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 (passing targets) and Matt Franciscovich (backfield touches) 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 1.
*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: 17 | Carries: 11 | Receptions: 6
Shocking nobody, David Johnson wore many hats for the Cardinals in Week 1, as was the case last year. He led the team in rushing (23 yards) and tied Larry Fitzgerald for the team lead with six receptions (68 yards). It wasn't a pretty game by any means for the Cardinals offense though, as Carson Palmer threw three picks and Johnson's fantasy output was minimal.
Honorable mention(s): Johnson left the game early with an apparent wrist injury. Early reports are good as X-rays on Johnson's wrist came back negative but he'll still have an MRI on Monday. When he came off the field, backup Kerwynn Williams vultured a short-yardage touchdown. Williams will be a hot name on the waiver wire this week if Johnson is slated to miss time. It's a huge blow to any fantasy managers who took Johnson in the first round of drafts, and we're all hoping for the best for one of the most elite players in the NFL.
Target share: 27.7% |Targets: 13 | Receptions: 6 | Yards: 74
The Cardinals were one of many offenses that looked painfully off their game in the opening week. Carson Palmer tossed three interceptions and looked extremely shaky when forced to throw off his platform. This should have been a perfect spot for Larry Fitzgerald given the personnel of Detroit's defense, but Palmer's struggles did not allow for that. We need to be on close watch to make sure this was just a blip for Palmer and not a continuation of a decline that looked to rear its head at times in 2016. He and the Cardinals draw another good matchup with the Colts next week.
Honorable mention(s): Despite a mere four catches for 32-yard stat line, this was an incredibly encouraging outing for John Brown. Not only did he tie David Johnson for second on the team in targets with nine, but he also went out for 85 percent of the team's offensive plays. Only Fitzgerald played more among the wide receivers. Brown's health and therefore his ability to take a full snap share was a persistent issue last year and in the preseason but he appeared to play without hesitation today. We can at least be cautiously optimistic after this game.
Touches: 14 | Carries: 12 | Receptions: 2
No surprise here as Freeman led the Falcons in snaps and total touches. While his yardage total, 39 from scrimmage, wasn't game-changing for fantasy, he did manage to save some face with a five-yard red zone touchdown run in the second quarter. Hot off a big contract this summer, Freeman should be featured in Atlanta all year as he looks for his third-straight 1,000-yard season. He'll face the Packers next week on Sunday night.
Honorable mention(s):Tevin Coleman totaled 12 touches in Week 1 including four receptions for 42 yards. Freeman out-snapped him by a count of 34 to 22, which wasn't shocking. Coleman's fantasy production will be volatile but he provides some better flex value in what should be a shootout next week against Green Bay.
Target share: 30% | Targets: 9 | Receptions: 6 | Yards: 47
Not only did Sanu lead the team in targets but he and Julio Jones also went out for the exact same amount of plays, 44 of a possible 55. Sanu is the clear No. 2 receiver, as 2016 splash player Taylor Gabriel was only on the field for 53 percent of the plays. With the Falcons only running 55 total plays, it's not worth sweating Jones' low target total. However, this game did feel like the same sort of script that helped the Falcons offense thrive last season; having Jones as a top piece but not a funnel receiver. Jones had just two games with five or fewer targets in 2016.
Honorable mention(s):Austin Hooper made the most of his two targets, posting 128 yards and a touchdown on the back of an 88-yard catch and run for a score. Don't write him off as a total fluke, though. Hooper was on the field for 80 percent of the Falcons plays. He's a legitimate breakout candidate this year.
Target leader: Mohamed Sanu
Touches: 21 | Carries: 21 | Receptions: 0
Sure, Javorius Allen led Baltimore's backfield with 21 total touches. But it was Terrance West who led the team's running backs in fantasy points. West had 19 carries for 80 yards and a score in the game against the Bengals. The majority of Allen's carries came in the second half as Baltimore was dominating the scoreboard due to a litany of turnovers by Andy Dalton. West's touchdown was a short-yardage score in the second quarter and he still figures to be the team's lead back going forward.
Honorable mention(s): Veteran pass-catching specialist Danny Woodhead left the game during Baltimore's first drive with a reported hamstring injury and never returned. Woody had four touches for 34 yards before he went out. For any fantasy managers that took a shot drafting Woodhead in the middle rounds, it's a big blow if he misses significant time. For now, Allen is a guy to target on the waiver wire ahead of Baltimore's Week 2 matchup against Cleveland.
Target share: 23.5% |Targets: 4 | Receptions: 2 | Yards: 56, TD
Target share 23.5 percent |Targets: 4| Receptions: 1 | Yards: 5
Talk about a flip of the script. After leading the NFL in passing play percentage in 2016, the Ravens threw the ball just 17 times in Week 1 and doled out 41 carries to their running backs. With Andy Dalton offering up turnovers left and right to the Baltimore defense, the offense could play close to the vest throughout the afternoon. As such, the team's target leader ended in a tie between Jeremy Maclin and Breshad Perriman with just four. Maclin looks like the top receiver on this team, as he took more snaps than anyone else, but no Ravens wideout was on the field for more than 70 percent of the team's plays. We'll wait for a game where the offense must truly come out of its shell before drawing any major conclusions about the distribution of playing time for the other assets.
Honorable mention(s):Danny Woodhead was easily on his way to leading this team in receiving before he went down with a hamstring injury at the end of their first drive. The veteran back caught all three of his targets for 33 yards on that series. If Woodhead can get back on the field in the next couple of games, he will reassume a dominant role in the Baltimore pecking order.
