Targets, touches and touchdowns: Week 14

Targets, touches and touchdowns: Week 14

Statistical Analysis

Targets, touches and touchdowns: Week 14

By

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

With an intriguing Week 13 in the books, it is time to focus on the fantasy playoffs.

Hopefully, you’ve made the tournaments in the majority of your leagues, and if so, you’ve accomplished your most important goal as a fantasy general manager. From here, it’s mainly up to your teams’ stud players – and being on the right side of most of the random swings of fortune that occur weekly – that will determine whether you capture the championship.

Of course, making the right calls to fill out the final few spots in your lineup also will be crucial, and to aid in that overall endeavor, we’re taking the true temperature of some of fantasy’s hottest (and coldest) players entering the fantasy postseason and assessing whether they’re more trustworthy starter or bench worthy reserve as you lock in your playoff lineups.

Here are 10 players to consider with all fantasy points tabulated utilizing the point-per-reception scoring format in the Huddle Expert 10 league on myfantasyleague.com …

Jimmy Garoppolo

Current run of note: Even while finishing with his second-lowest passing-yardage total of the season Sunday (165 in the 20-17 rainy road loss to the Ravens), the 49ers’ quarterback has totaled the fifth-most fantasy points (107.88) at the position since Week 9 while ranking third among QBs in yards (1,242) and tied for second with 11 touchdown passes.

Postseason recommendation: Despite rushing for 174 yards Sunday, the Niners’ ground game hasn’t been what it was earlier in the season, and Jimmy G. has had to go to the air more of late. With stud tight end George Kittle back in healthier form along with newly-acquired and emerging wideouts, respectively, in Emmanuel Sanders and Deebo Samuel, Garoppolo’s weaponry has never been better than the present and he figures to have to keep airing it out with on-paper shootouts looming against the Saints, Rams and Seahawks as San Fran battles for the NFC’s No. 1 seed down the stretch.

Matt Ryan

Current run of note: After throwing for 15 TD passes and averaging 335.2 aerial yards per outing over his first six games, Ryan has only thrown for five scores while averaging 247 yards per game over his last five contests.

Postseason recommendation: At 3-9, the Falcons are going nowhere as one of the league’s biggest disappointments and unlike Garoppolo, Ryan is receiving less-and-less help from his supporting cast (TE Austin Hooper and WR Julio Jones are banged up and missing games) and offensive line (season-high nine sacks allowed Thursday) as the calendar flips to December. In addition, the Falcons only have one plus-fantasy QB matchup remaining, and that doesn’t come until Week 17 against the Bucs, and who knows who will be playing for Atlanta at that point. Stay away from Ryan unless he’s the best of limited options.

Joe Mixon

Current run of note: Since Week 8, Mixon ranks 12th among running backs with an average of 15.4 fantasy points per game and has totaled at least 16 touches and 70 yards from scrimmage in each of his five contests during that span.

Postseason recommendation: Mixon has authored a nice little second-half turnaround tale after ranking among the fantasy duds early in the season (topping 12 fantasy points only once in his first seven games while averaging 14.1 touches and 50.6 total yards per contest). The one-win Bengals don’t have a favorable remaining schedule outside of a Week 16 game in Miami, but first-year head coach Zac Taylor seems to have re-committed to featuring Mixon, and the RB responded with usable RB2 fantasy figures.

Saquon Barkley

Current run of note: Since totaling 45.3 fantasy points in Weeks 7-8 after returning from a three-game absence due to an ankle injury, the Giants’ second-year back has totaled only 30.6 points over his last three contests, with nearly half of them (14.5) coming in Sunday’s snowy home loss to the Packers.

Postseason recommendation: There’s no doubt Barkley hasn’t been the elite RB1 you drafted early in the first round this summer, currently ranking 13th at the position with an average of 15.5 fantasy points per game, but he’s still averaged a healthy 19.7 touches per contest during this current three-game rough stretch, and it’s hard to imagine the majority of Barkley owners rostering an RB2/flex player with more talent, opportunity and upside than the N.Y. sophomore.

