Fantasy Football

RotoWire Target Analysis 102413

RotoWire.com Howard Bender
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Now that the Week 7 dust has settled and you're done licking your wounds from what was probably one of the more brutal weeks in the NFL in a long while, it's time to get back to business. The week is over. Put it past you. No more lamenting over lost players. There may be crying in fantasy football, but it's done in private, far away from the derisive glare of your fellow owners. They're making fun of you and your team enough already. There's no reason to give them more fodder.

With all the quarterbacks and running backs who have been lost this season, your need to start strong wide receivers and tight ends is even greater than before, especially if you're sitting on the bubble of your playoff picture and need to find a way in. And if you're already inside that bubble, you need to do whatever it takes to maintain your position inside. Targets, targets, targets. Big targets, a lot of yards, touchdowns and, of course, red zone looks - that's what it's all about. But you know this already, which is why you're reading this article. So let's stop wasting time and get to the meat of it all.

Week 7 Target Leaders

(Click column headings to sort.)

 

PLAYER POS YARDS TD PASS ATT TARGETS REC RZ TRGT RZ TRG% CATCH% TARGET%
Vincent Jackson, TB WR 138 2 44 22 10 9 50.0 45.5 50.0
Rob Gronkowski, NE TE 114 0 46 17 8 0 0.0 47.1 37.0
Dez Bryant, DAL WR 110 0 47 16 8 3 20.0 50.0 34.0
Calvin Johnson, DET WR 155 2 51 15 9 3 14.3 60.0 29.4
Steve Johnson, BUF WR 61 0 32 13 6 4 50.0 46.2 40.6
Cecil Shorts, JAC WR 80 0 36 13 8 4 37.5 61.5 36.1
Eric Decker, DEN WR 150 1 49 13 8 5 33.3 61.5 26.5
Kendall Wright, TEN WR 98 0 41 12 9 0 0.0 75.0 29.3
Wes Welker, DEN WR 96 0 49 12 7 5 33.3 58.3 24.5
Jason Avant, PHI WR 32 0 49 12 3 2 66.7 25.0 24.5
Brian Hartline, MIA WR 69 0 37 11 6 2 28.6 54.5 29.7
T.Y. Hilton, IND WR 27 0 38 11 2 0 0.0 18.2 28.9
Brandon Marshall, CHI WR 75 0 28 10 6 1 33.3 60.0 35.7
Jeremy Kerley, NYJ WR 97 1 33 10 8 2 28.6 80.0 30.3
Jarrett Boykin, GB WR 103 1 36 10 8 2 50.0 80.0 27.8
Mike Wallace, MIA WR 76 0 37 10 5 0 0.0 50.0 27.0
Hakeem Nicks, NYG WR 28 0 39 10 2 2 40.0 20.0 25.6
Nate Washington, TEN WR 62 0 41 10 3 1 33.3 30.0 24.4
Michael Floyd, ARI WR 71 0 45 10 6 1 14.3 60.0 22.2
Greg Jennings, MIN WR 41 0 53 10 4 1 25.0 40.0 18.9

Vincent Jackson, WR TB - This was quite the week for Jackson, who topped the weekly leaderboard with a whopping 22 targets. The 45.5-percent catch rate leaves little to be desired but there's as much of that on Mike Glennon for his throws as there is for Jackson and any missed catches. The important thing, though, is the number of opportunities Jackson sees each week. He's seen fewer than 11 targets just once this season and just these last two weeks he's seen 36 targets and has turned them into 19 catches for 250 yards and four touchdowns. It may not be so bountiful for Jackson each and every week, but Glennon's options are basically limited to him and Mike Williams, so you can probably count on a significant number of targets the rest of the way.

Rob Gronkowski, TE NE - Well, that certainly didn't take long at all, did it? In his first game back Gronkowski saw a whopping 17 targets, and that's probably just the tip of the iceberg. Tom Brady has been so heavily reliant on Julian Edelman that some new blood was definitely a necessity for New England. Gronk will continue to see a high number of looks each and every week and becomes an immediate must-start now that he's ready for game action.

