by Ray Kuhn
Here are 10 players from Week 1 who I felt it was important to analyze based on their targets:
Reggie Wayne – 18 targets, 9 catches, 135 yards. It is clear that Wayne has not lost anything and at times last year was the victim of poor QB play. What is also clear is that Wayne and Andrew Luck have developed chemistry and Luck has no problem looking to his veteran receiver. This might change now that Austin Collie is returning, but it is also noteworthy that even without Collie Luck was able to target and complete this many passes to Wayne. Wayne should be starting every week, and although he will never reach his levels of a few years ago, it is looking like he could turn into a WR2 this season.
Darren McFadden – 18 targets, 13 catches, 86 yards. McFadden has never been particularly strong or valuable as a receiver, as prior to this season he averaged 2.6 receptions per game. Not only was McFadden targeted, but he was catching the ball and gaining some valuable yardage as well. He did not do much running the ball (15 times for 32 yards) but that is also due to the fact that Oakland was playing from behind. With Jacoby Ford just having surgery and Denarius Moore battling injury problems, I would not be surprised to see this continue. This obviously makes McFadden more valuable in PPR formats, but I would look for him to gain more than 32 yards on the ground going forward. Until the Raiders establish more of a passing offense it might be difficult, but at least he is creating some value. If McFadden is able to stay healthy, keep up even half of the receiving production and get in the groove running the ball, look out. Although admittedly there are a lot of question marks there.
Lance Moore – 10 targets, 6 catches, 120 yards, 1 touchdown. Most of these targets came towards the end of the game as the Saints were trailing, and also after Devery Henderson left due to injury. In the Saints offense there are a lot of targets to go around, but it looks like Moore has a good hold on some of them. Jimmy Graham also had 10 targets and Marques Colston led the Saints with 11. Some of Moore’s week to week inconsistency could be eased with the departure of Robert Mecheam. Although this is a performance Moore is capable each week, it cannot be expected. There will probably be a little fluctuation in the target totals and the Saints will not be coming from behind each week, but there is WR3 value here.
Braylon Edwards – 9 targets, 5 catches, 43 yards. Just because Russell Wilson looked for Edwards often, it does not mean that you should run to pick him up. In deeper leagues and to deal with injuries and bye weeks he could be a viable option, but that is about it. As Sidney Rice regains his health and Golden Tate returns, some of these targets will go away. Edwards was lacking explosiveness on Sunday and really did not do much with his targets. It also remains to be seen how much Wilson can be trusted as a passer, but it is at least worth keeping an eye on this to see how dangerous Wilson can become.
Randall Cobb – 9 targets, 9 catches, 77 yards. Cobb caught every single ball that was thrown his way by Aaron Rodgers which will only continue to add to the trust Rodgers has in him. Cobb is an explosive player who has the potential to create a big play whenever the ball is in his hands, and it seems that the Packers are willing to do that more often this season. Look for Cobb even more this week against the Bears as Greg Jennings’ status does not look good.
Andrew Hawkins – 9 targets, 8 catches, 86 yards. Hawkins was not somebody that was even on my draft board coming into this season. Other than AJ Green the Bengals are in search of another receiver, and at least for one week they appeared to have found that in Hawkins. Granted they were looking to pass due to the score, but the results were promising for Hawkins. In his rookie season last year Hawkins appeared in 13 games and only had 23 receptions, so you could say that this outbreak was unexpected. So far Hawkins has this performance going for him and the fact that there is not much competition on top of the Bengals depth chart. I would not rush to start Hawkins just yet, but he should be on your radar and is worth stashing in deeper formats.
Brent Celek – 8 targets, 4 catches, 65 yards. At times last season Celek’s role as a receiver was minimized. At least for one week it appeared that Michael Vick was inclined to look Celek’s way. If this continues, which I see no reason for it not to especially this week with Jeremy Maclin experiencing health problems, Celek could creep back into the discussion as a low end TE1. Especially in the red zone, Celek could provide some value.
Kyle Rudolph – 7 targets, 5 catches, 67 yards. For one week it appears the Vikings were not kidding when they said Rudolph would be the number two receiving target this year. The athletic tight end provides a big target for Christian Ponder, and it looks like Ponder will utilize it this year. This should place Rudolph firmly on your radar as, at worst, a bye week or injury fill in or an alternative for those who missed out on an upper tier tight end.
Justin Blackmon – 6 targets, 3 catches, 24 yards. I honestly thought Blackmon would have been targeted more by Blaine Gabbert. Let’s hope it was just a case of Blackmon needing to get comfortable in the offense, but against Minnesota’s lackluster secondary I expected more. Even when he did catch the ball, Blackmon really did not make much happen. For those looking for the next AJ Green or Julio Jones, your expectations are going to have to be tempered some, but do not give up hope just yet.
Wes Welker – 5 targets, 3 catches, 14 yards. Much has been made of Welker’s invisible performance in week one. He lost snaps to Julian Edelman, he was not part of the game plan, the Patriots concentrated on running the ball, Tom Brady looked to his tight ends and Brandon Lloyd more, etc. It potentially could be an issue of scheme, but there could be something more here. Unless you have other amazing options, I still would not bench Welker for next week, as the only place for his targets to go is up, but keep an eye on this.
Make sure to check out our Week 2 rankings: