Welcome to the Week 8 NFC Target Watch. Below I have all the targets for each player for each week and then their average number in parentheses and then below that I have the red zone targets and touches for each player for the last five games. The AFC version is right here if you are so inclined.
Larry Fitzgerald: 10-7-BYE-7-6-5- 10 (7), Michael Floyd: 6-9-BYE-7-7-3- 4 (6.1), John Brown: 4-6-BYE-7-6-5- 10 (6.1), Andre Ellington: 3-4-BYE-7-9-9- 6 (6.1), John Carlson: 3-3-BYE-3-6-4- 6 (3.7), Rob Housler: 0-dnp-BYE-1-3-1- 1 (1.5), Jonathan Dwyer: 0-dnp-BYE-dnp-dnp-dnp- dnp (1.5), Ted Ginn: 0-3-BYE-2-1-1- 0 (1.4), Stepfan Taylor: 0-0-BYE-0-2-2- 0 (1), Robert Hughes: 1-0-BYE-0-1-0- 2 (0.7), Jaron Brown: 0-1-BYE-0-1-1- 1 (0.7), Troy Niklas: 1-0-BYE-0-dnp-dnp- dnp (0.2), Darren Fells: dnp-1-BYE-dnp-0-0- 0 (0.2)
This was the week we saw Larry Fitzgerald show his old self with seven of 10 receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown. It was easily his best game of the season, as he hadn’t topped 100 yards receiving or six receptions. His big game didn’t come at the cost of #3 receiver John Brown who caught five of 10 targets for 119 yards and a touchdown. Which despite a two-touchdown effort early in the season, was still his best game as a pro. The loser in this triad was Michael Floyd who saw four targets and caught zero. He did have an opportunity to catch two of those on deep passes, but couldn’t haul them in. He also was banged up on one of those plays and his snap percentage was slightly down from week’s past, so unless the injury is more serious than we think, he should be good to go against Dallas this week and get his normal #2 receiver looks.
Red Zone Targets+Touches: John Carlson: Run 0/ Tar 3, Michael Floyd: Run 0/ Tar 2, Andre Ellington: Run 7/ Tar 2, Rob Housler: Run 0/ Tar 2, Robert Hughes: Run 0/ Tar 1, Jaron Brown: Run 0/ Tar 1, Larry Fitzgerald: Run 0/ Tar 1, John Brown: Run 0/ Tar 1, Ted Ginn: Run 0/ Tar 1, Stepfan Taylor: Run 3/ Tar 1
John Carlson is the only receiver to see more than one target in the red zone, but didn’t catch either, but Andre Ellington was the no doubt go to player with five carries and one rushing touchdown. He is locked in as the every down back.
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Julio Jones: 13-11-8-16-12-8- 6 (10.4), Roddy White: 8-dnp-14-4-6-15- 6 (8.6), Harry Douglas: 8-2-dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp- 5 (5.5), Levine Toilolo: 3-2-2-2-6-5- 2 (3.5), Devin Hester: 1-1-7-4-1-5- 0 (3.1), Devonta Freeman: 4-1-2-6-3-5- 1 (3), Steven Jackson: 1-0-2-6-2-1- 0 (1.9), Jacquizz Rodgers: 1-1-4-2-1-1- 3 (1.8), Antone Smith: 4-0-0-3-4-2- 0 (1.8), Eric Weems: 0-5-0-0-1-1- 0 (1), Patrick DiMarco: 0-3-1-0-0-0- 2 (0.8), Courtney Roby: dnp-2-0-0-dnp-dnp- dnp (0.5), Bear Pascoe: 0-0-0-0-0-0- 1 (0.1)
If you woke up early for this game as a Lions fan you probably wanted to go back to sleep, but things turned around as the Falcons did everything they could to lose and lose they did.
