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 one week, but they may in the future.
The following players gained attention because of the number of targets they received this past week. Are these numbers a trend in the making or simply an aberration?
Fantasy Football on Target
Not that it should come as a surprise, but the Indianapolis Colts' Reggie Wayne was the most targeted wide receiver in Week 8, logging a whopping 20 looks! This is impressive, so much that it leads all wideouts for any given week. The previous season chart-toppers had 17 (Andre Johnson, Week 2; Randy Moss, Week 3).
The next most targeted receiver from the past round of games was the Atlanta Falcons' Roddy White. His 13 utilizations perched him ahead of the New York Giants' Steven Smith, the Green Bay Packers' Greg Jennings, the San Diego Chargers' Vincent Jackson and Seattle Seahawks wideout Nate Burleson, all of whom were looked to 12 times on the week. White turned in a four-reception, 108-yard, one-touchdown effort against the New Orleans Saints, but he also dropped a diving attempt in the back of the end zone that would have tied the game and, more importantly, helped fantasy owners!
Look, I can do stuff, too!
Another Falcon, Michael Jenkins, was on the end of nine targets as the
Dirty Birds tried to catch up with the Saints. He couldn't translate the attention
into anything more than a run-of-the-mill performance of four catches for 66
The Dallas Cowboys continued to get Miles Austin involved this past weekend, but his production wasn't to the extent it had been in previous weeks. That, of course, should have been expected. Austin's 10 targets in Week 8 - two more than the previous week - still didn't match his Week 5 15-target showing. Nonetheless, he posted respectable points for fantasy owners with his 5-61-1 stat line.
Fellow Cowboys pass catcher Roy Williams finally found the end zone after not doing so since Week 1, and he was involved in eight plays, which was more than any other week this season. Still, he makes for a marginal fantasy play most weeks.
San Francisco 49ers rookie wideout Michael Crabtree continues to impress. He was the recipient of nine targets in his second pro game, and the Texas Tech standout hauled in six of them for 81 yards. He was targeted six times in Week 7, but it should have been seven after a 17-yard completion came back on an illegal motion penalty against Josh Morgan. Including the target that was nullified, quarterback Alex D. Smith looked for Crabtree four times to Shaun Hill's three. Officially, though, it goes into the books as three apiece.
Another Niner, Isaac Bruce, has been targeted 15 times in the past two weeks (eight last week) after only 14 looks in his previous three games. The veteran turned out his best statistical effort since the first game of the season. He finished Week 8 play with four grabs for 51 yards but has continued his season-long touchdown drought.
Houston Texans wide receiver Kevin Walter was looked to seven times after tallying as many in the past two weeks combined. He likely was and will be the beneficiary of tight end Owen Daniels' (knee) season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Who in the world is Mike Thomas, and why is he being targeted so much? The Jacksonville Jaguars rookie has been utilized 17 times in his past two games. One of his involved plays was a rushing attempt last week; Thomas has 11 catches in this two-game span. He needs to be on your fantasy radar and perhaps in your lineup in the coming weeks in point-per-reception formats.
The Packers' Jennings was looked to more last week (12) than contest this season, and his 20 combined targets over the past two games marks the most in a two-game span of the whole year for the slumping star. He was targeted a season-high and, for wide receivers, a Week 8-best three times in the red zone against the Minnesota Vikings.
The San Diego Chargers' Malcom Floyd was named the starter before Week 8 kicked off. He was looked to five times, which is to be expected with all of the weapons in this offense. Still, that was as many as freshly released former starter Chris Chambers was targeted in Week 6 or Week 7.
Finally capitalizing on looks
New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller finally enjoyed the breakout game
that has escaped him all year. He was targeted a position-best and personal
season-high 13 times, including three times in the red zone. Keller responded
with his most productive stat line of the year (8-76-1). He has been targeted
27 times in his last three games, which is even more than Colts tight end Dallas Clark, Dallas' Jason Witten, the Falcons' Tony Gonzalez and
the Chargers' Antonio Gates in this same time frame.
Kevin Boss, of the New York Giants, was targeted nine times against the league's worst defense against the position (Philadelphia Eagles) in the past month. He was involved in six plays the previous two weeks, and the nine targets were easily the highest single-game total of his season.
- St. Louis Rams tight end Randy McMichael was involved in seven plays against the Detroit Lions, but he caught only two balls for 16 yards. Move along, folks....
- The Seattle Seahawks' John Carlson's seven utilizations were his most since Week 3 (10).
- Daniels, of the Texans, was targeted twice before suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament, which has ended his season. His pre-Week 8 average of 8.1 targets per game will have to be replaced, but rookie pass-catching, do-all tight end James Casey (knee) suffered a meniscus tear in the game and will miss approximately the next three weeks. He was targeted three times as a replacement for Daniels. Fourth-year vet Joel Dreessen is expected to replace his pair of fallen teammates for the time being.
Remember: Opportunity can lead to success. Find out which of these players we
recommend adding in this week's Fantasy
Football Waiver Wire
About Cory J. Bonini
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.
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