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Even with six teams on a bye, plenty of targets were accumulated by pass-catchers across the league.  Some of the usual target hogs didn’t have double-digit targets, and some players that may be unowned in fantasy leagues did make the list.

When looking at the waiver wire, don’t forget to check the recent targets as well as receptions, yards and touchdowns. While it’s true targets don’t get you fantasy points (in most scoring formats), they are an indicator of how involved a player is in the offense.

When a quarterback trusts a player, he will try to get him the ball. Just look at the Chicago Bears. Jay Cutler knows and trusts Alshon Jeffery and his tight end Zach Miller, who combined for 18 targets in Week 8. The rest of the team only had 13 targets (spread out over seven players). Cameron Meredith owners know full well what it’s like when the quarterback doesn’t look to their player. Hence the importance of looking at targets.

Note that if a player has an asterisk next to his name in the double-digit target box, it indicates that they also had double-digit targets in the week they last played (taking into account bye weeks).

As always, none of the charts below show total receptions, total fantasy points or touchdowns. The sole purpose of this analysis is to look at targets.

Week 8 Target Watch

Each week I will be reviewing the targets from the past week, the season and even digging deeper by running back and tight end. I will also be analyzing any trends I find along the way.

Week 8 Only Double-Digit Targets

Player Team Targets
A.J. Green Cincinnati Bengals 18
Michael Crabtree * Oakland Raiders 16
Amari Cooper Oakland Raiders 15
Allen Robinson * Jacksonville Jaguars 15
Jordan Matthews Philadelphia Eagles 14
Davante Adams * Green Bay Packers 14
Dez Bryant Dallas Cowboys 14
Terrelle Pryor Cleveland Browns 13
Stefon Diggs Minnesota Vikings 13
Jordan Reed Washington Redskins 13
Jamison Crowder Washington Redskins 13
J.J. Nelson Arizona Cardinals 12
Tyler Eifert Cincinnati Bengals 12
Larry Fitzgerald Arizona Cardinals 11
Allen Hurns Jacksonville Jaguars 11
Theo Riddick Detroit Lions 11
Quincy Enunwa New York Jets 11
Mike Evans * Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11
Jeremy Maclin Kansas City Chiefs 10
Eric Ebron Detroit Lions 10
Travis Kelce Kansas City Chiefs 10
Zach Miller Chicago Bears 10
Emmanuel Sanders Denver Broncos 10
Mohammed Sanu Atlanta Falcons 10
Demaryius Thomas * Denver Broncos 10

 

With six teams on a bye in Week 8, the number of players with double-digit targets was still surprisingly high (25 compared to 26 in Week 7 with only two teams on a bye). Jamison Crowder makes this list with 13 targets after seeing nine last week. It was originally thought that his usage would go down once Jordan Reed returned, however, both players had good fantasy days. The Redskins are on a bye in Week 9, but Crowder (49 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) should be picked up. Washington does face Minnesota in Week 10, but the rest of the schedule should be smooth for Crowder.

Also making this list for the first time is J.J. Nelson of Arizona. The Cardinals are also on a bye in Week 9, but he has earned more playing time, and should be picked up in 12-team leagues. At two percent owned, his ownership should be on the rise based on his usage. Over the past two games, he has 19 targets that were converted for 11 receptions 163 yards and two touchdowns.

Top 11 Target Leaders This Season

Player Team Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Total
A.J. Green CIN 11 12 8 10 8 18 88
Mike Evans TB 13 11 12 BYE 13 11 86
T.Y. Hilton IND 11 10 11 9 12 6 82
Larry Fitzgerald ARI 12 7 8 9 14 11 81
Amari Cooper OAK 9 6 12 13 5 15 80
Brandon Marshall NYJ 10 12 15 6 8 9 77
DeAndre Hopkins HOU 8 6 9 15 12 7 76
Terrelle Pryor CLE 14 9 6 13 4 13 76
Antonio Brown PIT 18 5 11 8 11 BYE 75
Michael Crabtree OAK 11 12 7 4 11 16 75
Emmanuel Sanders DEN 13 13 9 6 8 10 75

 

A.J. Green, with 18 targets in Week 8, has taken over as the target leader. He also has the most receiving yards in the league, however, he is on a bye this week. Julio Jones actually has the second-most receiving yards in the league, and isn’t in the Top 11 of target leaders.

T.Y. Hilton had been one of the most consistent target leaders this season, but only had six targets in Week 8. He was limited by a hamstring injury, and fantasy owners need to monitor his status heading into Week 9. While he is a clear WR1 when healthy, if he is forced to miss time, fantasy owners need to be prepared. The Colts play the Packers in Week 9, which should be a shoot-out.

Top Tight End Targets In Week 8

Jordan Reed Washington Redskins 13
Tyler Eifert Cincinnati Bengals 12
Eric Ebron Detroit Lions 10
Travis Kelce Kansas City Chiefs 10
Zach Miller Chicago Bears 10
Antonio Gates San Diego Chargers 9

 

Zach Miller was a consistent tight end target leader until Week 7, when Brian Hoyer broke his arm. However, Jay Cutler found Miller and was able to use him just as effectively as Hoyer. Miller will continue to be a TE1 for the remainder of the season as Cutler will look for his tight end in the red zone and when he needs to find a safety valve.

Tyler Eifert returned after not seeing the field since Week 1 and certainly wasn’t limited. He caught nine of his 12 targets for 102 yards and a touchdown. He is available in about a quarter of Yahoo leagues, and should be owned and started as a TE1 in all leagues. The Bengals do have a bye in Week 9, but he will be good to go in Week 10.

Top Running Back Targets In Week 8

Theo Riddick Detroit Lions 11
David Johnson Arizona Cardinals 9
Duke Johnson Cleveland Browns 8
Latavius Murray Oakland Raiders 7
Melvin Gordon San Diego Chargers 7
Darren Sproles Philadelphia Eagles 7

 

Duke Johnson has at least four receptions in the last three games. He’s been seeing targets and he is able to convert on them, giving him fantasy value in PPR leagues. He’s available in a third of Yahoo leagues, and is worth a fill-in for Week 9. The Browns face the Cowboys, who just allowed five receptions for Darren Sproles in Week 8.

Sproles has cut substantially into Ryan Mathews’ workload, and that should continue into Week 9. The Eagles face the Giants, and Sproles is a low RB2, especially in PPR leagues. Mathews has struggled, and Sproles has been who the Eagles have trusted.

 

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