2014 Fantasy Football: Week 5 NFC Target Report
As promised, here is the NFC Targets Report. If you happened to miss my AFC Targets Report that was published earlier today, you can check it out right here. If you’re unfamiliar with the format, here is a brief overview. The first number listed in parentheses is the total number of targets followed by the percent of targets which were caught. Additionally, the weekly targets will be listed in order to help identify potential trends in usage.
Ellington didn’t do much on the ground (16-32-1) but was able to have a fine fantasy outing due to his four catches for 112 yards and a score. Even more promising was the fact his rushing touchdown was a five-yard scamper and the more work in the red zone should translate to more finding pay dirt more often. Floyd is the definition of a boom-or-bust fantasy option right now as he has alternated between good and bad weeks. With the availability of Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton in question, rookie Logan Thomas could be the Cardinals starting quarterback. If that’s the case, downgrade both Floyd and Fitzgerald to WR3 status. Fitz still possesses some of the best hands in the league but his athleticism has faded somewhat and he’s unable to create separation like he used too.
Julio Jones (57/70.2%) 9-13-11-8-16 — Roddy White (33/47.1%) 7-8-DNP-14-4 — Devin Hester (19/73.7%) 6-1-1-7-4 — Harry Douglas (17/70.6%) 7-8-2-DNP-DNP — Devonta Freeman (15/85.7%) 2-4-1-2-6 — Levine Toilolo (15/53.3%) 6-3-2-2-2 — Steven Jackson (12/75%) 3-1-0-2-6 — Antone Smith (8/75%) 1-4-0-0-3
Jones was targeted an insane 16 times and he went off for 11 receptions for 105 yards. This monstrous games are seemingly coming at will and Jones is locked in as a top-three wideout. A week after seeing 14 targets, White only saw four and wasn’t able to score a touchdown like he promised to do. White has been performing more like a WR3 to date, but I still believe he has WR2 upside. Jackson set a new season-high in targets and was able to corral five of the passes for his best PPR effort to date. S-Jax still remains a risky fantasy proposition due to his reliance on touchdowns to buoy his value. He’s a middling RB3/FLEX option for owners. The aforementioned trio all have good matchups against the Chicago Bears.
Kelvin Benjamin (47/51.1%) 8-8-11-9-11 — Greg Olsen (40/67.5%) 11-8-7-5-9 — Jason Avant (21/57.1%) 1-7-6-3-4 — Jerricho Cotchery (19/84.2%) 4-4-DNP-7-4 — Philly Brown (14/71.4%) 0-0-9-4-1 — Darrin Reaves (7/57.1%) DNP-DNP-1-5-1 — Jonathan Stewart (7/100%) 3-1-3-DNP-DNP
Benjamin is averaging 9.4 targets a game and matched a season-high in targets last week (11), but was only able to haul in three catches for 38 yards. Benjamin’s hands are still a work in progress and as long as the drops continue to pile up, he will be an inconsistent option. With that being said, Benji is going to get plenty of looks on a weekly basis and that’s good enough to ensure WR2 status. Olsen continued his onward track to having a career-best year by catching two touchdowns against his former Bears squad in Week 5. Olsen is on a 86 reception-1,043 yards-12 touchdown pace which would all be career-highs and it’s quite clear that Cam Newton will continue to pepper his most reliable pass-catcher with targets.
Forte received an astounding 12 targets and was able to catch all of them for 105 yards in what turned out to be his breakout game in PPR formats. Forte also managed to rush 17 times for 61 yards and while he’s still without a rushing score on the year, expect those to come very soon, perhaps this week against a sievelike Falcons run defense. With 36 catches on the year, Forte is a matchup-proof RB1. Bennett posted his first real clunker of the year and also set a season-low in targets. With the Bears coaching staff looking to emphasize getting a healthy Marshall going this week after three straight lackluster performances, it could be another down performance for Bennett. Look for Marshall to receive 10+ targets. Jeffery has either 100 yards or a touchdown in his last three games and is a surefire WR1 in all formats.
