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Finally the targets are on the rise. Granted, it helped that no teams were on a bye, so all 32 teams were in action, throwing the ball around while some us enjoyed a turkey dinner and again on Sunday. In what was a rough week for fantasy owners of top wide receivers, plenty of players stepped up and had plenty of Week 12 targets.

Last week, many players that were not typically the top receiving option of their respective team had the most targets on their team. Some tight ends and running backs had more targets than the No. 1 receiver as well.

In Week 12, that trend continues. As players get injured, the target distribution changes. Note that the target distribution changes even if it is a quarterback that is injured or in a tough match-up. Coverage from an opponent can also dictate who receives the targets on that team (just talk to Brandin Cooks or Antonio Gates owners).

But just as one high-target week does not mean that the trend will continue, one low (or zero) target week also does not mean a player should be benched. Quite often, in fact, those are the players that bounce back the following week with a monster game.

Note that if a player has an asterisk next to his name in the double-digit target box, it indicates that they also had double-digit targets in the week they last played (taking into account bye weeks).

As always, none of the charts below show total receptions, total fantasy points or touchdowns. The sole purpose of this analysis is to look at targets.

Week 12 Target Watch

Each week I will be reviewing the targets from the past week, the season and even digging deeper by running back and tight end. I will also be analyzing any trends I find along the way.

Week 12 Only Double-Digit Targets

Player Team Targets
Travis Kelce Kansas City Chiefs 15
Tyrell Williams * San Diego Chargers 14
Michael Crabtree Oakland Raiders 13
Terrelle Pryor * Cleveland Browns 12
Jordy Nelson Green Bay Packers 12
Jordan Reed Washington Redskins 12
Julian Edelman * New England Patriots 11
Mike Evans * Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11
Donte Moncrief Indianapolis Colts 11
Marquess Wilson Chicago Bears 11
Marvin Jones Jr Detroit Lions 11
Tyler Eifert Cincinnati Bengals 11
Odell Beckham Jr. New York Giants 11
Adam Thielen Minnesota Vikings 11
David Johnson * Arizona Cardinals 11
Emmanuel Sanders Denver Broncos 10
Kenny Britt Los Angeles Rams 10
Jermaine Gresham Arizona Cardinals 10
Kyle Rudolph Minnesota Vikings 10
Ted Ginn Jr. Carolina Panthers 10
DeAndre Hopkins Houston Texans 10
Michael Thomas New Orleans Saints 10
Tyreek Hill Kansas City Chiefs 10
Jamison Crowder Washington Redskins 10
Dorial Green-Beckham Philadelphia Eagles 10

 

After a steady decline in the number of double-digit targets over recent weeks, the number of players with double-digit targets in Week 12 has climbed back up to the highest it has been in over a month. With 25 different pass catchers seeing double-digit targets, fantasy owners should have been racking up the points.

Last week, one player had double-digit targets for the second week in a row (Antonio Brown). This week, five players had double-digit targets for consecutive weeks. Surprisingly, Brown is not on the list. However, running back David Johnson is, and as the Cardinals offense continues to struggle, he should play a bigger role in the passing attack.

Again, this list is a collection of No. 2 receivers on a number of teams (Ted Ginn Jr. made the list, Kelvin Benjamin did not; Adam Thielen made the list, Stefon Diggs did not; Emmanuel Sanders is on the list, Demaryius Thomas did not). Fantasy owners should look at the names on the list and keep them in mind. However, some of these names are going to be one-week wonders. It’s always just a matter of figuring out who those are.

Top 12 Target Leaders This Season

Player Team Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Total
Mike Evans TB 13 11 17 5 13 11 132
Antonio Brown PIT 11 BYE 11 18 10 6 120
Terrelle Pryor CLE 4 13 7 9 10 12 113
Larry Fitzgerald ARI 14 11 BYE 18 7 4 110
Odell Beckham Jr NYG 9 BYE 10 11 7 11 109
Jordy Nelson GB 4 9 13 18 5 12 108
Allen Robinson JAX 8 15 11 13 7 4 106
Emmanuel Sanders DEN 8 10 11 9 BYE 10 105
DeAndre Hopkins HOU 12 7 BYE 13 6 10 105
T.Y. Hilton IND 12 6 8 BYE 9 5 104
Julio Jones ATL 15 5 11 16 BYE 7 104
Michael Crabtree OAK 11 16 6 BYE 7 13 101

 

Similar again to last week, the number of targets the target leaders saw in Week 12 is low. A.J. Green has fallen off the list; Michael Crabtree took his spot after nabbing 13 targets last week. However, five of the Top 12 target leaders did not have double-digit targets in Week 12. Mike Evans and Terrelle Pryor are the only two that had double-digit targets for the past two weeks in a row.

Larry Fitzgerald, Allen Robinson and T.Y. Hilton have not had double-digit targets in the past two weeks. While Hilton did miss some of the Week 12 game because of a back injury, Fitzgerald has just been seeing fewer targets because of coverage and poor quarterback play. Hilton should play in Week 13 and should rebound nicely.

Top Tight End Targets In Week 12

Travis Kelce Kansas City Chiefs 15
Jordan Reed Washington Redskins 12
Tyler Eifert Cincinnati Bengals 11
Jermaine Gresham Arizona Cardinals 10
Kyle Rudolph Minnesota Vikings 10
Vance McDonald San Francisco 49ers 8

 

While it’s no surprise that Travis Kelce and Jordan Reed are on this list, some newcomers include Jermaine Gresham and Vance McDonald. Gresham, like David Johnson, is the beneficiary of the Arizona Cardinals not being able to move the ball downfield well. Carson Palmer has relied on short passes to gain yardage in small chunks. Who better than the tight end to turn to?

Vance McDonald has had at least six targets in the past four games (with Colin Kaepernick as his quarterback). He’s had at least three receptions for at least 50 yards or a touchdown in all four of those games as well. For fantasy owners who need a tight end this week (Delanie Walker owners) or are looking at a Rob Gronkowski back-up, McDonald is available in 90 percent of fantasy leagues.

Top Running Back Targets In Week 12

David Johnson Arizona Cardinals 11
James White New England Patriots 9
Isaiah Crowell Cleveland Browns 7
Dion Lewis New England Patriots 7
Darren Sproles Philadelphia Eagles 7

 

Out of the top five running back targets, two players from the same team make the list: James White and Dion Lewis. With his nine targets, White caught four of them for 22 yards. With seven, Lewis caught four for 34 yards. Lewis also added 24 rushing yards, but both backs were used in the passing game. While this may be a mess for fantasy owners, Lewis is likely going to overtake White as the passing downs back. Unfortunately until that occurs, White will continue to eat into Lewis’s workload.

Heading into the bye week, Isaiah Crowell had the targets, but didn’t have a great game. He did catch six of those seven targets for 47 yards. However, he’s not known as the pass-catching back in Cleveland (Duke Johnson fills that role). Crowell shouldn’t be chased in PPR leagues as he may not even have the starting job in Week 14.

 

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