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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.

Before we start looking at the all the data Week 4 has brought us, allow me to address one thing that Iíve discussed back and forth with some readers via email and reiterate a point I tried to make early on in the season. While Iíve decided to organize the Top 60 list by target percentage, it is in no way the only statistic you should be using to make your decisions. I know that itís really easy to just look at a leaderboard and make your start/sit decisions based on the playersí rankings, and while someday I hope to compile all of the data into one glorious number to make it that way, for now, you need to look at more than just the one column.

The primary reason I chose to organize by target percentage was for you to see who the top receivers (whether itís WR or TE) were for each team. It also helps illuminate one of the most basic principles Ė those with the greatest number of opportunities stand the best chance to put up the most points each week. The system isnít perfect, but it does help with these bye-week situations when youíre trying to decide between starting Davone Bess or Alshon Jeffrey because Calvin Johnson is off in Week 5. Players on the Target Percentage Leaderboard (TPL) are, more often than not, a better bet than those that arenít listed, particularly in PPR leagues. However, once you get inside the leaderboard, your decision-making process should lead you to touchdowns, yardage and red zone statistics for your final call.

Now letís look at who was most active in Week 4 and what we can take away from it.

Top Targets from Week 4

Player Name Pos Team Yards TD Pass Att Targets Recpt RZTgts RZTgt% Catch % Target %
Brian Hartline WR MIA 253 1 41 19 12 2 33.3% 63.2% 46.3%
Lance Moore WR NO 67 0 54 15 7 2 22.2% 46.7% 27.8%
Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI 64 1 48 15 8 4 40.0% 53.3% 31.3%
Jason Witten TE DAL 112 1 53 14 13 1 33.3% 92.9% 26.4%
Dez Bryant WR DAL 105 0 53 13 8 0 0.0% 61.5% 24.5%
Marques Colston WR NO 153 1 54 13 9 3 33.3% 69.2% 24.1%
Victor Cruz WR NYG 109 1 42 13 9 2 33.3% 69.2% 31.0%
Roddy White WR ATL 169 2 40 12 8 2 33.3% 66.7% 30.0%
Jordy Nelson WR GB 93 1 41 12 8 3 30.0% 66.7% 29.3%
Anquan Boldin WR BAL 131 0 46 12 9 1 100.0% 75.0% 26.1%
Calvin Johnson WR DET 54 0 51 12 5 1 14.3% 41.7% 23.5%
Dwayne Bowe WR KC 108 1 42 12 7 0 0.0% 58.3% 28.6%
Davone Bess WR MIA 123 0 41 12 7 0 0.0% 58.3% 29.3%
Vincent Jackson WR TB 100 1 39 11 6 1 33.3% 54.5% 28.2%
Domenik Hixon WR NYG 114 0 42 11 6 1 16.7% 54.5% 26.2%
Wes Welker WR NE 129 0 36 11 9 1 20.0% 81.8% 30.6%
Ray Rice RB BAL 47 0 46 11 8 0 0.0% 72.7% 23.9%
Rob Gronkowski TE NE 104 1 36 11 5 2 40.0% 45.5% 30.6%
Leonard Hankerson WR WAS 57 0 35 11 7 1 100.0% 63.6% 31.4%
Justin Blackmon WR JAX 48 0 34 10 6 0 0.0% 60.0% 29.4%
Danny Amendola WR STL 55 1 31 10 6 4 100.0% 60.0% 32.3%
Torrey Smith WR BAL 97 1 46 10 6 0 0.0% 60.0% 21.7%
Jordan Norwood WR CLE 56 0 52 10 4 0 0.0% 40.0% 19.2%
Greg Little WR CLE 77 0 52 10 4 1 20.0% 40.0% 19.2%
Steve Johnson WR BUF 23 0 39 10 2 0 0.0% 20.0% 25.6%


While Brian Hartlineís career day could be dismissed as a one-week wonder, Iím going to say that this just might be the tip of the iceberg. No, heís not going to get 19 targets and 12 receptions every week and no, heís certainly not going to rack up 253 yards per game, but based on his 12 targets per week average, there is obviously a fantastic on-field connection between him and rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The Dolphins might prefer not to throw the ball 40-plus times a game, but Hartline is going to see the majority of looks regardless of how many times they air it out. Even better is the upcoming schedule Ė aside from the Week 7 bye week, the Fins are facing Cincinnati, St. Louis, the Jets, Indianapolis, Tennessee and Buffalo. Iíd call those favorable match-ups and a definite reason to pick up Hartline if heís available.

While it was great seeing Marques Colston rebound, you had to be impressed with the number of looks Lance Moore got this week. The catch rate, on the other hand, was a bit disconcerting. Yes, some of those balls thrown by Drew Brees were a near impossibility, but there were others that made Moore look like Clifford Franklin before the stickíem.

But really, if there was ever a comparison to Clifford Franklin needed, it would have to go to Greg Little. Sooner or later, Brandon Weeden is going to give up on him.

Welcome back, Jason Witten. Who knew a healthy spleen was all it would take?

