2014 Fantasy Football: Week 9 NFC Target Report
If you happened to miss the AFC version, check it out right here. For those unfamiliar with the format, 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 end goal. 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 9 NFC Targets Report started.
Mike Evans – (53 targets/60.4 percent targets caught) 9-4-7-7-DNP-8-BYE-7-11
Fantasy owners had to wait longer than expected for his breakout performance, but Evans delivered in a big way on Sunday by posting a 7-124-2 line against the Cleveland Browns. The 21-year-old rookie from Texas A&M saw a season-high 11 targets and his usage and production has been on the rise since Week 4. Although Vincent Jackson is still the Tampa Bay Buccaneers No. 1 wideout and has seen 24 more targets than Evans, his production is worse than the ‘rooks. Evans is a physical specimen for a WR standing 6’5 and weighing in at 231 pounds and should only improve from here on out. Even though he missed a game due to injury, Evans is still on a 64-920-8 pace. While those numbers don’t jump off the page, they are more than serviceable numbers from a rookie wideout.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that the Bucs announced that Mike Glennon will be benched and Josh McCown will be reinserted as the starting quarterback. In Evans’ first three games paired with McCown, the journeyman quarterback proved completely inept at successfully getting Evans the ball. Evans recorded no touchdowns in those games and failed to clear five receptions or 49 yards. Three games is a small sample size to work with but based on McCown’s general ineffectiveness and lack of chemistry due to being the backup the last six weeks, it’s hard to have much confidence in the duo moving forward. Now would be the perfect time to sell high on Evans in redraft formats due to his uncertain value going forward which is muddled by the fact he still has to contend with V-Jax for targets on a weekly basis. Fire up Evans as a WR3 against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 10, but temper your expectations.
Odell Beckham Jr. – (26/69.2 percent) DNP-DNP-DNP-DNP-5-4-6-BYE-11
A headache to own for both the New York Giants and fantasy owners alike through the first five weeks due to his hamstring injury, Beckham Jr. has proven be the Giants most electrifying player with the ball in his hands since his return to the field. Against the Colts on Monday, Beckham caught eight passes for 156 yards on a career-high 11 targets. Beckham has a 18-262-3 line through four games which puts him on a 81-1,048-12 pace over 16 games. Reuben Randle is a beacon of inconsistency even though he receives a plethora of targets and it appears the Giants will make a concerted effort to make him a focal point of the passing attack going forward. ODB is now averaging 15.9 PPR points per game after his first four games and the early returns suggest he should have no problem attaining WR2 status the rest of the season. It’s worth mentioning that he has two tough matchups against the Seahawks and 49ers the next two weeks.
Jimmy Graham – (62/74.2 percent) 10-13-8-11-5-BYE-2-6-7
After being slowed by a shoulder injury for the past month or so, it was refreshing to see Graham get back to his dominating ways as he posted a 7-83-1 line for his best fantasy output since Week 4. The 27-year-old Miami alum isn’t quite on pace to match his historical 2013 season, but owners wouldn’t complain much if he finished at his current 92-1,036-10 pace. With his shoulder injury hampering his fantasy production for a few weeks, a strong case can be made that Graham can outpace the numbers he’s currently projected to finish with now that he’s not a bit player.
While his current averages of 64.8 yards per game and 11.3 yards per reception would be the lowest rates since his rookie season in 2010, expect those numbers to pick back up as the New Orleans Saints prepare to make a playoff push over the final seven weeks. The Saints have been a much more productive offense while playing in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and it can’t be overlooked they will be at home the next three weeks (SFO, CIN, BAL). Those matchups certainly won’t be cakewalks, but Graham has 46 touchdowns in 70 career games and remains as good of a bet as anyone to score from week-to-week due to his red zone prowess. Other than Gronk, Graham is the best tight end to own in fantasy and he should be fired up with confidence against the 49ers this weekend.
Dez Bryant – (86/58.1 percent) 6-14-7-6-14-10-12-7-10
While Bryant is still supplying fantasy owners with WR1 numbers, make no mistake that owners likely had more grandiose plans for their first- or second-round pick. Dez comes in as the ninth-best wideout in PPR formats, behind the likes of T.Y. Hilton, Jeremy Maclin, Emmanuel Sanders, Randall Cobb, and Golden Tate. No disrespect to any of the aforementioned players, but Bryant is more talented than all of them and was expected to outscore them all too. Now, Bryant’s lackluster 2-15-1 line in Week 9 was largely a byproduct of the incompetent Brandon Weeden being the Cowboys quarterback. Over the last two weeks, Bryant only has five catches for 45 yards. His touchdowns the last two weeks have been the saving grace for owners.
The 26-year-old from Oklahoma St. is still on pace for a 89-1,129-11 line but all those numbers would be three-year lows. He desperately needs to get Tony Romo back to fulfill his fantasy potential and he looks likely to return against the Jacksonville Jaguars game in London this weekend. While Romo’s return is excellent news, one reason why Bryant reaching his fantasy zenith this year is unlikely is due to the Cowboys increased reliance on the run game as they simply aren’t slinging it across the field as much this year, instead focusing more on ball control to mask their mediocre defense. Look for Dez to rebound with a big effort against the Jags on Sunday. If you simply have no time to waste in preparation for the playoffs, trading him for another proven asset may not be a bad idea considering the Cowboys bye comes in Week 11.
Kenny Britt – (35/51.4 percent) 3-1-7-BYE-6-6-3-5-4
You’re not the only one surprised that Britt has returned from being a fantasy zombie, albeit it was only one decent week. Largely due to the loss of of top wideout Brian Quick (shoulder), Britt has become the de facto No. 1 receiver for the St. Louis Rams. In a tough matchup against the 49ers last Sunday, Britt turned in a 2-32-1 line on four targets. Those numbers certainly aren’t jaw-dropping and don’t exactly scream of being a top waiver pickup, but him playing on 92.9 percent of snaps is extremely encouraging for his future outlook. The 26-year-old hasn’t been the same since knee issues ended his season in 2011, but has shown flashes of his vintage self a times this season and may just need this opportunity to get back to fantasy relevance. Britt isn’t a recommended fantasy start in a Week 10 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals and is better served as a WR4, but there’s no denying that he has WR3 upside down the stretch if the cards fall into place.
Thanks for reading and be sure to comment below with any questions or remarks you may have concerning the article. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @MattMoczy and I’m more than willing to answer any questions.