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Oct 02

Touches and Targets Week 4: Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

The final numbers tell one part of the story, but fantasy football is a game of volume. Knowing any given week who is going to get the looks, and in what situations those looks are coming, can help you make important lineup decisions – touches and targets on a weekly basis play as big a role as the name on the back of the jersey. With that in mind let’s take a look back at workloads from this past weekend and start thinking forward to who may find themselves in a more favorable situation in Week 5. We focus our attention on the pass catchers in this segment but have addressed the touches and targets of ball carriers in a separate post.

Week 4 Wide Receiver and Tight End Targets

  • It was another strong performance from Patriots rookie Kenbrell Thompkins, who caught 6 balls on 11 targets for 127 and a Touchdown. This marked the first game in which he has caught more than 50% of his targets and he looked like a legit receiver against the Falcons, though he did have two more dropped passes. Fellow rookie Aaron Dobson got roughed up on a questionable hit in the endzone while fellow, fellow rookie Josh Boyce recorded his first career catch. While the numbers are certainly due for an adjustment when Gronkowski and Amendola return to the lineup, Thompkins was the league’s 7th most targeted receiver this week and the 13th most active on the season.
  • After a quiet week last week T.Y. Hilton saw more targets than Darrius Heyward-Bey again. It is going to be a tough situation to predict but as the season moves along Hilton owners should be rewarded. Hilton saw 9 looks and caught 5 balls for 48 yards.
  • I am not and will not advocate adding Jaguars, but, Justin Blackmon comes back this week and needs to be rostered. We can ignore Ace Sanders‘ 7 targets and 4 catches for 59 yards with Blackmon returning but his use has steadily increased. It’s worth noting… particularly if Chad Henne takes the reigns again.
  • The Giants are another team that I’m trying to avoid at the moment. The reasons are obvious… but Victor Cruz can be counted on to get his. His target/reception line looked like: 15/10/164-TD. Eli had a nice clean pocket, probably for the only time all day, on Cruz’s long score. Nicks had 9 looks but just 3 catches and until New York gets things right he’s tough to trust. Rueben Randle saw just three pass attempts.
  • With Kenny Britt inactive, Nate Washington and Kendall Wright continued to get plenty of work with 8 and 7 targets a piece. Washington topped 100 yards again, and while everyone’s value takes a hit with Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB for the short term it should be noted that Titan QBs have a 131.8 QB Rating when throwing to Washington this year. That’s good for the 3rd best mark in the league, behind just a couple of Broncos… Justin Hunter scored a TD again, but it should be noted that he has played just 24 snaps in the past two weeks, so we shouldn’t get overly excited.
  • Given Kansas City’s reluctance to go deep, Dwayne Bowe loses some value (I know he scored a TD late, but I shared my thoughts here concerning that), but TE Sean McGrath becomes a player of interest. He caught all 5 of his targets for 64 yards and a score. After lighting up the Eagles,  10 targets, 2 catches for 23 on the day for Donnie Avery. 10 looks are great. 20% catches, not.
Matt Cassel made the Vikings pass catchers interesting again. When studying fantasy scores, though, you'd be surprised to know that Jerome Simpson received almost 4x as many looks as Greg Jennings (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Matt Cassel made the Vikings pass catchers interesting again. When studying fantasy scores, though, you’d be surprised to know that Jerome Simpson received almost 4x as many looks as Greg Jennings (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)

 

    • Greg Jennings had the big day with 2 TDs, but Jerome Simpson saw 11 targets (7 catches, 124 yards) while the vet saw just three targets. Meanwhile, Cordarrelle Patterson saw his role reduced again, back down to 13 snaps and 2 targets. He’s looking like a safe drop in redraft leagues.
    • For the second straight week Michael Floyd saw more volume than Andre Roberts, this week by a considerable amount.10 targets to 2.
    • Despite his rib injury and uncertain status Vincent Jackson played 77 snaps of 79 with Mike Glennon behind center and was targeted 11 times. He had just two catches, though. Some of that can be pinned on the injury, some of it on the QB. None of it good for those who invested an early round pick.
    • Andre Caldwell‘s snaps have grown every week (3, 6, 18, 24). The offense is good, just not good enough to support 4 WR and a TE , but you should keep an eye on that snap count/be ready to roster Caldwell if someone goes down.
    • Terrance Williams will be remembered for his fumble, but, while he had a drop he missed on just 1 of his 8 targets and totaled 71 yards. Dwayne Harris saw just two looks. If Austin misses any more time, the rookie is the guy who benefits.
    • Keenan Allen played 70 snaps, pretty much the full game, and by far his most this season. He caught every one of his targets: 5/5 for 80 yards.
    • Roddy White played 74 snaps, the first time he’s seen a full game all season and looked smoother running routes against New England. At 14 and 13 targets Gonzalez and Jones each got more looks, but they’re justifying every target they receive and that might be the case throughout the season… White seems to have moved back ahead of Harry Douglas (8 targets to 6 this week) on the pecking order, though and there is plenty of room to score as the 3rd most sought after weapon for Matt Ryan.
    • Jon Baldwin saw 2 targets and caught both of them. It is hardly worth mentioning on its own but with Quinton Patton hurt he could see many more looks moving forward. I’m not the only one thinking this way…
  • Tandon Doss wasn’t targeted in Week 3 but saw more looks (9) than Marlon Brown (8) against the Bills.
  • Robert Woods saw 8 targets this week and is averaging that number over the last 3 games. Week 4 was the first contest where he saw more looks than Steve Johnson. Catching 4 balls for 80 yards and a score while Johnson saw 6, caught 1, and lost a yard should mean more continued volume moving forward.
  • A.J. Green had 14 targets and caught 7 of them for just 51 yards. 41 of those actually came when facing Joe Haden (5 catches on 9 targets). One week after he scored a touchdown and received some hype Marvin Jones saw just 3 targets and made 0 catches.
  • Jordan Cameron saw another 12 targets, catching 10 balls, and scoring. Write it in pen for next week. This doesn’t include Monday night’s Saints game but he ranked as Pro Football Focus’ top overall TE through four games. He’s also the positions second most targeted player. In other Browns news, Greg Little  played in all 52 snaps and saw just 1 target. Owners can move on.
  • Chicago continues to distribute the ball to their three main pass catchers, featuring 37 targets between Brandon Marshall, Martellus Bennett and Alshon Jeffery. They won’t always pass that much, but, they’ll get their looks every week.
  • Ryan Broyles played in 43 snaps but received just 1 target. Meanwhile Kris Durham made 3 catches on 4 opportunities and Brandon Pettigrew saw 7 looks. It stands to reason that Pettigrew will factor into the offense as the team works to replace Nate Burleson but the distribution between Durham and Broyles is puzzling. Broyles still stands to see more of the work moving forward, but this is a situation to monitor. I’m preaching patience as the team gets Broyles up to speed following last season’s injury.
  • DeAndre Hopkins played in 81 snaps but saw just 3 targets. We’ll take this as a product of facing Seattle and not an indictmnet of the player, but, that’s something of note as well. Everyone knows as much, but, you need to temper expectations with stars facing Seahawks (just don’t tell Andre Johnson and Arian Foster).
  • Jimmy Graham was the recipient of 37 targets through the first three weeks. Naturally, against the Dolphins, he saw 4 this time around. Still, Graham was a huge fantasy contributor catching all of his targets for 100 yards and two scores.
  • Mike Wallace was targeted 8 times but made just 3 catches and saw two passes thrown his way go in the other direction, intercepted by Saints defenders. He and Tannehill clearly aren’t on the same page and he becomes a tough player to trust moving forward.

 

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