Week 5 Target Watch: AFC

Chet Gresham
Nick Mensio checks in on Wes Welker, Ben Tate, Rob Gronkowski and many others in Wednesday's Dose

Dose: Welker Popped for Molly

Nick Mensio checks in on Wes Welker, Ben Tate, Rob Gronkowski and many others in Wednesday's Dose

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 and words I wrote while typing them onto my laptop. If you click here you’ll find the NFC version of this article.

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 "Julio Jones: 9-14-12-13 (48)” which just means that Jones had 9 targets in Week 1, 14 targets in Week 2, 12 in Week 3 and 13 in Week 4 with 48 total.  It’s as easy as following me on Twitter.

Baltimore Ravens

Torrey Smith: 8-13-9-12 (42), Dallas Clark: 12-1-7-9 (29), Marlon Brown: 6-6-3-8 (23), Brandon Stokley: 10-5-1-dnp (16), Ray Rice: 11-3-dnp-1 (15), Vonta Leach: 4-2-2-2 (10), Tandon Doss: dnp-0-0-9 (9), Ed Dickson: 5-1-0-3 (9), Bernard Pierce: 1-1-2-1 (5), Deonte Thompson: dnp-dnp-dnp-5 (5), Jacoby Jones: 4-dnp-dnp-dnp (4), Billy Bajema: 0-1-0-0 (1)

Joe Flacco was about as bad as you can be, completing just 25 of 50 passes and throwing five interceptions in a game where the Ravens lost by just three points. The Ravens ran the ball a total of nine times against a Bills team that sat near the bottom in rush defense. Did I say they lost by just three points?

Torrey Smith was the big dog in this one with five receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown, but also had 12 targets, many of which Flacco threw off target. Flacco’s cannon of an arm keeps Smith always in close range of a big fantasy day, which is risky, but often worthwhile

Buffalo Bills

Steve Johnson: 6-10-13-6 (35), Robert Woods: 2-6-10-8 (26), Scott Chandler: 6-6-6-3 (21), Fred Jackson: 5-6-5-0 (16), C.J. Spiller: 6-5-1-0 (12), T.J. Graham: 1-3-5-3 (12), Tashard Choice: 0-1-1-0 (2), Lee Smith: 0-0-0-2 (2), Frank Summers: 0-2-0-0 (2)

E.J. Manuel had another poor game by completing just 10 of 22 passes for 167 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He flashes some great plays, but for the most part his inconsistency is just too much to overcome.

Robert Woods led the Bills in targets this week, as well as receptions, yards and touchdowns. He also had another touchdown overturned on review. He is quickly becoming a go to player for Manuel.

The Bills did have success in the running game, which is what gave them the win along with Flacco’s poor play. CJ Spiller had 23 carries for 77 yards and Fred Jackson had 16 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown. Spiller did leave the game with a sprained ankle, which gave Jackson 41 snaps to Spiller’s 31. I think it’s fairly evident that Spiller is not a 20+ carry back and he and Jackson are going to continue to split time, at least to a degree. If given the right kind of carries and passing targets (which he had zero against the Ravens) then Spiller doesn’t need to run until he pukes to be a fantasy star.

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Cincinnati Bengals

A.J. Green: 13-14-8-15 (50), Mohamed Sanu: 5-8-5-6 (24), Jermaine Gresham: 5-9-5-5 (24), Tyler Eifert: 5-5-2-5 (17), Giovani Bernard: 2-2-4-7 (15), Marvin Jones: 2-4-4-3 (13), BenJarvus Green-Ellis: 1-1-0-0 (2), Alex Smith: 0-1-0-0 (1), Dane Sanzenbacher: dnp-dnp-0-1 (1)

Joe Haden shut down A.J. Green, as Green only was able to bring in seven of 15 targets for 51 yards. He wasn’t helped much by Andy Dalton, who had trouble with ball placement to his receivers and just had a poor game overall with 206 yards passing, no touchdowns and one interception on 23 of 42 passing.

With that kind of game from Dalton there weren’t many productive targets against a tough Browns defense. Green remains the only receiver you can feel good about as witnessed by Dalton continuing to throw to him even though Haden was playing him well.

Giovani Bernard took over the lead back role with 74% of the snaps to 26% for BenJarvus Green-Ellis. He also had 16 touches to six for Green-Ellis. It wasn’t a big game for Bernard, but he still managed six receptions on seven targets and 75 total yards, which is decent in PPR. You can safely play him as the lead back now.

