The fantasy football season has come and gone. No longer must we fret over waiver acquisitions and lineup decisions. The offseason is upon us, which means it's time to do a bit of reflecting on the season that was as we turn our eyes to next year.
All season I used this column for a weekly look at the target and touch shares for each team. For this final edition, I'll take a look at the top touch and target earners on all 32 NFL teams, providing a bit of a look back and what happened as well as forecasting on what might be coming. As you'll note, I highlight some impending free agents and try to note some predictable moves from teams, such as cuts and so on. This is by no means meant to be an exhaustive look at each team. Rather, it should serve as a nice system reset for die-hard fantasy players eager to get a jump on next season. Bookmark this piece and come back to it in the offseason when you begin your research in earnest if you so choose.
Anyway, I've blathered on enough here. Let's dive into the stats one last time.
percent TS = percentage of total team passing targets player received
percent AY = percentage of total team air yards player received
Devonta Freeman suffered a groin injury that landed him on injured reserve, paving the way for a backfield split between Coleman and Smith. Coleman finished as the RB18, with Smith clocking in at RB50. This backfield should look completely different in 2019, though, as Freeman will be back, Coleman is a free agent, and offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian was fired. Freeman figures to return as the featured back for Dirk Koetter, who is returning to Atlanta. Koetter's last stint with the Falcons came in 2014. His offense ranked eighth in yards and 12th in points, but 27th in rush attempts and 24th in rushing yards.
The hate has truly gone too far against Julio in fantasy. Over the last five years, he's averaged 105 catches, 1,599 yards, and six touchdowns per year. The big question with this group moving forward is the status of Sanu/role of Ridley. They posted similar stat lines this year (66-838-4 for Sanu, 64-821-10 for Ridley), but Ridley is clearly the future and there's a potential out built into Sanu's contract this offseason. If Sanu were to leave, Ridley would have massive breakout potential. Hooper surprised with a TE6 finish, but that might be more telling for the tight end position than his own role in this offense. A 14 percent target share is tough to bank on, but when it comes to tight ends, beggars can't be choosers. Hooper will be a decent late-round option next year.
David Johnson, RB - 308 touches, 16 percent TS, 79 percent snap share
Chase Edmunds, RB - 80 touches, 5 percent TS, 21 percent snap share
Johnson received a ton of volume again, but this was mostly a lost year for the Cardinals writ large. He was deployed frustratingly under offensive coordinator Mike McCoy (who was fired mid-season), and then improved moderately under Byron Leftwich (who was fired at the end of the season). There's reason for optimism in 2019, though, as the Cardinals have a quarterback of the future in Josh Rosen and a new, forward-thinking head coach in Kliff Kingsbury. The thing to remember when considering Johnson next season is volume trumps pretty much everything else for fantasy running backs. Case in point, despite the overall tragedy that was the Cardinals offense this season, Johnson still finished as the RB10 in PPR.
It's tough to take too much away from this passing attack, with Sam Bradford starting a few games before rookie Josh Rosen took over. The offensive coordinator changes, shoddy offensive line, and lack of reliable weapons aside from 35-year-old Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald isn't under contract but hasn't ruled out returning in 2019. His presence would greatly impact the rest of the group here. Kirk started to flash this season and could be a sleeper name to circle for 2019.
This backfield underwent a seismic shift midway through the season when Jackson took over for an injured Joe Flacco, Edwards took over for the underperforming Alex Collins and Javorius Allen, and Dixon returned from injured reserve. The Jackson-Edwards-Dixon triumvirate appears to be the future, as Baltimore's run-heavy approach helped them win the AFC North. Both Dixon and Edwards will be committee backs worth drafting next season, though Dixon might have more upside as a more natural pass-catcher.
The Ravens drastically improved their pass-catching corps this offseason, but a Joe Flacco injury and a new run-heavy approach under Lamar Jackson literally took the air out of this offense. This will be a tough group to trust in fantasy in 2019, even though some improvement by Jackson should be anticipated.
The Bills backfield was... interesting in 2018. McCoy was the workhorse, but then was injured and had a falling out with the coaching staff. The team claims he'll be back in 2019, but it's hard to put too much stock into that. McCoy turns 31-years-old in July. Allen led the team in rushing yards and rushing scores as a rookie, but unlike the Ravens, many of his runs weren't designed but crazy scrambles. Look for the Bills to address the running back position in the draft or free agency.
