Target Town: Week 10
November 12, 2013 | John Kerwin
Carries to a running back equal targets to receivers, and opportunity is the name of the game in fantasy football. The analysis of the game we love has reached all time depths as we all aspire to delve as far into the statistical breakdown of the game as we possibly can. The only problem some people have is that they don’t quite know how to decipher the numbers, and they are blinded by phantom stats that cloud of judgement of the eye-test we demonstrate every week during the NFL season. I bring you this target analysis on a weekly basis to try and correlate some type of trend or common occurrence as fantasy seasons move forward, but make sure you aren’t deciding your weekly fantasy decisions on numbers alone. Use a well-rounded structure of information and football intelligence to try and earn yourself a fantasy football championship.
I welcome you to Week 10 of Target Town, and I am personally going to do my best to help you dig a bit deeper to attain that one common goal we all share. I wish everyone the best of luck as the season winds down, and I will continue to toss my pennies at you simply two at a time.
Out Of Nowhere, And Difficult To Trust. This was an outstanding performance from Rishard Matthews in the absence of Brandon Gibson, but being the replacement of Gibson is exactly why it is way too risky to put faith in Matthews at this point. Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace are still ahead of Matthews in the progressions of Ryan Tannehill, but there is a vital aspect we can takeaway from this game; Tannehill loves throwing to the slot. A team-high 10 of Matthews 11 receptions came from the slot along with 108 of of his 120 yards receiving. Both touchdowns also came from the slot position, and could be promising if the running game continues to struggle as mightily as it did on Monday. The Dolphins only managed a shameful two yards rushing, yes, I said a whopping two entire yards. That is nearly unfathomable to comprehend, and the drama surrounding the loss of two starting offensive lineman – not to be mentioned – looks to have taken its toll in Week 10. I wouldn’t be opposed to stashing Matthews on the end of your bench if you have the room, and grabbing him in deeper leagues. Although you can’t expect any type of consistency from him, you would think somebody needs to emerge as the go-to receiver in Miami. Keep and eye on the situation, but temper your expectations.
Robin Or Batman In Training? That is the question when it comes to deciphering the future of Alshon Jeffery, but I don’t think there is any doubt that his potential leaves the answer up to himself. Brandon Marshall is clearly the number one receiver within the Bears offense, but Jeffery’s talent can’t be overlooked. Jeffery has a large frame, and is quick for his size. His athleticism allows him to make plays that only elite receivers are capable of making. He has all the tools and physical stature to be a dominant wide out for years to come, but only time will tell if he can develop into an upper echelon receiver. It is safe to say that you can consider Jeffery a solid WR3 if not WR2 with four 100-plus yard games in his last six outings. Defenses are forces to pick their poison if they plan on double teaming either of the gifted receivers. Jay Cutler is out once again, but I don’t think that Josh McCown is a major downgrade. He has showed the poise and capability of keeping this offense on track, and has the ability to help Marshall and Jeffery continue to flourish within this well-rounded offense. I would be an ecstatic owner of Jeffery for the present and future years to come.
Looks Can Be Deceiving, But Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire. Torrey Smith will continue to be the lead target for the Ravens as long as the receiving corps is so thin, and the offensive line won’t allow Ray Rice to cross the line of the scrimmage. The Ravens are not the same team we saw last season, and it is difficult to watch at time. Rice has been a shell of himself this season, and Joe Flacco is not even close to being worth the contract he received in the offseason. The ineffectiveness of this offensive unit limits the upside of Smith, and he turns into an unreliable option when the team is so hit or miss. It is just too tough to rely on him as more than a WR3/Flex at this point, and you will still have disappointing weeks. The most frustrating aspect of this situation is that Torrey possesses the talent to be an asset to every fantasy owner imaginable, but it just isn’t going to be this year. It is best to stay out of trouble and surround Torrey with consistent options throughout your starting lineups.
