Fantasy Football on Target: Week 3

by Tim Heaney on September 21, 2011 @ 16:50:07 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?

Though his Week 2 numbers were aided by DeSean Jackson's forearm injury, Jeremy Maclin wasn't hurt when Mike Kafka replaced Michael Vick (concussion) last week. Mac garnered six looks from the backup slinger. He might be in a better fantasy spot if Vick has to miss time. These two WRs will cannibalize each other sometimes, but Maclin's chain-moving ability isn't as QB-dependent as DeSean Jackson's big-play talents.

Table 1: Top 15, Week 2 WR targets

Rk
Player
Tm
Tar
Rec
Rec%
1
Jeremy Maclin
PHI
15
13
86.7
2
Vincent Jackson
SD
15
10
66.7
3
Miles Austin
DAL
15
9
60.0
4
A.J. Green
CIN
14
10
71.4
5
David Nelson
BUF
14
10
71.4
6
Kenny Britt
TEN
13
9
69.2
7
Steve Smith
CAR
13
6
46.2
8
Stevie Johnson
BUF
13
8
61.5
9
Wes Welker
NE
11
7
63.6
10
Brandon Marshall
MIA
11
6
54.6
11
Nate Washington
TEN
11
7
63.6
12
Mike Sims-Walker
STL
11
6
54.6
13
Austin Collie
IND
10
3
30.0
14
Mike Thomas
JAC
10
3
30.0
15
Deion Branch
NE
10
8
80.0
  • Aaron Hernandez, TE, New England Patriots
    Hernandez's injury good for Ocho
    Gates was snuffed out of action by the New England Patriots, so V-Jax saw more looks.
  • The Buffalo Bills were in a shootout, but that doesn't negate Nelson's fantasy promise. Buffalo will have to throw a lot this season anyway, and Johnson's groin injury and double-team commanding should open up more looks for Nelson, who'll be the Bills' primary slot WR moving forward. That'll help him in Chan Gailey's offense.
  • Collie was a frequent destination, but the trip had problems connecting. Kerry Collins doesn't have the feel for the slot wideout that Peyton Manning did; they had trouble on third downs Sunday. The decreasing three-wide formations don't bode well for Collie. He's a fantasy matchup play. When you're choosing those, consider the pass rush of the opposing team. The more Indy must protect Collins, the fewer reps Collie will see. If Indy acquires a more mobile QB - say, David Garrard - to eventually take the starting gig, this might help Collie eventually see the field more, making him still worth a stash in PPRs. This entire passing offense remains a risky play, though.
  • Andy Dalton is showing enough poise to cement Green, Jerome Simpson and Jermaine Gresham as considerations for fantasy lineups. Cincy should throw often this year.
  • Expect more of this from Washington.

Table 2: Top 13, Week 2 TE targets

Rk
Player
Tm
Tar
Rec
Rec%
1
Jason Witten
DAL
14
7
50.0
2
Tony Gonzalez
ATL
9
7
77.8
3
Kellen Winslow
TB
8
4
50.0
4
Dallas Clark
IND
8
4
50.0
5
Aaron Hernandez
NE
8
7
87.5
6
Visanthe Shiancoe
MIN
7
3
42.9
7
Fred Davis
WAS
7
6
85.7
8
Brent Celek
PHI
7
4
57.1
9
Jimmy Graham
NO
7
6
85.7
10
Ed Dickson
BAL
6
2
33.3
11
Rob Gronkowski
NE
6
4
66.7
12
Dustin Keller
NYJ
6
6
100.0
13
Jermichael Finley
GB
6
5
83.33
  • Hernandez's knee injury could cost him a month or so of action, which improves Gronkowski's already high value by removing much of the guessing game. This could actually improve wideout Chad Ochocinco's chances at contributing; Hernandez was lining up as a WR in many cases. Ocho's snap count should grow as long as the big man is sidelined - maybe not fantasy lineup-worthy yet, but a reason to believe in a rebound at a flex spot.
  • The middle of the Philadelphia Eagles' D remains a welcome mat for opposing tight ends. Tony G took advantage of this, along with stifling coverage of Roddy White. Gonzalez is an every-week starter regardless, thanks to this increasingly pass-friendly O.
  • Dallas Clark probably didn't have to block so much against a moderate Cleveland Browns pass rush. As with Austin Collie, gauge the opposing pass rush when deciding on putting Clark in your lineup.
  • The only failed target conversion by Jermichael Finley was another casualty of the Calvin Johnson rule, a pass he held on to just before dropping it upon landing in the end zone. Finley remains a must-start.
  • With 14 looks over the first two games, Keller appears to be Mark Sanchez's most consistent target.
  • All of Celek's Week 2 targets came from Vick. The matchup with the weak Atlanta Falcons' secondary probably helped, but Philly looks like they're coming through on their promise to involve the TE more. If your league favors carrying a backup TE, he's worth more consideration now, even if Vick is sidelined.
  • Keep Dickson on your watch list. The Baltimore Ravens' O-line is much improved this year, their rookie wideouts still need some work, and Lee Evans (ankle) is hobbled. They're probably more willing to look for Dickson in the aerial game.
  • Keep a casual eye on Shiancoe, too, given Donovan McNabb's affinity for TEs. But as long as Kyle Rudolph is there and that offense continues to struggle in the passing game, the upside here is capped at a moderate level.

