Looks/Touches Projections

Matt Buser
Yahoo! Sports

The following projections are made with assumed 16-game health for the majority of players. In cases where players have a consistent history of missing games (Julius Jones, DeShaun Foster, etc), or a player's current injury will likely limit him in at least the early going of this coming season (Domanick Davis, Braylon Edwards, etc), the projections are qualified based on the anticipation of time or effectiveness lost.

Touches is defined as the number of times a running back carried or caught the football.
Looks is defined as the number of times a player was the intended target of a pass.

Projected 2006 Touch Leaders
1 Larry Johnson KC 420
2 LaDainian Tomlinson SD 419
3 Clinton Portis WAS 408
4 Shaun Alexander SEA 383
5 Rudi Johnson CIN 379
6 Edgerrin James ARI 376
7 Tiki Barber NYG 370
8 LaMont Jordan OAK 368
9 Willis McGahee BUF 367
10 Ronnie Brown MIA 365
11 Steven Jackson STL 358
12 Chester Taylor MIN 357
13 Reuben Droughns CLE 356
14 Carnell Williams TB 332
15 Julius Jones DAL 308
16 Corey Dillon NE 305
17 Willie Parker PIT 294
18 Warrick Dunn ATL 287
19 Kevin Jones DET 273
20 Brian Westbrook PHI 266
21 Deuce McAllister NO 266
22 DeShaun Foster CAR 265
23 Ron Dayne DEN 265
24 Domanick Davis HOU 264
25 Jamal Lewis BAL 261
26 Cedric Benson CHI 260
27 Chris Brown TEN 255
28 Tatum Bell DEN 246
29 Dominic Rhodes IND 240
30 Fred Taylor JAX 236
31 Cedric Houston NYJ 234
32 DeAngelo Williams CAR 222
33 Ahman Green GB 220
34 Thomas Jones CHI 212
35 Frank Gore SF 211
36 Reggie Bush NO 203
37 Kevan Barlow SF 195
38 Mewelde Moore MIN 174
39 Marion Barber DAL 168
40 Mike Anderson BAL 160
41 Joseph Addai IND 160
42 Greg Jones JAX 156
43 Derrick Blaylock NYJ 154
44 Laurence Maroney NE 154
45 Duce Staley PIT 149
46 T.J. Duckett ATL 145
47 Chris Perry CIN 136
48 Ryan Moats PHI 134
49 Samkon Gado GB 130
50 Antowain Smith HOU 129
Projected 2006 WR Look Leaders
1 Larry Fitzgerald ARI 179
2 Terrell Owens DAL 177
3 Chris Chambers MIA 168
4 Plaxico Burress NYG 166
5 Anquan Boldin ARI 165
6 Torry Holt STL 162
7 Chad Johnson CIN 162
8 Steve Smith CAR 160
9 Randy Moss OAK 154
10 Donald Driver GB 154
11 Derrick Mason BAL 154
12 Marvin Harrison IND 152
13 Reggie Wayne IND 136
14 Laveranues Coles NYJ 136
15 Muhsin Muhammad CHI 135
16 Hines Ward PIT 134
17 T.J. Houshmandzadeh CIN 134
18 Santana Moss WAS 133
19 Ernest Wilford JAX 133
20 Darrell Jackson SEA 133
21 Drew Bennett TEN 132
22 Andre Johnson HOU 131
23 Javon Walker DEN 130
24 Joey Galloway TB 128
25 Deion Branch NE 128
26 Jerry Porter OAK 126
27 Michael Clayton TB 126
28 Joe Horn NO 125
29 Roy Williams DET 123
30 Matt Jones JAX 123
31 Nate Burleson SEA 122
32 Lee Evans BUF 120
33 Rod Smith DEN 120
34 Reggie Brown PHI 116
35 Eddie Kennison KC 116
36 Amani Toomer NYG 112
37 Donte' Stallworth NO 107
38 Koren Robinson MIN 107
39 Marty Booker MIA 105
40 Justin McCareins NYJ 104
41 Keenan McCardell SD 104
42 Antonio Bryant SF 102
43 David Givens TEN 102
44 Keyshawn Johnson CAR 101
45 Joe Jurevicius CLE 98
46 Michael Jenkins ATL 96
47 Roddy White ATL 94
48 Kevin Curtis STL 93
49 Eric Moulds HOU 92
50 Travis Taylor MIN 91
51 Terry Glenn DAL 91
52 Peerless Price BUF 90
53 Samie Parker KC 89
54 Robert Ferguson GB 88
55 Braylon Edwards CLE 88
56 Greg Jennings GB 87
57 Troy Williamson MIN 86
58 Cedrick Wilson PIT 86
59 Mark Clayton BAL 85
60 Reggie Williams JAX 85
Projected 2006 TE Look Leaders
1 Antonio Gates SD 157
2 L.J. Smith PHI 136
3 Todd Heap BAL 133
4 Jeremy Shockey NYG 128
5 Alge Crumpler ATL 126
6 Chris Cooley WAS 119
7 Randy McMichael MIA 114
8 Tony Gonzalez KC 112
9 Jason Witten DAL 106
10 Ben Troupe TEN 96
11 Jermaine Wiggins MIN 92
12 Eric Johnson SF 86
13 Kellen Winslow CLE 83
14 Jerramy Stevens SEA 75
15 Erron Kinney TEN 72
16 Dallas Clark IND 66
17 Benjamin Watson NE 66
18 Vernon Davis SF 65
19 Heath Miller PIT 65
20 Jeb Putzier HOU 65
21 Alex Smith TB 64
22 Zachary Hilton NO 62
23 Courtney Anderson OAK 57
24 Doug Jolley NYJ 56
25 Desmond Clark CHI 56
26 Joe Klopfenstein STL 53

