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 " Larry Fitzgerald: 14-5-6-9-6 (40), which just means that Fitzgerald had 14 targets in Week 1, 5 targets in Week 2, 6 in Week 3, 9 in Week 4 and 6 in Week 5 with 40 total. It’s as easy as following me on Twitter.
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Before we get into the AFC teams I thought I’d give you a rundown of the red zone target leaders for the whole NFL. Stats can be manipulated and target stats as much as any, but if your team is getting into the red zone often and targeting you just as often, your chances for fantasy points are increased. So let’s take a look.
Red Zone Targets
Torrey Smith: 8-13-9-12-9 (51), Dallas Clark: 12-1-7-9-0 (29), Marlon Brown: 6-6-3-8-dnp (23), Ray Rice: 11-3-dnp-1-7 (22), Brandon Stokley: 10-5-1-dnp-dnp (16), Tandon Doss: dnp-0-0-9-5 (14), Deonte Thompson: dnp-dnp-dnp-5-7 (12), Ed Dickson: 5-1-0-3-2 (11), Vonta Leach: 4-2-2-2-1 (11), Bernard Pierce: 1-1-2-1-0 (5), Jacoby Jones: 4-dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp (4), Kyle Juszczyk: 0-0-0-0-1 (1), Billy Bajema: 0-1-0-0-0 (1)
This is a game that was won by the old adage that running the ball keeps Joe Flacco from throwing the ball. Flacco’s arm bails him out of bad decisions often and with Torrey Smith shining this season he can continue finding him, but it's looking like once again the defense and running game will have to keep them in games.
Ray Rice scored two touchdowns, but it came on 27 attempts for 74 yards. He was going nowhere fast and Bernard Pierce ran 11 times for 46 yards. That’s a whole bunch of running while Flacco was 19-of-32 for 269 yards and an interception. I'm hoping Rice is still getting over his hip injury and will improve with time, because he wasn't breaking tackles or making people miss.
With Marlon Brown and Jacoby Jones out for this game I thought we would see more of Dallas Clark who had nine targets the week before with Brown in the game, but instead he saw 17 pass routes and no targets to Ed Dickson’s 16 routes and two targets, which Dickson actually caught for 51 yards. Tandon Doss and Deonte Thompson saw the biggest jump in playing time and targets; with Doss making more use of his five targets than Thompson of his seven.
Robert Woods: 2-6-10-8-13 (39), Steve Johnson: 6-10-13-6-3 (38), Scott Chandler: 6-6-6-3-6 (27), Fred Jackson: 5-6-5-0-6 (22), T.J. Graham: 1-3-5-3-5 (17), C.J. Spiller: 6-5-1-0-0 (12), Chris Hogan: 0-0-0-0-5 (5), Lee Smith: 0-0-0-2-1 (3), Frank Summers: 0-2-0-0-0 (2), Tashard Choice: 0-1-1-0-0 (2), Marcus Easley: 0-0-0-0-1 (1)
Robert Woods is ranked tenth in targets per game over the last three weeks while Stevie Johnson deals with injuries. That’s pretty good for a team that loves to run the ball. If there wasn't a big question at quarterback I'd be jumping on the Woods train right now. But with the quarterback situation and the propensity for running the ball, I'll hold off. The Bills have more rushing attempts than any other team in the league, which is good for both CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson to remain fantasy assets while sharing time.
Both EJ Manuel and Jeff Tuel had poor games in this one, but Tuel looked completely overmatched and he was, especially when he was intercepted for a pick-six that sealed the game for the Browns.
A.J. Green: 13-14-8-15-8 (58), Jermaine Gresham: 5-9-5-5-4 (28), Mohamed Sanu: 5-8-5-6-2 (26), Tyler Eifert: 5-5-2-5-7 (24), Giovani Bernard: 2-2-4-7-3 (18), Marvin Jones: 2-4-4-3-2 (15), BenJarvus Green-Ellis: 1-1-0-0-1 (3), Alex Smith: 0-1-0-0-0 (1), Dane Sanzenbacher: dnp-dnp-0-1-0 (1)
A.J Green needs an Alshon Jeffery on the other side and probably a better quarterback to really reach his upside. After his huge opener in Chicago he’s averaged 49.75 yards and .25 touchdowns per game. That will change because he’s just too good, but he’s not going to be that consistent without a little help from his friends.