Miles away

Mike Sims-Walker, WR, St. Louis Rams
Mess in progress

With Miles Austin (hamstring) expected to miss this week and probably a few beyond, the Dallas Cowboys should continue to lean on Jason Witten and Dez Bryant (if his thigh holds up) as much as possible. Kevin Ogletree, Dallas' third wideout, snared two of the four Week 2 passes thrown his way. He started with Bryant missing last week's game and will stay in the starting lineup for as long as Austin is out.

Jesse Holley (three looks) won his roster spot after triumphing in Michael Irvin's reality show, and he helped set up Dallas' Week 2 OT victory with a 77-yard catch. He has some explosiveness, and his journey to the NFL is a great story, but his value will be fleeting. Ogletree is the starter and is set up for the target advantage. Holley will be a desperation play. Both will create fantasy frustration.

Persecuting Percy?

Percy Harvin caught seven of his eight targets in Week 2. Lucky he did, because his playing time is still being monitored by the Minnesota Vikings. He played just 27 of 43 snaps in Week 1 and 30 of 68 this past Sunday. The coaching staff says there aren't any current health concerns for their biggest playmaker, but they said they want to use him in select packages. Michael Jenkins has essentially taken Harvin's place in the starting arrangement.

In all fairness, maybe Harvin's Week 2 inactivity was fueled by Minny's first-half domination. Adrian Peterson touched the ball 16 times in the first half. Either way, Harvin will have to keep up this efficiency to be a viable WR3 in fantasy. His high-yardage ability is his biggest attraction besides AD in this O.

Ram Jam

Table 3: St. Louis Rams WR, Week 2 targets

Player
Tar
Rec
Rec%
Mike Sims-Walker
11
6
54.6
Brandon Gibson
8
4
50.0
Danario Alexander
7
3
42.9
Greg Salas
8
4
50.0

Sans Danny Amendola (elbow), Sims-Walker and Gibson are the most stable bets for this wideout corps. Alexander's workload will probably be limited because the Rams are still concerned about his chronic knee issues. Salas' rib injury and problems with Week 2 drops - of passes and punts - will silence the brief hype he had last week. Lance Kendricks still doesn't look like he'll be a factor anytime soon.

When Amendola comes back, you'll see even less of Alexander. Imagine how cluttered this will be if Mark Clayton (knee) comes off the Physically Unable to Perform list around midseason.

Bull's eyes

(Week 2 targets)

Player
Tm
Notes
Eric Decker (9)
DEN
Big-play ability plus sidelined Eddie Royal (groin) plus still hobbled Brandon Lloyd (groin) equals frequent involvement.
Denarius Moore (8)
OAK
Don't expect that every week - thank depleted WR corps, shaky BUF secondary - but he's starting to deliver on hype and should be added as a backup.
Preston Parker (7)
TB
Playing his way into worthy PPR depth, especially if TB must keep throwing to stay in games.

Mirages

(Week 2 targets)

Player
Tm
Notes
Jordy Nelson (2)
GB
Nelson redeemed himself with a late 84-yard TD. He should be more involved than that most weeks.
Lance Moore (4)
NO
NO had a big lead throughout the game. Moore will probably fade into the background when this happens, but it's no reason to ignore him from here on out. He's still Brees' favorite target when they have to air it out.
Devin Hester (9),
Dane Sanzenbacher
(7)
CHI
Hester snared one out of those nine. CHI comeback bloated his involvement. Sanzenbacher was filling in for Roy Williams. Johnny Knox still the best buy from here.
Antonio Gates (1)
SD
NE knocked Gates off his routes at the line. His matchup vs. SF in Week 3 is a prime opportunity to remind you to keep him in your lineup when healthy.
Owen Daniels (5)
HOU
Remained relevant with a TD, but HOU's increasing reliance on the run means more formations with Joel Dreessen and James Casey. Keep the faith in Daniels, but also beware the warning signs.
Delanie Walker (5)
SF
DAL made a point to shut down Vernon Davis, and Davis had to block often. Walker will have fleeting matchup-based value but isn't worth long-term ownership as long as both TEs are healthy.

Monitor

(Week 2 targets)

Player
Tm
Notes
Titus Young (7)
DET
Deep threat showed mettle. Sure, it was vs. a pushover D, but anyone with this much talent in this O deserves at least a glance.
Brandon Stokley (1),
Victor Cruz (2)
NYG
Domenik Hixon's (knee) season is over. Mario Manningham (concussion) could miss time. Hakeem Nicks is somewhat brittle. No TE talent to speak of. Stokley the better PPR gamble. Cruz has more upside but is riskier.
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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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