Fantasy Football Target Trends for Week 2
We made it through Week 1! By now, you’re probably looking ahead and starting to set your Week 2 lineup. As part of that process, I urge you to check out the most recent target trends, which I’ll cover each and every week in this article. Targets are arguably the best indicator of opportunity, which, in turn, is one of the best predictors of fantasy points. I aim to make this article the go-to place for checking in on target trends each and every week.
A quick overview of this weekly article. It isn’t a simple list of numbers ranking the most-targeted players of the week. While they’ll certainly be included, it’s always important to consider the context behind the numbers. That’s the goal behind this weekly article, and I hope you find it beneficial as you make your week-to-week fantasy decisions.
It’s tough to identify trends after just one week of data, but we need to consider what we saw, both on the field and in the box scores, during the debut of the 2022 season. Let’s dive into the target trends as we turn the corner to Week 2.
Davante Adams: 17 targets, 10 rec
The target leader for Week 1 is no surprise. The Raiders shipped out their first two picks in the 2022 NFL Draft to acquire Adams, then immediately signed him to a 140 million dollar contract. Adams’ college teammate Derek Carr targeted him on a ridiculous 49% of his pass attempts. That kind of target share is impossible to maintain, but he has a great shot to lead the NFL in targets for the first time in his career this season.
Ja’Marr Chase: 16 targets, 10 rec
Joe Mixon: 9 targets, 7 rec
Joe Burrow attempted more than 50 passes for just the second time in his career Sunday, leading to career-high target totals for the two Bengal teammates. Ja’Marr Chase saw double-digit targets five times during his rookie campaign last year, but the 16 he saw in Week 1 of his sophomore season is a new career high. Meanwhile, Joe Mixon may have seen seven fewer targets than Chase, but it was still more than he’d ever seen in a single game over his first five professional seasons. It’s an encouraging sign, considering Mixon is often knocked in fantasy for his lack of pass-catching work.
Cooper Kupp: 15 targets, 13 rec
Tyler Higbee: 11 targets, 5 rec
It may be hyperbolic to point out that Kupp is now on pace for 255 targets this year, but after his record-breaking 2021 season, it feels like we shouldn’t rule it out. In fact, he only reached 15 targets in a game once last season. Elsewhere for the Rams, Tyler Higbee’s 11 targets were the most seen by any tight end in Week 1, though they didn’t amount to much fantasy production. And then there was Allen Robinson…I’ll get to him much farther down in this article.
A.J. Brown: 13 targets, 10 rec
Philly went all in on Brown on draft night when they traded for him in exchange for their first-round pick and signed him to a massive contract extension. After one week, it appears to be paying off. Brown exploded for 155 yards in his Eagles debut in the victory. Meanwhile, nobody else on the team was targeted more than four times in the game.
Michael Pittman: 13 targets, 9 rec
Jonathan Taylor: 7 targets, 4 rec
Pitty City is open for business after kicking off the season with the second-highest single-game target total of his career. Matt Ryan targeted Pittman on 27% of his passes, a rate he topped six times last year. Ryan’s 50 pass attempts also led to a near-career high for Jonathan Taylor, who fell just one short of the eight targets he saw in Week 10 last year. It could be a preview of things to come, as Ryan targeted running backs a league-high 26% of the time last year in Atlanta.
Tyreek Hill: 12 targets, 8 rec
Following the offseason theme along with Davante Adams and A.J. Brown, Tyreek Hill immediately became the target leader on the team that traded for him this offseason. The 12 targets isn’t a high number for Hill, he hit that mark six times last season alone, but they accounted for a 39% target share in the offense. For reference, Hill saw a career-high 25% target share for the season in Kansas City last year.
Christian Kirk: 12 targets, 6 rec
The Jaguars didn’t trade for Kirk, but they made him a priority free agent signing in the offseason. On Sunday, he became yet another new face to lead his team in targets in Week 1. The 12 targets tied his career-high and were three more than the next most targeted Jaguar, Zay Jones.
Javonte Williams: 12 targets, 11 rec
Melvin Gordon out carried Williams in Denver’s split backfield Monday night, but it was Williams who dominated through the air. It was the first time in his young career that the second-year running back saw double-digit targets in a game. It was also the highest target total for any running back in Week 1. Gordon isn’t going away, but Williams looks locked in as the preferred fantasy back in Denver, especially in any type of PPR scoring.
Curtis Samuel: 11 targets, 8 rec
Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson were the Commanders’ pass catchers getting the most buzz this offseason, but it was Samuel that led the way in Week 1. After suffering through an injury-riddled 2021, the 11 targets were the most he’s seen since the last game of the 2020 season. Samuel, McLaurin, and Dotson all found the end zone in Week 1 and all finished inside the top-24 fantasy wideouts. It will be intriguing to see if Carson Wentz can support three fantasy-viable receivers in Washington.
Breece Hall: 10 targets, 6 rec
Michael Carter: 9 targets, 7 rec
Hall didn’t have the most impressive debut, but he was the only rookie to see double-digit targets in Week 1. Carter wasn’t far behind him with just one fewer target. Joe Flacco aired it out a league-high 59 times this week, and 34% of his passes were targeted to running backs. That percentage is likely to go down when Zach Wilson returns, making it tougher to trust the young backfield committee in New York.
Darnell Mooney: 3 targets, 1 rec
Cole Kmet: 1 target, 0 rec
Usually, target totals this low would be a major cause for concern. Mooney averaged 8.2 targets/game last season, and Kmet averaged 5.5 targets/game. However, it’s tough to rack up targets when your quarterback only attempts 17 passes in some of the worst weather conditions you’ll ever see a game played. Both Mooney and Kmet should still see plenty of targets when they aren’t playing in a muddy monsoon.
Najee Harris: 2 targets, 2 rec
Harris tied Austin Ekeler for the target lead among running backs last season with 94, but it appears that won’t be happening again this season. He saw just two targets in Week 1, a career-low. He left the game with a minor foot injury late in the game, but it’s clear that he won’t be seeing the same high volume of dump-off targets as Ben Roethlisberger provided last year. Jaylen Warren, the only other Steeler running back to get on the field, only saw one target in the game.
Allen Robinson: 2 targets, 1 rec
In the midst of all the alarming performances in Week 1, Robinson’s may be the most worrisome. He earned just a pair of targets Thursday, despite running a route on 48 of the Rams’ 49 passing plays. It’s hard not to panic when considering that he saw at least three targets every week in his disastrous final season in Chicago last year. He can still turn in around, but his Los Angeles debut was less than ideal.
Good catch Kevin, I got my Joneses and targets/receptions all mixed up. Fixed now, thanks!
RE: Christian Kirk – “The 12 targets tied his career-high and were twice as many as the next most targeted Jaguar, Marvin Jones.” – What about Zay Jones with 9 targets?