Week two turned out to be just so-so for many of our favorites. However, it did help to shed light on a few up-and-coming rookies, sleepers, and breakouts.
The Chiefs-Steelers and Lions-49ers games were the big draws of the week. There were fewer injuries to players in the league this week, but a lot more drama occurred off the field. Josh Gordon was scratched from Cleveland’s matchup against the Saints and later shipped to the Patriots for a pack of gum (a.k.a. 5th round pick). Antonio Brown had a few choice words for a reporter and hinted at a trade to prove his true value as a receiver. And still, Le’Veon Bell has made no indication that he plans to report for work.
This week, and every week, we’ll take a look at some of the top fantasy Target Monsters throughout the NFL. To be considered a ‘Target Monster,’ a player needs to be targeted at least 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.
One reason we suspect that Antonio Brown (9-67-0) may be unhappy is because teammate Juju Smith-Schuster became a focal point of the offense this past Sunday. Juju was targeted a whopping 19-times against the Chiefs to the tune of 121-yards, and he scored a touchdown. In his defense, the Steelers needed to score points by any means necessary since Patrick Mahomes ratcheted up his ‘go-go-gadget rocket arm’ for six touchdowns. Two of those were to Travis Kelce, who also hauled in 7-of-10 targets for 109-yards. Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt, Chris Conley, and DeMarcus Robinson also got in on the spike action. That didn’t include the six targets that Sammy Watkins secured for 100-yards. The Chiefs have an insane setup against the 49ers this coming Sunday, so we could be looking at a similar outcome.
Both Stefon Diggs (9-128-2) and Adam Thielen (12-131-1) went bananas against the Packers, only to walk away with a tie game. Davante Adams did his normal, posting a nifty touchdown on 8-of-12 targets. These tie games simply aren’t good for the NFL.
It appears that Ryan Fitzpatrick can do no wrong in the absence of Jameis Winston. Fitzpatrick hit four different receivers for touchdowns, and hooked up with Mike Evans on 10-of-12 targets for 83-yards and a touchdown. DeSean Jackson racked up 129-yards on just four targets and appears to be one of Fitzpatrick’s favorites. The question is, can either of these guys keep it up long enough to remain relevant while Jameis Winston and Chris Godwin wait in the wings.
Deshaun Watson had a nice bounce back week, partially due to the return of Will Fuller, who posted 113-yards and a touchdown on 8-of-9 targets. When Fuller’s on the field, it opens things up immensely for DeAndre Hopkins (6-110-1). If the Texans were to establish any kind of consistent running game, this offense could be dangerous. Unfortunately, Houston will need to fix their offensive line issues first.
How about John Gruden calling out Derek Carr for not hitting his top target! The message must have been heard loud and clear because ‘Hot Potato’ Carr connected with Amari Cooper on 10-of-10 targets for a total of 116-yards. For Carr to connect with Cooper on 100% of his targets is like dialing back the clock to…well, never! Let’s just hope that the message hasn’t gone in one ear and out the other for week three (…whispers, “Throw it to Amari”).
Kenny Golladay (6-89-1) continues to look like the real deal, unlike last year when he showed up for week one and was never heard from again. He’s been getting about the same amount of targets as teammate, Marvin Jones (4-54-1), though that could change in Golladay’s favor any day now. Golden Tate’s targets won’t be affected much since he mans the slot. Regardless, there should be enough passes to go around for all three receivers, with Golladay considered as Detroit’s WR1.
Julio Jones (5-64-0) has been very quiet, which has to be disappointing for fantasy owners. Although I haven’t owned shares of Julio in quite some time, be patient.
Sleeper candidate, Keelan Cole, broke out in a big way against the Patriots. Cole, who got a bump in the lineup following Marqise Lee’s season-ending knee surgery, caught 88% of his targets and posted 116-yards and a touchdown. Fellow receivers, Donte Moncrief (4-34-1) and Dede Westbrook, chipped in as well to defeat Tom Brady & Co. Believe it or not, the Jaguars are actually fun to watch now!
Although A.J. Green didn’t give us a lot of yards in week three, he made up for it by getting into the end zone three times on nine targets. Both Tyler Boyd (6-91-1) and John Ross round out Cincinnati’s all-of-a-sudden fantasy-relevant wide receiving corps. Boyd is certainly worth a flier, and may be slightly ahead of Ross.
Running backs also put on a target clinic this past weekend. Saquon Barkley notched 16-targets, Christian McCaffrey saw fifteen, and Chris Thompson racked up fourteen. Ironically, none of them scored, but the targets were better than expected usage none-the-less. Hopefully there’s more to come from all three of these guys!
Ravens’ John Brown (4-92-1) may have been forgotten since he played (early) during last week’s Thursday game, but if he’s out there on your waiver wire, you’ll want him on your team. Regardless of the depth chart, Brown looks like he’s the receiver to own.
Phillip Dorsett’s proved a good place holder in Julian Edelman’s absence, but be wary of the Patriots receiving corps with the arrival of Josh Gordon. Everything changes now.