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Targeting Greatness


All Out Blitz: Volume 185

By Doug Orth | 10/14/21 |

Raw numbers do not tell us nearly everything we need to know as fantasy football managers.

Scoring touchdowns may be random events more often than not, but wild statistical peaks and valleys from a player usually happen for a reason (or multiple reasons). Unfortunately, with 32 teams and 16 games most weeks, it is impractical and probably impossible for one person (or even a team of people) to study the film, truly understand what they are watching and answer all the questions that need to be asked before the next week begins. The sad truth is most of those questions probably don't have clear answers anyway.

Thus, we are often left with studying consistency of opportunity and some of the peripheral numbers that we know contribute or at least strongly correlate to player performance. An idea I have wanted to explore for some time was a week-by-week breakdown of target shares. (I did a preseason column similar to this several years ago, but I have never done it during the season.) Just like with everything else in fantasy football, context is needed.

The table below shows a weekly breakdown of the pass attempts by each team's quarterbacks. While I acknowledge non-quarterbacks do occasionally throw the ball and contribute to a pass-catcher's target total as a result, I wanted this research to be as "pure" as possible. (Because I wanted to provide more context, numbers in red came in team losses while numbers in green came in team wins. This applies to each of the tables below.)

Key:

Avg W - Average number of pass attempts in wins
Avg L - Average number of pass attempts in losses

 QB Pass Attempts Per Game, Weeks 1-5
Tm 1 2 3 4 5 Avg Avg W Avg L Min Max
ARI 32 36 34 32 31 33.0 33.0 N/A 31 36
ATL 35 48 36 42 45 41.2 40.5 41.7 35 48
BAL 30 26 31 37 43 33.4 34.3 30.0 26 43
BUF 51 33 43 30 26 36.6 33.0 51.0 26 51
CAR 35 38 34 39 37 36.6 35.7 38.0 34 39
CHI 40 24 20 17 21 24.4 20.7 30.0 17 40
CIN 27 30 18 32 38 29.0 25.7 34.0 18 38
CLE 28 21 31 33 32 29.0 28.3 30.0 21 33
DAL 58 27 26 22 32 33.0 26.8 58.0 22 58
DEN 36 34 25 37 38 34.0 31.7 37.5 25 38
DET 57 36 30 38 35 39.2 N/A 39.2 30 57
GB 35 27 33 36 39 34.0 33.8 35.0 27 39
HOU 33 29 28 21 29 28.0 33.0 31.0 21 33
IND 38 36 37 32 35 35.6 32.0 36.5 32 38
JAC 51 33 34 24 33 35.0 N/A 35.0 24 51
KC 36 31 44 30 54 39.0 33.0 43.0 30 54
LAC 47 41 38 38 43 41.4 41.5 41.0 38 47
LAR 26 30 38 41 37 34.4 32.8 41.0 26 41
LVR 56 37 43 34 35 41.0 45.3 34.5 34 56
MIA 27 44 49 30 39 37.8 27.0 37.8 27 49
MIN 49 32 38 38 34 38.2 36.0 39.7 32 49
NE 39 30 51 40 30 38.0 30.0 43.3 30 51
NO 21 22 21 26 30 24.0 24.0 24.0 21 30
NYG 37 32 35 40 38 36.4 40.0 35.5 32 40
NYJ 37 33 35 34 32 34.2 34.0 34.3 32 37
PHI 35 23 39 48 37 36.4 36.0 36.7 23 48
PIT 32 40 58 40 25 39.0 28.5 46.0 25 58
SF 26 30 40 41 29 33.2 28.0 36.7 26 41
SEA 23 31 32 23 33 28.4 23.0 32.0 23 33
TB 50 36 55 43 45 45.8 43.5 55.0 36 55
TEN 35 40 27 49 22 34.6 29.7 42.0 22 49
WAS 21 46 24 33 41 33.0 39.5 28.7 21 46

Several things become clear upon reviewing the information in the table above:

1) six teams (CHI, CIN, CLE, HOU, NO, SEA) are not averaging 30 pass attempts - which is a pace that would lend itself to fewer than 480 throws over the course of a 16-game season. (Because this is the first year of the 17-game schedule, I think it makes sense here to work within the 16-game construct.) Only two teams last season (NE, BAL) attempted fewer than 30 passes per game.

2) Chicago and New Orleans are barely on pace to throw the ball 400 times even if we account for the 17th game. Even the 2020 Ravens' threw the ball more than the Bears and Saints are so far. We have to go back to the ground-and-pound 2009 Jets to find the last team that attempted fewer than 400 pass attempts in a season. Jericho Cotchery led that team with 57 catches and 821 receiving yards while Braylon Edwards paced the team with four receiving touchdowns. If you are looking for answers as to why Allen Robinson, Darnell Mooney and Marquez Callaway are failing to live up to expectations, the ridiculous lack of volume in the passing game is a good place to start.

