Written by: Ryan Levy
Week 2 Target Hogs
16 Targets, 7 Catches, 59 Yards, 1 TD
Season: 25 Targets, 9 Catches, 102 Yards, 1 TD
The Cowboys pretty much got dominated in all aspects of the game against the Broncos last week. You know it’s bad when Dak Prescott is forced to throw 50 passes. Sure Dez received a league high 16 targets in Week 2, but this was simply a product of a sound game plan from the Broncos in which they stuffed the run game and made the Cowboys turn to the air. I wouldn’t expect anywhere near the range of 16 targets on a weekly basis for Dez or anyone on the Cowboys for that matter, as this is a run first football team that got away from their bread and butter in Week 2. Call me crazy but Dez just doesn’t seem to be getting open like he used to. Is he losing a step? We’ll find out more as the season unfolds and I certainly hope not as I am a Dez fan personally, but in my eyes he’s a WR2 until otherwise noted. He’ll certainly have his big games throughout the season but I am tempering my expectations.
15 Targets, 13 Catches, 78 Yards
This might just have been the biggest surprise of the week. We talked about it on Episode 81 of our podcast as well, but Jarvis Landry seemed to be the forgotten receiver in Miami this offseason. We all heard the hype surrounding the Jay Cutler/DeVante Parker combo during the latter half of the preseason, and rightfully so (did you see that Moss-esque catch against the Chargers?!), but there’s obviously plenty of fantasy value in Miami for Landry, especially considering where you likely drafted him. He’ll always make his money on underneath routes and yards after the catch with a lack of touchdowns, but he should continue to be a PPR monster moving forward. It appears as if Landry has an opportunity to move back (166 targets in 2015) into the fantasyfocused.com elite status of 140+ targets this year. Don’t get me wrong, he had a huge season last year under Tannehill with 131 targets, 94 catches, 1,136 yards (only 4 TDs) – but my point is that most of the fantasy community seemed to expect a major regression from Landry with Cutler under center and that doesn’t appear to be the case, albeit we only have a small sample size to work with. You should be comfortable deploying Landry as your flex option or WR3, hell even WR2, until he shows us otherwise.
13 Targets, 10 Catches, 97 Yards, 1 TD
Season: 22 Targets, 17 Catches, 156 Yards, 2 TDs
I mentioned the Cowboys’ performance earlier in the column when I talked about Dez Bryant, and Jason Witten was obviously another beneficiary of Dak’s 50 passing attempts. The more impressive thing here for Witten is the consistency through two weeks – a touchdown in each game, 17 catches on 22 targets and 156 yards receiving. All that is currently good for the number one fantasy spot at the tight end position through two weeks (PPR). Is it safe for us to expect a top 5 fantasy season for the 35 year-old in his 15th NFL season? Absolutely not, but it’s certainly POSSIBLE. No matter which way you slice it, Witten is a perennial top 10-15 TE in terms of fantasy and it looks as if he will continue the trend into his “old” age. Solid matchup in Week 3 against the Cardinals in Arizona on Monday Night Football.
13 Targets, 7 Catches, 73 Yards
Season: 29 Targets, 14 Catches, 128 Yards, 1 TD
League leader in targets through two weeks, impressive feat itself. Catch percentage is a bit low for my liking, in addition to the YPC, but that is to be expected with a young and inexperienced Quarterback. With that being said, it appears Hopkins and Watson are establishing a great rapport that should continue to improve on a weekly basis. My hope is that the Texans can do a better job of establishing the run so Watson can take more shots downfield as the season progresses. With a real possibility of double digit targets week in and week out, Hopkins is a solid WR2, with low-end WR1 upside if he starts to find the end zone more. The Patriots’ defense hasn’t been very impressive thus far in 2017 and I’m assuming the Texans will be playing from behind often against them in Week 3, therefore I like Nuk to have another solid game.
13 Targets, 7 Catches, 92 Yards, 1 TD
Season: 20 Targets, 10 Catches, 130 Yards, 1 TD
After a dud in Week 1, Alshon made good use of his 13 targets with 7 catches, nearly 100 yards receiving and a touchdown. Wentz has looked good through the first two weeks of the season and it almost looks as if the Eagles are content with leaning heavily on the air attack. As a team, the Eagles only carried the ball 17 times, with Wentz being the leader with 55 yards on 4 carries, while Blount didn’t receive a single carry. I’m normally an Alshon “hater” because he’s ALWAYS questionable, but with this being a contract year or a tryout for a long-term deal, I definitely like him this year. As far as week 3 is concerned, I’d normally say he has a tough matchup against the Giants with Janoris Jenkins likely to be covering him, but Jenkins didn’t practice all week and is considered to be a game-time decision (ankle).
12 Targets, 7 catches, 76 Yards
Season: 16 Targets, 7 Catches, 76 Yards
I didn’t run out to get any of the pass catchers in Jacksonville after AR15 went down, and I’m still not planning to. Blake Bortles looks better than he did last year, but he’s definitely not worthy of starting consideration in fantasy, not even in 2 QB leagues in most cases. Sure, Lee and Hurns can provide you with some solid PPR value for your flex spot in deeper leagues – but do you really want to rely on Blake Bortles to get you a fantasy win on a weekly basis? Consider the pass catchers in Jacksonville to be “spot starters” in your lineups as needed. Proceed with caution.
11 Targets, 5 Catches, 62 Yards
Season: 22 Targets, 16 Catches, 244 Yards
Disappointing Week 2 results for AB after another week of double-digit targets. The season stat line of 16 catches on 22 targets and 182 yards receiving is still impressive and I’m willing to bet he finds the end zone at least once at Soldier Field this weekend. Nothing to worry about with Antonio Brown after a “down” week last week – he will continue to receive double digit targets on a weekly basis and will throw up those gaudy fantasy numbers several times throughout the season. Deploy with confidence.
11 Targets, 4 Catches, 73 Yards
Four more targets than anyone else on the team in his action while John Brown was out. I’m not quite sure why Jaron Brown and J.J. Nelson both out-targeted Larry Fitzgerald against a weak Colts team, but it is what it is. I actually like the speedster J.J. Nelson more than I like Jaron Brown, but if you’re in a pinch I’m fine with Brown as a flex option, especially with the other Brown out again for Week 3. I don’t expect any of the above to be out-targeting Larry Fitzgerald very frequently in 2017 and I’m still inserting Fitz as a WR2 comfortably in all of my lineups. Don’t get too excited about Jaron, but he’s worth a stash on your bench in deeper leagues or a dart throw in DFS.
11 Targets, 7 Catches, 95 Yards
From the practice squad in Week 1 to the team’s leading receiver in Week 2 – quite the roller coaster ride for Mr. Higgins! Don’t get too excited yet. Flex option at best. Someone has to catch passes here, right? Corey Coleman broke his hand again, which is obviously very disappointing and Kenny Britt has quickly fallen out of favor in Cleveland. Calling Josh Gordon! In all seriousness, Higgins is a nice player that will have some solid value in PPR formats. He played 54 of 71 offensive snaps against the Ravens and should continue to see a large target share moving forward.
10 Targets, 8 Catches, 103 Yards, 1 TD
Season: 17 Targets, 13 Catches, 143 Yards, 1 TD
Now that’s more like it. Fantasy owners can breathe easy after his week two performance in comparison to his disappointing opening week. He’s already amassed nearly 150 yards on 13 catches in two weeks, including a touchdown last week. The Chiefs look great through the first two weeks, and with an intimidating run game highlighted by an impressive rookie, Kelce and company should see plenty of open looks. Top 3 tight end all day as projected.
10 Targets, 9 Catches, 100 Yards
Season: 20 Targets, 14 Catches, 135 Yards, 1 TD
90% catch percentage in week 2, 70% so far on the season. Efficiency is the word that comes to mind first. I’ve been hyping up Keenan Allen all season and I’m loving where he stands in the WR rankings so far. The targets will be there week in and week out and I truly believe he’s a top 10 fantasy WR in 2017. Here’s to staying healthy! The Chiefs tend to let up a lot of yardage to opposing wide receivers, therefore I like this matchup in Week 3.
10 Targets, 7 Catches, 69 Yards
Season: 14 Targets, 10 Catches, 103 Yards
One of the guys I mentioned in the preseason, before the injuries to Kevin White and Cameron Meredith. I’ve always liked Kendall Wright, but you have to know what you’re getting yourself into if you plan on inserting him into your lineups. He’s definitely not a top wide receiver in any offense but he’s a solid slot receiver that can make some plays and has good hands. I’m only playing him in deeper leagues and PPR formats. Consider yourself lucky if he finds the end zone and you started him. The stat line through two weeks isn’t bad though. I’d personally rather roll the dice with Bellamy or Thompson in hopes of getting a touchdown if I’m digging deep for a wide receiver rostered by the Chicago Bears.
10 Targets, 5 Catches, 97 Yards
Season: 18 Targets, 13 Catches, 190 Yards
My man! Love this guy. Currently the #3 fantasy tight end through the first two weeks of the season and rightfully so. 18 targets, 13 catches and nearly 200 yards already. Where’s the touchdowns? Start sprinkling in some of those and Ertz has the upside to be the best fantasy tight end in fantasy football in 2017. The rapport is there with Wentz and he’s clearly going to be looking his way early and often. If you drafted Ertz this year, you’ve got to be happy, especially considering how late he was going in drafts. The Giants aren’t all that strong at defending the tight end as shown by Eric Ebron in week 2, rest easy knowing Ertz is likely in store for another big day in PPR formats.
10 Targets, 5 Catches, 89 Yards
Season: 18 Targets, 10 Catches, 134 Yards
In terms of where this guy was being drafted this offseason, he’s been somewhat “disappointing”, but he’s quietly building the foundation of a solid fantasy season. The Saints are 0-2 again. Shocker. The touchdowns will come. Well, they better come, and come soon. In order for Thomas to return the value of where you drafted him, we need those touchdowns to start flowing. I’m not nervous yet, but if he doesn’t find the end zone against the Panthers this weekend I might start to feel a little uneasy. I’m still confident in 140+ targets this year and an improvement on his big numbers from his rookie campaign.
Overall, some new faces as well as some familiar faces this week in the leagues "Target Hogs". Hopefully this weekly column helps make your lineup decisions just a little bit easier. Looking forward to seeing what Week 3 brings us - best of luck to you all!