Targeting Targets – Week 4
Written By: Adam Cahill – Find Adam on Twitter @theotherffguy
Week four of the NFL season is upon us, which means we are nearly a quarter of the way through the fantasy football regular season. After week three we have 50% more information to learn from than we did just one week ago. Offenses are officially starting to show who they value and quarterbacks are beginning to show who they trust. Last week we looked at some players who ended up having huge week threes with Marvin Jones, Jarvis Landry, and Jamison Crowder all performing well. Some players that I outlined didn’t have their target shares translate into fantasy production, most glaringly the running backs and tight ends for week three. For week four we’ll look to identify a few more break outs and avoid a few of those busts, showing exactly who the players are with the targets to target.
– WIDE RECEIVERS –
Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos
29 targets, 17 receptions, 58.6% catch rate, 30.9% team target share
The Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos are one of five undefeated teams still left in the NFL. Trevor Siemian has looked better than anyone thought he would (other than head coach Gary Kubiak). After a week three performance in which he threw for 300+ yards and four touchdowns in route to a huge 29-17 victory over the defending AFC North champion, Cincinnati Bengals. The Broncos have started the season with three tough opponents and the schedule is going to start to get a bit easier for the undefeated reigning Super Bowl champs, especially as they take on a Buccaneers team that has let up 37 and 40 points to opponents the past two weeks. Moving forward, there is no one I’m more excited for in the Bronco’s offense (both this week and beyond) than Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders had his breakout game of the season last week, hauling in nine catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns. That breakout came after Sanders had shown himself to be the favorite target of Trevor in the passing game, maintaining at least eight targets in every game so far this season. The target share that Sanders has been able to carve out so far is really impressive; leading all other Bronco’s including Demaryius Thomas who he is currently out targeting by nearly 50%. Sanders share of the Broncos targets is currently the 5th highest of any player’s share of their respective team’s targets. The two together have received over 50% of all Siemian’s pass attempts and both look to be the focal points of the passing attack moving forward.
Suggested move: Sanders is a must start this week going up against an atrocious Tampa bay defense who just got off giving up a big game offensively to the Rams, of all teams. Sanders is a tough player to trade for coming off of his huge two touchdown performance, but he is definitely not a guy I’m looking to sell either. If owners are looking to sell high, expecting Sanders to eventually be passed by teammate Demaryius Thomas in targets, he is a player I would be looking to add for the right price. I see him being one of those players that appears to be a sell high, but that will maintain his current value for the rest of the season.
Terrelle Pryor, Cleveland Browns
31 targets, 14 receptions, 45.2% catch rate, 32% team target share
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, but it is a quarterback, running back, wide receiver hybrid called Terrelle Pryor. The Cleveland Browns offense last week was everything short of Pryor throwing the ball to himself, as he had five passing attempts, four rushing attempts, and eight catches. He looked like a create a player from the latest addition of Madden brought to life to give Browns fans a reason to smile. Although Pryor seemingly did it all last week, the thing that had his fantasy owners winning their match ups was his use in the passing game (catching the ball, not throwing it). The Browns are currently without Corey Coleman, which leaves Pryor commanding a gigantic target share. Through the first three weeks, Pryor’s 32% team target share is fourth best in the NFL and all signs point to it staying that way until Coleman gets back.
Suggested move: I don’t know if Pryor has the ability to repeat his week three performance, in which he seemingly did it all for the Browns, but if he does I certainly don’t want him to do so on my bench. There is some reason to temper expectations with Josh Norman likely shadowing Pryor in the passing game, but if he’s on your roster I feel like you have to take the risk starting him. Now, just as I am writing this report, news just came out that Josh Gordon is going to enter rehab instead of joining the Browns at the start of week 5. With this update, Pryor is definitely a player to look to acquire and he should have a secure position in the offense until Coleman returns.
Will Fuller, Houston Texans
25 targets, 12 receptions, 48% catch rate, 23.1% team target share
Coming into the 2016 season, the talk of rookie Wide Receivers was dominated by the big three of Corey Coleman, Josh Doctson, and Laquan Treadwell. Three weeks into the season the first two are sidelined with injuries and most of us are wondering if Treadwell will have any relevance in his first year in the league. The Houston Texans had a different idea of who they thought were the top wide receivers in the 2016 class, and atop that list was their first round draft pick Will Fuller. Fuller became an immediate factor in the Texans offense, posting back to back 100+ yard games to begin his career. Over his first three games Fuller has commanded a target share second to only DeAndre Hopkins on the Texans offense, and he has a substantial lead in targets over any one else on the team.
Suggested move: Fuller is exactly the type of player I like having as a WR3/flex on my fantasy teams because he has big play ability that can turn in a game winning fantasy performance any week. Coming off a tough game against the Patriots in which the Texans failed to score, Fuller is a player some might over look, but this week he is a great start against the Titans.
