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Passing game targets lost/gained analysis: 2017-2018

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Fantasy football is all about the stats, right?

You win by scoring more points than your opponent. It's not rocket science (although it seems to get closer year after year). And how do NFL pass catchers score fantasy points? It's all about the targets, my friends. The more targets he receives, the greater the point potential he'll possess.

In 2017, DeAndre Hopkins led all receivers in targets with 174. Antonio Brown (162) was second, Larry Fitzgerald (161) and Jarvis Landry (161) tied for third and Keenan Allen (159) was fifth. Not surprisingly, those five players all finished in the top five in PPR points accrued at the position. Makes sense, right? Of course it does, because having the ball in your hands means points.

Depth charts have changed and opportunities have shifted after a rampant free-agency period and the conclusion of the NFL draft. So, which offenses have seen the biggest transformations, and who figures to benefit or suffer as a result? Well, this is your one-stop statistical shop for all of the answers you have for those exact questions. Pay attention, because it's been a pretty wild ride.

Below is a list of all 32 teams, ranked in order of the most available targets (wide receivers, running backs and tight ends based on 2017 rosters) down to the teams with the least. In parenthesis next to each player mentioned is the number of targets he had in 2017. Teams with a negative number now have more total targets than were accumulated last season. Keep these numbers in mind when you're drafting your 2018 fantasy football teams, because touches lead to fantasy points!

1. Denver Broncos (215): The Broncos have lost almost 40 percent of last season's target share with Bennie Fowler (56), C.J. Anderson (40), A.J. Derby (40) and Cody Latimer (30) no longer on the roster. The team didn't add anyone to the passing game in free agency, but rookies Royce Freeman, Courtland Sutton, and Daesean Hamilton will see their share (albeit limited) of the work. Demaryius Thomas (140) and Emmanuel Sanders (92) will continue to lead the targets charge, while Sutton is a candidate for 60-plus looks as the potential third wideout on the Broncos depth chart.

2. Arizona Cardinals (213): Arizona's pass attack will look different in 2018, as the team lost Jaron Brown (69), John Brown (55), Andre Ellington (50) and Troy Niklas (21). Larry Fitzgerald (161) will no doubt lead the team in targets once again, making him a top-50 PPR pick. J.J. Nelson will have some late-round appeal, but the big sleeper could be rookie Christian Kirk. He's in a good spot due to the high number of opportunities that have been left on the table, making him worth a late-round pick. The Cards also added Brice Butler, but he's more of a late-rounder in much deeper leagues.

3. Baltimore Ravens (158): Almost 61 percent of the Ravens targets from a season ago are available. That's due to Mike Wallace (92), Ben Watson (77) and Jeremy Maclin (72) no longer being on the roster. Michael Crabtree and John Brown will absorb a good portion of those opportunities in an offense that wants to throw the football, and Willie Snead will also see his share of the work. Crabs is the best of the bunch and could return WR2/WR3 value. The departure of Watson opens the door for rookie Hayden Hurst to become a potential late-round value in leagues that reward points for catches.

4. Los Angeles Chargers (149): Los Angeles has lost 96 targets with Antonio Gates (52) and Dontrelle Inman (44) no longer on the roster and Hunter Henry (62) out for the season, and the lone addition in the pass attack is blocking tight end Virgil Green (22). That means more of the same from Keenan Allen, who figures to be a top-30 pick in PPR leagues. Sophomore wideout Mike Williams will demand more targets now that he's at full health, but Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin create a crowd behind Allen. At tight end, the Chargers could re-sign Gates to fill Henry's void. Stay tuned.

5. Dallas Cowboys (137): The Cowboys lost more than 45 percent of their targets due to the release of Dez Bryant and the retirement of Jason Witten alone. Overall, there's a 56.44 percent loss in offensive targets from last season's roster. Terrance Williams, Allen Hurns and rookie Michael Gallup will all be worth late-round fliers as a result, but the team doesn't have a true No. 1 wideout on the roster. The other options to eat up targets are Cole Beasley and Deonte Thompson, but neither will be drafted in most leagues. At tight end, fantasy owners should keep tabs on Rico Gathers.

6. New England Patriots (126): The departures of Brandin Cooks (114) and Danny Amendola (86) opened up almost 35 percent of New England's targets last season, leaving a ton of chances for Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan to make a big impact in 2018. In PPR formats, Edelman could push for WR2 totals while Hogan could be a draft bargain. New additions Jordan Matthews, Cordarelle Patterson and rookie Braxton Berrios will have less value, but Matthews and Berrios could be worth a late flier. The loss of Dion Lewis (35) opens up opportunities for rookie Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead and James White.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (120): The biggest offseason move that affected the Steelers passing attack was the trade of Martavis Bryant, whose absence opens up 84 targets next season. As a result, expect to see more of the same from fantasy superstar Antonio Brown (162) and fantasy riser JuJu Smith-Schuster (79). The latter figures to see a nice bump in opportunities, as he averaged almost eight targets per game over his final four appearances in 2017. Rookie James Washington should fill the Bryant role, but his ceiling will be very limited in an offense that is absolutely loaded with studs.

