This week in Targets and Touches, we examine some new blood who have infiltrated our Top Ten list. Is Cecil Shorts here to stay? How about Aaron Hernandez? Can Chris Givens be your big waiver wire pick up who brings you a championship? Do the Colts have the best stable of fantasy wideouts overall? And why is it imperative you own Jared Cook - but only in December? To T-N-T we go.
What do you do with the Colts wide receivers? After this epic comeback it's impossible to not be impressed with Donnie Avery's game, however it's too hard for me to say "Yeah, in the first round of your fantasy playoffs roll with Avery." However Hilton (12 targets) is a different story. Three 100-yard games in his last five, and four touchdowns in his last five as well? Yeah, Hilton's my flex and I could be putting him in over guys like Eric Decker, Malcom Floyd and Torrey Smith.
Watch out for Chris Givens. With Danny Amendola unable to stay in the lineup, Givens has responded the last two weeks with 207 yards receiving and a score. He's owned in less than 5% of all leagues, and is someone you should think hard about putting in a high waiver claim for this week. As I always say, I like guys who have an arrow going up next to their names at this point in the season, not trying to maintain a level or headed downward. Givens fits in that first category.
If it's late in the season, it must be Jared Cook time. Seriously, take a look at the guys last few Decembers. After middle-to-low end production for most of the season, he had nearly 350 yards the last three weeks in 2011, and nearly 300 and a touchdown the last three games of 2010. Maybe he's just getting started early this season? I hope so. But hey, since the tight end position is a dearth of disappointment, why not grab Cook in free agency this week? With games coming up in your fantasy playoffs against the Colts, Jets and Packers you could do worse, right?
Speaking of tight ends, despite barely playing this season Aaron Hernandez is as close to a must-start as you can get, and now that he's back in the swing of things in New England, will likely be Tom Brady's top target outside of Wes Welker for the rest of the season. Hernandez can line up anywhere, and often does. Unless you own Jimmy Graham or Tony Gonzalez, who are you starting that's better than he is? And just an aside on Welker - remember when we were scared because we thought Welker was getting phased out of the offense? Just like when we were scared of Calvin Johnson and the Madden Curse? Yeah, not so much.
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Speaking of tight ends Part II, pick up Brandon Myers and Jacob Tamme as well. Myers is now a top seven fantasy tight end on a weekly basis, and really the number one pass target of Carson Palmer overall in Oakland. Tamme is starting to get the red-zone looks Eric Decker used to get. It's been a long month for Decker who may be worth a seat on your fantasy bench if you have a better option since he's been taken almost completely out of Denver's game plans every week.
Anquan Boldin, Cecil Shorts and Mike Williams also had 12 targets apiece. Boldin and Williams have been very hit and miss the last few weeks, but Shorts remains in your lineup as a strong No. 2 wide receiver as long as he's healthy, and judging by all the reports we've heard (okay, Akbar Gbaja-Biamila called him on the phone after the Bills game), Shorts will be good to do this coming Sunday. There is no better home for Cecil Shorts information than NFL Fantasy Live, I'll guarantee you that.
Fred Jackson had 27 touches this week, good for fourth place in Week 13 (Jamaal Charles' 31 were tops). As much as we were told the Bills division of labor at running back was going to be 60/40 in the favor of C.J. Spiller, here was Jackson with 12 more touches than his backfield-mate. The split looks like it's going to continue, as Spiller has proven he can't handle the football more than 20 times without wearing down. So play it like this: Spiller is a low-end No. 1 running back, or high-end No. 2, and Jackson is a very good flex option because he's capable of 10-12 point days for you. (He's also capable of four point days, hence his designation as strictly a flex.)
Shonn Greene and his 24 touches doubled those of backfield partner Bilal Powell. Greene is the player who you hate having to play, but you can't ignore him because you know he's going to touch the football a lot. He seems to be gaining momentum and steam as we hit December, which is great news if you own him, since the Jets schedule is extremely favorable down the stretch. Don't be surprised if you look down and see him in your lineup every week.
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.