There’s a saying in fantasy football that does something like this, “Talent doesn’t score fantasy points. Opportunity does.” Basically, NFL players need to see a consistent opportunity if they are going to gain yards or score TDs and fantasy points. One of the best ways to predict opportunity is by looking at past opportunity. With that in mind, the Week 2 Target Breakdown will be looking at the top 20 target leaders from the previous week and examining what their performances mean for the next week and the remainder of the season.
Week 1 was crazy with its target distribution, but Week 2 was much more predictable. Twelve of the twenty top 20 leaders are who you would call your “studs”. Some of these studs got back into the top 20 after disappointing Week 1’s and confidence is back to sky-high for those guys. The remaining 8 players are the opposite end of the spectrum and are unreliable target getters for the rest of the season
Week 2 Target Breakdown
|Position||Position Rank||Tgts||Recs||Ctch %||Yards||TDs|
|Dez Bryant||WR||WR 10||16||7||43.80%||59||1|
|Jarvis Landry||WR||WR 8||15||13||86.70%||78||0|
|Jason Witten||TE||TE 1||13||10||76.90%||97||1|
|Alshon Jeffery||WR||WR 7||13||7||53.80%||92||1|
|DeAndre Hopkins||WR||WR 18||13||7||53.80%||73||0|
|Marqise Lee||WR||WR 17||12||7||58.30%||76||0|
|Rashard Higgins||WR||WR 14||11||7||63.60%||95||0|
|Jaron Brown||WR||WR 31||11||4||36.40%||73||0|
|Antonio Brown||WR||WR 32||11||5||45.50%||62||0|
|Martellus Bennett||TE||TE 17||11||5||45.50%||47||0|
|Travis Kelce||TE||TE 2||10||8||80.00%||103||1|
|Keenan Allen||WR||WR 9||10||9||90.00%||100||0|
|Davante Adams||WR||WR 3||10||8||80.00%||99||1|
|Zach Ertz||TE||TE 10||10||5||50.00%||97||0|
|Kendall Wright||WR||WR 19||10||7||70.00%||69||0|
|Rob Gronkowski||TE||TE 3||9||6||66.70%||116||1|
|Julio Jones||WR||WR 15||9||5||55.60%||108||0|
|Mike Evans||WR||WR 6||9||7||77.80%||93||1|
|DeVante Parker||WR||WR 27||9||4||44.40%||85||0|
Dez Bryant – The Dallas Cowboys’ #1 WR is one of multiple star WRs making their first appearances on this weekly list. Bryant is 2nd in the NFL in targets with 25, but just 35th in receptions with 9. His 36% Catch rate ranks 3rd from last among NFL players with 10+ targets. Bryant has been extremely inefficient early in this season, but there may be a reasonable explanation. Dez’s struggles against the top corners in the NFL has been well documented and through two weeks he has faced up against Janoris Jenkins and the combo of Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. Things don’t get better from here on out. Dez will face a murderer’s row of elite DBs from Patrick Peterson to Josh Norman (x2) to Marcus Peters to Desmond Trufant to Jason Verrett/Casey Hayward to Jenkins and Richard Sherman. Do everything you can to sell Dez coming off of this 16 target, 1 TD game otherwise you are probably looking at WR 25 production for 2017.
Jarvis Landry – Oh hey there Jarvis Landry. Nice game rushing the ball! Oh wait, your 13/78 was receptions and yards, not rushes? That’s so inefficient that only 6 games of 13+ receptions and < 80 receiving yards have ever been recorded. It’s disappointing to see a WR in the NFL used this way in 2017, but it is great for PPR leagues (it’s also the best possible example of PPR’s flaws). Jarvis Landry will finish the 2017 season as a top 15 PPR WR, but a low-end WR 2 in standard leagues.
Jason Witten – Well, no one was anticipating a combined 29 targets for Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, but when Dak Prescott throws 50 passes crazy things happen. The key was the 77% Catch Rate which is one of Witten’s key selling points. He gets the job done at around TE 10 most weeks, but when crazy stuff happens like Week 2 at the Broncos he has enough TD upside to be worthy of a start.
Alshon Jeffery – This is the type of performance we expected from Alshon Jeffery when he signed with Philadelphia, not 3 catches for 38 yards. Alshon Jeffery’s season-long outlook is actually quite similar to Dez Bryant, but as one of two options on a pass happy team, he’s a top 20 WR as opposed to WR 25 production. Carson Wentz is on pace for 680 pass attempts and Alshon Jeffery is in line to see 20+% of that.
DeAndre Hopkins – Everything that went here for Hopkins in Week 1 could be copy-and-pasted here for Week 2. Hopkins continued his low Catch % (53.8%) and low Yards/Reception (10.4). Nuk will remain a WR 3 for season-long fantasy and he should be falling in dynasty value.
Marquise Lee – In the first post-Allen Robinson injury week, Lee got 12 targets which led to 7 catches and 76 yards. Through two weeks Lee has 1 more snap than Allen Hurns but played 1 less in Week 2. The playing time is going to be very similar between these two and it’s going to a matchup-based play each week. Except in Week 3, the Jags play the Baltimore Ravens who look like a top 5 defense in the NFL. Anytime the Jags play a good defense, Blake Bortles is going to be bad and Lee and Hurns will cannibalize each other’s targets.