This week we saw the resurgence of BenJarvus Green-Ellis when it looked like he had been buried alive by Gio Bernard last week. They split snaps fairly evenly against Green-Ellis' old team and BJGE had 19 carries to Bernard’s 13. But the truly disappointing event was Bernard fumbling near the end of the game, but thankfully the Patriot hating Gods started a downpour that lasted the exact length of the Patriots' final possession.
Jordan Cameron: 13-7-11-12-5 (48), Davone Bess: 10-8-10-6-5 (39), Greg Little: 10-12-8-2-5 (37), Josh Gordon: dnp-dnp-19-9-6 (34), Chris Ogbonnaya: 3-3-5-5-2 (18), Travis Benjamin: 8-1-0-1-1 (11), Bobby Rainey: 0-0-1-2-1 (4), Gary Barnidge: 1-0-0-1-1 (3), Tori Gurley: 2-1-dnp-dnp-dnp (3), Willis McGahee: dnp-dnp-0-0-2 (2)
New, yet old, quarterback Brandon Weeden doesn’t have the quick judgment and release of Brian Hoyer, so he might not throw quite as often, as seen in Thursday night’s game when he only threw the ball 24 times while Willis McGahee ran the ball 26 times. McGahee won’t have as much luck against better run defenses and it’s not like he had a ton of luck against the Bills with a 2.8 yard per carry pace. But even if Weeden doesn’t throw the ball as often as Hoyer, he did show nice accuracy against the Bills as he went 5 for 7 in passes aimed over 10 yards. He also watched as his receivers dropped three passes. Don’t count him out just yet.
Demaryius Thomas: 11-6-11-10-6 (44), Eric Decker: 7-13-8-7-8 (43), Wes Welker: 11-8-8-9-6 (42), Julius Thomas: 7-9-4-4-12 (36), Knowshon Moreno: 3-3-2-1-5 (14), Ronnie Hillman: 2-0-1-3-4 (10), Andre Caldwell: 1-1-0-2-0 (4), Virgil Green: 0-1-2-1-0 (4), Montee Ball: 0-2-0-0-0 (2), Jacob Tamme: 0-0-1-0-0 (1)
Demaryius Thomas leads all Broncos receivers with 34 receptions for 450 yards, but was left out of most of the fun against Dallas last week. Even with Peyton Manning putting up inhuman numbers, there is always a very good chance someone will be left out, but if you look at the overall numbers, Peyton spreads the ball around perfectly. You just keep plugging them in and reaping the benefits. And if you noticed, Demaryius Thomas was Peyton’s go-to guy when he was moving the ball down field to tie the game late.
Knowshon Moreno continues to impress and hold off his competitors at the same time. In a game that was close to the end, he saw 52 snaps to Ronnie Hillman’s 23 and Montee Ball’s six. He finished the game with 19 carries for 93 yards and a rushing touchdown while catching all five of his targets for 57 yards. Moreno is still just 26 and if he keeps this up he might just keep this job for a while.
Andre Johnson: 16-13-6-12-10 (57), Owen Daniels: 7-5-9-11-9 (41), DeAndre Hopkins: 6-13-7-3-4 (33), Arian Foster: 8-4-2-8-5 (27), Garrett Graham: 5-5-0-6-5 (21), Ben Tate: 2-4-4-1-2 (13), Keshawn Martin: 0-2-3-6-1 (12), DeVier Posey: 0-0-4-dnp-2 (6), Greg Jones: 0-0-0-1-1 (2), Lestar Jean: 0-1-dnp-dnp-dnp (1), Ryan Griffin: 0-0-0-1-0 (1)
Matt Schaub’s poor stretch of games has hurt his pass catchers some, but when you look at the overall numbers there have been plenty of fantasy points for the taking. Actually, the more inefficient Schaub is, the more often he’ll need to make up ground and try to score quickly. This is bad for Schaub, but for the most part it has been okay for the rest of the offensive players.
Next week they get the Rams, which should give all players involved a confidence boost.
