Target Practice: NFC Edition (Week 2): James Jones Rebounds, Tavon Austin Focus of Offense & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Who received significant targets?  Who was ignored?  Let’s take a look at all of the important situations to try and reach some conclusions:

Arizona Cardinals

  • Andre Roberts – 8 targets (3 receptions for 36 yards)
  • Michael Floyd – 7 targets (3 receptions for 22 yards)
  • Jim Dray – 7 targets (5 receptions for 31 yards)
  • Larry Fitzgerald – 5 targets (2 receptions for 33 yards)

It’s clear that Larry Fitzgerald’s ankle injury played a part in his reduced role. We will have to wait and see how long it is going to hamper him, though everyone would’ve been happier if either Roberts or Floyd (or both) had stepped up to produce big days. Both were solid in Week 1, however, with Roberts getting the target edge 9-to-6. Roberts is the slightly more appealing option, for the short-term, though that could change at any moment.  Both of the secondary receivers are worth stashing on your bench in all formats, however.


Atlanta Falcons

  • Julio Jones – 14 targets (11 receptions for 182 yards and 1 TD)
  • Tony Gonzalez – 8 targets (4 receptions for 33 yards)
  • Harry Douglas – 5 targets (4 receptions for 43 yards)
  • Roddy White – 3 targets (3 receptions for 21 yards)

For the second straight week Roddy White was a glorified decoy. Obviously, once healthy, he is going to take some targets away from Julio Jones, but until he sees his role expand White is better served being left on your bench.


Carolina Panthers

  • Steve Smith – 11 targets (5 receptions for 52 yards)
  • Ted Ginn Jr. – 8 targets (3 receptions for 62 yards and 1 TD)
  • Greg Olsen – 8 targets (7 receptions for 84 yards and 1 TD)
  • Brandon LaFell – 6 targets (4 receptions for 13 yards)

It’s interesting to see Ginn tied for second in targets, but cashing in on three of eight opportunities is hardly impressive. He’s a big play receiver, meaning he could post some solid weeks but could also easily be shut out.  In other words, he’s an untrustworthy option.


Chicago Bears

  • Brandon Marshall – 10 targets (7 receptions for 113 yards and 1 TD)
  • Martellus Bennett – 9 targets (7 receptions for 76 yards and 2 TD)
  • Alshon Jeffrey – 5 targets (1 reception for 11 yards)

Matt Forte actually led the team with 11 targets. The hope of many was that Alshon Jeffery would play a larger role. He was targeted 8 times in Week 1 and, with any young player, it’s fair to expect some inconsistency. At this point he’s more of a WR3, at best, until he can produce steady results.


Dallas Cowboys

  • Dez Bryant – 13 targets (9 receptions for 141 yards and 1 TD)
  • Jason Witten – 8 targets (3 receptions for 12 yards)
  • James Hanna – 5 targets (4 receptions for 20 yards)
  • Miles Austin – 4 targets (3 receptions for 31 yards)

It was a disappointing day for Witten, though obviously not something we should read too much into. It happens. As for Bryant, I guess the injury was hardly a concern, huh?


Detroit Lions

  • Calvin Johnson – 8 targets (6 receptions for 116 yards and 2 TD)
  • Nate Burleson – 8 targets (7 receptions for 45 yards)
  • Brandon Pettigrew – 6 targets (3 receptions for 32 yards)

It was a productive day for Burleson, though you have to wonder how the eventual return of Ryan Broyles is going to impact him. I wouldn’t expect much from Burleson, long-term, as you would expect him to ultimately be phased into a secondary or tertiary target. There’s short-term appeal, but don’t go crazy.


Green Bay Packers

  • James Jones – 12 targets (11 receptions for 178 yards)
  • Randall Cobb – 10 targets (9 receptions for 128 yards and 1 TD)
  • Jermichael Finley – 7 targets (6 receptions for 65 yards and 1 TD)
  • Jordy Nelson – 4 targets (3 receptions for 66 yards and 2 TD)

The Packers clearly made up for Jones’ Week 1 goose egg, didn’t they? Obviously playing against the hapless Redskins helped, but there’s no questioning how electric this passing game can be. The real problem is going to be that there are only so many balls to go around, so there will likely be at least one receiver hurting for targets on a weekly basis. This week it was Nelson, though he made the most of his opportunities. Just something to be prepared for if you own any of these players, though all are clearly worth owning.


Minnesota Vikings

  • Greg Jennings – 6 targets (5 receptions for 84 yards)
  • Kyle Rudolph – 6 targets (3 receptions for 42 yards and 1 TD)
  • Jerome Simpson – 5 targets (2 receptions for 49 yards)
  • Corradelle Patterson – 2 targets (2 receptions for 14 yards)

It was a bit of a step back for Jerome Simpson, after catching seven passes for 140 yards in Week 1, though an expected one. Corradelle Patterson is clearly off radars, for now, as is the majority of the Vikings’ receiving corps (though he’s too talented to think his production won’t improve). With Christian Ponder under center, it’s hard to expect much.