Besides being against the Ravens, this Week 3 game is in London. That means it’s going to be an ugly slugfest with lots of field goals and few TDs, which means don’t play any Jags except for maybe Leonard Fournette.
Rashard Higgins – Rashard Higgins was the surprise of this week. His production was set up by Corey Coleman’s broken hand and Kenny Britt’s apparent lack of caring. Higgins is a very good route runner and that might be what DeShone Kizer needs. Kizer just chucks the ball downfield and if Higgins gains his trust, he could get open on and catch some deep passes. Either way, this isn’t necessarily predictive or repeatable for Higgins long term. He’ll be the definition of boom-or-bust, with a 0 floor or okay 7/95 ceiling.
Jaron Brown – Last week was JJ Nelson’s time to shine and this week it was Jaron Brown with JJ Nelson out. However, some were touting Nelson based off of his Week 1 performance. That never really made sense with Jaron playing 55 snaps in Week 1 vs Nelson’s 30. Brown was objectively not good, 4 catches on 11 targets (36.4%) for 74 yards, but this is the post-David Johnson world for the Cardinals. The run game is almost non-existent and the Cardinals are going to have thrown the ball around a lot to stay in games. Brown makes a decent pickup, but don’t bank on consistent production.
Antonio Brown – Another week, another Antonio Brown appeared on the top 20 target list. This week Brown was the week’s WR 32 as opposed to WR 1 in Week 1. Safe to say, I’m not worried whatsoever about a 5/62 stat line from Brown.
Martellus Bennett – Martellus Bennett takes home the ugly stat line of the week award. Despite seeing 11 targets, Bennett caught 5 passes (45%) for a mere 47 yards. The Packers play the Bengals, who have had 10 days to prepare, on Sunday and they have allowed combined 14 yards to TEs through games against the Ravens and Texans. TE 17 is a realistic expectation for Bennett in Week 3, but that’s not something you want to roster in fantasy.
Travis Kelce – Travis Kelce balled out against the Eagles, catching 8 of 10 targets for 103 yards and a TD. The Chiefs have been using Kelce is great ways by lining him up in the slot as well as doing shovel passes to him. Many people had Kelce ranked as TE 1 in the preseason and he has rewarded that trust so far in 2017.
Keenan Allen – If it was fun to see Keenan Allen play last week, it was a party to see him finish with 9 catches for 100 yards and a WR 9 finish. The Chargers play a decent CB schedule rest of the way and as long as he and Philip Rivers stay healthy he’ll be a strong WR 1 in PPR leagues.
Davante Adams – Last week it was Randall Cobb stepping and this week it was Davante Adams once Jordy Nelson left with a quad injury. This game really cemented Davante Adams as the WR 2 in Green Bay. He played 71 snaps vs Geronimo Allison’s 61 and Cobb’s 54. If Jordy misses time, and if he doesn’t, Adams will continue to play like a top 15 WR.
Zach Ertz – Ertz has been the best TE in the NFL through this early 2017 season. His 13 catches for 190 yards put him on pace for 104 receptions and 1,520 yards. I’m willing to bet those numbers don’t continue, but Ertz has a legitimate chance to lead TEs in catches and yards.
Michael Thomas – Here comes Michael Thomas continuing his strong performance from his rookie season. He got shut down by Xavier Rhodes in Week 1, but the Patriots couldn’t contain him. After seeing 10 targets this week, Thomas looks primed to continue being a target and TD monster for New Orleans.
Kendall Wright – Kendall Wright is the Bears’ WR 1. That’s not good for the Bears, but we can work with that in fantasy. Wright saw 10 targets and the Bears were down quite a bit against Tampa Bay and chasing points. That’s the recipe for Wright’s relative success. He’s not a downfield WR, but if he gets peppered with targets he’ll maintain a WR 3 type season.
Rob Gronkowski – After being shut down by the Chiefs in Week 1, Gronk came back in full force against the Saints. However, his 6/116/1 came with a price. Gronk landed awkwardly and left the game with a ‘groin’ injury. Good news has come through. As of Wednesday Gronkowski has returned to Patriots practice and looks like he’ll be good to go against the Texans.
Julio Jones – Just like Dez Bryant Julio makes his first appearance on the top 20 target list. This week’s 9 targets for 5 catches and 108 yards is much better than 5 catches for 66 yards in Week 1. The Atlanta Falcons looks great under Steve Sarkisian and that offense, and by extension Julio, is going to keep on cooking and scoring lots of fantasy and real life points.
Mike Evans – In his first games of the season, Mike Evans and Jameis Winston looked great against Chicago. Seven catches for 93 yards and a fade route TD in the end-zone is going to be a typical Mike Evans game this season. Fire him up as your WR 1 on most fantasy teams with absolute confidence.
DeVante Parker – This was the Dolphins first game of the season and it might have cleared up a few questions we had about their WR core. Landry (see above) had a terrible real-life type game, but it was awesome for fantasy. Parker had a better real-life game but was much worse in fantasy. As long as Jarvis Landry is on the Dolphins, his presence will cap Parker’s target upside, but with his downfield ability, Parker can still post 5 for 100 games a couple of times. Parker is going to be really up-and-down this season, with a chance to be a top 25 WR this season.