A  statistic I like to use when assessing wide receivers is targets.  If your players don’t have the opportunity the odds of them succeeding, are, well, not as good or to put it in terms nobody will understand, zeep zop zulu cranium.  We are only one week into the season, but these numbers can be helpful. I’ll give you the top 5 and then a few of the other ones that caught my eye farther down the line.

Wes Welker — 16 targets — Yeah, it’s Brady and Welker, this is no surprise.

Randy Moss — 16 targets — A little surprising that he tied Welker in targets. See Galloway near the bottom of this page.

Earl Bennett — 15 targets — Welker, Moss, Bennett?  All that talk of Cutler and Bennett being bff’s is looking to be correct.  If they weren’t playing one of the best secondaries in the league his numbers would have been much higher.

Reggie Wayne — 14 targets — AGonz going down accounts for some of this.  Look for Garcon to get a few more looks than the 5 he got on Sunday after a full week of practice at the #2 position. Could this be a Tonya Harding type thing?  Did anyone see Wayne around Gonzo’s pants with a bucket of scorpions?

Steve Smith — 14 targets — This might be why Jake threw 5 interceptions.  He’s always locked onto Smith which is nice for our fake football teams sometimes, but not last Sunday.  I wasn’t big on Smith going into the season, but as long as he keeps getting targeted his numbers will rise.

Nate Burleson — 11 targets — Housh had 9.  I would have expected this to be the other way around. I didn’t have him as an add yesterday, but I think that was probably an oversight.  So here is an undersight: pick him up.

Justin Gage — 11 targets — He looks like he’ll continue to be Collins’ favorite target and a good #3 receiver.

Laurent Robinson — 10 targets — Do you think Laurent’s parents were really wanting a baby girl and just thought, ah, just add a t and let’s get on with it?

Antwaan Randle El — 10 targets — Campbell likes him, but he’s never going to be a big time receiver.  He’s a good fill in while Campbell is focused on him. ARE is scrappy and could easily be an asset in ppr leagues.

Marques Colston — 6 targets — Ugh, this isn’t good.  Brees’ ability to distribute across the board is hurting Colston and Colston didn’t look quite right either.  It’s too early to get nutty, but keep an eye on him.

Braylon Edwards — 6 targets — He needs to see the ball more to be of much value, but I wouldn’t throw the towel in yet.

Josh Cribbs — 6 targets — Look above him.  Which one is supposed to be the #1 receiver?

Dwayne Bowe — 5 targets — Not sure what to think of this.  When Cassel gets back in there this number might go up, but Croyle was looking toward Bradley a little more with 7 targets.

Lance Moore — 3 targets — It doesn’t look good for Lance.  I want to see a little more data on who Brees is looking to throw to though.

Troy Williamson — 2 targets — The preseason was kind to Troy, but the regular season won’t be.

Joey Galloway — 2 targets — That’s out of 53 pass attempts by Brady.  He is low in the pecking order.

Chris Chambers — 1 target — I guess there was a reason I was so down on Chambers this year.

  1. herschel says:
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    12 team, ppr. need wr pickup for a. gonzalez (didnt get l. robinson). who do you like (best) of for week 2 and season:

    louis murphy
    antwaan randle el
    michael clayton
    mario manningham
    mark bradley
    kenny britt
    michael jenkins
    robert meachem
    austin miles

    slim pickings, i know. thanks for the help.

  2. steamer says:
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    Need some advice here:

    Team #1: I’ve got #1 WW priority & Cadillac is available. The only guy I could drop is A. Gonzalez. He’s probably out a month & he’s my #4, and I have D. Mason behind him. Would you pull the trigger? My other RBs are LT, Moreno, P. Thomas, C. Wells, Sproles, D. Brown.

    Team #2: Drop C. Henry for Burleson or M. Clayton (Bal)?

  3. DrewmanSucks says:
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    No mention of T.O.? Just remember that sometimes targets can be misleading. For example, I think T.O. was TO (thrown to) 4 times on Monday night, but that in no way can be indicative to the kind of season that he may have. Lee Evans and T.O. posing a constant threat over the top opened up tons of room underneath, which is why Fred Jackson averaged 16.6 yds/reception on five screen passes. So the Bills essentially just dared the Pats to give single coverage on the outside to either Evans or Owens. They didn’t and forced the Bills to beat them disciplined underneath passing. If other teams had played a different scheme T.O. might have seen 10+ balls come his way. Part of the target number will always be the defense that you’re playing against.

  4. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @herschel: Bradley, but that could be a revolving spot so stay on top of it.

    @steamer: That’s tough. It looks like you need Caddy with all the questions at RB. As long as you are comfortable with your starting WR’s I’d say go ahead, but it hurts me to do so!