With a strong first half there were a few positive plays and Devonta Freeman’s touchdown catch and run was one of them. He looked great in the open field and like Antone Smith and even Jacquizz Rodgers, they all look spryer than Steven Jackson. This backfield really could use a running back whose best attribute isn’t falling forward. Of course Steven Jackson is a good pass blocker, but they need a spark and SJax is barely smoldering. But I digress.
The Falcons running backs were led again by Jackson, who scored a touchdown on 18 carries for 60 yards (3.3 yards per carry) and had no targets, while Jacquizz Rodgers has become mostly a receiving back as he’s averaging under two carries per game over the last five. Antone Smith left with a neck stinger, but looks to be okay so he can continue to spread the looks out between four running backs, while none get enough to be worthwhile in fantasy.
Red Zone Targets+Touches: Roddy White: Run 0/ Tar 3, Devonta Freeman: Run 0/ Tar 2, Julio Jones: Run 0/ Tar 1, Devin Hester: Run 0/ Tar 1, Jacquizz Rodgers: Run 1/ Tar 1, Levine Toilolo: Run 0/ Tar 1, Bear Pascoe: Run 0/ Tar 1, Patrick DiMarco: Run 0/ Tar 1, Antone Smith: Run 0/ Tar 1, Matt Ryan: Run 0/ Tar 0, Steven Jackson: Run 9/ Tar 0
Jackson had five carries, including a touchdown, while nobody else saw more than one target.
Kelvin Benjamin: 8-11-9-11-8-6- 7 (8.5), Greg Olsen: 8-7-5-9-11-8- 3 (7.8), Jerricho Cotchery: 4-dnp-7-4-10-8- 5 (6), Jason Avant: 7-6-3-4-7-5- 1 (4.2), Mike Tolbert: 4-3-dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp- dnp (3.7), Jonathan Stewart: 1-3-dnp-dnp-dnp-2- 5 (2.8), Philly Brown: 0-9-4-1-1-0- dnp (2.1), Brenton Bersin: 1-1-1-1-3-5- 0 (1.7), Darrin Reaves: dnp-1-5-1-1-0- 0 (1.3), Brandon Williams: 0-0-dnp-2-1-3- 0 (1), Ed Dickson: 1-0-0-2-1-1- 1 (0.8), Fozzy Whittaker: 0-dnp-dnp-dnp-2-dnp- dnp (0.7), DeAngelo Williams: dnp-dnp-0-dnp-dnp-dnp- dnp (0.5), Chris Ogbonnaya: dnp-dnp-dnp-0-0-1- 0 (0.2)
Cam Newton had an awful game, completing just 12 of 22 passes for 171 yards, no touchdowns and an interception, while also losing a critical fumble. And he also wasn’t able to do much on the ground as he rushed 12 times for 24 yards. The silver lining in all the stormy Cam clouds is that he did rush 12 times and is still healthy. He now has averaged 12 carries a game since getting the green light to run again three weeks ago. Plus he has one of the better schedules ahead of him. If this game scared off his owner in your league, try to pry.
Kelvin Benjamin led the team in targets, receptions and yards, with 7, 4 and 94. Most of those came against Richard Sherman on contested passes, so you have to like that. He continues to have some trouble here and there with drops, but for the most part he continues to be a positive and as long as he’s averaging 8.5 targets a game he should continue to be an asset in fantasy, while also having an easier schedule going forward.
Jonathan Stewart ran 16 times for 79 yards and lived to tell about it! This was the highest rushing total he’s had since the 2011 season. I want to believe he can stay healthy and return to his promised greatness, but history and common sense probably precludes those thoughts. Plus DeAngelo Williams will be back for the Thursday night game.
