The name of the game in fantasy football is volume. That's why it's so important to take note of which wide receivers are seeing a significant target market share and how the each team splits up its backfield opportunities. Each week, Matt Harmon and Matt Franciscovich will break down the week's wide receiver targets and backfield touches leaders with takeaways you can use for your fantasy football teams going forward. We won't bore you with any more introductory comments here, let's dig into the good stuff from Week 3.
*NOTE: This article will be updated with data from the Sunday Night and Monday Night games the following day, so check back for more information as games wrap.
Touches: 13 | Carries: 12 | Receptions: 1
Chris Johnson was Arizona's starting running back, but he gained just 17 rushing yards on his 12 attempts against Dallas on Monday night. The veteran didn't have a single run go for more than five yards in the entire game. It might have been a better result if the Cardinals weren't trailing in the second half, but Johnson didn't see a carry in the fourth quarter. He can't be trusted as anything more than a bench stash going forward.
Honorable mention(s): It was Andre Ellington that stood out, mainly as a receiver, for the Cardinals in Week 3. Ellington was second on the team in receiving yards with 59 and he added 22 rush yards on five carries. He's an interesting low-end flex option in PPR formats but can't be counted on as a true starter at this point. The Cardinals stay at home in Week 4 to face the 49ers.
Target share: 33.3% |Targets: 15 | Receptions: 13 | Yards: 149, TD
Just chase volume. That mantra is why we write this column. Larry Fitzgerald has 19 targets through the Cardinals first two games on a team that was bereft of established receiving weapons. It was only a matter of time until the production followed the targets and that absolutely happened in a big way on Monday night. Fitzgerald is a hold and weekly start in this offense as the team's clear-cut best weapon. Few wide receivers have as direct a path to double-digit targets on a weekly basis.
Honorable mention(s):J.J. Nelson came into this game with an injury and perhaps that's why he was held without a catch and only went out for 67 percent of the team's plays. Yet, Jaron Brown was already playing on just as many seeing snaps and seeing a healthy share of the team's air yards heading into this game.
Touches: 24 | Carries: 21 | Receptions: 3
Devonta Freeman kept on rolling against the Lions Sunday with 138 yards from scrimmage and his fourth rushing touchdown in his first three games of the season. It was his second consecutive game with at least 19 standard fantasy points, and he added 32 yards through the air. Freeman also dominated playing time over Tevin Coleman again by a snap count of 41 to 25, per NextGenStats. Freeman continues to pay off as a first-round redraft pick. He's a must-start next week even against a tough Bills run defense.
Target share: 34.3% |Targets: 12 | Receptions: 7 | Yards: 91
Julio Jones is still scoreless through the first three weeks of the season but has 199 yards on 21 targets over the last two games. We do need to raise some questions regarding Steve Sarkisian's promised plans to use Jones in scoring position more. He has just one target inside the 10-yard line this year and in the red zone overall.
Honorable mention(s):Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel split the No. 2 duties today, as they both collected six targets and scored touchdowns. Gabriel hit on a 40-yard catch and run, which boosted his day. If you're chasing one of these two for fantasy purposes, Sanu is the more consistent option. He was on the field for 85 percent of Atlanta's plays to 52 percent for Gabriel.
Touches: 13 | Carries: 8 | Receptions: 5
Nobody really saw what happened in London on Sunday coming. The Ravens were blown out by the Jaguars and never got much going on the ground. Technically, Terrance West was the starter despite being on the injury report all week, and Baltimore went with a three-headed committee involving West, Buck Allen and Alex Collins. Allen managed just 15 rush yards on eight carries and an abysmal 13 yards on his five receptions. Rough go for anyone who started him but the silver lining is that he played 56 percent of the snaps.
Honorable mention(s): Collins was the team's leading rusher with 82 yards on nine attempts. He had runs of 16, 10, 18 and 19 yards all coming in the second half when the game was out of reach for Baltimore. Allen should have better days, but overall, its a concerning outing for the Ravens offense. Baltimore faces the Steelers in Week 4.
Target share: 22.2% |Targets: 6 | Receptions: 5 | Yards: 13
Touches: 21 | Carries: 14 | Receptions: 7
LeSean McCoy may have led Buffalo's backfield in the touches department, but most of his production came via the passing game as he hauled in all seven of his targets for a team-leading 48 receiving yards. He had 69 yards from scrimmage on the day, and had a tough time running againt Denver's defense. It's the second straight week Shady has disappointed, but he remains a must-start due to his dual-threat abilities. He was on the field for 65 percent of Buffalo's snaps.
Honorable mention(s):Mike Tolbert out-rushed McCoy, totaling 41 yards on the ground. Tolbert dropped what would have been a touchdown, without a defender within five yards of him, he couldn't keep the ball in his hands. He'll remain a threat to vulture short-yardage scores from McCoy but can't be relied upon as a fantasy starter. The Bills face Atlanta in Week 4.
Target share: 26.9% |Targets: 7 | Receptions: 7 | Yards: 48
LeSean McCoy again led this Bills team in targets. Buffalo's wide receiver group just doesn't have much to offer right now. Andre Holmes' touchdown came on a pass that was truly intended for Zay Jones, which he couldn't handle and bounced to his teammate. Jones was on the field more than any other receiver with an 84 percent playing time, but has yet to turn his opportunity into production. Jordan Matthews continues to hold the usage of an ancillary player with target totals of three, three and five in his first trio of games with Buffalo.
