Fantasy football’s most targeted through Week 2

Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith leads the NFL with 28 targets, but he’s only the 20th-best fantasy football wide receiver in non-points per reception leagues through two weeks. He’s a stud receiver who’s getting plenty of opportunity, but it’s not transferring into fantasy points.

What gives? Does this mean we should not place such a heavy weight on targets?

While Smith is underperforming we have guys like Devery Henderson. The Saints wideout is the No. 8 receiver (again, non-PPR) in fantasy football, but he’s tied for 41st in targets with 12.

Again, we might wonder, how important are targets?

There are many factors that go into game day performances, but for receivers (WRs, TEs and RBs) there is nothing more crucial than targets. If a quarterback doesn’t look a receiver’s way very often, fantasy GMs must hope their bye-week fill in catches one of his two targets and escapes for a 41-yard TD.

Possible, but not very likely, right? Right.

However, if a receiver gets 10 targets and catches half of them he has many more opportunities to add up some respectable yards and break a long one.

So, targets are important, and whether you’re deciding to trade a player, make a waiver move or just plain set your lineup, reviewing target numbers has to be one of the more crucial elements in that decision.

Here’s a for instance: TJ Houshmandzadeh is rostered on two of my teams. Ranked 50th, he’s been a huge disappointment so far this year. However, Housh is the 12th-most targeted receiver in the league.

My assumption is that as a possession receiver, Houshmandzadeh gets even more looks if Hasselbeck is limited by his cracked rib, or if Seneca Wallace has to spend any significant time under center. Through most of Carson Palmer’s injured time in Cincinnatti, Houshmandzadeh was still a force because QBs don’t need to have a big arm to take advantage of his skill set.

As Smith and Houshmandzadeh have shown so far, not every target turns into fantasy points. But with players as talented as that duo, I’m going to bet those targets turn into more consistent catches, yards and TDs. Smith’s game last week makes him less of a value, but I’d bet Houshmandzadeh could still be had for a steal.

I paid a pretty penny for him in an auction draft, and I’ve already shopped him out for a trade, I’m probably overpaying to get Mario Manningham, but… Wait! It’s Week 2 and I’m already trying to deal? That can’t be good. I gotta stop huffing glue, drinking beer and eating cat food out of a can before I go to bed.

There are lots of other values and anomalies you could exploit in the name of fantasy football, but for that you could use some targets data. And I’ve got your WR, TE and RB target data right here:

Wide Receiver targets

Overall rank Player name 2009 Targets

20
5
18
2
30
25
6
37
15
7
21
50
22
1
57
51
48
47
45
23
13
11
58
38
35
32
27
82
63
49
10
4
3
83
68
64
31
26
19
9
72
54
43
8

Smith, Steve (CAR)
Holmes, Santonio
Moss, Randy
Johnson, Andre
Burleson, Nate
Ginn Jr., Ted
Smith, Steve (NYG)
White, Roddy
Johnson, Calvin
Wayne, Reggie
Robinson, Laurent
Houshmandzadeh, T.J.
Ward, Hines
Manningham, Mario
Muhammad, Muhsin
Bruce, Isaac
Holt, Torry
Welker, Wes
Edelman, Julian
Driver, Donald
Fitzgerald, Larry
Jackson, DeSean
Bennett, Earl
Randle El, Antwaan
Stuckey, Chansi
Gage, Justin
Murphy, Louis
Avery, Donnie
Mason, Derrick
Boldin, Anquan
Ochocinco, Chad
Colston, Marques
Jackson, Vincent
Royal, Eddie
Curtis, Kevin
Marshall, Brandon
Clayton, Mark
Cotchery, Jerricho
Knox, Johnny
Crayton, Patrick
Galloway, Joey
Edwards, Braylon
Clayton, Michael
Henderson, Devery

28
25
24
23
21
21
21
20
20
20
19
18
17
17
16
16
16
16
16
16
16
16
15
15
15
15
15
14
14
14
14
14
14
13
13
13
13
13
13
13
12
12
12
12

*Mario Manningham, Santonio Holmes and Andre Johnson have feasted on massive targets, meanwhile Vincent Jackson and Marques Colston have made the most of their meagerish targets so far.

Tight end targets

Overall rank Player name Targets

5
4
7
13
10
3
2
16
12
1
27
32
30
17
15
11
8
18
14
9
6

Winslow, Kellen
Celek, Brent
Cooley, Chris
Gates, Antonio
Daniels, Owen
Carlson, John
Gonzalez, Tony
Stevens, Jerramy
Witten, Jason
Clark, Dallas
Davis, Vernon
Olsen, Greg
McMichael, Randy
Miller, Heath
Royal, Robert
Keller, Dustin
Heap, Todd
Schouman, Derek
Lewis, Marcedes
Shockey, Jeremy
Watson, Benjamin

19
18
17
16
16
16
16
14
14
14
13
12
12
12
12
12
12
11
11
11
11

*Based on this list from Week 2, targets are even more crucial to tight ends. Five of the top 10 TEs are also in the top seven in targets.

Running back targets

Overall rank Player name 2009 targets

11
7
17
4
2
22
48
25
13
60
54
19
3
52
51
35
24
23
15
47

Hightower, Tim
Sproles, Darren
Jones-Drew, Maurice
Jackson, Fred
Johnson, Chris
Smith, Kevin
Slaton, Steve
Bush, Reggie
Williams, DeAngelo
Taylor, Chester
Moore, Mewelde
Rice, Ray
Gore, Frank
Savage, Dantrell
Faulk, Kevin
Washington, Leon
McFadden, Darren
Westbrook, Brian
Williams, Carnell
McCoy, LeSean

17
16
15
15
13
12
11
11
11
10
10
10
10
9
9
9
9
9
9
8

*Not surprising to see Hightower up there after his 47-catch performance in the season opener. Steve Slaton’s been a bit of a disappointment so far. He’ll bounce and it’s good to see he’s got double-digit targets so far. If your league’s Slaton owner is contemplating fantasy suicide via trade, a ninja would do well to assist him in said act. Disclaimer: Chinstrap Ninjas do not condone suicide or assisted suicide unless we’re talking about the death of a fantasy team due to stupidity.

So, any of you ninjas targeting (uh, yep, a pun!) these players in trades or waiver moves? Let us know in the comments

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