Benjamin was cut by the Bills in December, and still finished second on the team in targets. This passing attack needs work, but there are reasons for optimism. For instance, Foster came out of nowhere to post four 90-plus yard games over the final seven, while Jones scored five touchdowns over the final five. If Allen can take the next step as a passer and improve his accuracy, these two could have late-round upside. It'll be worth watching if the Bills make a move for another wideout high in the draft or via free agency.
Christian McCaffrey, RB - 326 touches, 22 percent TS, 91 percent snap share
McCaffrey just became the third back in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards and record over 100 receptions. He'll be a locked-in top-five pick in fantasy drafts next season, regardless of format.
Greg Olsen landed on injured reserve for the second-straight season and has now suffered three foot injuries in that same span. He wants to return next season, but that doesn't seem set-in-stone. If Olsen retires, Thomas will be an excellent late-round sleeper. Funchess is a free agent and does not appear to be in the team's future plans, which could set Moore up for a breakout campaign in 2019. He proved to be a versatile playmaker in 2018, and more opportunities would help him reach new statistical heights. Samuel will also be an interesting options as well given his big-play nature, but the fantasy outlook of this entire group really hinges on Cam Newton's recovery, as he was shut down at the end of the year with a shoulder injury.
Howard finished as the RB20 in PPR scoring, despite a minuscule 5 percent target share and 20 receptions. His nine touchdowns certainly helped, but starting Howard for much of the season was a rollercoaster as if he failed to find the end zone, he failed you in fantasy. Howard did finish strong, though with his only 100-yard games coming in the final four weeks, where he also scored four of his nine touchdowns. That might not foretell success in 2019 because Cohen is still hanging around, and he finished as the RB11 thanks to his 71 receptions and eight total touchdowns. The Bears offense is an ascending unit, though, so both of these backs will be strong draft targets next year.
The Bears passing attack found new life thanks to head coach Matt Nagy and an improving Mitchell Trubisky. Robinson missed three games with injuries, so it's noteworthy that he still led the team in target share and air yards. He'll be a solid mid-round option next season, but the diversity in this group (which includes Cohen), prevents Robinson from receiving elite volume. Gabriel and Miller will be intriguing late-round options, but volume might be a bit up-and-down.
Joe Mixon, RB - 280 touches, 12 percent TS, 61 percent snap share
Mixon, despite a 61 percent snap share, was the Bengals' workhorse. The team functioned at its best when Mixon was heavily involved, so hopefully, the new coaching staff carries that over. Speaking of, the new coaching staff will have some bearing on Mixon's fantasy value next year, but he'll likely remain one of the higher volume backs in the league which makes him a solid early to mid-round target.
This was a bad year for the Bengals passing offense. Tyler Eifert landed on injured reserve (again), as did A.J. Green. Boyd improved in his third season, but sophomore Ross couldn't find consistency except inside the 10-yard line, where he caught five of his seven targets for touchdowns. A healthy Green will be a target vacuum again next year, while Boyd will have some appeal as a mid-round target as well. Eifert's injury history will make him too risky to trust (if he even returns to the team), while Ross' inconsistency limits his appeal as well.
Carlos Hyde was the Browns' workhorse until he was traded mid-season, opening the door for the more explosive Chubb to come in and dominate. He'll be a high-round pick next season as part of an ascending young offense. Johnson is a fine piece of the Browns offense, but his involvement took a big hit from years prior, as he posted career lows in rush attempts, rushing yards, targets, receptions, and receiving yards. Given Chubb's rise and dual-threat ability (29 targets in only nine games), Johnson's best fantasy days may be behind him.
Baker Mayfield has given the Browns a new fantasy lease on life. He's shown a rapport with Landry, Njoku, and Callaway in his short time as the starter, and all three options will be worthwhile fantasy targets in 2019. Njoku is likely to become one of the industry's top late-round options, while Callaway will be a high-upside WR3/4 to target late. He improved steadily as the season went along, showing refined route-running and better focus on catches. Landry likely will never see the volume he once did with Miami, but he'll make for a fine mid-round target as the No. 1 option in an offense that could be one of the league's more exciting units next season.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB - 381 touches, 19 percent TS, 83 percent snap share
It should be no surprise to anyone that Elliott was once again the engine of the Cowboys offense. What was a surprise was his increased role in the passing game, as his 95 targets and 77 receptions surpassed his prior career totals entering this season. With the Cowboys making the postseason and their coaching staff likely remaining completely intact, we should expect nothing less next season. Elliott will again be a top-five fantasy pick.
