Fantasy Football on Target: Week 5

by Tim Heaney on October 5, 2011 @ 09:06:59 PDT

 


Fantasy Football Targets | Fantasy Football Stats

Opportunity in the NFL can translate to success in fantasy football. While a wide receiver or tight end may have caught a few passes in a given week, his target total might have been double or triple that. Those looks may not have turned into receptions one week but might in the future.

Whose involvement is worth watching? Are these target numbers a trend in the making or simply an aberration?

Julio Jones is starting to prove that he's a solid play that can make contributions independent of Roddy White's. The Falcons are starting to fly more, and they'll probably continue to sling the rock often in Week 5 to keep up with the pass-deadly Green Bay Packers. Either way, Jones is almost embedded in fantasy WR2 territory.

Top Week 4 wide receivers

Rk
Player
Tm
Tar
Rec
Rec%
1
Julio Jones
ATL
17
11
64.7
2
Wes Welker
NE
14
9
64.3
3
Hakeem Nicks
NYG
14
10
71.4
4
Calvin Johnson
DET
13
8
61.5
5
Santonio Holmes
NYJ
12
3
25.0
6
Mike Thomas
JAC
11
5
45.5
7
Roddy White
ATL
11
6
54.6
8
Larry Fitzgerald
ARI
11
8
72.7
9
Brandon Lloyd
DEN
11
8
72.7
10
Jeremy Maclin
PHI
11
7
63.6
11
Legedu Naanee
CAR
11
4
36.4
12
Antonio Brown
PIT
10
5
50.0
13
Santana Moss
WAS
10
5
50.0
14
Steve Smith
CAR
10
8
80.0
15
A.J. Green
CIN
10
4
40.0
16
Laurent Robinson
DAL
10
7
70.0
17
Eric Decker
DEN
10
5
50.0
  • Mark Sanchez was a frequent visitor to Holmes and Plaxico Burress (eight looks) but couldn't execute against a stout Baltimore Ravens D. Both receivers wound up with just three catches for 33 yards, and Holmes added post-game complaints about the offense to his night's work. The New York Jets are looking to focus on the ground game again, but their matchup with the New England Patriots on Sunday could involve more passing. Still, with the front five and offensive leader struggling, this receiving game probably still belongs to Dustin Keller, and LaDainian Tomlinson.
  • Thomas is tied for fifth among wideouts with 40 looks through the first four weeks. He has only caught 20 of them, though; the Jacksonville Jaguars' offense isn't necessarily taking advantage. Thomas admitted that the wideouts are still trying to get on rookie Blaine Gabbert's page. Target volume is Thomas' best fantasy asset and makes him worth a low-end start most weeks. Production, unfortunately, won't always come through.
  • Put Naanee in a similar boat. The Carolina Panthers are looking for the former San Diego Chargers slot man and sophomore Brandon LaFell to complement Smith. LaFell has made more out of his targets than Naanee, but the latter is getting more attention. One of the non-Smiths might become playable on a more frequent basis - in PPR leagues - but right now, their target dance is leaving both with sore fantasy feet.
  • Robinson has talent and shows it when healthy. Too bad Dez Bryant looks to be nearing full health - for now - and Miles Austin (hamstring) looks poised to return after the Dallas Cowboys' Week 5 vacation to eventually bump Robinson down to fourth on the receiving hierarchy. He'll be a useful bench piece as a bye-week dart throw in a deep league, but with Bryant being ding-prone and hamstring injuries often a chronic issue, Robinson could regain starter-worthy value in this high-octane O at some point.
  • Like Jones and White, Decker and Lloyd look to be independent producers. The Denver Broncos are frequently trailing, and they trailed by a lot in Week 4 versus the Packers. These catchers might suffer eventually if John Fox makes a switch to Tim Tebow, but as long as Orton is QB and Denver has to abandon its run-first M.O., they're sturdy fantasy plays.
  • Welker continued his dominance, but he will probably land on the island of New York Jets CB Darrelle Revis in the Pats' Week 5 contest. It's hard to bench him, especially considering he might move around enough to avoid some of Revis' snuffing, but you shouldn't expect him to carry your fantasy squad like he has over the first four weeks. This could produce a solid day for Deion Branch.

