Opportunity in the NFL can translate to success in fantasy football. Are these target numbers a trend or an aberration for these players' fantasy football value? Do they deserve attention on fantasy football waiver wires?
Note: Last two weeks of touches (running backs) and targets (wide receivers and tight ends) for each player listed in parentheses
Catching on to Amendola again
RB: Jamaal Charles INJ (16-10), Peyton Hillis (10-14), Shaun Draughn (8-7)
WR/TE: Dwayne Bowe (6-15), Dexter McCluster (10-5), Tony Moeaki (6-4), Jonathan Baldwin (0-6), Steve Breaston (4-1), Kevin Boss (2-1)
While Charles is expected to play in a strong Week 3 matchup against the New Orleans Saints, he's coming off a disastrous performance where he only managed 22 yards on nine touches. More troublesome was seeing Charles on the sideline down the stretch dealing with a sore knee.
If that surgically repaired knee becomes a bigger issue, Hillis obviously gains a ton of value, but speculative owners should be calling in a Draughn attack now. The undrafted rookie has been on the field for nearly the same amount of snaps as both Charles and Hillis. Draughn is also outperforming them, averaging 7.7 yards on 11 his carries, and his shifty style means KC might keep Charles to a limited workload. Don't write off the possibility Draughn leaps to the top of the depth chart.
Through the air, Bowe supplanted McCluster as the team's top target this week and scored a pair of touchdowns shaking off whatever rust remained as a result of his holdout. After seeing limited action in Week 1, Baldwin split time with Breaston and saw several deep targets. It was very encouraging to see the physically gifted second year player involved, but most of the action came when K.C. was in a deep hole during the second half. This isn't the most reliable passing offense, but Baldwin's development is worth monitoring.
RB: Stevan Ridley (24-22), Danny Woodhead (6-9)
WR/TE: Rob Gronkowski (6-9), Aaron Hernandez INJ (8-1), Brandon Lloyd (8-13), Wes Welker (5-11), Julian Edelman (2-6)
During a mind-numbing defeat at home to the Arizona Cardinals, the Patriots offense was unable to score a touchdown until there was nearly two minutes left in the game. In addition taking four sacks and playing under further duress much of the game, quarterback Tom Brady was without Hernandez (lower ankle sprain), who is expected to miss four to six weeks.
The injury may prove to be a saving grace for nervous Welker owners. Even though he led the team with 95 receiving yards, he actually played fewer snaps than Edelman. To further cloud the picture, veteran wide receiver Deion Branch and tight end Kellen Winslow have been recently signed.
As he continues to take sizeable chunks out of Welker's playing time, Edelman is quickly turning into a player to grab in PPR formats, though he'll be a frustrating play if he's going to be focusing on run blocking, as statistics show of late. A recent report claims Branch's locker was never taken down, so his return was expected.
In each of the last two seasons, Branch recorded 700 yards and five touchdowns but was too inconsistent to trust on a weekly basis. Winslow has been an acceptable, albeit inconsistent, PPR depth piece over the last three seasons, but it remains to be seen if he's in shape after being cut in camp by the Seattle Seahawks not long after they acquired him via trade.
- The aforementioned injury to Hernandez is creating a need for tight ends off the waiver wire. Thankfully there are plenty of options to consider. Topping the list is the Baltimore Ravens' Dennis Pitta, who leads all tight ends with 24 targets, good for fifth among all players. New York Giants tight end Martellus Bennett has played more snaps than any of the NYG receivers and has caught a touchdown in each game so far. Brent Celek of the Philadelphia Eagles led his team with 11 targets in Week 2 and is another tight end worth picking up.
- After 15 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown, it's the last call to get St. Louis Rams slot receiver Danny Amendola. A PPR sleeper entering the season, Amendola will now cost owners a lot of FAAB juice to acquire off waivers. His 25 targets have him tied for the second most of any player this season.
- Based on the number of snaps played, the pecking order for the No. 2 wide receiver spot in Cincinnati is currently Armon Binns, Andrew Hawkins and Brandon Tate. All three have put together a highlight or two, but Hawkins appears to be the most dynamic following an impressive 50-yard score where he made numerous defenders miss.
- With Austin Collie (concussion) on the shelf, Donnie Avery has been stating a strong case to remain a starter opposite Reggie Wayne. Avery found the end zone in Week 1 prior to catching nine balls for 111 yards in Week 2. He's actually played more snaps than Wayne so far and has also been credited with a pair of rushing attempts in an effort to further utilize his speed. This kind of big name is unlikely every week, especially if Collie can stay in the lineup, but Avery should be a popular add.
- Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) was ruled out for Thursday night's game. With rookie David Wilson currently in the doghouse following a Week 1 fumble, Andre Brown got the opportunity to carry the load when Bradshaw was forced out of the game Sunday. Brown carried the ball 13 times for 71 yards and cashed in for a touchdown. Bradshaw has a knack for getting banged up, so Brown may turn into more than just a short-term rental for those picking him up.
- An early groin injury kept the Rams from using running back Steven Jackson after just nine carries. Rookie Daryl Richardson, who was taken in the seventh round, took over from there gaining 83 yards on his 15 carries but did lose a fumble. Turns out Jackson's MRI came out clean, so there's chance this could lead to Richardson carving out a weekly changeup role, at minimum, that many picture second-rounder Isaiah Pead having. Pead has dropped to third on the depth chart, which makes the preseason sleeper an easy drop.
About Eric McClung
Eric McClung has been profiled by the FSWA for covering the fantasy sports spectrum and is a two-time award finalist. He's also made several appearances in print and on radio. McClung began contributing to KFFL in 2008 and currently serves as one of KFFL's featured fantasy NASCAR experts.
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