Touches: 27 | Carries: 22 | Receptions: 5
Look, LeSean McCoy got a ton of volume against a subpar team on Sunday, so he was able to eat. He totaled 159 yards from scrimmage and his five receptions led Buffalo's offense. As long as he stays healthy, and he did have an injury scare at one point, he should continue to see a ton of touches. But let's not overrate the fact that he was facing one of the least intimidating teams in the league right now. Still, McCoy has been an elite fantasy running back for a long time, and given his versatility, he should remain in the top tier at his position.
Honorable mention(s): Buffalo fans and fantasy managers alike seemed shocked when the Bills jettisoned projected McCoy backup, Jonathan Williams, in the preseason. That left veteran fullback Mike Tolbert as the favorite for touches behind Shady, and he saw 13 against the Jets. Sadly, one of those touches was a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter when McCoy was dealing with a wrist injury on the sideline. If the Bills continue to run as much as they did Sunday, Tolbert is worth a deep-league stash. The Bills face Carolina next week.
Target share: 33.3% |Targets: 9 | Receptions: 4 | Yards: 53, one TD
With all the turnover in the wide receiver corps for the Bills over the last month or so, it's no wonder that Charles Clay emerged as the clear beneficiary. He's the only remaining pass-catcher in the starting lineup with any familiarity with Tyrod Taylor. Clay led Buffalo with nine targets. Don't be surprised if Clay finishes the year as a top-15 tight end, if he stays healthy, and has streaming appeal for as long as Taylor remains the starting quarterback.
Honorable mention(s):Jordan Matthews and Zay Jones combined for just seven targets overall but were the clear No. 1 and 2 wide receivers. They were on the field for 88 and 86 percent of the team's offensive plays, respectively. The Bills play the Panthers in Carolina next week, which is still not a green-light spot to play either of these wideouts, but both are on the redraft radar.
Touches: 20 | Carries: 28 | Receptions: 2
While all eyes were on Christian McCaffrey's rookie debut, it was veteran Jonathan Stewart who got the higher workload for Carolina in Week 1. J-Stew had a solid game totaling 82 yards from scrimmage and scored a receiving touchdown to boot. He finished as the RB8 in standard scoring before the Sunday night game and should be a high-end RB2 going forward.
Honorable mention(s): McCaffrey's 18 total touches are nothing to balk at, either. The dynamic rookie runner actually ended up leading Carolina with five receptions and and took his 13 carries for 47 yards. His longest run was an 11-yarder up the middle in the fourth quarter. McCaffrey dominated the snap share too, as he was on the field for 70 percent of the Panthers plays versus Stewart's 44 percent share. All the kid needs is one big play, and he's capable of that any given week.
Target share: 29.2% |Targets: 7 | Receptions: 5 | Yards: 38
The team's intent to feature Christian McCaffrey in the passing game was on full display. He led the team in catches and lined up everywhere. The majority of his work came in the backfield, as this was a blowout, but he also took two snaps out-wide and four from the slot. Cam Newton was clearly off early in this game and missed a handful of throws, which makes the fact that Carolina controlled this contest throughout all the more impressive. We still don't quite know what this offense will look like with its multiple dimension in the passing game to its fullest extent just yet.
Honorable mention(s): The Panthers didn't need much passing game work from Kelvin Benjamin or the wide receivers in this spot. Benjamin played a full complement of snaps in the first three quarters so there is little need for panic. Russell Shepard made a big play for Newton's first touchdown but only went out for 32 percent of the team's plays. He needs to be on the field more than that to be a fantasy factor.
Touches: 16 | Carries: 13 | Receptions: 3
In a game that came down to the final play, the majority of the Bears offensive production came from its backfield. Howard averaged a respectable 4.0 yards per carry and scored a much-needed rushing touchdown from four yards out in the second quarter. When Chicago was trying to score a game-tieing touchdown as time ran out, Howard had an egregious drop on the goal-line further proving the narrative that he's not a solid pass-catching back. The positive takeaway here is the volume and the fact that Howard led the team with a 56 percent share of running back snaps. He'll face the Buccaneers next week.
Honorable mention(s): The big story from this game was the breakout debut of rookie scatback Tarik Cohen. He ended up leading the Bears in both rushing and receiving production and was the only player on the team with double-digit targets. Cohen scored a 19-yard receiving touchdown on an outside route out of the backfield in the fourth quarter and even played a role in Howard's rushing score earlier in the game as it was a direct snap to Cohen from the Wildcat formation. It looks like it might be a two-way committee in Chicago's backfield, which you can't say we didn't warn you about. The Bears won't be able to keep Cohen off the field if he keeps producing in all aspects like he did Sunday.
Target share: 30% |Targets: 12 | Receptions: 8 | Yards: 47, TD
The fact that rookie running back Tarik Cohen led the Bears in targets reveals two new realities for us. First, Cohen is a big factor for this Chicago team and is a weapon they cannot afford to ignore. Starved for playmakers, they deployed Cohen on 43 percent of their plays run and he clearly brought a spark. Additionally, no clarity emerged in the wide receiver corps. Kevin White got plenty of run but left the game with an injury. Our own Stacy Dales reported he left the facility with his shoulder wrapped and his arm in a sling. Sleeper Kendall Wright was on the field for just 60 percent of the team's plays.
Honorable mention(s):Zach Miller finished second to Cohen with all of six targets. He finished behind Dion Sims in terms of playing time, going out for 60 percent of the team's plays to 70 percent for his counterpart. However, Miller doubled Sims' catch total on the day. He's clearly the passing game option here. If you're targeting a Bears pass-catcher as a desperation flier, Miller is the only one who makes any sort of sense.
