Week 12 was an interesting mix of full-on fantasy football feasting from Thursday to Monday. Try saying that five times, fast!
While the Vikings versus the Lions, and the Giants versus the Redskins felt like classic Thanksgiving Day matches, the Cowboys and Chargers felt a bit odd. The Eagles versus the Cowboys seemed more appropriate. Nonetheless, the Chargers players cranked out some great fantasy lines against Dallas, starting with quarterback Philip Rivers, who threw three touchdowns for a total 434-yards.
We’ll take a look at some of the top fantasy Target Monsters throughout the NFL during Week 12. 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.
While neither Hunter Henry (5-76-1) or Tyrell Williams (2-58-1) made the Target Monsters list, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers found each of them for touchdowns. Rivers’ main target of the day was Keenan Allen. Allen went ‘buck wild’ on the Cowboys, burning the cornerbacks for 172-yards and a touchdown on 11 targets. In absence of Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys offense looks lethargic outside of Jason Witten, who caught all seven of his targets for 44-yards. You’d think that Dez Bryant would’ve stepped up by now, but he simply hasn’t. He’s just a guy at this point.
The man of the week was none other than Julio Jones. Let’s take a moment to digest his performance here. Jones caught 80% of the 15 targets thrown his way. Two of them went for long touchdowns, and Jones racked up a monstrous 253-yards along the way. To put that into perspective, the opposing (Buccaneers) offense only delivered 283 total receiving yards. Julio Jones was so unstoppable that he even tracked down passes from his fellow wide receiver, Mohamed Sanu. Sanu, reportedly a former option quarterback at South Brunswick High in Jersey, is now 6-for-6 in passing during his NFL career.
For all of Julio Jones’ accolades, he does come with a warning label. Jones is injury prone and has been known to have ‘down games’ after a big one like he had. For that reason alone, proceed with caution in using Jones against the Vikings in Week 13.
Outdone by Julio Jones only in total yardage, Antonio Brown one-upped the Atlanta receiver by hauling in 83% of his 12-targets for 169-yards and two touchdowns. Brown made an unbelievable toe-tap catch on the sideline to set-up the game winning field goal for the Steelers. Along the way, teammate Le’Veon Bell caught 12-of-14 targets and posted 88 yards to go along with his 95 rushing yards. It was also a good spot for Martavis Bryant (4-40-1) to prove his worth with rookie teammate, JuJu Smith-Schuster, sidelined. Bryant could be a sneaky-good add going forward for anyone’s fantasy playoff push.
Just when we thought it was time to scale back on Marvin Jones, the dude goes out and posts two more touchdowns on 109-yards receiving. He’s clearly Matt Stafford’s favorite target this season and is a safe WR2 rest of season. With Washington’s whole backfield banged up, Jamison Crowder resurfaced from the dead to post 141-yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. Kirk Cousins also found Josh Doctson for a score, but the rookie still seems touchdown dependent and is seeing less than seven targets per game. Both he and Titans rookie, Corey Davis (4-39-0), are great athletes, but also hard to trust as we approach the fantasy playoffs. They’re are stash players at best.
DeAndre Hopkins is so good that we’re almost tired of talking about him. Hopkins posted another 125-yard game on 10 targets versus a stout Baltimore defense. At this point, the water boy could toss passes to Hopkins and he’ll continue to make plays.
Josh McCown seems to have a good thing going in New York. He and the Jets receivers had a day against the Panthers in a losing effort. Robby Anderson snagged 60% of his targets and posted two touchdowns on 146-yards. Teammate Jermaine Kearse also posted a touchdown on 7-of-11 targets for 105-yards. Though the numbers don’t lie, it’s still mentally tough to think of relying on McCown and the Jets receiving corps for a playoff push. Mental fear aside, Anderson is a safe WR2 moving forward.
Again, Davante Adams (5-82-1) is the only receiver worth rostering on the Green Bay offense. As the Packers continue to lose games, it’s hard to see Aaron Rodgers suiting back up after his injury. Until then, it goes against all fantasy wisdom to even think of having Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb in your lineups. Davante Adams usage only people!
Rob Gronkowski finally got back to being Gronk this past weekend, and spiked twice on 5-of-8 targets for 82 total yards. Brandin Cooks (6-83-1) did his part to move the Patriots offense along during the continued absence of Chris Hogan. Everything about New England’s offense is fun right now, especially since there seems to be more clarity at running back with the dual usage of Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead. With Bill Belichick, it could all change next week though.
Larry Fitzgerald and Demaryius Thomas were duds in Week 12, ending their respective touchdown streaks. Evan Engram was perhaps the biggest disappoint, as he dropped several easy passes from Eli Manning. With the Giants offense still thin at wide receiver, Evans’ drops shouldn’t deter fantasy owners from starting him against Oakland in Week 13. He remains a top-5 tight end moving forward.
As fantasy teams move onto the playoffs, this is certainly time to start handcuffing players. It’s also a good time to get rid of dead weight, which includes players like Amari Cooper and Terrence Williams. With this being the last Target Monsters post of the NFL season, we wish you luck in your playoff push!