Roddy White was an absolute beast this week, hauling in 8-of-12 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Now Matt Ryan just has to figure out how to spread it out between White, Tony Gonzalez and Julio Jones so that itís not feast or famine each week with those three.

A big week for Domenik Hixon here, but figuring out who gets the most work behind Victor Cruz when Hakeem Nicks is out is going to be a tough one. Between Hixon and Ramses Barden, this could be a tough roll of the dice each week. It could get even more complicated if Reuben Randle steps up and flashes some of his potential soon.

In case you needed another reason to use Danny Amendola, consider that not only is he the most targeted player on the Rams, but he recieved every red zone look this week also. Sam Bradford might have to mix it up a little to keep defenses honest, but more touchdown work for Amendola would be huge to his already outstanding value.

And the last thing before we look at and analyze the aggregate, while a season-high 10 targets for Justin Blackmon is encouraging, he didnít do too much with what he got, posting just 48 yards. If the Jaguars are serious about getting him more involved in the passing attack, he could soon be worthy of a roster spot. But for now, heís still just waiver wire material.

Target Percentage Leaderboard

Player Name Pos Team Yards TD Pass Att Targets Recpt RZTgts RZTgt% Catch % Target %
Danny Amendola WR STL 351 2 126 44 31 6 60.0% 70.5% 34.9%
A.J. Green WR CIN 428 3 127 43 27 7 35.0% 62.8% 33.9%
Brian Hartline WR MIA 455 1 143 48 25 7 30.4% 52.1% 33.6%
Brandon Marshall WR CHI 352 2 117 39 23 5 41.7% 59.0% 33.3%
Reggie Wayne WR IND 294 1 122 40 23 5 33.3% 57.5% 32.8%
Vincent Jackson WR TB 304 2 119 38 16 4 33.3% 42.1% 31.9%
Santonio Holmes WR NYJ 272 1 129 41 20 2 13.3% 48.8% 31.8%
Percy Harvin WR MIN 299 0 123 38 30 2 11.8% 78.9% 30.9%
Dwayne Bowe WR KC 342 3 161 49 25 2 22.2% 51.0% 30.4%
Victor Cruz WR NYG 388 2 162 49 32 5 20.8% 65.3% 30.2%
Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI 245 2 135 40 22 7 21.9% 55.0% 29.6%
Steve Johnson WR BUF 195 3 125 36 15 5 31.3% 41.7% 28.8%
Greg Olsen TE CAR 256 1 111 31 20 5 33.3% 64.5% 27.9%
Michael Crabtree WR SF 198 0 114 31 21 1 10.0% 67.7% 27.2%
Roddy White WR ATL 413 3 147 39 27 7 25.9% 69.2% 26.5%
Brandon Lloyd WR NE 287 1 154 40 25 4 19.0% 62.5% 26.0%
DeSean Jackson WR PHI 333 1 155 38 20 4 28.6% 52.6% 24.5%
Antonio Brown WR PIT 240 1 120 29 18 0 0.0% 62.1% 24.2%
Wes Welker WR NE 380 0 154 37 25 3 14.3% 67.6% 24.0%
Eric Decker WR DEN 322 1 153 36 24 6 25.0% 66.7% 23.5%
Kendall Wright WR TEN 148 2 142 33 18 5 27.8% 54.5% 23.2%
Calvin Johnson WR DET 423 1 186 43 29 4 16.7% 67.4% 23.1%
Demayius Thomas WR DEN 325 2 153 35 21 3 12.5% 60.0% 22.9%
Owen Daniels TE HOU 232 2 124 28 19 2 20.0% 67.9% 22.6%
Steve Smith WR CAR 348 0 111 25 17 2 13.3% 68.0% 22.5%
Tony Gonzalez TE ATL 265 3 147 33 26 4 14.8% 78.8% 22.4%
Davone Bess WR MIA 297 0 143 32 20 2 8.7% 62.5% 22.4%
Donnie Avery WR IND 176 1 122 27 14 4 26.7% 51.9% 22.1%
Sidney Rice WR SEA 132 1 100 22 12 7 29.2% 54.5% 22.0%
Justin Blackmon WR JAX 79 0 115 25 10 2 15.4% 40.0% 21.7%
Julio Jones WR ATL 219 3 147 31 16 8 29.6% 51.6% 21.1%
Dennis Pitta TE BAL 188 2 159 33 18 6 50.0% 54.5% 20.8%
Malcom Floyd WR SD 250 1 126 26 15 0 0.0% 57.7% 20.6%
Jason Witten TE DAL 188 1 161 33 21 1 11.1% 63.6% 20.5%
Dez Bryant WR DAL 269 0 161 33 21 0 0.0% 63.6% 20.5%
Jimmy Graham TE NO 248 3 195 40 24 7 21.2% 60.0% 20.5%
Jordy Nelson WR GB 260 1 157 31 21 3 17.6% 67.7% 19.7%
Jermaine Gresham TE CIN 178 1 127 25 17 5 25.0% 68.0% 19.7%
Andre Johnson WR HOU 268 2 124 24 16 1 10.0% 66.7% 19.4%
Brent Celek TE PHI 315 0 155 30 18 2 14.3% 60.0% 19.4%
Vernon Davis TE SF 197 4 114 22 15 2 20.0% 68.2% 19.3%
Lance Moore WR NO 287 2 195 37 19 5 15.2% 51.4% 19.0%
Brandon LaFell WR CAR 182 1 111 21 10 3 20.0% 47.6% 18.9%
Ray Rice RB BAL 174 0 159 30 22 2 16.7% 73.3% 18.9%
Rob Gronkowski TE NE 260 3 154 29 19 5 23.8% 65.5% 18.8%
Brandon Pettigrew TE DET 233 1 186 35 23 4 16.7% 65.7% 18.8%
Kyle Rudolph TE MIN 146 3 123 23 15 4 23.5% 65.2% 18.7%
Andre Roberts WR ARI 229 4 135 25 15 4 12.5% 60.0% 18.5%
Mike Williams WR TB 219 2 119 22 11 4 33.3% 50.0% 18.5%
Scott Chandler TE BUF 175 4 125 23 12 3 18.8% 52.2% 18.4%
Mike Wallace WR PIT 234 3 120 22 17 3 15.8% 77.3% 18.3%
Miles Austin WR DAL 300 3 161 29 18 3 33.3% 62.1% 18.0%
Torrey Smith WR BAL 332 3 159 28 16 1 8.3% 57.1% 17.6%
Anquan Boldin WR BAL 249 1 159 28 19 3 25.0% 67.9% 17.6%
Darren McFadden RB OAK 111 0 162 28 18 4 22.2% 64.3% 17.3%
Leonard Hankerson WR WAS 181 1 124 21 13 2 22.2% 61.9% 16.9%
Nate Burleson WR DET 200 1 186 31 22 1 4.2% 71.0% 16.7%
Heath Miller TE PIT 129 4 120 20 15 8 42.1% 75.0% 16.7%
Jermichael Finley TE GB 187 1 157 26 19 3 17.6% 73.1% 16.6%
Marques Colston WR NO 313 1 195 32 19 7 21.2% 59.4% 16.4%
Darren Sproles RB NO 207 2 195 32 23 5 15.2% 71.9% 16.4%


