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Week 3 RB's to pick up after injuries
3:40 | Fantasy
Week 3 RB's to pick up after injuries
Wednesday September 17th, 2014

Week 2 of the Target Report takes on a bit of a different look. Now that red-zone data is available, we can look not only at how frequently players are targeted, but also who is getting the most valuable looks.

The first number listed after a player’s name is his overall targets, and the second is how many balls he has had thrown his way inside the 20-yard-line. This information gives us an even better look at how each player is being used within his team’s passing game.

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All target data is courtesy of the great NFLsavant.com.

Arizona Cardinals

Larry Fitzgerald -- 17, 5
Michael Floyd -- 14, 0
Andre Ellington -- 10, 2
John Brown -- 9, 3

Perhaps Fitzgerald’s eulogies are being written a tad prematurely. He leads the team in targets, and has had five balls thrown his way in the red zone, while Floyd has had none. Floyd is doing his best work down the field, as five of his targets have traveled at least 20 yards in the air. He has caught both that were catchable. Interestingly, Brown already has three targets in the red zone. It speaks to his ability to exploit mismatches in the slot.

Atlanta Falcons

Julio Jones -- 22, 2
Harry Douglas -- 17, 0
Roddy White -- 15, 2
Levine Toilolo -- 9, 1
Devin Hester -- 7, 0
Devonta Freeman -- 6, 2
Jacquizz Rodgers -- 5, 1
Steven Jackson -- 4, 0

Not a whole lot of intrigue here. Jones, predictably, leads the team in total targets and red-zone targets. He’s also third in the league with seven deep (20-plus yards) targets. Douglas has a couple more targets than White, but it’s the latter who has had two targets in the red zone. The important thing to know is that all three backs will be involved in the offense all season, and that Hester is nowhere near a fantasy option, even after his big game Week 1.

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Baltimore Ravens

Steve Smith -- 25, 7
Dennis Pitta -- 19, 4
Torrey Smith -- 12, 1
Owen Daniels -- 10, 4
Justin Forsett -- 10, 1
Bernard Pierce -- 3, 0

In every stop of Gary Kubiak’s NFL career, the main receiver in his offense has been the go-to guy. Steve Smith has that role in Baltimore this year, and he has clearly been the top option for Joe Flacco. Torrey Smith has just 12 targets through two games, making him an intriguing buy-low candidate. He has two deep targets, and dropped the only catchable one. Expect that number to pick up. Daniels will be a touchdown vulture all season, but he simply isn’t involved in the offense enough to be relevant in fantasy leagues

Buffalo Bills

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Sammy Watkins -- 16, 4
Robert Woods -- 9, 1
Fred Jackson -- 7, 1
Mike Williams -- 6, 2
C.J. Spiller -- 4, 1

These numbers do a good job of showing just how thoroughly Watkins has dominated the action in the Buffalo passing game. He also has four targets that have traveled at least 20 yards in the air, catching two of them for 53 yards. He’s the only receiver in the Buffalo offense with even one such target. In other words, he’s the only real playmaker in the passing game, and it would be a huge surprise if he got fewer than 110 targets this year.

Carolina Panthers

Greg Olsen -- 20, 3
Kelvin Benjamin -- 16, 1
Jerricho Cotchery -- 9, 1
Jason Avant -- 8, 1
Mike Tolbert -- 8, 0
Jonathan Stewart -- 4, 0
DeAngelo Williams -- 1, 0

Olsen and Benjamin will are going to lap the field in Carolina in terms of targets this year. Olsen has hauled in two of his three red-zone targets, one of which went for a touchdown. Cam Newton trusts him near the goal line, and will continue going to him when the Panthers are in scoring range. He will be a top-five tight end this year.

Chicago Bears

Brandon Marshall -- 23, 5
Martellus Bennett -- 21, 2
Matt Forte -- 18, 1
Alshon Jeffery -- 17, 0
Santonio Holmes -- 7, 1

The fact that Marshall and Jeffery were able to play last week against the 49ers says a lot about their toughness. Jeffery didn’t show up huge on the stat sheet, but drew three penalties that gave the Bears first downs. Don’t worry about that zero next to his name for red-zone targets, because that’ll change very soon. Meanwhile, Jay Cutler still clearly prefers Marshall over all others when the Bears get near the goal line.