Touches: 11 | Carries: 8 | Receptions: 3
To put it simply, the Bengals backfield was a disaster on Sunday. The rookie Joe Mixon did lead the team in running back touches but only managed nine rushing yards on his eight attempts. Seven of those attempts came in the fourth quarter and he lost a total of nine yards on his final two carries. So yeah, not a great debut for Mixon. Giovani Bernard was the big surprise here as he led Cincy's runners with 40 yards on seven carries. Can't really say anyone saw that coming.
Honorable mention(s):Jeremy Hill was technically the "starter" as he was all preseason. He took his six carries for 26 yards and added a catch for a two-yard loss. It might not matter much because the Bengals were trailing nearly the entire game, but Bernard led this three-headed committee with a 45 percent share of snaps compared to Mixon's 38 and Hill's 17. If all three of these guys are healthy all year, it's going to be a headache for fantasy managers. The Bengals will look to rebound against Houston on Thursday night.
Target share: 34.5% |Targets: 10 | Receptions: 5 | Yards: 74
A.J. Green wasted no time in returning to the top of the Bengals pecking order after missing the concluding games of 2016 with an injury. While he led the team with 10 targets, no other Cincinnati player registered more than five. The Bengals offense was incredibly dysfunctional, losing the time of possession battle 26:00 to 34:00. The biggest issue was the turnovers, as Andy Dalton chucked four interceptions and lost a fumble. It's encouraging that Green dominated from a market share perspective. He should gain access to his ceiling when the Bengals and their starting quarterback face better matchups.
Honorable mention(s):Tyler Eifert collected a single target in this game. With the Bengals failing to sustain much offense, it's hard to ding his stock much going forward because of this performance. Eifert still played on 88 percent of the team's plays. He might be someone to send out buy-low offers for.
Touches: 19 | Carries: 17 | Receptions: 2
The Browns gave Isaiah Crowell a heavy dose of carries in the first half Sunday against the Steelers. Unfortunately, he was not very efficient with his opportunities against a stout Pittsburgh run-stopping unit. The Crow totaled just 33 rush yards on his 17 carries but he did add another 33 receiving yards and scored a two-point conversion to mitigate what otherwise was a disastrous game from a fantasy standpoint. It's a good sign that Crowell got the volume, but he'll have to do more with his touches going forward. He faces a tough matchup against the Ravens next week.
Honorable mention(s): We heard a storyline in the offseason that the Browns were turning Duke Johnson into a slot receiver. That panned out in Week 1 as he didn't take a single snap from the backfield against the Steelers. Per NextGenStats, 89 percent of Johnson's offensive snaps came lined up in the slot and four of his five targets came from the slot. He only had 20 yards total but it's an interesting development for a guy who was drafted as a running back.
Target share: 20% |Targets: 6 | Receptions: 5 | Yards: 53, TD
Corey Coleman showed a connection with DeShone Kizer in the preseason and that continued into Week 1 of the actual games. The second-year wide receiver led the Browns in targets and hauled in an excellent catch on an in-breaking route on the goal-line where he took a massive hit from a Steelers defender. For most of the offseason, fantasy drafters treated Kenny Britt as the No. 1 receiver in this offense. However, with Kizer under center, the evidence is piling up for the younger and more physically talented Coleman. He and Britt both played on 81 percent of the offensive plays but Britt only saw three targets go his way.
Honorable mention(s): Outside of Coleman and Britt, there does not appear to be much clarity in the pass-catching group. Duke Johnson does appear to be the primary slot option. He took 89 percent of his plays from that position and never lined up in the backfield. Seth DeValve (49 percent), David Njoku (44 percent) and Randall Telfer (25 percent) all took reps at the tight end spot.
Touches: 29 | Carries: 24 | Receptions: 5
It's Zeke's backfield, and we're just living in it. Dallas loaded their star running back up with touches to control the clock against a stagnant Giants team on Sunday night. His workload was split just about evenly in the first and second halves, and while he didn't find the end zone, fantasy owners will take his 140 yards from scrimmage to open up the season. If you got Zeke at value in drafts this year before the suspension news played out, you're in good shape fantasy-wise. Dallas heads to Denver in Week 2 to face a Broncos defense that surrendered 79 total yards and a score to Melvin Gordon in Week 1.
Target share: 23.7% |Targets: 9 | Receptions: 2 | Yards: 43
Target share: 23.7% |Targets: 9 | Receptions: 7 | Yards: 59, TD
Dez Bryant lost in his dual with Janoris Jenkins once again on Sunday night. The Giants corner once again held the Pro Bowl wideout at bay, something he was quite proficient at doing in his first season in New York. However, the wealth of opportunity Bryant inherited must be encouraging for his fantasy prospects. Not only did he tie Witten for the team lead in targets, he finished seventh-highest among wide receivers on Sunday in percentage share of his team's intended air yards with 40.1 percent. No other Dallas player cleared the 19 percent mark. He also drew three targets inside the 10-yard line. It doesn't get much better in terms of a volume assignment. Production will be soon to follow.
Honorable mention(s):Jason Witten has one of the better floors at the tight end position, even though this may have just been his predictable annual smashing of the Giants. He was on the field for every single play the Cowboys ran on Sunday night and lapped Cole Beasley and company in targets and air yards collected.
Touches: 21 | Carries: 20 | Receptions: 1
C.J. Anderson looked healthy and spry in the Broncos season opener against the Chargers and did well with a big workload. He averaged about 4.0 yards per carry on his 20 attempts for 81 yards and had a touchdown negated by a penalty in the second half. It didn't help that quarterback Trevor Siemian ran in a score himself in the first half, but you can't win them all. Anderson is a high-end RB2 going forward as the lead back on a run-heavy team.