The Duo Down In Houston is starting to do damage with the hometown gunslinger at the helm. Case Keenum has woken up a sleeping giant in Andre Johnson and hatched a beast in DeAndre Hopkins. AJ has five touchdowns on the season, and all five of those have come during the last two games with Keenum under center. Texans fans can be grateful that Matt Schaub has all but lost his job at this point, and there is still hope after the loss of Arian Foster. It is funny how a couple of injuries can completely change the scheme of an entire offense, and the once run-first Texans offense has quickly turned into a pass-heavy team. Hopkins looked capable of fighting for the rookie of the year towards the beginning of the season, but he’s had his growing pains in an offense he is still attempting to carve his role into. The expansion of the passing game will definitely give both receivers the opportunity to be productive on a consistent basis, but lets just hope Keenum can sustain the type of play he has demonstrated over the last few weeks. I would lock AJ in as a WR1 on a weekly basis, and Nuk for the time being with potential to become a WR3 depending on workload.
Boy-kin He Ball, but unfortunately Jarrett Boykin has been the product of injuries and now is devastated by the loss of Aaron Rodgers. There are a lot of question marks surrounding the quarterback position for the Packers during the upcoming weeks, and it really knocks their fantasy promise down a notch across the board. Rodgers is arguably the most talented quarterback active in the NFL, and his loss is detrimental to the success of not only the Packers, but fantasy owners of any player on the offense. Jordy Nelson would be the only receiver I’d be interested in plugging into my starting lineup, and I still feel like he gets a bump out of my Top 20 wide receivers moving forward without Rodgers. I would consider Boykin nothing more than a WR4 with the current situation looking fairly dismal for weeks to come.
There comes a point when I can only say so much about guys like Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, A.J. Green, and Demaryius Thomas, and you don’t need my advice to know that they need to be in your lineups whenever active. Start these guys with confidence, and rest easy my friends.
Start Jordan Reed, enough said.
Buyers Beware, but don’t be surprised if Coby Fleener can manage to put it together. There was a lot of hype buzzing around Fleener during the offseason, and it all died down as the season progressed until the loss of Reggie Wayne. The targets that were opened up after Wayne’s injury weren’t guaranteed outside of T.Y. Hilton, but it looks as if Andrew Luck is finally going to start utilizing his former college teammate. The problem is that Luck will have to be much more efficient than this past weekend to build our trust in Fleener. The Colts were atrocious on Sunday, and Luck was rendered useless for a majority of the game. It was encouraging to see 10 targets in Fleener’s direction, but four receptions for 33 yards isn’t going to cut it.It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have Fleener as your TE2, but that TE2 range is the highest I can place him for the time being.
To The Rescue, but there is no saving the Dolphins this season. It looks as if this team is crippling and beginning to crumble before our eyes. They were one of the hottest teams in the entire league to start the season, but how quickly the tide can turn when distractions and off the field issues begin to affect game day. Charles Clay has been a bright spot on a very unpredictable Dolphins team, and it is almost looking like he is the most reliable option within the offense. I still consider Clay nothing more than a high-end TE2 option, because we just don’t know if he is going to get his chances to make a difference each and every week. You can hold Clay for the time being, and only use him if you need the help at tight end.
Only A Mattter Of Time before Tyler Eifert is going to be the only mentionable tight end on the Bengals roster. He was drafted as a compliment to A.J. Green as the future of the Bengals passing game, but unfortunately Andy Dalton has hindered any possibility of that blossoming immediately. Eifert and fellow rookie Giovani Bernard have showed flashes of their potential this season, but the Bengals just haven’t shown they can be a consistent threat to put up point every week. I think it is going to take at least this season for Eifert to become a fantasy threat.
Not His First Rodeo, and not the first time John Carlson has fooled people into thinking this is who he is. We can’t forget that Carlson had plenty of opportunity in Seattle to prove himself, and wasn’t able to establish his skill set a the tight end position. It is nice to see someone on the Vikings offensive side of the ball not named Adrian Peterson score some points, but AP is the only one we can trust in our lineups. Carlson will be a sneaky start throughout random weeks, but good luck figuring it out.