Nov 29

Touches and Targets: Week 12 NFL Review

At this point, the week to week trends can only tell us so much, with a 75% of a season’s worth of data in the books, but there are still notable weekly and recent usage changes that are worth dissecting… and, that’s what we do here after all.

A breakdown of the box scores is shared below, to provide actionable fantasy info to help your team over the season’s final month.

Touches and Targets: Week 12 NFL Review

Malcolm Mitchell scoring the second of his two TDs against the Jets (Photo: Elsa/Getty Images North America).

Malcolm Mitchell scoring the second of his two TDs against the Jets (Photo: Elsa/Getty Images North America).

  • Dion Lewis picked up six carries, more than half of LeGarrette Blount‘s 11, and six more than the goose-egg James White put up in that department. I’d still treat Blount as a startable RB2, and more often than not New England will be closing out games rather than playing catch up as they were this week but through two weeks it is clear that Lewis’ presence caps the upside of both of his backfield mates. In particular, it’s hard to trust White. He had a healthy nine targets this week (Lewis added seven, for a 13-9 total opportunity edge) but I wouldn’t expect that to be a regular occurrence if Rob Gronkowski is able to stay on the field.
  • Speaking of Gronk, with his early departure, and with a suddenly juicy matchup against Darrelle Revis, Malcolm Mitchell found the end zone for the second straight week. This time, he scored twice. All told, Mitchell finished with seven targets, second to Julian Edelman‘s 11 among receivers. Again, I’m looking at his usage as more of a result of Gronkowski’s absence than any clear indication that he is a part of the team’s plan. Mitchell is worth an add right now, on the assumption that it’s all coming together during his rookie season, but there may not be enough opportunities to go around in a healthy lineup to treat him like a regular starter. This run to close his rookie season, however, is appealing for his dynasty prospects. Just don’t tell that to Aaron Dobson.
  • Adam Thielen saw 11 targets in Stefon Diggs‘ absence, which was forseeable even if rookie WR Laquan Treadwell was named a starter going into the game. Treadwell, despite that status, did not see an official target. While this information isn’t actionable for season long gamers as Treadwell hasn’t been a factor, his inability to contribute (and Minnesota’s inability to bring him along… see pre-2016 Cordarrelle Patterson) is troubling for his dynasty stock as well.
  • Against a Vikings’ team that had previoulsy faced 81 TE targets, Eric Ebron was targeted just once. He was Detroit’s leading receiver in all three of his games since his return… meantime, Marvin Jones saw 11 looks and Anquan Boldin and Golden Tate had nine and seven respectivelly. I wouldn’t count on Boldin continuing that level of work (though he had nine the week prior, as well) but I would suggest that this is a good reminder that there are no dominant mouths to feed in Detroit and therefore there are no guarantees with weekly workload distribution.
  • Jordan Reed caught 10 balls on 12 targets with a separated shoulder. Meantime, Vernon Davis posted a five catch, seven targets, 68 yard line. If Reed misses time, Davis, who has topped 50 yards receiving in five of six games is a warranted TE1 consideration.
  • After averaging seven targets per game over his prior three outings, Eli Rogers was targeted just twice against the Colts. With a commanding lead, the Steelers really didn’t have to throw the ball heavily to anyone – Big Ben threw just 20 passes on the night – but for anyone getting excited about him in PPR formats, this should serve as a reminder that game flow has an impact. Rogers was targeted behind Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell as expected, but also trailed Ladarius Green and Sammie Coates who each had three looks. On that note, Green’s three looks topped Jesse James‘ one. He’s still working his way into the offense, but could become a streaming option in the final weeks of the season.
  • Tevin Coleman was unproductive as a runner in his return to the lineup, but he did have eight carries. That number marks half of Devonta Freeman‘s 16. Each back added two catches (Freeman on three targets, Coleman two). Before his injury, Coleman was logging a rough 30% touch split with Freeman, so it seems that that committee is right back where it should be. The presence of Coleman didn’t hamper Freeman’s production early in the season, nor yesterday, so I wouldn’t expect it to moving forward.
  • Taylor Gabriel‘s big day shouldn’t come as a significant surprise, he’s been doing it all season. That said, his five targets (four catches, 75 yards, two scores) are a clear uptick over his regular workload. What remains to be seen is whether this week’s numbers were a product of limited use of Julio Jones who had just seven targets and four receptions, drawing Patrick Peterson most of the day, or whether it is a response to Jacob Tamme‘s injury and/or Gabirel’s production. I expect that they’ll find opportunities to get the playmaker the ball in space, but as Jones’ weekly looks get back into the double digit range, there won’t be five per week to go around. There likely won’t be eight targets again for Sanu, either.
  • Sammy Watkins was targeted just three times in his return to the lineup, but made an impressive catch on a 62 yard reception (that came on a windy Buffalo day) to go a perfect 3/3, for 80 yards. The performance was enough to suggest that Watkins is good to go moving forward, and should warrant WR3 consideration at the moment. In particular, there should be lots of work to start coming his way if  Robert Woods continues to miss time. Even with Woods in the lineup, Watkins should get regular usable target share down the stretch. Marquise Goodwin led the Bills with four targets on a day where Tyrod Taylor attempted just 18 passes.
  • Rishard Matthews caught three balls, including one touchdown, on a team-leading seven targets for the Titans. He’s either scored or gone over 100 yards in six straight games. Lock him into your lineups.
  • On a day where Matt Barkley threw 54 passes in come-from-behind mode, and where Chicago receivers were plagued by drops, Marquess Wilson led the team with 11 looks (followed by nine each for Cameron Meredith and Deonte Thompson) and posted eight receptions for 125 yards with a score. You won’t find him priced at the minimum on daily sites any longer. Still, with Jay Cutler‘s status up in the air and the Bears expected to continue to trail as they play out the string, there may be enough volume to keep Wilson interesting the rest of the way, at least until Alshon Jefferey’s return. Last week (four targets) was his first game active all season, and he looks to be in good form.
  • Sterling Shepard had a carry against the Browns, but was held off the score sheet otherwise. The rookie receiver didn’t see a target, while Victor Cruz caught five. Shepard came into the game with no fewer than six in any game since Week 1, so there was reason to believe that a big game was in store against the woeful Browns, but alas, owners were left watching the Odell Beckham Jr. show. I’d expect Shepard to get back on track, but this game served as a good reminder that there are other names on the depth chart in New York and that game flow and coverage may dictate quiet days from him in certain weeks.
  • I projected a big game for DeVante Parker against a futile 49ers defense, and while he finished just one target behind Jarvis Landry with six, the box score disappointed (three catches, 64 yards). On two of those missed connections, replay review overturned an impressive catch by the second year receiver, including one that ended in a touchdown. Now, they were overruled because he was legitimately out of bounds on both plays, but ultimately he finished just a couple of inches away from a 120 yard receiving line with a score. His six targets vs. Landry’s seven mean that the pair is tied over their last five games with 32 apiece. That’s good news for Parker owners who, by all appearances, can trust him as a WR3 on a regular basis. It’s bad news for Landry owners who were counting on volume when they picked him early in PPR drafts. Right now, they’re both averaging roughly 6.5 targets per week over that five game stretch. Useful WR3 volume, but not a lot more.
  • Rod Streater (five) had more opportunities than both Quinton Patton (one) and Jeremy Kerley (three). To the extent that any is relevant to you deep leaguers, Streater is worth a speculative add. He’s actually been on the field, quietly, for 17% of San Francisco’s offensive plays this year, so there isn’t a lot of reason to assume that he’ll become a fixture moving forward. Colin Kaepernick targeted 10 different pass catchers on his 46 attempts yesterday. Chris Harper, who had two targets last week, also saw four looks. In short, the ball is being spread around and you want nothing to do with this passing game (except for Kaepernick) if you can avoid it.
  • Jared Goff has a strong first half against New Orleans and overall a more-than-tolerable stat line which is something that the team rarely said with Case Keenum at QB. Of course, they rarely faced New Orleans, but the outing bodes well for skill position players in LA the rest of the way. Kenny Britt got his, which is heartening. He finished with five receptions, 52 yards and a score on 10 targets. In his two games with Goff, Britt has seen 17 targets with Goff under Center. While he is the clear lead option, Lance Kendricks‘ seven targets and Tavon Austin‘s four (plus a carry) should be noted as well.
  • Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower stuffed the stat sheet on the other side of what was ultimately a lopsided game, with 14 and 15 carries, respectively. Each added two targets, with Ingram scoring twice and Hightower once. Ultimately, that even workload should be a fair projection the rest of the way. Ingram had the explosive rush and overall outplayed Hightower on the ground, but while there may be a bit of riding the hot hand during the game I wouldn’t expect weekly workloads to be determined based on a one week window of production. It’s important to bear in mind that New Orleans won’t run away with every game, and thus 29 carries between them (with many of the clock killing variety) won’t always be the case. Almost certainly, there won’t be three scores to go around in another game this fantasy season. As such, the pair certainly limit one another’s upside but both are likely fair RB2 plays.
  • Josh Hill had a sneaky six targets, ahead of Colby Fleener’s four. Both players caught all four balls, the first time that Fleener has had more than three catches in a game since Week 5.
  • A QB tidbit: Joe Flacco hit Breshad Perriman (1/1/14) for a TD less than five minutes into this game. He still finished without multiple touchdowns in a game for the 10th time in 12 tries (he’s 10/10 in non-Browns games). Please, no DFS love for Flacco. Steve Smith was quiet, going 4/4/20 on a day where Flacco distributed his 36 pass attempts in the direction of nine receivers. It’s hard to trust any pass catchers on this offense, but the four targets are his lowest total on the season (outside of the Washington game, where he was injured after securing three catches on three looks), so I wouldn’t give up on him as a WR3.
  • Kenneth Dixon and Terrance West matched each other with 13 carries and four targets, and posted nearly identical total yardage numbers on the day, though the rookie got the better of the vet and caught all four balls thrown his way as well. At the moment, I’m benching West and holding Dixon if I have better options. Over the next few weeks, I think he continues to assert himself in time to deliver a starter-worthy stat line by the fantasy playoffs.
  • Jeremy Hill picked up 12 carries against a tough Ravens’ front (Rex Burkhead chipped in five) but it’s his six receptions on six targets (for 61 yards) that are most exciting for the post-Gio Bengals. With him on the field in passing downs, he could have a nice close to the season.
  • Tyrell Williams surprised with a) a big game in a tough receiver matchup against Houston and b) a significant target-share in Travis Benjamin‘s return to the lineup. After posting 11 targets in his absence, he followed with 14 and eight receptions. Dontrelle Inman scored a long TD and topped Benjamin as well, with six looks. I’d expect Benjamin’s two to increase in coming weeks, as he gets back to full health, but Inman has been productive and may have earned a consistent 8-12 target work load for a productive offense. For some perspective, he picked up 14 targets against a Texans team that had seen just 111 (or 11.1 per game) to all wide receivers through their first 10 contests.
  • Thomas Rawls had 12 carries on a day where Seattle could not establish the run, and trailed throughout. Alex Collins didn’t have any. Meantime, Russell Wilson was under constant pressure, so I don’t think we can read anything into the fact that Rawls was targeted just once. There are concerns that he won’t be used as a receiver… and perhaps he won’t. But, I won’t let a low number in an unproductive game for Seattle confirm that for me just yet.
  • Doug Martin picked up 23 carries against Seattle, while Peyton Barber pitched in just five in relief. He’s back in full control oft he backfield and evidently in good health.
  • Ted Ginn Jr. scored on an 88 yard pass from Cam Newton, but his 10 targets are the more intriguing number. Newton attempted just 28 passes. That said, Ginn caught just four of those 10 balls and has consistently been held under five catches this season. I wouldn’t treat his big outing as an immediate need to make a waiver claim.
  • After it appeared he was being deprioritized, Quincy Enunwa‘s five targets were well ahead of Robby Anderson‘s two. Anderson also dropped a fumble, while Enunwa made an impressive grab for a score.
  • Travis Kelce was a target machine (15) against the Broncos, but I’m more focused on the fact that Tyreek Hill continued to play a significant role in the offense. He had 10 targets, reeling in nine of them, and adding a carry. All told, he notched just 55 total yards but scored twice. Jeremy Maclin missed yet another contest, affording Hill the opportunity. His case continues to be a troubling one, as when/if Maclin returns, I worry that there isn’t enough production and overall passing game opportunity to keep Hill boxscore relevant… but, he’s clearly done enough this season to get your attention. Receiver needy teams can trust him as a WR3/FLEX with Maclin out, and he should continue to see a significant proportion of the targets (sometimes a low number) when he returns. Just bear in mind, it took 44 Alex Smith pass attempts to get him to those 10 looks, and that won’t be a regular occurrence.
  • Philadelphia found themselves in a second half hole this week, but Wendell Smallwood still led backs with nine carries, while Darren Sproles added three. Sproles’ seven targets significantly outweighed Smallwood’s one, as expected. If Ryan Mathews continues to miss time, I think you’ll like Smallwood more than Sproles in games that the Eagles lead, given that he’s in the more traditional early down back role.
  • Dorial Green-Beckham made six receptions (82 yards) on 10 targets with Nelson Agholor out of the lineup. Jordan Matthews drew just six this week, and more often than not he’ll be the key contributor in the passing game… but, DGB seems primed to pick up Agholor’s target share and put it to good use. If he’s available, you’re interested for the stretch run.

