Opportunity in the NFL can translate to success in fantasy football. Are these target numbers a trend or an aberration for these players' fantasy football value? Do they deserve attention on fantasy football waiver wires?
Note: Last three weeks, not including byes, of utilizations (running backs) and targets (wide receivers and tight ends) for each player listed in parentheses. X means player was inactive. A listing of zero means he was active but not targeted.
Once again the New England passing landscape gets reshaped, this time as a result of Gronkowski's broken forearm, leaving the team with a large void to fill in the red zone. Gronk tallied a league-best eight scores from inside the 20 but is expected to miss multiple games. With Hernandez (ankle) due back on Thanksgiving, he becomes an obvious beneficiary here. This holiday return follows a three-game absence for Hernandez. As the fantasy playoffs are rapidly approaching look for imaginary dollar bills to replace Gronking when the Pats find the end zone.
Cobb salad tasty
The wide receiver position is also getting shaken up. After cutting into Welker's snaps the first three games of the season, Edelman supplanted Lloyd in two-receiver sets this week. The threat to Lloyd is legitimate after Edelman posted numerous highlights: catching his second touchdown of the season while adding a 47-yard run and a punt return for another score.
Of course, Edelman's best skill on offense is run blocking, so maybe that's where he'll return for his top plays. If Lloyd was cut, scoop him up on the off-chance he gets back in their good graces. The Patriots' backup tight ends will rotate too much to deserve your fantasy pursuit.
Weekly Saturday meetings with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and a bye week to work on their lukewarm connection paid off for Finley in Week 11 (3-66-1). Despite talk of an expanded role for him, Finley is still playing about half the snaps on offense and has received just five targets over the last two games.
In addition to 21 targets, Cobb has been credited with five rushing attempts in the last two games as the Packers give their playmaker additional opportunities. Clearly, Nelson's return doesn't hurt Cobb in the least, but Jones got a season-low four targets and remains in slight danger of being bumped down another peg if Finley keeps improving.
It may look like Starks is pulling away after his second straight start at running back after Green struggled when he was asked to carry the load. However, Starks hasn't been all that exciting either, leaving head coach Mike McCarthy state he regretted not getting Green involved. Benson (foot) hopes to be ready to return on Dec. 9 for Week 14, perfect timing to crush the value if either of these backs manages to become viable options.
Parmelee has parked slumping Jennings on the sideline as he takes over as the Jags' lead back. However, Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) recently talked about a return in Week 13 so Parmelee might be a very short term lease.
Facing a vaunted Houston Texans defense in their building, quarterback Chad Henne dropped four touchdowns in relief of Blaine Gabbert (elbow). Henne will take over with Gabbert being placed on Injured Reserve; next up, he'll start against a bad Tennessee Titans defense.
Blackmon looked like he was back at O.K. State, connecting on deep throws all day from Henne. He'll be a top addition after an otherwise forgettable start to his rookie season, but Shorts and Lewis are also winners. Shorts scored and recorded a reception of 50-plus yards for the second straight game. Aside from a pair of touchdowns, Lewis posted his typical mediocre stat line in terms of catches and yards.
The Jags did a good job of exploiting cornerbacks Brice McCain and Kareem Jackson while avoiding Johnathon Joseph. If they can continue to exploit generous defenders and matchups like this, the remaining schedule looks very favorable.
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About Eric McClung
Eric McClung has been profiled by the FSWA for covering the fantasy sports spectrum and is a three-time award finalist. Over the years, he's made several appearances in print and on radio. McClung began contributing to KFFL in 2008 and currently serves as one of KFFL's featured fantasy NASCAR experts. He's also captured the fantasy football championship in the KFFL staff league twice.
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