The trade for Cooper clearly worked for the Cowboys and fantasy owners, as Cooper went for 53-725-6 in nine games with the 'Boys. However, he did disappear down the stretch, a concerning development given how frequently this happened during his last few years in Oakland. However, Cooper led the team in target share with 24 percent from when he joined the team until the end of the season. He'll be a solid fantasy option next season. Gallup could be a late-round dart throw, but targets might be hard to come by aside from Elliott/Cooper, much in the same vein as the old Steelers offense with Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. Keep an eye on Blake Jarwin as well. The Cowboys tight end position was a revolving door all season, but Jarwin closed out 2018 with three touchdown receptions in Week 17 and may have cemented himself as next year's top option in Dallas.
Lindsay was a revelation this year, coming out of nowhere as an undrafted free agent and ending up as the RB13. He clearly outplayed third-round rookie Royce Freeman, averaging 5.4 yards per carry versus Freeman's 4 yards per carry. Lindsay's season ended on a sour note, though, as he suffered a serious wrist injury that required surgery. The good news is Lindsay should be fully recovered before training camp, where he can re-assert himself as Denver's top back in a new offense. He'll be an early-round pick in fantasy drafts next summer.
This was a season of transition for the Broncos passing attack. The team traded Demaryius Thomas mid-season and Sanders landed on IR after 12 games, giving rookies Hamilton and Sutton opportunities to step in. Sutton saw more work, but Hamilton made a stronger impression down the stretch, flashing refined route-running and solid separation. Sanders is likely to return next year (though that could change), but Sutton and Hamilton will make for interesting late-round options with Thomas now out of the picture.
The Lions resisted featuring Johnson at first, but he shined when they finally gave him more touches. Unfortunately, he suffered a knee injury that sidelined him for the rest of the season. As a result, the team kept feeding carries to the plodding Blount despite him averaging a paltry 2.7 yards per carry. Head coach Matt Patricia wants to "establish the run" in the future, which could bode well for Johnson if the team realizes that their most talented back would likely give them a better chance to win. Johnson's upside and dual-threat ability will make him an enticing early-round option, but the fear of a committee remains.
Detroit's passing attack started as one of the deepest in the league and ended as a wounded unit relying almost exclusively on a second-year star in Golladay. Golden Tate was traded and Marvin Jones landed on injured reserve, which could be partially why Matthew Stafford posted the lowest yardage total of his career when he played a full season. Jones should be fine next season, but Golladay's performance this year could signal a changing of the guard. Matt Patricia's preference for a ground-and-pound attack could limit the ceiling of these two, but both will be draftable.
Green Bay Packers
Mike McCarthy refused to anoint Jones the starter for several weeks, despite pleas from fans, media personalities, and his own quarterback. Jones was a revelation when he finally became the starter, but he suffered a knee injury that ended up getting him shut down once the Packers' season was lost. Williams is a solid player who came up big in the fantasy playoffs once Jones was out, but Williams needs heavy volume to produce in fantasy. Jones should make a full recovery and will likely lead this backfield again in 2019, but that will be dependent on what the new coach wants, as McCarthy's transgressions finally landed him with a boot out the door.
The Packers had grand plans for the passing attack entering the season... and those all fell apart. Randall Cobb missed most of the season with injuries, the rookies were up-and-down, and Graham was a massive free-agent bust. The lone bright spot was Adams, who posted 14 WR1 fantasy performances in 15 games (he missed Week 17 with an injury). Changes are likely coming to this group in the offseason (Cobb and or Graham could be gone, new talent could come in, etc.), so be sure to follow along. Any pass-catchers attached to Aaron Rodgers, especially in a (god willing) more creative offense, will be on our fantasy radar.
When the Texans offense hit its stride in midseason, Miller became an every-week starter, posting more than 100 total yards in five games of a six-week span. Unfortunately, he got off to a slow start and was injured late in the season, preventing a more complete performance. Miller is entering the final year of his contract in 2019, so the team may look for a younger upgrade at the position, or double down with Miller as he is only 27. D'Onta Foreman spent much of the season on injured reserve and could factor in more next season. However, he is still fighting back from an Achilles injury, which is tough to return from at a demanding position like running back.
