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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.

I understand what time of year it is, but can anyone please tell me why everyone still feels the need to do their best Jim Mora impression every time they hear the word Ďplayoffsí? Seriously. So tired, so overused and frankly, itís actually less funny than a reprise of Dennis Greenís "They are who we thought they were.Ē Surely we can do better, can't we?

But youíre not here to listen to me complain about overused jokes, are you? You want to talk receivers and yardage, targets and receptions, touchdowns and...wait for it...playoffs! Fantasy playoffs, that is. For most leagues, the playoffs began in Week 14 and should carry over for the next two weeks. Lineup decisions are more important than ever and making the right choices could mean the difference between celebrating in the winnerís circle and sitting alone on Sunday anxiously awaiting your fantasy baseball draft. So letís not waste any more time and get to this weekís target leaders.

Top Targets for Week 14

Player Name Pos Team Yards TD Pass Att Targets Recpt RZTgts RZTgt% Catch % Target %
Brandon Marshall WR CHI 160 1 53 19 10 1 50.0% 52.6% 35.8%
Calvin Johnson WR DET 118 0 45 13 10 0 0.0% 76.9% 28.9%
Jeremy Maclin WR PHI 104 1 51 13 9 2 40.0% 69.2% 25.5%
Josh Gordon WR CLE 86 0 30 12 8 4 44.4% 66.7% 40.0%
Jason Avant WR PHI 133 0 51 12 7 2 40.0% 58.3% 23.5%
Steve Smith WR CAR 109 0 35 12 7 1 20.0% 58.3% 34.3%
Justin Blackmon WR JAX 57 0 43 12 6 0 0.0% 50.0% 27.9%
Roddy White WR ATL 117 1 49 11 9 2 22.2% 81.8% 22.4%
Michael Crabtree WR SF 93 0 23 11 9 2 66.7% 81.8% 47.8%
Aaron Hernandez TE NE 58 2 36 11 8 2 66.7% 72.7% 30.6%
Mike Wallace WR PIT 112 2 42 11 7 0 0.0% 63.6% 26.2%
Danario Alexander WR SD 88 2 41 11 7 1 25.0% 63.6% 26.8%
Julio Jones WR ATL 66 1 49 11 5 2 22.2% 45.5% 22.4%
Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI 2 0 39 11 1 0 0.0% 9.1% 28.2%
Andre Johnson WR HOU 95 0 36 10 8 0 0.0% 80.0% 27.8%
Rob Housler TE ARI 36 0 39 10 7 0 0.0% 70.0% 25.6%
Vincent Jackson WR TB 131 1 34 10 6 1 25.0% 60.0% 29.4%
Reggie Wayne WR IND 64 1 34 10 6 1 20.0% 60.0% 29.4%
Jimmy Graham TE NO 56 0 43 10 5 2 25.0% 50.0% 23.3%
Miles Austin WR DAL 46 0 43 10 4 1 33.3% 40.0% 23.3%
Kevin Elliot WR JAX 38 0 43 10 3 0 0.0% 30.0% 23.3%
Chris Givens WR STL 25 0 39 10 3 1 25.0% 30.0% 25.6%
Tony Scheffler TE DET 20 1 45 10 3 1 50.0% 30.0% 22.2%

As expected, especially come fantasy playoff time, a number of the usual suspects remain on this list. They are your go-to guys and should be in your lineup each and every week, regardless of the match-up. You should be relying on them just as their quarterbacks are. Will we see a bad game every now and then? Of course, but the good, most definitely, outweighs the bad.

As for the outliers...

Please remember that the Eagles production this week had as much to do with the opponent being Tampa Bay as it did the Eagles themselves. Being the new number one in town, Jeremy Maclin will likely be seen here in the coming weeks, but itís hard to imagine Jason Avant not being interchangeable with Riley Cooper or some other fill-in wideout. A match-up with the Bengals pass defense next week should hammer this point home.

Josh Gordon saw double-digit targets for just the second time this season and yet still failed to produce double-digit fantasy points (standard league scoring) for the fifth time in his last six games. You might be able to sneak by with him next week when the Browns face the Redskins, but after that, it gets a little more complicated with road games in Denver and Pittsburgh.

With Cecil Shorts out with a concussion, Justin Blackmon saw a major increase in targets again this week. Regardless of the matchup, heíll probably continue to see that many looks if Shorts remains out. However, if Shorts is healthy, you can probably chop that target number in half. And you can probably forget all about Kevin Elliot if Shorts returns.

New favorite target Danario Alexander should no longer be viewed as an outlier. He has appeared here in three of the last four weeks and is now averaging 10 targets, just over six catches, 90 yards and one touchdown per game in that span. In fact, he has out-produced incumbent Malcom Floyd in everything from targets to catches to yardage to touchdowns to target percentage. Alexander is the clear-cut number one on the Chargers and should be started in all formats, even with match-ups against Carolina and the Jets next.

For the record, this was the Aaron Hernandez everyone thought they were drafting when they went reaching too high back in August. In the last two games, heís seen 24 targets and has come away with 16 catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns. You can expect more of the same in the coming weeks. It may be a little tougher against San Francisco next week, but with match-ups against Jacksonville and Miami to finish the year, things are looking pretty sweet.