Reggie Wayne: 8-8-7-11-9 (43), T.Y. Hilton: 5-12-4-9-6 (36), Darrius Heyward-Bey: 4-5-5-6-6 (26), Coby Fleener: 1-8-2-7-3 (21), Trent Richardson: 6-5-3-1-1 (16), Ahmad Bradshaw: 1-3-4-dnp-dnp (8), Stanley Havili: 0-2-1-2-dnp (5), Donald Brown: 0-0-1-2-2 (5), Griff Whalen: 0-3-0-dnp-dnp (3), Dominique Jones: 0-2-0-1-0 (3)
The Colts continue to the run the ball and rank 6th overall in rushing attempts and 22nd in pass attempts. This leaves a shaky foundation for Reggie Wayne, Coby Fleener and T.Y. Hilton in fantasy. And the fact that they sit in first place in their division with a 4-1 record shows that they aren’t likely to change that run to pass ratio soon.
What would help though would be for Hilton to see more snaps than the obviously inferior Darrius Heyward-Bey. On the season he has 40 less snaps than Heyward-Bey, but 10 less targets, seven less receptions, 207 less yards and two less touchdowns. Maybe, just maybe, Hilton should be on the field more often than DHB.
Trent Richardson continues to be a disappointment, but there was a little glimmer of hope while the Colts were trying to salt the game away where he showed some life. I may be grasping at straws here.
Cecil Shorts: 11-14-15-12-10 (62), Ace Sanders: 9-7-3-8-1 (28), Clay Harbor: 1-4-1-3-5 (14), Maurice Jones-Drew: 2-1-5-1-3 (12), Stephen Burton: 0-3-9-dnp-dnp (12), Justin Blackmon: dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp-9 (9), Allen Reisner: 5-2-1-1-0 (9), Justin Forsett: 5-1-0-2-0 (8), Jordan Todman: 4-2-0-0-0 (6), Jeremy Ebert: dnp-dnp-dnp-3-2 (5), Will Ta'ufo'ou: 1-2-1-0-1 (5), Mike Brown: 3-dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp (3), D.J. Williams: 0-0-1-dnp-1 (2), Denard Robinson: 0-0-0-1-0 (1)
The Jaguars are so awful that they are good in fantasy. And by good I mean, not awful. And by Jaguars, I mean Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon. With so many garbage time hours to fill with passes, Shorts and Blackmon should be able to continue being useful, especially with Blaine Gabbert hurt and Chad Henne in at quarterback.
Maurice Jones-Drew is a shell of his former self. Two seasons ago he was on just as bad a team and could take on stacked fronts and drag defenders into the end zone, but those days are over. If his 86 yards on 19 touches makes anyone within internet distance think he has some juice left, trade him!
Kansas City Chiefs
Jamaal Charles: 6-10-8-11-9 (44), Dwayne Bowe: 6-8-3-7-6 (30), Donnie Avery: 5-4-7-10-4 (30), Dexter McCluster: 5-4-4-5-3 (21), Sean McGrath: 0-4-4-5-6 (19), Anthony Sherman: 4-0-2-1-2 (9), Anthony Fasano: 5-2-dnp-dnp-dnp (7), Chad Hall: dnp-dnp-1-0-4 (5), Kevin Brock: dnp-dnp-1-2-2 (5), Junior Hemingway: 1-1-1-0-1 (4), A.J. Jenkins: 0-0-2-0-1 (3), Cyrus Gray: 1-1-0-0-0 (2), Knile Davis: 1-0-0-0-1 (2)
Kansas City ranks ninth in rushing attempts for the season. That is pretty high for an Andy Reid led team, but of course fits their personnel perfectly. Alex Smith is a game manager. It’s cliché, but he fits the description as well as anyone. Jamaal Charles and the defense have been amazingly consistent this year. Charles has yet to have a game where he hasn’t reached 100 total yards or scored a touchdown. But they also haven't just unleashed Charles in the ground game, which is probably to keep him rested for a playoff push. As a JC Superstar owner, I'm ok with that.
Charles leads all running backs with 44 targets and it doesn’t look like that will change soon. But as things are, there aren’t any other offensive players worth starting in fantasy. Dwayne Bowe needs someone to get him the ball down field and Smith isn’t doing that and I think Bowe looks like he’s lost interest. Sean McGrath, the backup, backup tight end has more yards than Bowe over the last four games.