Nov 21

Touches and Targets: Week 11 NFL Review

As we do every week, we go beyond the high-level box score to look at workload and usage, trying to make the most of workload distribution around the NFL to inform your roster for the week ahead.

Touches and Targets: Week 11 NFL Review

  • Mark Ingram left early with a head injury, and Tim Hightower took full advantage this week as he has for much of the season. All told, Hightower picked up 69 yards on 12 carries and added eight receptions on nine targets for 57 yards. Since fumbling issues arose for Ingram, the backfield balance has been in question, and while he hasn’t done anything since to lose his job, Hightower continues to prove effective with the ball in his hands. As such, workloads in the 10-13 touch range are much safer projections for Ingram than the 16-18.
  • A.J. Green went down on the second snap of the game this week, and all accounts suggest he is lost for the season. Behind him, Brandon LaFell led receivers with nine targets while Tyler Boyd was more effective (8/6/54/TD). All told, the injury to Green means more opportunities for both players. That said, Boyd has seen more consistent use overall (19-13 targets over the last three games) since the start of November and is getting looks in the red zone. Given that LaFell had been playing more frequently in two receiver sets (572-402 snaps coming into the week) Boyd is due for the greatest uptick in value and is likely the safer bet for regular production. Tyler Eifert may be the biggest beneficiary of the bunch, however.

Eli Rogers gets some work for the Steelers

  • As expected, the Steelers’ offense ran through Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown on a windy day in Week 11, but it should be noted that Eli Rogers saw a healthy six targets on a day when Big Ben threw 36 passes overall and 27 to non-RBs. Cobi Hamilton saw five with Sammie Coates out of the lineup.
  • Ezekiel Elliot had 25 carries and 29 touches (4/5 receiving) against the NFL’s best rush defense. You knew this, but in terms of workload and production (127 total yards) he’s as matchup proof as they come.
  • Marqise Lee found the endzone for Jacksonville, and produced four receptions for 52 yards on eight targets. Meanwhile, Allen Hurns had one catch on two looks. The score was the first of the season for Lee, but his target-load is becoming more of a pattern. It marks three of the last five weeks in which he’s seen more opportunities than Hurns, and in fact he led the team in Week 11. WR desperate owners should look to him on the waiver wire this week, while those still hanging on to Hurns as a WR3 are wise to jettison the 2014/15 good news story.