Touches: 13 each | Carries: 12 | 4 Receptions: 1 | 9
Fantasy owners of Jonathan Stewart probably expected more out of him in such a favorable matchup against the Saints. Stewart totaled 57 rush yards on his 12 carries, adding one catch for four yards. The Panthers were smoked by New Orleans, so based on the game script, it makes sense that Stewart had just two touches in the second half. It doesn't help that Cam Newton vultured a rushing touchdown. Stewart will be a low-end flex play against the Patriots in Week 4.
Honorable mention(s): This was the Christian McCaffrey game we were waiting for. He led the Panthers with 101 receiving yards on his nine receptions and played 20 percent of his snaps from the slot. The rookie did most of his damage as a receiver in the second half and could see more targets going forward considering Kelvin Benjamin's injury. It's reasonable to believe the team will use Stewart and McCaffrey on the field at the same time frequently going forward. He'll be a high-end flex play against New England in Week 4.
Target share: 33.3% |Targets: 11 | Receptions: 9 | Yards: 101
It was an ideal spot for Christian McCaffrey with the Panthers trailing and facing defense that annually bleeds production to pass-catching backs. With Greg Olsen out for multiple weeks on the horizon and Kelvin Benjamin suffering a knee injury just seven plays into Week 3, McCaffrey may have to assume even more receiving work going forward. Three of his catches came on plays where he was lined up in the slot or out wide.
Honorable mention(s): NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported that Benjamin's injury isn't believed to be serious but if he does miss games Devin Funchess would benefit. He was on the field for 85 percent of the team's plays and drew 10 targets. However, this offense looks broken right now so opportunity within it doesn't come with much appeal.
Touches: 28 | Carries: 23 | Receptions: 5
Ahead of Week 3, it seemed like everything was trending downward for Jordan Howard. He didn't have a touch in the second half of Week 2, was seen leaving the stadium in a sling, and was on the injury report all week with a shoulder injury. Sunday morning it came out that he was going to play through an AC (shoulder) sprain, and was facing a presumably tough Steelers run defense. Then, he dropped a resounding 138 rush yards and two touchdowns including the game-winner in overtime in front of a home crowd. And for the "Howard can't catch" truthers, he caught all five of his targets for 26 receiving yards. We'll have to keep an eye on his injury ahead of Week 4, but he could be a sneaky play against a leaky Packers defense on Thursday night.
Honorable mention(s): On top of Howard's huge day, Tarik Cohen was also impressive. He totaled 102 yards from scrimmage on his 16 touches in the game. Cohen nearly had a game-winning run on the first play of overtime that got called back on a controversial call in which the officials said he stepped out of bounds. It does seem like Howard and Cohen can successfully co-exist in this backfield for fantasy purposes.
Target share: 23.8% |Targets: 5 | Receptions: 5 | Yards: 26
Mike Glennon threw for 101 yards in four quarters of action. So, there was not much overall passing volume to assume for the receivers. Jordan Howard ranked first and second on the team in targets. We should expect this to be a backfield-dominated offense going forward, as their two clear best players are Howard and Tarik Cohen. The former's passing game usage was encouraging, as that's Cohen's strength over his. You can start both of these players in fantasy.
Touches: 21 | Carries: 18 | Receptions: 3
It's amazing what an offensive coordinator change-up can do. Rookie back Joe Mixon totaled 101 yards from scrimmage against the Packers and played on 57 percent of the Bengals snaps -- by far his biggest workload of the season. After last week's loss, Mixon was a buy-low candidate and if you made a move for him, it already looks to be paying off. He's a talented runner and pass catcher, collecting three receptions for 39 yards. We'll see if this trend continues, but there's no reason for the Bengals to keep their most complete back off the field. They get the Browns in Week 4 as they search for their first win of the season.
Target share: 50% |Targets: 13 | Receptions: 10 | Yards: 111, TD
The squeaky wheel got greased with a few extra layers of WD-40 today. After making it known that he wasn't happy seeing just one target in the second half of a Thursday night loss to the Texans, A.J. Green must have been satisfied owning a literal half of the Bengals' passing game volume. Whether his comments were the final straw that prompted an offensive coordinator change, new OC Bill Lazor certainly game planned with Green as his top option. Truth be told, Green's usage was always that of an elite fantasy receiver with target totals of 10 and eight in the games prior to his 13 today, the production just came with it in Week 3 because his quarterback's play stabilized.
Touches: 14 | Carries: 12 | Receptions: 2
Isaiah Crowell may have led the Browns backfield in touches, but for the second straight week, he was out-produced by Duke Johnson. Johnson only had two rushes but one was a 19-yard touchdown run. Duke also led the Browns in receiving with 81 yards on six catches. Johnson's 104 scrimmage yards and the score was good enough for 16.4 fantasy points. He's been a legitimate starter in PPR formats in each of the last two weeks, while Crowell has seen just 10 and 12 carries over the last two games respectively.
Honorable mention(s): This was supposed to be a get-right game for Crowell in a decent matchup against the Colts, but it didn't work out as the Browns fell behind early. The Crow had just three second-half touches, and his fantasy value remains game-script dependant. Cleveland takes on the Bengals at home next week.
Target share: 21.7% |Targets: 10 | Receptions: 3 | Yards: 54, TD
Kenny Britt was up and down in this game but ended up securing a touchdown and absorbed the bulk of the targets with the Browns in negative game script for most of the game. He's not a priority grab, however, as it appears the Browns are intent on rotating their wide receiver. None of them was on the field for more than 72 percent of the team's plays and depth receivers like Jordan Leslie and Kasen Williams were on the field for 20 and 19 plays, respectively.