The Cowboys may not be slinging it around this much this year thanks to an increased reliance on DeMarco Murray and the run game, but it hasn’t been affecting Dez too much. Bryant matched a season-high in targets and put up a 9-85-1 line, his fourth consecutive game with a score. A physical specimen, Bryant is a locked and loaded as a top-five wide receiver, although he has a tough matchup against the Seahawks secondary this weekend. Murray is still on pace to match the NFL record for carries in a season and owners have to hope he can stay healthy because if he does there is a great chance he finishes as the top running back. Murray has cleared the 100-yard plateau in all five of his games and is averaging a ridiculous 5.2 YPC and 134 YPG with five touchdowns. Always known to be an above-average pass-catcher, Murray’s usage in the passing game was encouraging and translated to six catches for 56 yards. It would be nice to see him catch three or more passes a game.
T-Will has only managed to see 27 targets, yet he has already scored five times. Seeing a little over five targets a week, Williams’ touchdown rate is simply unsustainable and owners should view him as a WR3 until further notice. Witten is still the safety blanket for Tony Romo, but he’s being asked to block more than in seasons past and it’s hurting his box score production as a result. He’s yet to find the end zone but is still a TE1 who could break out any given game.
Golden Tate (40/77.5%) 6-8-7-10-9 — Calvin Johnson (37/59.5%) 11-13-10-2-1 — Reggie Bush (28/71.4%) 6-3-8-6-5 — Joique Bell (16/56.3%) 1-11-0-4-DNP — Eric Ebron (16/50%) 2-5-1-4-4 — Jeremy Ross (10/80%) 0-3-3-2-2 — Corey Fuller (8/50%) 0-1-2-1-4 — Joseph Fauria (6/50%) 3-1-2-DNP-DNP
Acting as a decoy for the second straight week, Megatron killed fantasy owners who left the Georgia Tech alum in their fantasy football lineups. It sounds like Johnson will miss an appetizing matchup against the Vikings in Week 6 and he could be out for longer with his high-ankle sprain. Although there’s nary a reason to celebrate injuries, the “next man up” mantra applies in this instance and Golden Tate is the obvious beneficiary of his absence. A poor man’s Antonio Brown, Tate has surpassed five catches and 50 yards in all five of his games and has already racked up 451 receiving yards this year, good for sixth most in the NFL. Tate toasted the Bills to the tune of a 7-134-1 line last week and his score was the first for him. Averaging 6.2 catches and eight targets a game, while possessing a pair of oven mitts with outstanding YAC ability, Tate is a WR1 in PPR formats until Megatron returns.
Bush flopped in his starting role for the Lions as he rushed six times for 13 yards while adding two receptions for 30 yards and suffered a sprained ankle to make matters worse. As of this writing, Bush appears unlikely to play this Sunday. Meanwhile, Joique Bell (concussion) is set to return this week and should be granted lead-back duties in a favorable matchup against the Vikings. Fire him up as a RB2.
Green Bay Packers
Nelson saw his targets fall off substantially from previous weeks, but there is no reason for fantasy owners to be concerned. The Packers got off to a huge early lead and rode Eddie Lacy and James Starks to victory as they ran out the clock. Nelson still managed to catch a 66-yard touchdown and is the second best wideout in fantasy. Cobb caught three passes for 31 yards and a touchdown and has somehow already found pay dirt six times this year. His career-high in touchdowns is eight and the touchdown barrage is unlikely to continue to this extent. Cobb is still better suited for PPR formats compared to standard. Lacy (13-105-2) posted his first 100-yard rushing effort of the year and it was a welcome relief for owners. While this is good news, it’s going to take more than one good outing to put him back in the circle of trust. Adams hasn’t had a breakthrough showing yet, but Aaron Rodgers noticed Adams was open quite often after reviewing the tape and as the third option whose played roughly three quarters of the snaps the last two weeks in the Packers aerial attack, Adams deserves WR4 consideration.