When Will Fuller returned in Week 2, the Texans offense started to resemble the explosive attack we witnessed last season. He posted three 100-plus yard games in his seven appearances before tearing his ACL. Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins adjusted, though, reminding the football world of their impressive connection and talent. Coutee showed flashes when healthy, but couldn't stay on the field. His early impact is an encouraging sign for this bunch in 2019 though, as he fills the slot role lacking with Fuller and Hopkins on the outside.
Mack missed the first four games of the season but turned into a solid fantasy starter once back. He showed improvement from his rookie season as a runner, which is encouraging for his outlook next season, which will hopefully be a fully healthy one. Of course, the Colts could add another back to the mix, but if they don't they have a solid 1-2 combo with Mack and Hines, who caught 63 passes as a rookie, good enough for eighth-most among all backs. He's a solid low-end PPR option, with upside if Mack gets injured. This Colts attack is likely to improve in Year 2 under Frank Reich, especially if they bring in more talent, especially at wideout. Mack and Hines will be solid mid-to-late round options.
A healthy Hilton is a fantasy wonder. It was great seeing Hilton and Luck playing catch on the football field again, and as someone who drafted Luck in my main league, I was quite thrilled to see his connection with his top target was as strong as ever. Ebron found new life in Indianapolis after a somewhat disappointing spell in Detroit. He tied the franchise record for touchdown receptions by a tight end in a season, and finished as the TE4. He might lose some luster next season when Jack Doyle returns, but in the five games where both tight ends played together, Ebron scored eight of his 14 total touchdowns. He's a red-zone weapon who can still be a fantasy asset even with reduced targets.
So, the Jaguars. One of last season's darlings came crashing down into a fiery spiral of offensive (and fantasy) doom. Fournette admitted he was out of shape, missed much of the season with injuries and suspensions, and now might not even be in the team's future. Yeldon acquitted himself well enough, especially in PPR formats considering his 55 receptions were the second-most on the team. The Jaguars traded for Carlos Hyde midway through the season, but he hardly sniffed the field when Fournette was playing. He could factor in more next season, especially if the Jaguars and Fournette part ways, or the relationship sours more in 2019. Either way, this looks like a rather mysterious committee at this point, one that won't be worthy of heavy early-round fantasy investments.
The Jaguars offense gave fantasy players the rare gift of a double carousel. Quarterbacks Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler circled around each other in a dance of mediocrity, while Westbrook, Moncrief, and Cole swapped No. 1 receiver duties regularly. This squad lacks a trustworthy (or starting-caliber) signal-caller and has no true No. 1 wideout. As such, it's really not worth much fantasy attention.
Kansas City Chiefs
After Hunt was released following domestic violence incidents, the Chiefs turned to Ware and then Williams to fill-in. Both backs acquitted themselves well, which shouldn't be a surprise considering how well the Chiefs offense operates as a whole. A good offense will lift up even an average back to fantasy stardom. We'll have to watch and see what the Chiefs do in the offseason, as fantasy managers will want as many pieces of this high-octane offense as possible.
When your quarterback throws for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns, you're going to post some gaudy numbers. Both Kelce and Hill went for over 1,300 yards and double-digit touchdowns, while Watkins had a few solid games before injuries derailed his season. Patrick Mahomes spread the ball around relatively evenly to the rest of his team, preventing any player from posting respectable numbers for fantasy purposes. If Watkins were healthy for the whole year he might be a more high-variance WR3, so it'll be necessary to watch his progress and projected role in the team next season. As for Kelce and Hill, well, this should surprise no one but they'll cost a premium pick to join your fantasy squad next season.
Los Angeles Chargers
It's too bad Gordon missed four games this season, as he was playing some of the best football of his career (just in time for contract negotiations, too, as he's a free agent in 2019). Ekeler had a really nice complementary season serving as the No. 2 behind Gordon and offered an OK floor in deeper PPR leagues. He finished as a top-30 fantasy running back, but week-to-week he was a bit hit or miss if he didn't find the end zone, as his passing game usage dipped a bit. He only had five games where he caught four or more passes. Gordon will likely re-sign with the team and remain a first-round, elite fantasy back in 2019. If he moves on, though, Ekeler and Justin Jackson will rocket up fantasy draft boards.