    If you don’t need a starting WR I’d hold Henry for now.

  5. mgeoffriau

    mgeoffriau says:
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    @herschel: In a PPR, no return yard league, I would probably go with Randle El or Austin Miles.

    @steamer: Team #1 — I’d do it. You may have the chance to pick Gonzalez back up before he returns, or if most of your RB’s pan out you can swap one for a WR in a trade.

    Team #2 — Burleson.

    My question:

    My league is doing the weekly waivers, and I missed on dropping Josh Morgan for Meachem. Really wanted him as this is a return yardage league.

    In the meantime, though, someone offered me Brandon Marshall for Julius Jones.

    My RBs: Steven Jackson, Ray Rice, Darren McFadden, Marshawn Lynch, Julius Jones, Mike Bell, Justin Fargas
    My WRs: Andre Johnson, Braylon Edwards, Devin Hester, Josh Morgan

    Doing the Marshall for Jones swap would make me a little thinner at RB than I like, but it’d be ok once Lynch came back. And I think Marshall would be an upgrade from Braylon.

    Still not sure though….keep Jones or get Marshall?

  6. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @mgeoffriau: I could see making that trade. Braylon is a question mark and Jones won’t get the Rams every time out.

  7. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @DrewmanSucks: Agreed. That’s why I tried to look at some that I felt might be more indicative of the season. With more numbers these stats get more reliable and you can start seeing trends. I was going to add Red Zone targets, but the numbers just weren’t there. One RZ target which was interesting was Sidney Rice. Looks like he could be Favre’s favorite there, but too early to tell.

  8. Matt B says:
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    I think the answer is no, but in a 10-team PPR that starts 2RB 3WR 1Flex, would you trade Randy Moss for Addai, B Jacobs, and Desean Jackson? I would most likely drop Breaston & M Bell/L Moore.

    Currently:
    RB1: LT
    RB2: F Jackson / M Lynch
    RBx: C Benson, J Jones, M Bell
    WR1: R Moss
    WR2: G Jennings
    WR3: H Ward
    WRx: J Cotchery, P Crayton, L Moore, S Breaston

  9. mgeoffriau

    mgeoffriau says:
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    @Doc: Anyone else got an opinion? I feel pretty good about giving up Jones to get Marshall, but a few “Do it!” or “Are you crazy?” comments would go a long way.

  10. ThePoonTycoon says:
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    so it looks like michael bush is gonna get plenty of touches, especially around the goal line. and with jamarcus being erratic at best, and their o-line looking beastly against the chargers, would you drop chester taylor or jerious norwood for him? really, more like which of the 2 would you drop? i don’t have turner or AD so not necessary handcuffs, just guys i like if the starter goes down for a few games.

  11. Matt B says:
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    @mgeoffriau: I’d do that. You have similar depth to Jones at RB and your WR seems pretty thin. Not sure what positions you start but I’d most likely make this deal.

  12. mgeoffriau

    mgeoffriau says:
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    @Matt B: I’d say no. It’s a tempting offer, but in a 10-teamer, having an elite WR is more important than depth, I think.

  13. Clodbuster says:
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    @mgeoffriau: Absolutely take that deal! It’s a no brainer considering your depth at RB and lack thereof at WR. I’m guessing it’s not a PPR league since I’m sure you would have accepted by now if it were.

  14. sickmangarner says:
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    With Colston getting limited targets last week and going against Philly next weekend, would you sit him for Eddie Royal (against CLE) or Chad Ocho (against GB)?

  15. Dingo says:
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    I’m having a hard time figuring out how to predict the performance of players who gain value through return yardage. I’ve got Colston & Royal as my starting WRs in a shallow PPR & return yards league, and Royal had a mediocre game all around — both offenses were so horrible that he didn’t get many yards either from passes or from kickoff returns. I’m hoping that week 1 was just a fluke for him, though.

    Meanwhile, the highest week 1 scorers on my league’s free agent pool are Joshua Cribbs and Robert Meachem. Cribbs obviously isn’t going to get 200 return yards every week, but how confident can I be that Cribbs is going to get 100+ return yards dependably? And is he going to get targeted enough to make some offensive contributions as well? Same deal with Meachem, but there’s the added uncertainty of who’s going to be returning kickoffs once Thomas gets back. Meachem’s officially behind him on the depth chart, but does that mean anything?

    At least Darren Sproles gave me the return-yard performance that I was hoping for.

    Anybody have any insights on how to navigate these waters of uncertainty?

