Fantasy Football Target Report for the 2022 Season

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Targets are an easy-to-track metric that consistently points to fantasy production. That’s precisely why I’ve been writing a weekly target-based article for The Ballers for the last four seasons. This year, as usual, there is plenty of overlap between the most targeted and most fantasy-productive players. Of course, the quarterback delivering the targets and their location on the field also come into play. Let’s break down the target trends from the 2022 season and see what stands out.

Most Targeted Players

Player Targets Target/game Team Target Share Fantasy Finish
Justin Jefferson 184 10.8 28.7% WR1
Davante Adams 180 10.6 32.3% WR2
Tyreek Hill 170 10.0 30.2% WR3
CeeDee Lamb 156 9.2 28.7% WR6
Stefon Diggs 154 9.6 27.9% WR4
Travis Kelce 152 8.9 24.8% WR5*
Garrett Wilson 147 8.6 25.0% WR24
Diontae Johnson 147 8.6 26.8% WR41
Amon-Ra St. Brown 146 9.1 28.0% WR7
A.J. Brown 145 8.6 28.9% WR5

* Finish denotes where the player would have finished among wide receivers

Justin Jefferson is on an elite trajectory. He now has 476 targets over his first three seasons. That’s the most by any player over their first three seasons, pretty easily topping the previous record of 457 by both Odell Beckham Jr. and A.J. Green. It’s hard to imagine drafting any wideout ahead of Jefferson in 2023.

Even with Miami’s most inconsistent quarterback play, Tyreek Hill set a new personal target record with 170 targets in his first season with the Dolphins. That tops his previous high of 159 with the Chiefs last season. They led to new career bests in catches (119) and receiving yards (1,710).

Diontae Johnson is a true outlier on this list. This season, he set the unfortunate record of most targets in a season without a touchdown…by a lot. The previous record was held by Michael Timpson, who saw 109 scoreless targets for the Bears in 1996, 38 fewer targets than Johnson saw in 2022. 

Most Targeted Tight Ends

Player Targets Target/game Team Target Share Fantasy Finish
Travis Kelce 152 8.9 24.8% TE1
T.J. Hockenson 129 7.6 20.3% TE2
Mark Andrews 113 7.5 28.2% TE4
Tyler Higbee 108 6.4 20.9% TE9
Evan Engram 98 5.8 17.1% TE6
Pat Freiermuth 98 6.1 18.8% TE8
Dalton Schultz 89 5.9 18.7% TE10
Gerald Everett 87 5.4 13/7% TE14
Tyler Conklin 87 5.1 14.8% TE16
George Kittle 86 5.7 18.9% TE3

In this article last season, I wrote that the TE1 torch appeared to have been passed from Travis Kelce to Mark Andrews. That may have been a bit premature, as Kelce dominated the position once again in his tenth season. He doesn’t appear to be slowing down as he set career highs not only in targets but also receptions and touchdowns.

Despite the mid-season trade, it was a career year for T.J. Hockenson. He set career highs in pretty much every category, though his most impressive accomplishment may have been seeing his team target share increase to 22% while playing alongside Justin Jefferson after arriving in Minnesota.

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Most Targeted Running Backs

Player Targets Target/game Team Target Share Fantasy Finish
Austin Ekeler 127 7.5 18.5% RB1
Christian McCaffrey 107 6.3 21.5% RB2
Rhamondre Stevenson 89 5.2 17.2% RB11
Leonard Fournette 83 5.2 12.2% RB14
Alvin Kamara 77 5.1 18.1% RB18
Saquon Barkley 76 4.8 16.9% RB5
Joe Mixon 74 5.3 14.2% RB12
Aaron Jones 72 4.2 13.4% RB9
Jerick McKinnon 71 4.2 11.6% RB21
D’Andre Swift 70 5.0 15.0% RB22

Two running backs topped 100 targets this season after none hit triple digits last year. Austin Ekeler was on pace to top CMC’s target record of 142 for much of the season, but his pace slowed considerably once Keenan Allen got healthy. His average dipped to 4.8 targets/game after Allen returned to a full-time player after Week 12.

Despite his mid-season trade to San Fransisco, Christian McCaffrey is the only running back to command over a 20% target share on the season. He’s now topped a 20% target share in four of his six seasons. He’s gone over 100 targets every season he’s played more than seven games.

Most Targeted Rookies

Player Targets Target/game Team Target Share Fantasy Finish
Garrett Wilson 147 8.6 25.0% WR24
Chris Olave 119 7.9 26.6% WR23
Drake London 117 6.9 29.3% WR34
George Pickens 84 5.0 15.3% WR43
Alec Pierce 78 4.8 14.2% WR67
Romeo Doubs 67 5.2 15.7% WR75
Christian Watson 66 4.6 15.4% WR33
Cade Otton 65 4.1 9.5% TE27
Jahan Dotson 61 5.1 14.1% WR48
Isaiah Likely 60 3.8 13.8% TE26

Garrett Wilson saw the third most targets ever for a rookie, trailing only Anquan Boldin (165) and Terry Glenn (167). Unfortunately, he was only able to turn 83 of them into receptions, 21 fewer than the record set by Jaylen Waddle last season. Hopefully, that catch percentage increases next season, though it’s far from guaranteed with the current state of quarterback for the Jets.

A 25% team target share is typically a good indicator of success, and three rookies hit that mark this season. Drake London had the fewest total targets of the three, despite having the highest target share among all rookies. His 29.3% share tied Ja’Marr Chase for the fifth-highest in the league.

The Packers are historically known for bringing rookie wideouts along slowly, but Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs both saw plenty of action this season, despite battling injuries. The future of Aaron Rodgers is in serious question, but Green Bay appears to have a strong young receiver duo to help out whoever is under center for the Packers next season.

High-Value Targets

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Player Red Zone Targets Ten Zone Targets
Travis Kelce 28 16
Justin Jefferson 26 17
DK Metcalf 26 9
Austin Ekeler 25 13
Ja’Marr Chase 24 9
Stefon Diggs 22 11
Davante Adams 21 11
Christian Kirk 21 10
Amon-Ra St. Brown 21 7
Garrett Wilson 19 10

The closer you get to the end zone, the more valuable the targets become. It makes sense to see the WR1, TE1, and RB1 all inside the top five for red zone targets. Travis Kelce topped the list this season after no tight ends cracked the top ten last year. There also weren’t any running backs on this list last season, but it’s no surprise to see RB1 Austin Ekeler there this year. 

Top Single-Week Target Performances

19 targets – Cooper Kupp, Week 4
19 targets – Jaylen Waddle, Week 2
17 targets – Davante Adams, Week 1
17 targets – Davante Adams, Week 9
17 targets – Marquise Brown, Week 3
17 targets – Travis Kelce, Week 9
17 targets – Garrett Wilson, Week 18
16 targets – 10 different occurrences

Despite playing just nine games this season, Cooper Kupp is still able to make an appearance in this article. He averaged 10.9 targets/game, slightly higher than the season’s target king Justin Jefferson. His 31% team target share when healthy was second only to Davante Adams and his 32.3% rate. Kupp was well on his way to another dominant season before it was cut short by an ankle injury in Week 10.

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