Welcome back to our Target Analysis column! We’re now two weeks into the NFL season, and I’ve fully exhaled from my week one overreactions. Okay maybe a few more, but we’ll get to that in a bit. As Bill Belichick would say, “we’re on to week two.” After prematurely sounding the alarm on a few wideouts last week (I see you, Tyler Lockett) and making excuses for others (Mike Evans, where you at??), we can now get a better gauge on fact vs. fiction. Having two full weeks of data allows us to identify trends & ultimately capitalize on them. Let’s see how the week two target analysis panned out.
We’re also moving to a slightly different format as I’ll only be reviewing the WRs and TEs – Nate Henry has you covered with his RB analysis piece. Okay, enough chatter, let’s jump into the top 20 target leaders from week two below, per PFF. As always, all aDOT, snap share, target share and air yards data are from our friends at AirYards.com.
|Odell Beckham Jr.||CLV||WR||9||6||161||1|
Sammy Watkins (KC): 12 targets, 6 rec, 49 yards
- After an absolute monster performance in the opener, Watkins ultimately came down to Earth in week 2 – or so it seems. Despite a pedestrian 6/49 line, he continued his opportunity-share dominance. He paced the Chiefs in targets & posted a top 12 target share of 30%, finishing among the top 15 WRs in air yards across the league. Watkins was due for minor regression after week 1, so buy this pint-sized dip if you can. Demarcus Robinson & Mecole Hardman are a capable tandem to keep Patrick Mahomes occupied, but Watkins is still the clear WR1 in the league’s most vertical offense while Tyreek Hill is sidelined.
Tyler Lockett (SEA): 12 targets, 10 rec, 79 yards
- The preseason hype darling is back! After salvaging his parched target day last Sunday with a long ball from Russell Wilson, Lockett lived up to lofty expectations this week. He was targeted 12 times, most of any Seahawk on the day, and posted a 34% target share, good for 5th in the league. Just one blemish; his aDOT was a measly 6.8 yards. After a low volume day rescued with a deep score, followed up by a high volume, low air yards game, we can hope that Lockett finds his yin & yang for week 3 and beyond.
Marquise Brown (BAL): 12 targets, 8 rec, 86 yards
- Hollywood seems to be destined for the bright lights. Much like Lockett, Brown was able to make something out of presumably nothing last week. He played on 18% of snaps in week 1. That number jumped all the way up to 65% on Sunday. Brown was recovering from Lisfranc surgery for much of the offseason, meaning his snap share is likely to continue to increase weekly as his familiarity with the offense increases. He had the 8th most air yards of any WR in week 2, and a top 4 target share of 35%, only behind stalwarts Keenan Allen, Michael Thomas, & Chris Godwin. What was that narrative about rookie WRs struggling again?
Tyler Boyd (CIN): 10 targets, 10 rec, 122 yards
- Mr. Consistent. It would not surprise me to see Tyler Boyd lead the league in targets this year. Andy Dalton currently ranks only behind Patrick Mahomes in total passing yards through two weeks, and the Bengals are 30th in defensive DVOA. Zac Taylor will continue to showcase his creative play calling in positive game scripts for Boyd & company. John Ross’ breakout September should only escalate Boyd’s dominance. On the field for 79% of snaps for two straight weeks, and already 10th in PPR fantasy points on the year, Boyd will continue to get his. He’s worthy of a low-end WR1 start moving forward.
Mark Andrews (BAL): 10 targets, 8 rec, 112 yards, 1 TD
- Remember when we all thought that Baltimore was going to trot out some version of the wing-T this offseason and run the ball 500 times? Me too. Two Ravens’ pass-catchers make the list this week, as Mark Andrews continues his second-year breakout campaign. Over the first two weeks, Andrews trails only Zach Ertz, Evan Engram, and Greg Olsen in targets. Andrews also leads all TEs in yards, target share, and PPR fantasy points. He’s only been on the field 42% & 53% of the snaps through two weeks, but he’s quickly becoming the next great upper echelon fantasy TE and Lamar Jackson’s best friend. I have him as a top 5 play for the rest of the year.
