Fantasy Football on Target: Week 7

by Tim Heaney on October 19, 2011 @ 12:25:00 PDT

 


Fantasy Football Targets | Fantasy Football Stats

Opportunity in the NFL can translate to success in fantasy football. While a wide receiver or tight end may have caught a few passes in a given week, his target total might have been double or triple that. Those looks may not have turned into receptions one week but might in the future.

Whose involvement is worth watching? Are these target numbers a trend in the making or an aberration?

Much to his owners' delight, Brandon Marshall was not ejected Monday night. Luckily, Matt Moore didn't shy away from challenging Darrelle Revis, though most of Marshall's production came on a 46-yard catch when he broke free from Antonio Cromartie and his day could've been bigger if not for some red-zone miscues.

As usual, Marshall is relying on his sheer volume of looks; this Miami Dolphins offense can't always maximize his production. On a positive note, it looks like "Moore" of the same for No. 15 with the QB change, so at least you can rely on the offensive attention he'll get; consider Marshall's Week 6 a C-plus, a much better grade than most have earned when lining up versus the New York Jets' cornerbacks.

Top Week 6 wide receivers

Rk
Player
Tm
Tar
Rec
Rec%
1
Michael Crabtree
SF
15
9
60.0
2
Brandon Marshall
MIA
13
6
46.2
3
Mike Williams
TB
13
6
46.2
4
Greg Little
CLE
12
6
50.0
5
Pierre Garcon
IND
11
8
72.7
6
Marques Colston
NO
11
7
63.6
7
Jabar Gaffney
WAS
10
2
20.0
8
Brandon Gibson
STL
10
4
40.0
9
Greg Salas
STL
10
8
80.0
10
Nate Burleson
DET
10
4
40.0
11
Greg Jennings
GB
10
6
60.0
12
Wes Welker
NE
10
6
60.0
13
Stevie Johnson
BUF
10
5
50.0
14
Danario Alexander
STL
10
6
60.0
15
Miles Austin
DAL
10
7
70.0
  • As with Marshall, Crabtree leaned on a high-attention day to take a step forward. He only gained 77 yards from his nine grabs, but he looked to run precise routes and made some tough catches in a passing game that's leaps and bounds among past incarnations. Sadly, the San Francisco 49ers' offense can't consistently push the ball for big gains effectively, so PPR leaguers should be more encouraged by this showing than those in non-. There's still enough upside to warrant a pickup if someone gave up; unfortunately, he'll probably need target totals like this to remain a difference-maker.
  • Copy and paste Crabtree's analysis for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Williams. His yards-per-catch average has tumbled from 14.8 in 2010 to a paltry 9.7 in 2011. This offense doesn't have much deep punch - it seems like opponents have mostly been successful keeping Josh Freeman's offense in front of them, and Williams is having trouble breaking loose instead of settling for sitdown routes. Count Tampa Mike as another PPR-weighted value that will continue to post tepid yardage.
  • The Cleveland Browns didn't waste post-bye time throwing Little into the deep end; he flourished, and, per Pat Shurmur, some rookie miscues prevented the snare from having a much better day. This West Coast offense bodes well for the physical Little, who has tantalizing after-the-catch ability. This offense can only grow by cementing the starting wideout trio of Little, Mohamed Massaquoi and Joshua Cribbs, with Little as the centerpiece. Grab him immediately.
  • The Curtis Painter-to-Garcon connection continues. He's the Indianapolis Colts' No. 1 wideout for fantasy purposes, but as proven in Week 6 by the Cincinnati Bengals, teams that can stifle big plays will snuff him out. His Week 4 and Week 5 performances came against sloppy tackling. Consider the opposing defense's containment ability when determining that week's expectations for Pierre.
  • Playing the New Orleans Saints wideout game will carry its usual caveats, but with his standout Week 6 Colston likely took back his No. 1 wideout title, as much as one can on this team. Lance Moore and Darren Sproles will continue to get similar safety-valve looks, but No. 12 looked like his old top-notch self. He should rotate between the gold, silver and bronze medals for production with Jimmy Graham and Sproles more often than not. Moore, Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson will continue hovering in the secondary tier.
  • Even with his erratic involvement, Burleson remains a comforting fantasy depth commodity given his starting role in the Detroit Lions' offense and explosive ability in the right matchup.

Scroll to the headlines section for more on the St. Louis Rams' and Washington Redskins' receivers.

