Fantasy Football Target Trends for Week 3: Who's Moving Up & Who Lacked Looks?

Eric StashinSenior Writer ISeptember 29, 2011

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots scores a touchdown in NFL game action against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Let’s take a look at some of the target trends from the third week of the season.  Who was targeted most?  Which teams targeted their tight end most?  Who threw the ball to their wide receiver least?  Here’s all the information you need:

Top Targets—Week 3
1) Wes Welker—New England Patriots—20
2) Roddy White—Atlanta Falcons—17
3) Anquan Boldin—Baltimore Ravens—14
4t) Brandon Pettigrew – Detroit Lions—13
4t) Reggie Wayne—Indianapolis Colts—13
6t) Eric Decker—Denver Broncos—12
6t) Andre Johnson—Houston Texans—12
6t) Michael Jenkins—Minnesota Vikings—12
6t) Andre Caldewell—Cincinnati Bengals—12
9) Calvin Johnson—Detroit Lions—11

While some of the totals are impressive (Wes Welker and Roddy White), there are also a few surprising names this week.  The Detroit Lions threw the ball 46 times in order to come back from the early hole they dug for themselves, which helps explain why Brandon Pettigrew was targeted so often.  Remember, he had just nine targets (five receptions for 64 yards) in the first two weeks combined.  He’s a nice option, but I wouldn’t anticipate him getting this many looks too often, especially with Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson and Jahvid Best also needing touches. 

With both Brandon Lloyd and Knowshon Moreno out, Eric Decker was targeted early and often.  He clearly has taken advantage of his opportunities, turning his 21 targets over the past two weeks into 12 receptions for 161 yards and two TD.  He’s entrenched as the No. 2 receiver once Lloyd returns (for now), and a viable option in three-receiver formats.

Michael Jenkins has never been much of a fantasy receiver, has he?  It’s not like he’s a rookie, having been in the league since 2004 (with a career high of 53 receptions).  Don’t expect too many days like this.

Top 10 Targets—Year to Date
1) Wes Welker—New England Patriots—43
2) Roddy White—Atlanta Falcons—34
3t) Jason Witten—Dallas Cowboys—32
3t) Andre Johnson—Houston Texans—32
3t) Reggie Wayne—Indianapolis Colts—32
6t) Steve Smith—Carolina Panthers—31
6t) Brandon Marshall—Miami Dolphins—31

Steve Johnson—Buffalo Bills—30
9) Mike Thomas—Jacksonville Jaguars—29
10) Four tied with 28

Mike Thomas may be getting a lot of looks, but it would be a lot better if he were converting them, wouldn’t it?  He has 15 receptions for 139 yards and one TD on the year, with just seven receptions over the past two weeks and failing to surpass 55 yards in any one week.  Opportunity makes him a nice option, but he shouldn’t be counted on as anything more than a depth option until he proves otherwise.

While Reggie Wayne is always going to be more than roster depth, you’d like to see a little bit more than 20 receptions for 224 yards and one TD come from all of the opportunities he’s received.  Maybe the rumored QB change will help him get things geared up.

With Aaron Hernandez out, Jason Witten has clearly emerged as the top TE target (Tony Gonzalez is second with 24).  Wouldn’t it be nice if he could find the end zone, though?

Receivers with 10+ Targets in Three Straight Weeks

  • Wes Welker—New England Patriots

Receivers with 10+ Targets in Back-to-Back Weeks

  • Wes Welker—New England Patriots
  • Stevie Johnson—Buffalo Bills

Biggest Increase in Targets from Week 2 to Week 3

1) Roddy White—Atlanta Falcons—+13
2t) Brandon Pettigrew – Detroit Lions—+10
2t) Sidney Rice—Seattle Seahawks—+10
4t) Wes Welker—New England Patriots—+9
4t) Michael Jenkins—Minnesota Vikings—+9
4t) Todd Heap—Arizona Cardinals—+9

Making his first appearance in 2011, it’s clear that Sidney Rice is going to play a major role in the Seahawks offense.  If you took the flier on him on draft day, it looks like he may actually pay dividends.  He went off for eight receptions and 109 yards in his season debut.

Week 3 was the type of performance many were expecting from Todd Heap in 2011.  So much for all the Jeff King hype of late, huh?  Heap had six receptions for 61 yards and could easily emerge as a low-end option in all formats.

Biggest Decrease in Targets from Week 2 to Week 3

Players who did not play in Week 3 are not included

1) Kenny Britt – Tennessee Titans – (10)
2) A.J. Green – Cincinnati Bengals – (9)
3) Jeremy Maclin – Philadelphia Eagles – (8)
4t) Nate Burleson – Detroit Lions – (7)
4t) Deion Branch – New England Patriots – (7)
4t) Vincent Jackson – San Diego Chargers – (7)

Obviously, Kenny Britt’s spot on the list has to be taken with a grain of salt due to his season ending injury.

Was there a more disappointing performance in Week than Deion Branch’s?  Not only was he only targeted three times, but he failed to translate any of them into a completion.  Obviously, with the way Wes Welker was going Branch was not going to be a main component, but you had to expect significantly more than a big goose egg.  Don’t panic, as Tom Brady isn’t going to stop throwing him the ball any time soon.

Make sure to check out the rest of Rotoprofessor’s Week 4 information:


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