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Cincinnati Bengals

Giovani Bernard -- 16, 0
Mohamed Sanu -- 11, 2
A.J. Green -- 9, 1
Brandon Tate -- 9, 0
Jermaine Gresham -- 8, 1
Dane Sanzenbacher -- 4, 2
Tyler Eifert -- 3, 0

It would be nice to see Bernard get some targets in the red zone, but as long as he’s averaging eight looks per game, he’s going to be a fantasy monster. Sanu is worth a speculative add while we’re waiting for more news on Green’s foot injury. He could be worth starting in deeper leagues this week if the third-year star out of Georgia has to sit this week.

Cleveland Browns

Andrew Hawkins -- 23, 2
Miles Austin -- 14, 2
Taylor Gabriel -- 12, 2
Jordan Cameron -- 5, 0
Terrance West -- 2, 1
Ben Tate -- 0, 0

The Browns have two touchdowns on 10 red-zone pass attempts this year, which is one of the best ways to show just how desperate this team is for Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron. The latter should hog the red-zone targets when he returns from his shoulder injury. Not only is Hawkins leading the team in targets, he appears to be the only deep threat. He has four deep targets, catching two of them for 53 yards. Give him a look in deeper leagues.

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Dallas Cowboys

Dez Bryant -- 21, 2
Jason Witten -- 13, 2
Terrance Williams -- 12, 2
Cole Beasley -- 9, 2
DeMarco Murray -- 7, 0
Lance Dunbar -- 3, 1

Bryant is predictably way ahead of the field in targets, and it’s only a matter of time before the case is the same with red-zone targets. Bryant isn’t necessarily a downfield monster in the way his brethren in the elite class of receivers are, but he hasn’t caught a pass that has traveled at least 20 yards in the air yet this season. That should change in short order. While Williams has been a bit of a disappointment this year, the two red-zone targets are encouraging.

Denver Broncos

Demaryius Thomas -- 22, 5
Emmanuel Sanders -- 18, 2<
Julius Thomas -- 13, 2
Andre Caldwell -- 6, 1
Montee Ball -- 5, 0
Cody Latimer -- 0, 0

We surmised before the season that the Demaryius and Julius Thomas duo would be the main beneficiaries, especially in the red zone, after Eric Decker’s departure (Decker led the Broncos in red-zone targets each of the last two seasons). Unsurprisingly, Demaryius Thomas has five red-zone targets, while Julius Thomas has four. Demaryius has only caught two of his for one score, while Julius has hauled in all four -- three of which went for touchdowns. Expect this to continue all season.

• ​Week 3 Waiver Wire: Brown, Cousins among hottest pickups

Detroit Lions

Calvin Johnson -- 25, 4
Golden Tate -- 16, 1
Joique Bell -- 12, 1
Reggie Bush -- 9, 0
Eric Ebron -- 8, 2
Joseph Fauria -- 4, 2 

Tate is going to be an important guy in most parts of the field for the Lions, but it’s possible that he gets squeezed once they get in scoring range. He doesn’t have the size to be a real red-zone weapon, and the Lions appear more apt to target Johnson (for obvious reasons), the tight ends or the running backs. Speaking of the tight ends, Ebron might be an interesting guy to stash in deeper leagues. He already has two red-zone targets, and got five targets in his second career game. 

Green Bay Packers

Jordy Nelson -- 31, 5
Randall Cobb -- 17, 5
Andrew Quarless -- 7, 1
Davante Adams -- 7, 1
Eddie Lacy -- 6, 2
Jarrett Boykin -- 3, 2 

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He may not put up 209 yards every week, but if he keeps getting double-digit targets every game, Nelson is going to have a ridiculous season (and I predicted before the season started that he would be a top fantasy wide receiver). He's caught three of his six deep targets for 136 yards and a score, and he already has five red-zone targets as well. Nelson does everything you want out of a WR1. While Cobb is clearly running second behind Nelson, he also has five red-zone targets. Aaron Rodgers doesn’t necessarily play favorites once the Packers get in the red zone. Go get Adams while you can, since he has clearly surpassed Boykin on the depth chart.

Houston Texans

Andre Johnson -- 17, 2
DeAndre Hopkins -- 13, 3
Arian Foster -- 5, 1
Garrett Graham -- 2, 0

It’s hard to get too fired up about the Houston passing offense. It says a lot that they have six red-zone pass attempts compared to 14 rushing attempts. Johnson has yet to be targeted on a ball that traveled at least 20 yards in the air, so he needs to make some noise in the red zone to be a valuable fantasy receiver. It would be encouraging to see him get more than one chance per game to make a play near the goal line.