3) On the other end of the spectrum, four teams (ATL, LAC, LV, TB) are averaging more than 40 pass attempts. (The league average is usually around 35.)

a) While Justin Herbert and Tom Brady are likely on a roster in every single "normal" league, Derek Carr and especially Matt Ryan may not be. Carr's pass attempts have normalized somewhat since his 56 attempts in the season opener. Ryan's attempts have not, going over 40 throws three times since his season-low 35 in Week 1. On a related note, this kind of volume pretty much locks in Calvin Ridley as a player who will see 10 or more targets per game. It also means Cordarrelle Patterson's target volume is unlikely to change much even when Russell Gage returns.

b) it should go without saying that if Brady is going to continue averaging 45 pass attempts, there is going to be more than enough volume for Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski and likely at least one other Buc. For those that care about such things, Tampa Bay is on a 17-game pace to throw roughly 779 passes at its current average of 45.8 pass attempts.

***************

Very good production for most receivers typically starts at around a 20 percent target share - give or take a few percentage points (depending on variables such as average depth of target and catch rate). Elite target share is typically 25 percent or higher. For running backs and tight ends, those marks are usually 15 and 20, respectively.

With that in mind, the goal for this week is to highlight the players who are consistently reaching those benchmarks and which ones are trending in the right direction.

Key:

25/20/15/10 - Number of times the running back reached the target share threshold.

 RB Target Shares, Weeks 1-5
Player Tm 1 2 3 4 5 25 20 15 10
Alvin Kamara NO 19.0% 27.3% 19.0% 0.0% 26.7% 2 2 4 4
Najee Harris PIT 9.4% 12.5% 32.8% 17.5% 20.0% 1 2 3 4
Alexander Mattison MIN 2.0% 3.1% 21.1% 0.0% 20.6% 0 2 2 2
D'Andre Swift DET 19.3% 13.9% 23.3% 15.8% 17.1% 0 1 4 5
Myles Gaskin MIA 18.5% 11.4% 12.2% 0.0% 25.6% 1 1 2 4
David Johnson HOU 12.1% 6.9% 0.0% 19.0% 20.7% 0 1 2 3
Cordarrelle Patterson ATL 5.7% 14.6% 19.4% 14.3% 20.0% 0 1 2 4
Kareem Hunt CLE 10.7% 4.8% 22.6% 12.1% 18.8% 0 1 2 4
Chase Edmonds ARI 12.5% 13.9% 23.5% 15.6% 12.9% 0 1 2 5
Austin Ekeler LAC 0.0% 22.0% 15.8% 13.2% 11.6% 0 1 2 4
Nyheim Hines IND 21.1% 5.6% 16.2% 6.3% 2.9% 0 1 2 2
Saquon Barkley NYG 8.1% 9.4% 20.0% 15.0% 2.6% 0 1 2 2
Christian McCaffrey CAR 25.7% 15.8% 5.9% 1 1 2 2
David Montgomery CHI 2.5% 16.7% 20.0% 0.0% 0 1 2 2
James White NE 17.9% 20.0% 2.0% 0 1 2 2
Aaron Jones GB 5.7% 22.2% 6.1% 11.1% 12.8% 0 1 1 3
Jeremy McNichols TEN 11.4% 7.5% 7.4% 24.5% 9.1% 0 1 1 2
Antonio Gibson WAS 23.8% 4.3% 8.3% 6.1% 4.9% 0 1 1 1
Chuba Hubbard CAR 5.7% 2.6% 14.7% 5.1% 16.2% 0 0 1 2
Brandon Bolden NE 0.0% 7.8% 15.0% 13.3% 0 0 1 2
Jonathan Taylor IND 18.4% 2.8% 2.7% 9.4% 11.4% 0 0 1 2
Mike Davis ATL 17.1% 14.6% 11.1% 4.8% 11.1% 0 0 1 4
J.D. McKissic WAS 4.8% 13.0% 8.3% 15.2% 9.8% 0 0 1 2
Kenneth Gainwell PHI 8.6% 13.0% 10.3% 16.7% 8.1% 0 0 1 3
Javonte Williams DEN 2.8% 2.9% 16.0% 8.1% 7.9% 0 0 1 1
Jamaal Williams DET 15.8% 8.3% 6.7% 0.0% 5.7% 0 0 1 1
Giovani Bernard TB 6.0% 5.6% 18.2% 4.4% 0 0 1 1
James Robinson JAC 11.8% 9.1% 17.6% 8.3% 3.0% 0 0 1 2
Kenyan Drake LV 8.9% 16.2% 14.0% 0.0% 2.9% 0 0 1 2
Darrell Henderson LAR 3.8% 16.7% 14.6% 2.7% 0 0 1 2
Derrick Henry TEN 11.4% 15.0% 11.1% 4.1% 0.0% 0 0 1 3
Dalvin Cook MIN 14.3% 9.4% 15.8% 0 0 1 2
JaMycal Hasty SF 3.8% 16.7% 0 0 1 1
Damien Williams CHI 12.5% 12.5% 0.0% 11.8% 14.3% 0 0 0 4
Josh Jacobs LV 3.6% 14.7% 14.3% 0 0 0 2
Kyle Juszczyk SF 3.8% 10.0% 10.0% 9.8% 13.8% 0 0 0 3
Miles Sanders PHI 14.3% 8.7% 10.3% 6.3% 13.5% 0 0 0 3
Samaje Perine CIN 3.7% 3.3% 5.6% 3.1% 13.2% 0 0 0 1
Tony Pollard DAL 6.9% 11.1% 3.8% 0.0% 12.5% 0 0 0 2
Leonard Fournette TB 14.0% 11.1% 5.5% 11.6% 11.1% 0 0 0 4
Devontae Booker NYG 2.7% 3.1% 2.5% 10.5% 0 0 0 1
AJ Dillon GB 5.7% 3.7% 6.1% 2.8% 10.3% 0 0 0 1
Ezekiel Elliott DAL 3.4% 7.4% 11.5% 4.5% 9.4% 0 0 0 1
Michael Carter NYJ 5.4% 9.1% 8.6% 8.8% 9.4% 0 0 0 0
Ty Johnson NYJ 8.1% 0.0% 14.3% 5.9% 9.4% 0 0 0 1
Darrel Williams KC 0.0% 0.0% 6.8% 6.7% 9.3% 0 0 0 0
Devin Singletary BUF 9.8% 9.1% 4.7% 3.3% 7.7% 0 0 0 0
Salvon Ahmed MIA 11.1% 6.8% 6.7% 7.7% 0 0 0 1
Latavius Murray BAL 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 7.0% 0 0 0 0
Elijah Mitchell SF 0.0% 6.7% 6.9% 0 0 0 0
DeeJay Dallas SEA 4.3% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 6.1% 0 0 0 0
Melvin Gordon DEN 8.3% 5.9% 8.0% 10.8% 5.3% 0 0 0 1
Ty'Son Williams BAL 13.3% 7.7% 3.2% 4.7% 0 0 0 1
Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC 8.3% 0.0% 4.5% 10.0% 3.7% 0 0 0 1
James Conner ARI 0.0% 0.0% 2.9% 6.3% 3.2% 0 0 0 0
Nick Chubb CLE 7.1% 4.8% 0.0% 3.0% 3.1% 0 0 0 0
Sony Michel LAR 0.0% 0.0% 10.5% 0.0% 2.7% 0 0 0 1
Joe Mixon CIN 14.8% 6.7% 5.6% 6.3% 2.6% 0 0 0 1
Ronald Jones TB 0.0% 8.3% 0.0% 0.0% 2.2% 0 0 0 0
Khalil Herbert CHI 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0 0 0 0
Damien Harris NE 7.7% 3.3% 3.9% 5.0% 0.0% 0 0 0 0
Ty Montgomery NO 4.8% 4.5% 0.0% 11.5% 0.0% 0 0 0 1
Justin Jackson LAC 2.1% 2.4% 0.0% 10.5% 0 0 0 1
Tony Jones NO 4.8% 0.0% 9.5% 11.5% 0 0 0 1
Chris Carson SEA 13.0% 0.0% 6.3% 4.3% 0 0 0 1