Red Zone Targets+Touches: Greg Olsen: Run 0/ Tar 7, Kelvin Benjamin: Run 0/ Tar 5, Jason Avant: Run 0/ Tar 3, Brenton Bersin: Run 0/ Tar 2, Brandon Williams: Run 0/ Tar 1, Darrin Reaves: Run 8/ Tar 1, Philly Brown: Run 0/ Tar 1, Chris Ogbonnaya: Run 2/ Tar 0, DeAngelo Williams: Run 3/ Tar 0, Derek Anderson: Run 0/ Tar 0, Fozzy Whittaker: Run 2/ Tar 0, Jonathan Stewart: Run 6/ Tar 0, Cam Newton: Run 9/ Tar 0
Stewart had six looks in the red zone and Newton had six rushing attempts for negative 2 yards.
Micheal Spurlock: dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp- dnp (3), Santonio Holmes: 2-3-0-3-0-0- 0 (1.6), Dante Rosario: 1-1-1-4-0-2- 2 (1.5), Josh Morgan: dnp-0-4-0-1-0- 0 (1.1), Josh Bellamy: 1-dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp- dnp (1),
If you didn’t watch the game or look at the final score and just played fantasy football like you should, this game went pretty well for everyone not named Brandon Marshall.
Jay Cutler threw three touchdown passes, with one each going to fantasy starters Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte. Bennett had his best game in a while, catching six of seven targets for 95 yards and a touchdown, while Matt Forte continues to play amazing football even as his team falls apart around him.
Forte has now caught five or more passes in each game this season and leads the team with 8.8 targets per game. He is on pace for 116 receptions, 980 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns. Oh, and he also dabbles in running the ball, in which he’s on pace for 1,124 yards and 6 more touchdowns. If you add all those fantasy points up in a PPR league, you have a lot of fantasy points. He currently has more fantasy points than Andrew Luck in one point PPR. That’s the Andrew Luck who is on pace to set the single season passing yardage record.
Brandon Marshall led the team in targets, but that was the only thing, as he caught just three of 10 targets for 35 yards. This feels like a buy low situation because those numbers can’t keep up or down as the case may be.
Red Zone Targets+Touches: Martellus Bennett: Run 0/ Tar 10, Brandon Marshall: Run 0/ Tar 8, Matt Forte: Run 14/ Tar 7, Alshon Jeffery: Run 0/ Tar 5, Josh Morgan: Run 0/ Tar 2, KaDeem Carey: Run 1/ Tar 0, Jay Cutler: Run 1/ Tar 0
Marshall and Bennett both had two red zone targets, while Forte and Jeffery had one, but Bennett, Forte and Jeffery were able to convert while Marshall wasn’t. He will.
Dez Bryant: 14-7-6-14-10-12- 7 (9.5), Jason Witten: 7-5-5-5-5-2- 8 (5.4), Terrance Williams: 4-3-7-6-2-3- 7 (4.9), DeMarco Murray: 2-4-1-8-6-1- 4 (3.8), Cole Beasley: 1-2-2-4-2-0- 2 (2.2), Lance Dunbar: 0-1-3-0-4-0- 2 (1.6), Gavin Escobar: 1-1-1-0-2-3- 0 (1.1), Dwayne Harris: 0-0-2-3-0-0- 1 (1), Devin Street: 0-0-1-0-0-0- 1 (0.6), James Hanna: 0-0-1-0-0-0- 1 (0.2), Tyler Clutts: 0-0-0-0-1-0- 0 (0.1), Joseph Randle: 0-0-0-0-0-1- 0 (0.1)
The Romo back game was pretty much all DeMarco Murray once again for the Cowboys. Despite losing another fumble and not getting into the end zone for only the second time this year, Murray still managed 20 standard points as he rushed 19 times for 141 yards and caught four of four targets for another 80 yards. He has not been used as much in the passing game as I expected him to be this season, but he still has caught 26 passes for 239 yards to go along with his 1,054 rushing yards at the halfway point.
Murray actually had his least percentage of snaps in this game with just 66% and his fewest carries on the season with 19. It does look like they are trying to cut down his workload a little, but I’ll take what he can do on 23 touches.
