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On Target: More Than Just The Looks

Howard Bender

Howard Bender

Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. For more from him, you can find his personal musings on his blog RotobuzzGuy.com or follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy. For questions, thoughts or comments you can email him at rotobuzzguy@gmail.com.

During Week 2, there was a total of 1,018 passes thrown. There were 645 receptions made for 7,410 yards and 46 touchdowns. Your job is to get yourself as big a slice of that pie as you can each week. It’s my job to tell you exactly where to cut to ensure that your slice is the biggest in your league. Another week’s worth of data is in the books and you can see the Targets Percentage Leaderboard (TPL) start to take shape. With each passing week, our list of the top 60 fantasy receivers will help make your decision-making process of who to start and who to sit a whole lot easier.

Before we hit the TPL, it makes sense to look at a weekly targets list before checking in with the aggregate. Quite often you’ll have a receiver who a quarterback locks onto for a game, whether it’s a comfort factor or just a really favorable match-up. However, that receiver may not normally be a favorite target and while his numbers might look great for the week, the chance of a repeat performance is low. How many times have you seen a guy blow up in one game and then fade into obscurity for the duration of the season? Case in point: Kevin Ogletree. During Week 1 Ogletree saw 11 targets, while this past week he saw just one in a game where Tony Romo threw 11 more passes than the game before. With a weekly targets leaderboard, we will hopefully isolate those types of instances so you don’t end up using a guy coming off of a fluke performance.

Top 20 Targets – Week 2

Player Name Pos Team Yards TD Pass Att Targets Recpt RZTgts RZTgt% Catch % Target %
Victor Cruz WR NYG 179 1 51 17 11 1 5.9% 64.7% 33.3%
Danny Amendola WR STL 160 1 35 16 15 2 12.5% 93.8% 45.7%
Hakeem Nicks WR NYG 199 1 51 15 10 2 13.3% 66.7% 29.4%
Dennis Pitta TE BAL 65 0 42 15 8 1 6.7% 53.3% 35.7%
Dwayne Bowe WR KC 102 2 42 15 8 2 13.3% 53.3% 35.7%
Darren Sproles RB NO 128 0 49 14 13 1 7.1% 92.9% 28.6%
Jimmy Graham TE NO 71 1 49 13 7 2 15.4% 53.8% 26.5%
Brandon Lloyd WR NE 60 0 46 13 8 1 7.7% 61.5% 28.3%
Percy Harvin WR MIN 104 0 35 13 12 0 0.0% 92.3% 37.1%
Brian Hartline WR MIA 111 0 30 12 9 1 8.3% 75.0% 40.0%
Calvin Johnson WR DET 94 0 32 12 8 0 0.0% 66.7% 37.5%
A.J. Green WR CIN 58 1 31 12 7 1 8.3% 58.3% 38.7%
Brent Celek TE PHI 157 0 32 11 8 1 9.1% 72.7% 34.4%
Roddy White WR ATL 102 1 36 11 8 2 18.2% 72.7% 30.6%
Demaryius Thomas WR DEN 78 1 37 11 8 2 18.2% 72.7% 29.7%
Wes Welker WR NE 95 0 46 11 5 0 0.0% 45.5% 23.9%
Santonio Holmes WR NYJ 28 1 27 11 3 1 9.1% 27.3% 40.7%
Vincent Jackson WR TB 128 1 28 10 5 0 0.0% 50.0% 35.7%
Antonio Brown WR PIT 79 0 31 10 7 0 0.0% 70.0% 32.3%
Donnie Avery WR IND 111 0 31 10 9 1 10.0% 90.0% 32.3%
Ray Rice RB BAL 53 0 42 10 6 0 0.0% 60.0% 23.8%
Martellus Bennett TE NYG 72 1 51 10 5 4 40.0% 50.0% 19.6%
Miles Austin WR DAL 63 1 40 10 5 0 0.0% 50.0% 25.0%
Tony Gonzalez TE ATL 70 1 36 10 7 1 10.0% 70.0% 27.8%
Jason Witten TE DAL 58 0 40 10 4 1 10.0% 40.0% 25.0%

Yes, there are 25 players listed here. The Weekly Targets list will go by the actual number of targets as opposed to target percentage. If the list goes beyond 20 due to a strong pass-happy week, then so be it. Organizing by targets here, in the long run, should make it easier to isolate those fluke performances—especially when a player shows up on this list but is not found on the TPL.

This week, however, we don’t seem to have any outliers as everyone here ranks in the top 60 in aggregate target percentage. Ideally that’s the way it should be, but more often than not, we’ll have a few exceptions to the rule. When there isn’t though consider it a plus, because it will help you avoid the temptation to blow your waiver priority/FAAB budget on some flavor of the week that will inevitably leave some putrid taste in your mouth when he pulls an Ogletree the following week.