20 & Over Club (two or more times above 20 percent target share)

Alvin Kamara
Najee Harris
Alexander Mattison

When we combine Dalvin Cook's 14.3 percent target share in Week 1 and 15.8 percent target share in Week 4 with Mattison handling a 20 percent share twice, it is clear whomever the healthy running back in Minnesota in a given week is going to produce regardless of game script.

15 & Over Club (two or more times above 15 percent target share)

Alvin Kamara
D'Andre Swift
Najee Harris
Alexander Mattison
Myles Gaskin
David Johnson
Cordarrelle Patterson
Kareem Hunt
Chase Edmonds
Austin Ekeler
Nyheim Hines
Saquon Barkley*
Christian McCaffrey
David Montgomery**
James White ***

* - Reportedly out 2-6 weeks
** - Reportedly out at least a month
*** - Likely out for the season

It is not surprising given their skill sets that Gaskin and Johnson are on the list above, but it is surprising that appear here given how much their roles have been minimized when compared to 2020. Hines has been the ultimate negative game script back in recent years, so his presence above is not a shock for a 1-4 team. Devontae Booker is no Barkley, but we can expect he will probably see something approaching the 15 and 20 percent marks Barkley had before his early exit in Week 5. Even though Montgomery has only missed one full game, Damien Williams already has four games above a 10 percent target share.

Moving on up (under-the-radar RBs who have steadily seen their target shares increase since Week 1)

Brandon Bolden
Kyle Juszczyk
AJ Dillon
Michael Carter
Darrel Williams

Bolden appears to be the new - and less exciting - James White. He is not someone fantasy managers want to rely on (obviously), but Bolden also should not be floating around on a waiver wire in any league where a team was willing to use White in the flex. There may be a time in the near future Elijah Mitchell grabs more of the work in the passing game, but Juszczyk figures to remain the main option in San Francisco in long down-and-distance and two-minute situations - at least until JaMycal Hasty returns. He would be a desperation play for sure, but fantasy managers in a pinch during the bye weeks could do worse than the 49ers fullback in games where San Francisco is expected to play from behind.