Steve Johnson, WR BUF - The normally reliable and PPR-friendly Johnson is sure having his difficulties this season what with the tenuous quarterback situation in Buffalo. The 13 targets he saw this week were the most he's seen since Week 3, but the yards gained are leaving little to be desired. Obviously, stability at the quarterback position is key, but really ... is Thaddeus Lewis really the answer? Probably not. But with EJ Manuel still a few weeks away, Johnson's owners may just have to sit patiently on the veteran wideout and patiently wait until he has someone with a more reliable arm throwing him the ball. He could be a serious asset come fantasy playoff time when a better quarterback is getting him the ball, so dropping him for some flavor of the week might not be the best course of action.

Jason Avant, WR PHI - Avant makes a rare appearance on the target leaderboard this week, but before you go picking him up to replace your injured Reggie Wayne, keep in mind that it's highly unlikely you'll see him here again this season unless the Eagles are forced to go with Matt Barkley under center again, and even then, he's a risky play. The two have worked together often in practice, so it's to be expected that the quarterback will favor whomever he's more comfortable with on the field, but with Michael Vick likely to return in Week 8, the tilt in targets will head back DeSean Jackson's way again soon.

Jarrett Boykin, WR GB - Finally, a waiver pickup who doesn't disappoint and one who will actually last more than just one week. While the return of James Jones likely will cut into Boykin's future targets, the second-year receiver is still going to be an active part of the passing game, especially if he proves that he's consistently reliable. Replacing Randall Cobb means a lot of possession work, so Boykin will probably be a few ticks better in a PPR league, but should he continue to see a decent percentage of red-zone looks, then he'll prove his worth in standard scoring leagues as well.

Seeing a bunch of new faces on the weekly leaderboard is fine for the short-run, but year-long consistency is the key. That is, unless you like taking big chances each week playing the matchups, which few people really feel comfortable doing. So with that, let's turn our attention to the overall targets leaderboard and see if we can't find a few names worthy of targeting for our lineups on a regular basis.

Overall Targets Leaderboard

(Click column headings to sort.)

 