Cleveland Browns

Jordan Cameron: 13-7-11-12 (43), Davone Bess: 10-8-10-6 (34), Greg Little: 10-12-8-2 (32), Josh Gordon: dnp-dnp-19-9 (28), Chris Ogbonnaya: 3-3-5-5 (16), Travis Benjamin: 8-1-0-1 (10), Bobby Rainey: 0-0-1-2 (3), Tori Gurley: 2-1-dnp-dnp (3), Gary Barnidge: 1-0-0-1 (2)

Brian Hoyer had another good game this week completing 25 of 38 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns. Jordan Cameron was his favorite target as he looked his way 12 times, which he caught 10 of for 91 yards and a touchdown. Cameron will have a tough time catching Jimmy Graham statistically this season, but being second to Graham is not too shabby.

Josh Gordon didn’t have as big a game as his season debut in Week 3, but he did show that games like that can and will happen again. He caught four of nine targets for 71 yards and now has 14 receptions for 217 yards and a touchdown in two games.

The three-headed running back monster was more productive against the Bengals than last week, but they are still splitting time. Willis McGahee did have 15 carries for 46 yards, but Chris Ogbonnaya was more productive on his five carries and five receptions for 48 yards and a receiving touchdown.  Bobby Rainey had 8 touches for 29 yards, but looked best in the receiving role. It seems like this split is going to continue with no back really making any big mistakes to lose snaps.

Denver Broncos

Demaryius Thomas: 11-6-11-10 (38), Wes Welker: 11-8-8-9 (36), Eric Decker: 7-13-8-7 (35), Julius Thomas: 7-9-4-4 (24), Knowshon Moreno: 3-3-2-1 (9), Ronnie Hillman: 2-0-1-3 (6), Virgil Green: 0-1-2-1 (4), Andre Caldwell: 1-1-0-2 (4), Montee Ball: 0-2-0-0 (2), Jacob Tamme: 0-0-1-0 (1)

Peyton Manning did his usual against the Eagles defense, and his usual is pretty filthy. He completed 28 of 34 passes for 327 yards and four touchdowns before sitting out the 4th quarter. That’s about as good as you can get, but Manning is better than anyone can get at this point.

Wes Welker’s high for touchdowns in a season was nine in 2011 and that came on 122 receptions, or a touchdown every 13.5 receptions. So far this season he has six touchdowns on 26 receptions, a touchdown every 4.3 receptions. Manning’s efficiency is slightly sickening.

Knowshon Moreno bounced back from a poor game to put up 91 yards and a touchdown on just 13 touches. Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball saw much of their work in mop up duty.

Houston Texans

Andre Johnson: 16-13-6-12 (47), Owen Daniels: 7-5-9-11 (32), DeAndre Hopkins: 6-13-7-3 (29), Arian Foster: 8-4-2-8 (22), Garrett Graham: 5-5-0-6 (16), Keshawn Martin: 0-2-3-6 (11), Ben Tate: 2-4-4-1 (11), DeVier Posey: 0-0-4-dnp (4), Lestar Jean: 0-1-dnp-dnp (1), Ryan Griffin: 0-0-0-1 (1), Greg Jones: 0-0-0-1 (1)

Matt Schaub actually had a pretty good game going against a tough defense before he threw a pick-six to turn his game into an utter disaster. He connected with Andre Johnson on nine of 12 targets for 110 yards and spread the all-around wealth to his playmakers. But, he shouldn’t have thrown that ball and that’s what it comes down to.

Garret Graham caught his third touchdown on the year and continues to get red zone looks, but he just doesn’t see enough targets to be of any consistent help to your fantasy team.

Arian Foster put together a big day rushing for 102 yards on 27 carries and catching six of eight targets for 69 yards and a touchdown. Those six receptions are what we need to see more of going forward to keep him as a top fantasy back. Ben Tate was once again involved early and looked good, but he did fumble and coach Gary Kubiak is not a fan of fumbling. We’ll see if it impacts his workload going forward.