Indianapolis Colts

T.Y. Hilton -- 23, 1
Reggie Wayne -- 21, 2
Ahmad Bradshaw -- 11, 5
Coby Fleener -- 9, 1
Hakeem Nicks -- 8, 3
Dwayne Allen -- 6, 2
Trent Richardson -- 6, 0

Bradshaw continues to outperform Richardson in every way, and he's proven to be a real weapon as a receiver, scoring twice on passes from Andrew Luck last week. Hilton leads the team in targets and deep targets, but none of the three thrown his way has been catchable. It’s at least encouraging to see the Colts challenge defenses down the field with Hilton. However, Luck has just five pass attempts this year that have traveled 20 yards in the air, hitting on one of them and throwing one pick.

• ​​Fantasy Fast Forward: Cousins steps up in a major way in RGIII's place

Jacksonville Jaguars

Marqise Lee -- 15, 1
Allen Hurns -- 15, 0
Marcedes Lewis -- 12, 0
Allen Robinson -- 9, 2
Mike Brown -- 9, 0
Toby Gerhart -- 4, 1

Lewis’ ankle injury, which will cost him 6-to-8 weeks, creates an opportunity for the receivers in the Jacksonville offense. Hurns may have gotten most of the press, but I still prefer Lee, who was a more polished prospect coming out of college, and is getting looks in the red zone from Chad Henne. Still, this team needs to have Blake Bortles at quarterback before fantasy owners can really get excited about any of these receivers. Do keep an eye on Allen Robinson, who had a nice game against Washington in Week 2.

Kansas City Chiefs

Donnie Avery -- 20, 4
Travis Kelce -- 11, 2
Anthony Fasano -- 11, 2
Knile Davis -- 10, 2
Dwayne Bowe -- 7, 0
Jamaal Charles -- 5, 0 

The Chiefs aren’t going to change anything now that Davis is starting in place of the injured Charles. They proved that when Davis took over for Charles last week in Denver. Try your best to ignore Avery’s huge target numbers. They’re largely from Week 1, in which both Charles and Kelce were marginalized, and Bowe was serving a suspension. Avery has caught just one of his four deep targets, and Bowe caught his only one last week. Kelce’s breakout is looming on the horizon after an 81-yard performance in Week 2.

Miami Dolphins

Mike Wallace -- 20, 4
Charles Clay -- 15, 2
Brian Hartline -- 13, 2
Lamar Miller -- 10, 4
Brandon Gibson -- 6, 1
Knowshon Moreno -- 0, 0 

Wallace has caught three of his four red-zone targets, two of which went for six points. The buy-low window probably crashed shut, but it’s still worth checking on his price. He and Ryan Tannehill finally seem to have something going in Miami. Miller may have fallen flat on his face in 2013, but that was last year. He has 105 yards on 22 carries, and already has four red-zone targets this season. Miami’s upcoming schedule (vs. Kansas City, @ Oakland, BYE, vs. Green Bay) is very cozy for running backs.

Minnesota Vikings

Cordarrelle Patterson -- 13, 0
Kyle Rudolph -- 13, 1
Greg Jennings -- 12 ,3
Matt Asiata -- 8, 0
Adrian Peterson -- 3, 1

This does a good job of showing why Patterson was overvalued in the preseason and why he was such a good sell-high candidate after Week 1. He is overly dependent on explosive plays that just won’t be there every single week. He has just one target of 20 yards or more this season, and that fell incomplete. Through two games, Patterson doesn’t have one red-zone target. No other receiver who is widely considered the No. 1 option on his team can say the same. Expect Asiata’s targets to skyrocket in the wake of the latest on Peterson. 

Winners and losers from Week 2 in the NFL

New England Patriots

Julian Edelman -- 18, 3
Rob Gronkowski -- 18, 2
Shane Vereen -- 11, 0
Kenbrell Thompkins -- 11, 1
Danny Amendola -- 8, 0
Brandon LaFell -- 6, 0
Tim Wright -- 4, 1
Aaron Dobson -- 3, 0 

These numbers drive home that the only pass-catchers you can trust in New England are Edelman, Gronkowski and Vereen. Might someone like Dobson or Amendola end up providing value later in the season? Sure, it’s possible. But there’s so little consistency from the secondary and tertiary options in the Patriots’ passing game that they become hard to own. Edelman has caught all three of his red-zone targets. That Vereen does not yet have a target inside the 20 should encourage his owners that brighter days are ahead. That will even out.

