Fantasy News  

 

Wide receiver target distribution for all 32 teams

Print

When it comes to wide receivers in fantasy football, volume is king. We want pass-catchers who are heavily targeted by their quarterbacks, as the more opportunities they have to catch passes, the more opportunities they have to rack up fantasy points.

With this in mind, below I break down the top five pass-catchers from every team from 2016, ranked by the percentage of the total team targets they received. Below that, I provide some context as to what transpired in 2016 and also spin ahead to 2017 to try and help highlight values and target-hogs on the rise this fall. Hopefully, this exercise will help all of you on draft day as well.

Arizona Cardinals

Larry Fitzgerald: 23.2% target share | 150 targets | 107 catches | 1,023 yards | 6 TDs
David Johnson: 18.6% target share | 120 targets | 74 catches | 879 yards | 4 TDs
J.J. Nelson: 11.5% target share | 74 targets | 34 catches | 568 yards | 6 TDs
John Brown: 11.3% target share | 73 targets | 39 catches | 517 yards | 2 TDs
Michael Floyd: 10.8% target share | 70 targets | 33 catches | 446 yards | 4 TDs

Looking back: Heading into 2016 the Cardinals pass-catching corps was seemingly overflowing with potential. What a difference a year makes. Michael Floyd washed out of the team after off-field issues and John Brown battled numerous injuries, many stemming from the sickle cell trait that sapped him of energy and explosion. This all put the onus of carrying the load on the shoulders of Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson, who were more than ready to answer the call.

Looking ahead: Brown is fully recovered from last year's ailments, has added muscle, and is ready to play for a fat new contract. Fitzgerald should lead this group in targets once again and will push for 1,000 yards, coming as a nice value in the middle rounds of drafts. Johnson isn't going anywhere either in the passing game, though 120 targets is probably a bit aggressive with Brown back in the mix. J.J. Nelson will be pushed by rookie Chad Williams, who is earning rave reviews in camp, for the third wide receiver duties. He's a deep, deep sleeper for now.

Atlanta Falcons

Julio Jones: 24.0% target share | 129 targets | 83 catches | 1,409 yards | 6 TDs
Mohamed Sanu: 15.1% target share | 81 targets | 59 catches | 653 yards | 4 TDs
Devonta Freeman: 12.1% target share | 65 targets | 54 catches | 462 yards | 2 TDs
Taylor Gabriel: 9.3% target share | 50 targets | 35 catches | 579 yards | 6 TDs
Tevin Coleman: 7.4% target share | 40 targets | 31 catches | 421 yards | 3 TDs

Looking back: Atlanta's offense was the model of efficiency. Matt Ryan's 534 attempts were his lowest total since 2009, but his 7.1 percent touchdown rate was a career-high. That's thanks in large part to the bevy of talented pass-catchers at his disposal. The Falcons were one of just two teams to feature two running backs in their top five most frequently targeted passers (New York Jets).

Looking ahead: Jones and Freeman should have locked-in roles for 2017, even with new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian taking over. How the Sanu-Gabriel-Coleman split shakes up is anyone's guess with all three healthy to start the season. Coleman carries some risk at his current RB30 asking price considering he scored on an absurd 7.4 percent of his touches in 2016. The sneaky riser here in terms of target share should be Austin Hooper, who received just five percent of the looks as a rookie. He should at least absorb Jacob Tamme's 31 targets (5.7 percent), if not more. He'll be a late-round, deep tight end sleeper to keep an eye on.

Baltimore Ravens

Dennis Pitta: 17.8% target share | 121 targets | 86 catches | 729 yards | 2 TDs
Mike Wallace: 17.1% target share | 116 targets | 72 catches | 1,017 yards | 4 TDs
Steve Smith, Sr.: 14.9% target share | 101 targets | 70 catches | 799 yards | 5 TDs
Breshad Perriman: 9.7% target share | 66 targets | 33 catches | 499 yards | 3 TDs
Kamar Aiken: 7.4% target share | 50 targets | 29 catches | 328 yards | 1 TDs

Looking back: Kudos to Dennis Pitta for overcoming the odds and putting together an impressive season after multiple hip injuries threatened his career. Other than that there's little to glean from this passing attack as so many players are not in the mix in 2017 due to injury, retirement, or free agency. That list includes Pitta, Steve Smith, Kamar Aiken, Kyle Juszczyk, Kenneth Dixon, Justin Forsett and Crockett Gillmore. All told, 390 targets from 2016 are up for grabs in 2017.

Looking ahead: Jeremy Maclin and Danny Woodhead, two free agent acquisitions, will inherit plenty of those 390 vacated targets, while it'd stand to reason for Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman to see bumps up as well. The tight end position is a huge question mark, though Benjamin Watson could slide right into the starting role if he's fully recovered from a torn Achilles tendon last year. Maclin and Woodhead will be the most trustworthy players of this bunch to target in fantasy.

Buffalo Bills

Charles Clay: 18.4% target share | 87 targets | 57 catches | 552 yards | 4 TDs
Robert Woods: 16.0% target share | 76 targets | 51 catches | 613 yards | 1 TDs
Marqise Goodwin: 14.3% target share | 68 targets | 29 catches | 431 yards | 3 TDs
LeSean McCoy: 12.0% target share | 57 targets | 50 catches | 356 yards | 1 TDs
Sammy Watkins: 11.0% target share | 52 targets | 28 catches | 430 yards | 2 TDs

Looking back: Stop me if you've heard this before: Sammy Watkins missed much of the season with injuries. The hyper-talented oft-injured wide receiver missed eight games in 2016, which helped Charles Clay and as the leader in target share. This Bills passing attack rides or dies with Watkins' health. If he can last 16 games, this unit could be extremely dangerous.

