Opportunity in the NFL world can translate into success in the fantasy football world. This is where targets come into play. While a wide receiver may have only caught four passes in a given week, his target total might have been double or triple that. Those targets may not have translated into catches during one week, but they may in the future.
The following players gained attention because of the number of targets they received the past two weeks. Are some of these numbers a trend in the making or simply an aberration?
The Detroit Lions appear to have a changing of the guard for their No. 1 receiver: second-year receiver Calvin Johnson has been involved in 19.05 percent of the Lions' plays while Roy Williams has been involved in 11.59 percent. In terms of targeted plays, Williams is third amongst receivers on the team! With two blowout loses under the Lions' belt, Williams has been targeted 14 times, including one red zone look. Johnson leads the way with 23 looks, including one in the red zone. Shaun McDonald is second with 16 targets and one red zone look. Mike Furrey rounds out the receivers with nine targets and two red zone plays.
I thought Mike Martz was no longer the offensive coordinator. Fantasy footballers who jumped the gun on Calvin early this year are singing to the tune of 13 receptions, 236 receiving yards and two touchdowns so far.
In this space last week, I mentioned to look for Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver Eddie Royal's targets to come back to earth with the return of Brandon Marshall. Royal had seven plays during Week 2, including two inside the 5. That was half of what he saw in overall utilized plays the previous week. Marshall, who absolutely dominated for fantasy football owners against the San Diego Chargers, had 21 targets with three coming within the red zone.
Speaking of the Denver passing game, tight end Tony Scheffler saw his intended targets go from two in Week 1 to 10 in Week 2. Remember, the Broncos are working in three different tight ends. While Scheffler should be added on the waiver wire this week, his numbers may be inconsistent moving forward....
For the second consecutive week, Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Matt Jones was the target of 10 plays. If you're struggling for a receiver seeing consistent looks, target him on the fantasy football waiver wire.
New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker looks like he is going to keep receiving targets regardless of quarterback Tom Brady (knee) being done for the season. Welker has seen double-digit looks for back-to-back weeks.
Sticking with the Patriots, Randy Moss' chances dropped from seven in the opener to three during Week 2. Obviously there is cause for concern here, as the No. 1 fantasy football receiver taken this year saw less than nine targeted plays just four times last season. He is already halfway to that number through two games. Ugh.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver David Patten watched his targets go from two in Week 1 to 10 in Week 2. This is likely directly tied to Marques Colston (wrist) being out of action. It is, however, worth noting the targets for the other receivers - Robert Meachem (one), Devery Henderson (three) and Lance Moore (one) - didn't even add up to Patten's targets for the week.
Despite having little to no time together during the preseason and training camp, New York Jets wide receiver Laveranues Coles has been targeted by quarterback Brett Favre the most out of the Jets' wideouts. He had five looks in Week 1 and six in Week 2. A sign of things to come? Jerricho Cotchery saw his looks drop from six to three during Week 2 while No. 3 receiver Chansi Stuckey, who has scored in back-to-back games, was the target of three passes in each week.
With the Oakland Raiders running like they are, there is not a lot of fantasy football value coming out of the passing game. However, wide receiver Ashley Lelie appears to be emerging as one of the favorite receiver targets for quarterback JaMarcus Russell. He has been targeted at least five times per game so far.
Seattle Seahawks tight end John Carlson, a rookie, saw his looks double in Week 2, with eight targets during the game. Don't be surprised if this continues considering the Seahawks could not keep a healthy receiver on the field right now if their life depended upon it.
Tennessee Titans tight ends Alge Crumpler and Bo Scaife combined for eight targets in Week 1 with Vince Young (knee) most of the game. With Kerry Collins at quarterback in Week 2, they saw just four looks combined. The wide receivers, in comparison, were targeted 11 times in Week 1. In Week 2, they were targeted 14 times. Even with a purer passer in Collins, the team didn't involve the receivers much more. Let's see how that plays out while Collins shakes off the non-starting rust moving forward to see if any of the receivers - or tight ends for that matter - can consistently contribute to a fantasy football team.
Green Bay Packers No. 3 receiver James Jones, during his first game of the season, had as many looks (eight) in Week 2 as wide receiver Donald Driver. New starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers is showing the willingness to spread it around amongst his top targets.
After not being targeted on a single play during Week 1, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Isaac Bruce was the target of 10 passes in Week 2. Let's see if this continues now that the 49ers are showing some signs of life offensively.
It is a deep year for tight ends in fantasy football. Week 1 gave everyone the names of Carolina Panthers Dante Rosario and Miami Dolphins Anthony Fasano, who both had outstanding games. Both saw just one look each during Week 2, just a week after they were targeted eight and nine times, respectively. Keep an eye on the targets here moving forward before locking in on either as more than a backup tight end for your fantasy football team.
Usually when there is an inexperienced quarterback at the helm, it is safe to assume the looks of the tight end will increase from a "safety valve" perspective. New England Patriots tight end David Thomas wasn't so lucky. Despite having Matt Cassel in the starting lineup in Week 2, his looks remained at three targeted plays - the same as he had in Week 1.
For a complete list of sortable fantasy football player targets and utilized plays, be sure to check out KFFL's Fantasy Football Utilization Charts!
About Ryan R. Bonini
Founding KFFL in 1996, Bonini now serves as VP of Fantasy Sports Solutions for USA
TODAY SPORTS, KFFL's parent company. Bonini was named 2009 Fantasy Football Writer
of the Year by the FSWA,
received honors with the Best Fantasy Football Series in '10 and was named into their Hall of Fame in '13.
His work has been found in USA TODAY Sports, Yahoo!
Sports, FOX Sports, CBS Sports, NFL.com, and many others. He has also been featured
on numerous radio programs around the country. Bonini is a member of the PFWA,
FSWA and FSTA.
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