Indianapolis Colts

Reggie Wayne: 8-8-7-11 (34), T.Y. Hilton: 5-12-4-9 (30), Darrius Heyward-Bey: 4-5-5-6 (20), Coby Fleener: 1-8-2-7 (18), Trent Richardson: 6-5-3-1 (15), Ahmad Bradshaw: 1-3-4-dnp (8), Stanley Havili: 0-2-1-2 (5), Griff Whalen: 0-3-0-dnp (3), Dominique Jones: 0-2-0-1 (3), Donald Brown: 0-0-1-2 (3)

The Colts defense and Blaine Gabbert’s “offense” made this a rout without any chance of any other outcome. Andrew Luck didn’t have to put up big numbers and it left his fantasy owners wanting. But this is the way with playing the Jaguars now.

After two down games, Reggie Wayne returned with five receptions, 100 yards and a touchdown. He’s still the main man, but the run/pass balanced attack will keep him from being a top guy week in and week out.

Trent Richardson had a slow game with 20 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown. Pro Football Focus blamed much of Richardson’s rushing problems on the Colts pass blocking, whereas Richardson had no holes on his carries, Donald Brown had gaping holes. Richardson gained 46 of his 60 yards after contact. I have no doubt that Richardson is at least partially at fault being unable to make these first tacklers miss or finding the best crease to hit, but I do think there are better days to come.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Cecil Shorts: 11-14-15-12 (52), Ace Sanders: 9-7-3-8 (27), Stephen Burton: 0-3-9-dnp (12), Maurice Jones-Drew: 2-1-5-1 (9), Allen Reisner: 5-2-1-1 (9), Clay Harbor: 1-4-1-3 (9), Justin Forsett: 5-1-0-2 (8), Jordan Todman: 4-2-0-0 (6), Will Ta'ufo'ou: 1-2-1-0 (4), Jeremy Ebert: dnp-dnp-dnp-3 (3), Mike Brown: 3-dnp-dnp-dnp (3), D.J. Williams: 0-0-1-dnp (1), Denard Robinson: 0-0-0-1 (1)

Blaine Gabbert threw three interceptions and completed just 17 of 32 passes for 179 yards with no touchdowns. Maurice Jones Drew ran 13 times for 23 yards and Cecil Shorts caught seven of 12 targets for 61 yards. Those are your statistical leaders for the Jaguars.

Kansas City Chiefs

Jamaal Charles: 6-10-8-11 (35), Donnie Avery: 5-4-7-10 (26), Dwayne Bowe: 6-8-3-7 (24), Dexter McCluster: 5-4-4-5 (18), Sean McGrath: 0-4-4-5 (13), Anthony Sherman: 4-0-2-1 (7), Anthony Fasano: 5-2-dnp-dnp (7), Kevin Brock: dnp-dnp-1-2 (3), Junior Hemingway: 1-1-1-0 (3), Cyrus Gray: 1-1-0-0 (2), A.J. Jenkins: 0-0-2-0 (2), Knile Davis: 1-0-0-0 (1), Chad Hall: dnp-dnp-1-0 (1)

Alex Smith completed 8 of 12 passes between 10-19 yards in the air for 161 yards and two touchdowns according to PFF. He wasn’t nearly as checkdowny this week as he was against the Eagles when he only had one pass beyond ten yards. That is a good sign for Dwayne Bowe who caught one of those medium passes and ran it in for a touchdown.  Smith isn’t going to start airing it out, but it’s good to see that he can be accurate on intermediate passes.

Donnie Avery led the non Jamaal Charleses with 10 targets, but only caught two of 10 for 23 yards. The third string tight end, Sean McGrath, caught all five of his targets for 64 yards and a touchdown. It would be nice to see what Travis Kelce could do if he were to ever get on the field and become the primary receiving tight end.

Miami Dolphins

Brian Hartline: 15-8-6-4 (33), Brandon Gibson: 10-2-8-8 (28), Mike Wallace: 5-11-5-7 (28), Charles Clay: 6-7-6-6 (25), Lamar Miller: 1-2-3-3 (9), Rishard Matthews: 0-0-4-2 (6), Daniel Thomas: 1-1-1-1 (4), Dion Sims: 0-0-1-1 (2), Marcus Thigpen: 0-0-0-2 (2), Michael Egnew: 0-0-1-0 (1), Tyler Clutts: 0-1-0-0 (1)

The Saints took it to the Dolphins who needed a mistake free game from Ryan Tannehill, but the Saints new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan let Tannehill hurt himself by only blitzing three times. Instead of making a quick decision to an open receiver he had to sit back and make good throws into coverage and he wasn’t up to the task for the most part.

The Dolphins aren’t getting very creative with Mike Wallace. They stick him on the right side and just leave him there for the most part. He didn’t have a good game so it’s not all on the coaching staff, but it would be nice to see him in the slot at least some of the time to mix things up.