Mike Wallace: 5-11-5-7-16 (44), Brian Hartline: 15-8-6-4-7 (40), Brandon Gibson: 10-2-8-8-5 (33), Charles Clay: 6-7-6-6-6 (31), Lamar Miller: 1-2-3-3-0 (9), Rishard Matthews: 0-0-4-2-0 (6), Daniel Thomas: 1-1-1-1-2 (6), Marcus Thigpen: 0-0-0-2-1 (3), Dion Sims: 0-0-1-1-0 (2), Michael Egnew: 0-0-1-0-1 (2), Tyler Clutts: 0-1-0-0-dnp (1)
Mike Wallace continues the squeaky wheel theory, but he’s showing over and over again that he’s not the #1 receiver the Dolphins paid for. On the season he has 28 catchable passes and has dropped six of them. That is the second worse drop rate for wide receivers with 30+ targets.
Lamar Miller finally saw the majority of the snaps as he played on 45 of 59 compared to Daniel Thomas’ 11 of 59. That is a great sign for the future even though he wasn’t able to do much in this game.
New England Patriots
Julian Edelman: 9-18-7-9-7 (50), Kenbrell Thompkins: 14-7-7-11-4 (43), Aaron Dobson: dnp-10-10-3-4 (27), Danny Amendola: 14-dnp-dnp-dnp-9 (23), Brandon Bolden: dnp-dnp-6-1-8 (15), Shane Vereen: 10-dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp (10), Michael Hoomanawanui: 2-1-2-0-2 (7), Josh Boyce: 2-dnp-1-3-0 (6), Stevan Ridley: 0-0-1-2-dnp (3), Zach Sudfeld: 1-dnp-2-0-dnp (3), James Develin: 0-1-0-1-0 (2), Leon Washington: dnp-1-dnp-dnp-0 (1), Matthew Mulligan: dnp-0-0-1-0 (1), LeGarrette Blount: 0-1-0-0-0 (1)
The Patriots young receivers have had trouble with drops as well. Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson have had 39 catchable targets and dropped eight of them. And against the Bengals, Danny Amendola dropped a whopping three passes, but hopefully (mixed metaphor alert) we can chalk those up to rust from missing so much time. This offense has been pretty horrible especially in comparison to their record, but Rob Gronkowski should help turn things around. His presence will be the WD40 to the Patriots screeching hinges.
With Steven Ridley out, LeGarrette Blount got the start, but fumbled the ball and ceded touches to Brandon Bolden after that. This is good news for Ridley’s touches going forward.
New York Jets
Stephen Hill: 9-8-6-1-2 (26), Santonio Holmes: 3-6-10-5-dnp (24), Kellen Winslow Jr: 8-6-0-9-1 (24), Jeremy Kerley: 4-dnp-5-5-6 (20), Bilal Powell: 5-5-3-5-2 (20), Clyde Gates: 4-8-1-3-1 (17), Jeff Cumberland: 0-0-3-1-4 (8), Tommy Bohanon: 2-1-1-3-0 (7), Chris Ivory: 2-0-0-dnp-0 (2), David Nelson: dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp-2 (2), Mike Goodson: dnp-dnp-dnp-dnp-2 (2), Ben Obomanu: dnp-0-0-1-dnp (1), Alex Green: 0-dnp-0-1-0 (1), Konrad Reuland: 1-0-0-0-0 (1)
The good Geno Smith showed up for last Monday night’s game. He was calm and accurate; completing 16-of-20 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns. His main target from the first three weeks, Stephen Hill, was coming off a concussion and didn’t get many targets, but old stalwart Jeremy Kerley and tight end Jeff Cumberland were the main pieces against the Falcons. If you get beat by Smith, Kerley and Cumberland, maybe your defense isn’t exactly on point.
Mike Goodson and Chris Ivory both returned for this game. They didn’t take away many snaps, with Powell getting 35 to Goodson’s 11 and Ivory’s 8, but those two did see eight touches to Powell’s 13 and produced better per touch. This backfield is getting a little crowded again.
Denarius Moore: 7-2-11-6-8 (34), Rod Streater: 8-4-4-3-3 (22), Mychal Rivera: 3-3-3-6-3 (18), Marcel Reece: 2-1-5-2-3 (13), Brice Butler: 1-3-4-3-1 (12), Rashad Jennings: 0-1-2-8-0 (11), Darren McFadden: 5-4-1-0-dnp (10), Jacoby Ford: 2-2-1-0-2 (7), Jeron Mastrud: 1-1-0-2-0 (4), Jamize Olawale: 0-0-0-1-2 (3), Jeremy Stewart: 0-0-0-1-1 (2)
Denarius Moore is tempting us again. Should we be lured into his lair of fantasy despair? Sure! Why not!? Terrelle Pryor has improved an amazing amount since this preseason and Week two. And that is why we can at least give Moore another shot. With Pryor at quarterback he has 19 targets in their last two games together. The closest to that is Streater with seven.