Looking ahead: Rookie Zay Jones has received plenty of fantasy love, but don't overlook the veteran arrivals of Andre Holmes and Corey Brown. Both will figure into the mix, but likely won't be too fantasy relevant on a weekly basis. The team also signed veteran Anquan Boldin to add depth, and he may play a factor out of the gate, especially in the red zone. Watkins is healthy right now, and if he can keep that up he's coming at a wonderful value in drafts as the WR15 in the late third round.

Carolina Panthers

Greg Olsen: 22.9% target share | 129 targets | 80 catches | 1,073 yards | 3 TDs
Kelvin Benjamin: 21.0% target share | 118 targets | 63 catches | 941 yards | 7 TDs
Ted Ginn: 16.9% target share | 95 targets | 54 catches | 752 yards | 4 TDs
Devin Funchess: 10.3% target share | 58 targets | 23 catches | 371 yards | 4 TDs
Corey Brown: 9.4% target share | 53 targets | 27 catches | 276 yards | 1 TDs

Looking back: Kelvin Benjamin quietly put together a solid season considering he was coming back from a torn ACL. His target share fell from the near 27 percent he saw as a rookie, and I'd imagine a low 20 percent share is much more realistic for Benjamin moving forward. Greg Olsen is as consistent as tight ends come in fantasy, and if you're looking for reliable points then call his name in the middle rounds on draft day.

Looking ahead: With the additions of Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel in the draft, this passing attack appears to be undergoing a philosophical shift. Devin Funchess has never progressed as a No. 2 option, and free agent acquisition Russell Shepard has been garnering praise so far in camp. McCaffrey figures to see plenty of work as a pass-catcher, which will limit the potential of the remaining ancillary pieces of this offense. Samuel might be a fine play in DFS formats, but shouldn't be a redraft consideration at this juncture.

Chicago Bears

Cameron Meredith: 17.4% target share | 97 targets | 66 catches | 888 yards | 4 TDs
Alshon Jeffery: 16.8% target share | 94 targets | 52 catches | 821 yards | 2 TDs
Zach Miller: 11.4% target share | 64 targets | 47 catches | 486 yards | 4 TDs
Jordan Howard: 8.9% target share | 50 targets | 29 catches | 298 yards | 1 TDs
Eddie Royal: 7.7% target share | 43 targets | 33 catches | 369 yards | 2 TDs

Looking back: Somewhat through the attrition, Cameron Meredith emerged as the Bears top wideout last year. Kevin White missed time (again) with injuries, as did Alshon Jeffery and Zach Miller. Meredith performed well with his opportunities, too, and appears to be an ascending young player for the Bears. Jordan Howard's 50 targets were great, but fantasy owners would love to see him turn more of those into catches in the future. Zach Miller was on pace to finish as a top-10 fantasy tight end before injuries cut his season short at 10 games.

Looking ahead: Kevin White remains a mystery in this passing attack. Can he stay healthy, and if so, what will he be able to accomplish with a full season's worth of targets? He's essentially free in fantasy drafts right now, so if you want to take a chance on his talent, the investment is minimal. Meredith figures to lead this team in targets and already has a reportedly strong connection with quarterback Mike Glennon. He's a solid late-round option. There are rumors that Miller could be cut after the team signed Dion Sims and drafted Adam Shaheen, but Miller was productive when healthy last year. I'd be surprised if the team cuts him loose. The Bears added Benny Cunningham this offseason, and he could eat into Howard's passing game work, or at least put a realistic cap on it.

Cincinnati Bengals

Brandon LaFell: 19.0% target share | 107 targets | 64 catches | 864 yards | 6 TDs
A.J. Green: 17.8% target share | 100 targets | 66 catches | 964 yards | 4 TDs
Tyler Boyd: 14.4% target share | 81 targets | 54 catches | 603 yards | 1 TDs
Giovani Bernard: 9.1% target share | 51 targets | 39 catches | 336 yards | 1 TDs
Tyler Eifert: 8.3% target share | 47 targets | 29 catches | 394 yards | 5 TDs

Looking back: Everything went south in the Bengals passing attack when A.J. Green suffered a hamstring injury in Week 11 and missed the rest of the season. Tyler Eifert's long recovery from the injury he suffered in the Pro Bowl didn't help matters either. A healthy A.J. Green will command a target share in the high 20 percent range. In his last three full seasons, he saw 26.1, 30.3, and 30.3 percent of the looks.

Looking ahead: Tyler Boyd and Brandon LaFell should fall off pretty significantly in terms of market share. They accumulated 48.6 and 38.3 percent of their targets in the five games following Green's injury, respectively. John Ross will push to surpass LaFell in the pecking order for targets, and judging by early reports he should be No. 2 in short order, once healthy. Even during Eifert's breakout 2015 season, he only saw 74 targets in 13 games. His red-zone dominance allows him to remain a TE1 despite a depressed target share compared to his peers. Giovani Bernard, already fully recovered from a torn ACL, will steal a decent chunk of the work as well. He averages nearly 68.5 targets per season when he plays 16 games.

