Target Practice, Week 9: The Colts are officially too big to fail

Four different Colts had at least nine pass targets on Sunday, as Peyton Manning(notes) threw for over 300 yards for the seventh time this season. Manning has actually topped 300 passing yards in 10 of his last 12 games dating back to last season, including the playoff loss to San Diego.

Reggie Wayne(notes) is second at his position in per-game pass targets (10.8), Dallas Clark(notes) is first among tight ends (9.1) and Joseph Addai(notes) is fifth among running backs (5.1). In Yahoo! public leagues, Indianapolis players currently rank among the top six in per-game scoring at every position except running back, where Addai is 12th.

At this point, every possible step must be taken to ensure not only the safety of these Colts, but also their full participation through Week 16. The Indianapolis offense is much too big to fail. Or to rest. The AFC's only undefeated team needs to start losing, soon. If the Colts are allowed to clinch home field advantage in mid-December, it will be a fantasy disaster. Do your part, New England. Just please don't hurt anyone.

Let's review the weekend targets and take a few notes in the margins…

Davone Bess(notes) is hardly a touchdown machine (just one TD in 90 career receptions), but a 14-target game is a significant event for PPR owners. And the PUmA endorses him! Bess is on pace for 72 receptions, but expect him to finish with a few more than that. ... Kansas City's Lance Long(notes) was tar-- Um, wait. Who? Lance Long? He's an undrafted 24-year-old slot receiver in his second year out of Mississippi State, where he was a walk-on. As a college senior he caught 14 passes (as a junior, 25). Long is a multi-year camp standout, recently signed from the Chiefs' practice squad. An 11-target game puts him on the radar, but, for now, only in the deepest, most exotic formats. ... Laveranues Coles(notes) hasn't quite made as many appearances in this feature as we might have forecast back in August, but he led all Bengals receivers in both catches and yards in the Week 9 win over Baltimore (6-72). Chris Henry's season-ending injury (broken forearm) will likely result in an increase in Coles' workload, though Henry had only been targeted 23 times over eight games.

Matt Forte(notes) owners take note: In Week 9, the Bears' first seven plays were passes. They know that their offensive line can't run-block, so they've stopped pretending. You're lucky that Forte is a competent receiver. He'll be a regular here in Target Practice throughout the second half. ... Mike Wallace(notes) has been awfully impressive, particularly when Ben Roethlisberger(notes) starts improvising. He's clearly in the Pittsburgh circle of trust, where Limas Sweed(notes) can only dream of being. ... OK, so the early returns on Malcom Floyd(notes) haven't been so exciting, but the targets are there. Keep the faith, please. He definitely scores against Kansas City in Week 12. ... Longtime blog favorite James Jones(notes) has done everything possible over the past month (three TDs over four games) to retain his value when Jordy Nelson(notes) and Jermichael Finley(notes) return. To the extent that I can root for any Packer, I root for Jones. Nelson reportedly practiced on Wednesday; Finley did not.

For those who've made Burleson-vs.-Houshmandzadeh wagers, here are the updated YTD target leaders...


Photo via US Presswire