Each week, Targets and Touches breaks down the pass catchers who saw the most number of passes come their way, and the running backs who garnered the most touches. This week we saw chalk rise in our rankings, with some (thankfully) familiar names topping our list. But I would be lying if I told you I thought we'd see not one, but TWO Jaguars on it. So what does it mean, and what players should you try to pick up or get into your starting lineup? To T-N-T we go!
I know, your first question is "Do I pick up Laurent Robinson?" And my answer is: Why not? It's clear Justin Blackmon doesn't have the confidence of either Jaguars quarterback, and as long as Maurice Jones-Drew is out they'll have to throw the ball. Cecil Shorts is the number one (definitely pick him up, he's worth a flex play), but Robinson is worth a flier. He's got the pedigree stemming from his good 2011 campaign. With byes coming to an end there's plenty of players on the end of your bench you can waive, so if you have room, why not? You can always waive him.
It's great to see Hakeem Nicks back on this list, but man is that Giants offense bad. However for Nicks, his value is on the rise (and he may be the only one). Yes, he had just 7.5 fantasy points, but this was clearly his best game since coming back from injury. It's nothing but upside for him from here on out as the weather gets colder. Nicks will be back to being Nicks soon enough. He's not more than a flex right now, but that's still a decent option. I believe the breakout is coming.
What to do with Wes Welker? He's getting the targets from Tom Brady, but he's been pretty pedestrian the last three weeks. When your offense scores 111 points over that span and not only do you account for none of those points but no 100-yard games? Welker is on a cold streak following his four-game tear. Right now, he's a matchup-based wide receiver. You're probably still playing him because he's Wes Welker and the next 13-catch, 125-yard day could be next week, but the recent trend is troubling. At least he's not Brandon Lloyd, who you can't play. But if I have a choice between, say Malcolm Floyd, Sidney Rice, Denarius Moore or Welker? It's a tough question.
Just off the list is Greg Olsen with 10 targets as part of his 100-yard, two-touchdown day. Cam Newton looked for him exclusively all day long. The tight end position is impossible to predict. Outside of Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez and Owen Daniels, Olsen is a consistent threat. (Jason Witten and Heath Miller have been very good as well - but that's it.) At worst he's the number two threat behind Steve Smith in Carolina, and weeks like this he was the top one. If he's available, you pick him up and start him. If he's on your bench, you start him. If you're starting him, well, keep doing it.
Chris Johnson's 24 touches rank him sixth among running backs this week. What he did Sunday cements it for me. I'm playing him every week the rest of the season. He's back. I'm not trying to trade him. I'm trying to trade for him. Three of his biggest games this season have now been against: Miami, Chicago and Houston. Three of the best run defenses in the NFL. There's no more questions for me, and his touchdown run was vintage CJ2K - running right and getting bottled up, he bolted back and by everyone into the end zone.
It's also time to feel good about Stevan Ridley without having to worry about the other shoe dropping at some point. He had 22 touches Sunday, ninth overall. Shane Vereen's never carried the ball more than eight times in a game this season, and Brandon Bolden is suspended for the next month. Moreover, this is not a passing fad of New England committing to the run. The Patriots know if they're going to win a Super Bowl they have to be able to control the football on the ground, and Ridley's the guy. Fear not, he's a lineup mainstay for the rest of your season and you will never take him out.
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.