Targets Percentage Leaderboard
Player Name Pos Team Yards TD Pass Att Targets Recpt RZTgts RZTgt% Catch % Target %
Danny Amendola WR STL 230 1 60 25 20 2 8.0% 80.0% 41.7%
Vincent Jackson WR TB 175 1 52 20 9 2 10.0% 45.0% 38.5%
Santonio Holmes WR NYJ 96 1 54 19 7 1 5.3% 36.8% 35.2%
Percy Harvin WR MIN 188 0 62 21 18 1 4.8% 85.7% 33.9%
A.J. Green WR CIN 128 1 68 23 12 2 8.7% 52.2% 33.8%
Victor Cruz WR NYG 237 1 83 28 17 3 10.7% 60.7% 33.7%
Reggie Wayne WR IND 206 1 76 25 15 4 16.0% 60.0% 32.9%
Dennis Pitta TE BAL 138 1 74 24 13 4 16.7% 54.2% 32.4%
Brandon Marshall WR CHI 143 1 62 20 11 2 10.0% 55.0% 32.3%
Brian Hartline WR MIA 161 0 66 20 12 3 15.0% 60.0% 30.3%
Steve Johnson WR BUF 111 2 51 15 6 2 13.3% 40.0% 29.4%
Demaryius Thomas WR DEN 188 2 63 18 13 2 11.1% 72.2% 28.6%
Roddy White WR ATL 189 1 67 19 14 5 26.3% 73.7% 28.4%
Steve Smith WR CAR 210 0 53 15 10 2 13.3% 66.7% 28.3%
Michael Crabtree WR SF 143 0 57 16 13 0 0.0% 81.3% 28.1%
Dwayne Bowe WR KC 155 2 75 21 11 2 9.5% 52.4% 28.0%
Brandon Lloyd WR NE 129 0 77 21 13 1 4.8% 61.9% 27.3%
Darren McFadden RB OAK 105 0 94 25 15 1 4.0% 60.0% 26.6%
Sidney Rice WR SEA 69 1 54 14 7 6 42.9% 50.0% 25.9%
Owen Daniels TE HOU 134 0 66 17 10 1 5.9% 58.8% 25.8%
Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI 67 0 63 16 5 3 18.8% 31.3% 25.4%
Antonio Brown WR PIT 153 0 71 18 11 0 0.0% 61.1% 25.4%
Hakeem Nicks WR NYG 237 1 83 21 14 2 9.5% 66.7% 25.3%
Laurent Robinson WR JAX 115 0 60 15 8 0 0.0% 53.3% 25.0%
Brandon LaFell WR CAR 155 1 53 13 9 1 7.7% 69.2% 24.5%
Julio Jones WR ATL 122 2 67 16 10 5 31.3% 62.5% 23.9%
Tony Gonzalez TE ATL 123 2 67 16 12 2 12.5% 75.0% 23.9%
Eric Decker WR DEN 107 0 63 15 9 3 20.0% 60.0% 23.8%
Calvin Johnson WR DET 205 0 80 19 14 1 5.3% 73.7% 23.8%
Donnie Avery WR IND 148 1 76 18 12 4 22.2% 66.7% 23.7%
Jimmy Graham TE NO 156 2 105 23 13 5 21.7% 56.5% 21.9%
Brent Celek TE PHI 222 2 88 19 12 2 10.5% 63.2% 21.6%
DeSean Jackson WR PHI 191 0 88 19 11 0 0.0% 57.9% 21.6%
Scott Chandler TE BUF 91 2 51 11 6 2 18.2% 54.5% 21.6%
Malcom Floyd WR SD 175 1 65 14 10 0 0.0% 71.4% 21.5%
Andre Johnson WR HOU 140 1 66 14 11 1 7.1% 78.6% 21.2%
Vernon Davis TE SF 116 3 57 12 8 1 8.3% 66.7% 21.1%
Darren Sproles RB NO 163 1 105 22 18 5 22.7% 81.8% 21.0%
Mohammed Massaquoi WR CLE 131 0 72 15 8 0 0.0% 53.3% 20.8%
Jermichael Finley TE GB 73 1 77 16 11 1 6.3% 68.8% 20.8%
Jordy Nelson WR GB 148 0 77 16 11 0 0.0% 68.8% 20.8%
Wes Welker WR NE 109 0 77 16 8 1 6.3% 50.0% 20.8%
Todd Heap TE ARI 94 0 63 13 8 4 30.8% 61.5% 20.6%
Miles Austin WR DAL 136 2 69 14 9 0 0.0% 64.3% 20.3%
Dexter McCluster WR KC 114 0 75 15 10 2 13.3% 66.7% 20.0%
Davone Bess WR MIA 88 0 66 13 8 2 15.4% 61.5% 19.7%
Donald Jones WR BUF 40 1 51 10 6 1 10.0% 60.0% 19.6%
Rob Gronkowski TE NE 135 2 77 15 12 3 20.0% 80.0% 19.5%
Kyle Rudolph TE MIN 102 1 62 12 8 1 8.3% 66.7% 19.4%
Martellus Bennett TE NYG 112 2 83 16 9 5 31.3% 56.3% 19.3%
Kendall Wright WR TEN 61 1 73 14 7 2 14.3% 50.0% 19.2%
Jermaine Gresham TE CIN 67 0 68 13 7 3 23.1% 53.8% 19.1%
Ray Rice RB BAL 78 0 74 14 9 2 14.3% 64.3% 18.9%
Greg Olsen TE CAR 69 0 53 10 7 0 0.0% 70.0% 18.9%
Jason Witten TE DAL 68 0 69 13 6 0 0.0% 46.2% 18.8%
Coby Fleener TE IND 98 0 76 14 8 3 21.4% 57.1% 18.4%
Michael Jenkins WR MIN 88 0 62 11 8 0 0.0% 72.7% 17.7%
Brandon Pettigrew TE DET 95 1 80 14 8 3 21.4% 57.1% 17.5%
Dez Bryant WR DAL 102 0 69 12 7 0 0.0% 58.3% 17.4%
Jeremy Maclin WR PHI 119 2 88 15 8 3 20.0% 53.3% 17.0%

