Welcome back to Target Hogs! Holy cow, this week was a doozy. Some very unexpected players are showing up leading the league in targets this week. Let’s see how everything shook out.
- Adam Thielen (19 targets)
Thielen last week: #4
Thielen led the league this week in targets and was able to convert them into 14 catches for 105 yards. The Vikings shocked everyone this week when they were unable to get anything going versus the Buffalo Bills. The Vikings didn’t even get past midfield until the second half, so the fact that Thielen was able to have the game that he did. Take note of the disparity between Thielen and the rest of the list, as he got eight more targets than any other receiver in the league. That type of consistent volume will eventually make way for Thielen to have a monster day at some point.
Look for the Vikings to bounce back against the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday Night Football. Although the Rams promise a tough matchup, the Vikings should be back from the Twilight Zone to produce more of their normal numbers this week.
2-5. Robert Woods, Mike Evans, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Jarvis Landry (11 targets)
Woods last week: Not on list
Evans last week: #6
Smith-Schuster last week: #1
Landry last week: Not on list
Robert Woods had a career day against the Los Angeles Chargers, racking up 10 catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns. Woods also worked out of the slot, catching five of his six targets there. Even with his recent production, Woods will have a questionable matchup against a talented Minnesota Vikings defense on Thursday night.
Mike Evans had a monster game Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. His massive 22.8 yards per catch was easily the highest average yards per catch this week. Evans was efficient, posting 3.04 yards per route run. With his six catches, Evans was able to post 137 yards and one touchdown in the Bucs’ narrow loss to the Steelers.
JuJu Smith Schuster is near the top of the list once again this week. The absence of Le’Veon Bell and the abnormal play of Antonio Brown has allowed Smith-Schuster to climb up the ranks as one of Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite targets. Without Bell in the picture, JuJu averages nine receptions and more than 120 yards. Bell’s absence so far this season has catapulted JuJu’s usage, with Monday night’s game against Tampa Bay as a perfect example. JuJu caught nine of 11 targets for 116 yards. JuJu has been working mostly out of the slot and averaged 12.9 yards per catch in week 3. The Steelers take on the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Night Football in Week 4.
Jarvis Landry benefitted greatly from the Cleveland Browns’ change in quarterback this week, as did most of the Browns’ skill players. With rookie Baker Mayfield at the helm, the Browns looked like a real competitor for the first time in years. Landry had a season-high eight catches, which he converted into 103 yards in Cleveland’s first *real* win of the season. Look for Jarvis to eat against the struggling Oakland Raiders in week 4.
6-10. O’Dell Beckham Jr., Randall Cobb, Michael Crabtree, Antonio Callaway, Michael Thomas (10 targets)
OBJ last week: not on list
Cobb last week: not on list
Crabtree last week: #13
Callaway last week: not on list
Thomas last week: #4
Beckham Jr. was incredibly elusive this week, recording 4 avoided tackles, a league-high among receivers. It’s no secret that the Giants have been struggling with their offense, but they did enough in week 3 to get their first win over the Houston Texans. OBJ contributed 103 yards on nine catches, as well as posting 3.3 yards per route run. The Giants take on the New Orleans Saints in week 4, who have struggled on the defensive side of the ball.
Randall Cobb has made the list despite very little production. Even with 10 targets, Cobb was only able to haul in four catches for 23 yards. Cobb is getting the targets necessary to produce, but for some reason hasn’t been able to do much with them. Of course, no one for Green Bay could get much going on Sunday, so it isn’t only Cobb’s fault here. The Packers have a great bounce-back matchup against the Buffalo Bills this week, so this will be the real test of Cobb’s ability to turn opportunity into production.
Michael Crabtree makes the list again with seven catches for 61 yards. While Crabtree averaged a decent 8.7 yards per reception, he was only able to average .6 yards after the catch. If Crabtree can work on his elusiveness, his production would make a considerable jump. The Ravens have a great matchup against the Steelers’ defense this week, who have allowed the third most points scored this season. Expect a shootout when they meet on Sunday Night Football.
Antonio Callaway was a surprising name on this list because, like Cobb, Callaway wasn’t actually able to do much with his 10 targets. Callaway caught four passes for only twenty yards. The target count is encouraging, and if he’s able to convert those into more production in week four against the Raiders, he’s worth a stash in most leagues.
Michael Thomas is on pace for a recording breaking season, opening the year with 38 catches through three games. Thomas caught all ten of his targets in week three for 129 yards. If Thomas keeps up his production, he’ll have a record-breaking year. MT is a “set and forget” every week. Expect another huge week for Thomas as he goes up against the New York Giants on Sunday.
11-16. Will Fuller IV, Taylor Gabriel, DeAndre Hopkins, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, TY Hilton (9 targets)
Fuller last week: not on list
Gabriel last week: not on list
Hopkins last week: #9
Godwin last week: not on list
Brown last week: #2
Hilton last week: #13
Will Fuller caught five passes for 101 yards and one touchdown last week, despite being a part of one of the worst offenses in the league. Fuller’s production through the last two games has been surprisingly high, as he’s had his second straight game over 100 yards receiving. The Texans take on the Indianapolis Colts this week, which should be a good matchup for them.
Taylor Gabriel is a surprise on this list, although Julio hasn’t made the list the last two weeks. Gabriel brought in six catches for 34 yards. There wasn’t really anything special about his performance in the week 3 loss to the New Orleans Saints. The Falcons take on the Cincinnati Bengals this week, where it will be interesting to see if Julio regains the majority target share.
DeAndre Hopkins returns on the list this week after securing six catches for 86 yards. Hopkins caught both of his deep targets, which saved his fantasy day from being abysmal. The Houston Texans have a lot of work to do in an offense that has the tools to succeed but can’t find its way.
Antonio Brown had another subpar game, catching six passes for only 50 yards and one touchdown. While AB’s production hasn’t been up to his normal standard, JuJu Smith-Schuster is picking up a bit of the slack, while Vance McDonald also had a huge game for the Steelers on Monday night. Brown is bound to return to his position as one of the top receivers in the NFL, so don’t let this little skid deter you.
TY Hilton caught five passes for fifty yards and no touchdowns in week three against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Colts’ have been rough to watch on offense, and the absence of Andrew Luck on the final hail-mary play was telling. Don’t expect TY to be going for many deep passes this season, as Luck’s strength is clearly lacking. The Colts take on the Texans this week, which is a game I’ll be avoiding watching. Both of these teams are struggling and these fans are in for some ugly football this weekend.
Honorable mentions: Alvin Kamara (19 targets) and Eric Ebron (11 targets)
Alvin Kamara is one of the leading receivers in the NFL… as a running back. Let that sink in for a minute. Kamara’s usage is unlike anything we’ve seen before, as he leads the Saints in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, and is second on the team in receiving yards and catches. This past week, Kamara hauled in 15 catches for 124 receiving yards on top of his 66 rushing yards. The Saints have a promising trio in Kamara, Drew Brees, and Michael Thomas. The Saints have got to be ecstatic to be facing the Oakland Raiders this week.
Eric Ebron, tight end for the Indianapolis Colts, came in with 11 targets. Granted, most of them came in the form of check-downs near the end of the game, but alas. Ebron caught five of his targets for 33 yards. The absence of Jack Doyle (hip injury) allowed Ebron to see more targets. If Doyle returns for week 4, expect Ebron to disappear from the Indianapolis offense.
Thanks for reading! As always, hit me up on twitter (@katiebabs23) if you have any questions or comments.
Check out last week’s edition of Target Hogs here.