Fantasy Football On Target - Week 8

by Eric McClung on October 24, 2012 @ 10:37:13 PDT

 

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Hot Routes

  • Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson
    Johnson needs attention to succeed
    Even though Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson has caught 17 of his 22 targets for 161 yards over the last two games, he's done so without making a catch longer than 15 yards. A.J. is starting to ease some fears that he's slowing down, but it looks as though he'll need a volume of opportunities to keep posting respectable fantasy numbers.
  • In addition to a season-high 15 targets, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace also ran the ball twice. Even though he caught eight passes, Wallace also dropped several easy ones. Drops hadn't been much of an issue for Wallace in his two previous years, so this is hopefully an irregularity. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger stated he hasn't lost any faith in Wallace, so don't expect his usage rate to dip.
  • Following two weeks with just four targets apiece, Baltimore Ravens speedster Torrey Smith saw a season-high 13 targets yet only managed four catches. In addition to a pair of drops Sunday, Smith has been struggling against press coverage while typically drawing the best corner of each team he faces. Despite a lot of deep targets and the big-play potential, Smith is still a young receiver going through a bit of a slump right now.
  • Now that New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller, who went 7-for-7 on targets with 93 yards and a touchdown, appears to be over his hamstring injury the team is hoping his return to form offers badly needed stability. The emerging weapon here is Jeremy Kerley, however. Over the last three games, he has more than double the targets of the next Jets receiver. It's all very matchup-dependent, but Kerley, and to a lesser extent Keller, can offer some deep value.
  • Not only was San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis not targeted last week, but he's also been a non-factor in three of the last four games. After blowing up the Buffalo Bills, quarterback Alex Smith has reverted to his pre-Jim Harbaugh days the last two contests by committing turnovers and taking ugly sacks. Unfortunately, the short-term forecast isn't too rosy. Over the next four weeks the 49ers play three strong pass defenses with at least solid QB pressure (Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, Chicago Bears) in addition to resting for their Week 9 bye. Davis might be staying in to protect Smith more often in their coming contests.
  • A busy day of run blocking left Minnesota Vikings rookie tight end Kyle Rudolph with a season-low four targets and shut out for the first time this year in Week 8. The issue is that Rudolph's value is tied heavily to touchdowns, which figure to come in the red zone. With running back Adrian Peterson looking better each week those inside-the-20 targets could end up decreasing.
  • Over the last three games, Nate Washington's 26 targets puts him inside the top 15 wide receivers. Even though he's only converted 50 percent of those opportunities into receptions, Washington throws another wrench into projecting the Tennessee Titans passing game. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck isn't taking big chances, and now that running back Chris Johnson might finally be out of carbon freeze, the value of the receivers, outside of matchup plays, could be on the decline until Jake Locker (shoulder) returns.
  • New York Jets WR Jeremy Kerley
    Kerley no stooge
    Veteran receiver Santana Moss of the Washington Redskins is still playing a very limited number of snaps out of the slot but is becoming their top playmaker. Over the last five games, Moss has caught 13 of his 20 targets, scoring four times. Two of those end zone trips came last week, but so did a critical fumble that ended the game. Assuming he's not headed to the doghouse, Moss appears to the touchdown vulture in the passing game to Leonard Hankerson, who is becoming the focal point with tight end Fred Davis (Achilles') done of the year and Pierre Garcon's (foot) slow return.
  • With Nate Burleson (broken leg) of the Detroit Lions done for the year, the door opens for Titus Young and Ryan Broyles, who'll rotate between an outside spot and the slot. With opposing defenses keeping Calvin Johnson in check, the Lions need this pair of young receivers to produce and keep Megatron from facing such overwhelming coverage. Young is now the No. 2 wideout, but his maturity has cost him playing time in the past. Broyles holds the NCAA FBS record for career receptions and has the potential to offer PPR-friendly numbers.
  • Cecil Shorts of the Jacksonville Jaguars was both active and productive in his first start of the season. He led the team with 10 targets, catching four of them for 79 yards and a touchdown. QB Blaine Gabbert (shoulder) isn't producing much, but he's an upgrade from Chad Henne, so his health is important to fantasy owners' consideration of Shorts. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) is going to miss multiple games, so Rashad Jennings will need to keep this limited offense on track for any of the receivers to offer much.
  • Looks like Tiquan Underwood of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is settling in as the No. 3 receiver. In addition to scoring the first touchdown of his career, Underwood got six targets this week equaling his looks in the last two games. Many remember him as the player the New England Patriots cut two days before Super Bowl XLVI but also know that played for head coach Greg Schiano at Rutgers. With the Bucs getting more and more comfortable taking big shots in the passing game, Underwood just might get himself across the stripe a few more times.
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About Eric McClung

Eric McClung has been profiled by the FSWA for covering the fantasy sports spectrum and is a three-time award finalist. Over the years, he's 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. He's also captured the fantasy football championship in the KFFL staff league twice.

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