RotoWire Partners

On Target: Garcon Makes the Quarterback

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

So you've still got another week, huh? Tough time to be playing fantasy as the NFL playoff picture starts to get a little clearer. Many teams have locked into a playoff spot, while a few continue to fight. The good news is it appears the only team that has absolutely nothing to gain or lose this week is the Kansas City Chiefs. Win or lose, they are locked into the No. 5 seed in the AFC. OK, so maybe that's not good news for those who own Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, Alex Smith and the Chiefs defense, but for everyone else, there's still plenty of hope.

It looks as though, in the early games, the only ones that really impact the later games are the Ravens-Bengals, Jets-Dolphins and the Colts-Jags, but teams affected who play later still have other factors to consider, so winning is paramount. To make it a little easier for you, check out this link of playoff scenarios where has it all laid out for you on one page.

After you go figure out that mind-numbing headache, look at last week's targets leaders and some additional thoughts.

Week 16 Target Leaders

(Click column headings to sort.)

Pierre Garcon, WASWR1441361811250.061.151.4
Eric Decker, DENWR1312511710571.458.833.3
Josh Gordon, CLEWR97040166562.537.540.0
Roddy White, ATLWR1411481512116.780.031.3
Demaryius Thomas, DENWR123151148114.357.127.5
Jarrett Boykin, GBWR54139135480.038.533.3
Andre Johnson, HOUWR63037134250.030.836.1
Antonio Brown, PITWR105029136233.346.244.8
A.J. Green, CINWR97238127342.958.331.6
James Jones, GBWR8403912900.075.030.8
Jerrel Jernigan, NYGWR801421261100.050.028.6
Tony Gonzalez, ATLTE63148118233.372.722.9
Dez Bryant, DALWR73127114350.036.440.7
Mike Wallace, MIAWR3803311400.036.434.4
Julian Edelman, NEWR7702611700.063.642.3
Jimmy Graham, NOTE731451152100.045.524.4
Jeremy Kerley, NYJWR70037115120.045.530.6
Joique Bell, DETRB630421010133.3100.024.4
Dwayne Bowe, KCWR46028105150.050.035.7
Brian Hartline, MIAWR5303310200.020.031.3
Marques Colston, NOWR6304510500.050.022.2
Vincent Jackson, TBWR98026105150.050.040.0

Pierre Garcon, WR WAS -
I'll be the first to admit it; my initial reaction to RG3 sitting and Kirk Cousins finishing out the year gave me some pause regarding Garcon's fantasy value the rest of the way. However, the Redskins haven't skipped a beat, and Garcon is seeing as much action, if not more, than with Griffin at the helm. His 18 targets led the way this week and he has one more week to prove he can be elite regardless of who is under center. He does have a bit of a tough matchup this week with the Giants, whose pass defense not only ranks 10th in the league overall, but also ranks eighth against opposing No. 1 wideouts, holding them to 58.6 yards per game. Obviously he's still a must-start, but another 144 yards seems a bit unlikely.

Jarrett Boykin, WR GB -
Here's another who looked like his value was going to take a significant hit, and while he didn't exactly light it up with the revolving door of quarterbacks, he still posted one 100-yard game, had two touchdowns and had only two games with fewer than 50 yards. We'll still have to wait on Aaron Rodgers' status, but even here with Flynn, Boykin has 19 targets over his last two games. The Bears rank 16th in the league against opposing No. 3 receivers, so Boykin could have a big day in what should be a very important game for both teams.

Jerrel Jernigan, WR NYG -
While most thought it would be Rueben Randle who would walk away the hero in the absence of Victor Cruz, Jernigan actually lined up in the slot and played a solid game as the Giants' primary possession receiver and chain mover. He is expected to fill the same role this week against Washington, which, on paper, looks to be a much softer matchup than last week. The Skins pass defense continues to struggle, ranking 22nd in the league.

