Target Town: Week 9
November 6, 2013 | John Kerwin
A Tier Of His Own, and A.J. Green isn’t coming back down to earth any time soon. It is not surprising that Green has managed to frequent this list more often than not, because Andy Dalton will never have a receiver as reliable as Green throughout his entire career. The Bengals have been a very pass-heavy offense as of late, and he is going to continue to be the centerpiece. With an astounding 19 targets, Green was able to haul in 11 receptions for 128 yards. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to find the end zone this week, but that could easily change come Week 10. Keep him locked in as a solid WR1, and don’t expect this to change.
There Is A New Gunslinger In Town, and he has Andre Johnson locked into his sights. Case Keenum rejuvenated the aging Johnson with his aerial assault, and Johnson showed flashes of his youthful self with magnificent plays downfield. The nine catches are nothing new for Johnson, but the 229 yards and three touchdowns is what has been missing this season. If this is any sign of things to come, I would put my money on Johnson being a top five wide receiver as the season progresses. Be grateful that Keenum is making this all possible, and lets just hope this isn’t a fluke.
New Quarterback, Same Story…and what a story it has been for Brandon Marshall as he continues to prove why he has been considered an elite wide receiver throughout most of his career. Josh McCown looked nothing like a backup quarterback, but I don’t think it really makes a difference when it comes to Marshall. Regardless of who is under center, he is going to continue to be force fed, and it is even more difficult for defenses to shade coverage his way with Alshon Jeffery on the opposite side of the field. Continue to trust in Marshall no matter what the situation is like in Chicago.
He Once Was Invisible, But Now Is Found…and I still can’t figure out why it took nine weeks forAlex Smith to realize Dwayne Bowe played for the Chiefs, and he was an eligible receiver. Bowe didn’t have the most efficient day, but seven catches is very notable from what we’ve seen up to this point in the season. It is very tough to gauge is this will be a natural occurrence or if it was an anomaly, but it is a good sign regardless. I still wouldn’t trust Bowe as any more than a WR3 on my roster, but show a little excitement that he still plays football.
BOLTing Onto The Scene…Keenan Allen has emerged as not only a reliable receiver for the Chargers, but as a legitimate WR1 for his respective team, and a very relevant fantasy option. Allen has now showed us the consistency we were hoping to see from Danario Alexander this season, but a barrage of injuries to the Chargers wide receiver corps has left the rookie with nothing but opportunity. He has flourished as the go-to receiver for Philip Rivers, and I only expect him to develop and refine his skills as time passes. If you own this kid, hang on tight.
The New Man.. In Target Town, and T.Y. Hilton is the new favorite target of Andrew Luck. Many people were skeptical that Hilton wouldn’t be able to fill the shoes of Reggie Wayne, but he quieted many doubters with his three touchdown performance on seven catches for 121 yards. I personally jumped the gun and traded for Hilton as soon as Wayne went down, but unfortunately the value window has closed on any opportunity to land Hilton for a cheap price tag. I would be locking this guy into every lineup I can for the remainder of the season, and watch his rapport with Luck sky rocket.
Dez It Surprise You? It should be no shocker that Dez Bryant is on this list yet again, and whether he is throwing tantrums or catching touchdowns, he is going to continue to grace this list. The Cowboys know they have one of the most athletically gifted receivers in the NFL, and he will continue to be the favorite target of Tony Romo. Just make sure you keep him in your lineups, and all will be fine.
To Trust Or Not To Trust, but the question is much larger than that. When two guys like Emmanuel Sanders and Doug Baldwin land on a list like this, it is difficult to decipher what to expect moving forward. Unfortunately Baldwin plays for a run-first football team who is expecting their new star receiver back any week now. The other issue is that there is another Golden road block between Baldwin and fantasy relevance. I would choose to stay away from his situation unless you’re talking deeper leagues. Sanders situation is a bit different, but not much more promising. Antonio Brown is still the man in Pittsburgh, and Jerricho Cotchery has been spectacular at times this season. Heath Miller will always have a place in Ben Roethlisberger’s heart, and that pretty much sums up his fantasy value. He was a product of game flow and the fact that the Patriots scored at will on Sunday. Don’t expect this to be a common recurrence.
Ageless Wonder If It Continues, but Steve Smith needs to start packing the stat lines. It is nice to see him garnering so many targets from Cam Newton, but his four receptions for 52 yards isn’t going to make many fantasy owners elated. Smith has showed flashes of that tenacity and fire that we’ve have come to love from the undersized wide out, but he just doesn’t produce like he used to. Cam is still not as consistent of a passer as we would like to see, and Smith doesn’t have enough weapons around him to divert coverage. He is a solid low-end receiver option, but temper your expectations moving forward.
No Surprises Here, and they basically fell right into exact order too. Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, and Jason Witten have been ranked in that exact for a few years now, and it is about time that they played like it. All of the young promising tight ends have moved aside this past week for the talented veterans to take center stage. There isn’t much to say except keep all three of these guys in your lineups, and don’t look back. Graham appears to be rapidly moving past his foot injury, and Gronk seems to be quickly healing from all of his. Witten has finally busted out of that disappearing act that he has been pulling, and reminded us all why we shouldn’t bench our stud players. Keep rolling these three out there and collecting the points.
Three And Out, and that is basically how this list goes. After the big three there isn’t much to say about the tight ends as we move down the rankings. The most efficient performance outside of the big three was Tony Gonzalez, and he didn’t garner enough targets to make an appearance on the chart above. Antonio Gates is well past his prime, and has his decent games, but just isn’t capable of stringing together exceptional weeks. Scott Chandler is destined for fantasy mediocrity every week that he fails to find pay dirt. Don’t be fooled by targets at times, because they don’t always tell the entire story.