Cleveland Browns

Terrelle Pryor: 24.7% target share | 140 targets | 77 catches | 1,007 yards | 4 TDs
Gary Barnidge: 14.5% target share | 82 targets | 55 catches | 612 yards | 2 TDs
Duke Johnson: 13.1% target share | 74 targets | 53 catches | 514 yards | 0 TDs
Corey Coleman: 12.9% target share | 73 targets | 33 catches | 413 yards | 3 TDs
Andrew Hawkins: 9.5% target share | 54 targets | 33 catches | 324 yards | 3 TDs

Looking back: 2016 was the Terrelle Pryor show in Cleveland, partially because rookie Corey Coleman missed several games with injuries. Gary Barnidge disappeared after his out-of-nowhere 2015 campaign where he finished as the TE2 in fantasy. Duke Johnson saw 12.2 percent of the targets as a rookie and followed that up with 13.1 in 2016. Head coach Hue Jackson loves Johnson's ability in the passing game, so don't expect that to change.

Looking ahead: Kenny Britt arrives to replace Pryor, and should see around 120 targets. Britt currently is one of the best late-round wide receiver values in fantasy drafts, going a few rounds after Coleman. David Njoku and Seth DeValve are battling it out in training camp for the tight end targets. Both are fine DEEP sleepers but would make for better names to stream off the waiver wire.

Dallas Cowboys

Cole Beasley: 20.3% target share | 98 targets | 75 catches | 833 yards | 5 TDs
Dez Bryant: 19.9% target share | 96 targets | 50 catches | 796 yards | 8 TDs
Jason Witten: 19.7% target share | 95 targets | 69 catches | 673 yards | 3 TDs
Terrance Williams: 12.6% target share | 61 targets | 44 catches | 594 yards | 4 TDs
Ezekiel Elliott: 8.3% target share | 40 targets | 32 catches | 363 yards | 1 TDs

Looking back: Dez Bryant missing three games and being limited in others allowed Cole Beasley to sneak by to lead the team in targets. Old reliable Jason Witten has now had 89-plus targets and 64-plus catches in 13 consecutive seasons. He's a solid low-end PPR tight end to target. Beasley will make a fine late-round PPR pick, but don't get caught chasing his inflated production from last year in standard formats.

Looking ahead: Bryant will return to the top of this target heap, but behind him, there isn't much worth seeking out in fantasy. As mentioned above Beasley and Witten are in play in deeper PPR leagues, but that's about it on a run-heavy Dallas offense.

Denver Broncos

Demaryius Thomas: 25.3% target share | 144 targets | 90 catches | 1,083 yards | 5 TDs
Emmanuel Sanders: 24.0% target share | 137 targets | 79 catches | 1,032 yards | 5 TDs
Devontae Booker: 7.9% target share | 45 targets | 31 catches | 265 yards | 1 TDs
Virgil Green: 6.5% target share | 37 targets | 22 catches | 237 yards | 1 TDs
Jordan Norwood: 6.1% target share | 35 targets | 21 catches | 232 yards | 1 TDs

Looking back: The Broncos were kind enough to funnel most of their passing attack through Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders once again. Both wideouts put together solid fantasy seasons but were held back a bit by uneven quarterback play from Trevor Siemian and, briefly, Paxton Lynch. Both figure to combine for nearly 50 percent of the team targets again in 2017.

Looking ahead: While rookie Carlos Henderson is making plays and headlines in training camp, don't expect too much to change here. The tight end position is a wash and one to avoid. Jamaal Charles could steal some passing work, but he'd likely eat into the targets from Devontae Booker or C.J. Anderson, and not the wideouts.

Detroit Lions

Golden Tate: 22.7% target share | 135 targets | 91 catches | 1,077 yards | 4 TDs
Marvin Jones: 17.3% target share | 103 targets | 55 catches | 930 yards | 4 TDs
Anquan Boldin: 16.0% target share | 95 targets | 67 catches | 584 yards | 8 TDs
Eric Ebron: 14.3% target share | 85 targets | 61 catches | 711 yards | 1 TDs
Theo Riddick: 11.3% target share | 67 targets | 53 catches | 371 yards | 5 TDs

Looking back: Golden Tate is now the top target in this passing attack and has performed well in fantasy. He's notched 90-plus receptions in each of the last three seasons, with two 1,000-plus yard campaigns. All that holds him back are touchdowns, but with Anquan Boldin and his 22 red zone targets from last year gone, that could open up a bit.

Looking ahead: Eric Ebron's targets, catches, and yards have increased in three straight years. 2017 could be a breakout for the former first-round pick. Marvin Jones started strong and disappeared late in the season. His volatility has caused him to plummet in drafts. Rookie Kenny Golladay is earning rave reviews in training camp and could merit deep sleeper consideration.

Green Bay Packers

Jordy Nelson: 24.5% target share | 152 targets | 97 catches | 1,257 yards | 14 TDs
Davante Adams: 19.5% target share | 121 targets | 75 catches | 997 yards | 12 TDs
Randall Cobb: 13.5% target share | 84 targets | 60 catches | 610 yards | 4 TDs
Ty Montgomery: 9.0% target share | 56 targets | 44 catches | 348 yards | 0 TDs
Jared Cook: 8.2% target share | 51 targets | 30 catches | 377 yards | 1 TDs

Looking back: The Green Bay offense is loaded, but this passing attack is built around Jordy Nelson. Since 2011, in games Nelson and Aaron Rodgers have played together, the wideout averages 18 PPR points per game via five receptions, 81 yards and .78 touchdowns per game. In his last three full seasons with Rodgers, Jordy has averaged 88 receptions, 1,346 yards, and 14 touchdowns. Yowza.