It was nice to see Lamar Miller get 57% of the snaps compared to 32% for Daniel Thomas and he also had 11 carries for 62 yards compared to four carries for five yards for Thomas. It seems like just a matter of time before he’s getting every down duty.

New England Patriots

Julian Edelman: 9-18-7-9 (43), Kenbrell Thompkins: 14-7-7-11 (39), Aaron Dobson: dnp-10-10-3 (23), Danny Amendola: 14-dnp-dnp-dnp (14), Shane Vereen: 10-dnp-dnp-dnp (10), Brandon Bolden: dnp-dnp-6-1 (7), Josh Boyce: 2-dnp-1-3 (6), Michael Hoomanawanui: 2-1-2-0 (5), Zach Sudfeld: 1-dnp-2-0 (3), Stevan Ridley: 0-0-1-2 (3), James Develin: 0-1-0-1 (2), Leon Washington: dnp-1-dnp-dnp (1), LeGarrette Blount: 0-1-0-0 (1), Matthew Mulligan: dnp-0-0-1 (1)

Kenbrell Thompkins continues to be one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets even though he drops and bobbles passes fairly frequently, but he also can make some great catches. He’s now had three touchdowns over the last two games and amazingly his six receptions on 11 targets was his best catch rate of the young season. I guess that’s good and bad.

Julian Edelman had a big day as well, but his snaps are going to take a hit as soon as Danny Amendola returns. Not a devastating hit because they will line Edelman up on the outside, but they would rather have him in the slot where Amendola is entrenched.

The running back committee keeps growing heads. Right now we have Stevan Ridley, LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden all getting snaps. Against the Falcons Ridley had 13 touches for 79 yards on 39% of the snaps, Blount had nine touches for 64 yards and a touchdown on 29% and Bolden had seven touches for 12 yards on 33%.

New York Jets

Santonio Holmes: 3-6-10-5 (24), Stephen Hill: 9-8-6-1 (24), Kellen Winslow Jr: 8-6-0-9 (23), Bilal Powell: 5-5-3-5 (18), Clyde Gates: 4-8-1-3 (16), Jeremy Kerley: 4-dnp-5-5 (14), Tommy Bohanon: 2-1-1-3 (7), Jeff Cumberland: 0-0-3-1 (4), Chris Ivory: 2-0-0-dnp (2), Konrad Reuland: 1-0-0-0 (1), Ben Obomanu: dnp-0-0-1 (1), Alex Green: 0-dnp-0-1 (1)

This was a day Geno Smith hopes to forget. His 23 of 34 for 289 yards doesn’t look horrible on paper, but his two interceptions and two fumbles were back breakers and his fault. He also left Stephen Hill vulnerable to a hit, which gave him a concussion while also causing an interception.

Besides Hill’s concussion, Santonio Holmes injured his hamstring. Both look iffy for Week 5. The receivers that saw the most snaps not named Hill or Holmes were Jeremy Kerley, Ben Obomanu and Clyde Gates.  Gates had just 10 passing routes, but was targeted three times and he caught all three for 24 yards. The two leading receivers from Week 4 who are sure to play are Jeremy Kerley who caught four of five targets for 65 yards and Kellen Winslow who caught six of nine targets for 73 yards.

Oakland Raiders

Denarius Moore: 7-2-11-6 (26), Rod Streater: 8-4-4-3 (19), Mychal Rivera: 3-3-3-6 (15), Rashad Jennings: 0-1-2-8 (11), Brice Butler: 1-3-4-3 (11), Marcel Reece: 2-1-5-2 (10), Darren McFadden: 5-4-1-0 (10), Jacoby Ford: 2-2-1-0 (5), Jeron Mastrud: 1-1-0-2 (4), Jeremy Stewart: 0-0-0-1 (1), Jamize Olawale: 0-0-0-1 (1)

Matt Flynn didn’t do much to stir up a quarterback controversy in this one. His most successful play was the dump off to Rashad Jennings who caught all eight of his targets for 71 yards. But there’s no doubt that Flynn will be sitting back on the bench.

