by Ray Kuhn
Here are 10 players from Week 13 who I felt it was important to analyze based on their targets:
- 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.
- 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.
- Demaryius Thomas (10 targets, 8 catches, 99 yards, 2 touchdowns). Here we go with Thomas who has WR1 potential. For the most part this season Thomas has at least matched the expectations fantasy owners had for him and his pairing with Peyton Manning but over the last few weeks Thomas has really been making things happen. He has 4 touchdowns in his last 3 games and is now over 1,000 for the season for the first time in his career. It looks now like the Manning to Thomas combination is rolling along and as Manning is getting more comfortable, there is no reason to expect it to stop now that he is getting double digit targets each week.
- Antonio Brown (10 targets, 5 catches, 58 yards). Brown missed a few weeks due to injury and it was nice to see him reintegrated into the Steelers offense. I am more concerned with the number of targets here than his actual performance due to the fact that he had some rust to shake off, the Ravens were the opponent and Charlie Batch was the quarterback. Now this is not to take anything away from Batch earning the victory, but Brown will clearly benefit from the return of Ben Roethilsberger. What is good is the fact that Brown did not seem to lose his role in the offense due to injury and he could be a nice addition to your playoff run.
- Michael Floyd (10 targets, 2 catches, 22 yards). Looking at Floyd’s line would not be a cause for optimism. Until you see that he was targeted 10 times, that is. Not to absolve all of the blame from Floyd, but Ryan Lindley has just been brutal at quarterback for the Cardinals. Also Andre Roberts was out due to injury and Early Doucet is not 100% so someone had to get the targets, but in recent weeks Floyd’s role in the offense has been increasing. Even with a better quarterback I am not sure Floyd has done enough to warrant a serious look in a standard league, but he is a receiver to keep an eye on. He is clearly a talented player and the Cardinals did not take him in the first round not to use him. As the season winds down, his targets could continue at this level.
- Greg Jennings (8 targets, 4 catches, 46 yards). Jennings is another stud receiver that returned from injury, but his absence was a lot longer than Brown’s. However, it does not seem like it should stop you from using Jennings for the rest of the season. Surely both Sunday and for at least this week Jennings will benefit from the injury to Jordy Nelson, but with Jennings back Aaron Rodgers will not likely ignore him. Granted he did not light up the field last week, but he would not have been targeted 8 times if the Packers did not expect him to play a critical role down the stretch.
- Stephen Hill (8 targets, 5 catches, 40 yards). Hill is in a similar boat as Floyd. He is a big talented receiver who was drafted with high expectations. Hill has been sabotaged more with injuries than just poor quarterback play (although no one is going to confuse the Jets offense with the Patriots). The one thing Hill has going for him is that there is no one in his way blocking playing time or targets. Now that he is healthy I would imagine that whoever is playing quarterback for the Jets will be looking his way. He is a player to watch for the rest of this season, as well as for next season.
- Vernon Davis (3 targets, 2 catches, 15 yards). Davis really cannot catch any breaks this season. Regardless of who is at quarterback it seems that he is being forgotten about. Talent is not the issue, but he does need to be thrown the ball if he is going to make something happen. At this point in the season it is hard to start Davis knowing he very well could not be targeted much at all in that particular week.
- Miles Austin (2 targets, 2 catches, 46 yards, 1 touchdown). It was a quiet day for Austin, but at least he saved his value by catching a touchdown pass. It was an oddly efficient day for the Dallas offense as Dez Bryant had 6 catches on his 6 targets. If the Cowboys are going to make a push for the playoffs they are going to need to look Austin’s way. He showed enough this past week to convince me that he is healthy enough to be a factor for the remainder of the season, so do not be scared away by his 2 catches.
- Jacquizz Rodgers (2 targets, 2 catches, -4 yards). The Falcons have been using Rodgers more in recent weeks, but just as a running back and not really as a receiving threat out of the backfield. For Rodgers to be a viable starting candidate he is going to need to be a weapon in the receiving game because that can guarantee some value for him each week. With that not being the case, he cannot be relied on with Michael Turner still moving the chains.
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Make sure to check out the rest of our Week 14 rankings: