It was an excellent week for NFL receivers compared to week seven, as targets were flying everywhere, especially in the Houston-Seattle matchup.
More than eight receivers with at least 7-targets topped 100-yards, while more than 15 receivers saw more than 10-targets. Some of our favorites got it going again, and there were also our trusty security blankets that padded our fantasy scores. Even with players like Larry Fitzgerald, Jordy Nelson, Todd Gurley and Evan Engram on bye, it was still a good week for fantasy targets.
We’ll take a look at some of the top fantasy Target Monsters throughout the NFL during week eight. To be considered a ‘Target Monster,’ a player needs to be targeted more than seven times within the given week. Hopefully this breakdown will give you insight as to which players to gravitate toward while assembling or tweaking your own roster.
Is it just me, or is Deshaun Watson the best quarterback in both fantasy and real life right now? This dude has gone bonkers since he’s been announced the permanent starter (and the proof is in the receiving stats). Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has graced the Target Monsters list every week, save for probably one. This week, Hopkins caught 8-of-11 targets for a whopping 224-yards and a touchdown. What’s even more astounding is that Watson still had enough in the tank to find his other receiver, Will Fuller, for another 125-yards and two touchdowns on 5-of-8 targets. If you have, or can get any piece of this offense, then you’re in the money. If the Houston ball boy is available, then pick him up too!
Jack Doyle is certainly quarterback Jacoby Brissett’s favorite target. Doyle caught 12-of-14 targets thrown his way for 121-yards and a touchdown. All of the Indy receivers, including T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief, have suffered without Andrew Luck. At this point, both can be traded or dropped following the NFL trade deadline.
While Josh Doctson was talked up last week as the receiver to own in Washington, our old friend Jamison Crowder came through with a 123-yard outing on 9-of-13 targets. That said, it’s also clear that Doctson is the key talent in the Washington receiving corps. However, 3-4 targets per game won’t cut it, which is mind boggling given Terrelle Pryor’s complete fantasy flop to date.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, what can we say! This dude had a day in the absence of disgruntled Martavis Bryant. JuJu went off for 193-yards and a touchdown on 7-of-10 targets, one of them being a 97-yard catch-and-run. JuJu’s definitely earned Big Ben’s attention and might be a good WR3 pickup, though Martavis is due to be back in the fold for week nine. Antonio Brown also saw 10-targets, but only hauled in 50% of them for a total 70-yards. There’s never anything to worry about with AB though, as he’s cemented as the unquestionable WR1.
Both Amari Cooper and Mike Evans saw 10-targets each, but didn’t do anything with them. Neither Derek Carr or Jameis Winston does either receiver any justice. In fact, three Raiders receivers saw more than 10-targets last week, but they were all dink-and-dunk passes. Winston is also a mess right now.
Adam Thielen (5-98-1) is the new Eric Decker. He’s good for at least 75-yards and a touchdown every week.
Rob Gronkowski and Travis Benjamin (35 snaps) both made the most of their targets in the Patriots-Chargers game. Gronk crossed the chalk on 5-of-9 targets for 57-yards, while Benjamin got into the end zone as well and totaled 64-yards on nine targets. As for the Chargers receivers, they’re all very unpredictable, much like the Patriots. Both Philip Rivers and Tom Brady will throw to whoever, never making it a thing to lock onto one receiver. On the Chargers roster, Keenan Allen seems the only receiver worth owning outside of running back Melvin Gordon. Though all of the New England players are good plays, everyone outside of Gronk is simply too unpredictable. Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan was reportedly wearing a sling after last week’s game. Maybe the Patriots will make another move after flipping backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo.
Russell Wilson, like Deshaun Watson, runs a pinball offense, though his receivers can be less predictable on any given week. A portion of Wilson’s 452-yards of passing went to both Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson. Lockett didn’t cross the plane this week, but did catch 75% of his targets for 121-yards. Meanwhile, his teammate Richardson scored two touchdowns on 6-of-7 targets for 105-yards. Surprisingly, mainstay Doug Baldwin wasn’t quite as involved in the action, though he did manage 54-yards on 10-targets.
Atlanta’s Julio Jones, like Mike Evans and Amari Cooper, is concerning. Matt Ryan only looked his way six times last week and left the big-bodied receiver with a paltry 74-yards. Mohamed Sanu, like Michael Crabtree (5-83-0) in Oakland, has been seeing a little more action lately at the WR2 position. Sanu nabbed 6-of-7 targets for 74-yards and a touchdown. That’s 17-targets in the past two weeks for Sanu. As we mentioned last week, Sanu’s worth an add during the bye weeks.
Saints’ Michael Thomas (47 snaps) seems to be in a committee role of sorts these days as opposed to being the WR1. Brandon Coleman (49 snaps) and Ted Ginn Jr. (36 snaps) are getting a fair share of targets, and the trade of Adrian Peterson has let Alvin Kamara enter the mix. Thomas’ status is more WR2/WR3 at this point until he proves different.
Among the running backs, McCoy, McCaffrey, and Forte (29 snaps) are becoming regulars on the Target Monsters list. Each of their respective quarterbacks seem to be checking down passes wherever possible. All three backs saw seven targets in the passing game this week, which is a pretty good mix for a player out of the backfield.
Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (47 snaps) caught a touchdown in week eight, but he’s still kind of ho-hum this season. Maybe he’ll be more effective now that he’s been traded to the Buffalo Bills. Alshon Jeffery continues to benefit from the stellar play of Carson Wentz, but we’re still not completely sold on starting him beyond the bye weeks.
The week nine bye nightmare continues. Key receivers that will be sidelined include Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Rob Gronkowski, Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, Keenan Allen, Melvin Gordon, and any Chicago or Cleveland receivers that you favor.