Honorable mention(s):Rashard Higgins was a major disappointment after a promotion to the starting lineup following a breakout game in Week 2. He's worth holding onto for a while longer, however, as his deployment was positive. Higgins took 46 of his 47 snaps from the slot.
Touches: 25 | Carries: 22 | Receptions: 3
Even in a tough matchup against the Cardinals, Zeke ate on Monday Night Football. Elliott rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown on his 22 carries and added 14 receiving yards on his three receptions. His most impressive run was a 30-yarder up the middle in the second quarter, which really jump-started his night after struggling early. He added a 20-yard scamper in the third quarter and satiated his fantasy owners appetites with an eight-yard touchdown run in the fourth. His 15.40 standard fantasy points for the week placed him just outside the top 10 at his position for Week 3. It was a good bounce-back game after he gained just eight rush yards against Denver in Week 2.
No other running back on Dallas had a rush attempt in Week 3. Zeke should be fed early and often in an upcoming Week 4 home matchup against the Rams defense that has struggled to stop the run.
Target share: 22.2% |Targets: 4 | Receptions: 1 | Yards: 3
Target share: 22.2% |Targets: 4 | Receptions: 3 | Yards: 14
Target share: 22.2% |Targets: 4 | Receptions: 3 | Yards: 47
Dallas ran just 45 plays against the Cardinals and possessed the ball for just under 24 minutes on the night. With that sort of overall play volume, there just won't be much passing game production for a team, especially when they run the ball over 25 times. As such, three players led Cowboys in targets with just four. After 22 targets in the first two games, Jason Witten somewhat predictably fell back to the back with just four on the night. His first two outings were boosted by an ideal matchup (Giants) and heavy negative game script (Broncos). With Dallas still wanting to be a conservative, run-heavy team we can't count on him being an every week tight end starter with reliable volume.
Honorable mention(s): After pummeling Dez Bryant with targets in the first two games, Dak Prescott didn't look to challenge Patrick Peterson and his shadow coverage of his top wideout. Bryant still secured a touchdown because he's the team's top passing weapon in scoring position. Cole Beasley has just eight catches on the year and is no longer on the radar, even in PPR leagues.
Touches: 10 each | Carries: 8 | 9 Receptions: 2 | 1
A week after C.J. Anderson scored more fantasy points than any other running back, he ran into a brick wall in Buffalo. He had just eight carries in Week 3, and five of them went for one or zero yards. Anderson put up just 36 rush yards in the game, with 32 of them coming on one run in the second quarter. For what it's worth, he was on the field for 71 percent of Denver's plays. But in a negative game script, Anderson was inefficient as a fantasy back.
Honorable mention(s): The story here is the return of Jamaal Charles to the end zone, and potentially low-end fantasy relevancy. The Bills hadn't allowed a rushing touchdown to a running back yet this season, until Charles punched one in in the second quarter. He was efficient with his runs, too, gaining 12, 19 and 12 yards on three of his nine attempts. Anderson is still the workhorse here, but we could see more games like this from Charles in negative game scripts.
Target share: 37.5% |Targets: 15 | Receptions: 7 | Yards: 75
Dating back to his time as the starter last season, Trevor Siemian does appear to prefer Emmanuel Sanders. Through the first three games of this year Sanders owns a team-high 36 percent share of the team's intended air yards. That's compared to a 30.4 percent share for Demaryius Thomas. That's a healthy share for both players with little else going on in this offense, Sanders does look like the top downfield and overall target option.
Honorable mention(s): It's the same every week in this Denver offense; the Sanders and Thomas show along. Bennie Fowler drew seven targets with the team throwing 40 passes. He was only on the field for 71 percent of the team's plays. Virgil Green was the lead tight end but was only on the field for 55 percent of the plays.
Touches: 17 | Carries: 14 | Receptions: 3
There is not much good to takeaway from Ameer Abdullah's performance against the Falcons. He averaged just 3.3 yards per carry, totaling 47 rush yards on his 14 attempts. Abdullah added a solid 39 receiving yards on three receptions giving him 86 yards from scrimmage. He has yet to score a touchdown this season but has had a decent floor despite his lack of scoring thur far, with 86 total yards in each of his last two games.
Honorable mention(s):Theo Riddick managed just 38 receiving yards on his four receptions against Atlanta. The game seemed like a decent matchup for Riddick but it didn't pan out. Riddick and Abdullah split playing time pretty much down the middle with 30 and 29 snaps respectively, for what it's worth. Neither will be favorable plays on the road against the Vikings next week.
Target share: 24.4% |Targets: 11 | Receptions: 7 | Yards: 58, TD
Golden Tate continues to hold onto a role that provides him with an excellent floor for fantasy football. He took 75 percent of his snaps from the slot, gathering nine of his 11 targets and scoring his touchdown from the inside. With just 10.6 air yards per target, the majority of Tate's looks are high-percentage passes.
Honorable mention(s): On the field for just 62 percent of the team's plays, Kenny Golladay is strictly a No. 3 receiver and high-ceiling dart throw for fantasy. Marvin Jones is a mainstay on the field, going out for 97 percent of Detroit's plays, but he's hauled in just 46.1 percent of his targets on the season.
Green Bay Packers
Touches: 20 | Carries: 12 | Receptions: 8
Ty Montgomery had the workload and did a ton of work as a pass-catcher, leading the Packers with 12 targets. But on his eight receptions he managed just 15 receiving yards. That's not great, Bob. Still, it's a good sign that the team is using him as a bell-cow, it was just a bad game from a fantasy standpoint. He had 35 rush yards on 12 attempts, so he totaled 50 yards from scrimmage. He should bounce back against the Bears next week.