Jason Witten led the team with eight targets and caught five of them for 70 yards and a touchdown. This was his best game of the season and just his second touchdown. That pretty much tells you where his fantasy upside and downside are.
Dez Bryant didn’t get the number of targets he probably should have, but he did see three in the red zone and scored on one of those by trucking a defender after the catch.
Golden Tate: 8-7-10-9-12-13- 15 (10), Calvin Johnson: 13-10-2-1-dnp-dnp- dnp (7.4), Reggie Bush: 3-8-6-5-dnp-6- dnp (5.7), Joique Bell: 11-0-4-dnp-3-5- 3 (3.9), Eric Ebron: 5-1-4-4-4-dnp- dnp (3.3), Theo Riddick: 0-0-0-dnp-6-dnp- 12 (3), Corey Fuller: 1-2-1-4-5-5- 6 (3), Jeremy Ross: 3-3-2-2-3-4- 3 (2.5), Kellen Davis: dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp- 2 (2), Brandon Pettigrew: 1-1-2-3-0-6- dnp (2), Joseph Fauria: 1-2-dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp- dnp (2), Ryan Broyles: dnp-dnp-2-1-0-0- 2 (1), George Winn: dnp-dnp-dnp-2-0-0- 1 (0.8), Jed Collins: 2-0-0-0-0-0- 0 (0.2)
I’ll be sad to see the sans Megatron Golden Tate go, but the Lions sure won’t. Tate led the team once again with Calvin Johnson out, as he caught seven of 14 targets for 151 yards and a touchdown. Whenever Johnson has been hurt in the past it’s meant certain defeat for the Lions, but depth at running back and Golden Tate, coupled with an improved defense, has allowed them to weather the storm. And it sure was stormy as the team did not look sharp once again, but managed to eke out a win.
Theo Riddick might have been the top reason they won this game. His receiving and run after the catch skills came in handy as he replaced the ailing Reggie Bush. He was second to Tate in targets with 12 and caught eight of them for 74 yards and a touchdown and made the key one-handed grab on the final drive.
Red Zone Targets+Touches: Golden Tate: Run 0/ Tar 5, Theo Riddick: Run 1/ Tar 4, Joique Bell: Run 16/ Tar 3, Reggie Bush: Run 1/ Tar 2, Corey Fuller: Run 0/ Tar 2, Eric Ebron: Run 0/ Tar 2, Brandon Pettigrew: Run 0/ Tar 1, Jordan Thompson: Run 0/ Tar 1, Ryan Broyles: Run 0/ Tar 1, Jed Collins: Run 1/ Tar 0, George Winn: Run 1/ Tar 0, Matthew Stafford: Run 1/ Tar 0
Riddick led the team with six looks in the red zone and caught the one touchdown. It will be interesting to see how they use him when Bush returns, because it will be tough keeping him off the field.
Green Bay Packers
Jordy Nelson: 16-7-12-3-16-5- 5 (9.8), Randall Cobb: 6-6-9-4-7-7- 7 (6.9), Davante Adams: 7-3-3-4-8-1- 9 (4.4), Eddie Lacy: 3-1-2-3-0-3- 9 (3), Andrew Quarless: 2-5-0-2-5-1- 3 (2.8), James Starks: 0-1-0-2-5-1- 1 (1.6), Jarrett Boykin: 3-4-dnp-dnp-dnp-0- 0 (1.4), Richard Rodgers: 1-0-2-1-0-2- 5 (1.4), Jeff Janis: dnp-dnp-0-2-0-dnp- dnp (0.7), Kevin Dorsey: dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp-0-2- 0 (0.7), Brandon Bostick: 0-0-0-0-0-2- 0 (0.3), John Kuhn: 1-0-0-1-0-0- 0 (0.2), DuJuan Harris: 2-0-0-0-0-0- 0 (0.2)
You know there was something a little off with the Packers offense when Eddie Lacy and Davante Adams lead the team in targets and receptions. It’s not as if they didn’t play well, but this season has consistently been Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb at the top of that list. Of course you take what the defense gives you sometimes and it worked out well for Lacy who caught eight of nine targets for 123 yards receiving, by far his best receiving game of his career. And even better for his fantasy owners who have been rightfully worried about a timeshare between James Starks and him. Starks had just three looks in this game compared to Lacy’s 22. Of course Starks had been dealing with an ankle issue the week prior and it must have been still bothering him. But this game for Lacy should have vaulted him back up into every-series back consideration.