The Raiders running backs don’t seem to be made of non-breakable material, but all three backs look like they’ll play against Kansas City this weekend. With Pryor playing so well, it seems that Darren McFadden could do something with that extra defensive attention off of him. Hopefully he can stay healthy.
Antonio Brown: 7-9-13-13-BYE (42), Emmanuel Sanders: 12-10-8-8-BYE (38), Jerricho Cotchery: 7-9-4-6-BYE (26), Heath Miller: dnp-dnp-4-8-BYE (12), David Paulson: 0-4-2-0-BYE (6), David Johnson: 1-1-3-1-BYE (6), Markus Wheaton: 0-0-1-5-BYE (6), Isaac Redman: 3-2-0-0-BYE (5), Le'Veon Bell: dnp-dnp-dnp-5-BYE (5), Jonathan Dwyer: dnp-0-3-0-BYE (3), LaRod Stephens-Howling: 3-dnp-dnp-dnp-BYE (3), Felix Jones: 0-0-2-1-BYE (3), Will Johnson: 0-0-1-0-BYE (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: 4-10-7-10-10 (41), Danny Woodhead: 3-9-8-7-9 (36), Vincent Brown: 4-7-3-9-9 (32), Eddie Royal: 6-8-2-3-8 (27), Keenan Allen: dnp-3-1-6-9 (19), Malcom Floyd: 5-6-dnp-dnp-dnp (11), Ryan Mathews: 2-1-0-4-0 (7), Ronnie Brown: 2-1-0-0-3 (6), Ladarius Green: 0-0-2-0-1 (3), John Phillips: 1-0-0-1-0 (2), Le'Ron McClain: 0-0-1-0-0 (1)
Your PPR stud running back this season is one Mr. Daniel Woodhead. He has 31 receptions, which puts him ahead of Jamaal Charles, Pierre Thomas and Matt Forte who are tied with 28. He’s never going to run by or through a defender, but he is going to catch plenty of passes and squirm his way for yardage. He looks like that kid on the corner you want to smack just for standing the way he is, but he somehow is a NFL caliber player.
Keenan Allen is the first receiver for San Diego to play 100% of the snaps in a game this season. He has gone from 0% to 54% to 83% to 95% and then last week’s 100%. Vincent Brown is getting more targets, but Allen is getting more productive targets for yardage and touchdowns. His skill set is that of a #1 wide receiver and he’s now getting the playing time and targets, with 15 over the last two weeks, which he has caught 11 of for 195 yards and a touchdown. I am a fan.
Nate Washington: 7-5-10-8-8 (38), Kendall Wright: 4-11-6-9-8 (38), Delanie Walker: 4-2-8-4-6 (24), Kenny Britt: 2-9-5-dnp-6 (22), Damian Williams: 2-dnp-2-7-2 (13), Chris Johnson: 0-1-2-2-5 (10), Justin Hunter: dnp-0-2-1-3 (6), Jackie Battle: 0-0-0-0-2 (2), Craig Stevens: 1-1-0-0-0 (2), Collin Mooney: 0-1-0-1-0 (2), Michael Preston: dnp-0-1-0-dnp (1)
Tennessee ranks fourth in rushing attempts and 24th in passing attempts. Nate Washington and Kendall Wright are tied in targets, with Wright winning in receptions, but Washington topping him in yards and touchdowns. Wright is worthwhile in PPR, especially with Ryan Fitzpatrick starting. Washington could use that big arm of Jake Locker.
Chris Johnson saw a big bump in targets with Fitzpatrick in the game, which is good for his overall relevancy. Of course he is averaging 3.1 yards per carry and just looks pretty much awful, but receptions are receptions! He took one for his first touchdown of the year on a broken play against Kansas City. I’m selling Johnson if I own him after that touchdown, but if you can’t find a taker it’s good to know he should see more targets with Fitz in there.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Pierre Thomas
- Jamaal Charles
- Julius Thomas
- Torrey Smith
- Bernard Pierce
- Giovani Bernard
- Alex Smith
- Julian Edelman
- Danny Woodhead