Ronald Jones

Current run of note: Since posting his two highest fantasy-point totals (16.2 and 24.6) in back-to-back games in Weeks 9-10, the Bucs’ running back has been totaled all of 19.9 points in three games since, capped by Sunday’s season-low 0.8-point effort (six carries for eight yards) in a 28-11 road win over the Jaguars.

Postseason recommendation: Despite Bruce Arians’ announced anointment of Jones as the Bucs’ starting back last month, he’s averaged only nine touches over his last three contests and has been outscored by Peyton Barber in two of the last three games, including Sunday when Barber scored twice on his 17 carries for 44 yards while Jones was benched after botching a blitz pick-up. Meanwhile, Dare Ogunbowale continues to serve as Tampa’s main passing-game back, leading the team’s RBs in targets (35) and receptions (27). Jones certainly looks to be best back in the Bucs’ backfield, but it’s not translating into reliable week-to-week fantasy production, leaving Jones far from trustworthy, no matter the matchup.

Jarvis Landry

Current run of note: From the start of Week 9 through play Sunday, Landry has been nothing short of the No. 1 PPR wideout in fantasy with 106.5 total points, reeling in 35-of-54 targets for 415 yards and a league-most five receiving TDs. In Sunday’s loss to the Steelers, Landry drew double-digit targets (11) for the fifth time in his last six games and posted double-figure fantasy points for the sixth straight outing.

Postseason recommendation: It’s starting to look like the Browns traded for Odell Beckham Jr. in the offseason simply to divert defensive attention from Landry, his old LSU teammate. For the season, Landry has outperformed OBJ in every metric from targets (108-103), receptions (65-57) and receiving yards (919-805) to TDs (5-2) and, of course, total fantasy points (187.9-151.3). Landry’s yards-per-reception average is even a tick higher (14.13-14.12) than Beckham’s and is currently running a full two yards higher than his previous season-best of 12.1 in 2016. In short, Landry has gone from summer supporting actor to late-season leading man in the Cleveland passing game and has become a must-start WR1 in all formats.

DeVante Parker

Current run of note: We keep waiting for the red-hot Parker to cool off in South Beach, but Sunday afternoon featured nothing less than a career day in terms of receiving yards (159) and TD receptions (two) on seven catches and 10 targets in a 37-31 shootout win over the visiting Eagles. Since Week 8, Parker has been the No. 3 wide receiver in fantasy with his 126.5 points trailing only the Saints’ Michael Thomas (139.9) and the Lions’ Marvin Jones (131.3). Parker’s 65 targets rank fourth during that span, and he’s caught 40 of them for 625 yards and four TDs. (And, no, we didn’t accidentally grab the 2018 numbers of another Davante, Green Bay’s Adams, by mistake).

Postseason recommendation: The impressive numbers are one thing, but watching Parker continually leaping over Philly DB after Philly DB on Sunday to almost single-handedly propel the Dolphins to the upset win is a testament that the 2015 first-round pick has finally truly arrived in Year 5. For fantasy, he’s gone from a volume-driven garbage-time specialist on a pass-heavy Miami team to a legit every-week WR starter as he teams with the perfect QB in underrated gunslinger Ryan Fitzpatrick. Even better, the schedule continues to be favorable over the next three weeks with the Jets, Giants and Bengals up next for the Dolphins.

Allen Robinson

Current run of note: The Bears’ No. 1 wideout has been on fire of late, putting together back-to-back 20-fantasy-point performances in wins over the Giants and Lions. Robinson has caught 14-of-22 targets for 217 yards and two scores in those contests to rank as the No. 4 wide receiver in fantasy over that span through play Sunday.

Postseason recommendation: Take note again that those showings have come against the Giants and Lions – two of the six most-favorable matchups for opposing wideouts. But the pillow-soft matchups will now disappear for the next three weeks – i.e. the full fantasy postseason in the majority of leagues – as Robinson faces three of the eight toughest defenses for fantasy WRs in the Cowboys, Packers and Chiefs in back-to-back-to-back weeks. And with the likes of Mitchell Trubisky in charge of getting Robinson the ball against a trio of teams fighting for their playoff lives, you’re likely in for trouble if you’re counting on Robinson as one of your top fantasy wideouts entering the playoffs.