Top Week 4 tight ends

Rk
Player
Tm
Tar
Rec
Rec%
1
Jimmy Graham
NO
14
10
71.4
2
Ed Dickson
BAL
12
4
33.3
3
Jason Witten
DAL
10
8
80.0
4
Lance Kendricks
STL
9
4
44.4
5
Tony Gonzalez
ATL
9
7
77.8
6
Brandon Pettigrew
DET
9
6
66.7
7
Benjamin Watson
CLE
9
6
66.7
8
Dustin Keller
NYJ
8
2
25.0
9
Visanthe Shiancoe
MIN
8
6
75.0
10
Marcedes Lewis
JAC
7
3
42.9
11
Greg Olsen
CAR
7
5
71.4
12
Jermaine Gresham
CIN
7
4
57.1
13
Owen Daniels
HOU
7
5
71.4
  • With Andre Johnson (hamstring) expected to miss three weeks, Daniels' targets should go up. Unfortunately, the attention opposing defenses pay to him will, too. Still, he's a better fantasy bet for increased production than Houston Texans wideouts Jacoby Jones and Kevin Walter, even with James Casey likely to be moving around in an H-back role.
  • Kendricks is on bye in Week 5, which makes it the perfect time for you to write him on your list for future bye week measures. Danny Amendola (elbow) will reportedly miss the rest of 2011. Kendricks possesses similar skills that allow him to sit down in zones and get Sam Bradford's attention in the middle of the field, which gives him some PPR upside. There's decent risk, but if this offense comes together eventually, he could benefit.
  • Dickson, also on a Week 5 bye, looks like a consistent part of the Baltimore Ravens' offense, even when they can't get the ball to him, as was the case in Week 4. Tuck him away for a Week 6 addition.
  • Pettigrew's emergence as an extension of the run game and wideout Titus Young's increasing involvement are suppressing Nate Burleson's fantasy utility. Young and Burleson will probably cancel each other out most weeks. The Detroit Lions tight end is becoming a steadier fantasy play, especially in PPRs.
  • Shiancoe sandwiched a two-look Week 3 with a seven-target Week 2 and his Week 5 lot. Donovan McNabb has awakened a bit of late, which helps the TE position. Kyle Rudolph will remain involved, but Shiancoe is gaining a modicum of allure in deep leagues where owning two TEs is the norm. He has a history of red-zone reliability that could pique McNabb's interest as they connect more.
  • There's a temptation to sell the 35-year-old Gonzalez high, but the Atlanta Falcons offense is airing it out more and more. Their feeble offensive line play has forced Matt Ryan to get the ball out quickly. Gonzalez will probably continue to find coverage vulnerabilities thanks to Julio Jones' emergence. If your league has some acceptable tight ends available and you need help in another area, maybe he's worth dealing, but he looks a lot fitter than in previous seasons and is causing matchup issues once again. His next three matchups (Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers and Detroit Lions) are statistically favorable.

Quiet TEs

Not pictured in the leaderboard: Rob Gronkowski. The New England Patriots' juggernaut stayed in for run blocking often against the Oakland Raiders; the Pats made it a point to rush to the edges. Gronk nearly registered a couple of tough plays, including a potential TD grab. Though Gronk remains an every-week play - an even better one with Aaron Hernandez (knee) sidelined - this is a reminder that New England is more about the game plan than appeasing fantasy owners.

Jermichael Finley also noted extra coverage coming his way during his matchup with the Denver Broncos. Will the Green Bay Packers' weapon remain patient if this continues? Luckily, like New England, the Pack has enough weapons that opposing defenses won't focus on No. 88. Start him, but don't be surprised if this continues to happen.

