Opportunity is the name of the game in fantasy football. Talent matters, of course, but we want players who see a healthy volume of targets and touches to anchor our lineups, especially in daily fantasy. Every week we'll look over the 10 most targeted pass catchers and the 10 running backs with the most touches from the weekend's slate.
1) Golden Tate, WR: 18 targets, 8 receptions, 74 yards
2) DeAndre Hopkins, WR: 14 targets, 11 receptions, 169 yards
3) Theo Riddick, RB: 13 targets, 10 receptions, 53 yards, 1 TD
4) Travis Benjamin, WR: 12 targets, 6 receptions, 83 yards
5) Emmanuel Sanders, WR: 12 targets, 9 receptions, 111 yards
6) Anquan Boldin, WR: 12 targets, 8 receptions, 107 yards, 1 TD
7) Jeremy Maclin, WR: 12 targets, 8 receptions, 85 yards
8) Tyler Eifert, TE: 12 targets, 8 receptions, 90 yards, 2 TDs
9T) Martellus Bennett, TE: 11 targets, 4 receptions, 32 yards
9T) Dion Lewis, RB: 11 targets, 8 receptions, 59 yards, 1 TD
9T) Willie Snead, WR: 11 targets, 6 receptions, 141 yards
9T) Odell Beckham, WR: 11 targets, 7 receptions, 121 yards, 1 TD
Golden Tate makes a surprise appearance as the most targeted receiver of Week 5 with 18 passes thrown his way. It all added up to 74 yards and 6.2 measly standard fantasy points, which is just one point higher than his per game average. At least when Dan Orlovsky entered the game for a benched Matthew Stafford, he actually pushed the ball down the field to his good wide receivers. The team already announced Stafford will return as the starter in Week 6. Tate remains nearly unusable in fantasy.
DeAndre Hopkins makes this list every week, and is currently on pace for 236 targets this season. No receiver in the league shoulders a bigger load of his team's offense than him. I threw out a question on Twitter during the Thursday night game pondering exactly where Hopkins should be ranked among the current pantheon of NFL wide receivers. It's a fun debate to have, and in my opinion, he's inching closer toward the biggest names in the game.
Theo Riddick was the biggest beneficiary of the Lions losing effort, gathering 15 targets. However, that was right in line with his 2015 season utilization. Riddick leads the NFL in running back targets and catches, seeing 36 passes and catching 30. The caveat here is that 55.5 percent of his targets came in the fourth quarter. But if Lions continue to be terrible, and there's no reason to think they won't, there's no reason he can't keep that up. He's currently the RB13 in PPR leagues, with some volatility in his weekly outputs. With little change in sight for the Lions' season outlook, Riddick should hold that role all season.
Travis Benjamin continues his heavy involvement in the Browns offense, following up two back-to-back 10 targets games with 12 on Sunday. I profiled Travis Benjamin in my weekly Reception Perception column last week, and came away completely convinced he's a legitimate ascending talent. The Browns have a good, starting-caliber NFL wide receiver on their hands for the first time since Josh Gordon. Benjamin showed us he has a safe floor to go along with an explosive ceiling.
Emmanuel Sanders represents the Broncos receivers in The Opportunity Report this week. Both he and Demaryius Thomas continue to hold massive shares of their offenses' receiving targets, with 30 and 33 percent respectively. It's hard to imagine what that offense would look like without just one of them in the fold.
Anquan Boldin came back from two straight games with under two fantasy points to post record his best game of the season. His 12 targets led the team, and he made several of his patented catches in traffic. Boldin is widely heralded as a safe draft pick every year because of his season-long floor, but in this offense he has a ton of weekly volatility to his game. Here in 2015, that range of outcomes looks wider than ever.
Jeremy Maclin continues to pace the Chiefs passing offense. He owns a 34 percent share of Kansas City's targets, and a 39.98 percent of the team's receiving yards. All that work is good for the WR8 spot in PPR leagues. While losing an elite player is a net negative for all members of the offense, Maclin could well have to shoulder more of the passing work with Jamaal Charles on the shelf for the remainder of the season. If you have Maclin right now, you're riding with him.
Tyler Eifert continues his breakout campaign, hauling in 66.7 percent of his 12 targets on Sunday. Despite a zero point outing in Week 3, Eifert is the TE2 in standard leagues and the top scoring tight end over all in PPR. He's had five red zone receptions this season, and has turned them into his five touchdowns. This is a massively talented player, who is the No. 2 option on his team. Eifert's big season isn't slowing down anytime soon.
Martellus Bennett saw 11 targets from Jay Cutler one week after the two hooked up for 11 catches against the Raiders in Week 4. Unfortunately, the results weren't nearly as fruitful this time around. Bennett only caight 36.4 percent of his targets and averaged 8.0 yards per catch. There will be better days ahead for Bennett, as the Chiefs' weakness on defense was their ability to defend wide receivers.
