Week 10 in the NFL featured two of the best games of the entire season: The Green Bay Packers saved their season by knocking off the Cowboys in overtime (31-28), while the Vikings stunned the Bills in overtime (33-30) after one of the wildest back-and-forth finishes you will ever see in your lifetime. Within those two incredible games, we had some of our target superstars of the week.
“An open invitation to lay with those Lambs”
I start with a quote from Rounders – probably the greatest poker movie of all time – because it fits CeeDee Lamb’s incredible performance against Green Bay. Mike McDermott (played by Matt Damon) gets an invitation to play in a “soft” poker game stuffed with wealthy judges. Well, it doesn’t get much softer than the Packers’ defensive coverage against Lamb, particularly at some of the most critical parts of yesterday’s dramatic back-and-forth battle. Lamb’s 15 targets were third-most in the league this week, and the electric young receiver turned them into 11 receptions for 150 yards and two pivotal touchdowns, including an undressing of Jaire Alexander who is generally considered one of the best corners in the game.
Unfortunately for CeeDee, his heroic performance wasn’t enough. Some questionable decision-making in overtime by head coach Mike McCarthy put the Dallas D in an awkward position, then Aaron Rodgers and Allen Lazard capitalized with a big play that ultimately led to the Packers’ game-winning field goal.
The Cardinals’ connection
Three current or former Arizona Cardinals were especially busy on Sunday: DeAndre Hopkins picked up 14 targets, followed by Rondale Moore (13) and Christian Kirk (12). On a day where Kyler Murray was sidelined with a hamstring injury, Hopkins and Moore were being targeted by the wily veteran backup, 36-year old Colt McCoy. Hopkins has seemed like his old self since returning from suspension, but Moore was more of a story this week, turning his 13 looks into nine receptions for 94 yards. Rondale’s targets, receptions and yards were all season highs – he looked sharp, quick and decisive. His fantasy arrow certainly appears to be pointing upward.
As for their former teammate Kirk, he continued his great season by torching KC’s defense in a loss. Kirk’s 12 targets from Trevor Lawrence were converted into into nine receptions, 105 yards and two impressive touchdowns. Maybe it was a salary cap or ownership issue, but at just 4-6 the Cardinals are feeling the loss of Kirk this season. He was also one of Kyler’s best friends and trusted targets in tight spots.
The weekly “Usual Suspects”
Hopefully you know the drill at this point – these are the guys we simply expect to see at the top of the target report. This week it was Stefon Diggs (16 targets), Justin Jefferson (also 16), Davante Adams (14), Austin Ekeler (12) and Amon-Ra St. Brown (11).
The story here was Jefferson, who not only exploded for 193 yards and a touchdown, but also reeled in the undisputed catch of the year. It wasn’t quite Odell Beckham’s all-time great, but it was awfully close given the magnitude and circumstances. Jefferson continues to do simply astonishing things, especially given the fact that veteran Adam Thielen hasn’t taken much defensive heat off him. Everyone in the building knows Kirk Cousins is going to Jefferson in big spots, yet the youngster cannot be stopped once he leaps and high-points the ball. He’s looking like a generational wide receiver thus far in his young career.
Whoa, whoa, whoa… where did you guys come from?
Wait… K.J. Osborn got 11 targets this week? That’s a shocker when you consider the fact that he had just two last week, and his high was five in the past five weeks. Unfortunately for Osborn, he justified his past lack of involvement by converting those 11 looks into just 35 yards. I guess there’s a reason why Cousins generally wants to go to Jefferson, Thielen and T.J. Hockenson.
Also, Nico Collins garnered 10 targets? Where the heck has he been, overall? Young Nico turned Davis Mills’ looks into 49 yards and a score vs. those G-Men who seemingly always find a way to win. Keep an eye on Nico in deep leagues because there’s always nonsense going on in relation to WR1 Brandin Cooks.
Last but not least, Donovan Peoples-Jones had his most targets since Week 4, with nine this week against the high-powered Miami Dolphins. “DPJ” capitalized quite well, nearly cracking 100 yards on five catches.
I’ll see ya right back here next week.
John Frascella is a published sports author who has been covering the NFL for 18 years. Follow him on Twitter @LegendSports7 as we approach the critical juncture of this NFL season!
I have Kupp, Palmer and Godwin. So one out for the foreseeable future and one on a bye. Good times. Best on the wire:
D Carter, Tony, Slayton, Nico.
Please rank top two – and then light a candle for me.
Haha, I most certainly will do that for you! Gonna dive into my research this afternoon, then circle back around to you. -JF
J C, my full research and comments are here – we go deep here at Razzball!
1 Kupp – needs ankle surgery and is going on IR, out at least 4 games but possibly out for the season because the Rams have been terrible anyway
2 Palmer – he’s healthy, but his chemistry with Herbert just isn’t there on a weekly basis
3 Godwin – on the BYE this particular week, as you noted
4 D Carter – Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are both back to practice this week for the Chargers… that means there’s no way I’d be playing both Palmer and Carter… at most you’d have to pick one, who is probably Palmer… either way you’ll have to keep an active eye on the injury reports for both Allen and Williams throughout the week
5 K Toney – Could be the best option here, depending on the availability of JuJu Smith-Schuster… JuJu went down with a concussion, so you’ll have to keep an eye on his status throughout the week… if JuJu is out I like Kadarius Toney as a play, here
6 Slayton – Not a lot of targets, but has a tasty matchup against a weak Lions’ D this week
7 Nico Collins – Another great matchup, this one is against the Commanders…
If JuJu is out, I would probably go with Kadarius Toney and Nico Collins over any of the Chargers. -John Frascella