Week 8 Fantasy Football Targets and Touches Report
We’re back for the Week 8 edition of Targets and Touches, the most informative stat column in all of fantasy football. In week six, New York Jets running back Shonn Greene led the NFL in touches with 34, but did he have it in him to lead the way for a second consecutive week? Did Dez Bryant get the looks he needed to be the King of Targets again? Can last week’s surprises Michael Jenkins and Mario Manningham get solid looks again, or were they just one-hit wonders?
This week, we have two leaders who have not led either list in any other week. Can you guess who they just might be? Let’s take a more in depth look as to who touched the rock the most in Week 7:
Wide Receiver Targets
15: Mike Wallace PIT;
14: Vincent Jackson TB;
13: Torrey Smith BAL;
Tied 11: Reggie Wayne IND, Calvin Johnson DET, Victor Cruz NYG, and Jeremy Kerley NYJ;
Tied 10: Andre Johnson HOU, Lance Moore NO, Brandon Marshall CHI, Marques Colston NO, James Jones GB, Hakeem Nicks NYG, Cecil Shorts JAC, and Josh Gordon CLE;
Tied 9: Steve Smith CAR, Miles Austin DAL, Jordy Nelson GB, Louis Murphy CAR, and Andre Roberts ARI;
Tied 8: Anquan Boldin BAL, Brandon Lloyd NE, Wes Welker NE, Nate Washington TEN, Brandon LaFell CAR, Mike Williams TB, Antonio Brown PIT, Leonard Hankerson WAS, Titus Young DET, Randall Cobb GB, Denarius Moore OAK, and Josh Cooper CLE;
Tied 7: Larry Fitzgerald ARI, Steve Johnson BUF, Brandon Gibson STL, Darrius Heyward-Bey OAK, Greg Little CLE, Ryan Whalen CIN, and Stephen Hill NYJ;
Tied 6: Devin Hester CHI, Steve Smith STL, Donnie Avery IND, Earl Bennett CHI, Early Doucet ARI, Kenny Britt TEN, Michael Crabtree SF, Kevin Ogletree DAL, Tiquan Underwood TB, and A.J. Green CIN;
Tight End Targets
Tied 10: Owen Daniels HOU, Brandon Myers OAK;
9: Rob Gronkowski NE;
Tied 8: Jason Witten DAL, Heath Miller PIT, and Dennis Pitta BAL;
Tied 7: Dustin Keller NYJ, Martellus Bennett NYG, Aaron Hernandez NE, and Rob Housler ARI;
Tied 6: Dallas Clark TB, Brandon Pettigrew DET, and Logan Paulsen WAS;
Tied 5: Greg Olsen CAR, Jared Cook TEN, Jermaine Gresham CIN, and Ed Dickson BAL;
Tied 4: David Thomas NO, Scott Chandler BUF, Lance Kendricks STL, and Kyle Rudolph MIN;
Tied 3: Benjamin Watson CLE, Marcedes Lewis JAC, and Tony Scheffler DET;
Running Back Targets
11: Fred Jackson BUF;
Tied 9: Shonn Greene NYJ, Rashad Jennings JAC;
Tied 7: Darren McFadden OAK, Mikel Leshoure DET;
Tied 6: Frank Gore SF, Felix Jones DAL, Marcel Reece OAK, and C.J. Spiller BUF;
Tied 5: Ahmad Bradshaw NYG, Matt Forte CHI, Ray Rice BAL, Arian Foster HOU, LaRod Stephens-Howling ARI, and Alex Green GB;
Tied 4: Darren Sproles NO, Adrian Peterson MIN, Jonathan Stewart CAR, Danny Woodhead NE, Chris Ogbannaya CLE, and Joique Bell DET;
Tied 3: Doug Martin TB, Daryl Richardson STL;
Running Back Touches
28: Rashad Jennings JAC (21 carries, 7 receptions);
Tied 25: Adrian Peterson MIN ( 23 carries, 2 receptions), Matt Forte CHI (22 carries, 3 receptions);
Tied 24: Alfred Morris WAS (22 carries, 2 receptions), LaRod Stephens-Howling ARI (20 carries, 4 receptions), and Alex Green GB (20 carries, 4 receptions);
23: Darren McFadden OAK (19 carries, 4 receptions);
22: Shonn Greene NYJ (16 carries, 6 receptions);
Tied 21: Frank Gore SF (16 carries, 5 receptions), Vick Ballard IND (20 carries, 1 reception);
Tied 20: Arian Foster HOU ( 19 carries, 1 reception), Marshawn Lynch SEA (19 carries, 1 reception) and Felix Jones DAL (15 carries, 5 receptions);
Tied 19: Chris Johnson TEN (18 carries, 1 reception), Doug Martin TB (16 carries, 3 receptions);
Tied 18: BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN (18 carries, 0 receptions), C.J. Spiller BUF (12 carries, 6 receptions), and Mikel Leshoure DET (12 carries, 6 receptions);
Tied 17: Jonathan Dwyer PIT (17 carries, 0 receptions), Stevan Ridley NE (17 carries, 0 receptions);
16: Ahmad Bradshaw NYG ( 12 carries, 4 receptions);
Tied 14: Philip Tanner DAL (13 carries, 1 reception), Ray Rice BAL (9 carries, 5 receptions);
Our top workhorse in Week 7 was Jacksonville backup running back Rashad Jennings. Jennings stepped in for Maurice Jones-Drew after he left the game early due to injury, and the Jaguars gave him a MJD-like workload. Jennings was fed 21 carries, but only gained 44 yards on the ground averaging just 2.6 yards per carry. He also added 7 receptions in which he averaged 7.6 yards per catch against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. Jennings has shown he has what it takes to carry a starter’s load, and I definitely expect him to get 20+ touches yet again in Week 8. Rashad Jennings availability is pretty high, and he is easily the waiver wire’s hottest commodity going into Week 8. If you need another starting running back for a little while to complete your playoff push, this is the guy.