Honorable mention(s):Jamaal Williams had one carry for six yards and is not a threat to Montgomery's workload.
Target share: 28.6% |Targets: 12 | Receptions: 8 | Yards: 15
Ty Montgomery ate up passing game volume with the Packers in catchup mode against a Bengals team that jumped out to an early lead. He didn't do much with it, however, averaging under two yards per reception. With Randall Cobb out of this game, Montgomery was really the only reliable short-area security blanket Aaron Rodgers had on the field. That might go some way into explaining his beefy passing game work today. He has catch totals of four, six and eight on the season to date.
Touches: 15 | Carries: 14 | Receptions: 1
Lamar Miller continues to be the volume back for the Texans, but he only managed 56 rushing yards on his 14 attempts against New England. Miller was on the field for 70 percent of Houston's plays, signaling that he is still the primary back over rookie D'Onta Foreman. It was Miller's third straight game with at least 50 rushing yards, but he has yet to find the end zone this season and that will continue to limit his fantasy upside.
Honorable mention(s): Foreman did get some work late in this one. In addition two his eight rushes, he added two big receptions in the fourth quarter that both went for over 30 yards. He's becoming a guy you should definitely own, but keep stashed on the bench for now.
Target share: 24.2% |Targets: 8 | Receptions: 7 | Yards: 76
After seeing an unsustainable 16 and 13 targets in back-to-back games to start the season, DeAndre Hopkins' usage returned to a more stable level. Hopkins saw eight targets and 23 percent of the team's intended air yards. He led the league in Weeks 1 and 2 in the latter category. The Texans offense clearly benefitted not just by Deshaun Watson looking far better than he did in his first start, but also other options emerging.
Honorable mention(s):Bruce Ellington returned from a Week 1 concussion to assume a key role in the Texans offense. He was on the field for 99 percent of the team's plays. Watson also took his chances downfield with Ellington, as he averaged 20.4 air yards per target. Ellington is a legitimately talented player on an offense that needs them. He should be on rosters.
Touches: 26 | Carries: 25 | Receptions: 1
The veteran Frank Gore dominated in the touch department on Sunday against the Browns. While he did manage to score in the second quarter, the Colts quarterback, Jacoby Brissett vultured two rushing touchdowns of his own in the game. Plus, Gore had just 57 rush yards, averaging 2.3 yards per carry on his 25 totes. It's good to see him getting the big workload, but the inefficiency in a favorable matchup is a bit concerning. Gore is still a flex play going forward. Next week, Indy takes on a Seattle defense that's been had by running backs so far this year.
Target share: 37.5% |Targets: 9 | Receptions: 7 | Yards: 153, TD
In his second start for the team, Jacoby Brissett breathed life into the Colts stagnant offense against Cleveland. His steady play brought T.Y. Hilton back to life. The veteran receiver owned a 43 percent share of Brissett's intended air yards in Week 3 and scored on a long pass. Fantasy owners will have to decide whether they can get back on board confidently after the encouraging result and usage, as the Colts travel to Seattle in Week 4.
Honorable mention(s):Jack Doyle didn't turn in the game many hoped for after snagging all of his eight targets in Week 2. He was on the field 100 percent of the team's snaps, however, and with Brissett at least making this offense look competent, he'll be on the radar every week going forward.
Touches: 20 | Carries: 17 | Receptions: 3
For the third time in as many games, Leonard Fournette found the end zone for the Jaguars. He totaled 59 rushing yards on 17 carries and added 21 receiving yards for 80 from scrimmage against the Ravens who basically fell apart on both sides of the ball in London. Even with a downtick in carries and yardage totals from Week 1, Fournette remains a must-start based on his nose for the end zone on a weekly basis. He'll be an upside RB1 against the Jets next week.
Target share: 23.3% |Targets: 7 | Receptions: 4 | Yards: 65
Honorable mention(s): Please, don't chase Marcedes Lewis's three touchdowns. He had three touchdowns in 2014, 2015 and 2016 combined.
Kansas City Chiefs
Touches: 18 | Carries: 17 | Receptions: 2
Holy cow, Kareem Hunt has done it again! The rookie racked up a ridiculous 172 rush yards on his 17 totes, including a 69-yard touchdown sprint in the fourth quarter. It's his third straight game with over 20 standard fantasy points, and he'll be a RB1-stud all season long. Not much else to say here, besides the fact that Kareem Hunt is very, very good at football.
Honorable mention(s): Nope.
Target share: 38.1% |Targets: 8 | Receptions: 5 | Yards: 77, TD
Tyreek Hill dominated the passing opportunity for Kansas City today, owning an outrageous 84.1 percent share of Alex Smith's intended air yards. Hill has target totals of eight, six and eight in the first three games, all of which the Chiefs primarily held positive game script throughout. With his place at the top of the wide receiver pecking order secured by a country mile, Hill has a steady floor with the big play ability needed to access a ceiling.
Honorable mention(s): Not surprisingly, given that this is still a conservative offense run by Alex Smith, it does appear that it'll be rare for both Hill and Travis Kelce to go off. The latter had just one target today. Kelce posted a combined six catches for 41 yards in the two games Hill finished with a big fantasy day. Hill failed to crack 50 yards in Week 2 when Kelce popped up for 103 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets.
