The NFL Network is in the windy city on Thursday night for the Giants and Bears. New York will be without David Wilson, but some would say the GIants have been playing without him all season. Atlanta and Miami are on bye this week, the Falcons are expecting Stephen Jackson back in week seven while the Dolphins running back situation is something I am thankful I have no stake in. Pittsburgh, Washington, Minnesota and Tampa Bay return after taking a break with bye's in week five. Fantasy nation very pleased to get Adrian Peterson, Alfred Morris, Le'Veon Bell and Doug Martin back in their respective lineups. Not much relief at the tight end position though, with the possible exception of Kyle Rudolph.
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.
If you haven't been eliminated, you have likely moved on to your league's semi-finals. As promised, a little about the unusual playoff structure in my league. We have two six team divisions, with the first place team's getting first round byes. The next four best records play head to head in the NFL's wildcard weekend. Each team is allowed to keep up to two players from their regular season roster, with the remaining players filled out in a (non-snake) draft. Best record picks first and all players (starters and reserves) count. The wildcard weekend winners advance to play the division winners over the NFL's next two weekends. The winners meet in the Super Bowl.
With the dreaded running back by committee plauging the NFL, fantasy owners need to find added value at the position. Receiving yards and touchdowns is an obvious option and futher to that, the number of times a player is targeted by his teams quarterback. The NFL is a copy cat league and more and more teams are going to the double tight end formation to try and duplicate the great success in New England at the position.
A pair of running backs has solidified their place atop the running back target chart in New Orleans’ Darren Sproles and Baltimore’s Ray Rice. Chicago’s Matt Forte was amongst them, but obviously has fallen victim to season ending injury. At tight end, we also have co-leaders among the best of the best. New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham is like a wide out playing tight end and New England’s Rob Gronkowski is an absolute beast.
Are your running backs and tight ends delivering? Again this week, we sort through who is becoming a bigger part of their team’s game plan and who may be getting phased out. We have players emerging due to injury and tell you who is not delivering on their opportunities. We continue to make our way through the bye weeks, which tend to skew the season totals a bit and should be noted. With most of the stud backs and star tight ends fixed on your opponent’s rosters, target analysis can give you an advantage to make the right selection from the waiver wire.