Jeremy Kerley, WR NYJ -
Well, now, here's a name we haven't seen in quite some time, and based on how erratic the Jets offense is, one that we probably won't be discussing this time next week. Against a sad-sack Cleveland team is one thing, but Geno Smith is going to have to do backflips and cartwheels if he expects to pass like that against the Dolphins and their 12th-ranked pass defense. While the Jets would love to play spoiler and Kerley is likely itching for another big game, it's going to prove to be a heck of a lot more difficult with Miami needing a win for a playoff spot.

Now as for the overall ...

Overall Targets Leaderboard

(Click column headings to sort.)

Pierre Garcon, WASWR129055631721072031.362.231.2
Andre Johnson, HOUWR135855991721031524.259.929.3
A.J. Green, CINWR136510547168942132.356.031.1
Calvin Johnson, DETWR149212601156842633.353.824.5
Brandon Marshall, CHIWR122111556154942025.361.028.4
Antonio Brown, PITWR141285561521011922.466.428.0
Josh Gordon, CLEWR15649631149801722.753.723.3
Vincent Jackson, TBWR11897482147741834.650.332.2
Dez Bryant, DALWR113412540146852130.058.227.1
Alshon Jeffery, CHIWR13417556141861924.161.026.0
Julian Edelman, NEWR9916604140962128.068.623.6
Demaryius Thomas, DENWR131712630136861917.663.221.6
Jimmy Graham, NOTE 114415620134812430.460.421.9
Kendall Wright, TENWR10292509132891017.967.426.4
Eric Decker, DENWR126110630131832321.363.420.8
Torrey Smith, BALWR11014569130621622.947.723.0
Mike Wallace, MIAWR9054564129681015.652.723.3
Brian Hartline, MIAWR9784564128741117.257.823.1
Larry Fitzgerald, ARZWR84110525124762235.561.324.7
Cecil Shorts, JACWR7773518123661620.053.721.7
Harry Douglas, ATLWR10092619123781416.563.420.2
T.Y. Hilton, INDWR9285543123711013.357.720.4
Victor Cruz, NYGWR9984535122731223.559.823.9
DeSean Jackson, PHIWR13049480122791018.564.826.0
Anquan Boldin, SFWR10306382118761328.364.433.9
Tony Gonzalez, ATLTE8038619117792529.467.519.2
Jordan Cameron, CLETE8487631111751925.367.617.3
Jordy Nelson, GBWR11538531111751924.767.621.6
Wes Welker, DENWR77810630111732422.265.817.6
Steve Smith, CARWR7454446110641629.658.225.2
Emmanuel Sanders, PITWR7146556108651618.860.219.9
Antonio Gates, SDTE8413536108731315.167.621.5
Jamaal Charles, KCRB6937516104701823.167.318.9
Marques Colston, NOWR8765620104691620.366.317.0
Greg Olsen, CARTE 7745446103671731.565.023.6
Dwayne Bowe, KCWR6735516103571417.955.318.7
Steve Johnson, BUFWR5973493101521230.051.521.0
Greg Jennings, MINWR7604513100631220.763.019.9
Michael Floyd, ARZWR950552599591219.459.619.7
Nate Washington, TENWR8803509995658.956.619.8
Hakeem Nicks, NYGWR846053597541019.655.719.0
Keenan Allen, SDWR957853696662023.368.819.1
Charles Clay, MIATE 716656496651421.967.717.3
Jason Witten, DALTE 716854095611622.964.217.7
Greg Little, CLEWR456263195401216.042.114.8
Martellus Bennett, CHITE 744555693641620.368.817.2
Jerome Simpson, MINWR69715139345712.148.418.5
Rod Streater, OAKWR84834819055918.461.119.3
Matt Forte, CHIRB547255690701113.977.816.6
Garrett Graham, HOUTE 545559989491321.055.115.2
Golden Tate, SEAWR76944378956816.762.923.1
DeAndre Hopkins, HOUWR767259986481016.155.814.7
James Jones, GBWR776353186531215.661.616.7
Davone Bess, CLEWR36226318642810.748.813.4
Julius Thomas, DENTE 7521263085601614.870.613.5
Darren Sproles, NORB57426208569810.181.213.9
Delanie Walker, TENTE 542650983571730.468.716.6
Coby Fleener, INDTE 583454383511317.361.413.7
Kris Durham, DETWR490260183381316.745.813.0
Pierre Thomas, NORB510362083761113.991.613.6
Roddy White, ATLWR620261983551112.966.313.7
Danny Woodhead, SDRB563653680692225.686.315.9
Riley Cooper, PHIWR796848080441120.455.017.1
Brandon LaFell, CARWR62754468049814.861.318.3
Danny Amendola, NEWR6242604805368.066.313.5