RB Touches

Larry Johnson, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Clinton Portis look to be the only members of the 400-plus touch club. Shaun Alexander and Rudi Johnson would also join them if they were utilized more as receivers. Last season, Tiki Barber (411) and Edgerrin James (404) were the only two backs with more than 400 touches. Barber figures to see a somewhat smaller load this season, and James will lose some touches thanks to Arizona's aerial show.

Players who figure to see the biggest gains and are near the top of the list are Ronnie Brown (239 touches in 2005), Steven Jackson (297), and Chester Taylor (158). Brown no longer will be competing with Ricky Williams for touches, Jackson is finally out of Marshall Faulk's literal shadow, and Taylor joins the Vikings as their featured back after four seasons as an understudy in Baltimore.

There are currently at least eight non-injury related platoons or platoon-like situations. They include: Atlanta (Warrick Dunn, T.J. Duckett), New Orleans (Deuce McAllister, Reggie Bush), Denver (Ron Dayne, Tatum Bell, Mike Bell?!), Baltimore (Jamal Lewis, Mike Anderson), Chicago (Cedric Benson, Thomas Jones), Indianapolis (Dominic Rhodes, Joseph Addai), San Francisco (Frank Gore, Kevan Barlow), and the New York Jets (Cedric Houston, Derrick Blaylock, Curtis Martin?).

The most recent news regarding Curtis Martin's status came via an August 7 article in The Star-Ledger, in which a Jets team official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the veteran's knee is "bone on bone." Statements like "there is growing concern that Martin's career is in jeopardy" and "If Martin does play this season, it's unlikely it will be at the start of the season" were also contained in the piece. Considering all the factors, the projections for the Jets here assume that Martin makes little to no impact as a player this season. Cedric Houston filled in reasonably well for Martin late last season, so he is the assumed starter with Derrick Blaylock getting some consistent touches, as well. Rumors are circulating that the Jets are pursuing the Titans' Chris Brown and the Bears' Thomas Jones, with Brown being a more likely candidate for a trade. Obviously, any trade would affect the numbers for both of the backfields of the teams involved.

WR Looks

The Cardinals offense will produce the most looks for a single receiver for the second consecutive season, but Larry Fitzgerald (165 looks in 2005) replaces teammate Anquan Boldin (171) atop the list. Fitzgerald, already one of the top talents in the game, will be entering mythical fantasy territory as a wide receiver in his third NFL season and, if history is any indication, Boldin will likely miss at least one game to injury.

One of the biggest gainers in looks this coming season will, of course, be Terrell Owens (92 looks in 2005). Owens played just seven games last season after pulling a series of "Terrell Owens'" that eventually led to his eventual dismissal from the Eagles. Cowboys coach Bill Parcells will likely reap the benefits from and the accolades for a reformed Owens this season, but fantasy owners who get production from Owens for the full season (barring injury) have the hard line that the Eagles took to thank. Anything beyond this season is still a crapshoot, however.

Also likely to be among the biggest gains in looks are Jaguars wideouts Matt Jones (69 looks in 2005) and Ernest Wilford (74). Jimmy Smith saw 128 looks in 2005, and his retirement presents great opportunities for Jacksonville's big, young receivers. The 6-foot-4 Wilford has done nothing but impress in camp and is poised for a breakout campaign as option No.1 for Byron Leftwich. The 6-foot-6 Jones has been battling a recent ankle sprain, but is the most intriguing "talent" and, according to reports, is facing very little competition for a starting role from the ever-disappointing Reggie Williams, who happens to be 6-foot-4 himself.

You don't have to be listed as WR1 to make a serious fantasy impact. Players currently listed as WR2 who figure to be among the top 40 most targeted receivers include: Reggie Wayne, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Javon Walker, Jerry Porter, Michael Clayton, Matt Jones, Nate Burleson, Amani Toomer, Donte' Stallworth, and Marty Booker.

TE Looks

Antonio Gates will once again top the leaderboard at TE, as he lead the position with 140 looks in 2005. With Philip Rivers taking over at quarterback in San Diego, his importance as a safety valve and dependable target in general will be even more paramount this season.

Gates would face serious fantasy competition from Ben Troupe if the Titans weren't so happy with spreading the ball around. Titans tight ends, including Troupe (80 looks in 2005), Erron Kinney (72) and Bo Scaife (56) combined for 211 looks, easily the most in the league. Baltimore finished second, targeting Todd Heap and company 170 times, and San Diego finished third with 160.

L.J. Smith could be a big fantasy surprise at tight end. He is currently the 10th tight end drafted in Yahoo! leagues on average. However, with the Eagles' wide receiver corps average at best, Smith is likely to be targeted by Donovan McNabb an exceptional amount, and his fourth NFL season should easily be his best.