Greg Jennings (29/58.6%) 7-5-7-4-6 — Cordarrelle Patterson (25/60%) 5-7-5-4-4 — Jarius Wright (24/58.3%) 3-3-0-10-8 — Matt Asiata (21/57.1%) 1-7-6-4-3 — Jerick McKinnon (16/50%) 0-3-5-3-5 — Chase Ford (8/50%) DNP-DNP-DNP-4-4 — Rhett Ellison (7/57.1%) 1-1-2-1-2
There wasn’t much to write home about for the Vikings as the whole team put forth a putrid effort, especially third-string quarterback Christian Ponder. C-Pat continued his streak of irrelevance as he caught two balls for eight yards with another meager target total. The Vikings keep talking about how they want to utilize their most explosive weapon more, but until the results on the field speak for themselves, it seems like nothing more than coach speak. Patterson is a low-end WR3 for the time being. Wright has lead the team in targets the last two weeks and Teddy Bridgewater‘s return this week should be a welcome sight for Wright. Treat him as a WR4/WR5.
New Orleans Saints
Jimmy Graham (47/72.3%) 10-13-8-11-5 — Brandin Cooks (41/78%) 8-6-10-6-11 — Marques Colston (29/51.7%) 8-0-5-10-6 — Pierre Thomas (25/88%) 7-3-3-2-10 — Kenny Stills (15/66.7%) DNP-4-5-3-3 — Travaris Cadet (12/83.3%) 1-0-0-6-5 — Khiry Robinson (6/50%) 1-0-0-3-2 — Mark Ingram (5/80%) 1-4-DNP-DNP-DNP
Graham was the Saints most effective option before he left the game due to a shoulder injury but it’s not considered to be serious and the Saints Week 6 bye comes just in time. Averaging 8.2 targets and 6.4 receptions a game, Cooks is a fine WR2 in PPR formats. His value in standard formats takes a hit due to his lack of yardage and low touchdown totals. Drew Brees is known to spread out his targets due to the plethora of weapons the Saints possess and Marques Colston seems to be hurting from this philosophy the most this year. He’s displayed a serious case of butterfingers this year and in a game where Graham left early due to injury, it’s concerning to note Colston only had six targets. Officially third on the Saints totem pole for pass-catchers, Colston simply can’t be trusted as a starter right now. Most likely the result of losing the best tight end in the NFL, Pierre Thomas saw more targets than his previous three weeks combined and produced a vintage Pierre game (4-35-1, 8-77-1). It’s hard to know if this usage in the passing game will last, but Thomas has at least earned FLEX status.
New York Giants
Reuben Randle (40/57.5%) 3-7-10-10-10 — Victor Cruz (38/55.3%) 6-10-6-10-6 — Larry Donnell (32/78.1%) 8-9-6-8-1 — Rashad Jennings (13/84.6%) 5-4-0-2-2 — Andre Williams (8/50%) 1-4-0-1-2 — Odell Beckham Jr. (5/80%) DNP-DNP-DNP-DNP-5
Randle has seen double-digit targets the last three games and it looks like he’s become Eli Manning‘s favorite option in the passing game. He has had some trouble hauling in a number of catchable passes, but with this kind of volume he should be viewed as a WR3 with WR2 upside against a leaky Eagles secondary. Donnell posted a bagel for fantasy owners in Week 5 just one week after scoring three touchdowns. Donnell was Manning’s primary target the first four games so it was disheartening to initially note his one target, but the Falcons pulled out all the stops to limit Donnell and it worked. Expect him to get back to his chain-moving ways in Week 6. Finally recovered from his lingering hamstring injury, Beckham Jr. balled out in his first NFL game. Playing a little more than half of the Giants snaps, Beckham Jr. reeled in four catches for 44 yards and a score. Beckham Jr. is worth owning in all formats and it will be interesting to see how the targets shake out in Week 6 with the amount of weapons Eli now has at his disposal.
Speaking of interesting, it will be fascinating to see how Williams does in the starting running back role in place of Rashad Jennings. The good news is he gets to face the Eagles and Cowboys the next two weeks, not exactly the most imposing defensive fronts. In place of Jennings last week, Williams rushed 20 times for 60 yards and caught two passes for 16 yards. It’s encouraging they are using him in the passing game as he was known to have stone hands during his time at Boston College. Use Williams as a RB2 whose value is better suited for standard formats.