Honorable mention(s):Jamaal Charles got a healthy dose of work in Anderson's stead, with 10 carries for 40 yards. Historically, Charles is the most efficient running back in the NFL, and he lived up to that standard with six of his rushes going for four or more yards. Charles could be an interesting flex play in deeper leagues if this kind of usage keeps up. Denver may even decide to up his workload if they think his surgically repaired knees can handle it.
Touches: 18 | Carries: 15 | Receptions: 3
Volume isn't always everything in terms of fantasy scoring as we learned on Sunday from the Detroit backfield. Abduallah's 18 touches led the running back group, but he only managed 41 yards from scrimmage against the Cardinals defensive front. We also saw Dwayne Washington rotate in on a few first down plays in the second half and some additional short-yardage situations. The volume is a good sign, but Abdullah simply didn't produce in a tough matchup.
Honorable mention(s): Despite just eight total touches, Theo Riddick was the only Lions running back to find the end zone Sunday. He totaled just one rush attempt for a one-yard loss, but was second on the team in receptions with six. One of them was a seven-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. This Detroit backfield may be unpredictable going forward and worse, they face an unfavorable prime-time matchup in New Jersey for a road game against the Giants next Monday night.
Target share: 30.8% |Targets: 12 | Receptions: 10 | Yards: 107
Golden Tate is set up for a monster year from a volume standpoint and today truly showed that. With Kenny Golladay firmly entrenched as the third-receiver, Tate is free to operate from the interior. He lined up in the slot on 82 percent of his plays on Sunday and drew nine of his 12 targets from that position. The Lions should continue to operate as a pass-heavy unit and Tate will now earn the most high-percentage targets. We can expect another 90 catches with ease for the veteran receiver.
Honorable mention(s): Offseason hype man Kenny Golladay popped off for 69 yards and a pair of scores. His healthy target load of seven out-did Marvin Jones (two) and Eric Ebron (three) despite those players seeing more playing time. Golladay was only on the field for 62 percent of the Lions' plays against the Cardinals, so we should expect volatility in his production unless he takes the No. 2 job from Jones, but he absolutely should be on all redraft rosters.
Green Bay Packers
Touches: 23 | Carries: 19 | Receptions: 4
Ty Montgomery owners rejoice! The converted wideout is now the Packers' full-blown feature back as showcased by his performance against Seattle on Sunday. He played on 89 percent of the Packers' offensive snaps, gained 93 yards from scrimmage and scored a six-yard rushing touchdown. He also hauled in all four of his targets, obviously. His fantasy ceiling is sky-high this year if he can keep up this kind of usage. He's an upside play next week in what should be a high-scoring affair against Atlanta.
Target share: 31% |Targets: 13 | Receptions: 9 | Yards: 85
Aaron Rodgers was quite explicit in his praise for Randall Cobb after their playoff win over the New York Giants back in January, saying they were "a better offense with No. 18." It appears Cobb is locked into a high-value role as the safety valve for Rodgers and he looked healthy after two seasons with a litany of injuries. At the very least, Cobb is going to eat into Davante Adams' target total, although the latter will find himself in better spots than his all-day duel with Richard Sherman on the outside.
Honorable mention(s): Not that there was much question, but Martellus Bennett played a full-time role on Sunday. Bennett played on 81 percent of the team's plays and drew six targets. Nevertheless, we saw today that won't always turn into reliable production.
Touches: 19 | Carries: 17 | Receptions: 2
Houston's offense was pretty much non-existent for the majority of this game, and Lamar Miller's first-half production suffered because of it. Miller had just six rush attempts for 15 yards at halftime, but got rolling a bit after the intermission. The team put rookie Deshaun Watson under center to start the third quarter and he injected the offense with some energy. Miller ended up finishing with 96 scrimmage yards, which isn't bad considering he didn't score. Considering the volume, Miller remains a low-end RB1 going forward, but he'll need to start scoring at some point.
Target share: 44.4% |Targets: 16 | Receptions: 7 | Yards: 55, TD
With the Texans constantly in negative game script, Hopkins absorbed a beefy amount of volume. However, it was once again a struggle to see efficient targets. Tom Savage was a sitting duck behind an offensive line that couldn't stop the waves of pressure brought by the Jaguars hungry defense. Deshaun Watson gave the team a minor spark but still looked like a work in progress with mistakes sprinkled in. It's unclear if Hopkins truly got a quarterback upgrade this offseason even though Houston is now Brock-free.
Touches: 11 each | Carries: 10 each | Receptions: 1 each
With Andrew Luck out and Scott Tolzein under center for the Colts, this was an utter disaster from a backfield production standpoint. Veteran Frank Gore and Rookie Marlon Mack evenly split touches, but it was Mack who ended up finding paydirt in the fourth quarter. The Colts ostensibly took Gore out of the game after a few early third-quarter runs, probably to save him for a more competitive game. Mack did have a nice 24-yard run, but he also suffered a 10-yard loss in which he fumbled the ball out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
Target share: 33.3% |Targets: 7 | Receptions: 3 | Yards: 57
Owning the leading spot on the Colts target totem pole doesn't mean much right now. The offense was completely dysfunctional with Scott Tolzien under center. Jacoby Brissett replaced him later in the game and chucked a 50-yard bomb to Donte Moncrief, so perhaps he would present a tangible upgrade. We don't know if the Colts will be willing to move away from Tolzien just yet since they rode with him into the season despite Andrew Luck's health being a major question mark. We should stay away from the Colts until their starting quarterback is back in place.
