October 09, 2012
We begin with a question for the Tony Gonzalez owners: Right now, today, would you trade Gonzo straight-up for any other tight end in the player pool?
Anyone at all?
Gronk? Graham? Not Gates, I'm guessing. Maybe Vernon?
This would have seemed like a completely ridiculous question just a few weeks ago. Perhaps it still does. But with five games in the books, Gonzalez leads all NFL tight ends in targets (47), catches (39), and receiving yardage (388), plus he's tied for the lead in touchdowns (4). He's hauled in 14 more passes than the second-leading receiver at his position (Jimmy Graham 25).
Another point in favor of the 36-year-old Gonzalez is his relative good health. Graham rolled an ankle on Sunday night, and Gronkowski is playing through hip pain. Gonzo seems to be in ex-mint condition, if not better. He's coming off a 13-catch, 123-yard performance against Washington, leading all tight ends in fantasy scoring for the millionth time in his Hall of Fame career.
• Not pictured above: Andre Johnson. He was hounded by Antonio Cromartie on Monday night, catching just one ball on six targets, with one drop. Johnson actually hasn't made an appearance in the weekly target leader board since the opener, when he drew 10 of his 30 looks. Since that game, these are his target totals: 4, 4, 6, 6.
At Johnson's peak, he was getting 160-170 chances per season. This year, assuming he plays a full season (which is no lock), he's on pace for 96.
• Also not pictured above, at least in the weekly leaders: Jordy Nelson. He saw just five targets against the Colts, hauling in two. We should note that he was overthrown once, on a play where he had the coverage beat and could still be running. Unlike AJ, Jordy has never really been a target-hog. He managed to catch 15 TD passes and gain 1,263 yards last season on less that 100 looks, which ain't easy — and, realistically, isn't the sort of thing a player can be expected to repeat.
• It's OK to feel good about Coby Fleener again, as he shrugged off whatever head injury was bothering him mid-week, drawing nine targets in the home win over Green Bay (including two red zone looks). Of course Andrew Luck put the ball in the air 55 times on Sunday, so the leader board is littered with Colts.
• Take note of the workload for Cincinnati receiver Andrew Hawkins: 13 targets, two in the red zone, with five catches. Hawkins has demonstrated that he's capable of highlight plays, so the double-digit target total is awfully encouraging. He's still available in 47 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
• With Danny Amendola (clavicle) sidelined for multiple weeks, there are clearly a whole bunch of (low-quality) targets up for grabs in St. Louis. I already own Brandon Gibson in two leagues (a 16-teamer and a 20-teamer, so shut up), and I'm not really looking to add more Rams to my portfolio. But if you are, consider Gibson, rookie Chris Givens, drop-prone TE Lance Kendricks (who's probably gonna have to keep blocking), Austin Pettis, or old-timer Steve Smith.
Yup, those are the names. Good luck.
• Kendall Wright checks in again, with nine catches on 11 targets. No rookie is anywhere close to him in year-to-date targets (Justin Blackmon trails him, 44 to 33), yet Wright is still just 34 percent owned.