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Welcome to the AFC version of Target Watch. You will find all of the AFC teams below, with all of their passing targets, plus some snap count data from our friends at Pro Football Focus and words I typed into a computer. If you click HERE you’ll find the NFC version of this article and if you click HERE you will be transported into a state of mental decay called my Twitter.
And if you are new to the column let me take you through a quick look at how I set things up. You'll see something like this "Matt Forte: 6-11- (17)" which just means that Forte had six targets in Week 1, 11 targets in Week 2 and 17 total. Easy peasy lemon cheesy.
Just below here are the top 10 red zone targets for receivers. I think you can figure out how important it is to get targets near the end zone, so take a look-see and then we'll get on to the AFC teams for this week!
Torrey Smith: 8-13- (21), Brandon Stokley: 10-5- (15), Ray Rice: 11-3- (14), Dallas Clark: 12-1- (13), Marlon Brown: 6-6- (12), Vonta Leach: 4-2- (6), Ed Dickson: 5-1- (6), Jacoby Jones: 4-dnp- (4), Bernard Pierce: 1-1- (2), Billy Bajema: 0-1- (1)
Torrey Smith was used all over the field against the Browns, which helped keep him from being blanketed by Joe Haden and giving him the mass of the targets. It’s a good sign they want to get him the ball no matter what. Marlon Brown saw six targets once again, which is good since Flacco didn’t pass 62 times this week. He’ll most likely need to keep getting touchdowns to be a weekly play, so he'll be matchup dependent.
Ray Rice left the game early with a hip problem so Pierce saw 19 carries including a touchdown. He’s easily one of the best backups to own on your team.
Steve Johnson: 6-10- (16), Scott Chandler: 6-6- (12), C.J. Spiller: 6-5- (11), Fred Jackson: 5-6- (11), Robert Woods: 2-6- (8), T.J. Graham: 1-3- (4), Frank Summers: 0-2- (2), Tashard Choice: 0-1- (1), Marquise Goodwin: 1-dnp- (1)
Steve Johnson put up good numbers, catching eight of 10 targets for 111 yards and a touchdown. E.J. Manuel seems to know where his bread and butter in the passing game is coming from. Robert Woods was tied for second in targets with six and caught four of those for 68 yards. He will need them to let Manuel loose before he’ll be valuable, but he has the ability.
C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson once again split snaps fairly closely. Spiller had 44 to Jackson’s 31, but Spiller had 20 looks for 117 yards while Jackson had 19 for 65.
A.J. Green: 13-14- (27), Jermaine Gresham: 5-9- (14), Mohamed Sanu: 5-8- (13), Tyler Eifert: 5-5- (10), Marvin Jones: 2-4- (6), Giovani Bernard: 2-2- (4), BenJarvus Green-Ellis: 1-1- (2), Alex Smith: 0-1- (1)
Ike Taylor and the Steelers shut down A.J. Green again, which is pretty tough to do. He had 14 targets and only caught six for 41 yards. Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham had the most yards receiving with 66 each. Gresham ran 40 routes and caught six of nine targets while Eifert ran 27 routes and caught three of six targets.
BenJarvus Green Ellis once again saw the most snaps with 49 to Giovani Bernard’s 29, but Bernard out produced him with 10 looks for 65 yards and two touchdowns while the Law Firm had 23 looks for 80 yards and no touchdowns.
Greg Little: 10-12- (22), Jordan Cameron: 13-7- (20), Davone Bess: 10-8- (18), Trent Richardson: 6-5- (11), Travis Benjamin: 8-1- (9), Chris Ogbonnaya: 3-3- (6), Tori Gurley: 2-1- (3), Gary Barnidge: 1-0- (1)
Greg Little led the receivers in snaps and targets, but only caught 4 of 12 targets for 33 yards. He was demoted to the third wide receiver and Davone Bess is now going to move up to #2.
Jordan Cameron had another nice game against a good defense. He caught five of seven targets for 95 yards. You can’t ask for much more in a low scoring game like this.
Trent Richardson, well, he doesn’t play for the Browns anymore, so these numbers are mostly useless. Check out my thoughts on him in my Fantasy Fallout article.
Eric Decker: 7-13- (20), Wes Welker: 11-8- (19), Demaryius Thomas: 11-6- (17), Julius Thomas: 7-9- (16), Knowshon Moreno: 3-3- (6), Andre Caldwell: 1-1- (2), Ronnie Hillman: 2-0- (2), Montee Ball: 0-2- (2), Virgil Green: 0-1- (1)
Peyton Manning went back to Eric Decker early and often after his Week 1 dud. Out of the four receivers this week Demaryius Thomas drew the short target straw with just six and it showed in his production even though he caught five of the six targets. Look for Manning to get him a big game against the Raiders at home for compensation.
