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Entering Week 12, the theme of today’s column is players who have shaken off injuries, slumps, or downright bad starts to the season to hopefully get hot at the right time.

As always, the NFL is an attrition league and injuries to other weapons can have a tremendous impact on the target share of the players who are able to weather the storm and remain on the field.

In this week’s edition of Target Risers and Potential Breakouts we put some of the biggest and most surprising target totals under the microscope and try to make sense of what happened in Week 11, and attempt to project what we can expect from these players going forward.

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Rising Target Grabbers


Dez Bryant (WR, DAL) - 14 Targets

The early returns on the post-Ezekiel Elliott Dallas Cowboys are not good, although to be fair it may have been the loss of left tackle Tyron Smith that hit Dak Prescott and company the hardest. By any measure, Dez Bryant has been one of the biggest busts in fantasy football at the wide receiver position, but it’s not for lack of volume. Dez sits at fifth among wide receivers in overall targets (97) and tied for first in red zone targets (17), but has still managed to simply tread water as the WR22 for the season in PPR formats. In this contest, Bryant managed just 8 catches for 63 yards. Far from a disastrous performance, his raw target share keeps Dez as a locked-in WR2 as fantasy owners hope he can flash some upside down the stretch. A home date against the Chargers is on tap for Week 12 and Dez has posted some big days in Thanksgiving games, so fantasy owners can hope that trend continues in 2017.

Keenan Allen (WR, LAC) - 13 Targets

Reeling in a whopping 12 catches for 159 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Keenan Allen’s blowup line in an absolute butt-kicking of the Nathan Peterman-led Buffalo Bills netted him over 40 fantasy points in PPR formats. The WR star of Week 12 more than doubled the fantasy point total from his previous season-high when he caught nine passes for an even 100 yards against the Dolphins in Week 2. Allen’s 40.2 fantasy points against the Bills account for over 25% of his seasonal fantasy output, despite being just one of his ten games played. A popular 2017 bounce-back candidate, Keenan Allen’s hot start was derailed by a streak of five straight games with less than 11 fantasy points entering Sunday’s action, but hopefully this will jump start him to a strong finish.

Corey Coleman (WR, CLE) - 11 Targets

For the second straight season, a small sample of Coleman’s talent tantalized fantasy owners only to be derailed by a broken hand. While the second-year player didn’t manage to make fantasy waves as a rookie upon his late season return in 2016, in that instance he walked into a passing game boasting a WR who was having a terrific season in his own right in Terrelle Pryor. In 2017, it is apparent that no Cleveland Browns WR is going to stand in the way of a Corey Coleman breakout. While he’s far from a sure thing, his first game back after an 8-week absence saw him command 11 targets, catching six for 80 yards against what had been an absolute shut down Jacksonville defense. There’s plenty of reason to buy in to Coleman as an upside WR3 going forward, even with Deshone Kizer at the helm. Coleman had 16.3 and 14 PPR points in each of the games he has both started and finished in 2017.

Davante Adams (WR, GB) - 10 Targets

For as devastating as the installment of Brett Hundley as quarterback of the Packers has been for Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams has arguably not missed a beat. In five games with Aaron Rodgers under center, Adams averaged 15.1 fantasy points per game. In five games with Brett Hundley under center, Adams has averaged 14.5 fantasy points per game. In Week 11, Adams reeled in 8 of 10 targets for 126 yards, his most efficient output with Hundley at QB. Kept alive by volume for the time being, I don’t think any Adams owners will be in a position to complain if Rodgers manages to return for the fantasy playoffs. The icing on the cake is that Adams is tied with Dez Bryant for the league lead among wide receivers in red zone targets with 17. He’s a locked in WR2.

Brandin Cooks (WR, NE) - 9 Targets

Catching 6 of 9 targets for 149 yards and a touchdown on Sunday’s Mexico City showdown with the Oakland Raiders, Cooks has now amassed 12 catches on 20 targets for 223 yards and a score in the two games since Chris Hogan has been sidelined with a shoulder injury. Notoriously coy about injuries, the Patriots haven’t yet given us any particular reason to believe that Chris Hogan will be returning to the lineup in Week 12’s matchup with Miami. Cooks has been a disappointment to this point in the season as Chris Hogan has represented a player with a fairly redundant skill set and has likely sapped much of his production through the season’s first two months. Now, as something like the last vertical threat standing, Cooks is arguably even a high-end WR1 until further notice.

