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Target Practice: Week Nine in the NFL
It’s always tough to find the right receivers each week for your fantasy matchup. One of the keys is not just what a player has done, but in a lot of cases you have to consider the potential of a player when you look their matchup. Another factor that needs to be included into this equation is which players are getting their number called most.
Look Who’s Hot….
If you are a fan of, and more importantly a participant in, a PPR league than you have to love what you are seeing from wide receiver Devin Hester. In the last three weeks he’s averaged nine targets per game and with so many chances he’s delivered. Hester has 21 receptions for 265 yards and is looking more and more like a go to receiver in Chicago. He can only get better and if you drafted him as your number three, you’ve got yourself what looks to be a great steal in the second half. It’s not taking much effort, but the Eagle’s second year receiver DeSean Jackson is quickly emerging as an elite player in this league. He’s only needed ten targets in his last two games and three touches in each to find the end zone three times. With two receptions and one scintillating 67-yard end around in week seven Jackson scored twice. Last Sunday he only needed three catches to work his magic and find pay-dirt. The explosive receiver is averaging a little more than four touches per game and around 20 yards per touch. Now that’s explosive! Who’s worried…. If you drafted Michael Crabtree back in August and have had the patience to wait all this time, relax because not only are you the most patient ever, but the pay-off could be coming soon. In his first two games as an NFL receiver Crabtree has had plenty of chances with 15 targets, but more importantly he’s already starting to produce with 11 receptions for 137 yards (projected over 16 games; 88 receptions, 1,096-yards) For some fantasy owners, it might be time to worry when your number one receiver has only 125 yards combined in his last two games and has not scored a touchdown in his last three starts. Add to the facts that he was just injured a week ago and questionable for most of the week and it might make sense for panic to set in, but when that receiver is Andre Johnson you really haven’t much to worry about. This little dip in production is a mere bump in the road. Johnson was back on the field Sunday, he’s still one of the most targeted receivers in the game with (80) and a tremendous receiving talent.
Keep your Eye on these gems… The Jets tight end Dustin Keller has been on a bit of a circus string with his numbers fluctuating from week to week. In the two previous weeks Keller has seen his target numbers go from 10 in week six down to just four in week seven. Week eight treated the Jet’s second year tight end much better with 13 targets and his production improved greatly with eight grabs for 76 yards and a touchdown. As the rookie Mark Sanchez continues to mature under center, we’d expect to see him lean more on his tight end going forward.
A couple of players that fantasy owners should continue to monitor are a pair of Indy receivers. With Reggie Wayne drawing a lot of attention and well deserved with 20 targets in week eight, Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon continue to warrant some discussion. Over the past two weeks both receivers have seen plenty of action in the Colts passing game with 14 and 16 targets respectively. As long as number 18 is under center, these two will at least merit WR3 considerations moving ahead. Also, the real missing stat here is Manning’s 26 completions per game!
Here is the breakdown for fantasy pass catchers (targets) this season;
Through Eight weeks:
Top-10 Targeted Pass-catchers
Player Targt Recpt FPTS
Johnson, Andre WR HOU 80 44 92
Smith, Steve WR NYG 78 53 87
Wayne, Reggie WR IND 77 51 102
Fitzgerald, Larry WR ARI 73 47 78
Burleson, Nate WR SEA 66 38 59
Moss, Randy WR NE 66 43 77
White, Roddy WR ATL 66 37 88
Smith, Steve WR CAR 65 30 47
Ochocinco, Chad WR CIN 64 39 82
Welker, Wes WR NE 62 46 70
[points based on traditional scoring]