Week 9 Target Breakdown
November 6, 2012 | Jones
Welcome everybody to the wild week nine wrap-up known officially as Target Breakdown. It certainly was a wild week in the NFL as Martin court-martialed the Raiders for the fourth best fantasy performance since the 1970 merger. Ironically, the league in which I own Martin I lost (my team consisted of Eli, Antonio Brown, Darren McFadden, and Kyle Rudolph) and I also won going against Martin in a two quarterback league. Crazy. Target wise, the receivers were led by Marshall’s magnanimous performance, Decker’s domination, and Cobb’s coronation. These three have been doing it all year, but there were a few breakthroughs this week. Let’s check ‘em out, along with the other target targets, trendy trends, and my terrible tangents.
Explanation of 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(ish)
Brian Hartline– Hartline found himself at the top of the target list once again this week with a 12 target, eight catch, 107 yard performance against the Colts on Sunday. This is his second game back after the bye and a groin ailment and with Tannehill healthy as well, it looks like Hartline will once again be fantasy relevant. There’s no question that Hartline is Tannehill’s heartthrob, so as long they’re both healthy, Brian and Ryan are going to produce. Feel free to stick him back into your lineups against an atrocious Titan defense, especially in PPR leagues.
Josh Morgan– My lack of enthusiasm for Josh Morgan has been well documented this season, but given the myriad of circumstances surrounding the Redskins, Morgan has the makings of a decent flex play going forward. The news about Garcon just keeps getting worse and it looks like the ‘Skins are close to making a decision to shut Garcon down for the season. According to Jason La Canfora, if Garcon’s foot does not improve (and there’s really no reason to think it will) by the end of their week 10 bye, they will put him on IR. Teammate Santana Moss sustained a concussion in the game as well, though he will have an extra week to recover, and Shanahan has made some pretty overt comments about his desire to begin “evaluating” players for next year’s roster. My guess is that he’ll want to take a long look at Morgan and Hankerson, but it could also mean that he’ll be looking deeper on his bench too. Essentially, Shanny has thrown in the towel on the season so it is difficult to endorse any Redskin not named RGIII too strongly, but for now Morgan seems serviceable and safe in his starting role. Though unlikely to find the endzone a whole lot, Morgan does have 13 catches over his last three games and is tied for 17th among wide receivers in targets over that span (22). He’s only gained 108 total yards in the last three games, however, so his value lies primarily in PPR leagues. He will get targets, and more than likely he will be available in your league, especially since they’re on bye week 10, and he’s not the worst flex play against the Eagles week 11.
Brandon Myers– I’ve been hyping Myers for weeks now as a great flex play/bye week filler, but he appears to have transcended into weekly starter territory. Myers has been a target monster for the better part of the season and he’s third behind only Gronk and Witten in targets over the last five weeks with 33, catching 24 (2nd) for 214 yards (7th) and two touchdowns. His two tds came this Sunday, after DMC left the game with what is now being described as a high-ankle sprain. Myers was Palmer’s favorite target Sunday and he looked to Myers 13 times, connecting eight times for 59 yards. Given the number of targets and receptions he has, Myers seems to be more valuable in PPR leagues, but with the loss of DMC and backup Goodson also injured, the Raiders will surely go to a more pass-heavy offense—a move that will increase Myers’ value. I like him a lot going forward and I see him as a mid-level TE1, at least until McFadden returns.
Ryan Broyles– I’m reneging a bit on my stance on Broyles as he’s now put up three solid games in a row. After all, he is catching 80% passes thrown his way over the last three weeks which suggests some solid chemistry with his QB. He’s also found the endzone twice already, which is more than can be said for for CJ. However, tds aside, the rest of his stats are fairly mediocre. His 12 catches and 140 yards since taking over as the #3 put him outside of the top 25 among receivers. While that still suggests flex play potential, I see two touchdowns over a three game span as the ceiling on his potential. I still like him as a PPR pickup however, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him snag six passes per with regularity.
Rod Streater– Streater was 2nd to Myers with 10 targets on Sunday as the Raiders were in serious catch up mode. Streater managed to haul in four for 54 yards and a touchdown and with the running game on crutches and DHB perennially injured, there’s reason to think that Streater could be a contributor going forward. While that is a possibility, the man has fewer than 20 receptions and less than 200 yards receiving on the season and at best he’s the 4th option on a bad Raiders team, and that’s only if DMC is out. He’s a very risky play in my opinion and there’s not a lot of reward. I’d be surprised if he ever goes for 100 and 1 in a game this year. That being said, he’s worth watching as the Raider’s may be doing their best, albeit inept, Packers impression these next few weeks while McFadden ails.
Kevin Ogletree– After his week one performance, I lauded Ogletree as this year’s Laurent Robinson. Given Bryant’s inconsistency, I suspected Ogletree to put up solid, serviceable numbers on a consistent basis but I can admit when I’m wrong and I was wrong about Ogletree. Romo has opted for his more talented big three of Witten, Austin, and Bryant, and it’s reflected in the targets. Over their last four games, Ogletree only has only 17 targets; Witten and Austin have over twice as many and Bryant has 33. Ogletree has only seven receptions for 123 yards and one touchdown in that span and on the season he is only averaging 6.7 fantasy points per game, despite his monstrous week one performance. He only has 41 targets on the year and he simply can’t be counted on for more than a hail mary desperation play unless one of the big three get hurt.