Randall Cobb may have been third on the target list, but he was first in yards and touchdowns as he caught five of seven targets for 126 yards and a touchdown. He just can’t stop scoring touchdowns.
Jordy Nelson was the dud for the week with just three receptions on five targets for 25 yards. He was often covered by Keenan Lewis and with good options in better circumstances throughout the lineup, it was Nelson’s turn to take a back seat. It won’t happen often.
Red Zone Targets+Touches: Jordy Nelson: Run 0/ Tar 11, Randall Cobb: Run 0/ Tar 8, Davante Adams: Run 0/ Tar 4, Andrew Quarless: Run 0/ Tar 3, Richard Rodgers: Run 0/ Tar 2, Eddie Lacy: Run 16/ Tar 1, Brandon Bostick: Run 0/ Tar 1, James Starks: Run 2/ Tar 0, John Kuhn: Run 2/ Tar 0, Aaron Rodgers: Run 5/ Tar 0
Nelson continues to see targets in the red zone as he had two, but couldn’t connect.
Cordarrelle Patterson: 7-5-4-4-8-4- 12 (6.1), Greg Jennings: 4-7-4-6-6-7- 6 (5.9), Kyle Rudolph: 8-5-dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp- dnp (5.7), Jarius Wright: 3-0-10-8-6-4- 3 (4.6), Chase Ford: dnp-dnp-4-4-5-3- 6 (4.4), Matt Asiata: 7-6-4-3-2-2- 5 (3.8), Charles Johnson: dnp-dnp-dnp-3-3-dnp- 5 (3.7), Jerick McKinnon: 3-5-3-5-6-4- 1 (3.4), Adam Thielen: 3-0-0-5-0-1- 1 (1.2), Rhett Ellison: 1-2-1-2-1-1- 1 (1.2), Joe Banyard: 0-0-0-2-0-0- 0 (0.3), MarQueis Gray: 0-0-0-2-0-0- 0 (0.3), Jerome Felton: 0-0-0-0-0-0- 1 (0.1)
The Vikings took on the Buccaneers for the Halloween costume prize and the Vikings won the $150 dollars! Congrats Vikings! Oh, what’s that? They played football? Interesting. I’ll have to go back and re-watch.
Okay, they did play a football game, at least to an extent. The one bright spot on the Vikings offense has been Jerick McKinnon. He’s still learning, but you can see his ability when he touches the ball. He finished the game with 16 carries for 83 yards and one reception for negative one yard. That’s not winning you your fantasy game, but he continues to solidify his spot and improve his game.
Cordarrelle Patterson had his highest target count of the season with 12 and caught six of those for 86 yards. He was also a positive this week, with Teddy Bridgewater being the main culprit for the missed connections. If he continues to see anywhere near 12 targets a game his fantasy value is going to shoot up, but it’s still hard to know. If you can get him cheap I’d take the chance on his talent.
Red Zone Targets+Touches: Greg Jennings: Run 0/ Tar 5, Jarius Wright: Run 0/ Tar 3, Cordarrelle Patterson: Run 0/ Tar 2, Chase Ford: Run 0/ Tar 2, Joe Banyard: Run 0/ Tar 2, Matt Asiata: Run 8/ Tar 1, Adam Thielen: Run 0/ Tar 1, Jerick McKinnon: Run 4/ Tar 1, Teddy Bridgewater: Run 3/ Tar 0, Christian Ponder: Run 2/ Tar 0
The Vikings only had two plays inside the red zone, but one of them went for a 17 yard Greg Jennings touchdown catch. It was his first touchdown since Week 1.
