Archive for Target Practice

Target Practice: AFC Edition (Week 2): Mike Wallace Explodes, Youngsters Primed To See Increased Roles & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Who received significant targets?  Who was ignored?  Let’s take a look at all of the important situations to try and reach some conclusions:

Baltimore Ravens

  • Torrey Smith – 13 targets (7 receptions for 85 yards)
  • Marlon Brown – 6 targets (4 receptions for 45 yards and 1 TD)
  • Brandon Stokely – 5 targets (4 receptions for 36 yards)
  • Dallas Clark – 1 target (1 reception for 8 yards)

The fear with Torrey Smith is that he is more of a deep threat, making him an all or nothing option. However, you don’t target your deep threat 13 times in a game. With 8 targets in Week 1, it’s clear that he is more than just a big play receiver this season. Also, given the other options, he’s clearly the best the Ravens have. He should be targeted early and often each week, making him an ideal fantasy option.


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Target Practice: NFC Edition (Week 2): James Jones Rebounds, Tavon Austin Focus of Offense & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Who received significant targets?  Who was ignored?  Let’s take a look at all of the important situations to try and reach some conclusions:

Arizona Cardinals

  • Andre Roberts – 8 targets (3 receptions for 36 yards)
  • Michael Floyd – 7 targets (3 receptions for 22 yards)
  • Jim Dray – 7 targets (5 receptions for 31 yards)
  • Larry Fitzgerald – 5 targets (2 receptions for 33 yards)

It’s clear that Larry Fitzgerald’s ankle injury played a part in his reduced role. We will have to wait and see how long it is going to hamper him, though everyone would’ve been happier if either Roberts or Floyd (or both) had stepped up to produce big days. Both were solid in Week 1, however, with Roberts getting the target edge 9-to-6. Roberts is the slightly more appealing option, for the short-term, though that could change at any moment.  Both of the secondary receivers are worth stashing on your bench in all formats, however.


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Target Practice: Week 1: Mike Wallace, Rueben Randle, Dwayne Bowe & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It’s only Week 1, but it’s never too early to look at the receiving breakdown around the league.  Who received significant targets?  Who was ignored?  Let’s take a look at all of the important situations to try and reach some conclusions:

Miami Dolphins:

  • Brian Hartline – 15 targets (9 catches, 114 yards, 1 TD)
  • Brandon Gibson – 10 targets (7 receptions, 77 yards)
  • Mike Wallace – 5 targets (1 reception, 15 yards) – fourth on team in targets

The big surprise here is that Wallace was not the go to receiver for the Dolphins in his debut game. Maybe Joe Haden covering him played a role… Of course, Wallace’s complaints about the game-plan afterwards doesn’t lend much credence to this argument. Still, Don’t overreact to the situation unless it lingers for a couple of weeks.  You have to think that the Dolphins will come out in Week 2 and try to get Wallace the ball early and often

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10 Key Target Trends From Week 13: T.Y. Hilton, Greg Jennings, Vernon Davis & More

by Ray Kuhn

Here are 10 players from Week 13 who I felt it was important to analyze based on their targets:

  1. Chris Givens (14 targets, 11 catches, 92 yards).  Givens is clearly benefiting from the latest injury problems for Danny Amendola, but I think at this point it goes beyond that.  It is not like the Rams have many other receiving weapons when Amendola is healthy, so his return shouldn’t negatively impact Givens.  He is a big target who Sam Bradford appears to be comfortable with.  This was not a one week occurrence and the 49ers are not a defense to be taken lightly.  It does not seem like these targets will go away as the Rams have been waiting for Givens to emerge all season.  Over the last few weeks he was making some progress, and then the last two weeks he has seemed to really get it going.  There is no reason not to expect this to continue.
  2. TY Hilton (13 targets, 6 catches, 100 yards).  Hilton is another rookie receiver that has been coming on strong.  Overall he has had a better season than Givens but over the last few weeks he has become a little more consistent.  It seems that Hilton and Luck are developing a nice chemistry between them and Luck is starting to look Hilton’s way more often.  Since Hilton is a deep threat there is some room for fluctuation in his targets.  His catch total might not always match his targets, but there is clear reward here.  Read more