Dion Lewis continues his stranglehold on the Patriots feature back role. Through the first five weeks of the season, he ranks seventh in terms of percentage of the team's snaps played (68.1 percent) among running backs. He is a grinder in the run game, breaks tackles at an impressive rate, and is the best receiving back this team has had in the Brady era. Lewis is a top-10 running back in both PPR and standard leagues, despite already having his bye week. Let's hope you got off the "Belichick running back paranoia" a long time ago.
Willie Snead is the best wide receiver on the Saints, if you're just judging by this year's film. The former undrafted free agent from Ball State is the WR29 in PPR, just ahead of his highly touted teammate Brandin Cooks (WR30) despite playing 124 less snaps this season. Snead is a must-own in all formats, and while he may not lap Cooks in production this season, it'll be close. They produced at a near identical rate in Week 5. Time to adjust to a new reality.
Odell Beckham Jr. saw 11 targets despite missing some second half time with a hamstring injury. He had one of his "do whatever he wants" games, consistently beating whatever coverage the 49ers threw at him, and the Giants gave him 23 percent of the passing targets. That should be indicative of the game plan going forward. Beckham is still one of the game's best receivers.
1) Devonta Freeman, RB: 34 touches, 197 total yards, 1 TD
2) Todd Gurley, RB: 30 carries, 158 rushing yards
3) Arian Foster, RB: 28 touches, 118 total yards
4) Doug Martin, RB: 27 touches, 158 total yards, 3 TDs
5) DeMarco Murray, RB: 27 touches, 120 yards, 1 TD
6) Justin Forsett, RB: 25 touches, 170 yards, 1 TD
7) Thomas Rawls, RB: 23 carries, 169 rushing yards, 1 TD
8) Matt Forte, RB: 23 touches, 109 total yards, 1 TD
9) Frank Gore, RB: 22 carries, 98 yards, 1 TD
10) Carlos Hyde, RB: 22 touches, 97 total yards, 1 TD
Devonta Freeman continues to show why he has no intentions of giving up this starting running back job. Behind an improved offensive line, Freeman looks like the most improved player in the NFL between this year and last. He is the top ranked running back in fantasy regardless of format. More importantly, he's setting the tone for the Atlanta offense with some intense running, and breaking tackles with toughness. There's no fluke here, and Freeman is for real.
Todd Gurley checks in on The Opportunity Report for the second straight week. In this outing, he toted the ball a Week 5 leading 30 times. The Rams were behind in this game throughout, so it was quite encouraging that Gurley had a dynamic game despite seeing no work in the passing attack. If Jeff Fisher adopts a "run the ball no matter what" mentality, which would be right in line with his style, Gurley won't have nearly the amount of game script volatility we originally feared he would.
Arian Foster resumed his usual workload on Thursday night, including nine catches. He turned in a monster game in PPR, and a solid 11 points in standard leagues. As Foster continues to work back from a groin injury, and stabilizes the offense with him, he'll be back to every week RB1 status.
Doug Martin had the highest scoring game of any running back so far in Week 5. He turned in a three-touchdown game, and paced the team with 158 total yards. Sometimes, you just have to trust the talent, and it's coming to fruition with Martin. The veteran back was running extremely well through the first three games, and the Bucs finally fed him 20-plus touches regardless of game flow the last two games.
DeMarco Murray turned in his biggest game of the season with a stat line much more in line with what we saw from him in 2014. In watching that game, it's still hard not to see the general awkwardness that comes with him as a runner in this offense. However, he was steadily involved throughout the game, with a near even touch rate in each quarter. Murray did make some noise about needing more touches prior to this game, so there could be a "squeaky wheel gets the grease" phenomena at play here. Either way, Murray is undoubtedly the type of back that needs a volume of touches to get into a rhythm. Whether Chip Kelly continues to give him that is anyone's guess, but this was an encouraging game.
Justin Forsett looks like he's turning his season around with back-to-back 25-plus touch games in the last two weeks. This time out, he got in a little more work in the passing game, catching four balls for 49 yards. The Browns have one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, so this big day was no surprise. However, we like how things are trending with Forsett's usage.
Thomas Rawls, talk about a week too early. He was everyone's favorite sleeper last week, but turned 19 touches into 49 yards. In Week 5, he replaces Marshawn Lynch again, but to the tune of 23 carries for 169 and a score. Rawls is a talented and determined runner. He's one of the most valuable running back handcuffs in the NFL, especially given mounting concerns surrounding Lynch's health.
Frank Gore had a big grind-it-out game on Thursday night. As the Colts steady workhorse, he can have consistent value as a RB2. We've seen there's some volatility in his weekly production, but that looks less worrisome if you take away two red zone fumbles. There's no reason to be concerned about Gore right now. In fact, we should be excited that the offense hasn't even fired off on all cylinders yet and he is the RB15 in standard leagues.
Carlos Hyde finally saw another 20-plus touch game, and turned in a big fantasy day. We know the talent is there with Hyde, but that didn't stop him from being wiped out by game script and the ineffectiveness of his teammates in Weeks 2 through 4. Expect major waves in his production going forward. With the way he kept trying to run east and west Monday night, it looked like even Hyde knows what a burden he carries for this offense. When they play well, he'll be a massive asset in fantasy. Predicting when those days will come will prove a tiring chore.