Welcome back for another exciting episode of “Target Trends.” Another round of games means we get more data to analyze. More data usually means our focus becomes a little clearer. Before we get to this week’s picks, let’s put that theory to the test and grade my Week 7 trends. If you didn’t get the chance to read my introductory “Target Trends” article last week, click here and review the Week 7 narratives first. Take your time. I’ll wait…        

Week 7 Review

“It’s Getting Hot Up In This Here Joint”:

These players were trending up. Did they stay hot? 

Amari Cooper, Browns: Cooper only saw four targets in Baltimore but turned that into three receptions for 74 yards and zero TDs. The 10.4 points (PPR) is ok but not what we expected from the NFL’s 11th-ranked WR (PPR).      

Leonard Fournette: Practically everyone still alive in a Survivor Pool expected the Bucs offense to roll against the Panthers last Sunday. Not so fast, my friends. Like most of the Bucs’ offense, Fournette was practically a no-show, with only three targets and eight rushing attempts. Better days are coming…or are they?        

Zach Ertz: The Cardinals offense, coming into Week 7 as a top-five team targeting TEs, spent the better part of Sunday welcoming DeAndre Hopkins back to the field. Hopkins was targeted 14 times, while Ertz was targeted only four. You will recall I suggested Hopkins’ comeback may open the goal lineup for Ertz, and he did receive the same number of red zone targets as the previous two games combined. The problem was that it was only once, resulting in a goose egg. Yet another disappointment. 

DJ Moore, Panthers: The one questionable player in my “trending up” list is the only one that truly delivered. DJ Moore received 10 targets, converting 7 for 69 yards and a TD. That adds up to a very nice 19.6 (PPR) day for those savvy enough to stick with him. But, sorry folks, that buy-low window is now just about closed.       

“A Thin Line Between The Haters And The Ones That Love Us”:

We counted on these players to deliver consistent quality goods. Did they?       

CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys: Dak’s return resulted in a slight dip in CeeDee’s targets but not terribly so. His fantasy managers expected more for their high draft pick, but at least the veggies weren’t spoiled on arrival. The Pokes will need their No. 1 WR to be better against the surprisingly decent Chicago Defense.           

Deebo Samuel, 49ers: Deebo hit his target range, albeit the lower end of the range, but didn’t do much with it. He didn’t even give us much from the backfield. Disappointing. There’s a big divisional matchup against the Rams on the immediate horizon and more mouths to feed for the 49ers.        

A.J. Brown, Eagles: A.J. Brown and the Eagles enjoyed a week of rest. We’ll review his target trend next week. I’m expecting nine to 10 targets versus a weak Pittsburgh Defense. Optimistic?        

“Sometimes It Hides Like A Frightened Turtle”:

Remember we talked about shrinkage? No man’s favorite topic of discussion.    

Curtis Samuel, Commanders: Curtis saw a slight uptick in targets versus the Pack but turned in an average game overall. In fact, he saw the same number of rushing attempts as he had receptions. It’s nice to see him a little more active in the offense, but he still has work to do to return from the doghouse.      

Garrett Wilson, Jets: Speaking of dog houses, his teammate Elijah Moore didn’t play due to personal reasons. That created target opportunities for Wilson, right? Nope, Wilson maintained his post-Flacco slide with just five targets. Continue to heed my advice – stay away from Garrett Wilson in EVERY format.      

Christian Kirk, Jaguars: I put Christian Kirk on notice, and it appears someone in Jacksonville got the memo. Kirk was targeted 10 times, hauling in seven receptions for 96 yards. Welcome back to the circle of trust, my friend. 

Week 8 Preview Target Trends

Now that we’ve graded the Week 7 quiz, let’s sharpen the pencils and try again. In honor of another Sunday morning game at Wembley Stadium in London, we’ll label our categories with an ode to one of England’s favorite sons — Sir Elton John! 

“Rocket Man”

Parris Campbell, Colts: Parris Campbell has seen a spike in the past two games with 23 total targets, 17 receptions, 127 yards and 2 TDs. Of course, that was with Matty “Melted” Ice commanding the huddle. Now, the reigns are turned over to Sam Ehlinger, who is known as a mobile QB that lacks arm strength. We’ll give “Slinging” Sam the benefit of the doubt for one week, but I won’t be surprised if this is Campbell’s token appearance at the top of the target trends column!    