Eric Ebron finds the endzone

  • On a day where Matthew Stafford was largely held in check, and was ultimately held out of the endzone, Eric Ebron remained productive. He (tying Theo Riddick this week) led the Lions in receiving yards for the third straight game and found the endzone on an unconventional one yard carry. His five targets tied a season-low, but it’s clear that Ebron remains a significant part of the plan for a productive Lions’ offense.
  • On a day where Tennessee’s recently impressive offense underwhelmed, and the Titans trailed early, DeMarco Murray stayed engaged throughout the game. He finished with 21 carries for 70 yards, and added three receptions while finding the end zone as a pass catcher. Derrick Henry didn’t touch the ball. His injury did not seem to be a factor as much as the fact that Tennessee was playing from behind – something to bear in mind as the 5-6 Titans look to close out the season in the tight AFC South race.
    • Rishard Matthews was targeted heavily, meanwhile, with nine receptions on 13 targets. That workload marks his second double digit target game in his last three outings.
  • Travis Kelce led the Chiefs with nine targets, while Albert Wilson found the endzone. Elsewhere, while WR-starved gamers and DFS value seekers debated Chris Conley and Tyreek Hill, it was Conley who saw eight targets to Hill’s five. The rookie remained Kansas City’s most effective wideout this week after a solid Week 10, but with Jeremy Maclin due to return to the lineup in short order, his utility is coming to an end.
  • He didn’t really show up on your scoresheet after stringing together a series of strong games, but Stefon Diggs saw a healthy seven targets (or 25% of Sam Bradford‘s 28 pass attempts) despite drawing coverage against Patrick Peterson. Diggs and the Vikings play the much more generous Lions’ pass defense on the short week, and you can count on a similar workload distribution. Adam Thielen is likely to hang in around five, not seeing much of a boost despite teh fact that Peterson hung with Diggs for much of the day, while Cordarrelle Patterson, who had an impressive kick return this week, is unlikely to see eight targets on a regular basis.
  • While Jeremy Langford scored the short-TD, Jordan Howard out carried him 17-6 and massively outproduced him (4.5 YPC vs. 1.3) which should put to rest any questions as to which is the Bears’ lead back. a 65-35 split seems reasonable moving forward, and I wouldn’t necessarily take Langford’s short plunge to suggest that he’s the goal line back of record. It’s worth noting, however, that Jay Cutler and Howard were incredibly out of sync in the passing game. Overall the rookie saw eight targets but secured just one, while this season’s presumed starters caught all three balls thrown his way. Again, there isn’t much reason to assume that Langord will get more passing down work moving forward but that inefficiency suggests that the situation is worth monitoring.
  • In the first game of Alshon Jeffery‘s suspension, with Zach Miller suffering a season ending injury mid-way, Cutler simply distributed the ball among his receivers. Cameron Meredith and Marquess Wilson split four targets apiece, while Eddie Royal checked in with just three on 30 attempts from a conservative Cutler. While Meredith has the most recent run of sustained usage, I’ve got my eye on Wilson of the trio. In great likelihood, you’ll see the ball spread around the offense in similar fashion the rest of the way, but that he tied for the team league in targets in his first game active portends greater potential to come.

DeVante Parker featured again

DeVante Parker was active for the Dolphins for the second straight week (Photo: Getty Images).

DeVante Parker was active for the Dolphins for the second straight week (Photo: Getty Images).

  • In an odd game script against a strong Rams defense, Miami didn’t do much on offense until halfway through the fourth quarter. Meantime, DeVante Parker finished with eight receptions on 10 targets, finishing with 79 yards and a score. That marks back-to-back games in which he’s had more passes thrown his way than Jarvis Landry. It also marks the third straight game in which Landry has had six or fewer targets. The formula, of leaning on Jay Ajayi and spreading the ball around to receivers has worked fora Dolphins team that has reeled off five straight wins. Parker warrants regular consideration, while Landry is more of a WR2/3 consideration despite his score than a solid WR2, even in PPR formats.
  • It isn’t a huge surprise to see a rookie QB lean on his TE underneath, so Lance Kendricks‘ seven targets aren’t surprising. Still, Kenny Britt investors will be heartened to see that he tied Kendricks for the team lead in targets in Jared Goff‘s first start. The 43 yards on seven looks leave a lot to be desired, but Goff’s YPA should pick up over time. Britt is a hold at the moment, but a tough start until the QB of the future in Los Angeles starts taking some shots downfield.
  • In Dion Lewis‘ first game active, he carried the ball five times and saw five targets. James White did not get a carry, but he was targeted six times, catching them all and finding the end zone. While it came in a game where Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan were unavailable, the pair still accounted for more than 25% of Tom Brady‘s 40 pass attempts. Julian Edelman had the bulk of the remainder with 17. While one game is too soon to make any broad sweeping assertions, their use is concerning, with the potential to limit one another’s weekly touch ceiling. Though, that was probably to be expected.
  • Both Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles went down for Philadelphia, though the severity of the injury suffered by Sproles is unknown at this point. Still, Wendell Smallwood picked up 13 carries in their wake, adding four catches on five targets for 31 yards to make for 79 total on the day. That effort comes on the heels of a 13-70 rushing line the week prior. Smallwood is a priority add, and has shown he can handle a decent workload in recent weeks.

Thomas Rawls back to work

  • With injuries on the other side of the Philadelphia/Seattle tilt, Thomas Rawls played 40 snaps and netted 14 carries in his return to action. He acquitted himself quite well, with 57 yards on the ground against a stout run D and an additional 31 yards through the air on three receptions (four looks). With C.J. Prosise looking unlikely for the week ahead, he should have plenty of work in Week 12. Alex Collins will be in the mix behind him with Troymaine Pope also banged up. Gamers who hung on to Rawls are set to be rewarded.
  • The Packers found themselves in a second half hole and reliant on the pass, but it’s not a huge surprise that James Starks finished this game with single digit carries either way. He managed to find the endzone on 5/6 receiving, but without his 31 yard scamper for a score it was an underwhelming day. It isn’t looking like there will be enough volume here to trust Starks as an RB2 or Flex, despite his return as the team’s starting back. Christine Michael should be active in the weeks ahead, as well.
  • Elsewhere for the Packers, Jared Cook led the team in targets in his return to the lineup. Jordy Nelson saw a lot of Josh Norman which had an impact on Cook’s workload, no doubt, but he looked good with the ball in his hands and should continue to see significant workloads with the Packers continuing to trail and lean on the pass.
  • Matt Jones spent another week on the bench, while Rob Kelley mashed his way to three touchdowns on 24 carries. There simply isn’t much reason for Washington to look elsewhere right now, with the offense rolling.

Nov 14

Touches and Targets: Week 10 NFL Review

Each week, we take a deep dive into the box scores to provide some insight on workload distribution and what to make of it for the week that was. Ultimately, this is a view to rest of season player valuation with some insight into weekly waiver wire plays. With that in mind, this week’s top story has significant waiver implications.

Touches and Targets: Week 10 NFL Review

Kenneth Dixon ran through the Browns defense when given opportunities this week (Rob Carr/Getty Images North America).

Kenneth Dixon ran through the Browns defense when given opportunities this week (Rob Carr/Getty Images North America).

Terrance West dominated the rushing workload with 21 carries against a soft run defense, but managed just 65 yards. Meanwhile, rookie RB Kenneth Dixon looked electric against the Browns. He finished with six carries for 38 yards, adding five catches on seven targets for an additional 42. While Baltimore has gotten back on the right track in recent weeks, Dixon looks like the spark they need to keep moving in the right direction. On the season, he has just 21 carries for an unimpressive average, but I’d expect him to continue to take on a larger share of the workload, ultimately unseating West. If he remains available in your league – and as of today, he’s up for grabs in more than 80% of Yahoo! leagues – he’s worth a roster spot down the stretch.

For his part, Dixon thinks he’s up to taking on more work, per the Baltimore Sun:

“I feel like I’m back 100 percent, and I’m ready for the workload that the team gives me,” Dixon said Thursday in the locker room underneath M&T Bank Stadium. “Everything that they give me, I just want to take advantage of. We have two great running backs out there. In the game, it gets a little tight. So I’m just waiting for my moment and taking advantage of it.”

The Score’s Justin Boone and I agreed on Dixon’s value in a recent waiver ranking for FantasyPros.


For the rest, we’re on to the bullets:

  • In the aftermath of a mess of a game for Green Bay, no one is paying attention to the backfield workload… but, it’s worth noting that James Starks led carries 7-3-3 vs. Aaron Ripkowski and Ty Montgomery in his return to action. With Green Bay playing catch up, he also had four targets vs. just two for Montgomery. I’m expecting Green Bay to continue to favor the pass moving forward, but to the extent that I’m willing to extrapolate from a one week sample it seems that Starks’ return to health spells an end to Montgomery’s utility. Jordy Nelson (18), Davante Adams (9), Randall Cobb (8) and Richard Rodgers (7) all finished comfortably ahead of Montgomery in overall opportunities this week.
  • You’d have hoped for a better rushing average against a poor Saints run D, but for all the talk that both Devontae Booker and Kapri Bibbs would garner carries this week, Booker out-carried his backfield mate 23-7, and was targeted twice to Bibbs’ one. Nothing to see here.
    • On the other side, Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower finished with a much tighter 11-8 carry split. Ingram was the more effective back for the second straight week, however, and he’s hanging onto the football. It should be assumed that he’ll continue to lead the committee.
  • You get the sense that a QB change is in the offing in Los Angeles… and after another week without a TD it should be… but, at the moment, Kenny Britt remains a must-start. He had 10 targets again this week, netting seven receptions and 109 yards, and has drawn six or more looks in all but one of LA’s games so far this year. If and when the change comes, you’ll want to see how usage, chemistry and overall offense (can’t get much worse…) look with Goff, but until then,deploy freely and happily.
  • Naturally, Ryan Mathews went off for Philadelphia after consecutive weeks of five carries or fewer and a declaration that Darren Sproles was the “number one”. Sproles saw plenty of work in the passing game (10 targets, eight receptions) but it seems that the experiment with him as a primary ball carrier is behind us. I wouldn’t count on another week with 19 carries for Mathews moving forward, and I’d further note that Wendell Smallwood worked his way into the mix this week as well, carrying the ball 13 times. In short, if you can avoid this situation.. do so. And, if you’re counting on Sproles as a standard league starter, don’t count on carries.
  • Taylor Gabriel will be noticed because he caught a 76 yard TD this week, but I’m more interested in the four balls he didn’t catch. Overall, he had five targets in Week 10 and continues to see regular use for the Falcons. You’re relying on a score to put you on the board for fantasy purposes, but at a minimum Gabriel is worth a look in GPP’s in the right matchup.
  • Doug Martin had 16 ineffective carries (33 yards) in his return to action while Peyton Barber pitched in with 13. That said, Martin was heavily involved early and the final numbers don’t tell the story. With a big lead, they didn’t need a big contribution from Martin down the stretch. 10 of Barber’s carries came in the 4th quarter. Moving forward, it’s safe to deploy Martin as you regularly would.
  •  Cameron Meredith‘s Hail Mary TD helped to bolster anyone who was left starting him after a strong run mid-season but otherwise his day was very quiet. He drew just one additional target and in each of his last three games, two of which come with Jay Cutler at the helm, he’s had two total targets. The run appeared to be over, but with news that Alshon Jeffery will miss the next four games it’s conceivable that Meredith could find himself back in the 10 target/week range… at a minimum, he’s worth a hold to see how Cutler (assuming he stays at the helm) shares the targets between he and teammate Eddie Royal.
  • With Matt Jones as a healthy scratch this week, Rob Kelley carried the ball 22 times and posted a solid 4.4 YPC average against a tough Vikings’ front. Assuming Jones works his way out of the doghouse and onto the active roster, he’ll likely chip away at Kelley’s total in the weeks ahead, but that is a lead back’s workload and it certainly looks like Kelley will be treated that way down the stretch.
  • With DeSean Jackson inactive, Pierre Garcon drew a healthy 10 targets this week. Jamison Crowder was next, with six (and a score).
  • Tyreek Hill is Kansas City’s TD leader and has been a sneaky player of interest for much of the season, but should certainly be on your radar now after being featured in the second half against the Panthers. Overall, he drew 13 targets and caught 10 balls for 89 yards, adding 12 yards on a carry. Those 101 total yards and 14 opportunities come with Jeremy Maclin out of the lineup, but he had 11 total looks in the two prior contests and is carving out a role as part of the KC offense. Deep leaguers, take note. Chris Conley had an underwhelming three targets.
  • DeVante Parker led Miami in targets with eight, catching five balls and topping 100 yards while Kenny Stills had just three looks. Overall, Miami’s passing game looked strong against the Chargers but Parker’s effort has earned him some additional looks. I’d want to see another week with a significant target load before I trusted him in my lineup, mind you.
  • Philip Rivers‘ 44 pass attempts were more than he’d like in a given week, but it should be noted that a healthy nine targets went to Dontrelle Inman with Travis Benjamin out, including a number with the game on the line. A tidbit to file away in the right matchup, if Benjamin misses more time.
  • While Pittsburgh funneled almost all of their offense through Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, it should be noted that Eli Rogers was effective on his five targets this week. He caught four balls, and found the endzone.
  • I received a text from a friend during the Patriots game that read “I thought that Brady’s return would spell the end for LeGarrette Blount“… I’m still not sure if it was a direct shot at me, or a general shared observation, but I do know that I’ve expressed that sentiment in this space before. And yet, here we are five weeks later, and Blount is averaging 1.6 TDs a game and he’s had fewer than 18 carries just once. With 21 of those and three scores this week, he remains very much a part of the picture. James White worked in as well (two carries, four receptions on four targets) but Blount is the man in the backfield. Brady, White, nor the return of Dion Lewis appears set to change that at the moment. Carry on with Blount. But you didn’t need this post to tell you that.
  • C.J. Prosise had seven catches on seven targets for 87 yards and looked great as both a receiver and a rusher (adding a healthy 17 carries for 69 yards). Ultimately, with Christine Michael and Thomas Rawls both expected to return to health those 17 totes are unlikely to be sustained… and his limitations around the goal line and in pass protection with both evident on Sunday Night, but it was a great display to watch all the same and Prosise looks like he’ll be worth regular use in PPR leagues.

Oct 31

Touches and Targets: NFL Week 8 Review

You know the deal by now… we’re digging into the box scores to take a look at touches, targets and opportunities to provide some context to big games that were, those that could have been, and duds that aren’t yet worth panicking over… along with those that are.

With that, on to the bullets.

Touches and Targets: Week 8 NFL Review

We’re all well aware that most of Jacksonville’s scoring came in garbage time… as it often does. That said, Allen Robinson owners can’t say his lack of production came from lack of trying this week. He was involved throughout, and drew a total of 15 targets. Blake Bortles put the ball in the air 54 times, mind you, but he still had a solid target share. The two simply aren’t connecting. We’ll see if the ouster of OC Greg Olsen does anything to help scheme him open to give the two more regular opportunities to connect…

Washington was content to feed the ball to Rob Kelley in Matt Jones’ absence, and he responded fairly well with 21 carries for 87 yards. Most of the yardage came late in the game, but his workload clearly eclipsed that of Chris Thompson (seven carries) on the ground. Thompson went 5/5 as a receiver while Kelley missed on his two targets. Looking ahead, when Jones is back on the field Kelley has likely done enough to earn sustained work. That, and the fact that Jones can’t seem to hang onto the ball. Owners with better options would be wise to monitor the workload next week to confirm, but I’d count on a timeshare with Kelley leading the way.