New Orleans Saints

  • Jimmy Graham – 16 targets (10 receptions for 179 yards and 1 TD)
  • Marques Colston – 7 targets (4 receptions for 63 yards)
  • Lance Moore – 4 targets (1 reception for 15 yards)
  • Kenny Stills – 1 target (1 reception for 10 yards)

This is a perfect example of why Moore and Stills are more like last resort options. While they could have big weeks, there’s just no guarantee that they are going to get opportunities. The only givens should be Graham, Colston and Darren Sproles. Outside of that, use the guys at your own risk.


New York Giants

  • Victor Cruz – 11 targets (8 receptions for 118 yards)
  • Brandon Myers – 10 targets (6 receptions for 74 yards)
  • Ruben Randle – 9 targets (3 receptions for 14 yards)
  • Hakeem Nicks – 7 targets (4 receptions for 83 yards)

Nicks missed some time with a dislocated finger, so don’t read into his lower target total. With the running game virtually non-existent, there is going to be more than enough throws to go around. I still wouldn’t bank on Randle as an every week producer, but when healthy the other three are all looking at 7+ targets on a weekly basis.


Philadelphia Eagles

  • DeSean Jackson – 15 targets (9 receptions for 193 yards and 1 TD)
  • Jason Avant – 7 targets (4 receptions for 39 yards)
  • Riley Cooper – 3 targets (2 receptions for 25 yards and 1 TD)
  • Zack Ertz – 2 targets (2 receptions for 58 yards)
  • Brent Celek – 1 target (0 receptions)

It’s clear that DeSean Jackson is the man in this offense. While both Celek and Ertz offer potential out of the tight end spot, they unfortunately may just cancel each other out. As it is, between the two of them they have just nine targets over two weeks. There’s enough tight end value out there that neither is much of an option right now.


St. Louis Rams

  • Tavon Austin – 12 targets (6 receptions for 47 yards and 2 TD)
  • Austin Pettis – 11 targets (8 receptions for 78 yards and 1 TD)
  • Chris Givens – 8 targets (5 receptions for 105 yards)
  • Jared Cook – 6 targets (1 receptions for 19 yards)

The Cardinals threw the ball 55 times, something we shouldn’t expect to continue regularly. That said, seeing them trying to get the ball into Tavon Austin’s hands so often is a bonus. Of course, it would’ve been even nicer had he done more with them. The biggest disappointment, though, was the lack of production from Jared Cook. I’d expect a bounce back in Week 3.


San Francisco 49ers

  • Kyle Williams – 6 targets (4 receptions for 39 yards)
  • Vernon Davis – 5 targets (3 receptions for 20 yards)
  • Anquan Boldin – 4 targets (1 reception for 7 yards)
  • Marlon Moore – 1 target (1 reception for 6 yards)

The poor numbers are clearly the result of taking on the Seahawks defense. While Boldin isn’t going to match his incredible Week 1 performance, he’s going to be better than this.


Seattle Seahawks

  • Sidney Rice – 5 targets (1 reception for 13 yards)
  • Zach Miller – 4 targets (2 receptions for 22 yards)
  • Golden Tate – 2 targets (1 reception for 19 yards)
  • Doug Baldwin – 1 target (1 reception for 51 yards)

Doug Baldwin went from 8 targets in Week 1 to making just one big play in Week 2… Golden Tate was nonexistent… Sure they played the 49ers, but that’s not a good enough excuse here. We would expect Tate to ultimately emerge as the best option, though this entire situation is underwhelming until Percy Harvin returns.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Vincent Jackson – 11 targets (5 receptions for 77 yards)
  • Mike Williams – 6 targets (2 receptions for 9 yards)

Tampa Bay appears to be quickly spiraling out of control, doesn’t it? Keep a close eye on this situation, because if Josh Freeman is ultimately replaced at QB things could really go either way. Jackson obviously has value, and Doug Martin is going to be leaned on heavily, but Williams is more of a hit or miss receiver at this point and a WR4.


Washington Redskins

  • Pierre Garcon – 13 targets (8 receptions for 143 yards and 1 TD)
  • Josh Morgan – 6 targets (2 receptions for 39 yards)
  • Santana Moss – 5 targets (3 receptions for 41 yards and 1 TD)
  • Leonard Hankerson – 3 targets (3 receptions for 35 yards)
  • Jordan Reed – 3 targets (3 receptions for 18 yards and 1 TD)

Fred Davis is losing targets to Jordan Reed, which certainly isn’t a good thing for Davis owners. Keep him stashed, but right now he can’t be trusted. As for the rest of the Redskins’ receiving corps, it shouldn’t really be a surprise that Pierre Garçon is the clear top option, should it?


Make sure to check out all of our Week 3 rankings:

Target Practice: AFC Edition (Week 2): Mike Wallace Explodes, Youngsters Primed To See Increased Roles & More
Target Practice: Week 1: Mike Wallace, Rueben Randle, Dwayne Bowe & More


  1. James A says:

    I have: V-Jax, Wayne, Colston, Decker, Harvin

    Available: James Jones, Eddie Royal, DeAndre Hopkins, Marlon Brown.

    Would you view any of those as a better option than Decker?

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