New Orleans Saints

Jimmy Graham -- 24, 5
Brandin Cooks -- 15, 3
Pierre Thomas -- 10, 1
Marques Colston -- 9, 1
Robert Meachem -- 7, 2
Mark Ingram -- 5, 0
Kenny Stills -- 4, 1
Khiry Robinson -- 1, 0

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Graham has nearly 29 percent of the New Orleans targets this year, up significantly from the low-20s that he totaled each of the last three years. Of course, he’s fully healthy this season. In the past, he dealt with ankle and wrist injuries that kept his targets down. I wouldn’t necessarily expect that number to regress to his previous three-year mean. Not only does Cooks already have three red-zone targets, he caught all three of them and has one touchdown. He also has one deep target, which he caught for 32 yards. He’s looking like a very efficient receiver. 

New York Giants

Victor Cruz -- 18, 1
Larry Donnell -- 17, 2
Rueben Randle -- 11, 1
Jerrel Jernigan -- 11, 1
Rashad Jennings -- 9, 1
Andre Williams -- 5, 0 

This offense has been in all sorts of trouble this year, and there isn’t much to glean from the target numbers. Eli Manning has pushed the ball down the field to Randle with regularity, but they’ve failed to hit on any of the three targets that have traveled more than 20 yards in the air. Expect Cruz, Randle and Donnell to all benefit from Jernigan hitting IR. Still, you don’t want to be too heavily involved with this group.

New York Jets

Eric Decker -- 15, 1
Jeremy Kerley -- 13, 2
Chris Johnson -- 8, 1
Jeff Cumberland -- 7, 1
Jace Amaro -- 5, 0
Chris Ivory -- 1, 0 

This team is going to be in a lot of trouble if Decker has to miss time. Without him, the passing game reverts to the completely toothless version of the past few seasons. Not only is he easily the team’s best red-zone weapon, he’s also the only true deep threat. Geno Smith has completed just one of his seven downfield targets this year. It was, of course, to Decker.

• ​Marty Mornhinweg-called timeout costs Jets a game-tying touchdown

Oakland Raiders

James Jones -- 19, 4
Denarius Moore -- 14, 0
Mychal Rivera -- 12, 0
Rod Streater -- 10, 1
Andre Holmes -- 7, 1
Darren McFadden -- 4, 0
Marcel Reece -- 4, 1
Maurice Jones-Drew -- 0, 0

Jones is dominating the Raiders in both targets and red-zone looks. He has caught three of his four targets inside the 20, with one going for a touchdown. Furthermore, the Raiders don’t have any other capable receivers. Jones is going to be a target monster and garbage-time stud all season. He could be a WR3 in certain weeks, especially once the byes start.

Philadelphia Eagles

Jeremy Maclin -- 23, 4
Darren Sproles -- 14, 0
Riley Cooper -- 13, 2
LeSean McCoy -- 11, 1
Zach Ertz --11, 0
Jordan Matthews -- 8, 1
Brent Celek -- 5, 2

All those Maclin doubters have to be kicking themselves after seeing him take complete command of the receiver position in Philadelphia. He already has 10 receptions and two touchdowns this year, and he has eight deep targets to go along with his four in the red zone. Maclin is the unquestioned No. 1 target in a potent offense. Ertz owners should not fear that Celek has two red-zone targets. The former is doing his best Rob Gronkowski impression this season.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Antonio Brown -- 20, 2
Markus Wheaton -- 15, 1
Le’Veon Bell -- 12, 0
Heath Miller -- 12, 0
Justin Brown -- 9, 1
LeGarrette Blount -- 2, 1 

It would be encouraging to see Wheaton get more looks in the red zone, but given the scarcity of red zone pass attempts for the Steelers thus far, we can chalk it up to a lack of opportunity. It is a bit surprising to see Bell with a goose egg in red-zone targets through two games. That only makes me like him more for the rest of the season, not less. The expected 10 or so red-zone targets for him will just be packed into his final 14 games.

San Diego Chargers

Antonio Gates -- 18, 2
Keenan Allen -- 16, 3
Eddie Royal -- 16, 0
Malcom Floyd -- 8, 2
Danny Woodhead -- 6, 2
Ryan Mathews -- 4, 0
Donald Brown -- 4, 0
Ladarius Green -- 2, 0 

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The Gates resurgence is real, and it is spectacular. Now is the time to buy low on Allen. He has had tough matchups with the Cardinals and Seahawks, but he still has an impressive 16 targets, including three in the red zone. His 2014 breakout game is coming soon, potentially as soon as this Sunday. Woodhead already has two red-zone targets, and now should be in line for more touches with Mathews out at least a month.