10 Key Target Trends From Week 12: Jermichael Finley, Mike Wallace, Mohammed Sanu & More

by Ray Kuhn

Here are 10 players from Week 12 who I felt it was important to analyze based on their targets:

  1. Stevie Johnson (15 targets, 6 catches, 106 yards).  In what was the first game all season that Johnson gained over 100 yards, there were still some things to be concerned about.  While he did do a lot with the catches he had, you would have liked to see him catch a few of those other nine passes thrown his way.  Also the fact that he was once again held out of the end zone is troubling and the mild controversy from which he has already backtracked from regarding the play calling.  Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the best quarterback in the league, but the Bills will still try to throw the ball down field and a lot of the times that will be in Johnson’s direction.  On a team that lacks any other true downfield threats, Johnson will continue to receive targets and if he catches more than 40% of them, he could follow this up with another big performance against the Jaguars and their 28th ranked passing defense.
  2. Torrey Smith (13 targets, 7 catches, 144 yards).  Smith bounced back in a big way on Sunday. He was the clear go to threat for Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense.  He did only catch a little more than 50% of his targets, but for a player like Smith that is a ratio you can live with (especially when he is being targeted as much as he was this week).  Plus he averaged about 20 yards a catch, so you can’t argue with production like that.  This was actually only the second game this season where Smith gained over 100 yards receiving, so hopefully he carries this positive momentum into the rematch with the with Steelers. Read more

10 Key Target Trends From Week 11: Jordy Nelson, Vernon Davis, Reggie Bush & More

by Ray Kuhn

Here are 10 players from Week 11 who I felt it was important to analyze based on their targets:

  1.  Dallas Clark (11 targets, 7 catches, 58 yards, 1 touchdown).  As the season has progressed Josh Freeman is realizing what Peyton Manning knew all these years… Clark is a nice weapon to have.  Earlier in the season Clark would see the majority of his targets late in the game during critical situations when Freeman needed to move the chains, but this past week Clark received a greater focus from Freeman.  Clark will most likely never repeat his seasons from a few years ago, but he is still a useful weapon as a short to intermediate pass catcher in the middle of the field.  As Freeman continues to grow and the offense gets opened up more, Clark’s targets will increase as well.
  2. Vernon Davis (8 targets, 6 catches, 83 yards, 1 touchdown).  Now this is the Davis everybody was waiting for.  All it took was Colin Kaepernick to take the starting reigns.  In a game that the 49ers secured early and adjusting their offense accordingly, the offense was still a lot more open downfield than in past weeks.  That led to Davis actually being targeted and used as a downfield threat.  Since we know the talent is there, I would expect to see Davis continue this level of performance because it sounds like the targets will not be going away, and depending on the game plan, could actually increase with Kaepernick at the helm. Read more

10 Key Target Trends From Week 10: Victor Cruz, Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola & More

by Ray Kuhn

Here are 10 players from Week 10 who I felt it was important to analyze based on their targets:

  1. Laurent Robinson (15 targets, 9 catches, 77 yards).  The Jaguars offense may not be strong, nor do they have a top quarterback, but they still do get to play offense.  Since they are usually trailing, they also pass the ball often.  In fantasy football it does not matter if the bulk of a player’s stats come in garbage time, all that matters are those stats.  Since he has returned from injury Robinson seems to now be the number one recipient of targets in Jacksonville.  He does have some big play capability, but he does have value even in just accumulating some catches and yardage.  Robinson is worth a late season add as a borderline WR3 or flex option based on the amount of targets he will receive.
  2. Danny Amendola (12 targets, 11 catches, 102 yards).  Amendola is another receiver returning from injury who jumped right back into being heavily targeted.  I am not sure if his stats are more impressive in his first game back from injury, or that they came against the 49ers.  Granted Amendola has a great deal more value in a PPR league, but the volume of his activity each week has made him a viable WR2 candidate as he pretty much catches everything that is thrown his way.  There are not many other receiving options on the Rams and it seems that he is usually open.  I don’t not expect to see his targets decrease over the remainder of the season. Read more

