by Ray Kuhn
Here are 10 players from Week 3 who I felt it was important to analyze based on their targets:
- Santonio Holmes (14 targets, 9 catches, 147 yards). So far it appears that the chemistry is there between Holmes and Mark Sanchez. Partly due to lack of options Sanchez is looking to Holmes often, and last week it proved to be a fruitful endeavor. Regardless of what you think about Sanchez and the Jets offense, they still need to pass the ball and Holmes is not a bad receiver. It seems that so far this season the Jets are looking Holmes down the field and he is producing. At this point that makes Holmes a WR3 or a WR2 depending on your bye week situation.
- Greg Olsen (14 targets, 7 catches, 98 yards). Regardless of how inconsistent and disappointing Cam Newton’s season has been so far, he is at least giving Olsen value. There has not been much going on for Newton down the field, but Olsen is producing on the shorter routes across the middle of the field. He is a talented tight end and although he is not as explosive or athletic as some of the top tight ends, Olsen does hold value. This is especially true if Newton continues to target him this much.
- Brandon Lloyd (12 targets, 9 catches, 108 yards). It took 2 weeks, but Lloyd and Tom Brady became officially in sync on the 3rd week. Lloyd had the most targets on the Patriots last week as there was a concerted effort into looking downfield. With the Patriots receiving core shaken by the injury to Aaron Hernandez and the spotty appearances of Wes Welker, it is not unfathomable that Lloyd has become Brady’s number one receiving option at least until they hit the red zone. The Patriots brought Lloyd in for a reason and I think that this week was the beginning of a trend for the rest of the season.
- Kenny Britt (11 targets, 6 catches, 55 yards). Britt is clearly a talented receiver and although his final statistical line was nothing special, the fact that he was targeted 11 times gives me cause for optimism. He would not have been targeted that often if the Titans had questions about either his physical or mental state. It seems that he is recovered from his knee issue and is also on the verge of having a monster game, especially if he is going to be targeted 11 times a game. With Chris Johnson scuffling to say the least, the Titans need their passing game, and specifically Britt, to step up.
- Heath Miller (10 targets, 8 catches, 60 yards, 2 touchdowns). Ben Roethlisberger made no secret of his desire to target Miller more this season and so far he is living up to this promise. Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown are still the clear top options in the passing game, but Miller has become the third option most times, and is producing. Big Ben is looking his way often over the middle each week, and more importantly to his value, he is looking for him in the end zone. But as Miller is receiving this increase in targets, he is producing. Granted the touchdowns are cyclical to some degree, but the targets are not and Miller is turning into a viable fantasy tight end. He is not a down field threat and therefore does not have as much reward as other options, but he is at least a steady WR2 or low end WR1.
- Ramses Barden (10 targets, 9 catches, 138 yards). Where has he been hiding? Yes Hakeem Nicks was out, but still, as recent as a week prior, no one thought Barden was capable of a performance like this. Yes he has the tools to perform like this, but it never seemed like he was going to actually produce. Eli Manning has the ability to do this with receivers, but the week to week viability of a repeat performance is not entirely likely. Depending on your other bench options, he is certainly worth an add, but his targets will most likely decrease with the return on Nicks this week. I would use some discretion in starting Barden just yet, but Mario Manningham from last season could be a good comparison. Although Barden is more athletic. This is a situation that bears watching for sure.
- Larry Fitzgerald (9 targets, 9 catches, 114 yards, 1 touchdown). For all those that were worried about Fitzgerald, move your worrying to another target. Fitzgerald is fine, Kevin Kolb will continue to look for him, and he will produce.
- Vincent Jackson (7 targets, 1 catch, 29 yards). This is what fantasy owners were worried about when Jackson signed with Tampa Bay. Josh Freeman has some potential and a cannon for an arm, but he is not nearly consistent enough to give Jackson the value he deserves. Despite his meager stat line, at least he was targeted 7 times, so you do not have to worry about inconsistency there. I would not downgrade Jackson much from your preseason ranking of him, but keep in mind there could be more ugly afternoons like this, but at least he is getting targets.
- Bilal Powell (5 targets, 2 catches, 24 yards). We now know who the Jets 3rd down running back. The question is, does it matter? Powell is starting to see the field more and more each week, and it is clear that he is a threat in the passing game. Eventually if the targets remain consistent, his value should increase. Also as Shonn Greene continues to not get anywhere fast running the ball that puts Powell on the field more often. With his pass catching ability and the Jets inclination to target him, there is some potential value here.
- Darren Sproles (3 targets, 0 catches). What happened here? This is supposed to be where Sproles’ value lies. Especially as the Saints are 0-3, they will be taking a hard look at everything this week. Drew Brees will not let the Saints go to 0-4 and Sproles will be a large factor in that not happening. I would chalk this week up to an aberration that will not happen again.