Jordan Reed had 13 targets in his return, tied with Jamison Crowder for the team lead. Deep-leaguers will want to note that Vernon Davis remained involved despite his return, catching all five of his targets for 93 yards. It’s worth noting that Cousins threw 56 passes, in the overtime tie, mind you.

I’ve had a few unpleasant things to say about Julian Edelman’s fantasy outlook in this space over the last few weeks… and that won’t change despite his TD in Week 8. It was a great play and Edelman showed fight to turn a short route into a TD, but it came on just eight targets (to lead the team, mind you) and all of his catches were on underneath routes. The receptions will be there for PPR gamers, but in standard leagues this weeks 37 yards won’t get it done any better than the prior output with Brady under center.

RB Charcandrick West could be the last man standing in KC (Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images North America).

RB Charcandrick West could be the last man standing in KC (Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images North America).

Charcandrick West totalled 60 yards on 14 carries and two receptions (14-52) against the Colts, after Spencer Ware left with a concussion. The concussion won’t be a long-term issue for Ware, but with Knile Davis traded and Jamaal Charles checking in with Dr. Andrews this week, West could dominate the touches in Week 9 as he did in the second half of this one. The ideal fantasy scenario likely sees Charles getting a clean bill of health and magically feeling rejuvenated, but the prudent play is to add West and make use of him if you can next week against Jacksonville.

It took T.Y. Hilton’s partial absence due to injury, and he and Andrew Luck weren’t particularly efficient, but Donte Moncrief led the Colts (by a wide margin) with nine targets in his return. He left another TD on the field as well, finishing 4/9 for 41 with a score. Consider him safe to deploy as you would have in September.

C.J. Prosise was the recipient of a 43 yard reception on a backward pass trick play this week, but was involved in the run game as well. Seattle only attempted 17 carries and three belonged to Russell Wilson. Otherwise, he split the RB carries 4-10 with Christine Michael. Further, he out-targeted him 4-1, finishing with 80 receiving yards on four catches. The lead job still firmly belongs to Michael, but Prosise appears to be the next man up and the passing down back, at least until Thomas Rawls’ return.

Mark Ingram put the ball on the ground early, after just three carries. He never saw the field again, leaving Tim Hightower with 26 for 102 and one catch on three targets. That now gives Ingram fumbles in back-to-back weeks and he’s carrying the ball at just a 3.9 YPC clip. Coming in, Hightower had just 19 carries on the season so it would be a big leap to suggest he’s going to replace Ingram, but this week’s benching certainly places him on the hot seat. Word is, the coaching staff thinks that Hightower has ‘definitely‘ earned more work.

Latavius Murray, with 11 carries, essentially split the rushing work 50/50 with the duo of DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard behind him. He bolstered his totals with a healthy five receptions on seven targets, but isn’t due RB1 consideration except in the juiciest of matchups given volume concerns.

If you’re tracking secondary targets in Tampa Bay, Cameron Brate saw five ahead of Adam Humphries (4) and Russell Shepard (3). Players in standard size leagues shouldn’t worry about the WR position behind Mike Evans. He wasn’t particularly productive this week, but dwarfed the others in targets with 11 and is pretty much a weekly lock for double digits.

With Michael Floyd active but banged up and Jaron Brown now lost for the season, J.J. Nelson played a significant role for Arizona. In fact, he led the team with 12 targets in the comeback effort. Larry Fitzgerald saw 11 of his own, while John Brown had just four and again, Floyd didn’t factor in. That balance should shift when Floyd returns to health, but it will be a tough time projecting weekly targets behind Fitz and leaves all parties as dicey WR3s at best.

In Theo Riddick’s return to the lineup, he was given 11 carries to Zach Zenner’s three (and Justin Forsett’s 0). Moreover, he added eight receptions on 11 targets with Detroit playing from behind. No doubt, the fact that they were trailing influenced the amount of time Riddick spent on the field, but he remains the team’s go-to option. Speaking of big workloads in return, Eric Ebron had 10 targets compared to nine and seven for Golden Tate and Marvin Jones Jr. I wouldn’t count on that distribution continuing, but it’s a good reminder that Ebron’s presence changes the target distribution. Cole Wick was not involved in the passing game in his absence.

On the note of active TEs, C.J. Fiedorowicz tied Deandre Hopkins for the team lead with seven looks, and caught five balls, finding the end zone. That gives him seven or more targets in his last four games, and TDs in three of six. The third year TE already has career highs in all receiving categories and appears to be a part of the offense with Osweiller at the helm. He can be used as a bye-week fill in, at worst.

Devontae Booker hurt his shoulder early in his first game as the Broncos’ starter and didn’t have a particularly effective outing. His final fantasy production wasn’t all that bad, with 84 total yards and a score, but outside of a couple of long bursts the Chargers kept him contained between the tackles most of the day. In fact, he lost a fumble and San Diego’s ability to bottle Booker up behind the line (he hadn’t been stopped at the line or behind it all season, coming in) is what kept them in the game late this week. Still, an injured and under-effective Booker finished with 24 touches vs. just two for Kapri Bibbs. This is his backfield for the next seven weeks at minimum, and the volume should lead to plenty of production.

With 23 carries this week, Melvin Gordon is just 23 off the total from his rookie season. He took those 23 totes for 111 yards (4.8 YPC) and added 44 yards on four of seven receiving for an impressive 155 total yards. Jeremy Hill carried for a 5.7 YPC against them earlier this year and stopped just short of 100 yards at 97, but today’s outing makes Melvin Gordon the first 100 yard rusher Denver has allowed this season. If you haven’t already come around to him as a regular mid-to-top RB1 then it’s about time you do.

With Ty Montgomery out, DeVante Adams was this week’s outlet. This week, he made 12 receptions on 14 targets to give him double digit targets in consecutive weeks. Jordy Nelson was next on the team with nine. Meantime, Aaron Rodgers ran the ball six times but otherwise, the backs had just 13 opportunities on the ground. It’s clear that this offense will remain tilted heavily toward the pass. In the weeks ahead, Montgomery should be back on the field (though the team is monitoring a kidney issue), and Randall Cobb will make his way back to the lineup… so, 8-10 looks is a more reasonable outlook, but there is enough volume to yield fantasy production from everyone involved.

Ryan Mathews got in some early work and found the endzone for Philadelphia (scoring on consecutive snaps, with one called back due to penalty) but otherwise finished with just four carries for 10 yards. It’s hard to argue with Doug Pederson’s reliance on Darren Sproles, given his production, but I don’t think any of us anticipated a 15-4 carry split with an additional five catches on seven targets. I’m not sold on a 20-5 imbalance between the two on a regular basis but Pederson’s West Coast Offense is fond of getting the ball to backs in space and in the flat, so I’d suggest that regular Sproles appearances are here to stay. Mathews is still getting the goal line work, so, there’s that… but, if you have any reasonable options behind him he’s a tough play at this point. It seems that he’s in the doghouse for underwhelming production and fumbles, with the team considering going to Sproles as the starter.

Dak Prescott targeted Dez Bryant to a fault in his return to the lineup, but overall a 14 target outing with a game-tying score is heartening. The two have hooked up for scores in back-to-back games where Bryant saw the field.

Dorial Green-Beckham (nine targets) not Nelson Agholor (four) was Carson Wentz‘ second option this week. Both players were guilty of drops yet again… so, it’s a tough position to trust either way.

Oct 24

Touches and Targets: Week 7 NFL Review

Another week is in the books, filled with its own shares of injury and underproduction that leads to a redistribution of targets and opportunities throughout the league. We’ll take a deeper look at all of the above, and any trends of note in assessing the meaning of another week’s worth of data.

