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?
New England Patriots
Prior to a pair of big games in the last two weeks, Lloyd had only averaged 2.7 catches on 5.2 targets and never cracked 50 yards in a game during a span of six contests. However, during a blowout victory against the Houston Texans and a near-epic comeback against the San Francisco 49ers, Lloyd exploded, totaling 17 catches for 279 yards.
Charles not in charge of workload
Since Week 13, Hernandez leads the Patriots with 43 targets and is second among all players during that span. In addition to benefiting from a blanketed Welker and absent Gronkowski, Hernandez is the touchdown maker in the red zone. These two lethal underneath options and an accelerated offensive pace have allowed Lloyd to get more shots down the field, which culminated in last week's career-high 190 yards.
The combination of a big scoreboard deficit and fumbles opened the door wide open for Woodhead's big game. Ridley lost one fumble and saw a season-low nine rushes, ending his streak of six straight games with a touchdown. With New England heading south to face the Jacksonville Jaguars, there should be little resistance allowing the Pats to strike their desired balance of running and throwing the ball. Ball security cost Ridley playing time last year, but he appears safe, for now.
Vereen's lone touch of the game resulted in a lost fumble, squashing his chances of cutting in on Ridley. Vereen is a big loser here since he had been playing on a lot of passing downs. He's now in serious danger of using those snaps to Woodhead or Bolden, if Bill Belichick chooses to use him. The game plan has dictated Woodhead's usage, though, and limits him to a borderline flex candidate.
Kansas City Chiefs
With Dwayne Bowe (ribs) done for the season, Baldwin, the second-year project receiver, saw the most snaps among the KC wide receivers but did not catch a pass on any of his four targets. He's now been shut out in two straight games Meanwhile, Steve Breaston remains a healthy scratch in favor of Newsome.
McCluster was the only receiver to do much of anything. He landed 10 targets for a season-high seven catches. Unfortunately, the team has gone seven quarters without scoring a point, and these receivers all look pretty toxic in any matchup. Things might actually get worse. The team is considering starting second-year man Ricky Stanzi following Brady Quinn's ribs injury and the nine sacks he's taken over the last two games.
Back in Week 8, Charles only registered four yards on five carries against the Oakland Raiders. Last week wasn't any better with nine carries for 10 yards facing the same typically porous Black Hole defense. Charles owners have gotten accustomed to the KC coaching staff misusing their best player, however. If you survived his disappearing act, Charles has a very favorable matchup against the Indianapolis Colts, but another lopsided score could result in more wasted opportunities.
Even more workload woes coming up.
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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