Target Watch Week 3
Targets are an essential part of week-to-week evaluation. They allow us to see which receivers are getting the most opportunities, and targets can be very predictive of future performance when applied correctly. Here are some of the most targeted receivers in Week 3, as well as some of the least targeted, and my thoughts on their games.
Julio Jones (20 Targets) – Wow. I can not emphasize enough how jaw-dropping this number is. With Roddy White doing absolute nothing, Jones is getting legitimately all the targets in this Atlanta offense, with Matt Ryan only throwing it 36 times. Yes, it was Dallas, but prior to this game, corners Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr were getting a lot of praise. Julio gets Houston in week 4, and shouldn’t have a problem racking up fantasy points.
Steve Smith (17 Targets) – I view this one differently than Julio Jones, as Joe Flacco threw 49 times in this game. That being said, Flacco threw 45 times in his last start against the Raiders, and with the Ravens unable to establish a running game this seems to be the status quo for the Ravens. Smith showed last year he can start fast with fresh legs, and he’s done it once again this season. He gets the Steelers in week 4 and should have success against their horrible secondary.
Brandon Marshall (14 Targets) – Not that this one surprises anyone, with Eric Decker out going against an awful Eagles secondary, everyone expected Marshall to have a great game, and he delivered.
DeAndre Hopkins (14 Targets) – I did not expect that the name DeAndre Hopkins would be in the “Studs” section of this column, but it’s undeniable given his double digit targets he’s been getting every week. His salary has risen a lot, but I think he’s in play against the Falcons this week.
Antonio Brown (13 Targets) – Can this guy get any more consistent? Despite facing a tough secondary and Ben Roethlisberger going down, Brown still caught 11 of 13 targets for 108 yards. He simply will never be priced high enough, and even with Michael Vick throwing to him I like him quite a bit this Thursday.
A.J. Green (13 Targets) – Green got off to a very slow start this year, but he reminded us that he’s one of the best receivers in the league with an amazing game this week against the Ravens. It’s funny to say after such an amazing game, but this doesn’t make me that much higher on Green. I still think the emergence of Tyler Eifert and Marvin Jones are going to effect his numbers a bit, and I’m going to be choosing guys like Brown and Julio Jones over Green basically every week. That being said, he clearly has a lot of upside and should be in a few GPP lineups every week depending on the matchup. Just don’t chase this production blindly.
Larry Fitzgerald (13 Targets) – I told everyone to fade him in my GPP article earlier in the week, and then this happens. I’m buying the Fitzgerald hype a little more, but I honestly think i’ll be fading him once again (depending on ownership) against a tough Rams defense. I think his price is fair now.
Demaryius Thomas (13 Targets) – Targets were there once again, and this time he found the end zone. That being said, I just don’t think we can expect Manning to be as good as his last two seasons, so I expect Thomas’ production to drop a bit. His price on DraftKings is a little high.
Keenan Allen (18 Targets) – Allen had ridiculous target numbers given Phillip Rivers only threw it 34 times. Allen had 17 targets in week 1 as well, although he did nothing in week 2 in a tougher matchup vs the Bengals. We usually don’t think of Allen as a stud #1 receiver, but this is his 3rd year in the league and we may be seeing some improvement here. He’s on pace for a 150+ catch, 1500+ yard season. I think he’s very playable in week 4 against the Browns despite a high price tag, but I expect his numbers to drop a bit once Antonio Gates comes back.
Mike Evans (17 Targets) – Evans got 17 targets out of Jameis Winston’s 36 throws, and finally broke out after an injury-hampered start to the year with 7 catches and 100 yards receiving. I wanted to stay away from Evans until he showed signs of being healthy, and now he has. And because of his slow start, his price has went down big time, he’s only $6,400 on DraftKings. He gets Carolina at home in week 4, not a fantastic matchup by any means, but certainly one where we can use Evans at that price.
Randall Cobb (12 Targets) – If you read my GPP article last week, this wasn’t too much of a surprise. But it’s nice to see Cobb getting the targets and finding the end zone 3 times. As I stated before, I expect his numbers to be better this season with Jordy Nelson out.
Amari Cooper (11 Targets) – He looks really, really good and the Raiders pass it a lot. Against an absolutely terrible Chicago secondary this week, Cooper has went from completely off the radar in week 1 to a must-play in week 4.
The Question Marks
Calvin Johnson (13 Targets) – I’ve been seeing many people ask, “What’s wrong with Calvin Johnson?” My take: Nothing. He had a good game against the Vikings (and 17 targets on top of that), a bad, flukey game against the Chargers, and then actually had an ok game against a ridiculously good Denver secondary. Sadly, he gets the Seahawks at home in week 4, and then the Cardinals in week 5, but I think he’s in play in both these games despite some tough matchups. Detroit will get him going eventually. Oh, and circle the Bears in week 6 on your calendar, I’ll be all over him.
Jordan Matthews (8 Targets) – I’m actually encouraged by this given he was shadowed by Darelle Revis the entire game. He’s basically the Eagles only option in the receiving game right now, look for him to get double digit targets against the Redskins.
T.Y. Hilton (7 Targets) – Hilton was a guy I was on in week 3, and he disappointed in both the target and reception department. The emergence of Donte Moncrief may be hurting Hilton a bit. But I think the offensive line is an issue as well, bad protection means less time for those deep Hilton bombs. Maybe Jacksonville will be the matchup he needs. He’s still very much on my radar, but I’m not as high on him as I was in week 3.
Pierre Garcon (12 Targets) – He disappointed some of the Thursday contest players last week with only 5 catches for 64 yards, but looking at the targets is encouraging. Garcon does not run very deep routes so we expect him to catch a few more of those targets on average in the future, and he gets the Eagles this week, a much, much worse secondary than the Giants.
Greg Olsen (11 Targets) – Just bragging here, he was awesome this week and continues to be one of the only legit options in the Carolina pass game.
Gary Barnidge (10 Targets) – Don’t expect Cleveland to pass this much in a very long time. But we can learn a couple things from this: 1) The Raiders are very bad against the TE and 2) Barnidge can do something in the right matchup. I doubt I’ll use him against the Chargers at all this week.
Rob Gronkowski (7 Targets) – Not worried at all.
Maxx Williams (7 Targets) – This one is intriguing. Williams was a great receiver in college and with Crockett Gillmore out maybe he’s someone we should look into playing on Thursday.
Le’Veon Bell (8 Targets) – Watching this game, I expect this to be the norm for Bell. The Steelers we’re putting him in the slot on occasion and he should be heavily used in the passing game going forward.View all posts by Max J Steinberg