PLAYER POS YARDS TD PASS ATT TARGETS REC RZ TRGT RZ TRG% CATCH% TARGET%
Vincent Jackson, TB WR 544 4 222 77 36 14 41.2 46.8 34.7
A.J. Green, CIN WR 619 5 245 77 43 17 39.1 55.8 31.4
Cecil Shorts, JAC WR 491 1 246 77 39 20 24.4 50.6 31.3
Andre Johnson, HOU WR 584 0 280 71 48 4 10.0 67.6 25.4
Dez Bryant, DAL WR 569 6 265 70 42 22 25.0 60.0 26.4
Brandon Marshall, CHI WR 540 5 246 68 46 17 24.3 67.6 27.6
Julian Edelman, NE WR 455 2 285 68 46 14 29.0 67.6 23.9
Pierre Garcon, WAS WR 466 2 238 67 40 18 39.3 59.7 28.2
Victor Cruz, NYG WR 591 4 272 67 40 9 31.8 59.7 24.6
DeSean Jackson, PHI WR 610 5 242 63 37 9 27.6 58.7 26.0
Jordan Cameron, CLE TE 515 6 287 63 45 25 39.5 71.4 22.0
Eric Decker, DEN WR 627 3 288 63 42 21 21.1 66.7 21.9
Calvin Johnson, DET WR 492 6 290 63 33 23 36.8 52.4 21.7
Wes Welker, DEN WR 474 8 288 62 44 30 32.7 71.0 21.5
Torrey Smith, BAL WR 629 1 269 61 31 5 14.3 50.8 22.7
Antonio Brown, PIT WR 548 2 217 60 47 9 29.2 78.3 27.6
Jimmy Graham, NO TE 593 6 237 59 37 10 21.9 62.7 24.9
Julio Jones, ATL WR 580 2 245 59 41 17 17.6 69.5 24.1
Reggie Wayne, IND WR 503 2 229 58 38 12 26.9 65.5 25.3
Kendall Wright, TEN WR 433 1 230 58 40 8 21.7 69.0 25.2
Demaryius Thomas, DEN WR 610 5 288 58 41 9 11.5 70.7 20.1
Alshon Jeffery, CHI WR 561 2 246 57 33 16 24.3 57.9 23.2
Jamaal Charles, KC RB 337 2 250 57 36 17 25.7 63.2 22.8
Larry Fitzgerald, ARI WR 422 4 267 57 32 12 27.3 56.1 21.3
Anquan Boldin, SF WR 495 2 182 56 34 7 30.0 60.7 30.8
Hakeem Nicks, NYG WR 470 0 272 55 27 6 22.7 49.1 20.2
Antonio Gates, SD TE 497 2 274 55 42 13 16.7 76.4 20.1
Kenbrell Thompkins, NE WR 334 4 285 55 23 18 32.3 41.8 19.3
Mike Wallace, MIA WR 357 1 229 54 27 7 21.7 50.0 23.6
T.Y. Hilton, IND WR 412 2 229 54 27 1 3.8 50.0 23.6
Jason Witten, DAL TE 388 3 265 54 35 12 22.2 64.8 20.4
Nate Washington, TEN WR 439 2 230 52 26 5 13.0 50.0 22.6
Michael Floyd, ARI WR 416 1 267 52 32 7 27.3 61.5 19.5
Steve Johnson, BUF WR 315 2 234 51 26 14 38.9 51.0 21.8
Tony Gonzalez, ATL TE 369 3 245 51 35 20 27.5 68.6 20.8
Greg Little, CLE WR 210 1 287 51 20 12 18.4 39.2 17.8
Brian Hartline, MIA WR 401 2 229 50 31 4 17.4 62.0 21.8
Steve Smith, CAR WR 293 3 170 49 28 18 47.6 57.1 28.8
Robert Woods, BUF WR 298 2 234 49 21 6 22.2 42.9 20.9
Josh Gordon, CLE WR 450 2 287 49 27 7 10.5 55.1 17.1
Julius Thomas, DEN TE 422 8 288 49 36 20 25.0 73.5 17.0
Jerome Simpson, MIN WR 404 0 222 48 26 2 9.1 54.2 21.6
Davone Bess, CLE WR 234 0 287 48 25 7 13.2 52.1 16.7
Golden Tate, SEA WR 346 1 195 47 27 5 25.0 57.4 24.1
Jason Avant, PHI WR 232 1 242 47 22 8 24.1 46.8 19.4
Martellus Bennett, CHI TE 356 4 246 47 32 20 32.4 68.1 19.1
Emmanuel Sanders, PIT WR 308 1 217 46 24 6 20.8 52.2 21.2
Jordy Nelson, GB WR 526 5 220 46 32 11 25.0 69.6 20.9
Tavon Austin, STL WR 198 2 267 46 29 12 17.5 63.0 17.2
Randall Cobb, GB WR 378 2 220 45 29 15 28.1 64.4 20.5
Danny Woodhead, SD RB 314 3 274 45 40 14 22.9 88.9 16.4

One note before we continue - after this week, we'll pull off the names of those who won't be playing again for the duration of the season. There's no need to keep looking at Julio Jones' name and stats, as it's probably just bumming out his owners; or ex-owners as the case may be. That should make some room for a few extra names at which we should probably be looking.

Target Percentage Leaders

Once again, we've got the same four guys - Vincent Jackson, A.J. Green, Cecil Shorts and Anquan Boldin - sitting atop the target percentage leaderboard. But while all four are must-own guys, not all are must-starts. Green and Jackson absolute must-starts and, for the most part, as long as Shorts is healthy, you'll want him in there as Jacksonville likely will be playing from behind each week and airing it out heavily in the second half. But Boldin remains a tough play on a regular basis thanks to the double-teams he sees each week. Until the 49ers land themselves another viable option at receiver, Boldin remains a very risky play. He hasn't picked up more than 90 yards in any game over the last six weeks and he has just one touchdown in that span. He may be seeing the most targets on his team, but he's been unable to do much with them.