San Francisco 49ers

Anquan Boldin -- 15, 1
Michael Crabtree -- 13, 3
Vernon Davis -- 11, 1
Steve Johnson -- 5, 1
Frank Gore -- 2, 0
Carlos Hyde -- 2, 2 

It’s very interesting to see that both of Hyde’s targets have come in the red zone. We’ll touch on this more on the Committee Watch later in the week, but it’s clear that the 49ers intend to get him the ball in the red zone. Crabtree is well on his way to putting up, at worst, strong WR2 numbers. He’s going to get the looks, especially in the red zone, necessary to carry him to those heights. He does not yet have a deep target, though. With the 49ers offense looking stagnant, expect them to try to take a few more shots down the field.

Seattle Seahawks

Doug Baldwin -- 12, 1
Percy Harvin -- 9, 1
Jermaine Kearse -- 8, 1
Marshawn Lynch -- 5, 1
Zach Miller -- 5, 0
Robert Turbin -- 2, 1 

It’s still too early to read into anything here, but, even with Harvin back, this could still be a very bland passing game. Harvin is essentially a rich man’s Cordarrelle Patterson. He has that big-play ability every time he touches the ball, but actually achieving the big play is very inconsistent. Baldwin remains an intriguing depth receiver with bye weeks looming. He leads the team in targets, and Russell Wilson looks his way on deep balls and in the red zone.

• ​​Seattle Seahawks knocked from the top spot in the NFL Power Rankings

St. Louis Rams

Brian Quick -- 18, 1
Jared Cook -- 13, 0
Lance Kendricks -- 8, 0
Benny Cunningham -- 6, 0
Chris Givens -- 6, 0
Austin Pettis -- 4, 1
Tavon Austin -- 4, 0
Kenny Britt -- 4, 0
Zac Stacy -- 2, 0 

Quick is the only player in this passing game worth discussing in any real depth. He ha caught 14 of his 18 targets, though he has yet to get in the end zone. At 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds, he has the size to be a legitimate weapon. Austin Davis looked capable in the team’s win over the Buccaneers last week, and that is certainly good news for Quick. He’s worth grabbing if he is still available in your league. You need all the depth you can get in the next 10 weeks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Vincent Jackson -- 16, 1
Mike Evans -- 14, 2
Brandon Myers -- 10, 0
Bobby Rainey -- 5, 1
Doug Martin -- 2, 0 

Jackson has been targeted three times deep down the field, but none has been catchable. Evans caught his only catchable target of 20-plus yards. The Buccaneers have struggled to score, and they’re going to have to give these two big receivers more chances to make some plays down the field. That falls squarely on the shoulders offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford and Josh McCown.

Tennessee Titans

Delanie Walker -- 17, 4
Justin Hunter -- 14, 2
Kendall Wright -- 12, 1
Nate Washington -- 12, 1
Dexter McCluster -- 3, 1
Shonn Greene -- 0, 0
Bishop Sankey -- 0, 0 

Many fantasy owners expected Walker to be a productive tight end this year, but few expected this through two games. It is not a mirage, either. He’s clearly a favorite of Jake Locker, racking up 17 targets, including a team-high four in the red zone. Hunter has been a disappointment in the first two games, but there’s reason for optimism in the numbers. He has five deep targets, but has only caught one of the two that were catchable. Those numbers should increase so long as Locker keeps taking shots with him down the field.

Washington Redskins

Pierre Garcon -- 17, 0
Niles Paul -- 15, 3
DeSean Jackson -- 13, 1
Andre Roberts -- 9, 1
Ryan Grant -- 8, 2
Roy Helu -- 5, 0
Jordan Reed -- 1, 0
Alfred Morris -- 0, 0

Washington is going to have to get Garcon some red-zone looks. I would expect that to be a part of the gameplan this week, even if they have to force him the ball. You simply have to give your playmakers chances to make things happen when you’re in scoring range. Paul looks like he’s going to be a real weapon for fantasy owners while Reed is out. He already has 15 targets, including three in the red zone. He’s the No. 2 option in the passing game if Jackson is forced to miss time with his shoulder injury. For whatever reason, this team is obstinate in its views that Morris is not a pass catcher. That doesn’t make Helu or Grant worth owning, though.

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