Jack Doyle

Current run of note: It didn’t do Indy much good in the end, but tight end enjoyed his best outing of the season across the board Sunday, reeling in 6-of-11 targets for 73 yards and a TD in a  loss to the visiting Titans. Doyle led the team in targets and finished with double digits in that category for the first time this season.

Postseason recommendation: It was addition by subtraction for Doyle as QB Jacoby Brissett was simply in the hunt for reliable targets with TE Eric Ebron and WRs T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell injured and out. Ebron is on injured reserve and done for the season and who knows when Hilton will be back after his calf injury flared up last week in practice, causing him to miss his fourth game in his last five. In the meantime, Brissett and Colts likely will keep riding Doyle as they claw to get back into the AFC playoff picture and you should too if you’re looking for viable postseason options at tight end.

Ryan Griffin

Current run of note: Since Week 8, Griffin has totaled the third-most fantasy points (76.6) among tight ends, catching 24-of-28 targets for 266 yards and a position-most-tying four scores.

Postseason recommendation: Like most middling fantasy tight ends, Griffin is touchdown-dependent as he’s only posted double-digit fantasy points in one game he’s failed to score in this season. And then there’s the Jets’ fantasy playoff schedule. After a Week 14 home game against the Dolphins, New York tangles with Ravens, Steelers and Bills – with two of the three on the road – and if Sam Darnold and Co. can’t even find their way into the red zone (let alone the end zone) against the likes of the previously winless Bengals as they did Sunday, you can’t have much realistic hope for Griffin going against three AFC playoff contenders with formidable defenses down the stretch. Scrounge up another tight end if you make it past Week 14 with Griffin.

EXTRA POINTS

  • Patriots RB James White, who had totaled only 12 touches over previous two games, logged a career-high 22, including a career-most 14 rushing attempts for 79 yards, in Sunday night’s loss to the Texans and finished with 37.7 PPR points which led all Week 13 players heading into Monday night.
  • Fellow New England RB Sony Michel, meanwhile, had a decent-enough start Sunday with 45 rushing yards on 10 carries but was relegated to the sideline almost as soon as the Texans took a double-digit lead midway through the second quarter and watched as White rolled up a career-most 177 total yards and two TDs. Michel also was phased out in the Pats’ Week 9 loss to the Ravens (five touches for 30 yards) and has become a game-flow and TD-dependent back who hasn’t scored since his three-TD outburst in Week 7.
  • Speaking of disappearing lead backs, the 49ers’ Tevin Coleman logged a season-low six touches (for 15 yards) and played only 10 offensive snaps (18-percent share) while watching Raheem Mostert (74-percent snap share) roll up 154 yards (and a TD) on 22 touches – both career highs – in the hard-fought 20-17 road loss in Baltimore. Coleman has been inefficient and non-productive (122 rushing yards on 49 carries, 112 yards on 12 catches, one total TD) since his 118-total yard, four-TD explosion in Week 8, and with fellow RB Matt Breida also due back this coming week after a three-week injury absence to further muddy the Niners’ backfield, it’s going to be awfully tough to trust having Coleman anywhere in your starting lineup in the fantasy postseason.
  • Rams WR Robert Woods was targeted on a Week 13- and career-most 19 of Jared Goff’s 43 passing attempts Sunday afternoon in Arizona and caught 13 for a career-high 172 yards. Woods missed Week 11 with an undisclosed personal issue but has easily been the Rams’ best receiver of late, catching 26-of-39 targets for 364 yards over his last three games but oddly still ranks as the league’s most-targeted player (99) without a receiving TD. Woods’ only score this season came on an 8-yard run back in Week 6.
  • Through Sunday, Titans rookie WR J. Brown ranked third in the league with 11.6 yards per target and has been the team’s most targeted (31) and productive pass-catcher (20 receptions for 353 yards and two TDs) since QB Ryan Tannehill started his impressive run as the Titans’ starter in Week 7, but Brown has only had one game (out of six) with more than 12.2 fantasy points during that stretch. And it wasn’t Sunday when he finished with a pedestrian three catches for 45 yards and no scores on four targets vs. the Colts.

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