Jeremy Maclin (57/43.9%) 10-11-9-16-11 — Jordan Matthews (31/61.3%) 4-4-9-7-7 — Riley Cooper (30/63.3%) 7-3-7-8-5 — Zach Ertz (26/61.5%) 5-6-3-6-6 — Darren Sproles (21/76.2%) 6-7-4-4-0 — LeSean McCoy (18/82.4%) 6-5-3-0-4
Maclin has seen over ten targets in each of his five games, yet he’s only managed to corral 43.9 percent of his targets. A lot of this has to do with Nick Foles and his shaky accuracy so far and it’s actually quite rewarding knowing that Maclin hasn’t even reached his fantasy ceiling yet. Averaging 11.4 targets, five receptions, 85.8 YPG, and 17.2 yards per catch, Maclin is a matchup-proof WR1. McCoy is still only averaging a pitiful 2.9 YPC and his usage through the air hasn’t been too encouraging either as he’s averaging 2.8 catches a game. Having extremely limited success overall, McCoy owners have to hang on or you risk selling low and not getting an adequate return for a player that could break out of his funk at any time. Owners can hang their hat on his high number of touches as Chip Kelly still gave him 28 touches last week even though he wasn’t doing all that well. Sproles has officially entered fantasy purgatory after his blistering start and it’s become almost impossible to start him based on his recent lack of usage.
San Francisco 49ers
Michael Crabtree (36/69.4%) 4-9-11-8-4 — Anquan Boldin (36/69.4%) 9-6-6-7-8 — Stevie Johnson (19/78.9%) 2-4-9-2-2 — Vernon Davis (12/75%) 6-3-DNP-3-DNP — Derek Carrier (10/70%) DNP-4-2-2-2 — Carlos Hyde (6/50%) 0-2-2-1-1 — Frank Gore (5/80%) 0-2-0-2-1
After a miserable game against the Arizona Cardinals a few weeks ago, Frank Gore has managed to rebound quite nicely in his last two showings. The 31-year-old rushed 18 times for 107 yards and added a five-yard reception. For the year, Gore is averaging a healthy 4.7 YPC and looks to be running as angry as ever. You can’t count on him much production in the passing game, but Gore butters his bread around the goal-line. He has only scored once so far, but with 8/8/9 touchdowns the last three years, he should be picking up the pace here shortly. After playing roughly 85 percent of the 49ers snaps in Weeks 2-3, Crabtree has played below 60 percent of the snaps the last two games and it looks like his left foot is the culprit. It will be interesting to see how Crab rebounds in Week 6 and owners should be keeping tabs on his health.
Percy Harvin (22/86.4%) 7-1-9-BYE-5 — Doug Baldwin (21/66.7%) 5-6-5-BYE-5 — Marshawn Lynch (16/81.3%) 1-4-5-BYE-6 — Jermain Kearse (12/66.7%) 3-5-2-BYE-2 — Zach Miller (7/85.7%) 4-1-2-BYE-DNP — Luke Willson (5/80%) 1-0-0-BYE-4
When Lynch leads the Seahawks in targets, it probably doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the rest of the Seahawks box score wasn’t so pretty in terms of pass-catching. Beast Mode rushed 17 times for 72 yards and added five catches for 45 and a touchdown. Lynch now has a touchdown reception in three straight games, an unusual feat for the man who makes a living bowling over defenders on the ground. Percy Harvin caught four passes for 27 yards but his line could have been much bigger if not for three very unfortunate penalties. Being someone that was actually playing against Harvin, I can’t begin to describe to you the joy felt as each of his three touchdowns were negated due to penalties (evil laugh). On a serious note, this was obviously an unfortunate set of circumstances for Harvin owners as it’s already hard enough to get production out of Seahawks wide receivers due to their reliance on the rushing attack and when you have penalties calling back three scores, that’s simply unfathomable. Harvin has a tasty matchup against the Cowboys who have no one capable of covering him, but Harvin can only be considered a WR2/WR3 in PPR formats due to his lack of targets.