Knowshon Moreno took a firm grip on the reins of the running back job with 16 looks for 107 yards and two touchdowns. Montee Ball still saw 14 looks on 28 snaps to Moreno’s 46 snaps, but had no luck in the running game averaging 1.2 yards per carry and fumbling the ball in the red zone.
Andre Johnson: 16-13- (29), DeAndre Hopkins: 6-13- (19), Arian Foster: 8-4- (12), Owen Daniels: 7-5- (12), Garrett Graham: 5-5- (10), Ben Tate: 2-4- (6), Keshawn Martin: 0-2- (2), Lestar Jean: 0-1- (1)
The Texans once again got into a shootout and Matt Schaub threw the ball 48 times in the overtime game. He had 45 last week. Both those numbers are more than 14 of last season’s games. 26 of those targets went to Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins became the hero with a walk-off touchdown after Johnson left the game with a brain injury.
Arian Foster and Ben Tate split snaps and looks with Foster winning with 60 snaps and 23 looks to Tate’s 22 snaps and 13 looks, but Tate beat Foster in yards with 101 to 85. Foster won the fantasy day with a touchdown and two-point conversion though. He’s still getting those coveted goal line looks and the majority of the snaps.
T.Y. Hilton: 5-12- (17), Reggie Wayne: 8-8- (16), Coby Fleener: 1-8- (9), Darrius Heyward-Bey: 4-5- (9), Ahmad Bradshaw: 1-3- (4), Griff Whalen: 0-3- (3), Dwayne Allen: 2-dnp- (2), Dominique Jones: 0-2- (2), Stanley Havili: 0-2- (2), Vick Ballard: 2-dnp- (2)
The Colts were true to their word in trying to get T.Y. Hilton more involved. He led the way with 12 targets. With Dwayne Allen out (now for the season) Coby Fleener saw eight targets, 61 snaps and 35 pass routes. Dominique Jones was the second tight end with 27 snaps and 13 routes.
Ahmad Bradshaw and Donald Brown combined for 22 carries and three targets. Trent Richardson should see more targets, but that’s still an unknown, but 20+ carries is a lock.
Cecil Shorts: 11-14- (25), Ace Sanders: 9-7- (16), Allen Reisner: 5-2- (7), Justin Forsett: 5-1- (6), Jordan Todman: 4-2- (6), Clay Harbor: 1-4- (5), Will Ta'ufo'ou: 1-2- (3), Maurice Jones-Drew: 2-1- (3), Mike Brown: 3-dnp- (3), Stephen Burton: 0-3- (3)
Cecil Shorts had some garbage time targets and production that helped him put together a decent game of eight receptions for 93 yards, but that’s about all the positive you can take from this one. The Jaguars can’t really sustain much fantasy production at this point.
Maurice Jones-Drew was shut down until he hurt his ankle and then he was really shut down. Jordan Todman was the only running back to see time after he left.
Jamaal Charles: 6-10- (16), Dwayne Bowe: 6-8- (14), Donnie Avery: 5-4- (9), Dexter McCluster: 5-4- (9), Anthony Fasano: 5-2- (7), Sean McGrath: 0-4- (4), Anthony Sherman: 4-0- (4), Cyrus Gray: 1-1- (2), Junior Hemingway: 1-1- (2), Knile Davis: 1-0- (1)
Andy Reid is true to his approach with 16 targets for Jamaal Charles this season. Compare that to four over the first two weeks of last season and you have yourself a difference. Charles also leads the team in targets so you know how much Alex Smith and Andy Reid trust Smith’s arm to make sideline throws. Charles will continue to be a PPR stud. For Bowe’s talent it seems he should take over the target lead at some point, even if the passes aren’t deep it should help him in PPR as well.
Mike Wallace didn’t have Joe Haden blanketing him this week and he led the team in targets and production, while Brian Hartline still saw a good amount of targets with eight. But the big winner this week was one Mr. Charles Clay. He had seven targets and caught five of them for 109 yards and here’s the kicker, he also got a goal line carry, which he converted. He’s my favorite player. Last week they talked about cutting down on his snaps, but he still had 53 to Wallace’s 56 and Hartline’s 60.
Daniel Thomas saw more snaps than Lamar Miller; 35-31, but Miller had 12 carries to Thomas’ eight and had a 4.9 yards per carry and a touchdown to Thomas’ 3.75 and no touchdown. Seems like we should see a switch here, but I’m just not sure when.
Julian Edelman: 9-18- (27), Kenbrell Thompkins: 14-7- (21), Danny Amendola: 14-dnp- (14), Shane Vereen: 10-dnp- (10), Aaron Dobson: dnp-10- (10), Michael Hoomanawanui: 2-1- (3), Josh Boyce: 2-dnp- (2), Zach Sudfeld: 1-dnp- (1), Leon Washington: dnp-1- (1), LeGarrette Blount: 0-1- (1), James Develin: 0-1- (1)
This was an ugly game from start to finish and Tom Brady’s 48% completion rate is indicative of that. There were plenty of targets, but plenty of drops and good defense by the Jets. Edelman was the most trusted of the receivers, but for his 13 receptions he averaged a measly 6 yards per reception and no touchdowns. Aaron Dobson was second on the target list with 10, but only was able to handle three of them, with one of them coming on broken coverage leading to a touchdown.
Stevan Ridley took the lead back role again, but there wasn’t much room against the Jets’ front seven and the Patriots went into pass mode.
Stephen Hill: 9-8- (17), Kellen Winslow Jr.: 8-6- (14), Clyde Gates: 4-8- (12), Bilal Powell: 5-5- (10), Santonio Holmes: 3-6- (9), Jeremy Kerley: 4-dnp- (4), Tommy Bohanon: 2-1- (3), Chris Ivory: 2-0- (2), Konrad Reuland: 1-0- (1)
I think the Jets believe Stephen Hill is their best offensive player and his targets bear that out. But with Geno Smith at the helm it may be difficult for him to be productive.
The running back committee is being led by Bilal Powell’s 46 snaps to Chris Ivory’s 25, but the touches are close. Powell has such a large lead since he is the third down back as well as in a rushing committee.
Rod Streater: 8-4- (12), Denarius Moore: 7-2- (9), Darren McFadden: 5-4- (9), Mychal Rivera: 3-3- (6), Brice Butler: 1-3- (4), Jacoby Ford: 2-2- (4), Marcel Reece: 2-1- (3), Jeron Mastrud: 1-1- (2), Rashad Jennings: 0-1- (1)
This game against the Jaguars was brutal. The best thing to come of it was Darren McFadden running well. The threat of Terrelle Pryor’s legs helped McFadden find room to run. He had 23 touches for 157 yards. Denarius Moore, Rod Streater and Brice Butler led the receivers in snaps and accumulated five receptions for 52 yards. Give this passing game a wide berth.
Running backs had 14 carries in this one for 43 yards; the rest of the offense came from 37 passes by Ben Roethlisberger. He was off all night and spread the ball around enough to keep any one receiver from putting up fantasy numbers. Jericho Cotchery’s nine targets tied with Antonio Brown’s and was one less than Sanders. Sanders continues to get plenty of targets and Brown complained about his targets so we may see Roethlisberger give him a few more next week.
Antonio Gates: 4-10- (14), Eddie Royal: 6-8- (14), Danny Woodhead: 3-9- (12), Malcom Floyd: 5-6- (11), Vincent Brown: 4-7- (11), Ryan Mathews: 2-1- (3), Keenan Allen: dnp-3- (3), Ronnie Brown: 2-1- (3), John Phillips: 1-0- (1)
Philip Rivers completed a whopping 36 of 47 targets for 419 yards and three touchdowns. I’m fine with giving the Chargers some credit for this, but the Eagles are also just bad.
Antonio Gates had a resurgence with eight receptions for 124 yards on ten targets. If McCoy’s offense can keep this up maybe Gates can as well, but I’m not all aboard just yet.
Eddie Royal is just insane with all these touchdowns. He is tied for first, with Randall Cobb, for the lead in red zone targets with seven and as long as that keeps up he’s got upside.
Danny Woodhead led all running backs with 42 snaps because the chargers were in pass mode. He saw nine targets and caught eight of them for a paltry 37 yards. That’s about his upside in this offense, which puts him around the 20th running back in PPR leagues.
Kendall Wright: 4-11- (15), Nate Washington: 7-5- (12), Kenny Britt: 2-9- (11), Delanie Walker: 4-2- (6), Damian Williams: 2-dnp- (2), Craig Stevens: 1-1- (2), Chris Johnson: 0-1- (1), Collin Mooney: 0-1- (1)
Kendall Wright led in targets, receptions, yards and tied with touchdowns for the Titans, while Kenny Britt caught just four of nine receptions for 28 yards. And Wright only played 33 snaps compared to Britt’s 62. I think we know who Locker’s favorite receiver is.
The running game was all Chris Johnson as usual. He put up respectable numbers against a tough Texans defense, but had just one target, his first of the season. That will have to change for him to be able to reach his upside this season. It seems like it should, but for now he gets knocked down a notch.
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