Looking ahead: Jordy will get his as usual, but the big question is how the rest of the targets will split up between 2016's breakout player in Davante Adams, and 2014's breakout star Randall Cobb. Injuries have slowed Cobb down the last two years, but he flashed in the postseason how dangerous he can be. Rodgers could lift up three fantasy relevant wide receivers, but odds are either Cobb or Adams will disappoint based on draft cost and their eventual market share.

Houston Texans

DeAndre Hopkins: 25.9% target share | 151 targets | 78 catches | 954 yards | 4 TDs
Will Fuller: 15.8% target share | 92 targets | 47 catches | 635 yards | 2 TDs
C.J. Fiedorowicz: 15.3% target share | 89 targets | 54 catches | 559 yards | 4 TDs
Ryan Griffin: 12.7% target share | 74 targets | 50 catches | 442 yards | 2 TDs
Lamar Miller: 6.7% target share | 39 targets | 31 catches | 188 yards | 1 TDs

Looking back: DeAndre Hopkins' target total predictably fell from his massive 31 percent share in 2015. Will Fuller started the season hot, with 211 receiving yards in his first two games ... then finished with just 635. C.J. Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffin saw increases in target share thanks to Brock Osweiler's penchant for checking down. A new quarterback under center could lead to those two seeing fewer targets in 2017.

Looking ahead: Since Fuller broke his collarbone in training camp, there's a chance Hopkins pushes for closer to a 30 percent target share, but the more realistic result is players like Braxton Miller and Jaelen Strong get in the mix more heavily. Even before Fuller's injury, Hopkins was the only player in this passing offense to target in redraft formats, even if he's being a tad overvalued.

Indianapolis Colts

T.Y. Hilton: 26.5% target share | 155 targets | 91 catches | 1,448 yards | 6 TDs
Jack Doyle: 12.8% target share | 75 targets | 59 catches | 584 yards | 5 TDs
Phillip Dorsett: 10.1% target share | 59 targets | 33 catches | 528 yards | 2 TDs
Donte Moncrief: 9.6% target share | 56 targets | 30 catches | 307 yards | 7 TDs
Dwayne Allen: 8.9% target share | 52 targets | 35 catches | 406 yards | 6 TDs

Looking back: Donte Moncrief's breakout season was delayed yet again by injuries. That misfortune helped T.Y. Hilton lead the league in receiving yards on the back of a career-high 26.5 percent target share. Jack Doyle was a surprise riser after the team seemed committed to Dwayne Allen following the departure of Coby Fleener.

Looking ahead: Allen is now gone to New England, which should signal that Doyle's ascension will continue into 2017. Big questions linger around this aerial assault, including Moncrief's health, how much of the passing pie comes his way, and, most importantly, Andrew Luck's health. There are rumblings Luck could start the season on the PUP list as he recovers from shoulder surgery.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Allen Robinson: 24.1% target share | 151 targets | 73 catches | 883 yards | 6 TDs
Marqise Lee: 16.8% target share | 105 targets | 63 catches | 851 yards | 3 TDs
Allen Hurns: 12.1% target share | 76 targets | 35 catches | 477 yards | 3 TDs
T.J. Yeldon: 10.9% target share | 68 targets | 50 catches | 517 yards | 1 TDs
Julius Thomas: 8.1% target share | 51 targets | 30 catches | 446 yards | 4 TDs

Looking back: While Allen Robinson's target share stayed relatively static (24.9 percent in 2015), Blake Bortles' struggles crippled Robinson's fantasy output. Per Pro Football Focus, Robinson dropped from 672 yards and three touchdowns on deep targets in 2015 to 108 and zero in 2016.

Looking ahead: With Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone now in the front office/coaching room, the team wants to shift to a more run-heavy approach. Marrone even said in a perfect situation Bortles would throw zero passes during Jaguars wins. Robinson will still lead the team in targets, but he's more in the WR2 range now. There are concerns about both his volume and scoring potential in 2017, though the talent is evident.

Kansas City Chiefs

Travis Kelce: 23.2% target share | 117 targets | 85 catches | 1,125 yards | 4 TDs
Tyreek Hill: 15.2% target share | 83 targets | 61 catches | 593 yards | 6 TDs
Jeremy Maclin: 13.9% target share | 76 targets | 44 catches | 536 yards | 2 TDs
Chris Conley: 12.6% target share | 69 targets | 44 catches | 530 yards | 0 TDs
Spencer Ware: 7.7% target share | 42 targets | 33 catches | 447 yards | 2 TDs

Looking back: Jeremy Maclin battled injuries all year, helping Travis Kelce emerge as the team's No. 1 pass-catcher. Tyreek Hill mixed in well as a rookie and could be looking at an expanded role in 2017. The Chiefs are far from a pass-heavy offense, so beyond the top two targets, there's little fantasy value on this roster.

Looking ahead: With Maclin out of the picture, Kelce should lead the team in targets once again. Whether or not Tyreek Hill sees a bump is the big question. As a smaller wideout, it might cause the team to funnel more targets toward the likes of Chris Conley, who at 6-foot-3 205 pounds is more of a prototypical No. 1 wide receiver. Hill's rushing ability will keep him fantasy relevant even if his target share doesn't rise significantly.