Allen more than doubled the target total of the next closest player this season, making it a bit harder for anyone else to catch on in fantasy. Second-year stud Mike Williams showed he deserves more opportunities, though, posting 10 touchdowns on his 66 targets, showcasing deep-ball and red-zone skills. Tyrell Williams is a free agent in 2019, but his probable departure won't open up too many more opportunities as tight end Hunter Henry will be back as well. He tore his ACL during OTAs last summer and missed the entire year. As long as Philip Rivers doesn't surprisingly retire in the offseason, this should be a strong group to target in fantasy drafts next summer.
Los Angeles Rams
Todd Gurley, RB - 315 touches, 14 percent TS, 75 percent snap share
Gurley was in top form once again, amassing over 1,800 total yards and 21 touchdowns in 14 games. He was battling through a minor knee injury, so the team wisely shut him down for the final two contests so he could heal up for the postseason. In Gurley's stead, street free-agent C.J. Anderson came in and averaged just shy of 150 rushing yards per game. If Anderson sticks around for 2019, it'll be in a largely backup role.
As was the case last year, the majority of the Rams passing offense funneled through the big three wide receivers and Gurley. The only difference was Kupp missing eight games due to injury, shifting many of his targets to Josh Reynolds and Gerald Everett as a result. Cooks and Woods both saw slight upticks statistically with Kupp out of the lineup, with each receiver posting 80-plus receptions and over 1,200 yards. All three wideouts are under contract in 2019, so fantasy managers should expect more of the same from this high-flying offense as Jared Goff continues to grow more comfortable and in control of Sean McVay's offense.
We may never know why Adam Gase disliked giving Drake touches, but that won't matter next year as Gase is out of the picture. Also potentially out of the picture is Gore, who has intimated that he'd like to play again next year in what would be his 15th NFL season. He's a free agent currently, and there's no telling what the new coaching staff will want to do. Drake has shown flashes as a playmaker and pass-catcher (his 53 receptions were the second-most on the team in 2018), but the team also has rookie Kallen Ballage waiting in the wings. Of course, a new coach may want to go a different direction. We'll have to wait and see before making too many determinations on this group for fantasy just yet.
I'm not quite sure what to make of the 2018 Dolphins. No player had more than 80 targets, 60 catches, or 600 yards. The head coach was fired, and we were blessed with the gift of five starts from Brock Osweiler. This passing attack, and offense as a whole could look VASTLY different in 2019. The new head coach might want to move on from Ryan Tannehill, who was perfectly mediocre in 2018, doing nothing to convince anyone of his ability as a true franchise passer. DeVante Parker is an impending free agent who was phased out of the offense in 2018, while the aging Amendola has no guaranteed money in 2019 and could be a cut candidate. Until we know more about what this group will look like, who will be under center, and who will be coaching them, it's best to stay away in fantasy.
This was a disappointing season for Cook, who showed flashes of his potential early and late in the season. Unfortunately, his season was marred by injuries, preventing him from putting together a full campaign. Head coach Mike Zimmer desperately wants to run the football, which is a good sign for Cook's prospects in 2019. Murray did well as the backup but enters 2019 as a free agent. Whether he stays or not, Cook is the back to target from this offense next summer.
Fantasy-wise, everything pretty much went according to plan in Minnesota this season. Thielen and Diggs were stellar, finishing as the WR7 and WR10 in PPR scoring, respectively. Both went for over 100 catches and 1,000 yards. Rudolph was solid as the third option, surprisingly finishing as the TE7. A new offensive coordinator will be in the mix in 2019 after John DeFilippo was shown the door midway through the season. We shouldn't expect much to change here, though, with everyone being under contract for 2019.
New England Patriots
There was no greater draft value than White this year. His ADP (average draft position) from the summer was in the double-digit rounds across most fantasy sites, yet he finished as the RB7 in PPR formats and the RB11 in standard leagues. He led the Patriots in targets (124), receptions (87) and was second in yards (751) while scoring 12 total touchdowns. The Patriots clearly wanted to run the offense through the backfield, and first-round rookie Michel provided a nice thunder to White's lightning. Had Michel played a full 16 games he likely would have sailed past the 1,000-yard benchmark and pushed for double-digit touchdowns. White and Michel will both be strong early-round draft picks next year, for reasons I'll expand upon below.
This season may have been the first real showing of cracks in the once vaunted Patriots passing attack led by Tom Brady. Brady himself showed signs of wearing down, missing way more open receivers than at any time previously in his career. Gronkowski looked slow when he played, and it seemed as if all of the injuries over his career may have finally taken their toll. Edelman was OK, but he also does not have the same burst he did a few years back. Gordon showed promise but ultimately ended up out of the league again for substance abuse violations (here's to hoping he gets his life right). This passing attack needs an influx of young talent in the coming years. In the interim, expect the team to lean on the deep and talented backfield.