Aaron Jones, Packers: Aaron Jones was about the only Packers’ skilled player to make a positive mark in Week 7. He received all 10 of Aaron Rodgers’ targets to RBs, translating to nine receptions for 53 yards and two scores. Through Week 6, Jones never surpassed five targets, so the uptick is a most welcomed sight to his fantasy managers. However, it was clear Rodgers was not happy with his receivers. Therefore the extra 10% target share to the RB position is not a big surprise. With a tough matchup on the immediate horizon at Buffalo, the Packers’ offense will likely need to lean heavily on Jones once again. 

Bengals WRs: How can we not give a quick nod to the Bengals WRs, who collectively enjoyed 27 targets or 64% of Burrow’s drop backs? All WR targets were distributed relatively evenly to The Big 3 of Ja’Marr Chase (11 targets), Tee Higgins (seven targets) and Tyler Boyd (nine targets). The trio turned these into 21 receptions for 378 yards and three TDs. The Cincy offense is clicking on all cylinders right now, and the increase in targets to WRs over the past two games is largely the reason. Burrows averaged about 20 WR targets per game through Week 5, then increased to 25-27 per game over the past two. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Mixon also benefits from this trend.     

“I’m Still Standing” Target Trends

Kyle Pitts, Falcons: I like to reserve this space for players who are getting consistent targets that help us. Unfortunately, Kyle Pitts is getting consistent targets that are not helpful at all. Can we stick a fork in him for this season? Or is there still any remaining optimism out there after yet another game with just a handful of targets? Over his last three games, he’s had four, three and five targets, respectively. What else can I say that hasn’t already been said about him? 

Derrick Henry, Titans: Here’s one where consistent targets are a welcomed sight for fantasy managers. Henry is well known for pounding the ball to the tune of 22/114, 28/102 and 30/128 over his last three games, respectively. However, Ryan Tannehill has been dumping the ball off to RBs an average of six to eight times per game, with Henry getting a healthy share. Over these same three games, he’s received 10 total targets, converting those to eight receptions for 73 yards. That’s an extra PPR bonus of five points per game on average. Who won’t take that?   

Tyler Lockett, Seahawks: Tyler Lockett rebounded from a dud game in Week 6 to return to normalcy versus the Chargers. Lockett received eight targets and turned them into 11.5 fantasy points (PPR). His eight targets in this game are consistent with most of his games so far and provide us with a nice statistically solid target floor to build around moving forward. Additionally, the emergence of Kenneth Walker will open up this offense further and benefit the Seahawks’ WRs.               

“Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me,” Target Trends

Michael Gallup, Cowboys: Dak’s return to the huddle was certainly going to shake things up a bit, and Michael Gallup was largely the forgotten man. Dak targeted WRs 15 times (60%), but only two went Gallup’s way. Over the prior two weeks, Gallup enjoyed 12 targets with Rush under center. One to keep an eye on for sure!

Brandin Cooks, Texans: Brandin Cooks is known around fantasy circles to be a target magnet. Well, perhaps this magnet is losing some of its strength. Cooks has seen his target share diminish each week (12, 10, seven, seven, six and five). What makes this even more disturbing is that David Mills threw more in Week 7 (40 targets) than any other game this season, but only 37% went to WRs. Don’t give up on Cooks yet, though. There are rumors this magnet may regain some of its strength with a trade to a contending team. Are you reading this, Packer fans? 

Mark Andrews, Ravens: I couldn’t pass on the elephant in the room. Whether due to injury, game script or Lamar’s poor performance (all three perhaps), Mark Andrews received only two targets and posted a big fat goose egg! Making matters worse, Andrews didn’t practice at all this week and is a game-time decision for Thursday Night Football. One with a very favorable matchup at a Tampa Bay defense that is bottom third versus TE. If he plays, all of us fantasy managers (myself included) must start him. Fear not, my friends. You will not be alone. Like you, I’ll be on the edge of my chair at kickoff. Target Trends Target Trends Target Trends.