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I love how every week there's a theme to Targets and Touches. Whether it's shocking names, budding stars, or like this week: the re-emergence of old friends. Sort of like coming home from college for Thanksgiving and seeing all your high school chums for the first time since everyone's lives changed. Will you stay in touch with them as you go back to school, or will they fall out of your life? Will these players stay on the Targets and Touches list, or will they fade away? Now to a very special Auld Lang Syne version of T-N-T.Target Analysis
First we have to talk about the elephant in the room - Brian Hartline. He's absolutely worth a pickup, because it's the second time he's hit our list of top targeted wide receivers this season. With the byes coming up, he's a terrific flex option, because he's Ryan Tannehill's favorite wideout, and now we know he can get deep for scores. I'm less exuberant for Davone Bess, because he'll have a nice week like this and then disappear for a month. Now to cue my inner Gabe Kaplan...
Welcome back, Dwayne! I can't tell you how many people tweeted me about whether or not they should play Dwayne Bowe this week. Seriously, he was the seventh ranked wideout in fantasy points until Sunday, when he pulled down another 108 yards and a touchdown. Yes, his score was late in the fourth quarter when the game was over, but those points count just as much. Bowe's now a No. 1 wide receiver in fantasy, and at worst, he's a strong No. 2.
Welcome back, Jordy Nelson! While it may not be 2011 for Nelson as far as production goes, he's still worthy of a flex play - especially if Greg Jennings' groin injury keeps bothering him. But make no mistake, he's someone that can drop down on your depth chart at wide receiver, because he's not consistent. Who would have thought after four weeks the most dependable Packers offensive player you can play other than Aaron Rodgers would be Cedric Benson?
He's just off the list with 11 targets but welcome back, Wes! I have come not to bury Wes Welker, but to praise him. Yes, he's back. You were rewarded if you held onto him or if you got him cheap in a trade. He's survived the early season metamorphosis of the Patriots offense and has once again emerged as Tom Brady's go-to wideout. However watch out when Aaron Hernandez returns: Welker did nothing before Hernandez got hurt, and there's still the possibility that will happen again. But for now, keep rolling with him and enjoy the points. Not so much for Brandon Lloyd, who looks like he's slid into Chad Johnson's role of Patriots Disappointing Wide Receiver Acquisition of 2012.
Roddy White also had 12 targets as part of his monster game Sunday - this is just how it goes for the Falcons. Some weeks it'll be White, some it'll be Julio Jones. But it will always be someone because that's what Atlanta does, they throw the ball. And don't expect any slacking off as the season wears on - they'll put up points all year.
It's great to see Anquan Boldin on the list after his big game last Thursday. But he's incredibly inconsistent and has been surpassed by Torrey Smith as the number one wideout in Baltimore, as he's become a breakout fantasy star in 2012. If you own Boldin, try to trade him now while his value is highest. If someone offers him to you in a trade, say no.Touches Analysis
BenJarvus Green-Ellis topped the Touches list this week with 28. His production has waned a bit the last week or two, and he faces a Dolphins defense that's pretty good against the run. Keep starting him for now, as there's no one else to take any carries away from him.
Welcome back, Chris! So, the million dollar question: is Chris Johnson...Chris Johnson once again? His 27 touches ranked him second this week, and while a lot of them came while Tennessee was down big, it was still against the Texans defense, which doesn't give up rushing yards lightly. It's the first time Tennessee really leaned on him this year, and he rewarded you. I'm sorry if you benched him this week - I did too in two of my leagues - but nothing told us he'd break out like this. Was this a byproduct of Matt Hasselbeck taking over for Jake Locker? Maybe, but we have to monitor Johnson on a week-to-week basis. Week 5 he has a matchup against Adrian Peterson and the Vikings, who have a middle-of-the-pack rushing defense. I'll tell you this: I'm putting him back in my starting lineup for that one.
Stevan Ridley and Alfred Morris had 22 touches apiece, good for the 10th spot overall, but their seasons could be headed in different directions. Ridley could be sharing time with Brandon Bolden after Bolden's breakout game against Buffalo - and what's telling is that they used Bolden to help close the game in New England. If you ever wanted to sell high on Ridley, now's the time. Morris is putting any thought of a time-share behind him. He's the only player carrying the ball in Washington and he's producing. Right now the only thing you need to watch out for is if he wears down a bit from the heavy usage, but for now, enjoy the points.
Jason Smith hosts NFL Fantasy Live on the NFL Network and writes fantasy and other pith for NFL.com. Talk to him on Twitter @howaboutafresca, and listen to his Fantasy Podcast with Michael Fabiano and Elliot Harrison every week on nfl.com. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.