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.
As we wrap up 2012, I wonder how many season's were won.... and lost, due to lack of passing yards accumulated by running backs. It appears that Darren Sproles will be the only back that will hit triple digits in targets for the season. Only half a dozen other backs are averaging four or more targets per week. Injuries to LeSean McCoy and Matt Forte diminished the every down back list, but all in all, teams are throwing the ball downfield more. The "super" tight ends also took a bit of a hit this season. Rob Gronkowski remains sidelined and has dropped from the league leaders. Jimmy Graham has had a solid season, but Jason Witten remains the standard bearer at the position.
Finally, the dreaded bye weeks are behind us. It's time for the home stretch and in week 12, fantasy owners applaud the return of Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Chris Johnson and Ahmad Bradshaw. Tight end's returning from bye include Kyle Rudolph, Martellus Bennett and Jared Cook. While the bye weeks are behind us, keep an eye on multiple Thursday games, Saturday games coming soon and the usual Sunday and Monday prime time action.
No position is as negatively effected by off-week's as that of running back. It's not even close. There are plenty of quarterbacks and pass catchers around to fill a bye week hole for a week. Matt Forte and Maurice Jones-Drew owners, I feel your pain. You don't know how much they mean to you, until they're gone. Those owners throwing darts with Carolina and New Orleans backfields, might have even found a more reliable option this past week. Week seven is the busiest bye week of the season and plenty of 'hurtin to go around. Michael Turner, Willis McGahee, Jammal Charles, Reggie Bush and all-world backs Ryan Matthews and LeSean McCoy will leave gaping holes in fantasy lineups this weekend.
With the exception of the usual suspects like Darren Sproles, it appears that running back targets are down this season. We find only 18 running backs league wide with double figure targets through three weeks of play. Further to the drop off, only Sproles and Darren McFadden have been targeted more than 19 times this season out of the backfield. With running back by committee now virtually league wide, it becomes increasingly important to get the few backs that are part of their teams passing game. The league's best pass catching backs top the "fallers" list in week three, further representing the drop off we are seeing. Perhaps the looks are going to the tight ends as we have seen some solid options emerge in September. With teams using tight ends in the backfield as "H-backs" on passing downs, this could contribute towards the numbers we are seeing.
Are you continuing to search for hidden gems at running back and tight end? Most ball carrying backs are long gone, but upside remains for backs in the passing game. As NFL teams employ more double tight end sets, along with H-Back’s, new solutions emerge each week as new targets surface. In our first of two installments, we take a look at the rising and falling running backs and tight ends. Later in the week we will provide insight on movers and shakers at wide receiver.
Who is becoming a bigger part of their team’s game plan? Conversely, who is slipping out of a team’s plans? Week five is on deck and we take a look at who was targeted frequently in Week Four, who has received the most looks in the first quarter of the season and share with you the numbers of those who haven’t been able to convert a high percentage of their opportunities. This week, we break down each potential receiving group; the running backs, wide outs and tight ends.