on numerous radio programs around the country. Bonini is a member of the PFWA,
FSWA and FSTA.
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