by Ray Kuhn
Here are 10 players from Week 9 who I felt it was important to analyze based on their targets:
- 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.
- 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.
- TY Hilton (11 targets, 6 catches, 102 yards, 1 touchdown). Yes some of this can be attributed to the absence of Donnie Avery, but I think this is part of what will be a continuing trend for Hilton. He has shown the ability to get open downfield and to make big catches. As Andrew Luck continues to grow, it will only mean more opportunities for Hilton. The Colts have not been shy to air the ball out and Hilton is developing into a legitimate downfield threat. Now I do not think that Luck will have the same success he had every week, and I don’t think Colts will be passing as much, but Hilton will still get some targets. I wouldn’t expect this level of performance every week, but I would not chalk this up as a fluke performance either.
- Eric Decker (11 targets, 8 catches, 99 yards, 2 touchdowns). So far it looks like Decker is and will the biggest beneficiary of Peyton Manning’s increased comfort, return to health and dominance. Manning does not pick these receivers lightly and once he finds a comfort level with a receiver, you can bank on that production and target level to continue. Decker managed to have value catching passes from Tim Tebow last year, so there is clearly some talent and a track record here. On a week to week basis Decker is the Denver receiver to own.
- Laurent Robinson (9 targets, 6 catches, 41 yards). The stat line is clearly not the takeaway here, but the fact that he is healthy and was targeted 9 times is. Say what you want about the validity of his performance last season, but he is a big receiver with some talent and physical tools. It is not a secret the Jaguars will be trailing so there is at least opportunity for Robinson. I am still not sure how much faith I would put in Robinson, but he is at least worth an add for your bench or if you are short and wide receiver.
- Michael Floyd (7 targets, 5 catches, 80 yards). This is what Floyd owners have been waiting for. When the Cardinals drafted Floyd in the first round it was to have a big role in the offense opposite Larry Fitzgerald. It now is looking like he is up to the task. His playing time has increased along with his targets. He is now being targeted more consistently throughout the game and he is making plays. Floyd is a very talented receiver and as long as Fitzgerald is on the field he will never be the number one target of the defense. If he is still available, pick him up because the Cardinals did not draft him to sit on the bench and he is proving himself worthy of the playing time.
- Ryan Broyles (6 targets, 6 catches, 52 yards). Due to his injury last season Broyles did not enter this season with the fan fare he should have. Additionally he was blocked on the depth chart. Now that he is healthy and Nate Burleson’s injury has opened up some playing time, it looks like Broyles is poised to take advantage of that. While he is the 4th or 5th option in the passing game, there will still be some targets available. I would not expect many flashy performances from him, but a stat line like this could be expected going forward.
- Antonio Gates (3 targets, 3 catches, 41 yards, 1 touchdown). At least Gates scored a touchdown so he returned some value for his owners, but that was about it this week. However I would not get too concerned as the Chargers got out to an early lead and they did not need to rely on the passing game. Granted, San Diego is sometimes an odd situation, but I would not downgrade Gates for this performance.
- Reggie Bush (3 targets, 2 catches, 25 yards). What is going on here? Performance has not really been an issue for Bush this season, but it seems he is being phased out in all facets of the offense for Daniel Thomas. A lot of Bush’s value is derived from his pass catching, so this is something that would give me cause for concern as a Bush owner.
- Nate Washington (2 targets, 2 catches, 35 yards, 1 touchdown). Although Washington did find the end zone, it is clear who Kenny Britt’s targets are coming from. Even with Jake Locker coming back in the next week or two, this is not a great offense and if Washington was only targeted twice in a game that was a blowout, this is not a good sign for his value going forward.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 10 rankings: