Welcome back football fans! Week one is in the books, and man, was it crazy. There was the dreadful performance from the Detroit Lions and the surprising Tampa Bay Buccaneers rout of the New Orleans Saints, and everything in between. Throughout the weekend a few different receivers made headlines. One thing most fantasy analysts continually tout is opportunity. Follow the opportunity, and the fantasy points are bound to show up. So which wide receivers had the most targets this week? Let’s find out.
Julio Jones (18 targets)
Julio led the league with 18 total targets, which he turned into ten catches for 169 yards and no touchdowns. While fantasy players are probably upset that Julio is still struggling in the red zone, don’t fret. Julio managed 16.9 yards per reception, which is more than enough to keep him as one of your leading receivers. Jones was also able to reel in three deep passes (over 20 yards) and posted 3.76 yards per route run, which made him one of the most efficient receivers this past week. Keep your head up Julio fans, as the Falcons face the Carolina Panthers next week. The Panthers return three cornerbacks this year, all of whom were awarded a 62 or less on the PFF Defensive grades in 2017. Although CB James Bradberry has shown some improvement, look for Julio to dominate in Week 2.
Michael Thomas (17 targets)
Michael Thomas had a monstrous day for fantasy teams on Sunday, reeling 16 of his 17 targets for 180 yards and a touchdown. His accuracy played a big part, as he only had one drop that kept him from a perfect completion percentage on the day. Thomas will be facing off against Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Terrance Mitchell, and rookie Denzel Ward of the Cleveland Browns this weekend. These backs have stepped up their game this season and look to challenge Thomas. Watch for Thomas to line up in the slot, where he caught 10 of 11 targets this past week. If the 5’9″ Boddy-Calhoun continues covering the slot, Thomas will exploit that matchup with his 6’3″ frame.
Antonio Brown (16 targets)
AB was back in full-force despite the rainfall in Cleveland this past Sunday. Brown brought in nine catches for 93 yards and one touchdown. Most fantasy owners have higher expectations for the number one wide receiver, but this wasn’t his fault. Big Ben threw three interceptions and had a dismal 60.5 NFL Passer Rating. This disappointing performance could be attributed to the weather, or the Steelers tendency to underperform in afternoon away games. Either way, Antonio Brown has a dream matchup this week against the Kansas City Chiefs, who have been near the bottom of everyone’s defensive rankings. Don’t be surprised if AB puts up record numbers in week 2, especially if Le’Veon Bell continues his holdout.
Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr (14 targets)
The best friends out of LSU tied for fourth in targets this week at 14 apiece. Landry and the Browns tried to mount a comeback against the Pittsburgh Steelers thanks to his 106-yard day, but they weren’t quite able to finish it and the game ended in a tie. The Browns draw the New Orleans Saints next week, who just gave up 48 points to Tampa Bay in Week 1. It will be interesting to see if they bounce back, but expect Jarvis to come out determined to get the Browns first win of the season.
OBJ turned his 14 targets into 11 receptions for 111 yards and even caught three passes out of the slot. Manning and the offensive line struggled, as Ereck Flowers spent most of the day on his back. This could’ve been a contributing factor to OBJ’s stat line. The Giants take on the Dallas Cowboys next week, and that whole game will probably be a dumpster fire. Expect OBJ to be the only excitement in that one.
Corey Davis (13 targets)
Corey Davis is a surprising name to see on this list, as he wasn’t very productive with his 13 targets. Davis only caught six passes for 62 yards and no touchdowns. In his defense, most of his other targets weren’t catchable. Marcus Mariota is now dealing with an elbow injury, the extent of which is unknown at the moment. With Delanie Walker hitting IR after sustaining a dislocated ankle and lower leg fracture, Davis stands to gain more targets, but Mariota hasn’t been especially impressive in a long time. If Mariota doesn’t start, Blaine Gabbert would become the QB1, making Davis and all other Titans pass catchers stock go down.
