|Written by Cory Steger|
|Written by Marc Caviglia|
Quick - without checking, name the NFLâ€™s leader in targets through the first three weeks. If you didnâ€™t cheat and still said it was Cecil Shorts, then give yourself a pat on the back and a gold star. The Jacksonville Jaguars receiver leads all players with 40 targets, which would be a little more impressive if he had more than 19 catches. Hard to blame him given the quarterback situation, but nonetheless he needs to convert more of those opportunities. Shorts does not find himself at the top of this weekâ€™s list, however. That honor goes to Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon, who returned from a league-mandated, two-game suspension to post a huge performance in helping his team win its first game of the season.
Take a look at wide receivers who received more than a handful of targets, receivers who saw less than expected and some newcomers in our Week 3 Fantasy Football Target Talk: Wide Receivers.
Week 3 Risers
Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns
2013 Week 3 Stats: 19 Targets, 10 Receptions, 146 Yards
2013 Season Stats: 19 Targets, 10 Receptions, 146 Yards
The Browns were playing on the road, having just traded their top running back, and starting their third string-quarterback? All signs pointed to doom and gloom for the Browns last week, and Gordon was the last player we expected to have a big game. Gordon showed no rust in catching 10 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown. Could there have been a more unexpected performance? Seriously, the Browns traded away running back Trent Richardson days before this game, and started Brian Hoyer at quarterback. At this point itâ€™s hard to bet against Gordon regardless of the circumstances.
Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
2013 Week 3 Stats: 15 Targets, 8 Receptions,143 Yards
2013 Season Stats: 40 Targets, 19 Receptions, 276 Yards
OK, OK, the conversion rate of targets to receptions is much lower than weâ€™d like it to be for Shorts, but you just have to love how much he is being targeted. In Week 3, Shorts had eight catches on 15 targets for 143 yards. Itâ€™d be unrealistic to expect that kind of yardage on a weekly basis, regardless of whether Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne is at quarterback. Shortsâ€™ targets have also come since Justin Blackmon has been serving his four-game suspension for violating the leagueâ€™s substance-abuse policy. There is still one more week before Blackmon returns, so we could see some more big numbers from Shorts this week.
Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins
2013 Week 3 Stats: 13 Targets, 8 Receptions, 73 Yards
2013 Season Stats: 37 Targets, 23 Receptions, 280 Yards
Things have been ugly so far for the Washington Redskins offense; however wide receiver Pierre Garcon continues to be one of the few positives for them so far. Garcon, who is currently second in the league behind Shorts in total targets with 37, caught eight passes on 13 targets for 73 yards. You want to see eight catches go for more than 73 yards, especially in an offense like Washingtonâ€™s that likes to try to open things up. Nonetheless, the Redskins continue to throw the ball his way, and heâ€™ll continue to be a fantasy force going forward.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
2013 Week 3 Stats: 13 Targets, 9 Receptions, 196 Yards
2013 Season Stats: 29 Targets, 20 Receptions, 324 Yards
We had been waiting for something big from the Pittsburgh Steelers passing game, and we finally got it in Week 3. Wide receiver Antonio Brown, who had 11 catches in the first two weeks, had nine catches on 13 targets for an impressive 196 yards and two touchdowns. Those numbers came in a losing effort for the Steelers, but as long as Brown is on your fantasy football team and youâ€™re not a Steelers fan, then all is good. Seriously though, this is more of what we expected to see out of Brown with the departure of Mike Wallace. Donâ€™t expect 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns every week, but the 13 targets is a good sign.
Santonio Holmes, WR, New York Jets
2013 Week 3 Stats: 10 Targets, 5 Receptions, 154 Yards
2013 Season Stats: 19 Targets, 9 Receptions, 218 Yards
For as bad as we expected the New York Jets offense to be this season, they have not played that poorly. For the Jets to get things going they need to lean on their veterans, and that includes getting more out of receiver Santonio Holmes. They finally got that from Holmes last week as he caught nine passes on 19 targets for 154 yards and a touchdown. He doubled his numbers from the first two weeks. Itâ€™s almost as if Geno Smith just realizes Holmes is a very talented receiver. Holmesâ€™ production this season will vary from week to week as we expect continued growing pains from Smith, but itâ€™s still good to see this former first-round draft pick produce a game like this.