Los Angeles Chargers
Touches: 17 | Carries: 17 | Receptions: 0
Melvin Gordon, touchdown machine. He scored his third touchdown in as many games on Sunday and rushed for 79 yards on his 17 attempts. It's his third-straight game with at least 13 standard fantasy points. He didn't catch a pass in this game, but we'll take it. Something to note -- Gordon entered the game with a knee injury, but looked good until he got banged up in the fourth quarter. He went to the locker room but came back to the sideline in full pads, but rode a stationary bike while Branden Oliver spelled him. It's something to monitor heading into Week 4. Oliver could be a popular waiver add this week if fears about Gordon's injury grow early in the week. Stay tuned.
Honorable mention(s): Oliver ended up with 12 touches in Gordon's stead including four catches for 18 yards on top of his six rushed for 16 yards.
Target share: 23.1% |Targets: 9 | Receptions: 5 | Yards: 61
We saw what Keenan Allen's floor looks like in the 2017 version of the Chargers offense. Frankly, it wasn't so bad. The connection he has with Philip Rivers and his own playing style just makes him such an appealing option for the veteran quarterback. Even on a slow day, he's going to push for a safe fall to five catches. Allen has 29 targets through three games.
Honorable mention(s): Two exciting young players from the 2016 version of the Chargers, Tyrell Williams and Hunter Henry, do not have secure roles in this offense. A week after he eased concerns brought on from a zero-target Week 1 by catching seven passes against the Dolphins, Henry once again did not see a target. He was on the field for just over half of the team's plays. Williams, on the other hand, saw the field plenty and led the wide receivers in snaps. He has target totals of seven, five and seven but he's done nothing with them. Big play maven Travis Benjamin is making a bigger impact and caught two passes for 70 yards out of the slot today.
Los Angeles Rams
Touches: 33 | Carries: 28 | Receptions: 5
TODD GURLEY. Yep, the Rams back was amazing on Thursday night, posting 149 yards from scrimmage and three total touchdowns. He nearly had a fourth that was called back due to a penalty. He was used heavily in a game that the Rams were leading for the majority, but actually ended up being close at the end. Gurley has been pretty great for fantasy owners so far, and should enjoy another good matchup against Dallas in Week 4 before the going gets tough.
Honorable mention(s): No other running back on the Rams had a single touch in this game. Run along, now.
Target share: 25% |Targets: 7 | Receptions: 6 | Yards: 108
Target share: 25% |Targets: 7 | Receptions: 6 | Yards: 106, 2 TDs
Target share: 25% |Targets: 7 | Receptions: 5 | Yards: 36, TD
For the first time this season, the Sammy Watkins trade played massive dividends for the Los Angeles Rams. Watkins drew deep targets once again, averaging 12.4 air yards per target in Week 3 despite coming in with an average under 6.0. He was a clear difference maker and his effectiveness unlocks a portion of the Rams offense that we did not previously see. Of course, we should still expect some volatility in Watkins' usage and fantasy production, unless this is the beginning of him taking over as a funnel receiver. It's also worth noting that Watkins is in the concussion protocol after this game.
Honorable mention(s):Cooper Kupp came into Thursday night with six targets in back-to-back weeks. In this game, however, Kupp saw just two targets and was on the field for less than 60 percent of the team's plays. We now have questions about his role.
Touches: 13 | Carries: 11 | Receptions: 2
Well this one didn't quite go as planned. Jay Ajayi struggled to get anything going against the Jets, as did the entire Dolphins offense, surprisingly. Down by multiple scores in the second half, Ajayi didn't have many opportunities with just three touches after halftime. He'll look to do better against the Saints next week in a homecoming narrative in London, and remains an RB1 in all formats.
Honorable mention(s): Ajayi came off the field for a few plays due to a minor injury, so Damien Williams got a few snaps behind him. Nothing to fear going forward. Ajayi remains the feature back.
Target share: 24% |Targets: 11 | Receptions: 6 | Yards: 48
Jarvis Landry retained his spot on the top of the target totem pole collecting double-digits for the second straight week. Landry averaged under 10 air yards per target while his two wide receiver teammates came in over 14. It's a bit difficult to judge since this game got away from them and Miami could not stay on their preferred run-heavy game script, but it appears Landry's volume-heavy and short area role from year's past is intact despite the quarterback change.
Honorable mention(s): With Landry working the short areas, both Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker operated in the downfield game. Both players saw 10 targets go their way. Parker has two weeks' worth of strong, No. 1 NFL wide receiver usage so the momentum is still going for his breakout season. Don't forget about Stills, however. The Dolphins primarily live in 11 personnel, as all of Landry, Parker and Stills were on the field for 92 percent or more of the team's plays.
Touches: 32 | Carries: 27 | Receptions: 5
For the third straight week, Dalvin Cook was a workhorse for the Vikings. He racked up 32 touches against the Buccaneers with 97 yards on the ground and 72 receiving. He also scored his first career NFL touchdown in the first quarter. He gave owners a scare when he stayed down after a hit in the second half, but he popped back up and was back in the field in no time. He padded his line with a 36-yard reception late in the fourth quarter as the icing on the cake and finished the day as a top-five fantasy running back.
Target share: 33.3% |Targets: 11 | Receptions: 8 | Yards:173, 2 TDs
Stefon Diggs continues to build on his growing resume as an NFL star. Case Keenum was dialed in on his No. 1 receiver, as Diggs' absorbed a 52.1 percent share of the team's intended air yards on the day. His move from the slot has indeed afforded him the opportunity for more big play chances. Diggs averaged 16.3 air yards per target and four of his catches went for 15-plus yards. The Vikings may or may not get Sam Bradford back for Week 4, but there's no way you don't play Diggs even if it's another Keenum game. The Lions travel to Minnesota this coming week.