Top Week 6 tight ends

Rk
Player
Tm
Tar
Rec
Rec%
1
Aaron Hernandez
NE
14
8
57.1
2
Brandon Pettigrew
DET
14
8
57.1
3
Fred Davis
WAS
11
6
54.5
4
Jimmy Graham
NO
11
7
63.6
5
Greg Olsen
CAR
10
5
50.0
6
Kellen Winslow
TB
10
5
50.0
7
Brent Celek
PHI
9
4
44.4
8
Benjamin Watson
CLE
8
3
37.5
9
Marcedes Lewis
JAC
8
2
25.0
10
Rob Gronkowski
NE
7
7
100.0
11
Visanthe Shiancoe
MIN
7
5
71.4
12
Dallas Clark
IND
7
6
85.7
13
Jeremy Shockey
CAR
7
4
57.1
  • The New England Patriots' tight ends once again showed Wonder Twin powers with their display against the Dallas Cowboys. Gronk didn't have to block as much. He was over his Week 5 stomach ailment; Aaron Hernandez was allowed to rest his knee a bit more; and the Pats had re-signed his block-savvy brother, Dan Gronkowski. Rob Gronk and Hernandez are impact fantasy plays when healthy.
  • Pettigrew hit paydirt Sunday and almost did so again on at least two other occasions; he's taking some red zone looks away from Calvin Johnson, but the Detroit Lions are potent enough to include both in that game plan. Consider Pettigrew a top-five fantasy tight end.
  • Expect similar Washington Redskins target totals from Davis moving forward with Chris Cooley (finger, hand, knee) potentially out for the season. If someone dropped Davis, make them pay by snatching him for yourself.
  • Mark the Carolina Panthers' Olsen-Shockey duo, fueled by Rob Chudzinski's TE-friendly attack, as a Light version of Gronkowski-Hernandez's Samuel Adams of positional hoppiness. Shockey can be a decent bye substitute.
  • Winslow admitted that his right knee is still causing him some discomfort. That, combined with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' aforementioned downfield defects, continues to limit the vet to PPR-centric value.
  • Clark's day was highlighted by a one-handed, balancing-act touchdown grab. In the right matchup, he's a playable PPR piece, but a lot might depend on his need to stay in on blocking assignments for the Indianapolis Colts. He ain't a bad TE2, though.
  • Celek sustained his watch-list fantasy value with a screen-pass TD catch-and-run as well as his season high for targets. The Philadelphia Eagles still don't involve him enough to expect this every week; he's chiefly a bye filler pickup.
  • With the emergence of Greg Little and his own continuing struggles to catch 50 percent of his targets, Watson, though he's playing nearly every down, remains a shaky fantasy commodity. Evan Moore lingers in the Cleveland Browns' red zone plans.
  • Similar conversion struggles for Lewis stem from Blaine Gabbert's continued growing pains. The Jacksonville Jaguars' recent re-acquisition of wideout Mike Sims-Walker could limit Lewis' rebound potential in his bustalicious season.
  • See more on Shiancoe's future below.

McDaniels: I'm lovin' it

Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas
Thomas has opportunity

Brandon Lloyd's arrival in the Gateway City sets him up to close the door for any other wideout to improve their target haul. His 2010 breakout performance in Josh McDaniels' system should hasten his transition to the WR1 in this attack.

Danario Alexander and Brandon Gibson will continue sharing duties across from Lloyd ... but Mark Clayton (knee) is inches away from retuning from the Physically Unable to Perform list and corrupting that picture further. Greg Salas has taken over the slot from Austin Pettis; he might have the best chance to survive Lloyd and Clayton's inclusion, but his contributions will most likely be dictated by game pace.

Clayton is worth a flier, but his payoff is limited by Lloyd's arrival. Alexander probably will remain the most effective wideout in that spot for at least another few weeks, so enjoy the value while you can.

As for the Denver Broncos, Demaryius Thomas (finger) and Eddie Royal (groin) are close to returning, just in time to take advantage of target openings. Tim Tebow takes over, and Eric Decker, despite his potential decrease in fantasy potency, remains the No. 1 target. Thomas has after-the-catch upside; Royal is more designed as a dump-off slot option. Thomas' upside is greater, but it might take more time to develop into production. Both are worth desperation pickups.

Goin' back to Cali

While he'll probably need a few weeks to feel comfortable again, Carson Palmer, who looks like the Oakland Raiders' Week 7 starter, shouldn't need a widespread educational adjustment. Oakland's playcalling verbiage is similar to those he used with the Cincinnati Bengals; the system uses numbers instead of names, following West Coast tendencies.

Don't forget his reunion with vertical-offense advocate Hue Jackson, Raidas head coach and former Palmer confidant at USC and the Cincinnati Bengals. Oh, and Palmer isn't Kyle Boller. Once he regains his downfield stride, this offense should at minimum match its performance when Jason Campbell (collarbone) was taking snaps, with the potential for finally harnessing optimal potency of their wideout speed.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, who now looks more like a receiver than a go-route guy, should remain the top choice; he's not just relying on deep shots anymore, though his ability to challenge downfield will keep him as a favorite. Denarius Moore, who's playing the outside most of the time, and Jacoby Ford, mainly the slot man at this point, receive boosts, as well. An up-to-speed Louis Murphy might eventually muddle the non-DHB picture, though.

No longer Pondering change

Minnesota Vikings WR Percy Harvin
Harvin no longer lost in space?

Rookie Christian Ponder has been named the Minnesota Vikings' starting QB. Donovan McNabb's dink-and-dunk act was tiresome; though the same could continue with Ponder, especially with a shaky O-line, at least he has better arm strength to fit this O, even if he's a shaky fantasy start himself. Chad Pennington probably can heave the rock farther than McNabb today.