Donnie Avery, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
2013 Week 3 Stats: 7 Targets, 7 Receptions, 141 Yards
2013 Season Stats: 16 Targets, 11 Receptions, 190 Yards
Donnie Avery may be on his fourth team in five years but letâ€™s not forget how good a of a receiver he can. Typically being stuck in poor quarterback situations, Avery provided that reminder in last weekâ€™s win over the Philadelphia Eagles when he caught all seven passes on which he was targeted, going for 141 yards. Avery will not do this every week. He is not a consistent player, weâ€™ve seen that from him over his career so far. However, we saw that despite his inconsistencies he did have some good games with the Indianapolis Colts last year, and that will be the same case with the Chiefs this season.
Aaron Dobson, WR, New England Patriots
2013 Week 3 Stats: 10 Targets, 7 Receptions, 52 Yards
2013 Season Stats: 20 Targets, 10 Receptions, 108 Yards
Being a rookie can be difficult. Being a rookie wide receiver with Tom Brady as your quarterback and Bill Belichick as your head coach can be downright impossible. However, New England Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson is slowly proving his worth. He did nothing in Week 1, had three catches on 10 targets, and then last week he had seven catches on 10 targets. Those seven catches went for just 52 yards but the week-to-week progression is telling that Dobson is slowly starting to gain the confidence of Brady. You donâ€™t need us to tell you how much that can be worth.
Nate Washington, WR, Tennessee Titans
2013 Week 3 Stats: 10 Targets, 8 Receptions, 131 Yards
2013 Season Stats: 22 Targets, 15 Receptions, 227 Yards
For as long as Nate Washington has been around heâ€™s never been a primary receiver. Sure, heâ€™s had some terrific games and some good seasons, but heâ€™s always been No. 2. That could be changing in Nashville this season, especially after Washington caught eight passes on 10 targets for 131 yards last week. Compare that with his teammate, Kenny Britt, who was held without a catch on five targets in Week 3. A changing of the guard, or just a matchup issue? It remains to be seen, but so far Washington has played pretty well, and Britt has been a huge disappointment.
Week 3 Fallers
Chris Givens, WR, St. Louis Rams
2013 Week 3 Stats: 8 Targets, 2 Receptions, 54 Yards
2013 Season Stats: 19 Targets, 9 Receptions, 186 Yards
In Week 2 St. Louis Rams receiver Chris Givens had five catches for 105 yards on eight targets. Last week, he got those eight targets again, but he had just two catches for 54 yards. To be frank, more was expected from the second-year receiver. Isaiah Pead, Jared Cook, Tavon Austin and Lance Kendricks all had less targets than Givens last week, and all of them managed more catches. Letâ€™s hope this type of game does not become a trend for Givens.
Robert Woods, WR, Buffalo Bills
2013 Week 3 Stats: 10 Targets, 2 Receptions, 35 Yards
2013 Season Stats: 18 Targets, 7 Receptions, 121 Yards
Itâ€™s hard to be too critical about a rookie wide receiver, especially when his quarterback is also a rookie. However, Buffalo Bills receiver Robert Woods simply did not get the job done last week. He finished with just two catches on 10 targets, going for only 35 yards. He is converting just 39 percent of his targets this season, which is an atrocious mark. Generally, you want receivers to convert at least 50 percent of their targets into catches, and the good ones will be between 65-70 percent. Woods is a Round 2 selection so the Bills think highly of him, letâ€™s see if he can start to make good on that potential.
Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee Titans
2013 Week 3 Stats: 5 Targets, 0 Receptions, 0 Yards
2013 Season Stats: 16 Targets, 5 Receptions, 43 Yards
As mentioned above, Britt had a game to forget. He didnâ€™t show up in the box score because he failed to catch a pass on five targets. How do you even do that? He now has just five catches on 16 targets this season. Week to week Britt owners continue to lose faith in their guy, and at this point we can empathize with them because heâ€™s not getting it done. Honestly, if you havenâ€™t cut this guy already you should think about doing so because you just canâ€™t wait forever for Britt to decide he wants to start playing again.
Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants
2013 Week 3 Stats: 8 Targets, 3 Receptions, 25 Yards
2013 Season Stats: 27 Targets, 16 Receptions, 261 Yards
Victor Cruz demanded a new contract this season and got it, then less than 24 hours after he signed that contract he was whining about how it wasnâ€™t enough money. Cruz needs to close that mouth and catch some more passes, unlike what he did last week when he caught just three passes on eight targets for 25 yards. If this guy think heâ€™s worth the same money that a top-five receiver is worth, then heâ€™s got to to do better than what he did last week. A lot better. We know Cruz will bounce back so donâ€™t the panic button and go dropping your WR2.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
2013 Week 3 Stats: 3 Targets, 1 Receptions, 4 Yards
2013 Season Stats: 17 Targets, 9 Receptions, 90 Yards
Itâ€™s true, we recommended starting Kansas City Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe last week. So did a lot of people. The matchup with the Eaglesâ€™ 29th-ranked pass defense was very enticing, yet it simply did not produce the results we expected from Bowe. He finished with one catch for four yards on three targets. To be fair, the Chiefs got an early lead and ran the ball 37 times, but more was expected and needed from Bowe. So far heâ€™s got just nine catches in three games, and he needs to step it up and play like weâ€™ve seen him play before.
Eddie Royal, WR, San Diego Chargers
2013 Week 3 Stats: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 34 Yards
2013 Season Stats: 16 Targets, 12 Receptions, 148 Yards
One of the most popular pickups early this season has been San Diego Chargers receiver Eddie Royal. Royal had five touchdowns in the first two weeks of the season and was instantly snatched up in many fantasy leagues, only to go out and catch two passes for 34 yards and no touchdowns last week. Since catching 91 passes as a rookie in 2008, Royal has not caught more than 59 passes in a season. Royalâ€™s previous season-high in touchdowns was five, a mark he also set in 2008. The point weâ€™re driving at is that Royalâ€™s production in the first two weeks of the season came at a level he cannot match the rest of the season. Heâ€™s been inconsistent from 2009 on, and you should expect that from him if you put him in your lineup.
Lance Moore, WR, New Orleans Saints
2013 Week 3 Stats: 3 Targets, 1 Receptions, 6 Yards
2013 Season Stats: 11 Targets, 4 Receptions, 44 Yards
New Orleans Saints receiver Lance Moore has been a nice under-the-radar guy for the last few years. Heâ€™s somebody you could grab late in a draft, then laugh at your friends as he racked up WR2 numbers in your WR3 spot. This season, thus far, has been a disaster for Moore. He had just one catch on three targets for six yards last week, giving him a whopping four catches for 44 yards this season. Ugh. The feeling is that this is the bottom for Moore, and that his production will start to average out along with the numbers we typically expect from him. However, that could be a slow progression, and frankly, he may never get back to the level at which he used to play. At 30 , Moore is on the downslide of his career, so itâ€™s not realistic to expect what heâ€™s done in the past to be done again this season.
Week 3 Newcomers
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears
2013 Week 3 Stats: 8 Targets, 7 Receptions, 51 Yards
2013 Season Stats: 21 Targets, 13 Receptions, 104 Yards
Weâ€™ve been writing for a while about how the Chicago Bears need somebody to step up as the second receiving option next to Brandon Marshall. Martellus Bennett has been a good addition at tight end, but the Bears truly need a good second receiver. Second-year player Alshon Jeffery could fill that role. Jeffery had seven catches for 51 yards on eight targets last week. That nearly doubled his receptions on the season, but heâ€™s averaging seven targets a game. After a few more games like last week we could see those targets slowly increase to eight, nine or ten a game. Monitor closely.
Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans
2013 Week 3 Stats: 6 Targets, 6 Receptions, 71 Yards
2013 Season Stats: 21 Targets, 15 Receptions, 136 Yards
As a rookie last season Kendall Wright had 64 catches for 626 yards and a touchdown. Those numbers arenâ€™t bad, but the former Round 1 selection needed to pick it up from there in his second season. He showed flashes in Week 3, when he caught all six passes on which he was targeted for 71 yards. Heâ€™s now caught 15 passes on 21 targets, giving him an impressive conversion rate of 71.4 percent, which is much better than last seasonâ€™s mark of 61.5. He is definitely a player on the rise.