Adam Humphries, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
25 targets, 18 receptions, 72% catch rate, 18% team target share
Adam Humphries is a player that has very quietly moved onto the fantasy radar after the first three weeks of the season. Currently getting the second most targets on the Buccaneers behind Mike Evans, who is commanding one of the largest target shares in the league, Humphries has turned out to be a very reliable option for Jameis Winston. If Humphries had found the end zone in any of his first three match ups he might very well be owned in most leagues, but since Adam hasn’t found pay dirt, his 200+ receiving yards have gone relatively unnoticed.
Suggested move: Adam Humphries is worth an add in most PPR leagues as he has shown himself to be a reliable option for Jameis Winston. His target consistency should give him a high floor in PPR leagues and if he begins to find the end zone he could prove to be a great fill in player through the bye weeks with the potential for some surprising performances.
– TIGHT ENDS –
Zach Miller, Chicago Bears
18 targets, 15 receptions, 83.3% catch rate, 17.8% team target share
After a relatively slow start to the season, Zach Miller burst onto the scene Sunday night putting up a two touchdown performance in the Bears loss to the Cowboys. Chicago had back up quarterback Brian Hoyer at the helm Sunday night and appear to be looking at having him again this week as Jay Cutler continues to heal from a thumb injury. This should be great news for the 32 year old tight end that saw his targets double in Cutler’s absence. The nine targets that Miller received in week 3 put him at 6th amongst all tight ends in targets last week, a giant jump from his target share the first two weeks that was outside the top 20 at the position. Miller’s two week three touchdowns were a product of him beginning to be utilized as a red zone target with Brian Hoyer focusing in on the big bodied tight end in the end zone. Miller currently has four red zone targets on the season, which gives him a 25% red zone target market share on the Bears offense, and he has shown reliability catching three of those four red zone targets.
Suggested move: Miller is a phenomenal tight end streaming option this week against a Lions defense that has given up five touchdowns to tight ends in the first three weeks of the season. Beyond this week he’ll be a situation to monitor, but if he continues to maintain this increased target share, he could become an every week starter while Hoyer is leading the Bears.
Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks
14 targets, 10 receptions, 71.44% catch rate, 13.2% team target share
Guess who’s back, back again… A week ago I was writing about the excitement I was feeling over the return of Dennis Pitta and this week we have another emergence from the injured depths of the tight end position. Jimmy Graham was the second leading pass catcher, behind only Doug Baldwin, in the Seahawks week three win over the 49ers. Graham wasn’t just a reliable end zone target for Russell Wilson, but also was the second most targeted player on the Seahawks offense and in doing so turned those targets into 100 yards and a touchdown, a feat we haven’t seen from Graham since his years in New Orleans. Wilson seemed to be locked in on his two favorite targets, Graham and Baldwin, targeting all other players a measly four times. The insanely high 39% target market share that Graham saw last week is not likely indicative of his target share moving forward, but the giant uptick in targets does reveal that Wilson trusts Graham to be the second option in the passing game moving forward.
Suggested move: In week 4 the Jets are going to have to attempt to slow down Graham a week after giving up six receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown to Travis Kelce. After Graham emerged last week, he’s likely been added in most formats, but if he is still out there in your league he is definitely worth a pick up and plays this week. Tight end often is one of the easiest positions to stream week to week in shallower leagues, and Graham is an ideal streaming candidate that has real potential to become a tight end that you lock into your line up week after week.
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
26 targets, 14 receptions, 53.8% catch rate, 28.3% team target share
The Sam Bradford led Vikings are 3-0 and currently sitting atop the NFC North. Now that’s a sentence that no one could have imagined just a month ago and no one likely would have imagined two weeks ago. Nonetheless, here we are and the Vikings are looking like one of the toughest teams to beat after wins against Green Bay and Carolina. Playmakers Stephan Diggs and Kyle Rudolph have been huge factors in the Vikings success through the first three weeks. Rudolph currently leads the Vikings in targets and is receiving an insanely high 28.3% of his team’s targets. That number puts Rudolph as the tight end getting the largest percentage of his teams passing targets through the first three weeks, to go along with the sheer volume of 26 targets that has him leading all tight ends as well. At this point, the only thing that has been holding Rudolph back from dominating the tight end position has been a catch rate that is over 10% below his career average. As his report begins to grow with Bradford that catch rate should improve and Bradford has shown during his tenure with The Eagles that the tight end position is one that he’ll target early and often.
Suggested move: Rudolph is a player that was likely picked up in a bunch of leagues this past week, but if he is somehow still available he’s a great addition to nearly any roster. Rudolph has the target market share needed to produce as an elite tight end option moving forward. He is a player I recommend targeting in trade offers to attempt to acquire cheaply before his catch rate improves and he really takes off.
If you have any questions for Adam feel free to leave a comment below or hit him up on Twitter.
Written By: Adam Cahill – Follow Adam on Twitter @theotherffguy