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.
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.
It's playoff time in most fantasy leagues across the nation and time to get back that investment. We continue to see a lack of running backs targeted, at the very least inconsistency. Last season's All-World tight ends aren't bringing in the fantasy bacon as they did a year ago, looking more like tight end's than the wide receiver numbers at the position in 2011. Receiving yards at running back are more icing this season, certainly not something you can count on- so focus on the backs that carry the rock. At tight end, we have a finite list of contributors, we are long past any new breakout players.
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.
-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!
For those fortunate enough, playoffs are underway in many leagues. For those redrafting, targeting is an excellent guide when trying to decide among similar talent. Injuries continue to create opportunity for both running backs and tight ends across the league. With the injury to Matt Forte, Darren Sproles and Ray Rice are clearly the elite at running back with Jimmy Graham running away with things at tight end.
With three weeks of the 2011 NFL season now in the record books, trends are beginning to take shape. If you league uses points per reception or (PPR), the amount of targets your players are getting is an integral part of your planning purposes. Even those not using PPR certainly value the potential touches their players are getting. Each week, we will take a look at the risers and fallers at running back and tight end on Tuesday and pass along the latest at wide receivers on Friday.