Honorable mention(s): Ancillary players like Jack Doyle and Kamar Aiken hold no intrigue without Luck on the field but it's good to see them entrenched in their roles. Doyle will be in a great spot when the Colts offense gets back to respectability. He went out for 92 percent of the plays in Week 1.
Touches: 29 | Carries: 26 | Receptions: 3
It's the year of the rookie running back, right? It definitely is for Jacksonville, as they dosed Leonard Fournette with an insane workload in his rookie debut. It's almost like they really, really don't want Blake Bortles throwing the ball. Fournette picked up 124 yards from scrimmage, 100 of them rushing, against the Texans. Fournette pounded the rock up the middle, for the most part, for short gains. He did have a couple double-digit gains and pounded in a 1-yard touchdown in the second quarter. If he continues to get volume like this, he's going to be a legitimate weekly RB1. The Jaguars face Tennessee next week.
Honorable mention(s): For what it's worth, Chris Ivory saw 10 total touches in Week 1 and managed 53 yards from scrimmage. Fournette dominated the snap share by a count of 37 to 23, but it's worth noting. Ivory, if he remains healthy, would likely be Fournette's handcuff. T.J. Yeldon was inactive with a hamstring injury.
Target share: 19% |Targets: 4 | Receptions: 3 | Yards: 42 Target share: 19% |Targets: 4 | Receptions: 0 | Yards: 0
With Allen Robinson suffering a torn ACL in this contest and all but likely gone for the year, Hurns and Lee sit atop the target pecking order in Jacksonville. However, the Jaguars showed their hand in this contest, confirming they want to be a run-heavy low volume passing offense that eats from the hand of their strong defense. The Jaguars posted 39 runs to just 21 passes as their defense pummeled the Texans in their own building. Not all game scripts will play out like this for the Jaguars this year, unless they're making the leap to a playoff squad, but with Blake Bortles still as questionable as ever, it's not worth chasing the open volume now present in Jacksonville in the wake of Robinson's injury.
Kansas City Chiefs
Touches: 22 | Carries: 17 | Receptions: 5
It was quite the debut for rookie running back Kareem Hunt on Thursday night against the Patriots. The third-round selection out of Toledo was thrust into a featured role after Spencer Ware suffered a knee injury in preseason. Hunt's ADP skyrocketed in fantasy drafts and for good reason. He put up 246 yards from scrimmage and three total touchdowns, good enough for just over 40 standard fantasy points. He should easily finish the week as fantasy's RB1.
Honorable mention(s): Hunt's backup, Charcandrick West scored on his only rush attempt of the game, a 21-yard scamper in the fourth quarter. West only got the touch because Hunt was absolutely gassed at that point. Hunt owners should consider West as a handcuff pickup. The Chiefs take on a stout Eagles defense in Week 2.
Target share: 24.2% |Targets: 8 | Receptions: 7 | Yards: 133, TD
The usage for Tyreek Hill in this game was extremely encouraging. He still got some work out of the backfield (eight plays) but he also took 41 percent of his lineups from the slot and ran traditional routes. We saw on Thursday that he would primarily run high-percentage short patterns but also get looks deep. His Next Gen Stats route chart shows that well.
Honorable mention(s):Chris Conley led the wide receiver group in playing time (95 percent) but collected only four targets. He will never be a high volume player in this offense as long as Hill and Travis Kelce are on the field. However, he once again showed the vertical ability he flashed in some of the Chiefs preseason action. Conley's second reception came on a 25-yard strike down the sideline with two defenders in the area.
Los Angeles Chargers
Touches: 23 | Carries: 18 | Receptions: 5
We got our first glimpse at what Anthony Lynn's run game looks like as the new head coach of the LA Chargers. Unfortunately, Denver pulled ahead early and never really looked back, but the game did end up being a close one. Gordon wasn't very efficient with his 18 rushes for 54 yards but he made up for it with five receptions for 25 yards and a receiving touchdown. Gordon remains this team's workhorse as he was on the field for 77 percent of LA's offensive snaps. Going forward, Gordon will be a weekly RB1 and you can lock him into your lineup for a home game against the Dolphins in Week 2.
Honorable mention(s):Branden Oliver is the best bet to serve as Gordon's handcuff but he had just four carries for 10 yards. Not much else going on here, Gordon is the guy and that's all there is to it.
Los Angeles Rams
Touches: 24 | Carries: 19 | Receptions: 5
So the Rams absolutely demolished the Colts in Week 1. Which means Todd Gurley should have seen a decent workload, at worst, and he did with 19 carries and five receptions. But he only totaled 40 yards on the ground, that's a 2.1 yards per carry average which is not good. The Gurley skeptics might start showing themselves after this one because it was a cake matchup. At least for his fantasy owners, he hauled in an additional five receptions for 56 yards and scored a short-yardage touchdown too. That was enough for him to finish as fantasy's RB6 in standard scoring before the Sunday night game.
Honorable mention(s): Gurley's backup, Marlon Brown, got a few carries, seven to be exact, late in this game since it was a rout. He happened to score late in the fourth quarter, for what it's worth. Nothing to see here.
Target share: 20% |Targets: 6 | Receptions: 4 | Yards: 76, TD Target share: 20% |Targets: 7 | Receptions: 5 | Yards: 56
Cooper Kupp out-target and outproduced Sammy Watkins in the Rams home opener. He is clearly a Jared Goff favorite and is the apple of the second-year passer's eye. This was an ideal spot for all the Rams offense to exceed expectations and the Colts defense certainly provided plenty of room in the middle of the field for the Goff to Kupp connection. We'll wait to see them play a fully equipped team before recommending a major investment in this duo.