Touches and Targets: Week 7 NFL Review

Ty Montgomery continues to get work as a ball carrier and receiver (Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images North America).

Ty Montgomery continues to get work as a ball carrier and receiver (Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images North America).

  • I’ll admit that I said something very different in this space last week, but with knowledge of the extent of Eddie Lacy’s injury and with another game of data to review… it seems that the Packers are content handing the ball to Ty Montgomery. He had nine carries this week, to go with 13 targets (Aaron Rodgers threw 56 passes, and that number trailed Randall Cobb and Davante Adams who had 16 and 15 respectively) and was even used to carry the ball from the goal line. With Knile Davis set to be active and engaged in the extended game planning period that comes after a Thursday Night game he should be ready to roll this week, but I’d expect to still see Montgomery in the mix in the backfield, and in the short passing game.
  • With two targets, Cameron Meredith’s workload came crashing back down to earth. I still think he’s a player the Bears are intended to use, but with an impending change at QB you’ll want to give it a game or two to see how his post-Hoyer workload looks.
  • The risk in using Kenny Britt, who has developed into a solid-WR3 this season, is that he can be marginalized when the Rams shift their focus. That happened this week, with Tavon Austin drawing 15 targets and catching ten balls (adding a carry). It was the Austin show against New York, but Britt (a healthy eight targets) is still their go to receiver in the middle of the field.
  • Rob Kelley found the end zone and is the most likely candidate to benefit from Matt Jones’ ugly, three fumble day, but it should be noted that it was Chris Thompson spelling Jones in the early part of the game and that while Kelley was the one to score in a critical moment, he had just four carries (12 yards) on the day to go with his reception. Thompson meanwhile, carried the ball 12 times for 73 yards and went 4/4 receiving for 40. He won’t be used all that often as a between the tackles guy, but if Jones is in the doghouse it’s conceivable that he and Kelley split work with Thompson chipping in. The rookie is worth an add, but expectations should be tempered.
  • Kendall Wright’s workload came back down to earth this week, with two catches on four targets (behind Matthews, Sharpe and Walker).
  • Jack Doyle drew 10 targets and made nine receptions for Indianapolis, trailing only TY Hilton (12). The next most targeted Colt had five. It may not be like that every week, but it seems certain that he is the team’s go to TE with Dwayne Allen out and that they’ll still emphasize passing to the position. Donte Moncrief’s return will change things, but for the time bein he’s a solid play. In fact, he’s my early week TE3 in a soft match up.
  • Drew Brees, put up a big number thanks to an effective second half, on the road. He did it by relying on his three main receiving weapons, distributing targets to Brandin Cooks (9), Willie Snead (11) and Michael Thomas (13). Thomas turned those looks into 10 receptions and 130 yards, and while that isn’t a number to count on every week he’s grown into an important part of the offense in his rookie year. Over the past four games, he’s had a TD in three and now his first career 100 yard game, on 38 targets. Brees targeted often on screen and short routes, and Thomas showed quickness and sure hands. Count on all of the above becoming a mainstay of the team’s offense.
  • You know well about Jay Ajayi’s monster two week stretch, so I won’t dwell on it. I’ll note, however, that Arian Foster had just three carries after a quiet Week 6 return and was used behind Damien Williams as well as Ajayi. One more week of that, and it becomes very safe to sever ties. Foster was targeted three times in the passing game, in addition to his three carries, but that isn’t enough to feed your offense or to presume he’ll be a lock for work should something happen to Ajayi. Update… Foster went and retired while this was being published, so you can probably go ahead and release him. Unless you’re nostalgic like friend of the site, Neil Parker.
  • Matt Forte got back on track this week, with a 30 carry workload in a game focused on keeping the offense moving down the field and avoiding making mistakes. Bilal Powell was given just four carries behind him, and while Forte picked up just 3.3 YPC (adding four catches on four targets for 54 yards). He’s back on the 25+ touch workload program after a few quiet games, and while it’s hard to imagine he can sustain this it seems like the formula for success for the Jets. In games where they are expected to trail, his prospects take a hit… but, if they can keep it close, he’s going to get the ball.
  • Dennis Pitta couldn’t convert, but he had another 10 targets with Steve Smith out of the lineup. Mike Wallace (13/10/120 was the main beneficiary) and Smith will return, but Pitta continues to be an important part of the offense. Don’t be discouraged by a 40 yard stat line.
  • Matt Asiata’s 12 carries came with Jerick McKinnon briefly sidelined, but he was quite effective with 55 yards on the ground. Ronnie Hillman, in his first game active, lost six yards on one carry. Meanwhile in the passing game, Cordarrelle Patterson was targeted seven times to lead all receivers. He caught all of them, for 67 yards and a score. He’s quickly becoming a significant part of the team’s plans in the passing game, with Charles Johnson seeing just one look and Stefon Diggs netting five in his return to action, matching Adam Thielen. I wouldn’t put him on Diggs’ level just yet, but this game didn’t come out of nowhere. Patterson had been steadily gaining steam and seems to have eclipsed Johnson. He’ll get regular work moving forward and is worth a roster spot, not yet a starting job, in 12 team leagues.
  • With six looks, to lead receivers, Nelson Agholor is still getting a lot of work. He caught just two balls and has a dangerous tendency to hover at or below the 50% conversion rate, but it hasn’t cost him opportunities just yet. He was open deep in this contest and nearly converted a long score.
  • Latavius Murray carried the ball 18 times (scoring twice) with just five totes for Deandre Washington in his return to action, receiving five targets in the passing game as well. His grip on the starting job is firm.
  • Allen Robinson had eight targets to lead the Jags… he just did very little with them in a becoming-tough matchup against Jalen Ramsay. It’s time to start worrying about him in an underproductive Jaguars lineup.
  • Antonio Gates was targeted 10 times against the Falcons, catching five balls. Meanwhile, Hunter Henry saw just three looks. He missed some time last week with a concussion, but was splitting targets while on the field as well. I’m still sold on Henry as a TE1, but Gates is very much in the mix and his presence will lead to games like this from time to time, capping his weekly upside.
  • Jaquizz Rodgers’ 26 carries were notable, given that Doug Martin’s absence could linger… but, that both he and Peyton Barber rolled right through the San Francisco run defense is more important. Each had a 40+ yard run and averaged 5.9 YPC or more.
  • Russell Shepard, not Adam Humphries, was the main beneficiary of Vincent Jackson’s placement on IR. It’s too early to determine if this was a result of matchup or otherwise… but, it’s certainly a trend worth monitoring.
  • Julian Edelman had another 10 target, low output game… his third such outing since Tom Brady’s return (27 targets; 10.5 standard league points). He continues to be a PPR weapon and you love the volume in standard leagues, but his role has shifted almost exclusively to chain moving, underneath routes. A fumble and a big drop this week didn’t help, either.
  • Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown got theirs in the passing game (13 and 11 targets respectively) but there wasn’t much room for the others in Landry Jones’ 2016 debut. It should be noted that Sammie Coates had just one target while Darrius Heyward-Bey had seven and Cobi Hamilton had six, though.

Oct 20

Week 7 NFL Ranks

Just in time for Thursday and early Sunday decision making our Week 7 NFL Ranks are here. As always, check below for a brief discussion of some key areas where I differ from ECR.

