For plenty of you, Week 15 marked the semi-finals of your fantasy playoffs. That's a bad time for a lot of big name players to take the week off. Unfortunately, it seems that's what happened. Hopefully some of your secondary options were able to make our list of target and touch leaders to give you a shot at a championship.
When you look at the recent trajectory of the New York Giants offense, it's a bit of a surprise that it took this long for Odell Beckham, Jr. to top our list of most-targeted players. In fact, a small part of me gets sad when Eli Manning throws the ball to someone else. I guess that's what happens when you make the greatest catch ever seen by mortal man. But enough about the past, let's think about the future. Beckham looks like he hasn't even come close to hitting his incredibly high ceiling. While it's hard to imagine him as a first-round fantasy pick next season, there's little reason to believe he won't be a top 10 wideout in most 2015 drafts.
Who could ever have imagined that during a week in which Cam Newton was out, there would be two Carolina Panthers in the top 10 most-targeted list? 26 of Derek Anderson's 40 pass attempts were split between Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen. That's called knowing who your playmakers are. Next week, Benjamin could lock horns with Joe Haden when the Panthers host the Cleveland Browns. But if Carolina's quarterback -- whomever it might be -- wants to keep throwing the ball in that direction, we'll take our chances.
Young quarterbacks and tight ends go together like chicken and waffles. In recent weeks, Mychal Rivera has been eating. In the past three week, Rivera has been targeted 27 times for 17 receptions, 169 yards and a touchdown. The second-year tight end has started to become a bigger part of Oakland's offense with all four of his scores coming in the second half of the season. His athleticism and budding rapport with rookie quarterback Derek Carr is reason to be optimistic about what Rivera could offer next season.
It's been a rough few weeks for Peyton Manning and his receivers are starting to feel the brunt of those struggles. Sure, Week 15 was great for Demaryius Thomas. Not so much for Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders logged 53 receiving yards on Sunday but saw just three targets. In the past two weeks, Sanders has been targeted nine total times. Compare that to the previous six games when he was averaging 11 passes thrown his direction.
It's going to be awfully hard for the Denver Broncos to move C.J. Anderson out of the No. 1 running back spot next season. The rookie has averaged 27 carries and 120 yards over the past four weeks and has kept the Broncos offense going during Peyton Manning's struggles. Who knows what 2015 holds for Montee Ball, Juwan Thompson or any of the other Denver running backs, but it wouldn't be a stretch to see Anderson coming off the board anywhere within the first two or three rounds.
At the start of this season, there was a little concern that Jeremy Hill could take some crucial touches away from Giovani Bernard. Few would have guessed that by the end of the season, the rookie would have usurped the starting role from the incumbent starter. The good news is that both Hill and Bernard saw a pretty fair number of carries, however there's little doubt right now that Hill is the more productive rusher. This could end up being a situation much like the Fred Jackson-C.J. Spiller dilemma once was in Buffalo.
Speaking of Fred Jackson, he's has again emerged as the most reliable rushing option for the Bills. The veteran has topped 20 carries in two of his past three games and leads the team in scrimmage yards in 2014. Eventually there will come a time when the Bills will have to transition to someone new in the backfield. It could happen as soon as next season with Jackson set to turn 34 in February. That will prevent him from being drafted as anything more than a third fantasy running back, but for now this train keeps chugging along.
I don't understand how or why the Colts continue to split carries evenly between Trent Richardson and Dan Herron. Actually, I don't understand why Indy splits carries between Trent Richardson and anyone. Every other rusher that has shared rushing duties with Richardson has outperformed him. Sunday was no exception. Herron averaged 5.4 yards per carry while Richardson checked in a 3.5 yards per rush. It boggles the mind.