Welcome back for another target seschswan. Though there weren’t many unknowns jumping on the fantasy train to relevance town this week, some noticeable trends are developing. In this edition of target breakdown, I’ll examine some of these developing trends more closely. I’ll also be providing some target/catch ratio analysis and as always, I‘ll also offer insight into a few up and comers. Let’s start with this week’s top ten.
Explanation of Target Breakdown Scoring System
In addition to my comments, my enthusiasm for each player’s potential will be measured out of five tacos. Since we live in America where more is better, the more tacos I rate a player, the more I like him. Why tacos you ask? Well our goal in this fake world is to fill our rosters with so many dominating players that we effortlessly pummel our hapless victims. This pummeling inevitably manifests itself into delight equivalent to a vinegar stroke. If you’ve ever watched The League you’ll know what vinegar strokes are and since this is a family show, I won’t go into an in-depth explanation. You’ll also know that the term was coined by “Taco,” which provides the logic for my use of tacos as positive denotations. That and the fact that I obviously love a good taco. It makes sense in my head.
This Week’s Top Ten
Kenny Britt, Antonio Brown, Eric Decker, A.J. Green, Percy Harvin, Damaris Johnson, Steve Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Demaryius Thomas, Mike Wallace, Kendall Wright-11
Dwayne Bowe- The good news for Bowe owners is that there is no disputing who the number one offensive target on the team is. The bad news for Bowe-ners (hehe…Bowners) is that Cassell has been slinging more stones than arrows. Dwayne has reigned in only 18 of his 37 targets which is near the bottom in target/catch ratio for mid to top tier players (49%). The upside is that Bowe is consistently getting the looks. His 37 targets are 2nd best in the NFL (Wayne-40) which means he’s getting all the opportunities in the world and his 18 receptions are good for 11th in the league. I tend to see Bowe’s situation is advantageous as his opportunities are bolstered by the playmakers the Chiefs have in the run game. Bowe knows fantasy.
Vincent Jackson- After a magnanimous week two outing, Jackson was pretty much rendered useless against the Cowboys on Sunday. The scary thing for V-Jax owners is that his lack of production seemed to be the product of ultra-conservative play calling and a staunch resistance on Freeman’s part to throw the ball down field which has really been an issue all year. On a positive note, there’s no doubt that when Freeman does unload the ball deep, Jackson is the man and his 20.4 yards per catch are good for seventh in the league. The troubling trend I’m noticing however, other than the horrendous play calling, is the lack of chemistry between him and Freeman. Jackson has caught a paltry 37% of his 27 targets (10). The result is that he is tied with Roddy White for 18th in the league in targets and Anquan Boldin for 65th in receptions. With the bulk of his 204 yards coming in week two against the Giants (a passer friendly secondary) I’m starting to get nervous about V-Jax’s value going forward. His targets and his talent leave a lot of upside, but if I’m going for safety and security I’m leaving him out of my starting lineup, especially in a PPR league.
Marques Colston- At this point I think it’s perfectly natural to be concerned about the Saints in general, but despite their real-life woes, several players have at least remained fantasy relevant (see Brees, Sproles, Thomas, Moore). Cold-ston, unfortunately, is not one of them. His ten catches tie him with the likes of Emmanuel Sanders, Julian Edelman, Ramses Barden, and Anthony Fasano for 65th in the NFL and his 19 targets leave him tied for 48th. Anyone who has watched the Saints play this year can clearly see that Colston is not himself and his lingering foot injury is clearly inhibiting his ability to get away from defenders. Though it’s hard to sit him, I would give him a rest if you have other options until he recovers from his foot injury.
Santonio Holmes- His target to catch ration has been low (48%) but his production has been high. He is 11th in the league in receiving yards (243), 20th in receptions (16), and 6th in targets (33). At this point last season, Holmes was thrown to only 16 times. He caught nine of those passes for 131 yards and a touchdown. It’s an understatement to say that Holmes has outperformed his late round ADP and with Plax out of the picture, it’s clear who the Jets want to give it too. While I think that offense will continue to struggle, they have no run game and few experienced, healthy receivers. If I was smart enough to draft him (I stayed away from him like the plague) it would be hard for me to sit him any time soon, even against a stingy Niners D.
Eric Decker- Decker owners were dealt a flush on Sunday but the only flushing going on the first two weeks was down the toilet. The question is whether or not Decker is Peyton’s pet or his pet peeve. My hunch, based on target efficiency and the make-up of the Denver offense, leads me to believe that Peyton will be donning a Decker dachshund for weeks to come. Decker is currently tied for 15th in receptions (17) and he has caught 65% of his 26 targets (22nd in league). He’s not exactly a redzone magnet but he’ll get his and my guess is that he’ll soon turn into the PPR machine that owners were expecting on draft day.