St. Louis Rams
Brian Quick (31/67.7%) 9-9-4-BYE-9 — Jared Cook (31/61.3%) 8-4-9-BYE-10 — Kenny Britt (17/52.9%) 3-2-7-BYE-6 — Lance Kendricks (15/80%) 3-4-7-BYE-1 — Austin Pettis (14/64.3%) 0-4-4-BYE-6 — Zac Stacy (13/76.9%) 2-0-6-BYE-5 — Benny Cunningham (12/75%) 4-2-2-BYE-4
The insertion of Austin Davis as the starting quarterback for the Rams has been a positive development for the whole offense, especially for breakout wide receiver Brian Quick. Averaging 7.75 targets and 5.25 catches per game, Quick has quickly evolved into an every-week fantasy starter. He’s on pace for 84 catches, 1,288 yards, and 12 touchdowns. Treat him as a WR2 until he proves otherwise.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Vincent Jackson (47/44.7%) 9-7-9-10-12 — Mike Evans (27/63%) 9-4-7-7-DNP — Bobby Rainey (19/84.2%) 2-3-8-2-4 — Louis Murphy (18/50%) DNP-DNP-DNP-11-7 — Austin Sefarian-Jenkins (12/41.7%) 2-DNP-DNP-7-3 — Doug Martin (9/66.7%) 2-DNP-DNP-2-5
Mike Glennon loves targeting V-Jax relentlessly through the air and this is music to fantasy owners ears as V-Jax got off a slower start than anyone could have imagined due to horrendous quarterback play from Josh McCown. Jackson saw a season-high in targets (12) and rewarded Glennon’s faith by posting eight catches for 144 yards. Jackson is still averaging a robust 9.4 targets a game so you can expect him to increase his average of 4.2 catches a game with improved play from Glennon over the rest of the season. Temper expectations for V-Jax this week though as he has to square off against the Ravens stout secondary. Mike Evans (groin) missed Week 5 but he has practiced on a limited basis this week and looks like he’ll be back in the Bucs lineup. Plug him in as a WR3. The arrival of Evans will put a sizable dent in the fantasy value of ASJ as this offense isn’t doesn’t seem capable of supporting three players for fantasy success. The Bucs are basically used a 65/35 percent split in carries between Martin and Rainey in Week 5 and it’s hurting the value of each obviously. Somehow Martin has lowered his YPC average from 3.6 > 2.5 this year and he looks like a shell of himself from his rookie campaign. Only start Martin as a RB2 if you’re desperate, otherwise he’s better served as a FLEX play.
Pierre Garcon (41/63.4%) 12-4-16-6-3 — DeSean Jackson (37/54.1%) 9-2-11-4-11 — Niles Paul (30/73.3%) 4-11-9-4-2 — Andre Roberts (28/53.6%) 3-5-6-5-9 — Roy Helu (18/83.3%) 3-2-1-5-7 — Alfred Morris (4/100%) 0-0-0-3-1 — Jordan Reed (1/100%) 1-DNP-DNP-DNP-DNP
It’s safe to say that fantasy owners weren’t expecting too much out of any of their Redskins against the Seahawks in Week 5 so you can’t blame them for being pleasantly surprised after looking at the box score. D-Jax matched a season-high in targets and delivered a fine performance (5-157-1) to record his second 100-yard game of the year. Kirk Cousins is adept at targeting his receivers downfield and it’s nice to see Jackson is averaging 18.2 yards per reception, his highest mark since his 22.5 average he set in 2010. Fire up D-Jax as a WR2 against the Cardinals this week. Garcon saw a season-low in targets as he was covered by Richard Sherman for the majority of the game and he only managed two catches for 23 yards. While Garcon has had games with 10 and 11 catches, he’s yet to have more than three receptions in his other three games. With only one score so far, Garcon is better suited as a WR2 in PPR formats. Jordan Reed (hamstring) is set to return this week and it looks like the days of Niles Paul having fantasy relevancy are coming to an end. Go ahead and fire up Reed as a TE1, but beware of him aggravating his injury as he’s been quite injury-prone to this point of his career. I wouldn’t be so quick to drop Paul as he’s been too good to be simply vanquished from the gameplan.
Thanks for reading and be sure to comment below with any questions, remarks, or corrections you may have concerning the article. You can follow me on Twitter @MattMoczy.