Los Angeles Chargers

Tyrell Williams: 20.5% target share | 119 targets | 69 catches | 1,059 yards | 7 TDs
Dontrelle Inman: 16.7% target share | 97 targets | 58 catches | 810 yards | 4 TDs
Antonio Gates: 16.0% target share | 93 targets | 53 catches | 548 yards | 7 TDs
Travis Benjamin: 12.9% target share | 75 targets | 47 catches | 677 yards | 4 TDs
Melvin Gordon: 9.8% target share | 57 targets | 41 catches | 419 yards | 2 TDs

Looking back: It's hard to glean too much from last season for the Chargers because once again they were ravaged by injuries. Tyrell Williams was impressive, though, proving he could be a competent No. 1 receiver. He's a name to have circled once the later rounds arrive in drafts this fall.

Looking ahead: Keenan Allen is back and should receive a healthy amount of targets, but with rookie Mike Williams battling through a back injury, Tyrell Williams could surprise in 2017. Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry could frustrate fantasy fans this year, as both tight ends figure to be heavily targeted in the red zone.

Los Angeles Rams

Kenny Britt: 20.7% target share | 111 targets | 68 catches | 1,002 yards | 5 TDs
Tavon Austin: 19.8% target share | 106 targets | 58 catches | 509 yards | 3 TDs
Lance Kendricks: 16.2% target share | 87 targets | 50 catches | 499 yards | 2 TDs
Brian Quick: 14.4% target share | 77 targets | 41 catches | 564 yards | 3 TDs
Todd Gurley: 10.8% target share | 58 targets | 43 catches | 327 yards | 0 TDs

Looking back: The oft forgotten Kenny Britt turned in a solid season in 2016 despite having monumental issues at the quarterback position. Tavon Austin earned himself a massive contract extension ... and turned it into 500 receiving yards. It was great to see Todd Gurley start getting significant work in the passing game, as he desperately needed it to remain fantasy relevant with the Rams' ground attack pulling a disappearing act.

Looking ahead: Britt, Lance Kendricks, and Brian Quick are all gone, freeing up a ton of targets for free agent acquisition Robert Woods and rookie Cooper Kupp. New head coach Sean McVay wants to turn Austin into a DeSean Jackson-esque clone (if possible), but fantasy fans shouldn't take that bait. Woods/Kupp look like decent deep PPR sleepers as we don't yet know how the target distribution will unfold. If Tyler Higbee/Gerald Everett emerge into McVay's West Coast Jordan Reed, get those waiver claims ready.

Miami Dolphins

Jarvis Landry: 27.5% target share | 131 targets | 94 catches | 1,136 yards | 4 TDs
DeVante Parker: 18.2% target share | 87 targets | 56 catches | 744 yards | 4 TDs
Kenny Stills: 17.0% target share | 81 targets | 42 catches | 726 yards | 9 TDs
Jay Ajayi: 7.3% target share | 35 targets | 27 catches | 151 yards | 0 TDs
Dion Sims: 7.3% target share | 35 targets | 26 catches | 256 yards | 4 TDs

Looking back: DeVante Parker's breakout season stalled (again), while Jarvis Landry dominated this passing attack (again). Kenny Stills saw an expanded role under the guidance of Adam Gase, moving around the field and running an expanded route tree more frequently than he did earlier in his career.

Looking ahead: Ryan Tannehill will likely be out for the entire season after re-injuring his knee, which is why the team coaxed Jay Cutler out of retirement. Smokin' Jay's arrival is a lateral step for this offense from Tannehill. Cutler has experience with Gase, and in their last season together threw for 3,659 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 15 games. The target split in that season is wonky because Alshon Jeffery missed seven games, but had he continued his pace he would have finished with nearly 32 percent of the targets.

Minnesota Vikings

Kyle Rudolph: 22.4% target share | 132 targets | 83 catches | 1,023 yards | 6 TDs
Stefon Diggs: 19.0% target share | 112 targets | 84 catches | 879 yards | 4 TDs
Adam Thielen: 15.6% target share | 92 targets | 69 catches | 568 yards | 6 TDs
Cordarrelle Patterson: 11.9% target share | 70 targets | 52 catches | 517 yards | 2 TDs
Jerick McKinnon: 9.0% target share | 53 targets | 43 catches | 446 yards | 4 TDs

Looking back: Stefon Diggs likely would have led the team in targets had he not missed three games and been limited in others with a groin injury. Kyle Rudolph had the third-highest target percentage among tight ends and set a career-high in targets. His share could regress a bit with a healthier Diggs and expanded role for Adam Thielen, but scoring prowess (10 targets inside the 10-yard line, four touchdowns in 2016) will keep him fantasy relevant.

Looking ahead: Diggs nearly crossed 1,000 yards in 13 games last season while playing injured. Fully healthy and with consistency at quarterback and coordinator, he could truly break out in 2017. Thielen is a great late-round candidate, as is Rudolph once the "top" tight ends are gone. Don't sleep on the Vikings passing offense this year for fantasy purposes.

