2014 Fantasy Football: Week 7 NFC Target Report
If you happened to miss the AFC version of this article that was released earlier today, you can check it out right here. For those unfamiliar with the formatting, five players will be examined based on their usage in the passing game and an attempt to describe what it means from a fantasy standpoint is the goal in the end. The first number in parentheses is the number of targets followed by the percentage of targets caught. Additionally, the targets for said player will be listed to the right on a week-by-week basis. Time to get the Week 7 NFC Targets Report started.
Roddy White – (55 targets/50.9% targets caught) 7-8-DNP-14-4-6-15
It was hard to predict a breakout game for White against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 7 considering they had allowed the second-fewest touchdowns to WR in the NFL entering the game. But he did just that as he posted a 9-100-1 line and his 15 targets were a season-high. With big expectations for him entering the year, his average of 11.61 PPR points is rather disheartening. To this point, White is the 30th ranked player in PPR formats. Owners who drafted him to be a WR2 instead of WR3 are still waiting for him to put it together on a consistent basis. Excluding his injury-plagued 2013 season, White’s 58.8 yards per game is his lowest output since 2006. He’s currently only on pace for a 64-882-7 line.
The 32-year-old has been hampered by nagging injuries throughout the last two years after never missing a game during the first eight NFL seasons. It appears that White is no longer an ironman. The Atlanta Falcons lack offensive cohesion due to a shoddy offensive line and Matt Ryan underperforming isn’t helping matters either. Add in the fact that Julio Jones is the clear-cut number one option among the Falcons pass-catching corps and you have yourself a tricky situation. Jones has been dealing with foot issues again recently and if he were to ever miss time White would be a fantasy monster once again. Owners can hang their hat on the fact that White is seeing 9.2 targets a game and should continue to be a low-end WR2/high-end WR3 until further notice. Temper expectations in Week 8 though as he goes up against the Detroit Lions top passing defense.
Brandon Marshall (56/55.4%) 12-8-6-6-5-9-10
Coming in as the 19th ranked player in PPR formats, owners start develop a sour taste in their mouth at the mention of Marshall as they ponder why he has been such a letdown so far. Over the last five weeks, Marshall hasn’t cleared 17.3 fantasy points and has only one touchdown during that span. An ankle injury is the main culprit as his effectiveness was vastly diminished when he was playing hobbled, but owners were undoubtedly expecting more from B-Marsh. He is still averaging eight targets a game but it’s just not turning into major fantasy production quite yet. It would be nice if Marshall could corral more than 55.4 percent of his targets.
He has only recorded one 100-yard game so far while his 8.7 YPC rate is the second-lowest mark of his career and his 49.9yards per game is the lowest of his career if you exclude his rookie season. Marshall is on pace for a 71-798-11 receiving line and if he doesn’t pick up the pace in the yardage department, he will miss out on the 1,000 yard mark for the first time since 2006, his rookie season. Having recorded at least 80 catches the last seven seasons, it would be shocking if he doesn’t reach that mark this year. The time to buy on Marshall is now as his price will likely never be cheaper and a Marshall owner may be more than willing to ship him off for less desirable assets if he struggles against Darrelle Revis and Co. this week. Keep the faith, Marshall is still capable of WR1 numbers and should provide them in due time.
Doug Baldwin (35/65.7%) 5-6-5-BYE-5-3-11
In the Seattle Seahawks first game after trading Percy Harvin, Baldwin was the team-leader with his 11 targets and he managed to put up a 7-123-1 line. Seeing 8-10 targets on a weekly basis would obviously be a huge boon to Baldwin’s value after he only averaged 4.8 targets in the Seahawks first five games. Don’t get your hopes up too high or blow too much of your FAAB on Baldwin though. His upside is already limited by the fact that the Seahawks are one of the most run-heavy teams in the NFL and while Baldwin is a decent talent, he’s not going to jump into fantasy stardom as a result of losing Harvin. His career-high in touchdowns is five and his height (5’10) will likely cap his chances for touchdowns in the red zone. Baldwin has a nice matchup against the Panthers in Week 8, but he’s better left suited as a WR4.
Brandin Cooks (44/77.3%) 8-6-10-6-11-BYE-3
Cooks predictably faceplanted in a daunting matchup against the Lions lockdown secondary unit and while this was a result owners could likely see coming, his lack of targets (3) in a game where Jimmy Graham and Pierre Thomas both went down with injuries raises some cause for concern. While he is still averaging 7.3 targets and 5.7 catches a game, he hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 1 and his 8.2 yards per reception show he isn’t a deep threat. It’s hard to make a big fantasy impact when you are averaging less than 50 yards receiving per game while also not finding pay dirt.
He’s a rookie and these kinds of struggles are to be expected, so tempering expectations for the time being would be the prudent thing to do. He is on pace for a 91-741-3 line and one would assume that his yardage total couldn’t possibly sink that low with 90+ catches. The limitations are obvious in a Saints offense that hardly screams consistency on a weekly basis from the wideouts due to Drew Brees spreading out targets and he is obviously an infinitely better play in PPR formats. Treat him as a WR3 against the Packers in Week 8.
Andre Ellington (37/67.6%) 5-3-4-BYE-7-9-9
Other than Matt Forte and Le’Veon Bell, there aren’t many other running backs worth owning more than Ellington in PPR. Whether it be by chance or the Arizona Cardinals specifically calling more pass routes for Ellington as he continues to struggle to the tune of a 3.7 YPC mark on the ground, the increased involvement is great news for his fantasy outlook. ‘Ell is averaging 8.3 targets and 5.3 receptions over his last three outings and his volume is ensuring him RB1 value. Currently, Ellington is the eighth rated player in PPR leagues.
Ellington still has room to improve as his YPC should gradually increase and he’s providing all this value with only two touchdowns to show for. The 25-year-old Clemson alum has been playing through nagging injuries which have likely somewhat limited his effectiveness as a runner, but he’s still more than healthy enough to provide elite fantasy value. Carson Palmer being back as the starting QB for the Cardinals is good news for the offense as a whole as well. Ellington is on pace for a 280-1,048-3 rushing line to go along with his 67-693-3 receiving line. He is locked in as a RB1 the rest of the way and he faces the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend.
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.