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 three weeks of touches (running backs) and targets (wide receivers and tight ends) for each player listed in parentheses. "X" means player was inactive for game.
Was someone restless over Young?
RB: Shonn Greene (28-11-21), Bilal Powell (4-11-15)
WR/TE: Santonio Holmes (8-11-14), Stephen Hill (6-2-7), Jeremy Kerley (4-4-3), Dustin Keller INJ (1-X-X), Jeff Cumberland (4-5-6)
Holmes has seen his number of targets increase each week, culminating in nine catches on 14 targets for 147 yards in Week 3, his biggest total in a Jets uniform. However, quarterback Mark Sanchez is barely completing half of his pass attempts, which puts a relatively low ceiling on what to expect from Holmes on a weekly basis unless sudden improvements are made. Until Sanchez gets it figured out, or Tim Tebow is allowed to throw the ball, secondary options like Stephen Hill (hamstring) and Keller (hamstring) are dicey plays, even when healthy.
With cornerback Darrelle Revis (knee) out for the season due to a torn ACL, the offense will likely need to find a spark to keep the team competitive should the Revis-centric defense begin to crumble without their cornerstone. That answer could turn out to be second-year running back Powell, who continues to outplay Greene. Powell led the team with 45 rushing yards on 10 carries last week while Greene only totaled 40 yards despite getting nine more attempts. On the season Greene is averaging a pathetic 2.8 yards per carry and has yet to record a run of 15 yards or more.
RB: Mikel Leshoure (X-X-30), Joique Bell (1-9-10), Kevin Smith (19-19-0)
WR/TE: Calvin Johnson (7-12-12), Nate Burleson (9-5-14), Brandon Pettigrew (10-4-12), Titus Young (4-3-7)
Following an MRI on his right leg, quarterback Matthew Stafford (hamstring) and the Lions aren't giving out many details on the results. Backup QB Shaun Hill completed 10 of his 13 passes for 172 yards and a pair of touchdowns after taking over due to Stafford's injury. Back in 2010, Hill played 11 games because of an issue with Stafford's throwing shoulder and had varying degrees of success. Hill typically looks for shorter passes, which allowed tight end Pettigrew to lead the team in receptions numerous times and is likely the biggest beneficiary if Stafford has to be put on the shelf.
Burleson, who matched Johnson with a dozen targets and 10 catches last week, is holding onto the secondary wide receiver job despite assumptions Young would bump him as Megatron's top wingman this season. Young was quiet in the passing game the first two games of the season but caught six passes for 75 yards and reeled in a Hail Mary pass for a touchdown last week. Check your waiver wire to see if rival owners bailed on Young too early.
After a pair of respectable starts, Smith may have tumbled on the depth chart to the No. 3 running back spot. New starter LeShoure carried the ball 26 times for 100 yards and a touchdown, making him a player that should be universally owned.
Bell saw more than 20 snaps, mainly on passing plays and should see a lot of action on third down. Smith only took the field five times and did not receive a carry or a target, but Jim Schwartz insists that using Bell so much was situational. Keep an eye on this situation for the long term, and deep leaguers shouldn't give up on Smith just yet if they're clinging to any RB hope.
The Patriots' battle wounds pile up....
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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