Fantasy
Seven surprise target monsters
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Wayne Gretzky said, "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take." That logic also applies to NFL receivers, who won't catch 100 percent of the passes they aren't thrown.

Getting the ball is half the battle in fantasy football, especially for receivers (San Diego running back Curtis Brinkley showed us in Week 2 that getting 18 carries doesn't mean a thing if you stink).

With two weeks down and a third starting tonight with New York taking on Carolina, we can start to break down target trends and see who is unexpectedly getting looks in the passing game and what that means for fantasy owners.

Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts - Perhaps we underrated Wayne by assuming he was on the decline instead of looking at who the veteran had throwing him the ball last season. Wayne was targeted 131 times by Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky in 2011-12 and he managed to turn 75 of those wobbly and under-thrown balls into receptions for 960 yards and four touchdowns. Now that he has Andrew Luck under center, Wayne has accumulated 25 targets over two weeks and he's picked up 206 yards on 15 catches.

Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders - McFadden has had difficulty finding room to run as the Raiders work out the kinks in their new zone-blocking scheme -- the running back has averaged 2.1 ypc on 26 carries through two games. However, the team has attempted to get him involved in the passing attack, as evidenced by his 25 targets. McFadden caught 13 passes in Week 1 and two in Week 2 and he should continue to be the centerpiece of Oakland's offense whether he's running the ball well or not.

Danny Amendola, WR, St. Louis Rams - We knew QB Sam Bradford liked throwing to Amendola -- the sticky-fingered receiver caught 85 passes in 2010 -- but it's apparent the Rams QB is trying to make up for lost time after Amendola missed 15 games last season. Amendola has recorded 20 receptions on 25 targets in two games, including 15 catches for 160 yards a week ago. Amendola has been compared to Wes Welker because the two are of similar stature and skill set and both attended Texas Tech; if the receiver stays healthy he should put up a Welker-esque 100-catch season in 2012.

Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore Ravens - The second-year tight end has been a favorite of Joe Flacco early this season, catching 13 passes on 23 targets for 138 yards and a touchdown. With Anquan Boldin on the decline and Torrey Smith more of a deep threat than a consistent target, Pitta should continue to see a ton of passes thrown his way as the Ravens keep working their new no-huddle offense.

Brian Hartline, WR, Miami Dolphins - On paper, the Dolphins have the worst receiving corps in the NFL, but Hartline is trying to change that perception. Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill has to throw the ball to someone, and through two weeks it looks like that's going to be Hartline. The veteran has been targeted 20 times and he's caught 12 passes for 161 yards. While he won't have many games like his nine-catch, 111-yard effort in Week 2, Hartline should easily top 70 receptions.

Donnie Avery, WR, Indianapolis Colts - Avery has benefitted from Austin Collie's concussion troubles to become another favorite of Andrew Luck's. Avery caught a touchdown in Week 1 and snagged nine passes for 111 yards against a weak Minnesota secondary last Sunday. He's been targeted 18 times in two games, and while his value could hinge on Collie's status each week, it's possible that the chemistry he's developed with Luck will make him a consistent part of Indianapolis' offense all season regardless of Collie's presence.

Martellus Bennett, TE, New York Giants - Bennett was a tight end sleeper in fantasy drafts this season but he's been an even larger part of New York's offense than we thought he would be. Through two games, Eli Manning has targeted the big tight end 16 times and Bennett has responded by catching nine passes for 112 yards and two scores. The Giants are going to throw the ball a ton and someone is going to have to get the targets Mario Manningham and Jake Ballard saw last season. It looks like Bennett is going to be that guy, which makes him a surprise TE1.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.