Brandon Gibson - Gibson was a guy on my list last week after receiving nine targets as a result of Burton’s season ending injury and now he is back on after receiving a monstrous 17 targets on Sunday. Only Welker was targeted more often than Gibson though Welker did much more with his targets; he caught 15 passes for 192 yards compared to Gibson’s five catches for 61 yards. However, despite Gibson’s touchdown drop which cost his team a chance at overtime, his sheer number of targets over the last two games has been staggering. In fact, Gibson has amassed 26 targets over the past two games compared to teammate Donnie Avery who only has 14 targets in his last three. Here is a short list of players who have fewer targets in the last three games than Gibson has had in his last two: Jennings, Sims-Walker, Driver, Burleson, Ochocinco, Boldin, Vincent Jackson, and Marques Colston. On paper Gibson looks like filet mignon at the Golden Corral compared to his waiver wire friends, but before you get a half a Snickers bar in your pants remember that the one throwing him the rock is none other than…KYLE BOLLER! @#$%.
Mohammed Massaquoi - Vowel master Massaquoi is another repeat offender on the targets list after a four week hiatus. Honestly, who would have thought the Brown eyes were capable of scoring 37 points? Regardless, Massaquoi continued his trend of being the most heavily targeted Browns receiver on Sunday, receiving 12 targets, hauling in five for 115 yards and one touchdown. It’s nice to see Massaquoi being productive, partly because I have owned him for the past five weeks, but also because he is clearly the most talented receiver on the beleaguered Browns offense. I’d like to say that Quinn has found his niche and that niche is Massaquoi, but perhaps we should see how he handles the Bengals this weekend (who have given up the 7th most passing yards this year) before making any Earth shattering, outrageous claims. Either way, Massaquoi is worth picking up if you have room on your roster.
Earl Bennett – yet another widely available guy with promise going forward who has been on this list before. Bennett was and always will be second to the target hogging Hester, as he received seven targets to Hester’s ten last week. However, despite the fewer number of targets, Bennett faired better statistically, catching five passes for 57 yards compared to Hester’s four catches for 18 yards. Bennett actually leads the Bears in yards per catch (12.8) and he continues to maintain some consistency in a Bears offense that has no choice but to throw the ball, though often to the opposing team. Over the last four weeks, Bennett is averaging over four catches and 52 yards per game. The only problem with Bennett is that he is allergic to peanuts and touchdowns. Well I don’t know if he is allergic to peanuts but I’m pretty sure he is allergic to touchdowns since he has not scored one all year. Bennett could be a viable option down the road as the Bears face the Vikings, Rams, Packers, Ravens, and Lions the rest of the regular season who are 25th, 21st, 7th, 17th, and 31st in passing yards given up respectively.
Pierre Garcon - I’ll admit that a few weeks ago I compared Garcon to Collie and claimed that Collie was a bit safer to start, especially in PPR leagues. However, Garcon has been dominating the targets and finished only one shy of Wayne last week with nine. Garcon also had two red zone targets (as many as Wayne) while Collie only managed one target the entire game, turning it into an 18 yard catch. Garcon finished the game with six catches for 108 yards and over the last four games Garcon is averaging four catches for 68 yards and has scored one touchdown. Over that same span, Collie is averaging four receptions for 37 yards. Over the last three weeks, Garcon ranks 12th among receivers in total targets and has actually caught up to Wayne in that category; Garcon has 30 to Wayne’s 34 and has five red zone targets to his seven, respectively over the last three weeks. For now, it seems that though Collie and Garcon have their place in the elite Colt offense, the French fireball currently has the hot hand.
Mario Manningham - Super Mario has reemerged over the past two games, recording 17 targets to the seemingly favored Nicks’ 13. Last week Manningham led the team with 11 targets (Smith had 8, Nicks had 7). Over the last two weeks, Manningham seems to have won back favor by hanging on to the ball and he is averaging six catches for 88 yards, the highest statistical average on the team (Smith 6/63, Nicks 4/52). Manningham is still available in around 20% of all leagues and could play an important role in the Giants’ upcoming games against Dallas, Philadelphia, and Washington.
Jeremy Maclin - Maclin has been a target machine over the last three weeks, compiling 28 which are leaps and bounds above the likes of Vincent Jackson, Marques Colston, and Mike Sims-Walker. He has also been productive with those targets, averaging five catches for 58 yards over the last two games and six receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown over the last two. Though Jackson is clearly the big play guy, Maclin is surely getting his share of looks and with Westbrook out his value only increases. Look for Maclin to continue to improve on his already daunting pace and he could be a good guy to pick up before the trade deadline as the Falcons, Giants, and Niners are amongst Philly’s remaining opponents.
Lance Long - though he had a rough day on Sunday, only managing three targets (the fewest amongst KC receivers), I believe he is still a good sleeper pick as he has been productive over the last three weeks. Over that span, Long is 2nd behind Bowe in targets (18) and is averaging four receptions for 43 yards. It’s tough to tell who is going to get the ball in this offense but with Bowe out, look for either Chambers or Long to emerge. Long has great promise and I even like him a bit more than Chambers in PPR leagues.
Useful Target Trends
1) Ravens receiver targets over the past three weeks
-all other receivers combined 13
2) Bengals receiver targets over the past three weeks
3) Calvin Johnson is 6th in receiver targets over the last three weeks with 34
4) Davone Bess is 16th in receiver targets over the last three weeks with 27
5) Notable players in the top 15 for red zone targets over the last three weeks
-Robert Meachem (4)
-Jeremy Maclin (4)
-Bernard Berrian (5)
-Josh Morgan (5)
-Pierre Garcon (5)