Target Practice, Week 4: Better late than never, Jason Witten

In the aftermath of Dallas' ugly Monday night loss to Chicago, there are really not many reasons to feel OK about the team's offense. But if you forced me to identify something — anything — that Cowboys fans can hang their giant hats on, it would this: Jason Witten finally delivered a All Pro-level performance, following three weeks of dropped passes and unimpressive stat lines.

Witten hauled in 13 passes for 112 yards on 14 targets against the Bears D, crossing the goal line late in the fourth quarter, in garbage time. (Or, if you prefer, "Orton time.")

We can of course excuse Witten's slow start to the season, because the dude had been battling an achy spleen. He was sidelined for much of the preseason after suffering one of the ickier injuries in recent memory. It's great that he's getting back to full capacity, though a bummer that he's now headed to a bye. Witten won't be useful to the fantasy community in Week 5, but we'll apparently need to return him to his rightful place among the top-6 tight ends thereafter.

So I guess that's one thing in Big D that isn't a hilarious, steaming disaster.

By now, plenty has been written about Brian Hartline's huge game at Arizona in Week 4 — see here, here, here, and no doubt several other places — but you'll note that Davone Bess wasn't exactly ignored on Sunday. He drew 12 targets, catching seven for 123 yards. The Cards defense entered the week ranked seventh against the pass; they now rank 21st, after Ryan Tannehill torched 'em for 431 yards.

While we're discussing tough-to-trust rookie QBs, we should mention the fact that Brandon Weeden attempted 52 passes last Thursday, which led to the significant target totals for Greg Little and Jordan Norwood (10 apiece). It's a shame that Little is such a drop machine. If you're considering any member of this offense who isn't Trent Richardson in Week 5 (at NYG), let's hope you're playing in a (very) deep league.

Just in case you didn't catch the Dez Bryant show live on Monday night, here it is, captured in a single image...

But clearly Dez was never gonna weave through all those Bears defenders positioned between himself and the end zone, so I suppose we shouldn't be too hard on him.

Please take note of the useful line delivered by Domenik Hixon on Sunday: 11 targets, six receptions, 114 yards. He's in the fantasy discussion again this week, since the next piece of good news about Hakeem Nicks will be the first in quite a while.

If you were wondering what the heck happened to Julio Jones in Week 4, the target total above should give you hope (or fill you with disgust). He had a shot at a long gain late in the win over Carolina, but couldn't quite get his second foot in bounds. No need to panic here, obviously. Jones is averaging 7.8 targets per game, he sheds coverage with ease, and is generally awesome. Yeah, the hand could be bothering him. But if he's playing, you're starting him.


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