Adrian Peterson seems to be A-OK since returning from his injury. Peterson rushed for a season-high 153 yards on 23 carries and he also added a touchdown Sunday against the stingy Arizona Cardinals defense. I am really excited about Peterson down the stretch, and I also believe he will be a Top 3 fantasy back the rest of the way. His 20-25 touch count stays pretty consistent on a week-to-week basis, and with the Vikings playing the way they are, sky is the limit for AP. Don’t be scared of a short week or Tampa Bay’s third-ranked rush defense. Instead, look at what Peterson did to the Bucs in their matchup last season: 120 rushing yards, 21 receiving yards, 2 TDs.
Matt Forte seems to be another superstar back returning from injury who has settled in to his usual workload. Forte took 20+ touches against the Jacksonville Jaguars three weeks ago before the bye week, and then came back on Monday Night for a second consecutive 20+ touch night. He rushed for 203 yards in those two games, but could not score a touchdown. In fact, Forte has not found the endzone since Week 1, but I am loving the fact that his workload is where it is. Just in case the crazy thought popped into your head that maybe Forte should sit against the Panthers this week, check out these numbers: In the past two seasons, Forte has faced Carolina twice, rushing for a combined 371 yards and three scores on 7.9 yards per carry, while catching six passes for another 45 yards.
Can’t Make the Scene, Without the Greene?
Am I the only one who got burned by having Shonn Greene on my bench the last two weeks? And are we ready to start him as we begin our fantasy playoff push? Honestly, I think so. After putting up one of the NFL’s best fantasy performances by a running back in Week 6, Shonn Greene had another solid outing against the division rival New England Patriots in Week 8. On Sunday Night, Greene had half of his carry count from Week 6 with 16, but he got heavily involved in the Jets passing game (mainly checkdowns). If you play PPR, it was another great day for Greene. But even if standard leagues, he played well for a second consecutive week. I think Greene can produce again at home this weekend against the Miami Dolphins, so I’m giving him a go.
V-Jax, a Whack-a-Mole?
Not in 2012. Maybe in San Diego. ESPN fantasy guru Matthew Berry recently referred to Tampa Bay wideout Vincent Jackson as the whack-a-mole, meaning that you never know when he is going to show up. This could be true for Jackson as a Charger, but in 2012 he has been a fantastic fantasy receiver. In Week 7 against the New Orleans Saints, Jackson caught seven passes for 216 yards and what the world knows should have been two touchdowns instead of just one. This was his third 100+ yard performance of the year, and he now has four touchdown receptions. Except Weeks 1 and 3, Jackson has put up 16 points or more and has 10 or more targets in every game this season. I love V-Jax week in and week out this year, and although the Vikings defense is awesome, I like him again in a short week on Thursday Night Football to start off Week 8.
Surprises – Cecil Shorts JAC (10), Louis Murphy CAR (9);
Before we finish up, here’s a quick list of the Top 10 2012 Target Leaders through Week 7;
81: Reggie Wayne IND;
81: Victor Cruz NYG;
74: Wes Welker NE;
73: A.J. Green CIN;
71: Larry Fitzgerald ARI;
67: Percy Harvin MIN;
66: Brandon Marshall CHI;
66: Calvin Johnson DET;
66: Dwayne Bowe KC;
65: Brandon Lloyd NE;
Don’t forget to check out next week’s edition of Targets and Touches!
*All statistics according to ESPN standard scoring.