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 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.