There are just a couple of weeks remaining in the fantasy football regular season. This is when you need your stars to step it up and make plays. The good news is that this week's list of top targets and touches has a lot of that. Sadly, there are also some big names that are missing. We'll take a look at both in this week's Fantasy Breakdown.
Welcome back, Josh Gordon. After missing the first 10 games of the season, the Browns star receiver returned to action and picked up where he left off last season. Brian Hoyer only had eyes for Gordon, targeting him 16 times -- twice as many as the next closest Browns pass-catcher. The cynical among us would chalk it up to Gordon facing a Falcons defense that has been among the NFL's worst. But in reality, it looks like Cleveland has their offensive focal point back. If you stashed him all season long, congratulations!
Julio Jones scored a touchdown for the first time since Week 3, making him fantasy relevant for just one of the few instances this season. The crazy part about it is that Jones has seen a preponderance of the Falcons' targets this season. Over the past three weeks, Jones has been targeted 35 times while logging 19 catches for 246 yards. It's been hard for fantasy enthusiasts to keep the talented receiver in the lineup, but the sheer volume of targets makes it hard to completely give up on him. Oh, the dilemmas.
It seems we were premature in burying Anquan Boldin as a fantasy contributor. The veteran 49ers receiver has seen double-digit targets in three of his past five contests with three touchdown receptions in that span. For the season, Boldin has been the top option for Colin Kaepernick in the San Francisco passing game and has been the team's most reliable receiver. In all, it's turned Boldin into a top-20 fantasy wideout and a player worthy of a weekly flex spot.
There were a handful of top-notch fantasy wideouts who didn't see a ton of targets with varying results. T.Y. Hilton had just five targets in Week 12 but he turned them into four catches for 122 yards and a touchdown. Similarly, Randall Cobb and Brandon Marshall both had five targets. However, they combined for just 90 yards and no scores. For Cobb, there's little reason to be concerned since few have any doubts that Aaron Rodgers can spread the love in a pretty productive way. There isn't that same confidence in Jay Cutler. Nonetheless, Marshall's potential for big production means fantasy enthusiasts would be wise to keep the faith.
The Denver Broncos have a pretty excellent problem -- choosing between too many productive running backs. It's not quite such a picnic for fantasy managers. But for now, it looks like the job belongs to C.J. Anderson. The second-year runner had his biggest day as a pro with 27 carries, 167 yards and his first career touchdown. Just about every Broncos rusher has found success this season -- except Montee Ball. With none of the running backs in Denver sporting huge contracts, there could be a shakeup in the Mile High City this offseason. In the meantime, it's worth rolling with Anderson until further notice.
With everything going sideways in the Washington offense and questions about Robert Griffin III's long-term future with the team, it's a wonder that Jay Gruden hasn't decided to lean on Alfred Morris before now. Morris topped 100 rushing yards for the first time since November 7 ... 2013. Even more impressive, he did it against a 49ers defense that has been among the league's best at stopping the run. Now if we could only get them to stop giving away Morris' goal line touches to other running backs, we'd be all set.
At this point, I'm not sure that even the Buccaneers know how they're going to divide their touches on a weekly basis. Doug Martin returned from oblivion to lead the team with 11 carries on Sunday. Charles Sims finished with six attempts and Bobby Rainey had just one. There has been very little production from this group and even less consistency in their usage. It's time to stop thinking about Tampa's running backs until next year.