New Orleans Saints
With Ingram serving a four-game suspension to start the season, Kamara was able to get out to a massive statistical lead. He finished with 1,500 total yards and 18 total touchdowns. Ingram was fine once he returned, posting several usable fantasy weeks. This was as expected from this duo, and if both are healthy again in 2019 we won't expect anything different.
Thomas posted a dominant season (125 catches, 1,405 yards, nine touchdowns) with massive volume shares. He showed last year he's a No. 1 wideout and only improved upon that reputation in 2018. Ginn could have factored in more had he not missed 11 games on injured reserve, but that allowed for rookie Tre'Quan Smith to see some action and prove his mettle. Watson said this will be his last season, so expect the Saints to add bodies to the tight end room in the offseason, though they may choose to lean on incumbents Dan Arnold and Josh Hill instead. Ginn is also 33 and entering the final year of his contract. If he retires or is cut, Smith's name will be seen a lot more in offseason sleeper talks.
New York Giants
Saquon Barkley, RB - 352 touches, 21 percent TS, 83 percent snap share
Barkley was as advertised this year, putting the team on his back when he could and shouldering a massive workload on the ground and through the air. Only Christian McCaffrey caught more passes as a running back than Barkley did this year. Barkley scored at least one touchdown in 11 games this season. Between his ability to find the end zone and involvement in the passing game, he offered a safe PPR floor, even when his yardage totals were frighteningly low (seven games with fewer than 50 rushing yards). Still, since volume is king for fantasy running backs, there's no reason to doubt Barkley's ability to put up RB1 numbers again in 2019.
Beckham missed four games with a quad injury, but still went for over 1,000 yards and scored six times. Engram missed five games with injuries, but managed to finish as the TE13 because he's talented and tight end is a fantasy wasteland. This is one of the most diverse and talented receiving corps in the league, but it will be held back by Eli Manning for yet another season. Beckham, Shepard, and Engram all deserve to be drafted next year, but expectations will need to be managed (though Beckham should produce at his usual heights if healthy for 16 games).
New York Jets
Crowell and Powell both ended up on injured reserve, leaving McGuire to be a late-season hero in the fantasy playoffs when he posted 23.5 PPR points against the Packers in Week 16. Overall, this group was uninspiring. Crowell led the team with 685 rushing yards, but 32 percent of his total (219 yards) came in one game against Denver. Powell is an impending free agent, while McGuire averaged a measly 3 yards per carry. Whoever ends up as the new head coach in New York will want a back to suit their system. It remains to be seen whether that back is currently on the Jets roster or not.
There are reasons for optimism with the Jets passing attack, and the main one is Sam Darnold. Darnold had his ups and downs as a rookie but finished the season looking sharp and confident in the pocket, while also flexing an impressive rapport with Anderson and Herndon. Herndon is already emerging as one of my favorite late-round tight ends given how well he looked down the stretch, while Anderson has the abilities to serve as a No. 1 wideout for his young signal-caller. Enunwa missed much of the season with injury, but looked great to start the year and re-signed with the team to a four-year extension in December. The Jets could add someone else to this mix and would be wise to do so, but for now, Darnold has a trio of young, capable pass-catchers to grow with.
Once Marshawn Lynch was lost for the season, the Raiders asked Doug Martin to fill the same role. He ran hard and finished the season strong, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. Lynch is likely gone this offseason as an impending free agent, and it isn't clear as of right now if he'll even seek a new team to play for in 2019 (remember, he un-retired to play for Oakland). Martin is also a free agent, so it'll be interesting to see if Jon Gruden wants to re-sign the Douggernaut given his strong finish to the 2018 campaign. Richard caught 68 passes this year and was a solid weekly flex play in PPR formats in deeper leagues, but he scored just one touchdown and has limited upside in this overall lackluster offense.
Hats off to Jared Cook, who surprised many as the TE5 on the season, 68 passes for 896 yards and six scores. He was the top option in the Raiders passing attack, especially once Amari Cooper was shipped off to Dallas at the trade deadline. The Jordy Nelson signing this offseason had its ups and downs in the season, as the veteran closed out the season with some strong chain-moving performances, averaging just shy of eight catches for 77 yards per game over his final five. If he sticks around in Oakland, he'll be an unexciting late-round PPR pickup. I'd expect the Raiders to add some bodies in free agency or the draft class to improve the youth, speed, and athleticism of this bunch, as Cook is 31 and Nelson is 33.