T-8. Miami Dolphins (102): The Dolphins lost 161 targets in the trade that sent Jarvis Landry to Cleveland, but the team now has a virtual wideout committee with DeVante Parker (96), Kenny Stills (105) and new additions Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson. Jakeem Grant will also be in the mix. Parker and Stills are the most attractive fantasy options, while Wilson has some late-round, deep sleeper appeal. Julius Thomas (62) has been released, leaving an opportunity for rookie Mike Gesicki to make an impact at the tight end position. He'll have some late-round value as a TE2 with upside in drafts.

T-8. New York Giants (134): The Giants have lost just 11.73 percent of last season's target share among wideouts (Brandon Marshall, Tavarres King) while adding Cody Latimer (30) from the Broncos and Russell Shepard (32) from Carolina. Latimer is a player to watch, but he's third in the pecking order behind Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard at the position. The biggest targets hit came in the backfield, as Shane Vereen (53) and Orleans Darkwa (28) are no longer on the roster. That will leave plenty of chances for rookie star Saquon Barkley to make a big impact as a pass catcher.

10. Seattle Seahawks (93): The offseason losses of Jimmy Graham (95) and Paul Richardson (78) mean that over 33 percent of Seattle's 2017 target share is up for grabs. The team did add Jaron Brown (69), who now figures to start opposite Doug Baldwin. He's unlikely to make a bigger impact than the one Richardson had last season, however. In fact, Brown will rank behind Tyler Lockett in terms of fantasy value among Seattle wide receivers. Veteran tight end Ed Dickson was also added to the roster, but he won't replace Graham's total targets, red-zone opportunities or level of fantasy value.

11. Detroit Lions (82): Eric Ebron (86) was the biggest departure of the offseason, as he had a 15.36 percent target share a season ago. The Lions added Luke Willson and Levine Toilolo to replace him, but neither will warrant major fantasy consideration in re-drafts. With no additions at wideout, we'll see more of the same from Golden Tate (120) and Marvin Jones (107). However. Kenny Golladay is a player to watch. He should see more than the 4.4 targets per game he saw as a rookie, especially with targets to be had in the passing game. He's worth a late-round look in all fantasy drafts.

12. Atlanta Falcons (73): The Falcons let Taylor Gabriel (51) walk as a free agent, but he made up just 9.94 percent of their 2018 targets. No other departed player made up more than 2.53 percent of the team's target share from a season ago. A good chunk of those opportunities should fall into the soft hands of rookie Calvin Ridley, who could even eat into some of the 96 targets Mohamed Sanu had in 2017. Both wideouts are worth late-round choices. Julio Jones (148), who averaged 9.3 targets per game, is a lock for similar volume. Let's just hope he can be far more consistent than his 2017 self.

13. Tennessee Titans (69): Eric Decker has been the biggest loss to the pass attack, as he made up 17.58 percent of their 2017 target share. With Michael Campanaro being the lone wideout added as a free agent, look for breakout candidate Corey Davis to absorb a lot of those open opportunities. Rishard Matthews (87) won't see a huge uptick in targets, though Taywan Taylor has some deep sleeper appeal. The team's backfield will have a new look for Derrick Henry atop the depth chart, but it'll be Dion Lewis who eats up a lot of the 47 targets that DeMarco Murray left behind in the backfield.

14. Chicago Bears (68): The Bears have turned over their pass attack, leaving over 45 percent of last season's targets on the table. Allen Robinson should lead the team in targets, putting him on the WR2 radar. Taylor Gabriel, Bennie Fowler, and rookie Anthony Miller will battle for chances behind A-Rob, with Miller being the biggest sleeper of the trio. Newbie Trey Burton, who will play the Travis Kelce role in new coach Matt Nagy's offense, should see a major uptick in opportunities compared to the 31 targets he saw in his final season in Philadelphia. He's also in the sleeper conversation.

15. New York Jets (63): The loss of Austin Seferian-Jenkins and his 74 targets was the one major departure from last season's pass attack. The Jets took a flier on Terrelle Pryor, who saw just 37 targets in his one season with the Redskins. He'll be behind Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse on fantasy rank lists and is worth a late-rounder (at best) in re-drafts. The backfield lost Matt Forte (46) to retirement, so new addition Isaiah Crowell figures to top the team's depth chart. With Bilal Powell in the mix, however, Crowell will be hard pressed to better the 42 targets he had last season.