New Orleans Saints
Jimmy Graham: 13-8-11-5-BYE-2- 6 (7.9), Brandin Cooks: 6-10-6-11-BYE-3- 7 (7.3), Marques Colston: 0-5-10-6-BYE-10- 5 (6.3), Pierre Thomas: 3-3-2-10-BYE-4- dnp (4.8), Kenny Stills: 4-5-3-3-BYE-5- 4 (4), Travaris Cadet: 0-0-6-5-BYE-9- 5 (3.7), Joe Morgan: dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp-BYE-dnp- dnp (3), Mark Ingram: 4-dnp-dnp-dnp-BYE-3- 2 (2.5), Robert Meachem: 5-1-1-4-BYE-3- 0 (2.3), Ben Watson: 2-1-1-7-BYE-3- 0 (2.1), Josh Hill: 2-2-1-3-BYE-1- 1 (1.4), Erik Lorig: dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp-BYE-dnp- 1 (1), Khiry Robinson: 0-0-3-2-BYE-0- dnp (1)
The Saints, despite their 2-4 record, played like a juggernaut Sunday night against the Packers, as they were nearly flawless in both the rushing and passing game.
It was a masterful performance by Drew Brees who completed 27 of 32 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns while Mark Ingram rushed 24 times for 172 yards and a touchdown. When you have both facets of your offense clicking like that there’s not much chance for the opponent.
Brees, as he usually does when playing well, spread the ball around fairly evenly. Nine players had receptions and five had between four and seven. Brandin Cooks led the way with seven targets of which he caught six for 94 yards and a touchdown. The one missed target was a drop on a beautifully thrown deep ball from Brees unfortunately. But he caught the rest, including another deep pass for a touchdown. It’s nice to see his speed used for more than short passes, which should help his fantasy upside if they continue to stretch the field with him, while also giving him some running back type work through the air.
Red Zone Targets+Touches: Jimmy Graham: Run 0/ Tar 5, Brandin Cooks: Run 2/ Tar 4, Travaris Cadet: Run 0/ Tar 4, Marques Colston: Run 0/ Tar 3, Josh Hill: Run 0/ Tar 2, Kenny Stills: Run 0/ Tar 1, Pierre Thomas: Run 3/ Tar 1, Khiry Robinson: Run 5/ Tar 0, Drew Brees: Run 0/ Tar 0, Mark Ingram: Run 5/ Tar 0, Erik Lorig: Run 2/ Tar 0
New York Giants
Rueben Randle: 7-10-10-10-9-9- BYE (8.3), Victor Cruz: 10-6-10-6-3-dnp- BYE (6.8), Larry Donnell: 9-6-8-1-2-7- BYE (5.9), Odell Beckham Jr: dnp-dnp-dnp-5-4-6- BYE (5), Jerrel Jernigan: 2-dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp- BYE (4.5), Rashad Jennings: 4-0-2-2-dnp-dnp- BYE (2.6), Preston Parker: 2-4-5-3-1-3- BYE (2.6), Andre Williams: 4-0-1-2-0-3- BYE (1.6), Daniel Fells: 1-2-2-0-2-1- BYE (1.3), Peyton Hillis: 0-0-0-0-5-3- BYE (1.1), Adrien Robinson: 0-0-1-1-2-0- BYE (0.6)
Rueben Randle led the way with nine targets, which is right in line with the last five weeks, even when Victor Cruz was playing. He caught six for 74 yards, but it’s hard not to believe bigger days are on the way.
Larry Donnell saw the biggest uptick in targets with seven, after seeing three in the previous two games, and he did well to secure all seven for 90 yards, but not so well at continuing to secure them as he lost two fumbles.