Dillon's recent fantasy point totals indicate he is starting to carve out more of a role in Green Bay, but his usage (snaps, routes run, target share, etc.) suggests little has changed. Carter's target share has yet to rise above 10 percent in any game, but his ability to contribute in the passing game was one of his strengths in college. The Jets seem to like/trust Ty Johnson more at the moment, but it is encouraging nonetheless that the rookie is at least consistently pushing for a 10 percent target share while also handing more than half of the rushing attempts. Clyde Edwards-Helaire only saw a target share of 10 percent once before going down, so don't expect Darrel Williams to be much different. CEH's floor should be the expectation from Williams while Edwards-Helaire is out.

Key:

25/20/15/10 - Number of times the tight end reached the target share threshold.

 TE Target Shares, Weeks 1-5
Player Tm 1 2 3 4 5 25 20 15 10
Mark Andrews BAL 16.7% 19.2% 22.6% 21.6% 30.2% 1 3 5 5
Darren Waller LV 33.9% 18.9% 16.3% 20.6% 22.9% 1 3 5 5
Travis Kelce KC 19.4% 25.8% 25.0% 20.0% 18.5% 2 3 5 5
Dalton Schultz DAL 10.3% 7.4% 26.9% 36.4% 25.0% 3 3 3 4
Kyle Pitts ATL 22.9% 12.5% 8.3% 21.4% 22.2% 0 3 3 4
Mike Gesicki MIA 11.1% 13.6% 24.5% 20.0% 17.9% 0 2 3 5
Noah Fant DEN 22.2% 17.6% 12.0% 27.0% 10.5% 1 2 3 5
T.J. Hockenson DET 19.3% 25.0% 6.7% 21.1% 8.6% 1 2 3 3
George Kittle SF 19.2% 13.3% 22.5% 24.4%   0 2 3 4
Cole Kmet CHI 17.5% 4.2% 20.0% 17.6% 19.0% 0 1 4 4
David Njoku CLE 17.9% 14.3%   6.1% 21.9% 0 1 2 3
Dawson Knox BUF 7.8% 9.1% 11.6% 26.7% 15.4% 1 1 2 3
Tyler Conklin MIN 8.2% 12.5% 21.1% 15.8% 8.8% 0 1 2 3
Austin Hooper CLE 10.7% 23.8% 9.7% 15.2% 0.0% 0 1 2 3
Hunter Henry NE 7.7% 13.3% 11.8% 12.5% 26.7% 1 1 1 4
Dan Arnold JAC 5.9% 12.1% 11.8% 8.3% 24.2% 0 1 1 3
Adam Trautman NO 28.6%   4.8% 3.8% 6.7% 1 1 1 1
Tyler Higbee LAR 23.1% 3.3% 13.2% 14.6% 5.4% 0 1 1 3
Jack Doyle IND 10.5% 22.2% 5.4% 3.1% 2.9% 0 1 1 2
Zach Ertz PHI 5.7% 8.7% 17.9% 16.7% 16.2% 0 0 3 3
Jared Cook LAC 17.0% 12.2% 7.9% 18.4% 7.0% 0 0 2 3
Maxx Williams ARI 3.1% 19.4% 8.8% 15.6% 3.2% 0 0 2 2
Logan Thomas WAS 14.3% 15.2% 16.7%     0 0 2 3
Anthony Firkser TEN 11.4%     10.2% 18.2% 0 0 1 3
Mo Alie-Cox IND 5.3% 5.6% 5.4% 15.6% 11.4% 0 0 1 2
Pharaoh Brown HOU 15.2% 3.4% 0.0% 9.5% 10.3% 0 0 1 2
Jonnu Smith NE 12.8% 16.7% 11.8% 12.5% 6.7% 0 0 1 4
Ryan Griffin NYJ 16.2% 6.1% 2.9% 11.8% 6.3% 0 0 1 2
C.J. Uzomah CIN 7.4% 6.7% 5.6% 18.8% 5.3% 0 0 1 1
Robert Tonyan GB 11.4% 11.1% 3.0% 19.4% 5.1% 0 0 1 3
Harrison Bryant CLE 7.1% 19.0% 6.5% 6.1% 0.0% 0 0 1 1
Gerald Everett SEA 8.7% 6.5% 15.6%     0 0 1 1
Rob Gronkowski TB 16.0% 13.9% 12.7%     0 0 1 3
Ian Thomas CAR 5.7% 5.3%   7.7% 13.5% 0 0 0 1
Will Dissly SEA 13.0%   3.1% 8.7% 12.1% 0 0 0 2
Hayden Hurst ATL 11.4% 2.1% 2.8% 9.5% 11.1% 0 0 0 2
Tommy Tremble CAR 0.0%   2.9% 2.6% 10.8% 0 0 0 1
Dallas Goedert PHI 14.3% 8.7% 10.3% 10.4% 8.1% 0 0 0 3
Pat Freiermuth PIT 3.1% 10.0% 8.6% 2.5% 8.0% 0 0 0 1
Eric Ebron PIT 6.3% 5.0% 5.2% 5.0% 8.0% 0 0 0 0
Josh Oliver BAL 3.3% 3.8% 3.2% 2.7% 4.7% 0 0 0 0
Donald Parham LAC 2.1% 0.0% 2.6% 7.9% 4.7% 0 0 0 0
Juwan Johnson NO 14.3% 13.6% 4.8% 11.5% 3.3% 0 0 0 3
Kyle Rudolph NYG 13.5% 6.3%   7.5% 2.6% 0 0 0 1
Blake Jarwin DAL 5.2% 14.8% 7.7% 13.6% 0.0% 0 0 0 2
Demetrius Harris ARI 9.4% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%   0 0 0 0
Albert Okwuegbunam DEN 8.3% 11.8% 4.0% 5.4%   0 0 0 1
Tyler Kroft NYJ 13.5% 6.1% 5.7% 2.9%   0 0 0 1