Jamison Crowder (WR, WAS) - 8 Targets

Things seem to have turned for Crowder, as the third year pro was off to an extremely disappointing start to the season after a slow finish in 2016, but has begun to show signs of life in recent weeks. Over his last three games, Crowder has been targeted 13, 11, and 8 times, and finished as PPR WR6, WR33, and WR21 respectively. During this mini-breakout, the Redskins have also sustained season-ending injuries to WR Terrelle Pryor, RB Chris Thompson, and RB Rob Kelley, while Jordan Reed has also been shelved with a hamstring issue for much of that span. With so many weapons going down around him Crowder seems to be asserting himself at the right time and realistically presents WR3 value, with a very solid PPR floor for the rest of the season as a staple for Kirk Cousins over the middle of the field.



Jimmy Graham (TE, SEA) - 11 Targets

When the Seahawks added Graham ahead of the 2015 season, it was easy to envision a scenario where he became Russell Wilson’s primary weapon, all over the field, but especially in the red zone. After a hugely disappointing season in which he managed only a pair of TDs through 11 games played before a suffering a devastating injury to his patellar tendon in 2015, Graham came back healthy in 2016 and finished fourth among fantasy TEs, but he still wasn’t quite lighting up the stat sheet like we had been accustomed to seeing in his New Orleans days. Graham’s seven catches for 58 yards, a TD, and a 2-point conversion from Monday night’s game represented his eighth straight contest with double digit fantasy points in PPR and Graham’s night could have been even bigger had he managed to haul in Wilson’s desperation heave on a third down play in the second quarter that went through his hands. Now with seven TD receptions over his last six games, and sitting on a league-leading 22 red zone targets, it’s possible to make an argument for Graham as the TE1 overall going forward.


Potential Week 12 Breakouts

Kenny Golladay (WR, DET)

Although it’s hard to imagine a fantasy team contending for a playoff spot having their back to the wall to the point where Golladay is a serious consideration on a Thanksgiving day game against Minnesota’s tough secondary, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that he does have some very real breakout appeal down the stretch and even as soon as this week. With Xavier Rhodes more likely to follow Golden Tate and Marvin Jones, Golladay could have an opportunity for big plays down the field. He has at least 52 yards in 3 of the 5 games he has played this season and could play his way into high-ceiling WR3 territory in the fantasy playoffs. Available in 89% of Yahoo leagues, he’s a particularly appealing stash for fantasy players on providers that allow you to drop bench players after they have played- as is the case on Yahoo. At least add him to your bench to see what happens, and consider him strongly in Thanksgiving DFS.

Josh Doctson (WR, WAS)

Although he is one of the most added players over the last 24 hours, Josh Doctson is still available in 73% of Yahoo leagues and presents some serious breakout potential on Thursday night against the Giants. With Terrelle Pryor on IR, Doctson is now essentially the undisputed deep threat of note for the Redskins going forward. Head coach Jay Gruden has alluded to the possibility that monster games should be coming for the second-year wideout as he has always figured to be the future WR1 for the Redskins. Kirk Cousins has thrown long TD passes to wide receivers Maurice Harris and Ryan Grant over the last two weeks, and coming off of a career high 81 yards receiving against the Saints in Week 11, if Doctson can get behind the defense on Sunday night, a WR1 performance is very possible.

JD McKissic (RB, SEA)

The Seattle Seahawks backfield either has the worst conditioning coach in the NFL or is absolutely snake-bitten by the worst injury luck in recent memory. Chris Carson, Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy, CJ Prosise, and now Mike Davis have played significant roles in the Seattle backfield, only to leave games with injuries to various body parts, with varying degrees of severity. Enter swiss-army knife JD McKissic, a converted WR who, at this point in the season, is the only RB on the Seahawks roster who has managed to escape injury in every game in which he was active. After Rawls was a healthy scratch in Week 11, suggesting a potential youth movement in Seattle, head coach Pete Carroll went with the tandem of JD McKissic and freshly-promoted Mike Davis. Davis and McKissic both showed very well in the split backfield, but Davis regrettably suffered an ankle injury that is expected to keep him out of an attractive matchup at San Francisco in Week 12. Although McKissic will likely share backfield duties with the uninspiring veteran duo of Lacy and Rawls, at least in PPR formats, he’s arguably the best play of the three. As the passing back, he should lead the team in RB snaps and has seen his catch total rise from 2 > 3 > 5 > 6 over the past four weeks. In a pinch, McKissic, who is available in 84% of Yahoo leagues, can be fired up as an RB2/Flex with upside against a 49ers defense giving up the most fantasy points to the running back position.


More Week 12 Lineup Prep