Week 7 NFL Ranks

Week 7 NFL Ranks Discussion


  • I’m down on Aaron Rodgers relative to ECR simply because a short week without a run game isn’t a great scenario for him to ‘get right’. Generally, these games are low scoring and I think we’ll see the same in a Packers’ win. Even with 98 yards from Ty Montgomery, largely out of the backfield, last week he still hasn’t topped 300 yards this season. 250 and 2 scores won’t be much better than QB11.
  • After watching Spencer Ware continue to roll in Jamaal Charles’ return, it’s hard to rank him as anything but a top-5 option this week against New Orleans. The Saints continue to be awful against the run (they gave up two scores to Jonathan Stewart last week, and he rarely scores once) and I see a big dose of both backs in this game. 100 yards and a score feels like floor for Ware, who is averaging well over 5 YPC and should approach 20 carries again, as long as the Saints to jump out to an early lead… unlikely on the road.
  • To that end, I’m down on Brandin Cooks this week given the team’s struggles away from the Superdome. Cooks has gone over 100 and scored twice, but otherwise has been held under 70 yards in his three other games, including both of New Orleans’ road games.
  • I’m all in on Hunter Henry as TE3 this week. He’s benefitting from the absence of a pass catching back and the injury to Keenan Allen and should continue to net lots of targets against a Falcons team that

Oct 16

Touches and Targets: Week 6 NFL Review

Each week throughout the season we take a deeper dive into the box score to look at the playing time, opportunities and detail behind the box score in an effort to try to provide you with actionable fantasy advice. To that end, you won’t hear much in this space about Julio Jones‘ 10 target week because at this stage, no one should be surprised… you’ll hear about the 13 that Kendall Wright netted however, as it may represent a shift in Tennessee’s passing game distribution.

With that bit of context in mind, we’re off to the bullets…

Touches and Targets: Week 6 NFL Review

  • After I threw the full weight of my support behind Dontrelle Inman he was a no show for the Chargers this week against Denver, netting just one target. That said, neither Travis Benjamin‘s five targets nor Tyrell Williams‘ 3 is enough to sustain a fantasy week. Rivers threw 30 passes, but directed eight of them toward break out TE Hunter Henry on Thursday Night. Those targets are notable in particular because they came with Antonio Gates in the lineup, and because Henry feasted on them – making six catches for 83 yards and a score. Gates had six targets of his own, and it seems that the Chargers committed to targeting TEs in the middle of the field against Denver. All that being said, I’d count on Henry remaining a part of the offense on a regular basis and his workload negatively impacting that of Gates, Williams… and Inman.


  • The gap between Alshon Jeffery (WR20) and Cameron Meredith (WR36) in my rest of season rankings is now incredibly thin. Sure, that’s a significant conclusion to jump to after just two weeks but the volume certainly supports it as does Meredith’s film. I spoke with FNTSY Sports Network‘s Chris Meaney during the afternoon games today and he shared that he’d conducted a thorough review of Meredith’s snaps from Week 5 and his College career and came away impressed with the converted Quarterback.
    • Eddie Royal left this week’s contest early and Brian Hoyer attempted 50 passes, inflating numbers for both receivers, but Meredith led the team in volume and production again this week. Specifically, Meredith made 11 receptions on 15 targets for 113 yards.  Jeffery got back on track this week with a 13/7/93 line. Meredith’s relevance is in some ways contingent upon Brian Hoyer’s grip on the starting job, as there are no guarantees that Jay Cutler would continue to look his way so often, but with 20 catches and 243 yards on 27 targets over the last two weeks the game planners would be foolish not to continue looking in his direction. That all comes at an expense to Jeffery, who is more of a low-end WR2 in standard matchups at the moment.
  • Don’t look now, but Case Keenum has thrown for more than 250 yards in three straight weeks and is looking like he can keep his receivers fantasy relevant. Specifically, while Brian Quick has seen a lot of the deep looks this season, Kenny Britt has been a productive member of the offense long before his 2TD outing against the Lions. Britt was targeted eight times this week, catching seven balls for 136 yards, scoring twice. Britt, who is averaging 6.7 targets per game, has posted 75 or more yards in 4 of the team’s 6 games (and 67 in another). There is enough volume here to trust him as a regular play in deeper leagues.
  • Ricardo Louis had nine targets this week, ahead of Andrew Hawkins‘ four. It’s conceivable that he could become the team’s second option at WR – at least until Corey Coleman concerns, of course.
  • Preseason buzz recipient Tajae Sharpe has slowed in recent weeks, falling behind Rishard Matthews on the pecking order. Matthews found the endzone against Cleveland this week, though both pass catchers received just three targets. Meanwhile, in his first extended action of the season, Kendall Wright had 13 of 24 Marcus Mariota passes thrown in his direction in Week 6. He hauled in eight of them, including a deep score, for 133 yards. Tennessee doesn’t have a high volume passing game and I wouldn’t necessarily read this as Wright reclaiming his years-ago hold on the top of the WR depth chart in Tennessee, but it is certainly something to monitor. He’s worth an add with an eye toward monitoring the workloads in the weeks ahead.
  • Arian Foster didn’t see a lot of the field in his return to action, and netted just three carries. This seemed to have been the intended script, but Jay Ajayi‘s huge second half could leave him playing second fiddle. All told, Ajayi finished with 25 carries for 204 yards, adding one reception on two targets. I’d expect Foster to take on a greater share of the workload next time out, leaving Ajayi somewhere shy of 20 carries but this performance should keep him in the lead of the timeshare, at least in the short-term.
  • Giovani Bernard out-carried Jeremy Hill against New England 15-13, and intriguingly was heavily used around the goal line early in the game. Bernard also garnered five targets to Hill’s one. The latter isn’t surprising, particularly in a game that Cincinnati trailed but his use as the lead back early in this game is a troubling development for Jeremy Hill owners. If an even split in carries remains a trend, it significantly hampers Hill’s value.
  • Julian Edelman had a healthy seven targets this week, and saw 10 in Tom Brady‘s return, but they’ve been exclusively underneath. He’ll remain a solid PPR play with his work over the middle of the field, but the seams belong to Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett, with Chris Hogan (just one target this week, a 39 yard reception) looking to be the deep threat. Edelman should be viewed more as a mid-WR3 than a sound WR2 at this point.
  • Jonathan Stewart promptly asserted himself atop the Carolina RB depth chart in his return, with 19 carries. Notably, it was Fozzy Whittaker and Mike Tolbert in the mix behind him, meaning that Cameron Artis-Payne is back to only having relevance if Stewart sits out. He scored twice against New Orleans – you shouldn’t count on Stewart remaining a high scoring back moving forward, but he’ll get plenty of work for Carolina.
  • Jamison Crowder saved his fantasy day with a TD today, but Pierre Garcon led Washington receivers in targets with 11, including a number inside the 20. Crowder caught three of his four looks, but he won’t be in regular WR3 consideration until he starts to consistently see 6 or 7 looks a week. It’s easy to underwhelm on four targets (which he hasn’t topped since the team’s third game).
  • Following the team’s bye, with Jamal Charles presumably at full health, Spencer Ware drew the start and easily out-touched the veteran. Ware had a 24-9 edge in carries and both backs went 2/2 on their targets. He started hot again this week, and finished the game with 131 yards on the ground (Charles looked solid, and netted 33 yards on his opportunities). He’s simply played too well to yield the job to Charles. Count on a 60-40ish split in the weeks ahead, until Ware fails to produce or his fumbles come up at an inopportune time.
  • Michael Crabtree received just four targets in a game that heavily featured Amari Cooper for the Raiders. Crabtree was targeted in the endzone and nearly had a solid fantasy day as a result, but the passing game has clearly shifted back in Cooper’s favor over the last two weeks. He posted a solid 13/10/129 line in defeat.
  • When Dez (and if Tony) comes back to the lineup, you have to assume that Cole Beasley slows down a bit. After all, he has a history as a middling receiver in this Dallas offense, but he sure was productive again this week. He was Dallas’ most targeted receiver this week (six) and caught every ball thrown his way. A six target, 5-6 reception effort is a fair enough projection regardless of who is in the lineup around him, but you have to assume he falls further down the pecking order around the goal line. Both of his scores came from within the five yard line this week. In any event, you’ve got to give Beasley credit for the time being and it will be hard not to continue to ride him after the bye.
  • I’m not making a whole lot of Ty Montgomery‘s 12 target, 10 catch outing for Green Bay. Injuries in the backfield coming into the game, and Davante Adams‘ injury suffered within it certainly helped to inflate his numbers. He may maintain a regular role – particularly given how good he looked out of the backfield, with James Starks due to miss extended time – but assuming Adams suits up next week I think he goes back to a bit player in Week 7.
  • Jimmy Graham continues to work as the pace car in the Seattle passing game, leading the time with nine targets this week. Baldwin, Kearse and Lockett each had five.

