At this point in the season, the weekly reading of the box score tea leaves becomes much more about recent trends than season long observations. After all, as fantasy gamers the season has just become a week to week proposition.
With that in mind, Malcolm Mitchel’s impressive outing headlines our piece again this week.
Touches and Targets: Week 13 NFL Review
- Malcolm Mitchell‘s 10 targets against the Rams are enough to place him in must add territory. Just a week ago, with Gronkowski apparently healthy (and Danny Amendola in the lineup, for what its worth) I was less convinced that Mitchell could sustain his recent run. Now, with Julian Edelman drawing top coverage and likely to continue his chain-moving role, Mitchell is drawing some downfield looks from QB Tom Brady. He’s now topped 80 yards in two of his last three games, and has had 22 targets over that span after seeing 15 through his prior six outings. He’s done little with this extended use to squander the opportunity, and I’d count on Mitchell remaining as a fixture in a productive offense. I shared as much with the folks at Fantasy Pros earlier this week.
- With Stefon Diggs healthy and effective (eight catches, eight targets) Adam Thielen remained a feature of the offense for Minnesota. On 45 Sam Bradford pass attempts, Thielen drew nine targets and made seven receptions. bringing his two week total to 20. 10 per game is a high average to maintain, but he has been a consistent part of the offense for Minnesota. I’d keep an eye on Thielen in Week 15 against Indianapolis.
Matt Ryan attempted just 34 passes, with the bulk of them directed at Julio Jones as usual. Still, Taylor Gabriel followed his big week with a healthy six targets, and with Mohamed Sanu and Jones leaving this game banged up he’s due for more. Gabriel hasn’t had fewer than five targets in four games.
- In two games since Giovani Bernard‘s injury, Jeremy Hill has averaged 1.8 and 1.4 YPC respectively, with a long carry of seven. This week he had 23 totes, and was targeted just three times after drawing six looks in the prior contest. There is a ‘get right’ opportunity coming against the Browns, but the output doesn’t bode well for his rest of season prospects.
- Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd split targets in the wake of AJ Green’s injury again this week. All told, LaFell had the score and the big game, but his seven targets were on par with Boyd’s. With no clear number one, it’s hard to choose the most likely achiever in a given week… but, each will have their opportunities.
A week after his public airing of grievances Brandin Cooks was the Saints’ most targeted receiver. All told, he saw 36 of 44 Drew Brees pass attempts. Meantime, Michael Thomas‘ targets were down to five. I won’t suggest that the Saints were trying to force the ball to Cooks, but do note that the entire unit looked out of sync against an improving Lions’ pass defense throughout the day. Moving forward, I’d count on a more fluid target experience with weekly targets being directed as the matchup dictates.
- Andre Roberts picked up seven targets with Marvin Jones out of the lineup. Relevant information should Jones miss another week.
- Devontae Booker struggled against the Jaguars, with 18 carries for 35 yards. Still, Kapri Bibbs contributed just five and left with what is reported as a high ankle sprain. Count on Booker maintaining a similar workload with Bibbs on the shelf and the newly signed Justin Forsett unlikely to be called upon for immediate contributions. Trevor Siemian‘s imminent return should help open things up.
- With 17 attempts, Denard Robinson actually outcarried TJ Yeldon (17-14), a fact that speaks more to Yeldon’s rest of season value than it does to Robinson’s, upon Chris Ivory‘s return.
- While Terrance West found the endzone twice and was productive overall, he held just a 13-10 total opportunity edge over rookie Kenneth Dixon. In recent weeks, I’ve been suggesting that Dixon was primed to take over the committee in short order but a) this was a strong outing from West and b) the workload split has followed a similar pattern in recent weeks. Dixon was productive again (77 total yards on his 10 opportunities) but his best bet may be for 50% of the workload, or 10-12 weekly touches. If that fits in your lineup, roll with it. If not, there might not be an opportunity to count on more the rest of the way.
- Its nothing but a one week aberration, but it should be noted that in a game where the Raiders were in full on comeback mode Amari Cooper was targeted just four times on 35 Derek Carr pass attempts. Michael Crabtree saw 11.
- Sammy Watkins caught just three balls from an erratic Tyrod Taylor, but the more important number was his nine targets in his second game back in action. I’d count on Watkins with a reasonably high ceiling (though low floor) the rest of the way.
- Ladarius Green was a huge part of the offense for Pittsburgh this week. He drew 11 targets from Ben Roethlisberger, on 36 pass attempts. Jesse James drew just four. All told, he made six receptions for 110 yards and a score. Count on him to maintain a healthy target share. Outside of Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown (seven targets each), no one has established themselves on offense. The workload is there for the taking.
- Thomas Rawls had a number of strong runs against Carolina, including an impressive 45 yard score (as part of two total on the night). He left briefly, and Troymaine Pope picked up eight carries of his own, but the 20 touch workload from Rawls in a productive game is a great sign after a quiet week in his second game back in action. With no significant competition for touches, that workload seems secure the rest of the way.