I think you can expect more of the same from Tony Scheffler who is actually lining up in the slot these days as opposed to his usual tight end spot. Since Matthew Stafford has receivers like Mike Thomas and Brian Robieskie at his disposal, he likes to stick with what he knows, and that means more for Scheffler and Megatron.

Finally, a moment of silence for all those who made that last-minute switch to Chris Givens this week. I donít know who you benched, but Iím willing to bet that the move did not work out in your favor. Itís not like he didnít see the targets, because as you can see he did. It just comes down to reliability and he simply hasnít proven his worth throughout the year. No consistency means little reliability.

No onto the overall...

Targets Percentage Leaderboard

Player Name Pos Team Yards TD Pass Att Targets Recpt RZTgts RZTgt% Catch % Target %
Brandon Marshall WR CHI 1342 9 407 157 101 16 40.0% 64.3% 38.6%
Reggie Wayne WR IND 1220 4 537 163 94 15 27.8% 57.7% 30.4%
A.J. Green WR CIN 1151 10 447 134 79 19 33.9% 59.0% 30.0%
Steve Johnson WR BUF 776 5 407 117 61 15 29.4% 52.1% 28.7%
Steve Smith WR CAR 999 2 394 112 60 11 20.4% 53.6% 28.4%
Wes Welker WR NE 1116 4 500 142 95 16 21.9% 66.9% 28.4%
Dwayne Bowe WR KC 801 3 406 114 59 4 12.1% 51.8% 28.1%
Michael Crabtree WR SF 761 5 346 93 66 7 18.4% 71.0% 26.9%
Andre Johnson WR HOU 1209 3 454 122 82 5 12.5% 67.2% 26.9%
Victor Cruz WR NYG 1004 9 474 127 76 17 21.5% 59.8% 26.8%
Brian Hartline WR MIA 925 1 415 111 62 11 22.0% 55.9% 26.7%
Vincent Jackson WR TB 1145 8 423 113 56 16 27.1% 49.6% 26.7%
Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI 652 4 504 134 57 18 29.0% 42.5% 26.6%
Calvin Johnson WR DET 1546 5 592 157 96 14 15.9% 61.1% 26.5%
Davone Bess WR MIA 778 1 415 105 61 5 10.0% 58.1% 25.3%
Jason Witten TE DAL 880 1 536 124 92 11 16.9% 74.2% 23.1%
Roddy White WR ATL 1140 5 511 118 77 16 21.3% 65.3% 23.1%
Demaryius Thomas WR DEN 1197 8 483 110 74 14 18.9% 67.3% 22.8%
Anquan Boldin WR BAL 828 4 451 99 58 8 20.0% 58.6% 22.0%
Mike Williams WR TB 736 7 423 92 46 13 22.0% 50.0% 21.7%
Sidney Rice WR SEA 658 7 341 74 45 10 23.3% 60.8% 21.7%
Mike Wallace WR PIT 728 8 481 104 59 13 20.6% 56.7% 21.6%
Percy Harvin WR MIN 677 3 401 85 62 5 9.6% 72.9% 21.2%
Greg Olsen TE CAR 691 5 394 83 54 11 20.4% 65.1% 21.1%
Torrey Smith WR BAL 753 7 451 95 43 6 15.0% 45.3% 21.1%
Justin Blackmon WR JAX 614 3 459 96 45 6 12.5% 46.9% 20.9%
Jeremy Kerley WR NYJ 728 2 404 84 52 8 18.6% 61.9% 20.8%
Tony Gonzalez TE ATL 831 7 511 106 81 15 20.0% 76.4% 20.7%
Julio Jones WR ATL 997 7 511 105 63 17 22.7% 60.0% 20.5%
Randall Cobb WR GB 777 7 443 91 71 7 12.3% 78.0% 20.5%
Kendall Wright WR TEN 555 4 473 97 59 13 22.4% 60.8% 20.5%
Dez Bryant WR DAL 1028 9 536 109 75 12 18.5% 68.8% 20.3%
Donnie Avery WR IND 706 3 537 109 52 11 20.4% 47.7% 20.3%
Eric Decker WR DEN 790 8 483 98 64 20 27.0% 65.3% 20.3%
Marques Colston WR NO 889 8 540 106 65 19 23.2% 61.3% 19.6%
Brandon Lloyd WR NE 650 4 500 97 57 13 17.8% 58.8% 19.4%
Kyle Rudolph TE MIN 412 8 401 77 45 15 28.8% 58.4% 19.2%
Hakeem Nicks WR NYG 652 3 474 90 50 17 21.5% 55.6% 19.0%
Owen Daniels TE HOU 622 6 454 86 52 8 20.0% 60.5% 18.9%
Jimmy Graham TE NO 710 8 540 99 64 13 15.9% 64.6% 18.3%
Miles Austin WR DAL 819 5 536 98 55 12 18.5% 56.1% 18.3%
Cecil Shorts WR JAX 824 7 459 83 43 10 20.8% 51.8% 18.1%
Andre Roberts WR ARI 675 5 504 91 53 7 11.3% 58.2% 18.1%
Jeremy Maclin WR PHI 646 5 500 90 53 12 25.0% 58.9% 18.0%
Jermaine Gresham TE CIN 636 5 447 80 55 11 19.6% 68.8% 17.9%
Malcom Floyd WR SD 775 5 466 83 54 0 0.0% 65.1% 17.8%
Heath Miller TE PIT 679 7 481 85 61 20 31.7% 71.8% 17.7%
Antonio Brown WR PIT 592 2 481 85 51 0 0.0% 60.0% 17.7%
DeSean Jackson WR PHI 700 2 500 88 45 8 16.7% 51.1% 17.6%
Denarius Moore WR OAK 678 6 535 93 42 13 19.1% 45.2% 17.4%
Dennis Pitta TE BAL 488 5 451 77 50 11 27.5% 64.9% 17.1%
Danny Amendola WR STL 576 2 433 73 51 10 22.2% 69.9% 16.9%
Brandon Myers TE OAK 728 4 535 90 70 13 19.1% 77.8% 16.8%
James Jones WR GB 562 9 443 74 46 13 22.8% 62.2% 16.7%
Josh Morgan WR WAS 429 1 362 60 42 5 11.6% 70.0% 16.6%
Donald Jones WR BUF 443 4 407 67 41 12 23.5% 61.2% 16.5%
Golden Tate WR SEA 492 7 341 56 37 10 23.3% 66.1% 16.4%
Jacob Tamme TE DEN 473 2 483 79 49 6 8.1% 62.0% 16.4%
Lance Moore WR NO 848 4 540 88 53 11 13.4% 60.2% 16.3%
Nate Washington WR TEN 648 4 473 76 39 7 12.1% 51.3% 16.1%
Kenny Britt WR TEN 520 3 473 76 40 10 17.2% 52.6% 16.1%