16. Green Bay Packers (61): Jordy Nelson, a long-time staple in the Packers pass attack, was released in the offseason. Some of his 88 targets (lowest since 2012), especially in the red zone, will land in the hands of new tight end Jimmy Graham. He'll replace Martellus Bennett (44) as the starter and is a potential top-five PPR option at his spot. Davante Adams should see an increase in his 21.22 percent target share from a season ago, so he's now in the WR1 conversation. With no major offseason adds at wideout, Randall Cobb (92) and Geronimo Allison (39) should also see an uptick in chances.

17. Buffalo Bills (47): Departures Deonte Thompson (50) and Jordan Matthews (36) accounted for just north of an 18 percent target share last season. Kelvin Benjamin, who saw an average of just 4.5 targets per game with the Bills, should see that total rise in his contract year. He's on the WR3 radar. Zay Jones (74) should also see more opportunities as an NFL sophomore, but whether he can rise in the fantasy ranks has much to do with the quarterback situation. Charles Clay, who averaged almost six targets a game last season, could be a nice value pick in the late rounds among tight ends.

18. Carolina Panthers (44): Carolina lost around 20 percent of their targets with the 2017 in-season trade of Kelvin Benjamin and the loss of Ed Dickson. Of course, Greg Olsen will eat up a lot of those opportunities as long as he's back at 100 percent. Torrey Smith, who saw 64 targets a season ago with the Eagles, will compete with rookie D.J. Moore to start opposite Devin Funchess. With a ton of mouths to feed, Funchess isn't a great bet to see a significant rise in his 22.84 target share from a season ago. Moore is the lone other Panthers wideout who warrants serious re-draft consideration.

19. Washington Redskins (42): The Redskins lost just under 20 percent of last season's target share with Ryan Grant (65) and Terrelle Pryor (37) no longer on the roster, but newbie Paul Richardson should absorb a lot of those opportunities. Still, he's worth just a late-round pick in an offense that fields Jamison Crowder, Jordan Reed, sleeper Josh Doctson and a pass-catching running back in Chris Thompson. Rookie Derrius Guice is a better pass catcher than some think and could eat up some targets in an offense that will have a new look under veteran quarterback Alex Smith.

T-20. Philadelphia Eagles (37): Philadelphia's pass attack should once again be led by Alshon Jeffery (120), Zach Ertz (110) and Nelson Agholor (95), but the team added veteran Mike Wallace to fill the void left after the trade of Torrey Smith. He figures to see more targets than Smith (64) did last season, but there are a lot of mouths to feed in the Eagles offensive nest. That's part of the reason Wallace has no more than late-round draft value. It's also why Dallas Goedert, who some scouts believed was the best tight end in the entire 2018 draft class, will have no real re-draft value.

T-20. San Francisco 49ers (37): The Niners lost just 17 targets at wide receiver from last season, so look for Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin and Trent Taylor to remain the top options for Jimmy Garoppolo. Sleeper tight end George Kittle, who averaged almost five targets over the final three games of 2017, should also see an uptick in opportunities. The loss of Carlos Hyde opens up 88 targets in the backfield, most of which will become part of Jerick McKinnon's workload. He's a major breakout candidate in fantasy land and will be worth a top-40 overall selection in all PPR drafts.

T-20. Houston Texans (37): The Texans lost just 37 targets in the offseason, and none of the players who left had more than a 4.56 percent target share (C.J. Fiedorowicz). As a result, we're going to see a lot of the same in the pass attack with DeAndre Hopkins (174) leading the charge. He's worth a first-round pick in re-draft leagues. The X-factor is Will Fuller, who was a fantasy stud with Deshaun Watson on the field in 2017. If he can avoid major injuries, the Notre Dame product will have plenty of sleeper appeal. Bruce Ellington and Braxton Miller round out the depth chart, but neither is draftable.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (24): There have been no major losses to the Buccaneers pass attack, so it'll remain much of the same with Mike Evans (136), DeSean Jackson (90), Adam Humphries (83) and deep sleeper Chris Godwin (55). The tight end position has a sleeper as well, as O.J. Howard should push for more than the 39 opportunities he had as a rookie. Both Howard and Cameron Brate (77) will have late-round appeal. The backfield lost just 18 targets, but fantasy fans should watch out for Ronald Jones II. He's an improved pass catcher who could push for mid-RB2 value in PPR leagues.

24. Cincinnati Bengals (6): There hasn't been much change in Cincinnati, as the team has lost just six targets from last season. That means more of the same from A.J. Green, who led the Bengals with a 29.55 percent target share. Tyler Eifert, who re-signed in the offseason, and John Ross should both see more opportunities compared to their injury-riddled 2017 campaigns. Of course, that assumes they'll be on the field and not in the trainer's room. The backfield will revolve around Joe Mixon (34) and Giovani Bernard (60), who should both remain active in the passing game for the Bengals.

