Opportunity in the NFL world can translate into success in the fantasy football world. This is where targets come into play. While a wide receiver may have caught only four passes in a given week, his target total might have been double or triple that. Those targets may not have translated into catches one week, but they may in the future.
The following players gained attention because of the number of targets they received this past week. Are these numbers a trend in the making or simply an aberration?
Fantasy Football on Target
Atlanta Falcons wideout Michael Jenkins was targeted 11 times by Matt Ryan in Week 16, largely because of rolling and double coverage paid to Roddy White (six plays). Ryan seemed to pick on New Orleans Saints cornerback Tracy Porter often, and Jenkins did a good job of finding soft spots in the zone coverages he faced. Tight end Tony Gonzalez was also held in check (three targets), and that was another factor in Jenkins' high volume of targets.
The Buffalo Bills targeted Donald Jones 12 times in Week 16, and three of them came inside the 20-yard line. David Nelson (ribs) was utilized only once before leaving the game, and Naaman Roosevelt was looked to nine times filling in for him. Weeks ago, in this same space, we advised to watch for Jones working exclusively from the slot - too bad there is only one game remaining in the season for the Bills.
Whiteout for ATL receiving options
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Terrell Owens (knee) is on Injured Reserve, and Chad Ochocinco (ankle) missed Week 16. This left the untested Jerome Simpson to pick up the slack; he did all of that and then some! Simpson was targeted seven times but turned in two touchdowns on six receptions for 124 yards against the San Diego Chargers. Carson Palmer also looked to Andre Caldwell five times and Jordan Shipley twice. Tight end Jermaine Gresham was targeted on five plays, the most since his seven-target Week 12 effort.
In Colt McCoy's last two starts for the Cleveland Browns he has looked to Brian Robiskie 11 times (five last week). He has scored in each of those contests. The young receiver seems to be finding a groove with the rookie quarterback, while Jake Delhomme's favorite receiver, Mohamed Massaquoi, has been inconsistently targeted by McCoy (three in Week 15 and seven in Week 16). Slot receiver Chansi Stuckey was involved in six plays. Tight end Benjamin Watson was relied on five times, bringing his two-game total to 12 from McCoy since Week 14.
Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback Stephen McGee entered late in the second quarter for an injured Jon Kitna (oblique) and looked to big-play threat Miles Austin six times; surprisingly, Kitna went to Austin seven times in his short stint. McGee, like most young passers, relied on his tight end. Jason Witten was targeted six times by the Texas A&M product, and Kitna looked to him on five occasions. For the record, McGee threw to backup tight end Martellus Bennett three times. Wide receiver Roy Williams remained non-existent (two plays). It appears as though McGee will start in Week 17.
Jacksonville Jaguars wideout Mike Sims-Walker (ankle) was limited to only one utilization in Week 16. Instead, quarterback David Garrard relied on Jason Hill (nine plays) and Mike Thomas (10). Hill now has 14 targets in his last two games. Tight end Marcedes Lewis was good for seven plays for the second week in a row.
Owen Daniels remains a fixture in the Houston Texans' passing game. The veteran tight end was looked to 14 times as wide receiver Andre Johnson (ankle) looked on. Daniels now has a healthy 33 utilizations in his last three outings. Next in the pecking order was wideout Jacoby Jones (eight).
The Oakland Raiders had to pass a lot, and the Indianapolis Colts' defense against tight ends hasn't been the greatest. As a result, tight end Zach Miller was in on 12 plays, the most since a 13-play Week 4 showing.
The Tennessee Titans' coaching staff seems to have made up its mind when it comes to the tight end position, and in Week 16 it was all about Jared Cook (nine plays) once again.
Monday night, in Atlanta, the New Orleans Saints continued to involve rookie tight end Jimmy Graham. He was in on five plays in Week 16, giving him a two-game total of 11 since Week 14. Conversely, veteran tight end Jeremy Shockey, who tied Graham for looks in Week 15, was in on just one play in Week 16.
Remember: Opportunity can lead to success. Find out which of these players we recommend adding in this week's Fantasy Football Waiver Wire.
About Cory J. Bonini
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.
Don't miss these great reports....