Week 2: Snaps and Targets
(Editor's note: This new article comes from one of our new writers, Dan Feldman. Expect an expanded look at all the snaps and targets in the coming weeks. Hit up Dan with any questions on Twitter @danfeld11. Cool? Cool)
After checking out all of the NFL's snaps and targets from Week 1, we look closer at a few notable players heading into Week 2...
Helu ranks No. 2 on the Redskins' depth chart, and he certainly saw the field commensurate with that title against the Eagles, appearing on 39 of Washington's 75 snaps. But he had just one carry. The running back with the next-smallest ratio of carries-to-plays (minimum: one carry) was the Jaguars Justin Forsett, who had one rush in 13 plays. Early indications show the Redskins using Helu as a pass blocker and receiver - he had catch for 11 yards - so unless you're in a PPR league, there's little reason to believe Helu has much fantasy value, even if the depth chart and playing time suggests he has real-life value.
The Eagles targeted Jackson on 36 percent of their passes, eighth-most in the NFL, last week. However, they targeted him on just 11 percent of their offensive plays - 51st in the league. Philadelphia built a 33-7 lead over the Redskins and put its passing game on the back burner, but that won't be the case every week. Michael Vick showed a nice chemistry with Jackson, completing seven of nine passes to him for 104 yards and a touchdown. That's a nice line regardless, but when the Eagles have to pass more, Jackson could produce even more impressive outputs.
Sanders was targeted 12 times in Week 1, which ranked 10th in the NFL. But that might underrate his projected impact, because the Steelers ran just 53 plays (31st in the league). Sanders was targeted on 22.6 percent of his team's offensive snaps - No. 1 in the league. His stat line of seven catches for 57 yards was pretty modest, but as the Steelers' plays per game reverts to the mean - i.e., rises - it appears Sanders holds a prominent role in their offense.
Thomas caught five passes for 161 and two touchdowns, but scarily, his production could get a lot better. Peyton Manning targeted Thomas 11 times, meaning the physical wide out caught just 45 percent of the passes headed his way. No other player in the top 25 of receiving yards last week caught fewer than half his targets. If Thomas and Manning become more in sync, watch out.
Olsen had 10 targets - 19th in the league - but considering the Panthers passed just 23 times, that bodes pretty well for Olsen. Only Anquan Boldin, who had a league-high 17 targets, factored into a higher percentage of his team's passes. In Cam Netwon's worst passing game of his career, Olsen caught five passes for 56 yards. When Carolina's offenses is humming a little better - there's nowhere to go but up - Olsen could have real value.