Both Marcel Reece and Darren McFadden left the game with injuries so Jennings received 15 carries and eight targets. He’s not the most gifted player, but he most likely will be the every down back next week against the Chargers.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Antonio Brown: 7-9-13-13 (42), Emmanuel Sanders: 12-10-8-8 (38), Jerricho Cotchery: 7-9-4-6 (26), Heath Miller: dnp-dnp-4-8 (12), David Paulson: 0-4-2-0 (6), Markus Wheaton: 0-0-1-5 (6), David Johnson: 1-1-3-1 (6), Le'Veon Bell: dnp-dnp-dnp-5 (5), Isaac Redman: 3-2-0-0 (5), LaRod Stephens-Howling: 3-dnp-dnp-dnp (3), Jonathan Dwyer: dnp-0-3-0 (3), Felix Jones: 0-0-2-1 (3), Will Johnson: 0-0-1-0 (1)

The Steelers defense continues to miss tackles and not get to the quarterback, which gives the Steelers offense plenty of reason to keep trying for fantasy points (that’s what they are trying to get, right?).  And that lack of defense should keep Ben Roethlisberger chucking the ball.

It was another big PPR game for Antonio Brown as he caught 12 of 13 passes for 88 yards and also ran for 10 yards. Jerricho Cotchery had a big game catching five of six targets for 103 yards and a touchdown and has actually put together okay numbers this season, but he’s now the fourth most targeted receiver with Heath Miller back, who had eight targets and caught six for seventy yards.

Le'Veon Bell was inserted as the every down back from the get go and played well. He graded out positively for pass protection by Pro Football Focus, had a nose for the goal line as he had two rushing touchdowns and he also had five targets, catching four of them for 27 yards. You really couldn’t ask for much more for his debut.

San Diego Chargers

Antonio Gates: 4-10-7-10 (31), Danny Woodhead: 3-9-8-7 (27), Vincent Brown: 4-7-3-9 (23), Eddie Royal: 6-8-2-3 (19), Malcom Floyd: 5-6-dnp-dnp (11), Keenan Allen: dnp-3-1-6 (10), Ryan Mathews: 2-1-0-4 (7), Ronnie Brown: 2-1-0-0 (3), Ladarius Green: 0-0-2-0 (2), John Phillips: 1-0-0-1 (2), Le'Ron McClain: 0-0-1-0 (1)

It’s impossible to dismiss Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense now. The first half of Week one against the Texans was much closer to the real life Chargers than the second half of that game, even though we thought it was the other way around. Rivers is absolutely on fire this season. He has completed 105-of-142 passes for an outstanding 73.9%. He’s averaging 299.8 yards passing (we can call that 300). He’s second in touchdown passes with 11 and with the Chargers defense giving up 432 yards a game, there’s no reason to think he won’t continue throwing the ball often.

Against the Cowboys he completed 35 of 42 passes for 401 yards and three touchdowns. The main fantasy beneficiaries were Antonio Gates who caught 10 of his 11 targets for 136 yards and a touchdown and Danny Woodhead who caught five of his seven targets for 54 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan Mathews out-snapped Danny Woodhead 35 to 33, but Woodhead got into the end zone twice.  Mathews did top 100 total yards for the first time this season and is riding the wave of this offense.

Keenan Allen is the official replacement for Malcom Floyd and had more pass routes than Antonio Gates and Eddie Royal. He also caught five of six targets for 80 yards. He’s got the ability and I’m excited to see him getting a full complement of snaps now.

Tennessee Titans

Nate Washington: 7-5-10-8 (30), Kendall Wright: 4-11-6-9 (30), Delanie Walker: 4-2-8-4 (18), Kenny Britt: 2-9-5-dnp (16), Damian Williams: 2-dnp-2-7 (11), Chris Johnson: 0-1-2-2 (5), Justin Hunter: dnp-0-2-1 (3), Collin Mooney: 0-1-0-1 (2), Craig Stevens: 1-1-0-0 (2), Michael Preston: dnp-0-1-0 (1)

The loss of Jake Locker is the big story here. He completed 18-of-24 passes for 149 yards and three touchdowns before he was knocked out of the game with a hip injury and that was following up a nice game the week before. We’ll see how Ryan Fitzpatrick plays. He only attempted eight passes completing three of them for 108 yards and a touchdown. One of those was a 70 yarder to Nate Washington, his second of the day. Fitzpatrick isn’t that good, but is a better backup than many teams have. I wouldn’t want to rely on any Titans receiver going forward though.  Justin Hunter, Kendall Wright and Nate Washington have plenty of upside, but the Titans will do their best to let the run game and defense keep them in games and without one go to receiver there just aren’t enough targets to go around.

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