The return of Jake Locker to the Tennessee lineup has been a downer for Chris Johnson owners, but given the fact that he hasnít thrown the ball fewer than 35 times in each of his last three games, weíre seeing a boon for the Titans receivers. Itís taken nearly all season long, but Kenny Britt and Nate Washington have both managed to find themselves on the TPL this week. As the Titans try to finish out the season with respectability, you can bet that the two of them, along with Kendall Wright, will continue to see a high number of targets each week.

Word on the street says that Dez Bryant is 50/50 to play again this season. If thatís really the case, then you can expect to see Miles Austinís target percentage get a boost, but more importantly, Jason Wittenís red zone looks should increase.

With Dwayne Bowe likely headed for IR with a rib injury, you can probably expect Dexter McClusterís target percentage to increase Ė heís been on the TPL a few times before Ė and look for Terrance Copper to see more work. However, I donít see either having much relevance in fantasy, since the Chiefs will likely lean on the running game still.

Owners of Brandon Marshall are probably disturbed by the possibility of going through the fantasy playoffs without Jay Cutler under center, but even when the Chicago's quarterback was out earlier, Marshall still saw the bulk of the targets from Jason Campbell.

And finally, letís review some of the number twos weíve been watching as they attempt to close the gap in target percentage with their teamís top wide receiver...

As mentioned before, Danario Alexander has actually surpassed Malcom Floyd in target percentage over the last five weeks. While he hasnít shown up here yet due to missing the first eight games of the season, heís still the new number one in San Diego.

Eric Decker continues to hover around the 20-percent mark but remains firmly behind Demaryius Thomas. While Decker saw an increase in targets this week, he still hasnít seen double-digit looks since Week 9.

Miamiís Davone Bess continues to close the gap between him and Brian Hartline and has now seen more targets than Hartline three times in the last four games. Unfortunately, neither receiver gets a whole lot of red zone looks, as the Fins donít get to spend a whole lot of time there, but with upcoming match-ups against Jacksonville, Buffalo and New England, Bess just might have a little flex appeal.

Mike Williams still makes for a solid number two, but Vincent Jackson has a stranglehold on being Josh Freemanís favorite target. Yes, last week, Williams saw more looks, but the overall target percentage is where the truth lies.

Just Missing the Cut This Week: Martellus Bennett (16.0%), Brent Celek (16.0%), Scott Chandler (16.0%), Vernon Davis (15.9%), Chris Givens (15.7%), Josh Gordon (15.6%), Andrew Hawkins (15.4%)

TPL Risers to Monitor: Jeremy Maclin, Justin Blackmon, Michael Crabtree
TPL Fallers to Monitor: Marques Colston, Jacob Tamme, Andre Roberts

Week 14 Matchup to Watch: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints Ė The last time these two teams squared off, Drew Brees and Josh Freeman combined for 797 passing yards and seven touchdowns. The Saints give up an average of 285 yards per game through the air, while the number is 312 per for the Bucs. This is a dream match-up for the fantasy playoffs, so if youíve got any of the primary receivers from this game on your team, you better make sure they are active this week.

Potential Week 14 Breakouts: Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Kerley, Ben Watson
Potential Week 14 Busts: Wes Welker, Steve Johnson, Tony Gonzalez

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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