Honorable mention(s): While Watkins didn't post the same fantasy day as his rookie teammate, he still made his share of plays. In a game where the Rams truly need to open up the aerial attack a bit more, Watkins will prove to be a bigger factor.
Touches: 25 | Carries: 22 | Receptions: 3
The Vikings groomed their rookie running back in the preseason to be their feature back, and it all played out on Monday Night Football. After a slow start, Cook ripped off runs of 10, 32 and 33 yards in the second half and looked like the electric runner we grew to love from his days at Florida State. It was a huge week for rookie running backs in the NFL, and Cook capped it off with a 138 yards from scrimmage against the Saints. Seeing as he was one of the better values in redrafts among the rookie runner class, he should pay dividends for his owners this season.
Honorable mention(s): With Cook soaking up 50 of his team's snaps out of the backfield, Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon were left to fend for scraps. Poor Murray was on the field for just three plays and committed a fumble. Try again next week, pal. McKinnon was on the field to spell Cook and got a few touches in each quarter. He didn't do much as a runner but had a 25-yard reception in the fourth quarter.
New England Patriots
Touches: 15 | Carries: 15 | Receptions: 0
Heading into the season opener, fantasy managers were expecting some ambiguity from the Patriots backfield. But some clarity was gained here in terms of, at least, who the goal line back is: Gillislee. He scored three times and was the clear-cut short-yardage back. If this continues, and Gillislee remains in the "LeGarrette Blount role" from 2016, he should have a big year for fantasy purposes. Gillislee should eat again next week in New Orleans.
Honorable mention(s): While fantasy managers were anxious to see how this backfield split panned out, Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead ended up being non-factors for the most part. James White was the offensive snap count leader, as he was on the field for 53 percent of New England's plays. He's merely a PPR flex for now, but could have some blow-up games.
Target share: 21.2% |Targets: 7 | Receptions: 6 | Yards: 100
Target share: 21.2% |Targets: 7 | Receptions: 3 | Yards: 88
Danny Amendola looked like the direct replacement for Julian Edelman in the slot, as he collected his seven targets after just 27 plays. Yet, he suffered a concussion early in the action and is now week-to-week. Without Amendola, the Patriots receiving corps is now sorely lacking a short-to-intermediate threat and is overstocked with vertical threats. That runs a bit counter to Tom Brady's style of play the last few years. Cooks drew some defensive penalties and mostly operated in tight windows. With other players going down, it's hard to not see his volume hovering around the eight targets per game threshold.
Honorable mention(s): Just like last season, Chris Hogan led the team in wide receiver playing time but didn't draw significant volume. He saw five targets and only collected one catch. If there's a silver lining, he did spend 54 percent of his plays in the slot and may have to take over that role full-time if Amendola misses multiple games. Of all their wide receivers left who are primarily deep threats, Hogan is the one player who may offer more in the short areas than he's showed in previous action.
New Orleans Saints
Touches: 11 | Carries: Ingram: 6, Kamara: 7 | Receptions: Ingram: 5, Kamara: 4
The Saints three-headed committe combined for 52 rush yards on 19 attempts in a game they were trailing nearly the entire time. No back totaled more than 18 yards on the ground, and none of them scored, either. Thankfully, Ingram had 54 receiving yards to salvage some fanatsy value, while Kamara caught four of his six targets for 20 yards in his NFL debut. We gained zero clarity on what to expect from this backfield going forward other that the fact that it's more muddled than ever.
Honorable mention(s): In what was said by some to be a "revenge" game by Adrian Peterson, the futer Hall-of-Famer posted a mere 18 rush yards on six attempts and failed to haul in his only target. Backfield snaps were dominated by Ingram and Kamara, leaving Peterson with just nine snaps all game, or 15 percent of the team's overall offensive snaps. The Vikings defense is oner of the better units in the league, but this was not a good start for what could potentially be a scary productive backfield.
New York Giants
Touches: 9 each | Carries: Perkins: 7, Verren: 0 | Receptions: Perkins: 2, Vereen: 9
The Giants offense couldn't get anything going against the Cowboys, scoring just three points the entire game. Without Odell Beckham Jr., New York had a lack of offensive identity. Something else that was offensive in this game: The Giants backfield production. "Lead" back Perkins managed just 16 rush yards on his seven attempts for a 2.2 yards per carry average. Shane Vereen got some garbage time targets late in the game and in fact he led the team with 10 targets and led in backfield snaps with 29 compared to Perkins' 17 snaps. Yuck. Avoid this backfield at all costs for fantasy purposes.
Target share 26.3% | Targets: 10 | Receptions: 9 | Yards: 51
The absence of Odell Beckham was painfully apparent on Sunday night. The fact that running back Shane Vereen led the team in targets is a good representation of the effect. Vereen is going to have plenty of games like this as a result of the Giants being unable to run the ball or pass-protect. Veteran wideout Brandon Marshall drew just four targets and didn't record a catch until the fourth-quarter. Eli Manning was under siege and therefore unable to get the ball down the field to Marshall, if he still can any more. Beckham's presence will raise the stock of this offense, but it's fair to wonder if he just brings the tide up from "outright disaster" to "passable NFL offense" after what we just saw.
Honorable mention(s):Sterling Shepard was on the field for 100 percent of the team's plays in Week 1. The Giants played three wide receivers on 69.8 percent of their plays, and that was without Beckham in the fold. It's clear he will be a big part of their game plan this year. Shepard only averaged 4.1 air yards per target against Dallas, and with the Giants' issues in protection there's a non-zero percent chance he turns into a discount version of Jarvis Landry.