Ponder's emergence should open things up for Percy Harvin, who had a season-high seven catches and 78 yards in Week 6. Of course, Minny was in comeback mode, but Harvin should see more opportunities in space with a snap-taker who can get the ball in his hands more efficiently and keep passing plays alive. Check if someone in your league gave up on No. 12.

It's still a goose chase, though, to pick someone from Michael Jenkins, Bernard Berrian, Devin Aromashodu or Greg Camarillo to stand out, but Ponder looked to Jenkins four times after entering in Week 6, for what it's worth. Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe will probably suffer; Kyle Rudolph, another NFL freshman, might have a connection with Ponder.

Beck to drawing board

Rex Grossman out, John Beck in for the Washington Redskins - should you be excited? Meh. Fred Davis stands atop the pecking order either way. Santana Moss' targets remain abundant, but his conversions aren't. Beck, despite earning rave preseason reviews, doesn't stand to improve that. Jabar Gaffney, whom Beck went to frequently after entering, still only holds matchup-play value that might get a few more catches each week with Chris Cooley on the shelf, but he's nothing to fawn over.

Look for the 'Skins to continue running as much as possible to avoid putting the game in Beck's hands.

Slingless in Seattle

Who'll start at QB for the Seattle Seahawks? There's a chance Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral) could go in Week 7, but Charlie Whitehurst is taking first-team reps. Whitehurst's approach is more conservative but less prone to turnovers.

With that in mind, Doug Baldwin could be Seattle's top receiver play as long as Whitehurst leads the huddle; the long-locked launcher leaned on the rook last week, and Baldwin's PPR-friendly style fits what Whitehurst prefers to do under center. Sidney Rice still holds the top spot in name, but his fantasy stock favors Jackson playing - i.e., more downfield challenges. Safe to say Ben Obomanu will still be involved, but it will vary week-to-week regardless of quarterback.

Rowdy over Roddy

Roddy White's disappointing fantasy season continued, on the surface, in Week 6, when he caught just two passes for 21 yards. His line of 34-373-2 hardly matches his 2011 draft value. But look deeper: He drew two pass interference penalties in the end zone versus the Carolina Panthers.

He's still averaging 9.8 targets per game for the Atlanta Falcons. Touchdown production is erratic for most football players; at least White remains on pace for around 90 catches on the season - the reason you drafted him. When Julio Jones (hamstring) returns, it'll take some coverage away from White. Throw No. 84 on your buy-low list. Once he starts scoring sixes....

Risers

(Week 6 targets)

Player
Tm
Notes
Mario Manningham (8)
NYG
Saw 8 targets to Victor Cruz's 4 in Week 6, along with plenty of RZ opps. They'll probably swap work, but MM must be grabbed wherever available.
Arrelious Benn (6)
TB
Closest thing TB has to a big-play catcher. He'll be inconsistent, but his 6 targets and long TD in Week 6 should remind you of his upside.
Damian Williams (bye)
TEN
Jared Cook's work is increasing, but the talented Williams saw 11 targets, 6 catches in Week 5. No Kenny Britt = need for another playmaker
Malcom Floyd (bye)
SD
Vincent Jackson (hamstring) and Antonio Gates (foot) will see some combo of Darrelle Revis/Antonio Cromartie this week, if the SD pair plays. Floyd went off when Champ Bailey limited Jackson in Week 5 and should do so again in Week 7.
Mike Sims-Walker (inactive)
JAC
Tempered optimism. Blaine Gabbert remains rough, but Sims-Walker receives a fresh start in a familiar playbook. Mike Thomas might not compile those abundant target loads every week with MSW in town. He's a desperation flier.

Danger

(Week 6 targets)

Player
Tm
Notes
Jermichael Finley (4)
GB
Finley, facing consistent double teams, continues to look more like a decoy than a factor. He still must be disappointed over his limited offensive role. His emotions often hinder his focus. Still dangerous and worth a start - but a low-end one more often than not
Jerome Simpson (9)
CIN
Now has on-field issues, too. Marvin Lewis didn't like Simpson's inconsistent play in Week 6, despite the sophomore's big game. Still worth a flier, but he relies on the big play to have any value, which already makes him risky.

Monitor

(Week 6 targets)

Player
Tm
Notes
Owen Daniels (3)
HOU
The Texans admitted they need to get him more involved. His presence will continue to cap the upside of HOU WRs, even in Andre Johnson's now extended absence. Start him.
Devin Hester (7)
CHI
Seems like a different CHI WR emerges each week, and not even to thrilling results. Hester's playmaking is starting to show more on offense, though; maybe that can be the most consistent aspect of this aerial game.
C.J. Spiller (5)
BUF
Move to WR not great for fantasy roster value, but his increased reps improve chance to rediscover explosiveness. David Nelson (6), Naaman Roosevelt (2) proving less consistent.
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Fantasy Football Targets | Fantasy Football Stats

About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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