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.
Find more fantasy football risers in our Fantasy Football Waiver Wire.
The Baltimore Ravens' run game hasn't flown, but they made no bones about feeding their stud against a steady ground defense. Ray Rice is off the injury report following his hip ailment, so return Bernard Pierce to the handcuff/desperation bin.
Three of Pierre Thomas' biggest statistical games have come against the Chicago Bears (first two in 2007 and '08). The New Orleans Saints decided to slow the game down and keep the Bears off the field. PT should continue in this flex-worthy role with Mark Ingram (toe) hobbled and essentially a dud.
WAIVER WIRE: Willis McGahee needed three chances to score from the 1 and failed to on another goal-to-go possession. Still, he's the closest thing the Cleveland Browns have to a featured back. Expect plenty of work, especially with Brian Hoyer (knee) done, but also a lot of mediocre yards-per-tote averages. Maybe, however, he'll start running a bit better as he gains more steam. He was essentially signed off the street, after all.
Ben Tate was utilized just nine times (17 last two weeks), and his threat to Arian Foster's workload is waning, if not already stopped. The Houston Texans will rely consistently on both to their respective degrees, though, given the problems surrounding Matt Schaub.
There'll be weeks when Eddie Lacy loses some touches to Johnathan Franklin. Week 5 wasn't one of them. The Green Bay Packers controlled the clock in the second half, and Lacy averaged a solid 4.3 per carry on the day. The Pack set out to embrace the run more in 2013, and though he won't dominate the efforts every week, Lacy looks like he's on his way to holding RB2 standards each week. If Franklin's costly fumble leads to more issues, he could slide behind James Starks (knee) in the near future.
If not for a breakaway 54-yard scoring scamper, C.J. Spiller would've been a dud. Fred Jackson leads this backfield for the moment, yet Spiller's flash of his old self says it may be a good time to sell the elder back. EJ Manuel's knee injury and Thaddeus Lewis' ascension to starter mean that the Buffalo Bills will face plenty of stacked fronts, so it could take awhile for Spiller to regain his first-round luster.
Rice once again cooking
Despite his sloppy performance, keeping Tom Brady off the field was probably in the Cincinnati Bengals' wishes Sunday. Thusly, they turned to BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard (16 utilizations). Law Firm isn't worth dropping yet because there'll be plenty of instances like this one. If he doesn't score a touchdown, he typically doesn't do as much with his allotment as Bernard does, though.
- WAIVER WIRE: Zac Stacy's performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars has earned him at least another week as the lead bruiser. The St. Louis Rams needed something, and he at least did that with a 5.6 YPC. They'll mix in Daryl Richardson (13 touches Sunday), Benny Cunningham and Isaiah Pead, maybe, and Stacy might not be on the field if they have to mount a comeback, but Stacy has the momentum moving forward.
- WAIVER WIRE: Another PPR riser is Brandon Bolden, who has the Shane Vereen (wrist) role locked down until the incumbent returns (earliest Week 11). LeGarrette Blount's involvement is tied to Stevan Ridley's (knee) availability.
- David Wilson (neck) has been ruled out for Thursday Night Football. The New York Giants re-signed Da'Rel Scott to pair with Brandon Jacobs in the event Wilson misses time. Not much punch in this backfield, but Scott has flashed utility as the third-down/passing-down back and is the better PPR gamble. The less than ideal goal-liner Jacobs needs a fine matchup in which to maximize his plodding style. Plus, it helps Scott that the 0-5 Giants don't find themselves in many clock-killing situations.
- Chris Johnson only received 10 carries on Sunday but had five targets. With Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback, Johnson could see more check-downs and dump-offs because Fitz is less likely to challenge downfield than the injured Jake Locker (hip, knee) would. Maybe this is the outlet for production CJ?K's owners have been begging for.
- WAIVER WIRE: Bilal Powell remains the lead New York Jets back, but his 14 utilizations gave way to a returning Mike Goodson (five) and Chris Ivory (four). Powell's domination over the playbook will start to fade more heavily. Goodson and Ivory make decent pickups, with the former the PPR preference. The latter boasts the most upside of the trio.
- The Miami Dolphins' devotion to Daniel Thomas isn't the only thing holding back Lamar Miller (seven utils). The preseason sleeper hasn't proven capable of creating big plays on his own; he's leaning on the O-line to create holes. That's terrible timing given this front five's woes. Buying low -- subterranean -- on the more talented Miller isn't a bad idea, but it's not going to be a team-saving move for fantasy players anytime soon. Will the bye week help them straighten things out?
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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 competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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