New York Jets
Touches: 12 | Carries: 7 | Receptions: 5
If you started any Jets players in fantasy football for Week 1, it was probably Bilal Powell. Unfortunately, he only managed 39 yards from scrimmage on his 12 total touches. This Jets offense is likely going to be a difficult one to find fantasy production from all season. Plus, quarterback Josh McCown scored the team's only touchdown on a keeper at the goal line. Powell's value remains limited to PPR scoring formats, and even then, he's merely a low-end flex.
Target share 23.7% | Targets: 9 | Receptions: 7 | Yards: 59
After a trade from Seattle, Kearse stepped in right away to play a big role and led all Jets' pass-catchers in receptions and yards. Robby Anderson was second on the team lead in targets and was on the field for 100 percent of New York's offensive plays. If there is any fantasy value in the wide receiver room, it will likely come from these two but don't feel the need to roster them in traditional season-long leagues.
Touches: 19 | Carries: 18 | Receptions: 1
BEAST MODE IS BACK! Lynch actually looked like his old self in Week 1, starting the game off with a 14-yard run. His unique, punishing running style hasn't changed. He was quite clearly the Raiders' primary back with a 48 percent snap share. Lynch also found some room on a 16-yard reception in the third quarter that he hauled in behind the line of scrimmage and gained a nice chunk of yardage. Beast Mode totaled 92 yards from scrimmage and while he didn't find the end zone, it's only a matter of time ... if he can hold up. Man, it was good to see him playing again.
Target share: 40.6% |Targets: 13 | Receptions: 5 | Yards: 62, TD
If you're expecting Amari Cooper to bust out and establish himself as a potential top-eight fantasy receiver and a week-in-week-out difference-maker, this is the type of usage you wanted to see. Not only did Cooper nearly double up Michael Crabtree's target total, he also earned multiple targets inside the 10-yard line. His work in the red zone was a bit of a mixed bag, however. He secured a score on his first shot but then suffered three straight miscues, including a failed contested catch attempt, the next time the Raiders were in scoring position. Overall, we should be encouraged that the Raiders deployed their talented young star in such a featured manner. Oakland draws a date with the New York Jets next, putting Cooper in a spot to truly break the box score.
Honorable mention(s):Jared Cook is the clear-cut lead tight end in this offense. The veteran was on the field for 71 percent of the team's plays and caught all five of his targets for 56 yards. In plus matchups, and Week 2's meeting with the Jets certainly qualifies, Cook will be an appealing streaming candidate in a high-scoring offense.
Touches: 15 | Carries: 14 | Receptions: 1
Despite seeing just over a third of the Eagles' offensive snaps, LeGarrette Blount led Philadelphia's backfield against Washington. His only reception (rare for Blount) was a touchdown catch, boosting his fantasy total for the day. He averaged just 2.8 yards per carry on his 14 rushes for 46 yards, but if he's going to get the goal-line looks, he remains a low-end fantasy starter.
Honorable mention(s):Darren Sproles led the team with a 50 percent snap share, but only had two rush attempts for two yard. He hauled in five receptions for 43 yards, but will be tough to trust if he can't produce better numbers going forward. Blount is the guy to start in this backfield for now. Wendell Smallwood had just five touches and isn't a factor.
Target share: 21% |Targets: 8 | Receptions: 8 | Yards: 93
Target share: 21% |Targets: 8 | Receptions: 6 | Yards: 86, TD
Target share: 21% |Targets: 8 | Receptions: 5 | Yards: 43
Zach Ertz's high level of involvement was expected, but even after waves of training camp hype it was hard to buy into the Nelson Agholor rebirth. He did plenty to silence the doubters in Week 1. The former first-round pick snagged multiple difficult catches including a big play for his touchdown. Playing in the slot on 70 percent of his lineups, Agholor owns what should be a high-value role in this offense. However, his playing time could be a slight question mark. He finished behind Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith in terms of snaps played and the Eagles only ran three wide receivers on 53.8 percent of their offensive plays. Nevertheless, it appears he's at least established himself as a key role player in the Eagles attack.
Honorable mention(s): The temptation will be to assign the blame for Alshon Jeffery's slow day to Josh Norman's coverage. However, according to the NFL's Next Gen Stats tracking, Norman only covered Jeffrey on 10 pass plays in Week 1. The shutdown corner primarily stuck to left corner and Jeffrey ran the majority of his routes from the other side of the field. Perhaps the Wentz to Jeffrey connection is just taking a bit of time to get rolling, or his volume may be something to worry about going forward.
Touches: 13 | Carries: 10 | Receptions: 3
Did the Steelers punish Le'Veon Bell for holding out of training camp? Probably not. But it was uncharacteristic of him to manage just 47 scrimmage yards in a game against a division rival Browns squad that he posted 200 yards against at one point last season. There's a chance all of that missed practice time for Bell led to a slow start. Fantasy owners should fear not; with some additional practice reps this week, it's only a matter of time until Bell gets rolling again.
Honorable mention(s): Rookie runner James Conner saw four carries and gained 11 yards in his NFL debut. No huge takeaways here other than the fact that Conner remains Bell's likely handcuff should something happen.
Target share: 30.5% |Targets: 11 | Receptions: 11 | Yards: 182
Antonio Brown wasted no time taking down the Browns undermanned secondary. The All-Pro wideout caught all 11 of his targets and operated as the clear funnel receiver, inhaling 30.5 percent of the team's overall targets. Brown gets a tougher matchup in Week 2 against the Vikings, but the game will be in Pittsburgh at least.