20 & Over Club (three or more times above 20 percent target share)

Mark Andrews
Darren Waller
Travis Kelce
Dalton Schultz
Kyle Pitts

The five players in the 20 & Over Club rank second, fifth, first, fourth and sixth, respectively, in overall scoring at tight end. There is not too much to worry about from this group, but fantasy managers should consider selling high on Schultz. Michael Gallup will return soon, adding another capable target to an offense that is averaging only 26.8 pass attempts since Week 1.

15 & Over Club (three or more times above 15 percent target share)

Mark Andrews
Darren Waller
Travis Kelce
Cole Kmet
Dalton Schultz
Kyle Pitts
Mike Gesicki
Noah Fant
T.J. Hockenson
George Kittle
Zach Ertz

There are two very surprising names in the 15 & Over Club. The argument can be made that it is not overly difficult for a player to reach a target share of 15 percent when his offense is averaging 24.4 pass attempts, but there is reason to believe Kmet could bust out if Chicago finds itself in a negative game script again anytime soon. (There is a good chance that happens over the next two weeks with games against the Packers and Bucs.) The other noteworthy name is Ertz. Philadelphia has targeted the tight end position 44 times through five games (8.8 per game). Ertz holds a 25-19 edge on Dallas Goedert for the season and should get all the targets to himself for at least Week 6 with Goedert landing on the COVID list earlier this week.

An interesting omission from both lists is Dawson Knox, who has unquestionably become a bigger part of the Buffalo offense in 2021 but only has a plus-15 target share twice in five games. His overall production (18-261-5) is very similar to that of David Njoku (14-260-1), with the major difference between that Knox is averaging one touchdown for every 3.6 catches and Njoku is not. There is a possibility Knox is this year's Robert Tonyan. The major difference between the two situations is that Tonyan was the clear No. 2 option in the Green Bay offense in 2020. Emmanuel Sanders holds that distinction in Buffalo right now. Working in Knox's favor is how much more volume there is in the Bills' passing game than what Green Bay had last season, so Knox could remain very relevant. The problem with believing that is that Cole Beasley must remain an afterthought in the offense coming off back-to-back 100-target seasons), Stefon Diggs must continue being unlucky in the red zone and Knox must maintain a scoring rate we probably have not seen since Rob Gronkowski's rookie year (10 TDs on 46 catches).

Moving on up (under-the-radar TEs who have steadily seen their target shares increase since Week 1)

Hunter Henry
Zach Ertz
Dan Arnold
Tommy Tremble
Mo Alie-Cox
Tyler Conklin

There are 12 instances of a tight end going over 25 percent target share this season. Henry did exactly that last week. Jonnu Smith is running a route on a third of New England's pass plays for the season, leaving Henry to grab the rest of the work. Arnold ran a route on 74 percent of Jacksonville's pass plays in Week 5, less than two weeks after his trade from Carolina. There is a good chance we will be talking about him as a top-15 tight end the rest of the way. Tremble reached a target share of 10 percent for the first time in Week 5. His route run rate has almost doubled since the Arnold trade, but so has Ian Thomas'. Tremble will push past Thomas at some point, but it is nearly impossible to guess when that will happen.

Alie-Cox appears as if he is making a push. We have been down this road before with him, only to have Indy flip the script and try to make Trey Burton or an aging Jack Doyle a thing. Alie-Cox is worth using in a pinch this week against the Texans, who own the most forgiving defense against tight ends. Conklin's peripherals (snaps, routes run, target share, etc.) did not change much from recent weeks in Week 5, but his target share dropped below 10 percent for the first time since Week 1. It is most likely a matter of weekly volatility, especially when we consider Minnesota could not get Adam Thielen involved until late in the game.

Key:

25/20/15/10 - Number of times the running back reached the target share threshold.