New England Patriots

Julian Edelman: 28.9% target share | 159 targets | 98 catches | 1,106 yards | 3 TDs
James White: 15.6% target share | 86 targets | 60 catches | 551 yards | 5 TDs
Martellus Bennett: 13.3% target share | 73 targets | 55 catches | 701 yards | 7 TDs
Chris Hogan: 10.5% target share | 58 targets | 38 catches | 680 yards | 4 TDs
Malcolm Mitchell: 8.7% target share | 48 targets | 32 catches | 401 yards | 4 TDs

Looking back: Rob Gronkowski injury years always throw the Patriots passing offense out of whack. Julian Edelman set a new career-high in targets, while Tom Brady evenly distributed the ball around to the rest of his pass-catchers (in the 12 games he played after serving his DeflateGate suspension).

Looking ahead: This passing attack became a whole lot more crowded and a whole lot tougher to project after the Patriots traded for Brandin Cooks this offseason. Gronk is healthy, Edelman is still there, as are all of the running backs plus Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell. This is all great news for Tom Brady ... not so much for the individual fantasy prospects of his wide receivers.

New Orleans Saints

Michael Thomas: 18.0% target share | 121 targets | 92 catches | 1,137 yards | 9 TDs
Brandin Cooks: 17.4% target share | 117 targets | 78 catches | 1,173 yards | 8 TDs
Willie Snead: 15.4% target share | 104 targets | 72 catches | 895 yards | 4 TDs
Coby Fleener: 12.0% target share | 81 targets | 50 catches | 631 yards | 3 TDs
Mark Ingram: 8.6% target share | 58 targets | 46 catches | 319 yards | 4 TDs

Looking back: Michael Thomas surprised as a rookie, hauling in over 90 catches and nine touchdowns. Brandin Cooks was up to his usual tricks, notching over 1,000 yards and several scores, but having it come largely through a handful of big games. Willie Snead remains in the wings, on the cusp of big things if he gets more opportunities. Which leads us to ...

Looking ahead: With Cooks in New England, Snead could be in line for a massive breakout campaign. He's an excellent route runner with sure hands. All he'll need to do is keep someone like Brandon Coleman at bay and inherit a decent chunk of Cooks' target share. Don't sleep on Coby Fleener this year as a late-round tight end. He has a full year of understanding the Saints playbook and more comfort with Drew Brees.

New York Giants

Odell Beckham Jr.: 28.3% target share | 169 targets | 101 catches | 1,367 yards | 10 TDs
Sterling Shepard: 17.6% target share | 105 targets | 65 catches | 683 yards | 8 TDs
Victor Cruz: 12.0% target share | 72 targets | 39 catches | 586 yards | 1 TDs
Will Tye: 11.7% target share | 70 targets | 48 catches | 395 yards | 1 TDs
Rashad Jennings: 7.0% target share | 42 targets | 35 catches | 201 yards | 1 TDs

Looking back: Surprising no one, this passing game ran through Odell Beckham Jr. Surprising some, Sterling Shepard found the end zone eight times as a rookie. There wasn't much fantasy value in this squad outside of those two, which tends to happen when two players eat up nearly 50 percent of the team targets.

Looking ahead: Brandon Marshall's arrival muddles things for 2017. How many books will he get, and how much will he eat into OBJ and Shepard's shares? Rookie Evan Engram will be in the mix as well, though probably isn't worth a redraft investment this year. A healthy Shane Vereen will be worth keeping an eye on in PPR formats, especially if he steals third-down and passing game work from presumed starter Paul Perkins.

New York Jets

Brandon Marshall: 23.3% target share | 128 targets | 59 catches | 788 yards | 3 TDs
Quincy Enunwa: 19.1% target share | 105 targets | 58 catches | 857 yards | 4 TDs
Robby Anderson: 14.2% target share | 78 targets | 42 catches | 587 yards | 2 TDs
Bilal Powell: 13.5% target share | 74 targets | 58 catches | 388 yards | 2 TDs
Matt Forte: 7.8% target share | 43 targets | 30 catches | 263 yards | 1 TDs

Looking back: Staring too long at the Jets passing attack from 2016 can have an adverse effect on your overall health. Brandon Marshall played through injuries and awful quarterback play, resulting in the lowest catch rate of his career. Eric Decker's myriad injuries didn't help either, though they did force Quincy Enunwa into a large role, and he delivered a surprising season.

Looking ahead: Marshall and Decker are gone. Enunwa, who was projected as the de facto No. 1 wide receiver is now done for the season with a neck injury suffered in camp. That leaves the Jets with Robby Anderson, Charone Peak and rookie ArDarius Stewart as the top receiver options. Someone will get volume, but it'll be coming from the arms of Josh McCown, Bryce Petty and/or Christian Hackenberg. Bilal Powell and Matt Forte both look like excellent PPR options, and could each see 12-plus percent of the looks for New York. Still, this isn't going to be a great offense so owners would be wise to not become too attached to it in drafts.

Oakland Raiders

Michael Crabtree: 24.3% target share | 145 targets | 89 catches | 1,003 yards | 8 TDs
Amari Cooper: 22.1% target share | 132 targets | 83 catches | 1,153 yards | 5 TDs
Seth Roberts: 12.9% target share | 77 targets | 38 catches | 397 yards | 5 TDs
Clive Walford: 8.7% target share | 52 targets | 33 catches | 359 yards | 3 TDs
Latavius Murray: 7.2% target share | 43 targets | 33 catches | 264 yards | 0 TDs

Looking back: The Raiders offense in 2016 featured a nearly identical split between Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper as what they did in 2015 (24.1 percent, 21.5 percent respectively). This offense funnels through those two and not much figures to change in their market share.

