Are you happy with your tight end? I ended up with Antonio Gates and almost cut him after week 1, now am glad I have him. With tight ends I think you have to be patient with the veterans. There are a few new stars emerging like Jordan Cameron, but for the most part it's the same guys from last year that are reliable scorers. Running backs are another story, other than Matt Forte and Jamaal Charles, how many are three down backs? Hopefully by tracking how much they are targeted week to week can help you get a handle on the situation.
How you look at running backs depends largely on the scoring in your particular league. Leagues that use PPR (Points Per Reception) pay much greater attention to their running back's involvement in their team's passing game. Much of the same can be said for tight ends, perhaps even more so. A good indication of how involved your player can be is the amount of targets (or looks) he is getting from the quarterback(s). Backs like Detroit's Reggie Bush may actually score more points receiving, while others like Seattle workhorse Marshawn Lynch get the majority of their production from the ground game.
Perhaps its the spread offense, or maybe the new breed of quarterback like Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, but teams are throwing the ball downfield more and not to the running backs. Only three traditional running backs, Darren Sproles, Ray Rice and rookie Trent Richardson have been targeted more than four times per game this season. Dexter McCluster is more of a slot back and Marcel Reece an H-back, whose numbers will diminish with Darren McFadden back. Injuries have slowed the super-tight end's, with the "King Of Pain" Jason Witten running away as the most targeted at the position.
Why don't teams throw to running backs? I know I have been harping on this all season, but when only seven backs are averaging more than four targets a game, the numbers are down. Making matters worst, Darren McFadden and LeSean McCoy aren't avaialble and Darren Sproles is just working his way back. At tight end, All-World Rob Gronkowski is gone till December and Jimmy Graham's numbers have been tempered a bit. Jason Witten owners are happy that his spleen hasn't impacted his league leading numbers.
Running backs continue to be a disappointing source of passing targets with only Darren McFadden and Darren Sproles averaging more than five per game. Fantasy rosters will be re-populated by the likes of Steven Jackson and Frank Gore this week with Trent Richardson and Albert Morris coming up on their bye week. Tight ends coming off bye include fantasy superstar Rob Gronkowski and Fred Davis among others, with underachieving Jermichael Finley along with his counterparts at Arizona, Cleveland and Washington enjoying a week ten bye. Don't forget Thursday night Colts and Jaguars when submitting lineups.
Note to self- Do whatever it takes to get both Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy on my fantasy football teams in future seasons. Arian Foster you ask? Injury concerns and the Ben Tate presence are a slight distraction with Marshawn Lynch the only running back worthy of argument. Dreams aside, Jamaal Charles appears fully recovered from injury and is the next best all-around bet along with Maurice Jones-Drew. The sleeper of the year remains Alfred Morris, who has quietly been nearly as important to the resurgent Redskins offense as Rookie of the Year Robert Griffin III. Jason Witten owners are feeling a bit better this week, actually a lot better after he was targeted more than any tight end in week four, catching 13 of 14 Tony Romo attempts (with the rest going to the Bears).
-Are you still alive? Advancing in the playoffs? After weeks of preparation and months of following every move, every week it’s crunch time in fantasy football leagues across the country. Emerging targets may prove to be the difference between a long off-season and post season pay dirt! With the dreaded running back by committee, pass catching backs and productive tight ends are the difference between victory and defeat. Darren Sproles and Ray Rice are as reliable as it gets in the backfield, while Jimmy Graham and the Patriots tight ends are money!