Targets equal opportunities to shine

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Ok, you've taken some "hits" at the wide receiver position. Perhaps you were depending on Miles Austin, Kenny Britt or Mario Manningham to lead your receiving corps.

Obviously, its time to check out the waiver wire.

You could always do what everyone else does...take the highest ranked receiver in yardage, touchdowns or fantasy points.

Or instead of following the crowd - you can lead it!

If you truly want to know who is going to star in next week's games you need to know two things - who a receiver is going up against and even more importantly, if his quarterback is going to give him an opportunity to show his talents.

Those opportunities are measured in targets - how many times the quarterback looks his way.

I'm sure it wouldn't surprise you to know that Wes Welker leads the league in targets with 43 through three games. Nor would No.2, Roddy White or No.3 Andre Johnson startle anyone.

But looking just a bit further down the list are a few names which are not so well known.

How about No.8 Mike Thomas, No.9 David Nelson, No.12 Nate Washington and No.14 Eric Decker.

Thomas is available in one-out-of-every three leagues. With Mike Sims-Walker in St. Louis this season, he's the Jaguars' No.1 receiver. Despite the changes in quarterback which Jacksonville has gone through (David Garrard, Luke McCown, rookie Blaine Gabbert), Thomas' targets have been consistent - 11 in game one, 10 in game two and eight last Sunday. Opposing teams will spend most of their time defending Maurice Jones-Drew, therefore Thomas should continue to get double-digit targets and will only be limited by the quality of the quarterback play.

Nelson has jumped onto the fantasy radar due to injuries in Buffalo. Steve Johnson has been limping for a few weeks with a groin problem and starting wideout Roscoe Parrish is out for the season. Johnson will be the No.1 target as long as he is on the field, but the second-year Nelson is averaging 9.3 targets per game and has 20 receptions for 233 yards and a score. In the Bills balanced offense he should be a solid fantasy option and is only owned in about 50% of all leagues.

Washington takes over as the "main man" in Tennessee after last week's injury to Kenny Britt ended his season. Washington has never been the No.1 guy, so this will be a new experience for him and fantasy owners. He's also got Matt Hasselbeck behind center and the former Seattle Seahawks quarterback is thriving with the Titans. He's thrown well in two of his first three games and though the loss of Britt will hurt, it should send more targets towards Washington. Averaging nine looks a game already, he's a must pickup for anyone weak at the position. Washington is owned in 65% of all leagues.

Finally, in Denver, Decker has become a solid No.2 receiver behind Brandon Lloyd. He'll be inconsistent all season because of the quarterback situation (Kyle Orton is inconsistent) and because he'll get Lloyd's leftovers except when the No.1 guy is hurt. When Lloyd was out in Week 2, Decker was a star and that could happen again. Decker is owned in 75% of all leagues.

If I had my choice of the four receivers, I'd choose Washington first followed by Thomas, Decker and Nelson.

Week 4 Waiver Claim Candidates - Receivers
Player Team Targets Rec RecYrd RecTDs
Mike Thomas JAC 29 15 139 1
David Nelson BUF 28 20 233 1
Nate Washington TEN 27 21 258 1
Eric Decker DEN 26 15 214 2

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at

The Sports Network, a STATS Company. All Rights Reserved.  home | terms of use | privacy policy | comments |