Week 7: Snaps and Targets
Justin Blackmon, WR, Jaguars
The NFL has a new leader in targets per game after Blackmon had 20 last week, the most by any player all season. He had 14 catches for 190 yards against the Broncos and is averaging 9.5 catches for 163 yards in his two games since serving a four-game suspension. The sample size is small, but Blackmon has played like an elite fantasy receiver. Better to buy now rather than pay a premium if it becomes clear he can maintain this level, especially if it appears Cecil Shorts will miss games.
Vincent Jackson, WR, Buccaneers
Cease panic. Maintain moderate concern. After catching just three passes for 34 yards in Josh Freeman's final game with Tampa Bay, Jackson showed horrific chemistry with Mike Glennon in the rookie quarterback's debut. Two weeks ago, Jackson was targeted a quality 11 times, but he had just two catches for 27 yards. Last week, Jackson was targeted even more (14 times) - and he turned that into nine catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns. The Buccaneers are still a mess, but there's no need to sell low on Jackson.
Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions
Detroit's passing offense has been erratic since Johnson's injury, though Matthew Stafford found improved chemistry with his non-Johnson receivers last week while Johnson played limited snaps. A sign Johnson's value will decrease once he's back to full health? No way. Johnson was targeted Sunday on eight of his 39 snaps, 21 percent of his plays. Entering the game, Johnson had been targeted on just 15 percent of his plays. Stafford is clearly itching for his No. 1 receiver to be at full strength.
Zac Stacy, RB, Rams
The Rams had just 42 plays last week, a new season-low for any team. St. Louis averages 66 plays per game, just below the league average. So, 42 seems like a pretty big outlier. Though it depressed the Rams' production last week, it shouldn't overly lower your perception of them going forward. Despite having limited opportunities, Stacy ran for 79 yards on 18 carries. Only Doug Martin and Adrian Peterson have carried the ball on a higher percentage of their team's plays in any game this season. Stacy is far from an elite fantasy option, but he's getting an opportunity to be a decent one.
Jared Cook, TE, Rams
Cook has not approached his Week 1 production, and you should have probably already dropped him in standard leagues. But if you're in a deeper league and haven't already dropped him, don't be overly discouraged by his two catches for 45 yards last week. As noted above, because St. Louis had so few plays, all their players produced at lower levels than a typical game. Cook actually led the team in receiving yards and tied for the team lead in catches. That performance isn't encouraging, but it's no more discouraging than anything else Cook has done since Week 1.
Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts
Indianapolis also had a flukishly low number of plays last week, 48, lower than any team this season besides the Rams last week. The Colts average 35 percent more plays per game for the season. Wayne had 88 yards, a decent total, but multiply it by 35 percent, and he would have had 119 yards. Wayne is a good fantasy option rather than the moderate-plus option he appears to be at first glance.
Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs
The Texans, Kansas City's next foe, hold opponents to an NFL-low 57 plays per game. How do they do it? They keep the ball in their hands by using a league-high 77.5 offensive plays per game. When Matt Schaub keeps throwing pick-sixes, the opposing offense rarely gets on the field, and Houston gets the ball right back. Schaub missing the game might help, but Case Keenum should also be viewed as a turnover risk, especially considering the Chiefs lead the NFL in takeaways. Obviously, you should start Charles, but be wary of him and any other Chief having limited opportunities this week.