Target Percentage

Eric Decker, WR DEN -
For the third time in the last four weeks, Decker's target percentage is on the rise. You never want to be happy about an injury, but it's obvious that Wes Welker's concussion has been a big part of Decker's late-season resurgence. The game against San Diego was a rough one, but over the last four games, Decker has seen 46 targets, three 100-yard games and seven touchdowns. Denver needs the win (or a Patriots loss, but they play at the same time) to clinch home-field throughout the playoffs, so expect Peyton Manning to come out firing on all cylinders and pad that single-season touchdown record. The Raiders pass defense ranks 27th overall and 29th in the league against No. 2 wideouts. Expect more big things from Decker this week.

Jason Witten, TE DAL -
Witten's target percentage has gone the way of Tony Romo lately, which means south. Even in a game where the Cowboys are chucking it around all day, the focus is simply not on the tight end anymore. For the third time in five weeks, there's been a drop in target percentage, and it's obvious in the yardage results. He does have four touchdowns, which preserves his value, especially at this time of the year, so there is still hope. If you're looking for even more hope, then look no further than the fact that the Eagles rank 25th against the tight end this season. Yes, Kyle Orton will be under center, but could he do any worse than Romo? Probably not.

Red Zone Target Percentage

Danny Woodhead, RB SD -
He's seen his red-zone targets diminish the last few games as Keenan Allen gets more looks and the Chargers lean on the ground game with Ryan Mathews a little more. But with nothing riding on this game, there's a good chance the Chargers just stick with what they know against the Chiefs and that would be exposing a few of their holes with regard to running backs. The Chiefs ranked 15th in the league against running back pass plays, and Woodhead took full advantage of that the last time they faced each other. He had four catches for 45 yards and a touchdowns and got half a dozen carries, which he turned into 25 more yards and another touchdown. It was his second-most productive fantasy day of the season, and that was in Arrowhead of all places.

Harry Douglas, WR ATL -
His red-zone target percentage jumped nearly three points from last week thanks to a strong game against the 49ers on Monday night. Matt Ryan threw six passes inside the red zone in that game and half went to Douglas. Sure, they've got the Panthers defense this week, but if they were able to expose certain holes in the 49ers secondary, they just might have similar luck against Carolina. I don't expect Douglas to rack up much in the way of yards, but if Ryan looks for him in the red zone again, he could have a decent day.

Potential Risers

Jarrett Boykin
Rueben Randle
Marlon Brown
Doug Baldwin
Vernon Davis

Potential Fallers

Jerome Simpson
DeAndre Hopkins
Kris Durham
Pierre Thomas
Coby Fleener

Week 17 Matchup to Watch

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears -
Let's face it, while we have two teams competing for the NFC North title, we have two very poor defenses. Both run defenses are weak, so Eddie Lacy and Matt Forte, two backs who also do a great job of catching passes out of the backfield, should get both teams off to a strong start. But with that, you know the passing game opens and both teams will be happy to air it out in a shootout. Maybe Aaron Rodgers plays, maybe he doesn't, but Jordy Nelson, Jarrett Boykin and James Jones should be major factors in the Green Bay gameplan. On the opposite side, while we'd all love to see Josh McCown return, Jay Cutler will lead the charge, and Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are two of the best in the game. And don't sleep on Martellus Bennett. The Packers rank 24th in the league at defending against the tight end.

Happy holidays to you all, and I wish you all the biggest of money finishes this year and next!