 WR Target Shares, Weeks 1-5
Player Tm 1 2 3 4 5 25 20 15 10
Davante Adams GB 20.0% 33.3% 54.5% 30.6% 41.0% 4 5 5 5
Deebo Samuel SF 46.2% 26.7% 25.0% 31.7% 31.0% 5 5 5 5
Cooper Kupp LAR 38.5% 36.7% 31.6% 31.7% 27.0% 5 5 5 5
Terry McLaurin WAS 19.0% 30.4% 29.2% 39.4% 26.8% 4 4 5 5
Darnell Mooney CHI 17.5% 33.3% 20.0% 41.2% 23.8% 2 4 5 5
DeVonta Smith PHI 22.9% 30.4% 15.4% 20.8% 21.6% 1 4 5 5
Keenan Allen LAC 27.7% 19.5% 31.6% 28.9% 20.9% 3 4 5 5
Stefon Diggs BUF 25.5% 24.2% 23.3% 36.7% 19.2% 2 4 5 5
D.J. Moore CAR 22.9% 28.9% 35.3% 30.8% 18.9% 3 4 5 5
Brandin Cooks HOU 21.2% 48.3% 39.3% 33.3% 17.2% 3 4 5 5
Jakobi Meyers NE 23.1% 20.0% 27.5% 30.0% 16.7% 2 4 5 5
DK Metcalf SEA 21.7% 35.5% 28.1% 34.8% 15.2% 3 4 5 5
Mike Williams LAC 25.5% 24.4% 23.7% 10.5% 37.2% 2 4 4 5
Tyler Lockett SEA 21.7% 35.5% 12.5% 21.7% 30.3% 2 4 4 5
Courtland Sutton DEN 8.3% 35.3% 20.0% 21.6% 28.9% 2 4 4 4
Ja'Marr Chase CIN 25.9% 13.3% 27.8% 28.1% 26.3% 4 4 4 5
Marquise Brown BAL 20.0% 38.5% 22.6% 13.5% 23.3% 1 4 4 5
Michael Pittman Jr. IND 10.5% 33.3% 32.4% 25.0% 20.0% 3 4 4 5
Adam Thielen MIN 20.4% 21.9% 23.7% 21.1% 8.8% 0 4 4 4
Calvin Ridley ATL 22.9% 20.8% 30.6% 31.0%   2 4 4 4
Allen Robinson CHI 27.5% 16.7% 30.0% 17.6% 23.8% 2 3 5 5
Justin Jefferson MIN 18.4% 31.3% 28.9% 18.4% 23.5% 2 3 5 5
Corey Davis NYJ 18.9% 15.2% 28.6% 20.6% 21.9% 1 3 5 5
DeAndre Hopkins ARI 25.0% 11.1% 17.6% 21.9% 29.0% 2 3 4 5
Tyreek Hill KC 41.7% 12.9% 15.9% 40.0% 24.1% 2 3 4 5
Chase Claypool PIT 15.6% 22.5% 25.9%   24.0% 1 3 4 4
CeeDee Lamb DAL 25.9% 33.3% 11.5% 22.7% 18.8% 2 3 4 5
Sammy Watkins BAL 26.7% 26.9% 22.6% 18.9% 7.0% 2 3 4 4
A.J. Brown TEN 22.9% 22.5% 7.4%   27.3% 1 3 3 3
Tyler Boyd CIN 14.8% 30.0% 33.3% 34.4% 13.2% 3 3 3 5
Diontae Johnson PIT 31.3% 30.0%   32.5% 8.0% 3 3 3 3
DeVante Parker MIA 25.9% 20.5% 14.3% 30.0%   2 3 3 4
Robert Woods LAR 15.4% 30.0% 15.8% 14.6% 37.8% 2 2 4 5
Hunter Renfrow LV 16.1% 18.9% 14.0% 23.5% 22.9% 0 2 4 5
Mike Evans TB 12.0% 25.0% 18.2% 27.9% 17.8% 2 2 4 5
Marvin Jones JAC 17.6% 33.3% 23.5% 12.5% 15.2% 1 2 4 5
Marquez Callaway NO 9.5% 18.2% 23.8% 7.7% 26.7% 1 2 3 3
Tim Patrick DEN 11.1% 11.8% 20.0% 16.2% 23.7% 0 2 3 5
Jalen Reagor PHI 17.1% 21.7% 20.5% 2.1% 13.5% 0 2 3 4
Laviska Shenault JAC 19.6% 21.2% 11.8% 29.2% 9.1% 1 2 3 4
JuJu Smith-Schuster PIT 25.0% 17.5% 6.9% 20.0% 4.0% 1 2 3 3
Kadarius Toney NYG 5.4%   8.6% 22.5% 34.2% 1 2 2 2
Chris Godwin TB 26.0% 13.9% 12.7% 11.6% 24.4% 1 2 2 5
Amon-Ra St. Brown DET 7.0% 13.9% 3.3% 21.1% 22.9% 0 2 2 3
Mecole Hardman KC 8.3% 25.8% 9.1% 10.0% 22.2% 1 2 2 3
Cole Beasley BUF 25.5% 12.1% 30.2% 6.7% 7.7% 2 2 2 3
Sterling Shepard NYG 24.3% 31.3% 8.6%     1 2 2 2
Emmanuel Sanders BUF 15.7% 18.2% 14.0% 20.0% 19.2% 0 1 4 5
Amari Cooper DAL 29.3% 18.5% 15.4% 13.6% 18.8% 1 1 4 5
Jaylen Waddle MIA 18.5% 18.2% 26.5% 13.3% 15.4% 1 1 4 5
Rondale Moore ARI 15.6% 22.2% 5.9% 9.4% 19.4% 0 1 3 3
Robby Anderson CAR 8.6% 15.8% 5.9% 28.2% 18.9% 1 1 3 3
Tee Higgins CIN 18.5% 33.3%     18.4% 1 1 3 3
Christian Kirk ARI 15.6% 11.1% 23.5% 3.1% 16.1% 0 1 3 4