Honorable mention(s):Martavis Bryant looked like he needed to knock some rust off at times. He only collected two catches for 14 on six targets, but it was encouraging to see him run out as the clear No. 2 receiver. Bryant went out on 85 percent of the team's plays and the Steelers were in a three-wide receiver set on 66.7 percent of their plays.
San Francisco 49ers
Touches: 15 | Carries: 9 | Receptions: 6
The 49ers fell behind in this game, so Carlos Hyde finished with just nine rush attempts. But he remained on the field for 78 percent of his team's plays, and ended up with six receptions totaling 77 scrimmage yards. It's a good sign that he played even in a negative game script, but it's a bad sign that his team didn't put up many points. He'll be a low-end RB2 against the Seahawks next week.
Honorable mention(s): Rookie Matt Breida solidified his backup status rotating in behind Hyde for snaps in each of the first three quarters. Still, he only saw four touches in the game and has little-to-no fantasy relevance at this point as anything more than a handcuff.
Target share: 28.6% |Targets: 10 | Receptions: 6 | Yards: 81
This sort of game is exactly what we expected to litter Pierre Garcon's 2017 season. He inhaled the vast majority of the targets, mostly in negative game script and provided a safe floor. Expect plenty more games just like this to come for the duration of the 49ers season. Garcon is going to enjoy a massive season this year.
Touches: 7 | Carries: 6 | Receptions: 1
With Thomas Rawls inactive, the Seattle backfield was interesting but unimpressive. Eddie Lacy had more rush attempts (five) than he had yards (three). To his credit, the Packers defensive line was dominating Seattle's offensive line, but still, Lacy was no good. It was the rookie, Chris Carson who stuck out, albeit on his seven whole touches for 49 total yards. He flashed on a 30-yard pickup up the middle in the third quarter and played on over half the team's offensive snaps. Overall, nothing went well for Seattle in Week 1. Carson is a must-add off waivers.
Target share: 25.9% |Targets: 7 | Receptions: 4 | Yards: 59
Target share: 25.9% |Targets: 7 | Receptions: 3 | Yards: 8
Russell Wilson's wretched history in Lambeau Field penned another disappointing chapter on Sunday. The offensive line was once again an issue and the Seahawks never found the end zone. With the protection issues prevailing, Jimmy Graham was unable to get downfield much. He averaged just 6.1 air yards per target.
Touches: 14 | Carries: 12 | Receptions: 2
It's Week 1 and DeMarco Murray was the primary back for the Titans. Not a shock, to be honest. He only averaged 3.6 yards per carry on his 12 attempts and posted 60 total yards. Of course it was quarterback Marcus Mariota who scored the team's only rushing touchdown. Murray might see fewer chances around the goal-line with all of the added pass catchers in this offense, but for now he remains a fantasy must-start.
Honorable mention(s): Second-year back Derrick Henry only saw six carries, five of which came in the second quarter, as the Titans trailed for much of the game. His 4.1 yards per carry average was respectable but he finished with just 25 yards. Again, Murray's 73 percent snap share signals that he remains the go-to for now. Keep Henry stashed but don't start him.
Target share: 24.3% |Targets: 10 | Receptions: 6 | Yards: 69
Eric Decker played more than any other wide receiver, going out for 94 percent of the Titans plays, but it was Corey Davis who led the team in targets. Davis made several impressive catches and showed off his immense talent. The No. 5 overall pick played behind Decker and Rishard Matthews (65 percent) but it's only a matter of time before he demands more playing time. Davis came into this game after missing a bulk of the late offseason with a hamstring injury and the Titans appeared to stay true to their word to keep the rookie on a pitch count.
Honorable mention(s): When watching the games, it's apparent that Rishard Matthews still has the best chemistry with Marcus Mariota. He's really the only wide receiver among the top options who was with the team last year. If Corey Davis begins to take on more playing time, either Matthews or Decker will be the odd man out unless the Titans become a base three-wide receiver offense. It's worth noting that they deployed 11-personnel on 76.2 percent of their plays today, so they may not have to truly choose between Matthews' familiarity or Decker's pedigree.
Touches: 10 | Carries: 10 | Receptions: 0
The Redskins' inconsistency from the preseason carried over into the regular season opener. Rob Kelley took his 10 carries for just 30 yards and only had three touches in the second half as Washington trailed. Kelley's fantasy value is game-script dependent and if the Skins are losing late in games, he likely won't get a ton of run.
Honorable mention(s): It was Chris Thompson who stood out from a fantasy perspective on Sunday from the Washington backfield. The third-down back scored on an impressive, 29-yard, tackle-breaking touchdown reception in the second quarter. Thompson only had seven total touches in the game but his score landed him as a top-15 fantasy back in standard scoring at the end of Sunday's action. Washington takes on the Rams in Los Angeles next week.
Target share: 27.5% |Targets: 11 | Receptions: 6 | Yards: 66
Washington's offensive struggles carried over from the preseason. Kirk Cousins looked off and the team lost the time of possession battle 25:44 to 34:16. With that being said, Pryor's 11 targets were a positive sign for his stock as a weekly fantasy starter. He still needs the Redskins offense to kick things into high-gear in order to turn that volume into efficient fantasy weeks. Expect Pryor, Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed to battle for the team-lead in targets every game.
Honorable mention(s):Josh Doctson was active for this game but never saw a target and was only on the field for 20 plays. He's not on the redraft radar, at the moment, especially with this offense not providing fruitful soil overall.
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