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On Target: The Wright Choice

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 or follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy. For questions, thoughts or comments you can email him at

Considering most leagues cut things off after Week 16 due to players sitting out the final week of the season, this is probably championship week for most of you. Should your league go one week more, well, we'll just have to cover that next week because there's likely to be a lot of lineup shuffling going on. But for now, every NFL team still seems to have something to play for, so everyone who is healthy should be a full-go. There is a remote possibility that a team who plays a late game could have their situation change, but hopefully you have enough depth to cover yourself.

Of course, if you have enough depth then you also have a few decisions to make about who to start in this all-important week. Matchups, targets, red zone looks, injuries and several other factors come into play, so make sure you've looked into every possibility that could affect your receivers' performances. And the best place to start is obviously here as we hit most of that for you. So let's start by looking at some of last week's top targets.

Week 15 Target Leaders

(Click column headings to sort.)

Kendall Wright, TENWR1500582012110.060.036.4
Julian Edelman, NEWR1391551913327.368.435.2
A.J. Green, CINWR93044189337.550.040.9
Dez Bryant, DALWR1531481711342.964.735.4
DeSean Jackson, PHIWR195148161000.062.533.3
Calvin Johnson, DETWR9803414600.042.941.3
Danny Amendola, NEWR1310551410218.271.425.9
Brandon Marshall, CHIWR95131136240.046.241.9
Greg Jennings, MINWR1631351311111.184.637.1
Marques Colston, NOWR92156138545.561.523.6
Torrey Smith, BALWR69038124120.033.331.6
T.Y. Hilton, INDWR78032128125.066.737.5
Delanie Walker, TENTE53158118330.072.720.0
Josh Gordon, CLEWR6713910300.030.026.3
Andre Caldwell, DENWR59241106266.760.024.4
Andre Johnson, HOUWR1803410400.040.029.4
Darren Sproles, NORB38056108218.280.018.2
Pierre Garcon, WASWR129145107120.070.022.7
Larry Fitzgerald, ARIWR4903096342.966.730.0
Jacoby Jones, BALWR8003896120.066.723.7
Marvin Jones, CINWR4814495225.055.620.5
Jordy Nelson, GBWR6113995333.355.624.3
Mike Wallace, MIAWR1051379600.066.724.3
Rishard Matthews, MIAWR640379500.055.624.3
Rod Streater, OAKWR590419400.044.424.3
Zach Ertz, PHITE5714896150.066.718.8
Timothy Wright, TBTE821349700.077.828.1
Nate Washington, TENWR9205897110.077.816.4
Santana Moss , WASWR6414598120.088.920.5

Kendall Wright, WR TEN -
It's not just about the 20 targets or the 12 receptions in Week 15, it's actually a whole lot more. Over the last four games, Wright has two 100-yard performances, one touchdown and has seen an average of more than 10 targets per game. He is blossoming late in the season and with matchups against Jacksonville and then Houston, there seems to be plenty more to come. The best way to equate his late-season surge is to remember what Antonio Brown did last year. After spending most of the year as strictly a possession receiver with almost no red-zone work, Brown flourished in the final four games, scoring a touchdown in each and averaging 57.5 yards. Wright's late-season surge seems similar, and with such soft matchups coming, he too should find the end zone at least once more.

Julian Edelman, WR NE -
Once again, with Rob Gronkowski out, Tom Brady turns to the diminutive wideout as his saving grace. Brady also has Danny Amendola running around out there, but he's leaned on Edelman for much of the year, and as we've all seen, Brady likes to stick with what's familiar. While it's not exactly set in stone, it looks like both Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins could miss this Sunday's game against the Ravens, which probably puts New England with a similar gameplan of a shorter passing routes to expose the holes between the linebackers and the secondary. Edelman stands a very good chance at repeating his Week 15 totals, which would make him virtually a must-start in any league.

Andre Caldwell, WR DEN -
With Wes Welker still missing practice and yet to complete any of the steps of the NFL concussion protocol, Caldwell looks like he is in line for another strong set of targets this week. He'll line up in the slot for the most part, and as we've seen, the slot receiver sees a lot of work inside the red zone from Peyton Manning. The matchup with Houston is actually a favorable one for Manning. Although the Texans don't normally give up a lot of yardage, they have given up 25 passing touchdowns this season. Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker should see a lot of work, but Caldwell will also grab his fair share.