Kenny Golladay NYG 16.2% 25.0% 14.3% 17.5% 7.9% 1 1 3 4
Antonio Brown TB 14.0% 8.3%   25.6% 17.8% 1 1 2 3
Elijah Moore NYJ 10.8% 24.2% 17.1%   6.3% 0 1 2 3
Kalif Raymond DET 7.0% 5.6% 33.3% 15.8% 5.7% 1 1 2 2
Braxton Berrios NYJ 18.9% 33.3% 8.6% 2.9% 3.1% 1 1 2 2
D.J. Chark JAC 23.5% 12.1% 17.6%     0 1 2 3
Julio Jones TEN 17.1% 20.0% 14.8%     0 1 2 3
Jamal Agnew JAC 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 4.2% 24.2% 0 1 1 1
Deonte Harris NO 9.5% 9.1% 14.3% 30.8% 3.3% 1 1 1 2
Marquez Valdes-Scantling GB 22.9% 14.8% 12.1%     0 1 1 3
A.J. Green ARI 18.8% 16.7% 17.6% 18.8% 6.5% 0 0 4 4
Zach Pascal IND 13.2% 16.7% 18.9% 15.6% 14.3% 0 0 3 5
K.J. Osborn MIN 18.4% 18.8% 5.3% 18.4% 11.8% 0 0 3 4
Henry Ruggs III LV 8.9% 18.9% 16.3% 17.6% 8.6% 0 0 3 3
Nelson Agholor NE 17.9% 10.0% 15.7% 12.5% 13.3% 0 0 2 5
Adam Humphries WAS 9.5% 17.4% 16.7% 3.0% 12.2% 0 0 2 3
Freddie Swain SEA 4.3% 16.1% 6.3% 17.4% 9.1% 0 0 2 2
Darius Slayton NYG 18.9% 18.8% 2.9%     0 0 2 2
DeAndre Carter WAS 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 3.0% 19.5% 0 0 1 1
Donovan Peoples-Jones CLE 3.6% 4.8% 6.5% 0.0% 18.8% 0 0 1 1
Parris Campbell IND 7.9%   10.8% 9.4% 17.1% 0 0 1 2
Brandon Aiyuk SF 0.0% 6.7% 15.0% 7.3% 13.8% 0 0 1 2
Van Jefferson LAR 11.5% 10.0% 15.8% 14.6% 10.8% 0 0 1 5
Mohamed Sanu SF 3.8% 3.3% 15.0% 12.2% 10.3% 0 0 1 3
Kendrick Bourne NE 7.7% 10.0% 15.7% 12.5% 10.0% 0 0 1 4
Devin Duvernay BAL 6.7% 0.0% 9.7% 16.2% 9.3% 0 0 1 1
Quintez Cephus DET 10.5% 19.4% 3.3% 13.2% 8.6% 0 0 1 3
Terrace Marshall Jr. CAR 17.1% 7.9% 14.7% 7.7% 8.1% 0 0 1 2
Randall Cobb GB 2.9% 11.1% 3.0% 16.7% 7.7% 0 0 1 2
Chester Rogers TEN 17.1% 12.5% 7.4% 12.2% 4.5% 0 0 1 3
Cedrick Wilson DAL 5.2% 7.4% 15.4% 9.1% 3.1% 0 0 1 1
Jarvis Landry CLE 17.9% 4.8%       0 0 1 1
Jerry Jeudy DEN 19.4%         0 0 1 1
Danny Amendola HOU 15.2% 3.4%       0 0 1 1
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine TEN 5.7% 2.5% 14.8% 16.3%   0 0 1 2
Dyami Brown WAS 19.0% 13.0% 8.3% 6.1%   0 0 1 2
Bryan Edwards LV 8.9% 8.1% 11.6% 11.8% 14.3% 0 0 0 3
Chris Conley HOU 6.1% 6.9% 3.6% 4.8% 13.8% 0 0 0 1
Dede Westbrook MIN 2.0% 0.0% 0.0% 2.6% 11.8% 0 0 0 1
Marquise Goodwin CHI 10.0% 12.5% 5.0% 11.8% 9.5% 0 0 0 3
DeSean Jackson LAR 7.7%   13.2% 7.3% 8.1% 0 0 0 1
Quez Watkins PHI 8.6% 8.7% 5.1% 14.6% 8.1% 0 0 0 1
Ray-Ray McCloud PIT 0.0% 0.0% 6.9% 2.5% 8.0% 0 0 0 0
Josh Palmer LAC 2.1% 4.9%     7.0% 0 0 0 0
Jalen Guyton LAC 10.6% 4.9% 2.6% 5.3% 7.0% 0 0 0 1
Tyler Johnson TB 2.0% 5.6% 10.9% 4.7% 6.7% 0 0 0 1
Trinity Benson DET 10.5% 8.3% 3.3% 7.9% 5.7% 0 0 0 1
Allen Lazard GB 11.4%   3.0% 8.3% 5.1% 0 0 0 1
Gabriel Davis BUF 9.8%   2.3% 3.3% 3.8% 0 0 0 0
Byron Pringle KC 5.6% 6.5% 13.6% 6.7% 3.7% 0 0 0 1
Demarcus Robinson KC 5.6% 12.9% 4.5%   3.7% 0 0 0 1
Russell Gage ATL 5.7% 14.6%       0 0 0 1
Michael Gallup DAL 12.1%         0 0 0 1
KJ Hamler DEN 11.1% 8.8% 12.0%     0 0 0 2
Nico Collins HOU 9.1% 3.4%       0 0 0 0
James Washington PIT 6.3% 2.5% 8.6% 12.5%   0 0 0 1
Trent Sherfield SF 11.5% 10.0%   4.9%   0 0 0 2