Honorable mention(s):Adam Thielen was second on the team in targets with eight. He also benefitted from Keenum's aggressive mindset, averaging 16.4 air yards per target. Thielen is a riskier start without Bradford but clearly, this duo needs more respect than they got heading into Week 3.
New England Patriots
Touches: 12 | Carries: 12 | Receptions: 0
This was not a great week for the Patriots backfield. Tom Brady threw five touchdown passes, and led New England to a late-game comeback win, so the game script didn't allow for much salting of the clock. Mike Gillislee had just 31 yards on the ground and didn't find the end zone. He has a tough matchup next week against the Panthers, but will look to bounce back.
Target share: 28.6% |Targets: 10 | Receptions: 8 | Yards: 89, TDs
Rob Gronkowski left last week with a groin injury but showed no ill-effects in this game. He went out for 98 percent of the team's plays and was the top short area pass-catcher with a 7.3 average air yards on his targets. With Danny Amendola back, Chris Hogan returned to his more natural outside receiver position, taking only 25 percent of his snaps inside. With that in mind, it's worth noting that all but one of his catches (the seven-yard touchdown) came on plays when he lined up in the slot.
Honorable mention(s): We knew Brandin Cooks would hit big eventually. Week 3 was the correct answer on the Cooks roulette. Cooks was on the field for 89 percent of the Patriots snaps and averaged 23 air yards per target. He'll never have a stable outlook or floor with that type of usage but you know this type ceiling is always in play.
New Orleans Saints
Touches: 16 | Carries: 14 | Receptions: 2
Mark Ingram remains the lead back in New Orleans. He averaged 4.0 yards per carry on his 14 attempts for 56 yards against the Panthers and added 30 receiving yards to total a respectable 86 from scrimmage on the day. Adrian Peterson continues to be inefficient, with just 33 rush yards on his nine attempts and had the lowest snap count in the backfield again, on the field for just 13 plays compared to Ingram's 29.
Honorable mention(s): Rookie back Alvin Kamara had a couple of splash plays, including a 25-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. For now, Kamara is a risky play in fantasy leagues, but he could eventually usurp Peterson as the No. 2, just something to keep an eye on. The Saints head to London to face the Dolphins next week.
Target share: 27.6% |Targets: 8 | Receptions: 7 | Yards: 87, TD
Michael Thomas has target totals of eight, 10 and eight in the first weeks of the season and finally found the end zone today. The Saints didn't need to take to the air much in Carolina as they surprisingly controlled the game for much of the afternoon. Thomas is still a locked-in WR1 with a steady floor in this offense. We still have yet to see Drew Brees and company really explode in 2017. The best is yet to come.
Honorable mention(s):Ted Ginn (60 percent) played fewer snaps than Brandon Coleman (79 percent) for the third-straight week. One of these two players will cede playing time to Willie Snead when he returns next week. Coby Fleener already saw his playing time come down, going out for just 16 plays overall.
New York Giants
Touches: 11 | Carries: 9 | Receptions: 2
Honorable mention(s):Shane Vereen had two catches for 18 yards and one rush for five yards. You can't use any player from this backfield in fantasy.
Target share: 27.7% |Targets: 13 | Receptions: 9 | Yards: 79, 2 TDs
It appeared that Odell Beckham was still on something of a pitch count going out for only 78 percent of the team's plays but he absolutely took the game over when the Giants needed him most in the second half. Five of his catches for 46 yards and both of his touchdowns came in the third and fourth quarter. Beckham is officially back.
Honorable mention(s):Sterling Shepard was on the field for 98 percent of the team's plays and ripped off a 77-yard catch and run for a touchdown. The Giants made it a priority to get the ball out of Eli Manning's hands faster today. His time to throw sat at just 2.01-second time to throw (second fastest of Week 3). With their protection issues, it makes sense for the team to prioritize the short passing game. Shepard is the team's top underneath route-runner and slot receiver, so his stock could rise with this move.
New York Jets
Touches: 15 | Carries: 15 | Receptions: 0
Honorable mention(s): Rookie back Elijah McGuire actually out-rushed Forte despite having one fewer carry. McGuire had 34 yards on his seven attempts and seems to have earned himself a role in a risky three-headed committee. The Jets face the Jaguars next week in an unfavorable running back matchup.
Target share: 26.1% |Targets: 6 | Receptions: 3 | Yards: 95, TD
Target share: 26.1% |Targets: 6 | Receptions: 5 | Yards:31
The swinging pendulum at the top of the Jets target pecking order pivoted away from Jermaine Kearse and came the way of Robby Anderson. The deep game specialist averaged 22.2 air yards per target in Week 3. He's pretty much just a go route specialist but he at least has a ceiling in his range of outcomes with Josh McCown at the helm. Austin Serferian-Jenkins came right off his suspension and into the lineup to play on 78 percent of the Jets' plays. Teams in tight end trouble, and who isn't, should consider adding him.
Honorable mention(s):Jermaine Kearse was scoring touchdowns at an unsustainable rate in this offense last week. He predictably came back to the pack.
Touches: 7 | Carries: 6 | Receptions: 1
This one got out of hand quickly for Oakland, so the team didn't have the luxury of handing the rock to Beast Mode very much. In fact, Lynch had just one touch in the second half as Oakland attempted an unsuccessful comeback. It won't always be this way, obviously, but it was a let down of a game for Lynch owners. He faces a tough Denver defense in Week 4 at Mile High, so his upside will be limited yet again.
