Fantasy Football Target Report - NFL Week 10
Every week I will look at some of the most interesting pass catching situations in the NFL and will, hopefully, give you all the information needed to make informed fantasy football waiver decisions. If there is a player I miss that you want more information on, ask me about them on Twitter @RMSummerlin.
The Texans’ offense which took the field against Arizona this week looked nothing like run heavy, pound the defense down offense we have come to expect in Houston. However the new look Texans should come as no surprise at this point in the season.
The Texans threw the ball more than 40 times on only seven occasions from 2010 to 2012. A Houston quarterback has attempted more than 40 passes four times already this season, and Case Keenum already has 102 pass attempts through three games.
It is not like the Texans have been down big lately either. The biggest deficit Houston faced against Arizona was 27-17 in the middle of the fourth quarter, and Keenum had already attempted 31 passes by that point in the game. He was well on pace for 40 without the comeback attempt.
This newfound, pass heavy attack has dramatically benefited Andre Johnson and his friends. Johnson has seen 25 targets over the last two weeks and has five touchdowns over that span. More importantly Johnson has seen three of his season total six redzone targets over the last two games.
Johnson is back to a must start, number one wide receiver with Keenum under center, and he has a favorable schedule down the stretch.
DeAndre Hopkins also may be worth a look with Keenum as quarterback. He has seen 17 targets the last two weeks, and it is not inconceivable he could turn into an eight target a game player. He certainly has the talent to capitalize if given the chance.
The return of James Jones and the injury to Aaron Rodgers raised several questions in the Green Bay passing game. Would the Packers continue to pass the ball 35 times a game? How would the Packers get Jones, Jarrett Boykin, and Jordy Nelson on the field at the same time? The first question is yet to be determined, but two games have given us a solid answer the second.
The problem I foresaw for Boykin after Jones returned was that all three of the Packers’ top receivers are primarily outside players. Jones absolutely has to play outside. Boykin certainly fits better on the outside as well. The question was, then, can Nelson slide inside on three wide receiver sets? The answer seems to be yes.
Nelson played 35 of 45 passing snaps in the slot against the Eagles, and he has played there almost exclusively since James Jones returned from injury. In fact, Nelson is playing essentially the same role in the Packers offense Greg Jennings rode to five stellar fantasy football seasons in the late 00’s, and I am very interested in what Nelson can do when Rodgers returns. Until then he should still be a fantasy viable option just based on volume of targets alone.
James Jones seemed to be completely recovered from his injury playing in 73 of a possible 79 snaps. More impressively Jones saw action in eight of a possible nine two wide receiver sets the Packers ran against Philadelphia. He is clearly the number two.
Despite his place on the depth chart, Jarrett Boykin had the most impressive day of all Green Bay wide outs. Boykin hauled in eight of his 13 targets for 112 yards. He also made a very impressive catch along the side line in the first half.
Boykin has been relegated to almost exclusively three wide sets, but the Packers run more three wide than any team in the league – 36 of 45 dropbacks against the Eagles. Boykin will get his opportunities and should be held onto in all leagues.
When Alshon Jeffery emerged against the Lions Week 4 the question was could Chicago’s offense sustain two fantasy football wide receivers? With Marc Trestman calling the plays, the answer is quite clearly yes.
Jeffery saw a team high 18 targets this week, has 28 targets the last two games, and has seen six redzone targets over that span. He is locked in as a high volume member of the Bears’ offense and worth a start in almost every league.
The emergence of Jeffery has also helped Marshall despite the decline in his prodigious target numbers from last season. Jeffery has been drawing the defense’s attention from Marshall and was actually double teamed on Marshall’s touchdown catch in the first quarter.
Marshall will be a monster if he see’s single coverage even part of the time, and he is obviously a must start wide receiver.
Doug Baldwin followed up his ten target game last week against the Buccaneers with an eight target performance this week against the Falcons, but the real question surrounding Baldwin is can he continue his success when Percy Harvin returns against Minnesota next week? Maybe.
The important thing to remember is Percy Harvin is much more effective working from the inside, so there is a chance Baldwin can still see work in three receiver sets. The problem really will not be snap count, however. Russell Wilson is only averaging 26 pass attempts a game this season, and Harvin eating seven to ten of those targets does not leave much room for the other receivers.
Golden Tate, despite his more entrenched role in the offense, faces the same quandary. He has fairly steadily been seeing seven targets over the last several weeks, but will there be enough passes to go around once Harvin returns?
No is probably the answer, and that makes each of these guys desperation wide receiver threes or flex plays with a healthy Harvin.
Roddy White returned and played 55 of 58 offensive snaps for the Atlanta Falcons, but he only saw four targets and one catch against Richard Sherman and Seattle’s suffocating pass defense. The statistical performance was disappointing, but White’s play was actually encouraging. He looked unencumbered by his injuries and was able to make cuts and plays we did not see early in the season.
White might be best kept on the fantasy football bench for another week despite his healthy appearance. Matt Ryan again looked poor against Seattle, and White will most likely find himself opposite a resurgent Darrelle Revis most of the time next week. It does finally appear, however, that White will be a fantasy commodity at some point this season.
Harry Douglas also buoyed his fantasy stock. Douglas was targeted eight times despite White being healthy and playing almost all the offensive snaps. He did only average 6.1 yards a target, though, and it is becoming clear he is more of a deep league PPR play in a suddenly bottom tier Atlanta offense.
-Riley Cooper followed up his improbable three touchdown game last week with an equally improbably two touchdowns on only three catches this week. Both touchdowns were fluky. One was a dramatically underthrown ball Cooper was able to adjust to, and the other came when Morgan Burnett slipped in coverage. I am selling Cooper as fast as I can this week.
-Speaking of fluke, Tavon Austin woke up from his rookie nightmare with two touchdown catches totaling 138 yards. He only had three targets and only played 15 offensive snaps. To call this a fluke would be giving Riley Cooper a bad name. Let some other owner blow their FAAB.
-Marques Colston returned from his one game absence with a bang. Colston caught seven balls for 107 yards and a touchdown against a hapless Cowboys defense. It is important to note how bad the Cowboys were defensively in this game, but it is not inconceivable Colston’s issues this year stemmed from health problems, and perhaps the one week absence was exactly what his body needed.
-Andre Roberts saw seven of his eight targets after Michael Floyd was forced from Arizona’s Week 10 game late in the first quarter. Roberts was a decent PPR play when involved in the offense early in the season, and he could be similarly valuable if Floyd is forced to miss any time.
-T.Y. Hilton had his second big game in a row for the Colts and is proving his early consistency concerns were simply a product of opportunity. He is a must start option going forward.
-Victor Cruz could not take advantage of his ten targets or his great matchup against Oakland Week 10. The Giants offense looks disjointed, and no member of the New York passing game is a reliable start at this point.
-Antonio Brown saw another 11 targets and is now on pace for 165 this season. He is a number one wide out in PPR leagues and a solid start in standard.
-Tyler Eifert was targeted ten times with Jermaine Gresham out due to injury but was only able to catch three passes from a horrific Andy Dalton. Dalton should play better at some point this season, and Eifert should continue to get tight end one target numbers as long as Gresham is out.
-Mario Manningham led San Francisco with six targets in his first game action this season. He should be given a shot in an offense desperate for playmakers, and he needs to be owned in every league.
-Calvin Johnson is really good. Just throwing it out there.
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