It looks like Sam Bradford is happy to have his favorite target back this season as Danny Amendola tops the leaderboard with an impressive 41.7 percent target rate, making him an early-season monster in PPR leagues. After missing all but one game last season, the connection that the two made during 2011 training camp looks to be equally strong this year. Amendola may not get the red zone looks, but Bradford seeks him out often enough that the big-handed diminutive wideout will continue to rack up some serious yardage which will compensate for the potentially low touchdown total. As the season progresses and Bradford leans on him more, the touchdowns should eventually come, but once the Rams are deep in the red zone, it becomes easier for defenses to key in on Amendola as they know where Bradford is looking.

While Santonio Holmes may have gotten his wish and is now the most targeted player on the Jets, his overall value could take a hit as the season progresses. His target percentage should remain solid, but he is going to be the victim of a low catch percentage due to potential accuracy issues by Mark Sanchez and, eventually, Tim Tebow.

Seventeen tight ends on this list is probably the best way to illustrate the changes that this position has gone through over the last few seasons. Not only is it no longer a throw-away position during drafts, but it is also now suddenly becoming a lot deeper than in previous years. You’ll also notice that many of them are also hot Red Zone Targets. Martellus Bennett, Dennis Pitta and Todd Heap have all seen a number of looks inside the 20 over the last two weeks.

Granted, it’s just two weeks in, but there is definitely some surprise seeing Demaryius Thomas ranking above Eric Decker in target percentage. Conventional wisdom during the preseason had Decker as the possession receiver and most reliable target for Peyton Manning. However, Thomas seems to have built a strong enough rapport to get a majority of the looks.

Welcome back, Dwayne Bowe. We knew it was just a matter of time before Matt Cassel remembered that you were the go-to guy in Kansas City. Dexter McCluster should have his moments, but the bulk of the targets should head Bowe’s way.

Darren McFadden, Ray Rice and Darren Sproles should be paying strong dividends throughout the year as the top pass-catching running backs in the game. Sproles is almost exclusively a pass-catcher in New Orleans but McFadden and Rice should blow up even more as they will hopefully be receiving 15 to 20 rushing attempts per game on top of their receiving work.

With another two red zone targets this week, Sidney Rice’s value should continue to climb. He may not rack up the yardage, but if he remains Russell Wilson’s top choice when the Seahawks get inside the 20-yard line, the points will soon follow.

Reggie Wayne may be Andrew Luck’s favorite, but Donnie Avery is seeing a substantial percentage of the targets and just as much love inside the red zone. The undersized wide receiver has unbelievable speed, so he should start pulling down some serious yardage as he starts turning 12-yard passes into 40-yard receptions.

For these first few weeks, we should see a fair amount of names moving in and out of the TPL. Eventually and ideally it will stabilize, but for now let’s track the movement. Many names that drop off early on due to a slow week, should continue to be monitored as they could be headed back soon enough. Here’s a look at some of the notable players who are out but could head back in, and vice versa.

In But Not For Long: Greg Olsen, Kendall Wright, Michael Jenkins

Out But Not Forgotten: Aaron Hernandez (ankle), Andre Roberts, Andrew Hawkins, Antonio Gates (ribs), Greg Jennings (groin), Heath Miller, LeSean McCoy, Marques Colston, Nate Washington
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Have a question or need some advice from Howard Bender? Follow @rotobuzzguy on Twitter, or feel free to e-mail him at rotobuzzguy@gmail.com