Adam Thielen (12 targets)
Adam Thielen picked up right where he left off last season, catching six passes for 102 yards and no touchdowns last week against the San Francisco 49ers. Thielen picked up 36% of all the passing targets, which is impressive considering the Vikings also have weapons in Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph. It will be interesting to see if Thielen keeps up his domination of the target share, especially when facing the Green Bay Packers this coming week. Thielen had a monstrous 17 yards per reception and averaged 8.2 yards after the catch in Week 1. If Thielen can improve his catch percentage and keep up his target share, expect him to be one of the league’s most prolific receivers.
Kenny Golladay, Golden Tate, Keenan Allen, DeAndre Hopkins, and Emmanuel Sanders (11 targets)
All of these studs amassed 11 targets. The question is, who produced the most with them? Tate, Allen, and Manny Sanders all reached the end zone, and Sanders led the group with 135 receiving yards to boot. Golladay led the group with an average of 13.5 yards per catch and an average of seven yards after the catch. Manny Sanders also led the group with catches, securing 10 of his 11 targets.
There has been significant buzz this offseason about the rapport between new Broncos QB Case Keenum and prolific slot receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders caught all four of his slot targets this week, a connection that proved to live up to the hype. The entire Broncos offense will see a rise in stock this week as they take on the Oakland Raiders.
Seeing Golladay and Tate on this list was a bit surprising as well, given their struggle against the Jets on Monday night. Stafford was not good, throwing four interceptions. Hopefully, the Lions can get their offense together before heading to San Francisco for Week two.
Larry Fitzgerald, Demaryius Thomas, Nelson Agholor, Randall Cobb, and TY Hilton (10 targets)
Another big tie here with all of the above receivers notching ten targets each. Cobb led the pack, catching nine of his targets, while TY Hilton did the least with his opportunity, only catching five passes. Cobb led the group with 142 yards and one touchdown, while none of the others amassed more than 76 yards. DT, Cobb, and Hilton all found paydirt in the end zone.
Many people will be surprised to find that Davante Adams was out-targeted by Randall Cobb. Adams has been touted all offseason as the number one guy in Green Bay, so keep your eyes on this receiver battle. Third receiver Geronimo Allison also played a big role in the Green Bay’s comeback win. The Packers face a tough challenge next week as they match up with the tremendous Minnesota Viking defense.
The challenge in Week 2 also falls to Larry Fitzgerald, as he draws the Los Angeles Rams and their loaded defense. The Cardinals were abysmal on Saturday and will need to step it up big time if they want to give the Rams any sort of challenge.
TY Hilton was largely ineffective, catching only five of his ten targets. His touchdown saved fantasy GMs from an otherwise disappointing performance, with TY only amassing 46 yards and a horrendous .82 yards per route run. With not much of a run game either, the Colts may be in trouble when they head to Washington this week.
Quincy Enunwa & Ryan Grant (9 targets)
Enunwa was a great play in PPR leagues against the Lions on Monday night. He brought in six of his nine targets for 63 yards and a touchdown. Enunwa posted an impressive average of 6.2 yards after the catch and 3.15 yards per route run. With Darnold at QB, Enunwa stands to gain a lot of value this year. Most fantasy players drafted Robby Anderson or Jermaine Kearse, who missed Monday’s game with an abdomen injury, ahead of Enunwa. If he’s available in your league, get on the waiver wire now, especially if Kearse continues to miss time.
Ryan Grant was extremely reliable, catching eight of his nine targets from QB Andrew Luck. He faces some of the same issues as his counterpart TY Hilton, though, in their inability to get anything going downfield. Grant was only able to get 59 yards off of his eight catches. His performance wasn’t spectacular, but his volume was encouraging to see for those who have him rostered in deep leagues.
Honorable Mention: Jared Cook (12 targets)
This article focuses mostly on wide receivers, but it is important to mention that Jared Cook led all tight ends with 12 targets in Week 1. Cook turned this into nine receptions for 180 yards and was a bright spot in an otherwise unimpressive Raiders debut. Cook has a habit of being a boom or bust type player, so keep an eye out to see if he is able to become a stable contributor to Oakland’s offense.
That’s all for this week. Keep an eye out for Target Hogs next week! If you want to read the preview edition from last week, click here. Also, check out the other weekly content from The Fantasy Authority.
As always, hit me up on Twitter (@katiebabs23) if you have any questions or comments.