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?
Jennings returning last week comes at the perfect time for the Packers. Nelson (hamstring) appears to be out for Week 14 and perhaps a second game. If he's truly close to 100 percent healthy, Jennings can really cash in during the fantasy home stretch. He's obviously well versed in this offense and has suddenly skyrocketed up the charts in terms of value as a high-risk, high-reward option the rest of the way.
Jordy boy hurt again
After two bad games Jones recorded his ninth touchdown of the season. He missed out on hitting double digits later in the game when his second score was wiped out after a holding penalty. Jones may not see a ton a targets, which limits him to WR3 material, but he'll to continue to receive big-play opportunities.
Cobb and Finley don't see any real change in their roles. Cobb continues to be a must start, while Finley is a fringe No. 1 tight end.
Green will go back to being the featured back with Starks (knee) possibly done for the season. Green is coming off one of his better games but is still an unproductive rusher, even when he receives a high volume. He's worth picking up but the ceiling is obviously set pretty low.
Grant is back in tow, too. Even though he's nothing special, his presence, along with fullback John Kuhn's, probably will do enough to cap Green's value.
The early reports on Shorts (concussion) have been positive so Blackmon remains more of a low-end WR2 play at best. Without Shorts, he would become the likely focal point of the passing game, but the added defensive pressure might end up costing Blackmon.
MJD (foot) figures to miss another game in what is looking more and more like a completely lost season. Jennings (concussion) and Owens are both pretty dreadful options against a New York Jets defense that shut down the Arizona Cardinals on the ground last week. With the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, both good against the run, rounding out the fantasy schedule, it's nearly impossible to consider starting either of these two Jax backs.
Reece (hamstring, quadriceps) has started to wear down as the lead back and was sent back to his hybrid fullback position in favor of Stewart during last week's game. However, McFadden is now expected to return Thursday night, making Reece and Stewart low end injury handcuffs. Coaches have liked what they've seen from DMC in practice lately so expect him to shoulder the load barring a setback.
The Silver and Black receiving corps is also making rumblings. Moore was benched late in last week's contest for some ugly drops, but he'll remain in the starting lineup, for now. Moore's production had been pretty consistent for much of the season, but the last three weeks have been particularly bad. Unfortunately, DHB has been unable to capitalize.
Myers was truly epic in garbage time. On the final drive of the game he recorded six of his 14 catches and more than half his yards. Myers' outburst comes after weeks of respectable numbers, and given the issues at wide receiver, he's now the safest Raider in the passing game right now, especially in PPR scoring.
Backfields in motion
- With the Houston Texans giving Justin Forsett a season-high 14 carries, owners of Arian Foster are a bit concerned. Fear not, as the Texans held control of the game from the get go and logically gave their workhorse more chances to take breather. Even Ben Tate got into the action with three carries. Facing the New England Patriots on Monday night, the Texans shouldn't keep Foster on any kind of leash when the current No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the AFC do battle. Watching the Tate-Forsett battle could prove to be important, though, if the team does indeed sit Foster toward the end of the season if home field is clinched for the playoffs early.
A week after Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey stated C.J. Spiller would receive a 60-40 split of the carries over Fred Jackson, it was the latter that saw the most action Sunday. F-Jax totaled 109 yards on 25 carries as Gailey preferred Jackson's more physical style in the wind and rain. Jackson recorded his longest run of the season in the muck, although it was just 15 yards, but Spiller ripped off a 40-yarder for the second straight contest. There's no question Spiller is the more talented rusher, but there's no talking Gailey out of giving at least a decent chunk of situational opportunities to Jackson and keeping Spiller from living out his top-five fantasy RB potential.
Lloyd's time to shine
- It's all good on the DeMarco Murray (foot) front. The Dallas Cowboys lead back did not experience any setbacks after registering a season-high 23 carries with four more touches coming in the passing game. Murray nearly broke the century mark in his first game back but lost 11 yards on his final rush of the game. Though Dallas might ease off Murray a bit this week, Felix Jones (knees, shoulder) has a list of ailments and won't get enough touches to be relevant.
- The Pittsburgh Steelers appear to have their running back situation figured out. The Mini-Bus, Jonathan Dwyer, is the starter and worth starting in fantasy circles, while Isaac Redman will get some looks, especially in short yardage and worth owning for depth. Chris Rainey will only be the change-of-pace back as Rashard Mendenhall will likely to remain inactive, despite being healthy. Mendenhall is a free agent at the end of the year and doesn't appear to be in the team's plans anymore.
- Ahmad Bradshaw of the New York Giants only lost four carries to David Wilson, while Kregg Lumpkin saw the field in some passing situations. Most importantly to his owners, Bradshaw was there when the G-Men got into the red zone, the situation where NYG had been using Andre Brown (broken leg) fairly often. Bradshaw's workload should be plentiful going forward.
- Danny Amendola (heel) was held out against the San Francisco 49ers, one week after barely playing against the Arizona Cardinals. Rookie Chris Givens has taken off lately and has averaged nine targets per game over the last three contests. Early in the season, Givens was a deep threat, setting an NFL record of five straight games with a 50-yard reception, but is looking more and more like a complete receiver. Even if Amendola manages to return, the remaining schedule is favorable for Givens to stay pertinent.
- The Indianapolis Colts employed a lot of sets with three or more receivers on the field during last week's frantic come-from-behind victory against the Detroit Lions. Thus, T.Y. Hilton saw a lot more snaps than normal and recorded his third game with six catches and 100 yards over the last five games. Donnie Avery is his main threat, however. Avery scored twice, including the game-winner as time expired, which marks his first touchdowns since Week 1. Under normal circumstances Hilton wouldn't have seen the field as much so his production may continue to be inconsistent.
- In their first game with newly promoted offensive coordinator Dowell Loggain, the Tennessee Titans continued to struggle as Jake Locker couldn't stop turning the ball over or taking sacks. The team keeps saying they want to get Kenny Britt more involved and have seen him score in each of the last two games, despite an underwhelming number of catches. Nate Washington is getting equal snaps to Britt, but Kendall Wright is getting a lot more targets. Jared Cook led the team with 12 targets and looks to be the biggest beneficiary of the change in play calling. Locker needs to protect the football to make any of these options worth gambling on as fantasy starters.
- Without anything that resembles a capable quarterback under center, Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals is being painfully hung out to dry. Over the last three games, Fitz has only managed five catches on 26 targets. After last week's game he stated, "You gotta laugh to keep from crying." And that about sums up what his owners have been feeling all year. Rookie Ryan Lindley is playing so poorly John Skelton could go back to being the starter. Kevin Kolb (ribs) doesn't seem ready to take the large number of shots he'd absorb behind an anemic offensive line.
- Brandon Lloyd can't run block for the New England Patriots like Julian Edelman (foot) does but could win back some big-play opportunities as the unquestioned No. 2 WR on the team with Edelman done for the year. Donte' Stallworth was just resigned but does not contain any value right now.
- Riley Cooper of the Philadelphia Eagles is a long shot, but he played the most snaps at wide receiver for the team this week. He also caught his second impressive red zone touchdown of the season from rookie Nick Foles. Their connection seems pretty strong and legitimate. If the Eagles are to ever get over their woes inside the 20 this season, Cooper appears to be the most likely solution.
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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