Golden Tate– Tate was the golden goose on Sunday, catching four passes on six targets for 28 yards and two touchdowns. This performance was an encore for his seven catch, seven target, 64 yard contribution in week 8. My assessment of Tate is that he is a moderate ceiling, high risk play, as there’s no secret that the Seahawks are a run first team. What is a secret, is who is going to play receiver for the Seahawks on any given Sunday and this is information that potential owners may want to research before plugging Tate in. Though Tate is listed as the #2, and therefore technically a starter, he was slated to split time with Braylon Edwards in week 8 before swelling in Braylon’s knee forced a late game scratch. Baldwin and Obamanu have also been dinged up, all contributing to Golden’s goldenness. I see him as a potential matchup flex play, but don’t expect anything remotely resembling consistency when it comes to any Seahawk receiver not named Sidney Rice (and even he carries risk).
Justin Blackmon– Blackmon’s rookie campaign has been more black eye than big time. I, for one, was counting on a solid year from the talented rookie, but Jacksonville in general has been pretty disappointing. I guess that’s why I keep writing about him; I want him to be good even though I don’t own the guy in any league. Maybe I’m just sentimental. Anyway, Blackmon benefited from Jacksonville’s comeback effort as they were down big early, forcing Gabbert to do his best impression of an NFL quarterback. Blackmon did find paydirt for the first time this season, catching five of his nine targets for 32 yards. He’s actually averaging 7 targets over the last three games, catching 10 passes in that span and he leads the Jags in targets on the season with 54 (one behind Mike Williams TB). His targets over the last three weeks put him near the top 20 among WRs, but his receptions and yardage barely keep in the top 40. It hurts a bit, but he simply can’t be trusted given the dire atrocity that is the Jaguar offense, and with Laurent Robinson back (nine targets, six catches, 41 yards) and the emergence of Cecil Shorts (still a fan), Blackmon won’t see much production going forward. Sigh.
Logan Paulsen– Since Davis has gone down, Paulsen has stepped up, garnering 20 targets over the last three (5th among TEs), catching 13 for 178 yards. He’s failed to find the endzone since taking over starting duties, but he’s joining a host of other Redskins who can say the same thing. He seems to be joining a new wave of TE prospects, headed by Brandon Myers and to a lesser degree Robert Housler, who seem to be usurping Dennis Pitta, Brent Celek, and Kyle Rudolph as low end TE1s. Personally, I would consider starting Paulsen over Pitta (11 targets in last two games) or Rudolph (8 in last three), who have fallen out of the top 15 in every statistical category over the last few weeks. He has an extra week to build more chemistry with RGIII and he’s not a bad play for those in a TE flex league or those who have been frustrated with some of the other “TE1’s” who have failed them.
Robert Housler– Housler has quietly turned into a reliable PPR TE who is in the top 8 among all TEs in targets (21), catches (14), and yards (141) over the last three weeks. He’s been as steady as they come over recent weeks and this past Sunday in a loss to Green Bay, Housler chipped in with five catches for 55 yards on nine targets. He’s flown under the rader, largely due to the fact that he hasn’t found the endzone yet this season, but he’s been building chemistry with both quarterbacks and he’s getting more involved in the offense on a weekly basis. His value is akin to that of Logan Paulsen’s and I see both young guys getting better as the year goes on.
T.Y. Hilton– Hilton’s hype has ebbed and flowed and given his performance on Sunday, Hilton is back on his high horse. It is fair to note that Luck threw for nearly half a thousand so Hilton wasn’t the only beneficiary, but he did lead the team in targets with 11, catching six for 102 and a touch. He also rushed one time for one yard, and he’s kind of the poor man’s Randall Cobb in that Indy offense. Hilton also dropped what would have been another long touchdown—a pass that dropped right through his fingertips. Hilton has 22 fantasy points over the last three weeks, second on the team to Wayne’s 30—good for 27th among receivers in that span. He is tied with teammate Donnie Avery for 13th among WR’s in catches over the last three (13) and both are shaping into decent flex plays given Luck’s propensity to pass. Like Tate, both guys are going to be hard pressed to find consistency, but there is enough yardage to go around in Indy and with John Clayton’s report that Donald Brown injured his hip on Sunday, the Colts will likely continue riding the pass going forward. Avery and Hilton aren’t every week starters, but they look like decent flex options for Thursday night’s matchup against the Jacksonville kitties. My endorsement for both guys is the same, but I like Avery a bit more in PPR and Hilton a bit more in standard leagues.
Greg Little– There’s been little love for alligator arms this season but the Little engine could be clawing his way out of the doghouse in Cleveland. In a barn burner against the Ravens last week, Little saw seven targets, second only to Richardson’s nine, and four more than Gordon’s three. Gordon did start over a healthy vowel master Massaquoi, but Little has been making a push to be Weeden’s shower bunny lately. Over the last three games, Little leads the Browns in targets with 19 (Gordon has 18), catching 13 to Gordon’s 7 for 132 yards to Gordon’s 143. Both have found the endzone once, leaving them pretty even when it comes to FPPG. The Cleveland organization is clearly pretty high on Little and he’s been holding onto the ball a bit better, which gives the dude some flex appeal going forward. While Gordon arguably has the higher ceiling as the teams primary deep threat, Little is worth the nod in PPR leagues as evidenced by his better target to catch ratio (44% to 53% respectively) and I believe he’ll end up being more valuable in general by the end of the year. After all, Gordon only has 19 catches on the year—the frickin’ year man! Those with deeper benches may want to avoid the situation altogether but I am going to keep a big eye on Little.