Fantasy Football On Target: Josh Gordon, Antonio Brown were busy

by Tim Heaney on September 24, 2013 @ 11:08:55 PDT

 

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Targets and touches can influence a fantasy football player's value, but utilization totals fluctuate week to week, depending on game and roster circumstances. In Fantasy Football On Target, we dissect those conditions to determine whether target trends are patterns or flukes.

KFFL Target Data

For a complete listing of targets and touches, check out our Statistics Analyzer and Utilizations pages.

You'll also find more fantasy football risers in our Fantasy Football Waiver Wire.

New York Jets RB Bilal Powell
POW-ell

Running backs

WAIVER WIRE: Chris Ivory's latest injury (bum quad) may keep him out for a bit, meaning Powell has an inside track at this utilization pace for the near future. His penchant for pass protection should make him an every-down option with the New York Jets.

Murray saw an increase following rampant reports that the Dallas Cowboys needed to run more. Granted, it was the same St. Louis Rams he carved up in 2011, but his vision looked better. Can they keep the same balance effectively in tighter game situations than Sunday's, though?

Pierce may not have that busy a day if Ray Rice (hip) can return this weekend, but expect something similar for as long as the starter must sit. He's a necessary handcuff, obviously. Ditto for Bell with Reggie Bush (knee).

MJD found the end zone but had just 62 offensive yards on 21 touches. They'll keep working him, and maybe the Jacksonville Jaguars' plans to ditch the zone-blocking scheme will work, but he's probably still not at optimal physical shape yet.

Week 3 util leaders
 Rk
Player
Tm
Wk 3
1
Adrian Peterson
MIN
31
2
Bilal Powell
NYJ
30
3
DeMarco Murray
DAL
29
4
Jamaal Charles
KCC
28
5
Bernard Pierce
BAL
26
6
Doug Martin
TBB
26
7
Joique Bell
DET
25
8
DeAngelo Williams
CAR
25
9
Maurice Jones-Drew
JAC
24
10
Ahmad Bradshaw
IND
23
11
Jacquizz Rodgers
ATL
21
12
LeSean McCoy
PHI
21
13
Chris Johnson
TEN
21
14
Matt Forte
CHI
20
15
Marshawn Lynch
SEA
17
16
Pierre Thomas
NOS
17
17
Ryan Mathews
SDC
16
18
Alfred Morris
WAS
16
19
Johnathan Franklin
GBP
16
20
Trent Richardson
IND
16
21
Jason Snelling
ATL
16

Bradshaw saw more work for T-Rich's first game in Indy, but Richardson found the end zone and should move into primary duties as he digests more of the playbook. He'll fit crisply into this offense.

WAIVER WIRE: Expect similar splits between Rodgers and Snelling that could last for at least another month with Steven Jackson (hamstring) out. Snelling is the goal-line option and better fantasy play most of the time because he can do a lot of the same things Rodgers can.

Even though Marc Trestman said Michael Bush is the Chicago Bears' designated goal line back, that's not going to limit Forte's workload all that much. It especially won't cripple his PPR value.

Lynch's lighter day was merely a result of the Seattle Seahawks' demolition of the Jacksonville Jaguars. No concerns over his stability.

WAIVER WIRE: Mark Ingram's toe injury and ineffectiveness so far could result in his permanent demotion or exit from the New Orleans Saints. Thomas owners, as a result, should feel pretty good about his potential for double-digit outings in point-per-reception games.

WAIVER WIRE: Ryan Mathews continues to lose time on passing downs, no-huddles, etc. to Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown. He continues to settle for flex-worthiness in the San Diego Chargers' carousel. Woodhead, meanwhile, could still be had for valuable bye fill-in value.

WAIVER WIRE: Don't get too excited about Franklin yet. Sure, one of Eddie Lacy (concussion) and James Starks (knee) could miss the Green Bay Packers' next game, but that's not until Week 5, so there's a chance Franklin will go back to a No. 3 role.

Franklin, however, acquitted himself well, so a rational, limited-expectations bid in free agency makes sense if he keeps his change-of-pace speed role.

Running out the clock

  • WAIVER WIRE: Brandon Bolden's first game back for the New England Patriots may have entrenched him as the third-down, passing-formation specialist. LeGarrette Blount's previous work there was shoehorned because of need but will invade Stevan Ridley's territory most of the time if this arrangement sticks. Ridley shouldn't be dropped, but it'll be a rougher road with these two joining the committee. Bolden should earn waiver-wire cred for the chance he becomes the new Vereen, potentially making him the most secure PPR play.
  • WAIVER WIRE: An opponent stepped on Daryl Richardson's injured foot and forced him to leave Sunday's game. Isaiah Pead and Benny Cunningham split the rest of the work. The St. Louis Rams play Thursday night. If Richardson can't go, they'll probably have a Pead-Cunningham pair again, with Pead the more desired fantasy component.
  • WAIVER WIRE: Willis McGahee only mustered nine yards on eight carries in his Cleveland Browns debut, but he'll still be the main carrier in this no-name backfield, whatever that's worth. Any majority rumbler is worth a pickup anyway.
  • WAIVER WIRE: A few KFFLers noted Jonathan Dwyer's clutch Week 3 pass protection. He may be separating himself from the group and earning a weekly role, even after Le'Veon Bell (foot) returns. Scoop up Bell and Dwyer wherever you can.
  • The New York Giants were attempting a comeback during their 38-0 debacle, so they didn't run much. But David Wilson (11) was still utilized more times than Da'Rel Scott and Brandon Jacobs combined (seven). The 0-3 G-Men might have to abandon the run game frequently if they keep playing like this. Still, Wilson owners shouldn't sell him for pennies. He's still the best carrier here.
  • Alfonso Smith plunged in for a TD Sunday but came in third for Arizona Cardinals backfield utilizations. It's still Rashard Mendenhall and Andre Ellington for the top two spots until further notice.