25 & Over Club (four times above 25 percent target share)

Deebo Samuel
Cooper Kupp
Davante Adams
Terry McLaurin
Ja'Marr Chase

The lowest ranking of a receiver in the 25 & Over Club is McLaurin at 13. The other four are ninth or higher.

20 & Over Club (five times above 20 percent target share)

Deebo Samuel
Cooper Kupp
Davante Adams
Terry McLaurin
Ja'Marr Chase
Darnell Mooney
DeVonta Smith
Keenan Allen
Stefon Diggs
D.J. Moore
Brandon Cooks
Jakobi Meyers
DK Metcalf
Mike Williams
Courtland Sutton
Marquise Brown
Michael Pittman Jr.
Adam Thielen
Calvin Ridley

Most of the 19 names in this group are ones you would expect, as Ridley's WR39 spot is the second-lowest of the group. Then there is Mooney, who sits at WR55. (He would be the WR45 if had even just one touchdown to his name.) Chicago's 20.5 pass attempts per game since Week 1 is not going to allow any pass-catcher to flourish. It is a mindboggling notion that a team has chosen to resort to this kind of "attack" in today's NFL to protect its rookie quarterback from his offensive line.

Moving on up (under-the-radar WRs who have steadily seen their target shares increase since Week 1)

Hunter Renfrow
Tim Patrick
Kadarius Toney
Amon-Ra St. Brown
Quez Watkins
Jamal Agnew

You would not know it based on how much his name comes up in fantasy football discussions, but Renfrow is the WR28 through five weeks. It is what can happen when a player is extremely savvy with his route running, has trustworthy hands and owns an average depth of target of 7.3 yards. Tim Patrick is the perimeter receiver version of Renfrow. He has a target share of 20 percent in each of Teddy Bridgewater's last two full games. I comped Toney to a smaller version of Deebo Samuel when I evaluated him this spring. His rise to prominence will likely lead to a smaller role moving forward for Darius Slayton, although the situation is fluid considering how often primary slot receiver Sterling Shepard gets hurt. We saw a microcosm of the danger moving forward with Toney in Week 5; he is an incredible talent that has maturity issues dating back to his early days at the University of Florida.

Detroit passing game saw Quintez Cephus shine in Weeks 1-2, Kalif Raymond step up in Weeks 3-4 and St. Brown in Week 5. With Tyrell Williams still out and Cephus (collarbone) likely done for the year, the natural inclination is to believe the rookie's back-to-back 20 percent target rates could be a trend. The more likely outcome, however, is that Cephus' absence will lead to more targets moving forward for D'Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson - the latter of which has been battling through a knee injury. The Philadelphia passing game - at least when discussing receivers - is all about DeVonta Smith. However, Jalen Hurts noted in August that the secret was out on Watkins after he showed off his explosiveness during the preseason. Jalen Reagor is still getting a bigger piece of the passing game pie than Watkins for now, but a quick look at their fantasy numbers is enough to make one wonder why that is the case. Reagor was drafted largely because of his speed, but his 8.2 yards per catch and 8.4 aDOT (compared to Watkins' 20.5 and 11.0, respectively) would suggest a change on the depth chart is overdue - especially when we consider Watkins' catch rate is higher.

I wrote last week about Tavon Austin emerging as a potential deep-dive option for fantasy owners. While a 5-54-0 showing on five targets isn't bad for someone who was virtually unowned in fantasy before Week 5, the reason I passed on Agnew in the column was that I thought he was too important as a returner to risk in a full-time offensive role. Yeah, about that he somehow ran more routes than Laviska Shenault did in Week 5. Getting a target share of 24.2 percent in your first game as a key offensive contributor is impressive, regardless of the reason. Before anyone gets overly hyped though, his aDOT in that game was 3.3. On the plus side: his return ability tells us he is explosive and his 24 snaps in the slot last week tells us the Jaguars believe in his ability to get open quickly. He is someone to monitor over the next game or two.


Doug Orth has written for FF Today since 2006 and been featured in USA Today’s Fantasy Football Preview magazine since 2010. He hosted USA Today’s hour-long, pre-kickoff fantasy football internet chat every Sunday in 2012-13 and appears as a guest analyst on a number of national sports radio shows, including Sirius XM’s “Fantasy Drive”. Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.