Oct 13

Week 6 NFL Ranks

With a (despite the Chargers’ record) somewhat intriguing Thursday Night game on the docket our Week 6 NFL Ranks are here just in time to prime you for tonight’s game with a look ahead to the weekend. Stay tuned for updates through kickoff.

  • I’m higher than most on Brian Hoyer this week but I favor the Jags to beat the Bears, leading to more late game throwing opportunities. The (not-so-interim-)Bears QB has thrown for 300+ and 2TDs in each of his starts this season and I don’t see that trend stopping this week. Hoyer makes for a great DFS play – a steady output with cost savings that you can build around. The truly adventurous can contemplate whether Cameron Meredith will be his favorite target again this week…
  • I like CJ Anderson on Thursday Night (RB4, ECR 8) against a Chargers D that has given up nine total touchdowns to RBs this season. With Trevor Siemian back in the saddle but still not at 100%, and on a short week, I’d expect a run heavy game plan and a lot of opportunities for Anderson to find paydirt.
  • I’m shocked to see Jamison Crowder ranked outside of the top-35 this week. With Jordan Reed looking unlikely to suit up and a matchup against the Eagles. Philadelphia has been strong defensively this season, but Crowder is set for an increase in workload against them. He averaged 9 standard league points in the first three games of the season where he drew seven or more targets. Count on a similar, productive, output this week.
  • The Titans have been quietly strong defensively this year and will draw a Browns team that starts an ailing Cody Kessler at QB. They are the best available streaming option in a game that should be low scoring and bring its share of turnovers.

Oct 04

Touches and Targets: NFL Week 4 Review

Regular readers won’t need the introduction, but for the others… this weekly article takes a look at touches, targets and opportunities around the league in an effort to use that data to project future behavior. The final fantasy lines tell a part of the story, but there is a big difference in terms of stability between an 11 point effort on 110 yards from six receptions on 10 targets and catching the lone ball thrown your way for a 50-yard touchdown. They both count the same this week, but one of them will be a lot easier to repeat the next time out – particularly if the eight targets are a regular occurrence.

With that in mind, we’re on to an abridged version of the piece with only the most fantasy relevant information shared below.

Touches and Targets: NFL Week 4 Review

Allen Hurns came up big for the Jags this week, but our NFL Week 4 Review suggests his long-term production could wane (Photo: Dan Istitene/Getty Images Europe).

Allen Hurns came up big for the Jags this week, but our NFL Week 4 Review suggests his long-term production could wane (Photo: Dan Istitene/Getty Images Europe).

Allen Hurns found the endzone for Jacksonville and seems to remain as the team’s primary deep threat, but Marqise Lee’s use is picking up in his third season. Lee hasn’t blown up the stat sheet yet, and this piece isn’t a suggestion that he will. That said, it is becoming clear that he is a regular part of the game plan and see such should cut into Hurns’ work. Recall that both players came to the team in 2014, but it was Lee (six targets this week; seven in each of the prior two outings) who carried the draft profile while Hurns (four targets) went undrafted. You can’t stay as a mainstay WR3 on just four targets a week. In fairness, Hurns has had 27 total targets this season but Lee’s rise certainly cuts into his opportunity. After this week’s score, iof there is a buyer at that WR2/3 price, I’m selling.

In last week’s piece, I noted that Dwayne Washington would likely operate as Detroit’s primary between the tackles runner moving forward as he had equal carries to Theo Riddick but was far more effective with the latter netting 1 YPC. It turns out, Detroit didn’t see it that way. Riddick had 11 carries (and a YPC clip of 2.8this week) while Washington had just two before leaving in the second quarter. Riddick added four catches on seven targets, and remains a viable PPR option with 15 weekly touches, but I’d still keep an eye on Washington potentially cutting into that workload moving forward.

Jimmy Graham led the Seahawks, topping 100 yards (eight targets; six catches; 113 yards) for the second straight week. He appears to be fully back from his 2015 injury and can be counted on as a weekly top-5 option at a thin position.

With Justin Forsett inactive; Terrance West had a productive (113 yards) 21 carries. Buck Allen had three just three. Baltimore heads off into the bye, and it seems unlikely that they’ll carry Forsett coming out of it. After all, they’ve already cut him once this season and Kenneth Dixon is expected to return. Over time, Dixon could cut into West’s workload but I’d expect a similar distribution, at least in the early going, as they ease the rookie into the lineup.

It was likely dictated by the matchup, and it didn’t lead to overwhelming offensive results on the whole so it may not linger… but, John Brown’s 16 targets on 47 pass attempts are a noteworthy shift after he’d spent much of the season as the third man on the totem pole.

In an exploitable matchup against the Saints, Dontrelle Inman – and not Travis Benjamin or Tyrell Williams – picked up 11 targets, seven receptions and 120. Inman was Philip Rivers’ favourite target a week after picking up three catches on four. With apologies to Benjamin owners, it’s a trend that could continue. He was expected to play the deep, speedster compliment to Keenan Allen this year and doesn’t expressly have the skill set to replace him on intermediate routes.

On the note of receivers who may be pushing for a shift in the team’s depth chart, or at a minimum a consistent redistribution of targets, Jeremy Kerley has been working well with Blaine Gabbert since arriving in San Francisco. This week, he was heavily used relative to his fantasy-relevant peers, ultimately making six receptions for 88 yards (with a score) on nine targets. Torrey Smith had just two. You’ll want to keep an eye on his health with a short week, but there are worse bye week replacements for PPR leaguers than Kerley.


Sep 29

Week 4 NFL Ranks

Heading into week four you’ll note some significant changes as depth charts and available opportunities continue to be in flux throughout the league. Moreover, in our Week 3 Touches and Targets piece we noted a few defenses that have earned the label of must-avoid, or at least, downgrade through three weeks.

Those are reflected in the ranks below, designed to help you with your start / sit questions. A brief discussion follows the rankings widget.

Week 4 NFL Ranks


Week 4 NFL Ranks Discussion

  • The Raiders D managed to get the hemorrhaging under control against the Titans last week, but I’m all in on Joe Flacco as a top-12 QB in Week 4. Steve Smith is coming on, Dennis Pitta appears back to form, and Mike Wallace is a great fit for the offense. This won’t be an every week position for Flacco and co. but the Oakland D is a matchup that looks to be worth exploiting through three weeks.
  • I don’t want anything to do with Charles Sims (at least as a mid-range RB2) against the Broncos. Denver’s defense has actually given up four TDs to RBs this season and are allowing completions at a 15/17 rate out of the backfield, but Tampa Bay’s hot and cold offense should struggle against them overall. I’m expecting a low scoring contest with limited TD upside for Sims and a front-seven that should keep him in check between the tackles.
  • Doug Baldwin and his QB are both playing through pain this week, but we saw a week ago that with Russell Wilson contained to the pocket he relied on Baldwin (11 targets) and Jimmy Graham. I’m expecting more of the same against a Jets D that will either be without Darrelle Revis or remains exploitable over the top by speed.
  • The Lions have given up five TDs to TEs through three weeks of the season and Zach Miller was heavily targeted in Brian Hoyer’s Week 3 start. I think he’ll see a lot of use again, and remain a solid red zone option. He’s flush with TE1 upside this week.

Older posts «