Terry McLaurin (WAS): 9 targets, 5 rec, 62 yards, 1 TD
- Scary Terry is back! Remind me again where the “Rookie WRs struggle out of the gate” truthers are? They may have been right in the past, but 2019 is different. McLaurin continues to shine in Washington, amassing another 9 targets and hitting pay dirt once again. Per Scott Barrett of PFF, McLaurin only trailed Keenan Allen in Expected Fantasy Points for week 2, with 23.1.
Chris Godwin (TB): 9 targets, 8 rec, 121 yards, 1 TD
- Another preseason darling, Godwin delivered a monster night against Carolina on Thursday. He may have supplanted Mike Evans, who we’ll get to in a minute, as the WR1 in Bruce Arians’ offense. Here’s a fun nugget: Godwin has only two more targets on the season than Evans, yet has 5 more catches, 81 more yards, and 2 TDs to Evans’ goose egg. Cause for concern? Definitely not for Godwin….
Mike Evans (TB): 8 targets, 4 rec, 61 yards
- Here is where the concern may lie. Look, I understand he’s a top receiving talent in an offense that should be putting points on the board. Keyword: should. Jameis Winston seems to have locked in on Godwin after two weeks, and the defense is playing above expectations. Is there room for two WR1’s on this team? The bright spots remain Evans’ targets, just two below Godwin on the season, and his 234 air yards. How much longer are you willing to give him? If he blows the top off this week, sell high.
John Brown (BUF): 8 targets, 7 rec, 72 yards
- Per PFF, out of QBs with at least 50 attempts on the season so far, Josh Allen ranks 4th in the league in terms of Adjusted Completion Percentage. So much for his inaccuracy issues – at least thus far (I told you there could be an overreaction). Combine Allen’s accuracy improvement with his rocket arm & deep ball prowess, and you have the perfect QB for John Brown. Currently top 10 in air yards and sporting a 27% target share on the year, Brown should be locked into lineups as an every-week flex play, with WR2 upside on the year. Look out for the Bills as one of the league’s dark horse teams, especially if the Allen to Brown connection continues to thrive.
Deebo Samuel (SF): 6 targets, 5 rec, 85 yards, 1 TD
- What happened to Dante Pettis? Another industry darling bites the dust as Kyle Shanahan appears uninterested in making Pettis a part of his Niners offensive scheme. Or, Deebo Samuel has simply beaten him to the punch. The rookie has been electric thus far in Shanahan’s system, playing the most snaps of any 49ers WR week 1, and on the field for 40% of snaps last week (due to the blowout). He ranks 6th in the league in yards after the catch and 4th in yards after the catch per reception. I’m buying the return of Jimmy G and the Niners offense behind Kyle Shanahan. Deebo is a high upside flex play unless Pettis earns his way back onto the field.
Jamison Crowder (NYJ): 6 targets, 4 rec, 40 yards
- The Target God from week 1 comes crashing back down to Earth. Okay, losing two signal-callers in the span of a week might make this an unfair knock on Crowder. He salvaged his night late in the game with Luke Falk under center, finishing with a respectable 8 PPR fantasy points. Yet his targets dipped from 15 to 6. I wouldn’t worry too much, as struggling QBs (sorry Luke Falk) will look to throw high % balls with low aDOT. 4.3 yards for Crowder on the season should do the trick. Weather the storm with the PPR maven as the Jets await the return of Sam Darnold. We might be able to see that aDOT even reach 5 yards at some point this season…
George Kittle (SF): 3 targets, 3 rec, 54 yards
- I’m buying up shares of Kittle everywhere I can after a couple of ho-hum performances. He had two TDs called back by penalties last week and spent much of Sunday afternoon in the run game due to the Niners building up an insurmountable lead. He is second only to Mark Andrews in overall PFF grade through two weeks, is second among TEs in YAC, and still maintains a 25% target share in the San Francisco offense. Oh, and he can do this. He remains a top-2 option at the position.
Did I miss anybody? Who do you agree/disagree with? Do I hate your team? Let me know what you think @themurph34 and @FF_Authority! Don’t forget to keep up-to-date with our redraft, DFS, and podcast content! May the odds be ever in your favor next week.