Week 6: Snaps and Targets
Mike Wallace, Dolphins
Wallace had seven catches for 105 yards last week, but that doesn't exactly indicate he's suddenly developed a great chemistry with Ryan Tannehill. Wallace just got targeted a season-high 16 times. Wallace's per target production was actually pretty steady - caught 44 percent of passes thrown his way last week and 54 percent the first four weeks, 6.6 yards per target last week and 6.3 the first four weeks. It would be nice if Miami keeps targeting Wallace so much in future weeks, but better per-target numbers in Week 5 would have been more assuring going forward.
Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons
Nobody has been targeted more in the last two weeks than Gonzalez. (Victor Cruz also has 28 targets in that span.) Last week against the Jets, Gonzalez had 14 targets, and Julio Jones (11 targets) was the only other Falcon with more than five targets. With Jones out for the season, look for Gonzalez to take an even bigger role in Atlanta's offense. He's on the border of joining Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski and Julius Thomas as elite fantasy tight ends.
Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys
Only one running back, wide receiver or tight end has played all his team's snaps this season: Witten. Witten is one of the league's most reliable players. He's had nine, eight, six, 10 and 10 targets this season. The upside is last week, when he had 121 yards and a touchdown on seven catches. But Witten's biggest value is his week-in, week-out dependability. Don't expect many more games on that level, but don't expect Witten to let down reasonable expectations, either.
Justin Blackmon, WR, Jaguars
Blackmon leads the NFL in receiving yards per game after catching five passes for 136 yards and a touchdown in his debut after serving a four-game suspension. Those numbers are backed by an impressive nine targets. Jacksonville's quarterbacks are looking Blackmon's way, and he's producing. When both those factors work in tandem, that's very encouraging.
Cecil Shorts,WR, Jaguars
Shorts still leads the NFL with 62 targets, but Blackmon could cut into Shorts' value. Here's the good news for Shorts owners: Blackmon mostly took targets from other Jaguars, not Shorts, last week. Shorts was targeted on 35 percent of Jacksonville's passes the first four weeks. Last week, it was 31 percent. That's a pretty small drop, and if that's all Blackmon affects Shorts going forward, Shorts will be just fine. Of course, the distribution could change next week.
Jeremy Kerley, WR, Jets
The Jets had just 46 offensive plays last week against Atlanta - by far the lowest for any team all season. New York averages 67 plays per game (20th-most in the league), and the Falcons face 62.8 plays per game(fourth-fewest in the league). So, 46 plays is a pretty big outlier, and we must judge the Jets' stats accordingly. In that context, Kerley had a nice game. Kerley led the Jets with six targets, and he turned those into five catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. That modest production didn't much last week, but it could very well translate to bigger numbers while Santonio Holmes is out and New York reverts to the mean for offensive plays.
Jeff Cumberland, TE, Jets
Similarly to Kerley, Cumberland's numbers against Atlanta (four targets, three catches, 79 yards and a touchdown) look better when when you realize how few opportunities the Jets had to accumulate stats. Cumerland's yardage is trending up - zero in Weeks 1 and 2, 26 in Week 3, 34 in Week 4 and 79 in Week 5. He's caught seven of eight passes thrown his direction, and his 19.9 yards per catch and 17.4 yards per target are both impressive. If you need a tight end, take a flier on Cumberland.