Rotoprofessor’s Target Practice: Week 4

Oct 10, 2009

RP4
Written by Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor

Week four has come and gone and we have begun to get a much clearer view of who are the favorites among their quarterbacks and who aren’t.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the storylines coming from Week 4s games:

Mohamed Massaquoi was targeted 13 times
I talked about him in the recent Waiver Worthy column (click here to view), but it certainly bears repeating.  With Derek Anderson behind center (and now Braylon Edwards out of town), Massaquoi has the potential to be the latest breakout wide receiver.  Picking up 8 catches for 148 yards is a huge day and one the duo could continue to build upon this week against the Bills.

Terrell Owens was targeted 7 times
That led the Bills and after Week 3s debacle, we should take solace in that.  While it led to just 3 catches for 60 yards, it at least shows signs of bigger things to come.  Just stay patient, though you obviously have few other options with him.

Jason Witten was targeted 4 times
That’s it?  Really?  So much for him being the key to the offense, as five players were targeted more often by Tony Romo in Week 4.  It’s just one game, so don’t read too much into it.  Still, could Romo be trying to force the issue on the outside instead of going to his safety valve?  Let’s see what happens in Week 5 before we make any definite declarations.

The Baltimore Ravens had five players who were targeted 6 times or more
What ever happened to focusing on the run?  The Ravens put the ball in the air 47 times last week with Derrick Mason (11) and Mark Clayton (10) leading the way in targets.  They’ve actually had the third most attempts in the league (154) to date.  It would appear that the Ravens receivers are going to get plenty of opportunity to make things happen, so certainly don’t shy away from using them.

Antonio Bryant was targeted 5 times
He appears to be healthy now and tied for the team lead in targets.  Unfortunately, with an inexperienced quarterback now at the helm, there just weren’t too many opportunities for anyone.  As he and Josh Johnson get on the same page, I would look for increased chances meaning that if someone in your league gave up on him now is the time to pick him up.  Outside of Kellen Winslow, he is the best option the team has in the passing game.

Justin Gage was targeted 5 times
We touched on this recently, but the Titans do not seem to have one receiver that they like to focus on.  Between Gage, Kenny Britt & Nate Washington, they are taking turns in being the favorite target of Kerry Collins.  That’s good, in that it makes all three potential fantasy receivers.  It is bad, however, since you never know in a given week who is going to get the opportunity to make a big play.  For that reason, I’d rather look elsewhere for a receiver until someone truly emerges.

Louis Murphy was targeted 10 times
It’s nice that he was given the chance to make plays, but when your quarterback is as bad as JaMarcus Russell has been, does it really matter?  He managed just 3 catches for 34 yards in Week 4 and has 11 catches for 172 yards overall.  If a change is made behind center, Murphy could prove usable in deeper formats, but for now he’s been rendered useless.

Brandon Pettigrew was targeted 10 times
The rookie tight end is starting to work his way into the offense after getting off to a slow start.  He had 4 catches for 64 yards in Week 4 and could continue to grow as he and Matthew Stafford settle into the NFL game.  If you need a tight end due to your bye week, he’s certainly someone worth considering.

Johnny Knox was targeted 8 times
No other Bears receiver was targeted more than twice.  I wouldn’t expect him to continue to be that big of a focus in the offense, but you have to like the fact that Jay Cutler has developed a solid rapport with him.

Austin Collie was targeted 7 times
It was tied for third on the Colts behind Reggie Wayne (11) and Dallas Clark (10).  While it was a good game for Collie, Peyton Manning has already shown a willingness to throw to Pierre Garcon and sooner or later Anthony Gonzalez is going to return from injury and return to the mix.  That makes Collie unlikely to continue to be any type of focus in the high-powered offense.

Mario Manningham was targeted 8 times
He clearly is the #2 receiver right now, but the opportunity led to just 1 catch for 43 yards.  Manningham had a tough day including a few drops, so you have to wonder if it will open the door for Hakeem Nicks (3 targets) or Domenik Hixon (injured) to get back into the picture among Eli Manning’s go to guys.  No matter how it shakes out, they all are miles behind Steve Smith (16 targets), but if you were one who flocked to Manningham, you need to watch closely over the next week or two.  Don’t panic yet, but if you see a decrease in his opportunities, the time may come to move on.

No Rams receiver was targeted more than 5 times
Unfortunately, this is something we likely need to get used to.  With Laurent Robinson out for the season, there just is no one outside of Steven Jackson to get excited about.

Mike Wallace was targeted 3 times
After a big week in Week 3, I’m sure there was hope from some people but he quickly cam back to earth.  Hines Ward (11), Heath Miller (9) and Santonio Holmes (5) led the way, as should be expected.

Chris Chambers was targeted 8 times
Should we wait a minute before writing him off?  It did lead to 4 catches for 39 yards and 1 TD, but that’s still not much.  He has to compete with Antonio Gates, Vincent Jackson, LaDanian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles for looks, so don’t expect any significant output from him.

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