It's hard to find an NFL backfield that was more of a whack-a-mole bunch than the Eagles in 2019. Jay Ajayi entered the season as the starter but landed on injured reserve after only a few weeks. Sproles suffered a hamstring injury and missed roughly half the season. That left the trio of Corey Clement, Josh Adams, and Wendell Smallwood to pick up the slack and form a rather frustrating committee. Ajayi is a free agent in 2019 and Sproles is 35 years old, though he claims to be contemplating playing one more year. The Eagles would be wise to address this position in the offseason by signing a free agent or adding young talent in the draft.
The story of the Eagles pass-catchers begins and ends with Ertz, who set a new NFL tight end single-season record with 116 catches. Jeffery and Agholor posted very similar stat lines (64-736-4 for Agholor, 65-843-6 for Jeffery), though Jeffery did miss three games. He also saw a boost once Nick Foles stepped in for the injured Carson Wentz (sound familiar), averaging five catches for 100 yards over those three games as opposed to under five catches and around 54 yards per game with Wentz. The team traded for Golden Tate at the deadline, but Tate likely won't be with the team in 2019. He'll be a name to watch in free agency as he'll only turn 31 at the beginning of the season and still flashes play-making ability.
James Conner, RB - 270 touches, 10 percent TS, 64 percent snap share
What a year for Conner. He was on pace for about 1,200 rushing yards before missing the last few games of the season, but his 13 total touchdowns helped countless fantasy managers make it to the postseason. He also proved he's capable of being an every-down back and the heir apparent to Le'Veon Bell, who sat out the whole year in a contract dispute and will be joining a new squad in 2019. Conner is a powerful back capable of fighting for extra yards, and also a savvy pass-catcher out of the backfield. He'll push for being a first-round fantasy pick in 2019.
Unless you've been living under a rock, I'm sure you're aware of the latest Steelers drama involving Antonio Brown and "trade requests." That's not likely to happen given his cap number, but the NFL offseason can get weird. What wasn't weird was the total domination by Brown and Smith-Schuster this year. I'll admit, I was skeptical that Smith-Schuster would have the requisite targets to be a weekly fantasy starter and build upon his promising rookie season. I was wrong. With Le'Veon Bell sitting out the whole year, there were plenty of targets to go around and Smith-Schuster proved he's a bonafide star. McDonald posted a few usable fantasy weeks, but targets are so hard to come by for pass-catchers outside of the wideouts and running back (James Conner had 71), that McDonald is best left as a matchup-based streamer rather than someone to target in drafts next summer.
San Francisco 49ers
Jerick McKinnon tore his ACL in training camp, turning this backfield on its head before Week 1. Breida eventually took over, but his roller-coaster battle with his ankle injury caused fantasy managers much consternation. When called upon, Wilson filled in admirably as well, but he wasn't a factor until late in the season. Since McKinnon's injury happened so early in the NFL calendar, he should be heavily in the mix next season. However, it would not be a surprise if he shared time and touches with Breida after the performance he put in this season.
Kittle made good on the sleeper hype surrounding him last summer, catching 88 passes for 1,377 and five touchdowns, finishing as the TE3. Kittle is sure-handed, fast, and great after the catch, making him a locked-in TE1 for next season. Part of his success did come from the injuries in this bunch, though, as Pettis, Goodwin, and Garcon combined to play just 31 of a possible 48 games. And, let's not forget Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a torn ACL mid-season. Pettis' emergence is a nice sign for the potency of this group, if healthy, in 2019. The depth of this bunch makes it less palatable to draft one of the wideouts, but Garoppolo may have even more late-round appeal than he did last season.
Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer got to live out his dream coaching scenario in Seattle this season, essentially discarding the passing attack for a ground-and-pound run-heavy attack. The Ravens were the only team to accumulate more rushing attempts than Seattle this season, though the Seahawks led the league in rushing yards. When healthy, Carson was the workhorse, shouldering 55 percent of the running back carries. Davis was the next man up and favored option in the passing game, while first-round pick Penny was the odd man out. While Schottenheimer's gig is safe, we can expect more of the same next season, making Carson a strong early-round target.
