- Ken Daube, Fantasy Football
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There's a general feeling that quarterbacks who play indoors have an advantage over those who don't. If you've ever made a decision on whether or not to start a quarterback based on that belief, check this out:
Over the first 10 weeks of the NFL season, for games played indoors, quarterbacks averaged 35.8 attempts and 7.0 yards per attempt. Those who played outdoors gained 7.1 yards per attempt on 33.8 attempts. So, the real difference amounts to less than 14 yards per game, or about half a fantasy point.
Now, don't take this to mean that Peyton Manning and David Garrard should be viewed equally; there's an obvious talent differential that should be factored into the decision making process. Instead, don't let it be a factor when you are trying to determine whether to start Matt Ryan (home this week inside a dome) or someone like Eli Manning.
The following players are averaging seven targets per game or more over the past four weeks:
Note: For those of you not familiar with the best way to interpret the standard deviation data, all you have to know is that players with large standard deviations (e.g., Mario Manningham) likely have at least one game that is significantly altering their average, whereas those with small standard deviations (e.g., Lance Moore) have received basically a similar number of targets in each game. Finally, standard deviation can only be determined for data sets of two or greater, so if a player has played in one only game, his standard deviation is listed as N/A for not applicable.
A look inside some of this week's receiving performances:
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs (18 targets; 13 receptions, 186 yards): Bowe's career day was primarily a product of the no-care defense that the Denver Broncos employed once the Orange Crush went up by 32 points early in the second half. From that point on, Bowe was targeted 12 times and had eight catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns. That being said, he's been one of the hottest receivers around and is a must-start regardless of how or when he is getting his points.
Mike Williams, Seattle Seahawks (17 targets; 11 receptions, 145 yards): What a day for a receiver playing with a broken finger. Unlike Bowe, Williams did most of his damage in the first half as the Seahawks built their lead.
Mario Manningham, New York Giants (16 targets; 10 receptions, 91 yards): In the absence of Steve Smith, Manningham is elevated to a WR2 play. Even though he's the Giants' third-best receiving option, he's tied for fourth in the NFL in terms of most receiving plays of 25 yards or more.
Wes Welker, New England Patriots (12 targets; 8 receptions, 89 yards): The 12 targets Welker received in Week 10 marked the fourth time this season that Welker was targeted 10 or more times. Last season, he failed to reach that mark only twice, with one of them in the season finale, when he injured his knee.
Steve Breaston, Arizona Cardinals (10 targets; 4 receptions, 98 yards): Breaston has the talent to be a consistent weekly producer, but he remains under the radar due to early-season injuries. If you are hurting at receiver, you could do much worse than making a move for Breaston.
Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals (10 targets; 9 receptions, 85 yards): Gresham is going to be an elite tight end, but watching him carve up the Indianapolis Colts makes you wonder how the Colts are going to try to defend Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski.
Jacob Tamme, Indianapolis Colts (10 targets; 7 receptions, 73 yards): Real simple here, Tamme is the No. 1 option at tight end for the rest of the season. Period.
Justin Gage, Tennessee Titans (9 targets; 3 receptions, 18 yards) and Nate Washington, Tennessee Titans (9 targets; 3 receptions, 26 yards): If either is available in your league, take a flier on your choice. Randy Moss' presence, while possibly overrated, has typically opened up the shorter routes for his counterparts. It appears that neither is first in line to see increased looks in Tennessee based on the raw number of targets they received this Sunday, but each saw enough to warrant further consideration.
Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers (9 targets; 5 receptions, 41 yards): If you own Hines Ward and you're near the top of the standings, you need to have Sanders on your roster. Once Ward left with a concussion, Sanders slotted into his role and received a similar workload to what Ward could have expected. Since Ward seeks hard contact, his owners have to worry about the possibility of a recurrence.
Bo Scaife, Tennessee Titans (9 targets; 7 receptions, 51 yards): Similar in logic to the Gage/Washington recommendation, if Scaife is on your waiver wire and you need a backup at tight end, you could do worse than to see how the next couple of weeks play out for Scaife.
Mike Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars (9 targets; 8 receptions, 149 yards): Seven receptions for 99 yards would have been a really nice day as well, but Thomas' believers were rewarded with the deflection of all deflections.
Santonio Holmes, New York Jets (8 targets; 5 receptions, 76 yards): Since becoming a starter for the Jets, Holmes is being targeted more than seven times per game and can be safely viewed as a WR3 the rest of the way.
Big Plays and Up Close
The following players had at least three rushes that went for 10 or more yards (Big Play Rushes) this week: LeGarrette Blount (5), Michael Vick (4), Arian Foster (3), Mike Goodson (3), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (3), Jerome Harrison (3), Steven Jackson (3), Chris Johnson (3), Knowshon Moreno (3) and Keiland Williams (3).
Since 1990, only one quarterback has averaged more than 2.5 rushes of more than 10 yards per game. That was Michael Vick in 2006. This season, Vick is averaging almost 2.7 rushes of more than 10 yards per game.
Four of Marshawn Lynch's five carries inside the Arizona Cardinals' 10-yard line went for no better than no gain.
It might not surprise you that the leader in red-zone targets among wide receivers this year is Hakeem Nicks. Did you know that Lance Moore is second in that metric? Following behind them are: Brandon Lloyd, Roddy White and the Seahawks' Mike Williams.
Rob Gronkowski has been officially targeted seven times this season in the red zone. He has five touchdowns on those targets.
Trendspotting will be taking a one-week hiatus next week, so allow me this opportunity to wish all a Happy Thanksgiving.
Ken Daube is a fantasy football analyst for ESPN.com. His ESPN.com fan profile is available at: http://myespn.go.com/KenD17.
2dKevin Van Valkenburg