Rod Streater, WR OAK -
One of the more highly underrated receivers, in my opinion, and someone who should definitely be on your radar if you're looking to fill the gaps either at your third wide receiver slot or flex. He's now seen double-digit targets in each of the Raiders' last two games and is becoming a go-to option for Matt McGloin lately. With a matchup against the Chargers, a team that ranks 31st in the league against opposing No. 2 receivers, Streater could come up with one of those games that helps push you over the top and escorts you right into the championship circle.

Overall Targets Leaderboard

(Click column headings to sort.)

Andre Johnson, HOUWR12955562159991322.462.328.9
A.J. Green, CINWR12688509156871831.055.831.0
Pierre Garcon, WASWR11464527154961830.062.329.8
Calvin Johnson, DETWR144912559152812634.753.325.6
Brandon Marshall, CHIWR118510517145901924.462.128.7
Antonio Brown, PITWR13078527139951721.568.327.0
Vincent Jackson, TBWR10917456137691734.050.431.8
Dez Bryant, DALWR106111513135811828.160.026.5
Josh Gordon, CLEWR14679591133741217.955.622.2
Alshon Jeffery, CHIWR12657517132801924.460.626.1
Julian Edelman, NEWR9146578129892128.469.022.7
Kendall Wright, TENWR10072483125851019.268.026.4
Jimmy Graham, NOTE107114575123762228.661.821.7
Cecil Shorts, JACWR7773484123661620.853.723.3
Victor Cruz, NYGWR9984493122731224.059.826.1
Torrey Smith, BALWR10324527122591623.948.423.4
Demaryius Thomas, DENWR119411579122781817.863.921.1
Larry Fitzgerald, ARZWR82310500119732237.961.324.9
Brian Hartline, MIAWR9254531118721117.261.022.6
Mike Wallace, MIAWR8674531118641015.654.222.6
DeSean Jackson, PHIWR12759455117751019.664.126.2
T.Y. Hilton, INDWR8765506116661014.356.920.6
Eric Decker, DENWR11308579114731817.864.019.7
Harry Douglas, ATLWR9632571114731113.964.020.4
Jordan Cameron, CLETE8487591111751928.467.618.5
Anquan Boldin, SFWR9585361111701226.763.133.9
Wes Welker, DENWR77810579111732423.865.819.2
Steve Smith, CARWR7014424108631630.858.326.0
Tony Gonzalez, ATLTE7407571106712329.167.018.9
Jordy Nelson, GBWR11078492106721926.467.922.3
Emmanuel Sanders, PITWR7075527106631519.059.420.6
Antonio Gates, SDTE7993507105701316.366.722.2
Steve Johnson, BUFWR5973468101521232.451.522.1
Jamaal Charles, KCRB655748898651823.166.318.5
Greg Olsen, CARTE739542496631732.765.623.1
Marques Colston, NOWR813557594641620.868.116.6
Greg Jennings, MINWR733448694591220.762.819.7
Michael Floyd, ARZWR919450094581119.061.719.7
Jason Witten, DALTE703851393591625.063.418.2
Dwayne Bowe, KCWR627548893521316.755.917.5
Greg Little, CLEWR452259191391116.442.915.2
Nate Washington, TENWR7632483915059.654.919.2
Hakeem Nicks, NYGWR794049390501020.055.619.2
Garrett Graham, HOUTE545556289491322.455.116.2
Charles Clay, MIATE684653189611421.968.517.0
Keenan Allen, SDWR931750789631620.070.818.8
Jerome Simpson, MINWR68914868844712.150.018.5
Golden Tate, SEAWR73544108654818.262.823.8
Davone Bess, CLEWR36225918642811.948.814.3
Martellus Bennett, CHITE659551785591620.569.416.8
Rod Streater, OAKWR84634458554818.663.519.8
Matt Forte, CHIRB522251785661114.177.616.8
DeAndre Hopkins, HOUWR759256282471017.257.314.9
Coby Fleener, INDTE575450680491318.661.314.2
Darren Sproles, NORB55625758066810.482.514.1
Brandon LaFell, CARWR61454247848815.461.518.8
Pierre Thomas, NORB503357578711114.391.013.8
Danny Woodhead, SDRB547650777662126.385.716.2
Riley Cooper, PHIWR743745577411019.653.217.3
Julius Thomas, DENTE6741157977541615.870.113.3
Jared Cook, STLTE61444567744913.257.117.0
Danny Amendola, NEWR5792578775168.166.213.6