Looking ahead: Jared Cook has joined the team but doesn't figure to earn a ton of targets. The tight end position as a whole in Oakland has only seen 14, 13 and 17 percent of the team targets over the last three years. Latavius Murray's 43 targets will be up for grabs, but most will probably trickle down to Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington. Other than that, expect more of the same for the Raiders this fall.

Philadelphia Eagles

Jordan Matthews: 19.2% target share | 117 targets | 73 catches | 804 yards | 3 TDs
Zach Ertz: 17.4% target share | 106 targets | 78 catches | 816 yards | 4 TDs
Dorial Green-Beckham: 12.2% target share | 74 targets | 36 catches | 392 yards | 2 TDs
Darren Sproles: 11.7% target share | 71 targets | 52 catches | 427 yards | 2 TDs
Nelson Agholor: 11.3% target share |69 targets | 36 catches | 365 yards | 2 TDs

Looking back: It's hard to believe the Eagles wanted to finish the 2016 season with Carson Wentz throwing the fifth-most attempts in the league (607). This was a very strange passing distribution as well, with six players having at least 60 targets, but no player getting more than 117. The passing game needed an overhaul, and the team addressed it in the offseason.

Looking ahead: Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith are now in Philadelphia, and the former will push for the team lead in targets. Don't count out Jordan Matthews, though, as he'll still have a large role. The team also signed LeGarrette Blount and could look to run the ball more often in 2017. Overall, this isn't a passing attack to invest too heavily in too early.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Antonio Brown: 25.8% target share | 154 targets | 106 catches | 1,284 yards | 12 TDs
Le'Veon Bell: 15.8% target share | 94 targets | 75 catches | 616 yards | 2 TDs
Eli Rogers: 11.1% target share | 66 targets | 48 catches | 594 yards | 3 TDs
Jesse James: 10.1% target share | 60 targets | 39 catches | 338 yards | 3 TDs
Sammie Coates: 8.2% target share | 49 targets | 21 catches | 435 yards | 2 TDs

Looking back: Surprising no one, the Pittsburgh passing offense was a tale of two superstars, with Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell leading the way. Eli Rogers and Sammie Coates flirted with being fantasy relevant every once in awhile, but neither had a consistent enough role (or played consistently well enough) to merit real consideration.

Looking ahead: THE ALIEN HAS LANDED! Martavis Bryant is set to be reinstated from a season-long suspension that cost him the 2016 season. While some might worry this could eat into Brown's market share, he's actually been more productive with Bryant on the field than without him. In their 21 games together, Brown averages nearly nine receptions, 114 receiving yards, and .76 touchdowns per game. Without him, those numbers dip to six catches, 81 yards, and .48 touchdowns. Granted, the "without" games include more with subpar quarterback play, but this still illustrates the positive impact Bryant has on the Steelers offense.

San Francisco 49ers

Jeremy Kerley: 23.4% target share | 115 targets | 64 catches | 667 yards | 3 TDs
Quinton Patton: 18.6% target share | 120 targets | 37 catches | 408 yards | 0 TDs
Garrett Celek: 11.3% target share | 50 targets | 29 catches | 350 yards | 3 TDs
Torrey Smith: 10.0% target share | 49 targets | 20 catches | 267 yards | 3 TDs
Vance McDonald: 9.2% target share | 45 targets | 24 catches | 391 yards | 4 TDs

Looking back: I'm not even really sure what to say about this passing attack. Bruce Ellington's injury certainly didn't help, but when Jeremy Kerley receives 23.4 percent of any teams total targets, you know many things have gone horribly wrong.

Looking ahead: Offensive whiz Kyle Shanahan is now calling the shots in the Bay Area and brought his former No. 1 wideout Pierre Garcon along for the ride. Garcon set career highs in targets, receptions, and yards the last time he played in a Shanahan offense, and with next to no competition for targets in San Francisco should be able to post a massive statistical season again. Brian Hoyer is the starting quarterback for San Francisco, and he's capable of pummeling his No. 1 wideout with targets (he helped DeAndre Hopkins back in the day). Other than Garcon, though, this passing offense is one to avoid.

Seattle Seahawks

Doug Baldwin: 22.0% target share | 125 targets | 94 catches | 1,128 yards | 7 TDs
Jimmy Graham: 16.8% target share | 95 targets | 65 catches | 923 yards | 6 TDs
Jermaine Kearse: 15.7% target share | 89 targets | 41 catches | 510 yards | 1 TDs
Tyler Lockett: 11.6% target share | 66 targets | 41 catches | 597 yards | 1 TDs
Paul Richardson: 6.3% target share | 36 targets | 21 catches | 288 yards | 1 TDs

Looking back: Despite the Seahawks offensive line being a disaster and Russell Wilson playing through injuries, the passing game remained pretty productive. That's thanks in part to the team finally figuring out how to use Jimmy Graham -- after he suffered a torn patellar tendon in 2015, too. Doug Baldwin kept his target share about level from last year, and while his touchdowns predictably came back to Earth (after 14 in 2015), he still put up WR1 numbers. Tyler Lockett was on his way to a solid campaign, but numerous injuries hampered a true breakout season, and his 2016 campaign came to an end in a bitter fashion with a broken leg in December.

