Curtis Painter and the Colts followed their historically bad Week 7 performance with a not-quite-as-bad-but-still-very-bad Week 8, losing to the Titans by 17 points. With the game flow being what it was — Indy trailed 20-0 at half — Painter finished his day with 49 pass attempts. Thus we find several Colts near the top of the target leader-board, although none were particularly useful to fantasy owners.
Pierre Garcon saw another 15 targets on Sunday, which gives him 69 for the season, tied for sixth in the NFL. Reggie Wayne has drawn two more looks on the year, but Garcon has actually topped him every week since Painter took over at quarterback. Pierre leads all players at his position in targets over the past five weeks (48).
Basically, Painter loves him like a kitten. It's tough for me to rank Garcon as anything worse than a WR2 while he's receiving so many chances each week. He's clearly tied to a low-yield offense — the Colts have reached 20 points only twice this season — but Garcon's on-pace numbers are solid (74-1138-8).
And yes, half the reason Pierre is this week's headliner is that I'm trying to package him in a mega-trade. These things happen. At least I'm honest about it. Let's get to the usual target spreadsheets, after the app propaganda...
Antonio Brown has given us double-digit fantasy points each of the past two weeks, while drawing 24 targets. It's tough for me to believe he won't finish as the second-best Steelers receiver for fantasy purposes. Alas, his ownership-percentage spiked ahead of Week 8 (to 58, from 20-something), so he's no longer on the wire in most competitive leagues. ... Brandon Lloyd owners essentially received a bailout when the veteran was dealt to St. Louis. He saw 12 targets in his Rams debut, then 13 more in Week 8. And in case you missed it, Lloyd also revealed himself to be a Tim Tebow skeptic last week, during a radio interview in St. Louis. Heed this warning, Eric Decker owners...
"I just don't know how effective [Tebow's] style can be over the course of long games and playing formidable opponents."
"The timing is an issue. There's just not that much separation that you can get in the NFL. You got a yard on the guy? That is wide open. You got a yard or 2 yards on the guy, you are wide open. But that window ... you are not open very long. Any delay in delivering the ball or any delay [in] not being able to deliver that ball before the separation happens? It just throws a monkey wrench into [the timing] and anything you are trying to accomplish down the field."
Again, that's Lloyd talking, not some fantasy analyst. Those words were uttered by a guy who was making miraculous one-handed catches on errant throws from Tebow just a few weeks ago. For however long Tebow is at the controls in Denver, you have to be concerned about Broncos skill players. ... Joe Flacco just missed Torrey Smith on a couple of deep shots in Week 8, on plays where I can't blame the receiver. It was nice to see Smith get his chances, even if none of the big plays were converted. ... Chiefs rookie Jonathan Baldwin was plenty impressive on Monday night, finishing with five catches for 82 yards, finding the end zone on a 39-yarder. He nearly came down with a degree-of-difficulty catch along the sideline, too, a play that could have put him over 100 yards. He definitely has my attention, in a $12-FAAB-bid sort of way. Baldwin gets the Dolphins defense this week, a unit that's allowed 270.7 passing yards per game and 14 TDs through the air. ... The MRI news wasn't so bad for Hakeem Nicks, so his owners seem to have dodged a bullet. The Giants have a sensational match-up in Week 9, facing the league's worst pass defense. Nicks will obviously be a strong play. You'll note that Mario Manningham and Victor Cruz saw nearly as many targets as Hakeem on Sunday; all three will rank as strong plays versus New England.
If for some reason you need more Javon Ringer discussion, here's a pickup video. He's an obvious add, and his team has a bunch of zesty match-ups in the second half, beginning in Week 10 with Carolina. ... Ryan Mathews was dinged on Monday night, because why should Week 8 be different from any other? You can add a groin strain to Mathews' medley of issues (toe, calf, wrist, whatever else). Curtis Brinkley was a revelation in relief of Mathews, but he may have been concussed in the loss to KC. And of course Mike Tolbert was inactive in Week 8, due to a hamstring issue. If Tolbert can't make it back for the match-up with Green Bay, then the Chargers may just have to scrap the run altogether. Jacob Hester is still in the team picture. Maybe Natrone Means can be located before the weekend.
Adrian Peterson owners have to be pleased with the five catches on five targets. Let's give it another week or two, however, before we declare that Minnesota has finally followed through on their every-year promise to get All-Day more involved as a receiver. ... Game circumstances led to the unusual workload split in the Patriots backfield. Don't worry about Kevin Faulk leapfrogging BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The takeaway there is that Faulk has reclaimed his old role, that's all. ... Montario Hardesty suffered a calf injury in Week 8, leading to Chris Ogbonnaya's big workload. (Quick notes on Ogbonnaya: The G is silent, like his game. His longest gain on Sunday went for 8 yards. Meh). Hardesty is out for multiple weeks, but Peyton Hillis has a decent chance to return for the Houston game. And all of these players are Browns, so let's not get too excited.
Fred Davis sprained an ankle in Washington's humiliating loss to Buffalo, and his status is uncertain for Week 9. The 'Skins were already a big injured mess, so Davis is desperately needed. The sprain doesn't sound too severe; there's at least a chance that Davis will be available in the match-up with the Niners. ... Brent Celek has been an afterthought for most of the season (and for most of the Mike Vick era in Philly). But he's coming off a big workload and he's about to face a Bears defense that hasn't shown any interest in containing opposing tight ends. There's a decent chance for Celek to follow his best game of 2011 with another solid effort. ... Somewhere, there's probably a Rob Gronkowski owner who lost to an Aaron Hernandez owner in Week 8, just because the Patriots didn't throw the challenge flag on Gronk's near-TD. (A few plays later, Hernandez scored). That's a brutal way to drop a match-up. Feel free to complain right here...
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