Honorable mention(s):DeAndre Washington led Oakland with five receptions in a negative game script. He only had 24 receiving yards though. Jalen Richard totaled eight yards on three touches. It was just a terrible game overall for the entire Raiders offense. Don't expect huge totals in Week 4 against Denver, either.
Target share: 20% |Targets: 6 | Receptions: 4 | Yards: 43, TD
Target share: 20% |Targets: 6 | Receptions: 5 | Yards: 24
You know it was a rough outing for the Raiders when their backup running back ties for the team-lead in targets. Oakland fell behind Washington early and was in negative game script throughout. The usually rock solid offensive line was eviscerated by Washington's pass rush unit. Derek Carr and the Raiders passing offense operates off a timing-based approach, and when the pass protection falters that becomes more difficult to execute. That combined with strong secondary play worked to foil Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree in this spot.
Honorable mention(s):Jared Cook has target totals of five, six and six through the first three games of the season. In a league where tight end scoring is so widely variant, it's nice to see him in what appears to be a secure role.
Touches: 13 | Carries: 12 | Receptions: 1
Honorable mention(s): The big story here is the bounce-back from LeGarrette Blount. He had 12 carries for 67 rush yards and a touchdown a week after he didn't see a single carry. His fantasy relevance is game-script dependant and really relies on goal-line looks. For what it's worth, third-string rookie Corey Clement ran in a score late in the fourth quarter. Keep an eye on him as a deep sleeper if Sproles has to miss time. The Eagles play the Chargers next week.
Target share: 32.3% |Targets: 10 | Receptions: 8 | Yards: 55, TD
Zach Ertz has been the constant in this passing attack while the receivers ping-ponged between usable target totals and doldrums. Ertz has target totals of eight, 10 and 10 in the first three games of the season. He's a strong bet to finish inside the top-five tight ends this year with this kind of volume.
Honorable mention(s):Alshon Jeffery has target totals of seven, 13 and eight in the first three games of the season. While all three of those teams have star cornerbacks on their depth chart, Jeffery ran less than 60 percent of his routes against Josh Norman, Marcus Peters and Janoris Jenkins in each of those games. Jenkins only covered him for 16 pass plays today. It's clear that Jeffery will be a volatile asset this year as he and Carson Wentz figure each other out.
Touches: 21 | Carries: 15 | Receptions: 6
No surprise here, Le'Veon Bell dominated playing time out of the Steelers backfield, playing 97 percent of the team's snaps. He had his best game of the season so far, racking up 98 yards from scrimmage and scored a rushing touchdown. It's only a matter of time until Bell really gets cooking. Just leave him in your lineup, even against the Ravens next week.
Honorable mention(s): Nothing to see here.
Target share: 35.9% |Targets: 14 | Receptions: 10 | Yards: 110, TD
The Steelers offense still isn't firing on all cylinders and despite this game being close and competitive before the Bears upset win in overtime, Pittsburgh attempted 39 passes to 17 runs. The lack of offensive functionality has yet to bleed over into Antonio Brown, who recorded his second double-digit catch and 100-yard game of the season and found the end zone for the first time in 2017.
San Francisco 49ers
Touches: 28 | Carries: 25 | Receptions: 3
Carlos Hyde was loaded up with volume on Thursday night. He only averaged 3.3 yards per carry, gaining 84 rush yards on his 25 attempts but fortunately scored twice against the Rams. It seemed like a slow start, but both of his scores came in the second half and were obviously welcomed by his fantasy owners. He did have an injury scare early on but seemed fine once he returned. Hyde remains a solid floor play who will stay on the field even in negative game scripts, adding to his value as a pass-catching back. He'll have a difficult matchup against the Cardinals in Week 4 but should be started in all formats.
Target share: 27% |Targets: 10 | Receptions: 7 | Yards: 142
When fantasy gamers went aggressively to get Pierre Garcon despite questions about his quarterback play, this was the type of volume and game script they dreamed of. Garcon was simply impeccable all night, making a number of eye-popping catches as the 49ers chased the Rams in catch-up mode. He owned a whopping 47.2 percentage share of the team's intended air yards. Garcon is a must-play in any game where he faces a softer defense with this kind of volume going his way.
Honorable mention(s): Undrafted rookie Trent Taylor is a name to know. The slot receiver was only on the field for 47 percent of the 49ers' plays but looked like a useful short-area target. With Marquise Goodwin being just a deep threat dart throw, there's room for more options to emerge in this pass game.
Touches: 13 | Carries: 11 | Receptions: 2
Chris Carson led Seattle's backfield for the second straight week, although he had a tough time producing on the ground against the Titans with just 34 yards on 11 runs. But thanks to a receiving touchdown in the second half, Carson notched his second-straight week with at least 10 standard fantasy points. It seems like Seattle is going to move forward with Carson as the primary back, and it makes sense because he is the most talented runner they have. Thomas Rawls played one snap. ONE. And Eddie Lacy, while not inactive, didn't see the field at all. Let the Chris Carson era begin!
Honorable mention(s):C.J. Prosise was the only other Seattle back to play in the game, and racked up 74 yards from scrimmage on his seven touches. That included a deep 46-yard reception in the second quarter.