Looking ahead: Wilson is back to full health and now has a dominant 1-2 punch in Baldwin and Graham. His pass attempts have increased in five straight seasons, though a sixth might be tough to achieve after his total jumped 63 from 2015 to 2016. With Baldwin and Graham's roles pretty secure, the only questions for fantasy fans facing this offense are how much the backs factor in and who earns the most looks as the third option. Lockett would be the presumed leader if fully healthy, but Paul Richardson impressed late last season and into the playoffs. Keep an eye on this battle in case the Seahakws passing offense really does take off in 2017.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mike Evans: 29.9% target share | 173 targets | 96 catches | 1,321 yards | 12 TDs
Adam Humphries: 14.4% target share | 83 targets | 55 catches | 622 yards | 2 TDs
Cameron Brate: 14.0% target share | 81 targets | 57 catches | 660 yards | 8 TDs
Russell Shepard: 6.9% target share | 40 targets | 23 catches | 341 yards | 2 TDs
Charles Sims: 5.5% target share | 32 targets | 24 catches | 190 yards | 1 TDs

Looking back: With Father Time coming after Vincent Jackson hard in 2016, the Bucs were left without a real No. 2 wide receiver, which led to Mike Evans leading the league in targets and target share. Cameron Brate came on in Week 3 once the team cut ties with Austin Seferian-Jenkins. The Harvard grad proved to be a force in the red zone, scoring all eight of his touchdowns in that space. Charles Sims' target share fell from 13.1 to just 5.5 in 2016 as he battled injuries and overall inconsistent play. He'll have an uphill battle for touches in the Bucs' more crowded backfield in 2017.

Looking ahead: The Bucs overhauled their passing game in a big way by signing DeSean Jackson in free agency and drafting O.J. Howard in the first round. Don't get sucked into over-drafting Howard based on his real draft cost -- Brate still figures to be the primary pass-catching tight end for now. Fewer targets and a little more relaxed coverage could help Evans increase his efficiency and stay as a WR1 on fewer targets. The Winston-Jackson connection has been solid so far in training camp. If it carries into the season Jackson has the look of an ideal later round WR3-4 target.

Tennessee Titans

Rishard Matthews: 21.4% target share | 108 targets | 65 catches | 945 yards | 9 TDs
Delanie Walker: 20.2% target share | 102 targets | 65 catches | 800 yards | 7 TDs
Tajae Sharpe: 16.5% target share | 83 targets | 41 catches | 522 yards | 2 TDs
DeMarco Murray: 13.3% target share | 67 targets | 53 catches | 377 yards | 3 TDs
Kendall Wright: 8.5% target share | 43 targets | 29 catches | 416 yards | 3 TDs

Looking back: The Tennessee passing game was DOA until the team started using Rishard Matthews more often. As strange as that sounds, it's true. In Weeks 1-4 Marcus Mariota completed just 58.8 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and five interceptions while Matthews played 52 percent of the snaps. In Weeks 5 through 15 his numbers jumped to 63.7 completion percentage with 21 touchdowns and four interceptions with Matthews playing 79 percent of the snaps. There are other factors as well, but Matthews certainly made a difference in this offense that was desperately searching for a No. 1 or even No. 2 wide receiver. Fortunately for Mariota and the Titans, that search is now over.

Looking ahead: No team upgraded their wide receiving group more than the Titans, who drafted Corey Davis with the fifth pick this spring and signed touchdown machine Eric Decker in free agency. This is great news for Mariota and the offense as a whole, but horrible news for fantasy fans. In all likelihood, the quartet of Davis, Decker, Matthews and Delanie Walker will split up the targets quite evenly, with between 16-20 percent a piece. This will make trusting any of them on a weekly basis in fantasy quite difficult. Decker probably has the best upside of the bunch based purely on his red-zone prowess, but drafters would be wise to only reach for Mariota when it comes to this passing game.

Washington Redskins

Pierre Garcon: 18.8% target share | 114 targets | 79 catches | 1,041 yards | 3 TDs
DeSean Jackson: 16.5% target share | 100 targets | 56 catches | 1,005 yards | 4 TDs
Jamison Crowder: 16.3% target share | 99 targets | 67 catches | 847 yards | 7 TDs
Jordan Reed: 14.7% target share | 89 targets | 66 catches | 686 yards | 6 TDs
Chris Thompson: 10.2% target share | 62 targets | 49 catches | 349 yards | 2 TDs

Looking back: Washington once again led a pass-happy offense, and Kirk Cousins spread the ball around quite effectively. Jordan Reed missed four games, which likely contributed to the more even split. Jamison Crowder was a big riser in this offense and his ascent could continue into 2017, especially with Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson taking their 214 combined targets to other teams in free agency. Despite his size (5-foot-8), Crowder's shiftiness allowed him to lead the team in red zone targets with 16.

Looking ahead: The team lost Garcon and Jackson, but brought in the big, hyper-athletic Terrelle Pryor to fill in as the new No. 1 wide receiver. He, Crowder and Reed will form a potent trio, though they'll cannablize each other for targets. Pryor likely won't hit the 140 targets he saw a season ago in Cleveland, but with a better quarterback/offense alongside him, he could still post WR1 fantasy numbers with 120-ish looks. Crowder is an ideal mid-round PPR target, as he could push for 100 catches depending on how the targets get distributed. Reed is already missing time with injuries, which brings Vernon Davis back into focus. If Reed misses time, Davis becomes an instant streamable fantasy tight end to add from waivers.

NFL Fantasy season is here! Get in on the fun and join or create a league for FREE.

-- Alex Gelhar is a fantasy football writer/editor for the NFL. Follow him on Twitter @AlexGelhar or "Like" his page on Facebook.

Print

Fan Discussion