Fantasy football on target - Week 5

by Ryan R. Bonini on September 30, 2008 @ 07:57:30 PDT

 


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 caught only 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 in the past four weeks. Are some of these numbers a trend in the making or simply an aberration?

Fantasy Football on Target

Don't read too much into Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Steve Breaston being targeted 11 times in Week 4. The Cardinals were down by 34 points against the New York Jets, putting quarterback Kurt Warner in pass-happy mode. Breaston had only been targeted 13 times in the previous three weeks combined! He was still third amongst the team's receivers in targets for the game, as Larry Fitzgerald was looked to 15 times while Anquan Boldin (neck) was the target of 13 intended passes. Breaston, however, should have an eye kept on him based on Boldin's uncertain health status.

For the third consecutive week, Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall was targeted double-digit times. He now has 47 looks in three games, good for an average of 15.67 targets per game!

Throw Washington Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss into the same hot category. He is coming off a 14-target game, putting him at 43 targets on the year. It was the fourth consecutive week he has been targeted at least nine times in a game.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings extended his double-digit streak to three games, giving him 31 looks in the past three weeks. This one just became very volatile, though, as quarterback Aaron Rodgers (shoulder) may not be able to get him the ball moving forward due to a shoulder problem. Stay tuned!

Broncos rookie receiver Eddie Royal went over double-digits in targets for the second time this season - the other being Week 1. He now has been targeted 41 times in the first month of the season, tops amongst rookie wideouts.

The other impressive rookie wide receiver is the Philadelphia Eagles' DeSean Jackson, who is giving Royal a run for his money. Jackson was also targeted double-digit times in Week 4, receiving 12 looks from quarterback Donovan McNabb. In Week 4, the rookie fantasy football delight found the end zone for the first time ... yes, he actually figured out how to drop the ball on the other side of the chalk line! Jackson has been targeted 38 times in four weeks, good for an average of 9.5 looks per game!

After having nine targets combined the first two weeks, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Bobby Wade has been targeted 13 times combined the past two games. He is being given a chance to succeed and quietly has 10 receptions for 110 yards the past two weeks. Keep in mind that receiver Sidney Rice (knee) has been very limited in the past three weeks, but it's an interesting trend.

Keep an eye on Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin. He had six combined looks in Weeks 2 and 3 but was targeted that same number of times in Week 4. Dallas has a boatload of weapons to use, but he is seeing some consistent looks.

It's about time the Oakland Raiders remembered tight end Zach Miller. Miller saw just 10 looks the first in three weeks of the season, which was a major disappointment to fantasy football owners. In Week 4, he saw eight targets. Let's hope that is a sign of things to come after the team returns from their Bye.

Here is a minor trend in the making: New Orleans Saints wide receiver Robert Meachem has seen his targets go from one in Week 2 to two in Week 3 to three in Week 4. Hey, I said it was minor! Seriously, though, the Saints need to get this guy more involved.

Is Devery Henderson the most frustrating fantasy football wideout in recent years? The guy has six catches for 213 yards and a touchdown this year while being targeted 11 times. In Week 4, he was targeted just twice but came away with a catch for 81 yards.

Teammate Lance Moore didn't frustrate - well, assuming he didn't go against your team - in Week 4, with two touchdowns. He saw his highest number of looks (11) so far this season during the game and now has 23 targets on the year in the pass-happy New Orleans offense.

I have officially ended my man love for Tennessee Titans tight end Alge Crumpler. After he saw nine looks the first three games I was remaining hopeful. However, he was the target of ZERO passes in Week 4. I'm waiving him wherever I have him.

The same holds true for Carolina Panthers tight end Dante Rosario. He was dynamite with eight targets in Week 1. Since then, he has been targeted just seven times. Oh yeah, and Steve Smith is back.

Speaking of Smith: In his two games back from suspension, he has been targeted 21 times. Obviously, that's music to the ears of those who own him in fantasy football leagues this year.

Fantasy players should not jump on the bandwagon of Eagles wide receiver Hank Baskett. While he saw nine targets in Week 3, he has just eight targets in the other three games combined. There are not enough consistent looks here, and keep in mind that Kevin Curtis (sports hernia) should be back in the mix in the next couple of weeks.

Jets wide receiver Laveranues Coles has been quarterback Brett Favre's favorite target in the red zone, as he has been looked to on 11 plays - 21.73 percent of the team's red zone plays. Of those 11 looks, four have come inside the 5-yard line. Jerricho Cotchery has seen just five looks in the red zone, with none inside the 5. Chansi Stuckey, whom I'll discuss more later, has seen six looks in the red zone, including three inside the 5. Here is to hoping Coles, a KFFL favorite entering the year, continues those looks after finding the end zone three times in Week 4.

OK, I jumped the gun a bit on Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Jerramy Stevens. After seeing him receive 10 targets in Week 3 it was tough not to. Unfortunately, he only had two looks in Week 4. Don't jump off the ship with him just yet though.

We had a Marty Booker sighting! The Chicago Bears receiver was targeted just six times in the first three weeks. In Week 4, he found the end zone and was the target of five plays. Let's see how this plays out, as Booker is still arguably the best receiver on the Bears' roster.

St. Louis Rams wide receiver Donnie Avery, a rookie, has been targeted 12 times in the last two weeks and also has one rushing attempt. Yes, I know the Rams stink. But he could be a factor moving forward as the team tries to right the ship with a new head coach. The 24-year-old had his best game when he was inserted in the starting lineup, with Trent Green at quarterback. The Rams are expected to go back to Marc Bulger following their Week 5 Bye.

Speaking of the Rams, did you notice wide receiver Torry Holt has yet to be targeted double-digit times in a game this year? After seeing two looks in Week 1, he has been targeted seven, eight and seven times the last three weeks, respectively. He only saw fewer than nine targets in a game four times last year, and in four games he has already achieved that same feat!

In his first four games last year, Packers wide receiver Donald Driver had 38 targets from Favre. In four games this year with Rodgers at quarterback, Driver has just 24 targets. Maybe he should start lobbying to be traded to the Jets, too?

A year ago, everyone jumped on the bandwagon of Houston Texans wide receiver Jacoby Jones. If you haven't fallen off of it yet, here's the final nail in the coffin: One target in three games.

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White very quietly has 18 receptions, 322 yards receiving and one touchdown. He has been the target of 35 plays so far, including two games of double-digit looks. For a run-first team with a rookie quarterback, that is very impressive to me.

The Redskins are an up-and-coming team right now, and receiver Antwaan Randle El has seen at least five targeted plays in every game this year....

If I only had a quarterback.... Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe continues to be one of the most targeted receivers in the league with 46 targets in four games. Unfortunately, he has only caught 48 percent of his intended passes (22 receptions).

Oddly enough, Kansas City tight end Tony Gonzalez has been the most targeted tight end (eight targets) in the red zone through the first month. That's funny because I didn't realize the Chiefs ever were in the red zone.

Finally, I feel the need to apologize to Stuckey. Had I not pointed out last week he was on pace for 16 touchdowns, Arizona probably would not have been all over him in Week 4. He ended up not scoring and being targeted only twice, which is his lowest number of looks this year. Sheesh, I'm as bad as the Madden or SI curse....

For a complete list of sortable fantasy football player targets and utilized plays, be sure to check out KFFL's Fantasy Football Utilization Charts.

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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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