AFC Team By Team Notes, Targets and Looks: A Fantasy Football Lifeline

FantasyDCCorrespondent ISeptember 18, 2009

Each week I will be looking over each team and pointing out noticeable trends that can help you dominate your fantasy league. To keep myself amused, the formats will be different from week-to-week, but they will always been jam packed with relevant information not just for fantasy owners, but also for the casual NFL fan.

Buffalo—And Terrell Owens thought it was bad with Donovan McNabb and Tony Romo? T.O. is already complaining about Trent Edwards, as the Buffalo quarterback looked his way just three times in the opener.

Fellow starting wide receiver Lee Evans was targeted double that amount, while Fred Jackson (seven), Derek Schouman (four), and Shawn Nelson (four) also saw more targets than Owens.

Speaking of Jackson, he received 15 carries in the game, compared to two for backup Xaiver Omon. Jackson is a solid play in all leagues until Marshawn Lynch returns in week four.

Miami—The Dolphins didn’t run a ton of plays in the opener, which allowed for just 22 rush attempts. As expected, the split favored Ronnie Brown (10) slightly over Ricky Williams (seven). Each was targeted four times out of the backfield.

Week one goes to Davone Bess in the battle with Greg Camarillo to decide who is the second most fantasy relevant wide receiver in Miami. Bess hauled in all seven of his targets (albeit for just 57 yards), while Camarillo was targeted just twice.

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Ted Ginn was targeted five times and carried the ball twice. Brian Hartline (two targets) seems to have a leg up on fellow rookie Patrick Turner (zero).

New England—Tom Brady throw the ball a whopping 53 times in the opener, 32 of which were directed at Randy Moss and Wes Welker.

Kevin Faulk (eight) and Ben Watson (seven) received their fair share of targets, figures that would be near the top of most teams stat sheet, but rank just third and fourth, respectively, for New England in week one.

A surprising number from the opener was the aforementioned seven targets to Watson, while fellow tight end Chris Baker had only one pass thrown his way. Baker should see more looks as the year goes on.

Moss and Welker were the only wide receivers to catch a ball (a total of 12 receptions), while Joey Galloway was targeted just twice. One of the biggest question marks in the NFL headed into week one was who would get the carries out of the backfield.

Laurence Maroney was utilized early and ended up with 10 carries (12 touches), while Fred Taylor picked up the slack in the middle of the game, totaling nine carries (nine touches). Faulk had three carries to go with his six receptions and appears to be the only fantasy relevant Patriots running back (at least in PPR). Sammy Morris and BenJarvus Green-Ellis did not touch the ball.

New York—The Jets ran the ball a ton in the opener, as they tried to milk the clock against the Texans. Thomas Jones led the team with 20 carries, but Leon Washington actually had more looks+carries, recording 21 in the game (15 carries, six targets). Jones is the better bet in standard leagues, but Washington is the better PPR option going forward.

Mark Sanchez was not afraid to spread the ball around, targeting four players at least six times. Washington was one, the other three were Chansi Stuckey (eight), Jericho Cotchery (seven), and Dustin Keller (seven). There is no question that Stuckey is the No. 2 wide receiver after David Clowney was targeted just once in the opener.

Houston—The Texans ran the ball just 13 times against the Jets—bad news for Steve Slaton owners. He carried the ball nine times and was targeted six times. Chris Brown, who could steal goal line carries from Slaton, carried it three times in the game.

Schaub spread the ball around well, targeting five players at least four times: Owen Daniels (eight), Andre Johnson (seven), Steve Slaton (six), David Anderson (four), and Andre Davis (four).

Indianapolis—Many were down on Joseph Addai heading into the season due to the Colts acquisition of Donald Brown. Addai owners should be breathing easy after watching Addai carry the ball 17 times in the opener, coupled with six targets (five of which were caught).  Meanwhile, Brown carried it a respectable 11 times and was targeted twice.

Reggie Wayne was the league’s top wide receiver in week one and the 14 targets he received were the main reason. Anthony Gonzalez will be out for quite a while, which means Pierre Garcon (five targets in the opener) will move to his position as the second wide receiver and Austin Collie (three targets) will be the slot receiver. Hank Baskett was signed to add depth.

Jacksonville—Adrian Peterson supporters were quick to say things like “Uh oh, those who picked MJD over AP are regretting it now!”

In any league that rewards points for receptions, I’d still take MJD over Peterson without a doubt in my mind. Why? Although Peterson had an impressive 180 yards and three touchdowns, his grand total of looks was 26 (25 carries, one target). Meanwhile, MJD quietly had 29 (21 carries, eight targets).

That trend will continue, while Peterson is unlikely to go off for 196 total yards and three scores very often this season. Backup running back Greg Jones received two targets, while fullback Montell Owens had the team’s only other carry by a running back.

Marcedes Lewis (six) and Torry Holt (five) were the most targeted after Jones-Drew. Troy Williamson was a preseason sensation, but was targeted just twice. Nate Hughes received two looks, as well, and Mike Sims-Walker just one.

Tennessee—Nate Washington was the big wide receiver free agent signing for the Titans, but was targeted just three times in the opener. Meanwhile, Justin Gage saw the ball thrown his way 11 times and rookie Kenny Britt was looked at six times.

Bo Scaife was a favorite target of Kerry Collins early and ended up with five catches on six targets. Chris Johnson, as expected, received two-thirds of the carries spread between him and LenDale White. Johnson carried it 15 times and was targeted twice. White carried it eight times and was thrown to once.

(Remaining eight teams within full article)

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