Wide receivers

Week 3 util leaders
 Rk
Player
Tm
Wk 3
1
Josh Gordon
CLE
20
2
Cecil Shorts
JAC
15
3
Pierre Garcon
WAS
14
4
Antonio Brown
PIT
13
5
Julio Jones
ATL
13
6
Stevie Johnson
BUF
13
7
Calvin Johnson
DET
13
8
Randall Cobb
GBP
11
9
Santonio Holmes
NYJ
10
10
Robert Woods
BUF
10
11
Davone Bess
CLE
10
12
Aaron Dobson
NEP
10
13
Golden Tate
SEA
10
14
Nate Washington
TEN
10
15
Torrey Smith
BAL
9
16
Mike Williams
TBB
9
17
Jordy Nelson
GBP
9
18
Santana Moss
WAS
9
19
Stephen Burton
JAC
9
20
Nate Burleson
DET
9
21
Chris Givens
STL
9

Looks like Gordon wasn't hurt by Brian Hoyer taking snaps. That could continue in the Cleveland Browns' future. Don't expect that every week, but if they don't trade him, at least there's more hope he can consistently produce WR3 numbers with his downfield potential.

Shorts continued his role as the big fish in a highly risky offensive pond. (Note Burton's presence.) Unfortunately, he typically has performed better with Chad Henne behind center, and the Jacksonville Jaguars will likely go with Blaine Gabbert (thumb) in Week 4. At least Justin Blackmon will be back in Week 5, at least, to improve the program's ceiling.

Guess Todd Haley listened to Brown's pleas for more looks. He's still the Pittsburgh Steelers' best big-play weapon in the passing game; it's just that Haley has had trouble deploying him that way. Will he get that many targets if Pittsburgh isn't trailing big early and Ben Roethlisberger can't put it all on his shoulders?

WAIVER WIRE: With 17 targets over the last two weeks, Woods has found a rhythm with Manuel as the Buffalo Bills' second most frequently targeted option. He's becoming a WR4 stash with flex and bye appeal.

Though Kenbrell Thompkins caught two scores, Dobson still got more targets. Problem was, he hasn't been able to make up for his drops in the way Thompkins has; the latter looks to be a more trusted associate, but Tom Brady's New England Patriots still are searching for ways to improve. They're yearning for the weekend Rob Gronkowski (back, forearm) can return.

Sidney Rice had the big Sunday for the Seattle Seahawks, but Tate was sought out more frequently. Don't ditch him yet.

WAIVER WIRE: Kenny Britt looks like he's losing ground in Tennessee Titans looks. His five on Sunday came with many miscues. Washington, Kendall Wright, and Justin Hunter, who caught the game-winning score, sit ahead of him on the depth chart. It's getting harder in most leagues to justify stashing the talented but flawed Britt. The other trio, conversely, looks like better bench filler.

WAIVER WIRE: Nate Burleson's productive day might be the last he'll have for a bit. His recent car accident will probably sideline him indefinitely and open the door for Ryan Broyles to see similar attention. Grab him in deep leagues.

Tight ends

Week 3 util leaders
 Rk
Player
Tm
Wk 3
1
Jimmy Graham
NOS
15
2
Jordan Cameron
CLE
11
3
Owen Daniels
HOU
9
4
Greg Olsen
CAR
8
5
Delanie Walker
TEN
8
6
Kyle Rudolph
MIN
8
7
Jared Cook
STL
7
8
Dallas Clark
BAL
7
9
Antonio Gates
SDC
7
10
Logan Paulsen
WAS
6
11
Charles Clay
MIA
6
12
Scott Chandler
BUF
6
13
Jason Witten
DAL
6
14
Brandon Myers
NYG
6
15
Jordan Reed
WAS
6

The versatile Walker isn't necessarily a weekly fantasy play at the moment, but he's getting closer to flex appeal. However, he's not doing his surname a good service; he was seen in a walking boot on his left foot. More details to come.

Rudolph's poor production has been a result of poor offensive design and Christian Ponder's limited downfield abilities. The tight end still has PPR benefits for his owners, even if his numbers aren't outstanding. We're not certain they'll improve drastically, if at all, with Matt Cassel taking snaps. Dropping him in many leagues is a bit rash, but finding a storable alternative is not.

WAIVER WIRE: Clay has six targets in each of his first three games and has embraced the role meant for Injured Reserve resident Dustin Keller. The Miami Dolphins should continue calling Clay's name, making him a borderline TE1 in most weeks.

The presence of both Paulsen and Reed on this list says that it'll be tough to peg which Washington Redskins tight end will be the better play each week. Fred Davis is still hanging around, too.

The athletic rookie Reed has the biggest ceiling, but Paulsen continues to linger, maybe because Robert Griffin III needs more protection as he works his way back to 100 percent health.

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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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