The Seahawks passing offense was fantasy relevant thanks to the magic of Russell Wilson. Despite throwing just 427 pass attempts, his lowest total since he threw 407 in 2013, Wilson threw 35 touchdowns at an insane 8.2 percent touchdown rate. Lockett was the breakout star with Baldwin in and out of the lineup early on while he battled injuries. He and Baldwin will be solid targets next season, though their ceilings come down significantly unless Brian Schottenheimer suddenly changes course from a career of run-heavy play-calling.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When the Buccaneers drafted USC standout Ronald Jones in the second round back in April, fantasy twitter was abuzz. The Bucs badly needed a workhorse back, and Jones projected to be a fantasy stud if he won the job outright. Well, he didn't. A combination of injuries and ineffectiveness saw Jones playing just 8 percent of the snaps over nine games this season, paving the way for Barber to assume workhorse duties (sort of). Barber was hardly effective with his touches, but he offered a safe-ish floor and a moderate ceiling if he found the end zone (which he did six times). It's a mystery at this point how the new Bucs head coach will approach this position next season, but it'll certainly be one to watch.
Evans seems to have completed the quietest 1,500-yard, 8 TD season in NFL history. That's possibly due to the constant drama attached to the Bucs this season from the constant quarterback carousel. Evans' market share is secure, but this is a passing attack that could look vastly different next season. Jackson is expected to be gone, while Humphries is a free agent. If both do depart, that will make Godwin an even more coveted sleeper pick than he was already this offseason. We can't forget about the tight ends, though. O.J. Howard was on his way to a solid season before foot/ankle injuries landed him on IR in November. Cameron Brate just signed a six-year deal with the team, so he's likely not going anywhere in 2019 either. Howard will be the more attractive draft pick, though, given his youth and explosive athleticism. Keep an eye on Humphries in free agency, as he could become a nice value PPR pick if he lands on a team that will funnel a crafty slot receiver targets.
Henry's season-ending rushing stats (215-1,059-12) seem to tell a story of a successful fantasy season. However, as we all remember Henry was an afterthought in this offense pretty much until Week 13. Over his final five games, Henry amassed 59 percent of his rushing yards, 75 percent of his rushing touchdowns, and 45 percent of his rush attempts. If the Titans start 2019 the way they ended 2018 (with a run-heavy approach), Henry will be a decent mid-round pick. His lack of involvement in the passing game and heavy touchdown dependence make him riskier than other committee backs who go in that range. Speaking of committees, Lewis was disappointing this season. The diminutive do-it-all back scored just two touchdowns and averaged a measly 3.3 yards per carry, though his 59 receptions helped him finish in the top 30 among PPR backs.
Only the Seahawks attempted fewer passes this year than the Titans. The Titans passing attack was highly concentrated on second-year wideout Corey Davis, perhaps due to season-ending injuries to Delanie Walker (Week 1) and Jonnu Smith (Week 14). The jury is still out on Marcus Mariota at this point. There are times when he drops beautiful passes, but lengthy periods of questionable decision making and accuracy. Walker is 34 years old and attempting to come back from a broken ankle, so his fantasy prospects are fading. Davis is really the only player we'll want to target in 2019, though Smith may have appeal as a late-round tight end option if Walker retires or starts the season on the PUP.
If the rapture hadn't struck the Washington offense, Peterson could have put up even better numbers. Still, 1,042 rushing yards and seven touchdowns for a 33-year-old back is nothing to scoff at. Peterson joined Frank Gore as the only backs to carry the ball 250-plus times at age 33 or older since Emmitt Smith in 2004, and Peterson's 1,042 yards are the fifth-most by a back age 33 or older in NFL history. Peterson looked good enough to play again in 2019, but odds are he won't be suiting up for Washington again, as 2018 second-round draft pick Derrius Guice should be returning from injury. Thompson missed six games, otherwise, he likely would have landed in the 120 touch range.
This was a lost season for the Washington passing attack. Alex Smith broke his leg in Week 11. His backup, Colt McCoy, broke his leg in Week 13. Mark Sanchez came in and was quickly benched for Josh Johnson. As a result, the final stat lines for the team's top targets are, well, depressing. Reed's 54 receptions and 558 receiving yards led the team in both categories and five players tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns... with two. Free agent acquisition Paul Richardson landed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury as well. Smith's status for the season opener could be in question, and with no one emerging as a clear "top" option, it might be best to just steer clear of this group on draft day next season.