Welcome to the first of many weekly installments of The Fantasy Authority’s Target Analysis with yours truly. Week 1 is officially in the books and like myself, you’re probably overreacting to a (high) degree. Jamison Crowder is on pace for over 250 targets, Mike Evans isn’t going to catch more than 40 balls this year, and Larry Fitzgerald appears to be ageless once again. Before you pull the trigger on a knee-jerk trade request, let’s take a deep dive (and a deep breath) into the week one target analysis. Like I’ve mentioned before, fantasy football isn’t just about having the most talented players on the field – it’s about their opportunity share. Let’s break it down, starting by looking at the top 25 players who garnered the most targets this weekend, per PFF data:
|Allen Robinson II||CHI||WR||13||7||102||0|
|Odell Beckham Jr.||CLV||WR||11||7||71||0|
No surprise to see the familiar faces of DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Thomas, Odell Beckham, and Julio Jones atop this list. Let’s highlight a few notable performances outside of the household names – the optimistic, the flukes, and the causes for concern. All Target Share, Air Yards, and snap share data is from AirYards.com, with Snap Share data being from Football Outsiders, and aDOT data coming from PFF unless otherwise noted.
Jamison Crowder (NYJ): 15 targets, 14 rec, 99 yards
- Crowder was peppered in week 1 by Sam Darnold, operating as his security blanket. Crowder took down 40% of all of Darnold’s targets. He posted a mere 2.07 aDOT (average depth of target) against the Bills as Darnold was under duress all afternoon. The Jets had the 27th best Pass Blocking grade in week 1 per PFF. The O-Line should continue to struggle, even against less stingy defenses. Combine that with the absence of tight end Chris Herndon for another 3 weeks, and you’re getting a consistent 12+ weekly target upside with Crowder going forward.
John Ross (CIN): 12 targets, 7 rec, 158 yards, 2 TDs
- A.J who? Alright, that’s out of line, but boy did John Ross have himself a day. Filling in as the #2 WR opposite Tyler Boyd, Ross was able to consistently get behind Seattle’s safeties with his breakaway speed and was on the field for 82% of Cincy’s snaps. The former top-ten NFL Draft pick looks primed to take advantage of his new role in Zac Taylor’s McVay-like offense. I’m buying Ross’ upside, albeit volatile, at least until Green returns.
Allen Robinson (CHI): 13 targets, 7 rec, 102 yards
- If you managed to stay awake during the NFL opener last Thursday Night, you might have been yelling at your TV (Mitch Trubisky, mostly) like me, because it seemed like Allen Robinson should have had at least 200 yards receiving. He could very well have, as he posted the 6th most air yards in week one (153). His aDOT was 14.08 yards on 13 targets, best among pass-catchers with at least 10. Look for Trubisky to (attempt to) get his WR1 the ball downfield often. Robinson is a matchup-proof, volume heavy WR2 going forward, with top-ten upside.
Donte Moncrief (PIT): 10 targets, 3 rec, 7 yards
- So who’s going to fill the Steelers vacated WR2 job? One of the most highly debated topics during training camp came to fruition on Sunday night. The answer, abysmal performance aside, was Donte Moncrief. Moncrief out-snapped preseason hype machine James Washington 62 to 36, with a target share of over 20%. He remains a buy-low candidate for me, as the opportunity will remain and the talent will follow suit against non-Patriot opponents.
KeeSean Johnson (ARZ): 10 targets, 5 rec, 46 yards
- The Air Raid offense made it’s NFL debut on Sunday, and it didn’t disappoint – at least for a couple of quarters. The Cardinals’ 6th round pick from Fresno State garnered an impressive 10 targets in a tie, but this should be taken with a grain of salt. Arizona led the league in passing attempts with 54 and had an entire extra quarter of play in OT. KeeSean will continue to see his share in the most pass-happy offense in the league, but I’m not buying any consistent production, especially in Kingsbury’s 5-wide sets.
Chris Thompson (WAS): 8 targets, 7 rec, 68 yards
- With news this morning indicating that Redskins lead back Derrius Guice is set to miss time due to injury, the arrow continues to point up for Chris Thompson. Thompson managed a 64% snap share, 23% target share, and hauled in all but 1 target from Case Keenum. Don’t worry about Adrian Peterson garnering too many touches in Guice’s absence. With Washington not favored in many games this season, take advantage of the positive game-scripts for Thompson, a viable flex option moving forward.
Terry McLaurin (WAS): 7 targets, 5 rec, 125 yards, 1 TD
- Sure to be one of the hottest waiver wire adds this week, Terry McLaurin put on a show for the Redskins on Sunday. Posting an absurd 19.71 aDOT, McLaurin was flat out electric. He was on the field for 93% of Washington’s offensive snaps opposite Trey Quinn and seems to be the favorite WR of Case Keenum. Similarly, with Chris Thompson, McLaurin’s positive game-scripts, snap % and deep threat ability should make him the go-to waiver wire add of the week, with flex appeal from week to week.
Chris Carson (SEA): 7 targets, 6 catches, 35 yards, 1 TD
- We all laughed when the Seahawks claimed they wanted Chris Carson to catch upwards of 30 balls this year. Who’s laughing now? Carson caught 6 of 7 balls thrown his way, turning one into pay-dirt. He also led the team in target share, besting Tyler Lockett & DK Metcalf in the process. Carson is looking to be a draft-day steal, as he cements himself as the all-purpose, dual-threat workhorse in Seattle. He can crack the top-ten if he stays healthy.
- Oh, how I’ve missed you, New England backfield ambiguity. James White & Rex Burkhead had almost identical snap shares on Sunday night and posted eerily similar lines through the air as well. A majority of Burkhead’s snaps came when the game was out of reach, but the rest of the New England starting offense remained in the game, so I’m not buying that he’s a “backup” just yet. White is touted as the Patriot pass-catching phenom, but Burkhead was just as productive and had double the carries on the ground. Burkhead should be rostered in all leagues, and White is a sell-high(ish) candidate for me in what looks to be another year of confusion in the New England backfield.
Mike Evans (TB): 5 targets, 2 rec. 28 yards
- Don’t panic, Evans was out sick on Friday and questionable to go Sunday. I’m writing this one off as a mulligan. If you can convince the Evans owner in your league to jump ship, pull the trigger immediately.
Mike Williams (LAC): 2 targets, 2 rec, 29 yards
- This could be a minor cause for concern. Williams was a breakout candidate after an impressive sophomore campaign in 2018 but got off to a rocky start on Sunday. The issue could be the Chargers’ pass-blocking, as they ranked 25th in that category against the Colts, per PFF. With Rivers’ having less time to let Williams and his big-play ability start to develop down the field, it might be time to temper expectations just a tad.
Tyler Lockett (SEA): 2 targets, 1 rec, 44 yards, 1 TD
- Another minor worry with a highly touted breakout candidate. We all know Seattle wants to run the ball, but with Doug Baldwin gone, Lockett was going to be the one to step in and command the lion’s share of targets, right? That was before Chris Carson evolved into Marshall Faulk. DK Metcalf also drew 6 targets in his rookie debut opposite Lockett. I’m not pressing eject just yet, but we could be looking at another highly efficient year (see 44 yard TD) with a low target volume for Lockett.