Target share: 31.3% |Targets: 15 | Receptions: 10 | Yards: 105, TD
Doug Baldwin put up what was easily his best effort of the season. He dominated the target market share, collecting a team-high 15 despite leaving this game early with a groin injury. Make sure to track his status for the coming week, as the Seahawks offense finally looked like the unit many hoped it would be in the second half. Seattle started slow but came alive in the final two quarters. Russell Wilson finished with four touchdown passes.
Honorable mention(s):Jimmy Graham came into this game with an ankle injury and was on a minor pitch count. Graham was on the field for 66 percent of the team's plays. However, he drew a 2017-high 11 targets and went seven for 72 yards. If the offense gets rolling in the coming weeks Graham will retake his place among the top-five tight ends.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Touches: 5 | Carries: 5 | Receptions: 0
This is not a typo. Jacquizz Rodgers led the Bucs backfield with five touches, all rush attempts, for 15 yards. That's it. It was a tough matchup against the Vikings defense, but the utter lack of productivity is shocking here. The Bucs were down most of the game, and Jameis Winston attempted 40 passes, so clearly it was not a favorable script for the backfield. Rodgers had two carries in the first quarter, two in the second and one in the third. Dust yourself off, and try again next week. Or just wait for Doug Martin to come back in Week 5, up to you. Tampa Bay gets the Giants next week.
Honorable mention(s):Charles Sims had three touches in the game despite playing on 47 percent of his team's snaps. He's fantasy irrelevant.
Target share: 30% |Targets: 12 | Receptions: 7 | Yards: 67
Mike Evans was just the latest victim of Xavier Rhodes. After holding Antonio Brown in check in Week 2, Rhodes shadowed Evans on 72.2% of the receiver's routes and let him catch just five of nine targets for a mere 53 yards. Overall, for fantasy it was still encouraging that Winston, whether it was a wise move or not, Jameis Winston was still willing to funnel targets at Evans. As much as Rhodes continues to show out like a shutdown corner, the Vikings have issues elsewhere in the secondary. Just as Martavis Bryant went off in the deep game when the Vikings traveled to Pittsburgh, DeSean Jackson hauled in a 32-yard score.
Touches: 15 | Carries: 14 | Receptions: 1
This was supposed to be Derrick Henry's breakout game, but DeMarco Murray squashed those hopes. Murray was questionable with a hamstring injury all week, and all signs pointed to Henry taking over. Unfortunately, injuries are unpredictable and according to the Titans coach, Mike Mularkey, Henry suffered a thigh bruise early in the game. That opened the door for Murray to get some work, and he made the most of it. Specifically, Murray scored on a 75-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and totaled 115 rush yards on the day. WELP.
Honorable mention(s): Henry did end up with 14 total touches for 64 total yards, but the early injury hampered his production. For now, it looks like this is still Murray's backfield. Tennessee faces a tough Texans defense in Week 4.
Target share: 32.3% |Targets: 10 | Receptions: 6 | Yards: 87, TD
With Corey Davis inactive, Rishard Matthews was the clear lead receiver. His standing chemistry with Marcus Mariota continues to win out in the receiving pecking order. Eric Decker, on the other hand, is a low-volume possession receiver in a run-heavy offense. At this point, we've seen enough to have Decker on the shortlist of players you're willing to part with to make a priority pickup on the waiver wire.
Honorable mention(s): The Titans deployed more two tight end sets, rather than give a full-time workload to rookie Taywan Taylor (25 plays), with Corey Davis out. Rookie Jonnu Smith played an almost equal snap count to Delanie Walker (43 to 46). Smith caught his second touchdown in the last two games but only saw two targets. He's not a true threat to Walker's playing time but he's an exciting young talent. Dynasty leaguers need to know his name.
Touches: 20 | Carries: 19 | Receptions: 1
With Rob Kelley inactive on Sunday night, Samaje Perine was the Redskins starting running back. Unfortunately, the rookie did not have a strong showing, rushing for just 49 yards on his 19 carries in the game. He also lost a fumble early in the fourth quarter, on a play in which he also injured his hand on, the extent of which is to be determined. Perine has had volume opportunities for two weeks now, but hasn't shown much, looking somewhat tentative on his runs. Comments made by Redskins coach Jay Gruden regarding fumbles might have something to do with the rookie's confidence.
Honorable mention(s): The big storyline from the Washington backfield in Week 3 is Chris Thompson ... again. He had another unreal game from an efficiency standpoint, piling up 188 yards from scrimmage on his 14 touches. Most of his damage was done via the passing game, with 150 receiving yards on six catches. He also scored a receiving touchdown. Washington should continue to feed Thompson enough volume that he'll be an upside flex play most weeks.
Target share: 23.3% |Targets: 7 | Receptions: 6 | Yards: 150, TD
Chris Thompson will eventually see his outrageous efficiency come down. That is obvious. However, what his place atop the target totem in Washington (19 total) tells us is that there is no security with the wide receivers on this team. Kirk Cousins went for 365 yards and three touchdowns with Terrelle Pryor and Jamison Crowder posting a combined eight catches for 71 yards. Cousins has long been a quarterback to not force the issue and simply pick his spots. There are no funnel receivers on this team and fantasy drafters overrated both Crowder and especially Pryor this summer. Through three games, that's plain to see. Better days are ahead for both, but neither is likely to pay back their August ADPs.
Honorable mention(s):Josh Doctson made the type of jump-ball touchdown catch that he regularly hauled in during his TCU days. We've been waiting for over a year to see that from him in Washington. The former first-round pick played on 51 percent of the team's plays and saw just two targets. He's not there just yet, but hopefully, this is the start of him establishing some career momentum.
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