10 Key Target Trends From Week 9: Jimmy Graham, Eric Decker, Laurent Robinson & More

by Ray Kuhn

Here are 10 players from Week 9 who I felt it was important to analyze based on their targets:

  1. Brandon Myers (13 targets, 8 catches, 59 yards, 2 touchdowns).  Before everyone rushes to anoint Myers as the next breakout tight end, I do want to point out that the Raiders were trailing in this game and they were airing it out for the whole second half.  That is not to take away from Myers, who even before this game was emerging as a solid TE2 and bye week option.  You know the Raiders will be trailing often and Carson Palmer has no problem throwing the ball downfield, which will only continue to open things up underneath for Myers.  Now he will not be a big play threat, but in PPR leagues he can do some damage as he racks up the catches, and especially if he finds the end zone.
  2. Jimmy Graham (11 targets, 8 catches, 72 yards, 1 touchdown).  Look who is back and available to be targeted by Drew Brees.  Brees did not waste any time welcoming back Graham as his number one option and Graham was up to the task.  Proceed as you were prior to the injury because it is clear that he is the number one option in the passing game.  It is also safe to take note of the decrease of opportunities for Lance Moore as the middle of the field belongs to Graham. Read more

10 Key Target Trends From Week 7: Mike Wallace, Josh Gordon, Cecil Shorts & More

by Ray Kuhn

Here are 10 players from Week 7 who I felt it was important to analyze based on their targets:

  1. Mike Wallace (15 targets, 8 catches, 52 yards).  This was an uncharacteristically bad game for Wallace. The normally sure handed receiver had a few drops, but that did not stop him from being targeted 15 times.  I am sure that some owners are looking at his performance with disgust, but the fact that he was targeted so many times is a positive takeaway.  His role on the Steelers is secure, he will continue to be targeted and I don’t think that the drops will continue.  If it were not for his drops his stat total would be a lot more in line with his expectations, so he is a bounce back target for next week.
  2. Fred Jackson (11 targets, 8 catches, 49 yards, 1 touchdown).  What were those concerns about CJ Spiller eating into Jackson’s workload?  The passing game is supposed to be Spiller’s forte but Jackson had 5 more targets.  While this is clearly a positive for Jackson owners, his true value remains as a runner and Spiller’s as a receiver.  Consider this week more of a bonus than a trend.  Now that does not mean Jackson won’t have any targets, but Spiller is the better pass catching running back.  Jackson will continue to get more of the work (he also had 71 yards rushing) but the nature of the game led to more passes in general for the Bills and Jackson was a beneficiary of their lack of other threats.  While this does not mean Jackson is suddenly a PPR threat, there is a little new found value and the Spiller concerns should be eased slightly. Read more

10 Key Target Trends From Week 6: Dez Bryant, Kenny Britt, Jordy Nelson & More

by Ray Kuhn

Here are 10 players from Week 6 who I felt it was important to analyze based on their targets:

  1. Dez Bryant (15 targets, 13 catches, 95 yards, 2 touchdowns).  Aside from his dropped 2 point conversion, Bryant is clearly the number one target in Dallas.  Tony Romo looked to him often, and for the most part he did deliver.  Not only is Bryant a downfield threat, but he is also a threat down the middle and in the red zone.  As long as he keeps on rewarding Romo’s faith in him, he should perform like a WR1.  Dare I say that Bryant has finally grown up and realized his potential?
  2. Jordy Nelson (12 targets, 9 catches, 121 yards, 3 touchdowns).  Nelson came up huge in a game the Packers had to win.  Aaron Rodgers made Nelson the focal point of his game plan and Nelson rewarded owners that did not lose their faith in him.  What was most encouraging was that Rodgers put Nelson in the position to score.  Although his stats have not met expectations so far this season, the main worry was not necessarily the lack of targets but more the lack of big plays and touchdowns.  So for this week, it’s not the number of targets Nelson received that I liked, but what he did with them. Read more