Marques de fantasy Sade

New York Jets WR Santonio Holmes
Holmes' production not sweet

Owners of New Orleans Saints wideouts are incurring more pain - not the good kind. Marques Colston's return is throwing a wrench, as usual, into the production of Lance Moore, Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson, adding to the misery already caused by scatback Darren Sproles. Colston is working his way back to what could be a full workload this week, which should restrict Moore and Meachem's production eventually, if not immediately. Still, tight end Jimmy Graham is the top Saints receiver.

Cruz control?

Mario Manningham was demoted during Week 4 because he was reportedly had some miscommunications with Eli Manning that included some bad route-running. Victor Cruz took over. Maybe Manningham was still trying to come around from post-concussion effects, but relapsing into his early-career issues with route precision wasn't helping.

Though it looks like Manningham is keeping his starting gig, we could see these two wideouts flip-flopping snaps in two-wide sets over the next few weeks. Cruz might be more effective than MM for the near future, but unless he suffers another giant setback, mentally or physically, Manningham will eventually win out. It is not a bad idea to ask Manningham's owner if he's getting frustrated.

Walking the plank

Mike Williams has garnered 30 Tampa Bay Buccaneers targets this year but has snared just 15. Based on his looks, he should be a steady part of fantasy lineups. Problem is Josh Freeman doesn't appear comfortable throwing the deep ball, one area where Williams can contribute.

Also, Preston Parker is stealing looks while turning into a deep PPR find as a safety valve. Williams isn't being ignored, which gives him some buy-low intrigue, but his attention might not translate into production right away if the Bucs can't unleash downfield.

Paint it ... better?

The Indianapolis Colts have some offensive hope with Curtis Painter at the helm, even with his spotty starting play. Caveat: Though he's worth a depth fantasy addition to see if his connection with Painter could develop into something useful, Pierre Garcon had some help in his big Monday Night Football outing. His pair of touchdowns was greatly aided by sloppy tackling.

At least his eight targets make him the likeliest contributor besides Reggie Wayne. Though his Week 5 matchup is somewhat favorable, Clark will probably have to continue staying in to block more and more. Austin Collie had seven looks in Week 4 but only hauled in two of them.

Risers

(Week 4 targets)

Player
Tm
Notes
Michael Crabtree (9)
SF
15 targets in his last 2 games: Though Crabs caught just eight of them, Alex Smith looks ... competent. The third-year catcher is bye filler with upside for the season's second half.
Danario Alexander (8)
STL
Most dangerous STL WR has seen 7 or 8 targets in all three of his games so far. As long as he's healthy, he's their top wideout while the rest fight for relevance.
Marcedes Lewis (7)
JAC
Calf injury, inconsistent passing game caused slow start. Jags' passing game needs something besides Mike Thomas and Jason Hill. Lewis should be more frequent target moving forward.
Jared Cook (6)
TEN
A four-target increase from Week 3 shows promise for Cook's stock with Kenny Britt (knee) done. He's backup material for now, but for bye weeks, he'll be useful.

Fallers

(Week 4 targets)

Player
Tm
Notes
David Nelson (3)
BUF
Will opponents keep smothering him? This feels like a potential game-pace target seesaw between Nelson and Donald Jones (8). Nelson's explosiveness still warrants WR3 or flex play, but it'll be frustrating.
Chicago Bears WRs (11)
CHI
With the O-line inconsistencies and a crowded picture with no one standing out, Matt Forte once again looks like the best Bears wideout. Johnny Knox is the stash-worthy option, but you will need patience.

Monitor

(Week 4 targets)

Player
Tm
Notes
Patrick Crayton (1)
SD
Antonio Gates (foot) absence, Malcom Floyd (shoulder, groin) and Vincent Jackson's injury history could create frequent opps. V-Jax could play in Week 5 but will be keyed on by D. Crayton still has hope for a fantasy contribution, even just for one contest.
Darrius Heyward-Bey (7)
OAK
Don't chase just yet. Denarius Moore remains the best WR bet at the moment, and DHB prone to inconsistency. But if he's finally adding football knowledge to his raw speed....
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Fantasy Football Targets | Fantasy Football Stats

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 the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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