Target Time: Week 2
By Jeff Brubach
Two weeks of sweet, sweet fantasy action are now complete and we are able to get a better understanding of which NFL wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs will be the most heavily targeted throughout the 2013 season. This week, we have a fresh New England face gracing the weekly Top Five, along with a Jaguar of all things! Week two saw some solid performances from the league’s elite receivers as well, as Dez Bryant, Calvin Johnson, and Julio Jones all gave their fantasy owners grins like they just landed Trent Richardson for a first round pick. Saddle up and get ready for a recap of the Week 2 most-targeted players and a quick rundown of other notable target totals in the fantasy world.
Week 2 Top Five
1. Julian Edelman (18 week, 27 season): With Tom Brady missing most of his favorite targets, he was left with Edelman and a batch of rookies who appeared to have lathered themselves in Crisco prior to their week two game. While Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson were busy dropping passes, Brady went to his favorite slot receiver for most of New England’s battle against the Jets. The result was an enormous amount of targets for
Wes Welker/ Danny Amendola /Julian Edelman. Eighteen of Tom Brady’s passes were directed at Edelman, who caught 13 of them for 78 yards. As the yardage output illustrates, Edelman is doing most of his work right around the line of scrimmage, so don’t expect huge yardage totals anytime soon. I consider Julian Edelman the wide receiver version of Darren Sproles. Both players are FAR more valuable in PPR formats than standard scoring, and both magnify the quirks of scoring systems that award points for catches. Edelman will remain a target force until Amendola returns, which could be a few more weeks.
2. Jimmy Graham (16 week , 23 season): Jimbo had himself a nice game in week two, which has become the norm for the best tight end in the NFL. Ten catches for 179 yards and a score tightened Graham’s grip on the top spot among tight ends and reminded us fantasy folks why he provides such a distinct advantage at the “TE” slot in weekly fantasy matchups. Although Graham’s Week 1 stats didn’t jump off the page, he has scored in each game and will continue to dominate this season. Drew Brees’ pal now leads NFL tight ends in catches (14), targets (23) and yards (224), as he should. Expect more of the same this week against Arizona.
3. DeSean Jackson (15 week, 24 season): Of the many beneficiaries of Chip Kelly’s new offense, DeSean Jackson may top the list. Jackson is enjoying a fantastic start to the 2013 season and is providing nice value for those who invested in him on fantasy draft day. Week 2 saw Jackson turn his 15 targets into nine grabs for 193 yards and a score, while narrowly missing more downfield opportunities along the way. Vick is locked in on his top, and seemingly only, target this season and the 2009/2010 version of Jackson has returned. The other factor working in Jackson’s favor is the Philadelphia defense that has allowed 30 points and 460.5 yards of offense per game over the first two weeks of the season. The quick tempo Eagles offense and the need to score with opposing offenses means DeSean Jackson will be in line for a healthy workload all season long.
4(t). Julio Jones (14 week, 23 season): Julio Jones has had exactly the type of start to the 2013 season that his fantasy owners hoped and dreamed and sacrificed animals for. Eleven catches for 182 yards and a touchdown was his final stat line from Week 2, as Jones continues to benefit from Atlanta’s passing ways (sixth in the NFL in passing yards per game), and fellow wide receiver Roddy White’s ankle issue. While White lines up as primarily a decoy, Julio has been shredding defenses to pieces and is now second in the NFL in receiving yards after two weeks, with 258. Would you like more good news? Atlanta running back Steven Jackson is now out with a thigh injury, meaning Matt Ryan will focus even more on moving the ball via the passing game. You may need an extra wheel barrow for the heap of fantasy points Jones will continue to produce.
4(t). Cecil Shorts (14 week, 25 season): Like Kenbrell Thompkins in Week 1, Shorts is our Week 2 target hog that appears out of his element on our Top Five. Shorts only caught eight of his 14 targets in Week 2, as Jacksonville continued to demonstrate their offensive ineptitude. The bright side is that Shorts did produce better with Chad Henne at the helm, which could mean good things for him moving forward, although, I wouldn’t put all your eggs in any basket associated with the Jaguars. Keep Shorts far, far away from your Week 3 lineup, as Jacksonville will surely be mauled by the ferocious Seattle Seahawks defense.
4(t). A.J. Green (14 week, 27 season): Green had a nice week in the target department but forgot his shopping cart, as he left the target section at Walmart with only six catches. Green owners shouldn't be too upset about their stud racking up a mere 41 yards in Week 2, as his target total was solid yet again (13 in week one) and he did author a fantastic effort in Cincinnati’s first game, finding the end zone twice. Week 3 looks like a nice matchup for Green, as the Bengals host the Packers, who have given up some serious yardage through the air and a couple nice performances to Anquan Boldin and Pierre Garcon already this season. Expect to see another 12-plus targets for A.J. in Week 3, to go along with a healthy fantasy point total.
Other Notable Target Totals
Matt Forte (11) and Jamaal Charles (10) led the running back position in targets in Week 2 and continue to be PPR forces this season. Houston rookie DeAndre Hopkins (13) had an excellent week and flashed the talent and potential that he showed at Clemson. Hopkins should be usable all season long despite Houston’s running ways. Greg Little (12) had a big target week but unsurprisingly caught only four balls. The quarterback situation in Cleveland won’t be any help so feel free to ignore Little for now. Aaron Dobson (10) hauled in a touchdown pass from Tom Brady but otherwise demonstrated terrible hands while only catching three of his 10 targets. It will be hard to ignore Dobson while Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola remain out, but his value will be strictly tied to big plays in which he may or may not catch the ball. Miles Austin (4) had an underwhelming Week 2 performance after 12 targets in Week 1. He will remain third on the target totem pole behind Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, but will still be startable most weeks. Nate Burleson (8) caught seven of his eights targets in Week 2 and should be heavily considered this week as Detroit gets the putrid Washington Redskins defense.