ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 26: Kenneth Darby #34 of the St. Louis Rams is congratulated by teammate Danny Amendola #16 after scoring a touchdown against the Washington Redskins at the Edward Jones Dome on September 26 2010 in St. Louis Missouri. The Rams beat the Redskins 30-16. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Every week I look at the biggest impacts, both good or bad, in the NFL. This is a look at the guys that catch the ball (or don't.)
I spent Week 2 in Las Vegas and got a taste of the sports book at the Bellagio on a Sunday during football season. It was . . . intense. OK, that is an exaggeration because it's not like I was racing in the Indy 500 or anything. But there is a lot of money on the line. I know, because all of mine is still at the Bellagio.
There were some good and bad wide receiver performances in Week 2 and we learned a little bit more than we knew in Week 1. Here are the biggest impact performances in Week 2:
It is immediately evident that Sam Bradford missed his favorite receiver in 2011, and the return of Amendola is hard not to notice. After a solid 70 yards in Week 1, Amendola was targeted 16 times in Week 2 and caught a whopping 15 of them for 160 yards and a touchdown in an upset over the Redskins. The Rams are now a team to be reckoned with and Amendola might be proving to be a must-start. The Rams get the Bears next week.
After just three catches for 53 yards against the Falcons, Bowe proved he is still a top, consistent wide receiver and red zone threat by catching eight passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns against the still-pretty-bad Buffalo Bills defense. Bowe was targeted 15 times by Matt Cassel, almost three times as much as any other Chief.
Years of disappointment and injury might finally becoming to an end for Colts wide receiver Donnie Avery. After being the 33rd overall pick in 2008, Avery missed 2010 and has struggled to build off of his promise in St. Louis. Well, Andrew Luck must see something in him because Avery was targeted 10 times against the Vikings and caught nine passes for 111 yards. That will make any quarterback continue to come your way. Avery draws the Jags in Week 3.
It might be time to retire the notion that you roster any Raiders' receivers. They have not been able to get anything going in the first two weeks and just lost to the Dolphins, a team that I thought was the worst team in the league. DHB was targeted eight times and caught just four for 41 yards. Denarius Moore caught just three of his eight targets. Heyward-Bey has just 84 yards through two games.
Brian Hartline against the Raiders (GOOD)
On the other side of the ball, Hartline and the Dolphins snagged the first win of Joe Philbin's season already and blew out Oakland. Hartline was Tannehill's favorite target of the day, getting 12 looks, and caught nine for 111 yards. It's too soon to say if this means anything, as this could be a very inconsistent season for the Dolphins, but its worth watching.
I'm sure that Fitzgerald is happy right now that his team is 2-0 and upset the Patriots, but he was completely shut out of it with one catch for four yards. He now has 67 yards through two weeks. Concerned? Not really. Despite popular belief, Larry doesn't put up 150 yards every week. The Cards get the Eagles in Week 3. Meanwhile, Michael Floyd has disappeared.
Much concern over Welker's presence in the offense this year should be dissipated after Welker had 11 targets (second most for New England) Sunday. He had five catches for 95 yards. They get the Ravens next week.
An exciting back-and-forth game between the Giants and Bucs wound up with 17 targets for Cruz and 15 for Nicks. Cruz finished with 11 catches for 179 yards and Nicks had 10 for 199. There should be no doubt that Cruz is not a one-year wonder and both can thrive for well over 1,000 yards this season. Even Martellus Bennett got 10 targets and had 72 yards with a score.
Dennis Pitta against the Eagles (TIGHT END MENTION)
Just throwing in that Pitta had 15 targets against Philadelphia, even if he only turned it into eight catches for 65 yards. Ed Dickson got just four targets.
After 120 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, Moore came back to Earth with two catches for 30 yards on just five targets against Carolina. Interestingly, the vast majority of targets from Drew Brees went to non-receivers. You have to take a risk when you play Moore and other non-Colston receivers on any given week. It's still possible he could bounce back and have a good week against the Chiefs in Week 3.
LaFell caught six of eight targets for 90 yards and now has 155 yards through two games. He could develop into a decent wide receiver 3. He had twice as many targets as Steve Smith.
While Blaine Gabbert was just 7-of-19 for 53 yards against Houston, Blackmon was his biggest victim by catching zero of four targets. When playing Blackmon or Laurent Robinson, you have to remember what you're working with in terms of the whole package. It's not that enticing. Jacksonville plays the Colts in week 3.
Stephen Hill against the Steelers (AW CRAP)
Hill looked great in a Week 1 win over the Bills, but now we know its probably because they're the Bills. I think Hill can have a bright future but after zero catches on two targets, we have to remember Mark Sanchez. You can't start Hill in the near future.
One catch for five yards on two targets.
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