Every time we think we’ve seen it all in the NFL, another wild week roars in and blows us away. Joe Mixon scored FIVE touchdowns in the Bengals’ convincing victory over the Panthers? Tom Brady pulled off another miracle late-game comeback in a career loaded with them? And last but certainly not least… my Jets beat the Buffalo Bills, straight up?? 

As always, amidst all the drama, some pass catchers stood tall above the rest. Let’s dive in and take a look at Week 9 targets. 

Two of the best in the game – just doin’ what they do 

There was a clear separation in the target leaderboard this week – superstars Travis Kelce and Davante Adams were at the very top, and then there was everybody else. Kelce and Adams both picked up seventeen targets in Week 9, with Adams converting those targets into the better performance of the two. Adams’ 17 looks went for 10 receptions, 146 yards and two touchdowns, while Kelce had “just” 10 receptions for 106 yards without a score. 

Still, their team results stuck to the normal script – the Raiders collapsed again, while the Chiefs found a way to squeak out a tight overtime victory over the tough-and-tenacious Tennessee Titans. The reality is this: Josh McDaniels’ seat is hotter than the sun eating a ghost pepper in Death Valley. If he makes it through the season, that’ll be an accomplishment in itself. 

More AFC West receivers make their mark 

Amongst the top 10-to-15 this week, three names immediately popped out at me: JuJu Smith-Schuster (12 targets, third most in the league), Joshua Palmer (10) and Mecole Hardman (9). Pat Mahomes threw the ball sixty-eight times this week – yes, you are reading that number correctly – but it’s still nice to see the “others” supporting Kelce in the Chiefs’ famous passing attack. JuJu was solid and pretty efficient – he reeled in 10 of his 12 looks – while Hardman was the only Chief to record a receiving touchdown in a wild-and-wacky Sunday Night Football showdown. 

Yup, you read that correctly, too – despite 68 pass attempts, Mahomes only threw for one touchdown. Shout to Kristian Fulton, Jeffery Simmons and Roger McCreary who recorded some PDs in Tennessee’s D; McCreary was the real monster, adding an interception and eight tackles to his impressive stat line against an explosive offense. 

As for Palmer, well, this is what happens when both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are not around. Palmer played the alpha role in the Chargers’ passing attack, turning his 10 targets into eight receptions for 106 yards. He always looks the part when he gets expanded opportunities. He’s the type of receiver another team might consider an obvious WR2, as opposed to his WR3 status with the Chargers when both Allen and Williams are healthy. 

The weekly “Usual Suspects” 

You know the drill at this point – these are the pass catchers we absolutely expected to see near the top of the target list: Justin Jefferson (13 targets), Mike Evans (11), Stefon Diggs (10), Chris Godwin (10), Amon-Ra St. Brown (9), Austin Ekeler (9) and Cooper Kupp (9). The main takeaway here is that despite busy days, Evans and Godwin weren’t Brady’s “guys” down the stretch. When everything was on the line, Brady went to Scotty Miller and Cade Otton as his go-to guys. Otton cashed in the winning touchdown, while Evans and Godwin did little to nothing to help the final push to victory. 

Where there’s a “Wil” there’s a way 

It’s been a bizarre rookie campaign for my JetsGarrett Wilson – he certainly looks like one of the most talented all-around players in his draft class, but it’s hard to establish a consistent rhythm when you are dealing with Joe Flacco, Zach Wilson, Elijah Moore, Denzel Mims and Corey Davis. As most know, Flacco and Z-Wil have both taken snaps for the Jets this season – different arm angles, deliveries and tendencies for G-Wil to deal with – while Moore and Mims have been constant on-and-off field distractions. Davis hasn’t been able to stay healthy either, so G-Wil becomes the target of the opposing defense’s attention.

Still, the electric rookie turned nine targets into eight receptions and 92 huge yards against one of the best defenses in the NFL this week. On the Jets’ way to one of the most shocking wins of the season, Garrett Wilson was clearly one of the best players on the field for either team. 

I’ll see ya right back here next week. 

John Frascella is a published author who has been covering the NFL for 18 years. Follow him on Twitter @LegendSports7 for all things football, all the time.