Target Percentage

T.Y. Hilton, WR IND -
While his target percentage has taken a slight dip over these last three weeks, he's still, as evidenced by this past week's performance, a solid play in nearly every league. He may not see as many targets as he did when Reggie Wayne first got hurt, but he'll continue to get plenty of work despite the Colts' desire to get some of these younger, less-experienced wideouts extra work. The fact is, Darrius Heyward-Bey does not have the skills to be a legitimate threat opposite Hilton, so these youngsters need to audition for the increase in snaps. But that doesn't take away from Hilton as the No. 1 guy in Indy. The Chiefs pass defense is a tough matchup this week, but if Luck has to air it out somewhere, he's still looking at Hilton first.

Charles Clay, TE MIA -
This past week was an awful game for Clay owners as he saw just two targets in what was supposed to be a favorable matchup with the Patriots. What's worse is that he was just coming off back-to-back 10-target games and totaled 177 yards and two touchdowns. This week, though, he should get back on track. While the Bills rank sixth in the league against the tight end, they ranked second just three weeks ago. Tight ends aren't pouring on the yards against them, but they are seeing plenty of work inside the red zone. Look for Clay to get back on track this week.

Marques Colston, WR NO -
Although the increase in targets percentage for Colston is small (15.9 to 16.6), his last two games should tell you all you need to know. He saw 13 targets in each game and totaled 217 yards with three touchdowns. With a healthy ankle, the trust of his quarterback and sub-standard receivers surrounding him, Colston should continue to see plenty of looks from Drew Brees the next two weeks. Sure, the matchup with Carolina this week isn't ideal and sure, Jimmy Graham gets a ton of looks as well, but Colston is still ready to deliver at just the right time.

Red Zone Target Percentage

Greg Jennings, WR MIN -
Although he had an unexpected yet explosive game in Week 15, Jennings saw his red-zone target percentage drop from 22.4 to just 20.7 percent. The bulk of his work is coming in between the 20s, and while technically that's fine, the lack of looks inside the red zone (just one last week) does tend to be an issue, especially if he's facing a stronger pass defense than he was against the Eagles. Like Cincinnati, you mean? Why, yes. Yes, I do.

Golden Tate, WR SEA -
Even with Percy Harvin's comeback pushed to the playoffs, Tate has seen his red-zone target percentage drop steadily and is now sitting at 18.2 percent, which is almost the lowest it's been all season. With a strong ground game and both Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse getting the red-zone attention, Tate is really nothing more than a possession receiver on a team that really doesn't throw all that often. He'll work fine for PPR leagues, but in standard play this is a big hit for fantasy owners.

Potential Risers

James Jones
Rueben Randle
Denarius Moore
Ace Sanders
Delanie Walker

Potential Fallers

Victor Cruz
Hakeem Nicks
DeAndre Hopkins
Jerome Simpson
Jared Cook

Week 16 Matchup to Watch:
Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles - While the Bears have been fairly strong against the pass this season, they certainly showed their vulnerability in Week 15 when they let Cleveland get back into the game and Jason Campbell pass for 273 yards. A more-talented Nick Foles with more weapons in DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper and, yes, tight end Zach Ertz will air it out in the second half after LeSean McCoy opens up play-action with a strong first half. Meanwhile, the Eagles pass defense is still pretty awful, which means Jay Cutler should, now that he's shaken the rust off, have an easy time hitting Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery downfield on a regular basis. And don't forget Martellus Bennett. The Eagles rank 21st in the league against the tight end, and Bennett should have a strong game to show why.