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 conditions to determine whether target trends are patterns or flukes.
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.
Looks like Arian Foster is starting to run more like his 2012 form, according to Gary Kubiak. The Houston Texans shied away from Ben Tate a bit more in Week 4; the backup only had eight utilizations. There's still weekly risk in terms of workload, but Foster may force his way back into his old domination over reps soon.
WAIVER WIRE: The Buffalo Bills' C.J. Spiller (ankle) aims to play Thursday. If active, however, he'll still be splitting touches with Fred Jackson (knee), if he goes, and Tashard Choice, who's not exciting but offers speculation, perhaps around the goal line, in the event one of the first two backs can't provide enough punch.
WAIVER WIRE: Rashad Jennings took over after Darren McFadden (hamstring) and Marcel Reece (knee) went to the sidelines. Jennings mustered 45 yards on 15 carries, but his eight-catch, 71-yard performance was the real payoff. The status of the two injured backs is up in the air, and Jennings would get the most work in their absence. Still, this O-line is weak, and they may mix in Jeremy Stewart, as well. If Reece can go, he's the better option in the long haul of a DMC-less group.
When the San Diego Chargers have Ryan Mathews on the field, he's almost a certainty to run. But on Sunday, he was more involved in the passing game. Of course, so was Danny Woodhead, the primary option in such situations. Mathews is becoming more than a flex play, but not by much.
Le'Veon Bell's foot looked more than OK in his NFL debut. He won't find paydirt twice every week, but his performance gives the Pittsburgh Steelers such glee in scraping the RB committee.
With Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) out, Trent Richardson took on more responsibility in his second game with the Indianapolis Colts. He averaged 3.0 yards over his 20 totes, but he found the end zone again. Bradshaw, whenever he returns, should eat about 10 touches, but Richardson should stick as the starter.
The Baltimore Ravens ignored the ground game for most of the second half Sunday, so we didn't get a full gauge of Ray Rice's return from injury. Expect a better judgment this coming week. Bernard Pierce still has low-end flex worth, though.
Giovani Bernard's utilization totals since the start of 2013: six, 10, 14 and 17. Looks like the Cincinnati Bengals are primed to make him the primary backfield weapon and make BenJarvus Green-Ellis his minority complement.
Gio on the way up
WAIVER WIRE: Alfred Morris' (rib) Washington Redskins are on bye this week, but Roy Helu makes for a decent flier in case Alf's prognosis doesn't improve.
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians was anything but enthusiastic over Rashard Mendenhall's Week 4 performance, indirectly reminding you to keep Andre Ellington tucked away in deeper PPR leagues.
The Jacksonville Jaguars' switch to a power-blocking scheme still hasn't paid off. Maurice Jones-Drew was called on just 14 times in Week 4. This would require them actually being competitive in games, but in the hope Jacksonville realizes he's their best weapon and feeds him, fantasy owners could try buying low on MJD. An impending return of a skill player might free him up.
The St. Louis Rams' backfield remains an open competition. Isaiah Pead was inactive last week because they planned to use Tavon Austin frequently out of the backfield. Benny Cunningham's special teams play means he'll be active most weeks, so it could be a weekly showdown of Pead and Zac Stacy swapping healthy scratches behind the uninspiring Daryl Richardson.
Willis McGahee will continue sharing Cleveland Browns backfield duties with Chris Ogbonnaya (the best PPR option) and Bobby Rainey. Dynasty leaguers and desperate RB chasers should monitor the raw but talented Foswhitt Whittaker, who was just claimed off waivers.
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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 LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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