  16. Kyle says:
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    I currently have Derrick Mason on my bench. Chris Henry was just dropped and I want to drop Mason to add him because I think benches should be about upside, but is that a foolish move considering the Ravens seem like they might throw more and Henry had a down week 1? Thanks.

  17. Matt B says:
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    Drop Pats D (@NYJ) for Redskins (STL)? Return yards are worth a lot in my league too.

  18. mgeoffriau

    mgeoffriau says:
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    Got almost no production out of my K and DEF this week: Josh Brown and Dallas.

    I’m planning on sticking with Dallas — they ought to be getting a sack or two per week and the occasional interception.

    But, I’m wondering if I should swap Josh Brown for someone else until we see some signs of life from the STL offense.

  19. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @ThePoonTycoon: I’d drop Norwood, but watch for Fargas to take away some carries from Bush when he comes back.

    @Dingo: In your scoring what points would a 100 yd/7 rec/1TD game have compared to 100 return yds/3 rec/50 yd game?

    @Matt B: If you are willing to keep switching out,yes.

  20. Matt B says:
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    @Doc: Is the Pats D/ST worth setting and forgetting in a 10-team?

  21. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @mgeoffriau: Yeah, keep Dallas. You know he’ll get a ton of points next week if you drop him, but I’m all about playing the matchups on kickers. Start looking for teams with bad red zone offenses and go for it. I might do a post on that when we get a bit more data.

  22. Dingo says:
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    @Doc:

    100yd/7rec/1TD = 21 points
    100 return yd/3rec/50yd = 13.5 points

    It’s 1pt/20 yards with a 3-pt bonus at 100. The bonus only applies if it’s 100 yards in a single category, not combined rushing/receiving/returning.

  23. sean says:
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    @mgeoffriau: I would definitely do that trade. Just look at Julius Jones’ first few games last year. What happened next? I’ll wait for it…. nothing.

  24. MannysBBQ says:
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    Tough call here Id appreciate any help on. 12 team PPR league (1 pt. per reception). I need to start two of Gore, McFadden or Rice. My gut is telling me to go w/ McFadden and Rice, but Gore was my 1st rnd pick so how could I sit him so early, right?

  25. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Dingo: Yeah, with that setup you have to stick with your stud receivers. I just don’t see Meachem and Cribbs getting enough dual work to outplay them over the long haul.

  26. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Matt B: I have to say no. It’s very close though.

    @Matt B: Doesn’t look like it, but I still think they’ll be good.

    @MannysBBQ: Gore and DMac.

    @sickmangarner: Stick with Colston.

    @Kyle: I’d keep Mason.

  27. Matt B says:
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    in a PPR, Calvin Johnson or Greg Jennings?

  28. eldee says:
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    Hey Doc, thanks for the great writing this week.

    Little help with my week 2 lineup:
    Pick 2: Mike Bell, Leon Washington, Reggie Bush or LeSean McCoy

    I guess it seems obvious, but I think the Eagles might run a bit to keep it simple for Kolb and keep Brees off the field. Plus, I think Reid will implode if he gives Westbrook more that 18 carries in one game.

  29. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @eldee: Hah. It’s be a sight to see Reid implode. The visual reminds me of The Life of Brian. McCoy’s matchup is the best, but I think Bell and Washington are your best bets. I am worried about Bush against that D.

  30. jamiesonmj says:
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    Witten & Lance Moore/Ginn Jr vs. olsen/djax? which side do you like more in PPR

  31. jamiesonmj says:
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    @jamiesonmj: thats witten and moore OR ginn jr for olsen and djax

  32. jamiesonmj says:
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    @jamiesonmj: @jamiesonmj: this deal is also on the table: ray rice/olsen/djax for tomlinson/witten. Rice was a backup behind mcfadden, chris johnson and forte. Witten would start. Justin gage is available on FA.

  33. Matt B says:
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    @jamiesonmj: I take LT/Witten

  34. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @jamiesonmj: I am very worried about LT. I wouldn’t make any trades with him right now unless it was very lopsided.

    I like DJax a lot and Olsen will turn things around.

  35. Purple&Gold says:
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    i just lost anthony gonzalez in a 12 team standard league and picked up devone bess to fill my WR3 spot. i actually think he might have a good season this year. gonzalez should be out 2-6 weeks but im considering dropping him for some WR depth. here are some of the names on FA.

    s.breaston
    m.austin
    m.bradley
    n.washington
    i.bruce
    a.randle el
    m. manningham
    j.morgan

    should i just stick it out with gonzalez?

  36. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Purple&Gold: I’d stick with Gonzo as long as you can, but like Morgan out of those the best.

  37. jamiesonmj says:
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    which would you rather have on your PPR team: earl bennett or justin gage?

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