Kenny Britt- Britt was thrown to on 30% of all offensive plays when he was on the field on Sunday (11 of 37 snaps). He hauled in six of those catches for a respectable 55 yards in only his second game back from suspension/knee surgery. I was pretty down on the Titan offense before Sunday but Locker showed great pose against a strong Detroit pass rush and it’s pretty safe to assume that Britt will be the focal point of the offense going forward with CJ struggling. I don’t think there’s a player in the league with more upside than Britt and I would try hard to snag him from an impatient owner while the iron is still hot.
Jordy Nelson- Three targets, two catches, nineteen yards. Really? If he was spiced rum he’d be “Admiral Nelson”, the imposter knockoff of Captain Morgan. So far he has amassed a staggering 13 receptions on 19 targets for 167 yards and no touchdowns. Alshon Jeffrey, Titus Young, and Kevin Walter are just a few of the elite names who are averaging more than Nelson’s 5.6 FPPG this season. Despite the impossible to ignore aberration that has been Nelson’s lack of fantasy relevance this season, I’m still not quite ready to give up on him. My reasoning is that it’s not just Nelson that has been atrocious, it’s the entire Green Bay offense. Rodgers has even been a disappointment, relative to his draft position. To give up on Nelson would require me to give up on Green Bay which I’m unwilling to do despite the piss poor performances they’ve put on so far. They’ve got a great matchup coming up this week against the even more disappointing Saints. I expect a bounce back game from Nelson and Rodgers.
Top Ten Receivers (minimum 19 targets) Top Ten Tight Ends
Percy Harvin- 27/32 84% Brandon Myers- 15/15 100%
Michael Crabtree- 19/24 79% Gronktastic- 14/18 78%
Calvin Johnson- 24/31 77% Heath Miller- 15/20 75%
Mike Wallace- 17/22 77% Tony Gonzalez- 21/28 75%
Steve Smith- 14/19 74% Kyle Rudolph- 13/18 72%
Kevin Ogletree- 14/19 74% Vernon Davis- 13/20 65%
Nate Burleson- 17/23 74% Martellus Bennett- 15/23 65%
Danny Amendola- 25/34 74% Brandon Pettigrew- 16/26 62%
Roddy White- 19/27 70% Dennis Pitta- 18/30 60%
Jordy Nelson 12/19 68% Jermaine Gresham- 12/20 60%
Ramses Barden- The former 4th round pick stole the show Thursday night, hauling in nine of his ten targets for 138 yards. While his performance should in no way impact the fantasy value of Cruz or Nicks, I think we’ve learned that Barden is the clear handcuff, if you will, to the oft injured Hakeem Nicks. One thing we do know is that the Giants are going to throw the ball…a lot, and even the third or fourth option in the pass game is worth a roster spot. I just wouldn’t go starting him unless Nicks or Cruz misses time, even as a flex play.
Julian Edelman- Edelman was essentially promoted to WR2 last week, playing 15 of the 18 two wide snaps against the Cardinals. Edelman looked like a big part of the gameplay again on Sunday night though aside from a nice touchdown reception, Edelman was only able to capitalize on four of his seven targets for 28 yards. Meanwhile, the “demoted” Wes Welker led the Pat’s receivers with 142 yards, catching eight of his ten targets. I mentioned last week that I wouldn’t put much stake in Welker’s demotion, but I do like Edelman’s potential going forward. It’s clear that the Pat’s want to make him a big part of the game plan and with Hernandez out indefinitely, Edelman is worth flex consideration in deeper leagues. To me, Edelman has more value than a guy like Barden whose production will likely hinge on others’ ailments. I see Edelman’s production as a rising trend worth noting. Obviously prospective owners will want to do their research on Edelman’s hand injury before dipping their toes into waiver waters however.
Armon Binns and Andrew Hawkins- Much like Jerome Simpson a year ago, the #2 in Cinci is worth rostering. The question is which of the two is more likely to produce? I don’t feel strongly either way at this point, but Binns is the #2 on the depth chart and sees more opportunity by the sheer fact that he is on the field more. He is also very efficient when it comes to snagging Dalton’s darts, catching 92% of passes thrown his way (12/13). While Binns has been beneficial, it’s hard to ignore Hawkins’ production. The dynamic slot receiver has caught 12 passes on 16 targets and has the edge in yardage (208-157) and touchdowns (2-1). When it all shakes out I think Binns will be the more valuable player. While neither one is likely to produce reliable numbers on a weekly basis at this point, either is worth flex consideration in deeper leagues next week when bye weeks start.
Leonard Hankerson- Hanky was hyped in the offseason, but his performance on the fantasy playing field so far has been mediocre at best. He currently has six catches for 124 yards and a touch on ten targets which puts him in 30th place among wide receivers in FPPG (standard). The upside for Hankerson, however, is that his performance on the real football field has earned him a starting nod. With Garcon looking like he’s going to have a lingering foot issue, Hankerson could prove very valuable going forward. He’s got a whole lotta upside and he’s definitely worth a roster spot in 10-12 team leagues.