Red-Zone Target Leaders

Wes Welker, WR DEN (30) - With another five red-zone targets Sunday, Welker continues to lead the pack. His target percentage remains comparable to both Eric Decker's and that of Demaryius Thomas, but it's the red-zone looks that have made Welker the most valuable receiver on that team, despite having more than 100 fewer yards than each of the other two.

Jordan Cameron, TE CLE (25) - The increased time spent working with Brandon Weeden finally payed off as Cameron grabbed his first touchdown Sunday in three weeks. Couple that with the presence of Josh Gordon spreading the field and drawing coverage, and suddenly you have the Cameron we saw in the first four weeks of the season. Unfortunately though, the Browns are going with Jason Campbell this week, and while he could rely on the second-year tight end as well, there is an air of uncertainty that has surrounded Campbell for years now. That certainly won't help Cameron's overall stock. In addition to the change in quarterback, another issue working against Cameron is the additional coverage he is starting to see. With Gordon being the only receiver drawing coverage his way and a lack of a ground attack for Cleveland, Cameron is being targeted by the defense and he is starting to see his routes cut off. That probably won't affect him when the Browns are deep in the red zone, but his overall yardage totals may start to suffer even more.

Calvin Johnson, WR DET (23) - Is there anything that really needs to be said about this guy? Far too many were losing faith in him which is astounding, but thanks to a 155-yard, two-touchdown performance Sunday, the opportunity to buy low has long since passed. If he's on a team in your league that lacks depth, then putting together a package for him is a must. You may not land him, but wouldn't you be bummed if someone else did before you even made the effort?

Potential Risers (those who failed to make the overall leaderboard):

Denarius Moore
Rueben Randle
Greg Jennings
Vernon Davis
Darren Sproles

Potential Fallers:

Jason Avant
Tavon Austin
Robert Woods
Davone Bess
Kenbrell Thompkins

Week 8 Matchup to Watch

Washington Redskins at Denver Broncos - While it's blatantly obvious that all Denver receivers are a must-start each and every week, this week's matchup with the Redskins is particularly tasty. The Skins defense is giving up an average of 263 passing yards per game and has allowed 11 touchdowns through the air this year. While you could say they've held their own against some potent offenses like Philly and Dallas, there's a familiarity there as division rivals that they don't have with Peyton Manning, who will be looking for obvious retribution after last week's loss. On the other side, come on. The Skins put up 45 points on a much sturdier Bears defense, and RG3 looks like a man on a mission now. New favorite target Jordan Reed and wide receiver Pierre Garcon are must-starts this week and should be lighting up the scoreboard for fantasy owners everywhere.

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Tagged: Hakeem Nicks, Rob Gronkowski, Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, Antonio Brown, Eric Decker, Julio Jones, A.J. Green, Randall Cobb, Greg Little, Julius Thomas, Jordan Cameron, Brandon Weeden, Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright, T.Y. Hilton, Jarrett Boykin, Josh Gordon, Falcons, Bills, Bears, Bengals, Browns, Cowboys, Broncos, Lions, Packers, Titans, Colts, Rams, Dolphins, Vikings, Patriots, Giants, Eagles, 49ers, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Redskins, Panthers, Cardinals, Steelers, Chargers, Texans, Michael Vick, Reggie Wayne, Steve Smith Sr., Mike Williams, Anquan Boldin, Jason Witten, Andre Johnson, Wes Welker, Jason Campbell, Vincent Jackson, Nate Washington, Greg Jennings, Jason Avant, Brandon Marshall, James Jones, Calvin Johnson, DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Davone Bess, Julian Edelman, Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline

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