25. Los Angeles Rams (-7): Los Angeles parted ways with Sammy Watkins and his 13.75 percent target share and added Brandin Cooks, who should demand far more looks in 2018. The speedster could be hard-pressed to hit the 114 targets he had in New England, however, as the Rams have a crowded pass attack that also includes Robert Woods (85) and Cooper Kupp (94). In fact, Woods could lead this team in targets among wideouts. None of the trio should be seen as more than WR3s in PPR formats. Todd Gurley (87) should continue to rack up the targets as the centerpiece of the Rams offense.

26. Jacksonville Jaguars (-12): The departures of Allen Robinson (1), Allen Hurns (56) and Marcedes Lewis (42) will give the Jaguars pass attack a new look in 2018. Marqise Lee, who had a 19 percent target share last season, figures to see an uptick in that number moving forward. The addition of Donte Moncrief lowers the ceiling for Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole, who warrant no more than late-round fliers. The same goes for rookie D.J. Chark. Austin Seferian-Jenkins is an upgrade over Lewis, but I don't see him with a larger target total than the one he had in New York (74).

27. Indianapolis Colts (-18): Indianapolis will have a new look on offense, as the team lost Donte Moncrief (47) and will move forward with T.Y. Hilton (109), Jack Doyle (108), Chester Rogers (37), and newbies Ryan Grant and Eric Ebron. Hilton and Doyle are the obvious best of the bunch, but even their values are in question until the status of Andrew Luck is revealed. A decline in targets is almost inevitable for Ebron, who won't be picked in most re-drafts. Frank Gore (38) was the biggest loss in the backfield, leaving Marlon Mack as the favorite to earn opportunities moving forward.

28. Minnesota Vikings (-20): The biggest addition of the offseason came in Minnesota, as the team added Kirk Cousins to take over the offense. That's good news for Adam Thielen (143) and Stefon Diggs (95), who combined for a 46.3 percent targets share last season. Kyle Rudolph (81) should also benefit. The Vikings added Kendall Wright (91) and Tavarres King (37), but neither will equal their target totals from 2017. The loss of Jerick McKinnon (68) was much ado about nothing in the backfield, as Dalvin Cook was bound to eat into his backfield opportunities. He has RB1 upside next season.

29. New Orleans Saints (-23): The Saints pass attack will look different in 2018, as the team let Willie Snead (16) walk and released Coby Fleener (30) while adding Cameron Meredith and Benjamin Watson. Meredith should absorb Snead's minimal looks and should eat into Ted Ginn Jr.'s (70) targets as well, but he has no more than late-round appeal in an offense that includes stud Michael Thomas (149) and wants to run the football. Watson, now the team's top tight end, will have late-round value. In the backfield, Alvin Kamara should see an uptick in targets in the wake of Mark Ingram's four-game ban.

30. Kansas City Chiefs (-40): The Chiefs didn't add a single offensive skill position player in the NFL draft, so this unit will look a lot like it did in 2017 ... with one wrinkle. Albert Wilson (61) was the lone major loss in the pass attack, and those opportunities will funnel down to their big offseason addition, Sammy Watkins. While he should see more than the 70 targets he had in Los Angeles last season, Watkins could be hard-pressed to push for 90-plus opportunities with Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Kareem Hunt also eating up targets. Consider Watkins a borderline WR3 in PPR drafts.

31. Oakland Raiders (-58): The Raiders released Michael Crabtree, who saw an 18.43 percent target share last season, and dealt Cordarrelle Patterson (42) to the Patriots. The team added Jordy Nelson, who should see an uptick in the 88 targets he saw in his final season in Green Bay. However, one has to wonder how much he'll contribute at age 33 ... and without Aaron Rodgers. With Martavis Bryant now also in the mix, it'll be tough for anyone other than Amari Cooper to sustain a reliable level of fantasy appeal. Cooper will be in the mix as a WR2 as the main target for Derek Carr.

32. Cleveland Browns (-150): Cleveland's offense will have a new look, as the team added 280 targets (based on 2017 totals). Most of those come from Jarvis Landry (161) and Carlos Hyde (88), both of whom will no doubt see a decline. In fact, it's hard to see a scenario where Josh Gordon (43) sees another 8.6 targets a game with Landry, Corey Coleman (57), David Njoku (57) and Duke Johnson (93) in the mix. I'd project Landry and Gordon as WR2s, and Johnson as an RB3/4 with Hyde and Nick Chubb on the roster. As for Njoku, he'll be worth no more than a late-round flier in an offense loaded with options.


Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for all of your breaking fantasy football news, updates and analysis!

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