Perfect examples of why you need to look beyond the target percentage: Percy Harvin and Michael Crabtree. Both are solid receivers and each has the trust of their respective quarterbacks (both are heavily leaned on during long third-down situations), but neither is putting up strong fantasy points due to limited yardage and few touchdowns. If either one could even sniff some extra red zone looks, there would be a serious value increase, especially in PPR leagues.

For the second week in a row, Greg Olsen was the most targeted receiver on the Panthers. While most defenses work to contain the explosiveness of Steve Smith, Cam Newton has, in the spirit of Brees and Brady, turned to his tight end for the majority of his pass attempts. With a 64.5% catch rate, Olsen certainly doesnít hurt when looking for reliability, something Brandon LaFell seems to be lacking right now.

Injuries are a primary reason for Kendall Wrightís staying power here on the TPL, but there could be a significant shift coming, depending on the condition of Jake Lockerís shoulder. With Matt Hasselbeck under center, a returning Kenny Britt could dominate the targets, and if Britt doesnít, then Nate Washington should. But if Locker is fine and can continue to air it out, then Wright should be able to maintain his current target percentage.

In the ongoing Eric Decker/Demaryius Thomas watch, Peyton Manning is doing an outstanding job getting both of them the ball in equal doses. However, Decker is going to ultimately have the better value if some of those extra red zone looks start to pan out.

If Andre Roberts is still on your waiver wire, then you might want to make a move on him now before his target percentage rises even more. He has emerged as a solid complementary receiver to Larry Fitzgerald and heís picking up on the red zone looks as well.

Clearly, Steve Johnson is the better value in Buffalo, but if he doesnít start to improve that catch rate, then some of those red zone looks are going to head over to Scott Chandler. Thatís not to say that I would start Chandler over Johnson as a flex play, but itís definitely a situation worth monitoring.

Potential Fallers from the TPL include: Nate Burleson, Brandon LaFell, Kendall Wright
Potential Risers to the TPL include: Fred Davis, Martellus Bennett, Denarius Moore, Anthony Fasano

Week 5 Matchup to Watch: Denver at New England Ė The epic battles between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady continue and both have the offensive weapons to put up major passing yardage and some serious total points. Brady has done a fantastic job of spreading the ball around to Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski, so Champ Bailey isnít going to be able to shadow just one guy. Meanwhile, we already know Peytonís weapons, but throw in Jacob Tamme, Joel Dreesen and a Pats D that has allowed 282 passing yards per game and nine touchdowns through the air thus far and we could have ourselves a barn-burner here.

Week 5 Potential Breakouts: Andrew Hawkins, Percy Harvin, Robert Meachem (facing his old team), Mario Manningham

Week 5 Potential Busts: DeSean Jackson, Reggie Wayne, Steve Smith (CAR), Steve Johnson

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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