Whenever a team makes a change at quarterback you have to wonder how the rapport will be with the wide receivers. When there is no clear-cut top target (like a Larry Fitzgerald or Calvin Johnson) you really just never know whose direction the bulk of the throws will be. With Carson Palmer making his first start as an Oakland Raider, let’s take a look at which wide receivers were targeted and which were left behind:
- Denarius Moore – 12 targets (4 receptions for 61 yards)
- Jacoby Ford – 6 targets (5 receptions for 105 yards and 1 TD)
- T.J. Houshmandzadeh – 4 targets (1 receptions for 28 yards)
- Chaz Schillens – 2 targets (2 receptions for 20 yards)
- Louis Murphy – 1 target (1 reception for 23 yards)
- Darrius Heyward-Bey – 1 target (0 receptions)
The Professor’s Take:
The receiving situation in Oakland has been a murky one since the beginning of the season, but Darrius Heyward-Bey had been stepping up in recent weeks. He had posted four straight games of over 80 yards, totaling 22 receptions for 385 yards and 1 TD. However, with Carson Palmer in place, those numbers clearly can be thrown right out the window and he apparently just wasn’t on the field much.
Just to add a little fuel to the fire, Vittorio Tafur (via Twitter) is reporting that, “Re limited playing time for Heyward-Bey and Boss, Hue said it was only due to specific “sets” team was running”. Cleary it’s not to say that he should be completely forgotten about by fantasy owners, but he should firmly find a spot on your bench for now. Who knows if they are going to incorporate the necessary “sets” to get him into the lineup or if he is quickly going to lose his luster. Given what he showed you need to stay patient, but do so while utilizing other options.
This week it was Moore, who had 2 receptions for 13 yards over the past three weeks, who played the favorite target role. Would I count on him being the most targeted receiver going forward? Absolutely not, especially since he and Palmer connected on just 33% of the targets. That’s a terrible percentage and will likely cause a change of philosophy.
While the familiarity between Palmer and Housmandzadeh will likely play a role, the receiver coming out of this game that had to grab our attention is Jacoby Ford. Not only did he have a big performance, but he made the most of the opportunities given to him. Is he going to be able to maintain this type of performance week in and week out? Absolutely not, but the upside is there making him worth stashing in deeper formats.
Exactly what is the moral of this tale? Right now the entire Raiders’ receiving corps is completely in flux. There is plenty of potential, most notably with Ford at this time, but you really just don’t know who is going to be the targeted receiver. None of their receivers are advisable plays, even in three wide receiver formats, until we gain a little bit more clarity.
Make sure to check out all the rest of our Week 10 articles: