Target Practice, Week 10: Megatron leads the pack, pays a price

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Calvin Johnson had apparently choreographed a special touchdown celebration for Sunday's game at Soldier Field, a little something to commemorate his return to the site of last year's most controversial non-catch. So that's adorable.

In Week 10, Megatron's first catch went for 17 yards, his second went for nine, and his third — pictured above — nearly got him decapitated.

Johnson led all NFL receivers in targets on Sunday, but he was absolutely punished by the Bears throughout the afternoon, never finding the end zone. In the fourth quarter, Lance Briggs delivered a particularly wicked shot after a short gain (probably legal, flagged because it was brutal). It can be reasonably argued that neither Johnson nor Matthew Stafford should have played the final 15 minutes, since the Lions entered the quarter trailing by 31. But they did, and they were assaulted.

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Stafford owners have to be concerned about the quarterback's broken right index finger, an injury he reportedly suffered against Denver in Week 8. After the Chicago loss, he blamed windy in-stadium conditions for his scattershot effort (four INTs, two pick-sixes). But he made a few miserable decisions, and several throws fluttered out of his hand, unaffected by the wind. He's now on the watch list.

If you're a Calvin owner, you should just feel fortunate that your WR1 passed his concussion test. We all appreciate garbage-time fantasy points, but you hate to see a garbage-time injury.

Wide Receivers

Atlanta's Harry Douglas was peppered with targets after Julio Jones (hamstring) checked out on Sunday, ultimately finishing with career-highs in catches and yards. Douglas' future value is clearly tied to Jones' health, so we'll need to monitor the practice reports. Jones reportedly begged to re-enter the game in Week 10, but trainers held him back. ... You'll note the order of the Steve Smiths this week. The Eagle finished with more targets than the Panther (10 to 8), which hasn't happened in a while. Philly's Smith should be a decent PPR asset  in Week 11 against the Giants, assuming Jeremy Maclin can't play (shoulder, hamstring) and Michael Vick can (ribs). ... Rookie third-rounder Leonard Hankerson had a minor breakout game against Miami, but he was placed on IR on Monday, due to a hip injury. At this point, Washington fans are no doubt used to this sort of thing. No great surprise.

Vincent Brown was a monster in the Thursday night game against the Raiders, and his best catch may have actually been the one that didn't count (highlight here, beginning at the 3:20 mark). Give him a look, if he's available. We don't yet know Malcom Floyd's status for the Week 11 match-up with Chicago, but it seems unwise to bet on a return. ... Just in case you're wondering, Jeremy Kerley is a Jets receiver, a rookie fifth-rounder out of TCU. He's smallish (5-foot-9), but plenty quick, and he's caught 12 passes on 20 targets over his last three games. If you're involved in a league where three Jets wideouts need to be owned...well, that's a pretty [expletive] big league. ... Matt Cassel has a hand injury that could potentially end his season, thus damaging Dwayne Bowe's fantasy value (and Steve Breaston's value, and Jonathan Baldwin's). The Chiefs have an appealing match-up at New England in Week 11, but Tyler Palko will be at the controls of the offense. Yikes. If/when he falters, first-year quarterback Ricky Stanzi could take over. Again: Yikes. In college, Stanzi was the unrivaled master of staring down his first-read and firing into coverage. He drew a few positive camp reports, but he'll be awfully tough to trust. ... Damian Williams has four touchdowns in his last six games, and several appealing match-ups remaining on the schedule. Add as needed. Williams is just 8 percent-owned in Yahoo! leagues.

Running Backs

DeMarco Murray is pretty clearly a guy who needs to play as many snaps as possible. Murray is averaging a ridiculous 8.0 yards per carry over the past four weeks, he's competent in blitz pick-up, and he's a terrific receiving weapon. This is an every-down, all-weather back. Felix Jones may return in Week 11, but he'll clearly have a supporting role — and that's not really such a bad thing. He's been an effective part-timer. ... Dexter McCluster hasn't broken off a 20-yard gain since Week 2, but he was moderately useful in the loss to Denver, in a PPR/flex sort of way. He led the Chiefs in receiving in Week 11 and he finished with nearly as many carries as Jackie Battle (8 vs. 9). It seems reasonable to expect McCluster to see a few targets against the Pats, as KC could spend three-quarters of the game in catch-up mode.

Reggie Bush had an inside-the-5 role against Washington on Sunday, which obviously makes him a much more interesting play going forward. You'll basically always worry about injuries with Bush, but there are friendly match-ups ahead, notably in Weeks 15 and 16 (at Buf, at NE). ... LaDainian Tomlinson suffered an MCL sprain late in New York's Week 10 loss, and he seems unlikely to play against Denver, given the quick turnaround. Joe McKnight gets a bump in value, particularly in PPR formats. Rookie Bilal Powell should see his first action of the season, too, but he doesn't belong in your short term fantasy plans.

Tight Ends

Ed Dickson has been impressive all year, beginning with his solid effort against the Steelers in Week 1. After his breakout game at Seattle on Sunday, Dickson is now sixth at his position in total targets (68) and he ranks seventh in catches (40). It won't be much of a surprise if he finishes as a top-10/12 fantasy tight end this season. He's pretty much the guy that Jared Cook was supposed to be. ... There's no obvious reason to attach yourself to the Colts' offense, so I can't endorse Jacob Tamme as a pickup. Maybe in a 16-team, two-TE league, but that's it (and that would be an awful format). Just note that Tamme is seeing plenty of targets these days, with Dallas Clark sidelined by a leg injury of unknown severity. ... In Week 11, Antonio Gates will face a Bears defense that's allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends so far this season. That seems appealing, sure, but note that Chicago used the bye week to make a few tweaks and address tendencies (NFP's Matt Bowen offers details right here), so let's not assume opposing TEs will continue to binge.


Photo via AP Images

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