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Raiders Jared Cook Will Get the Targets to Be a TE1

Raiders Jared Cook Will Get the Targets to Be a TE1 premium
Brandon C. Williams September 13, 2018 11:45AM EST
Looking at the Touches and Targets Report for Fantasy Football Week 2

Was it a Week 1 or a Weak 1 for your Fantasy Football team? Did your last-minute hunch (DeSean Jackson) pay off, or did your one of your top picks leave you feeling hollow and abandoned (thanks, Travis Kelce, LeSean McCoy and Deshaun Watson)? Week 1 left some of us eating a heaping plate of crow (OK….I whiffed on James Connor). However it turned out for you, it’s just one game you can’t get back, so let’s focus on the task at hand: Week 2.

O’Henry…

Owners of Titans RB Derrick Henry must have felt warm fuzzies when he jumped out to an 8-0 lead in touches over Dion Lewis. But as the game against the Dolphins went on (and on…and on…), Henry managed just three more touches, while Lewis ended up with a Hungry Man-sized 21. While I feel the gap won’t be as lopsided on Sunday, Lewis—especially in PPR formats—will be the Tennessee back of choice as he goes against a Texans defense that gave up 71 receiving yards to Patriots running backs in Week 1. Lewis should be viewed as a solid RB2 who should be productive with 15-17 touches.

Austin City Limits

Chargers backup RB Austin Ekeler ranked among the surprise Week 1 leaders, as he caught five passes for 87 yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Chiefs, making him a popular name on most waiver wires. While he does offer the alluring vibe of sleeper, don’t get too intoxicated by his Week 1 smell. Melvin Gordon will get the bulk of the touches against the Bills, who finished 27th in Fantasy points allowed to opposing backs after giving up a league-high three rushing touchdowns to the Ravens, despite holding them to just 74 yards on 24 carries. Ekeler is nothing more than a longshot Flex in deeper leagues.

What the Cook May Serve in Denver

Among the 24 players who were targeted at least 10 times in Week 1, Raiders TE Jared Cook’s nine catches and 180 yards on 12 targets was one of the more shoulder-shrugging results, although it really shouldn’t have been. Cook was targeted 86 times last season, tied for ninth-most at the position, but he has averaged at least 11.9 yards per catch in each of the past seven seasons and has at least one reception of better than 40 yards in all but one season in that same span. With WR Amari Cooper on the slow boat to Bustville and the Raiders putting faith back in Martavis Bryant, Cook has a chance to emerge as a reliable target for Derek Carr. He’s probably not going to put up video game numbers this week, but Cook is a TE1 against a Broncos defense that gave up 116 yards and a touchdown to Seahawks tight ends on just seven targets.

Lord Nelson of Tampa Bay

Don’t be the Nelson Agholor owner who bases everything on his eight-catch, 33-yard outing against the Falcons. Newsflash: The Atlanta secondary is pretty good. However, you don’t need Anderson Cooper or Stephanie Ruhle to remind you how Drew Brees punctured the Buccaneers secondary, which allowed a Week 1-high 23 receptions for 268 yards and two touchdowns on 26 targets to Saints wideouts. There is no way Doug Pederson is letting Nick Foles average just 3.44 yards per attempt again, so expect Agholor to stretch the Bucs more than once. He’s a WR3/Flex in non-PPR formats, but if Agholor gets 10 targets again, he’s going to look more like the WR2, as his owners should treat him.

Yes, No, Maybe (Subtitled: I’m Not a Candidate to Replace Henry Cavill as Superman)

Yes: Buccaneers receivers averaged 20 yards per catch against the Saints’ defense, which means I like Browns wideout Josh Gordon to get a lot more than three targets on Sunday.

No: Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake had 65 yards from scrimmage on 17 touches. That comes out to a meh-like 3.82 yards per touch. The Jets’ defense isn’t that good, but they did hold Lions backs to 65 yards on 21 touches (3.09 yards per touch).

Maybe: I’m not on the Adrian Peterson bandwagon, but I might be willing to change my mind if he can run through the Colts’ defense in his home debut with the Redskins.

Come On, Come On, Come On, Come On Now Touch (and Target) Me, Baby:

Jimmy Graham, TE, Packers: Look for more than two catches and eight yards from Graham against a Vikings defense that had its issues with Giants TE Evan Engram in Week 1.

James Connor, RB, Steelers: The Chiefs gave up 293 yards of offense to Chargers backs last week. Now that we know Connor (five catches, 57 yards) can catch the rock, he’s a gold-plated RB1 on Sunday.

Allen Robinson, WR, Bears: It’s safe to play receivers against the Seahawks now, who allowed the third-most targets to opposing receivers (28) in the loss at the Broncos. Robinson will get more than the seven targets he got on Sunday night and will be a boon in the red zone for Chicago.

Royce Freeman, RB, Broncos: I’m not banking on another timeshare with Phillip Lindsay, so look for Freeman to get more than the 15 touches he got in Week 1. He’s not shabby as a receiver, which is why it was surprising not to see him get a single target. Look for Denver to target its backs against a Raiders defense that saw just seven passes thrown to Rams backs on Monday night.

Kenny Golladay, WR, Lions: Coming off a seven-catch, 114-yard performance (12 targets) against the Jets, look for Golladay to continue pushing toward consistent WR2 status at the 49ers. San Fran’s defense had just 22 passes targeted to the Vikings’ receivers, but considering how putrid Detroit’s ground game looked, I’m betting that number could be closer to 30 on Sunday.

Randall Cobb, WR, Packers: Wasn’t it a couple of weeks ago that Cobb was rumored to be released by the Pack and how the Cowboys and Patriots would be nice landing spots? HA! Cobb got 10 targets on Sunday night and while I don’t expect 9-142-1 from him against the Vikings, he’ll be a viable WR2 so long as Aaron Rodgers is standing upright.

Lamar Miller, RB, Texans: He averaged nearly five yards per carry on 20 rushes (98 yards) against the Patriots. While the Titans were sixth-best in Fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs, don’t be surprised to see Miller take a more prominent role in the passing game.

Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers: The Bills allowed 13 targets to Ravens TEs, none of which are at the level of Gates. Red zone opportunities abound.

Gimme A Sleeper!

Eagles RB Corey Clement is a deep league/DFS roll of the dice play against the Buccaneers, who allowed 112 receiving yards to Saints backs in Week 1. If Clement can get involved in the flow of the offense out of the gate, he stands a chance to be a stealth play in PPR formats.

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