Fantasy Football Target Trends for Week 9
Welcome to the target trends article for Week 9! We’re in the heart of the season and dealing with multiple teams on bye over the next few weeks. Target trends are more important than ever when searching for startable fantasy options. As usual, this article will start with the overall target trends for the season.
We have a new overall leader this week as Stefon Diggs and his 90 targets bypass Puka Nacua by a single target. Diggs is only second on a per-game basis, however, as Ja’Marr Chase still leads the way with 12.1 targets/game.
T.J. Hockenson and Travis Kelce remain tied at tight end with 68 targets each, but Kelce has a slight advantage at 9.7 targets/game due to missing the season opener. Even Engram remains in third overall at 61 targets.
With 44 targets on the season, Alvin Kamara has passed up Josh Jacobs by one target. Of course, Kamara has played three fewer games than Jacobs due to his three-game suspension to start the season. At his current rate of 8.8 targets/game, Kamara is poised to run away with the target lead at the position.
I’ll continue leading off this article with season-long target leaders, but for now, let’s check out this week’s target trends heading into Week 9.
CeeDee Lamb: 14 targets, 8 rec
The Cowboys may have spent their bye week realizing they need to get their best player involved because he exploded with his season-high 14 targets in Week 8. He had a season-high 41% team target share, raising his rate on the year up to 25%. The Lamb-focused offense rolled against the Rams, so it stands to reason that Dallas will continue to prioritize his involvement.
Diontae Johnson: 14 targets, 8 rec
This is the Diontae Johnson we all remember. He saw double-digit targets in eight games last season while averaging 8.6 targets/game. He’s now seen 20 targets in his first two fully healthy games of the season, which has equated to a 32% target share. George Pickens, Pittsburgh’s overall target leader, has seen a 31% share over that same span.
D.K. Metcalf: 14 targets, 5 rec
After sitting out with hip and rib injuries last week, Metcalf fell just one target shy of his career-high. Unfortunately, they turned into just five catches for 67 yards. His 7.7 targets/game this season are slightly outpacing Tyler Locket and his 7.0 targets/game. They are both well ahead of Jaxsn Smith-Njigba, who is at 5.1 targets/game.
Trey McBride: 14 targets, 10 rec
McBride made the most out of his opportunity in the first week with teammate Zach Ertz on IR. He had just 15 targets in the first six games of the season but has now seen 20 over the last two. He’s already well on his way to surpassing the 39 targets he saw as a rookie last season.
Hill, the current WR1 on the season, is the third-most targeted player in the NFL and has seen at least nine targets in seven of Miami’s eight games. Waddle started the season slow but has averaged 9.3 targets/game over the last four weeks. The two stud WRs have accounted for 140 of the 269 targets in Miami’s offense through eight games, even with Waddle missing Week 3.
Pittman is having a career year so far. He’s on pace for 166 targets on the season, which would blow away his career-best 141 from last year. He’s seen double-digit targets in five of his eight games but has also seen just five targets in two separate games. As for Downs, his 56 targets are fourth most among rookies, trailing only Puka Nacua (89), Zay Flowers (61), and Sam LaPorta (59).
Wilson is one of the top target hogs in the NFL this season. He hasn’t had the same pure volume as Ja’Marr Chase, but the two are tied with a league-high 33.5% team target share. His teammate Hall led all RBs in Week 8 and saw a season-high nine targets, a mark he hit twice in his six healthy games as a rookie last season.
The 12 targets to Diggs, the league leader, are no surprise. It’s more shocking to see Davis match him. He’s only topped 12 targets once in his career when 14 went his way in Week 18 of 2021. Davis is now averaging 5.9 targets/game, though he has been targeted five or fewer times in five of eight games.
It was a season-high 12 targets for McLaurin, and while you love to see it, that isn’t the biggest takeaway from Washington’s Week 8 game. Dotson saw a career-high ten targets, and he turned them into the WR7 performance of the week. He averaged just 5.2 targets/game over the first six weeks, bottoming out with just a single target in Week 6. but that has increased to 9.0 targets/game over the last two weeks.
George Kittle: 11 targets, 9 rec
Kittle has been a big part of the San Fransisco game plan with Deebo Samuel out. He’s totaled 18 targets over the past two games with Deebo sidelined. That’s one more than the 17 he combined for over the previous four games. Brandon Aiyuk and Christian McCaffrey remained involved, but their targets didn’t seem as affected by Deebo’s presence.
Only three targets separate the trio of pass catchers on the season, with 58 for Ridley, 60 for Kirk, and 61 for Engram. That’s good enough for over a 21% team target share for each of them. Ridley and Kirk have been less consistent on a week-to-week basis, while Engram has seen 7+ targets in seven consecutive games. He’s on pace for 130 targets, which would top his career high of 115 that he set as a rookie in 2017.
Nacua and Kupp are only separated by one target in the four games they’ve played together, with Kupp narrowly ahead. However, Kupp has only been able to turn 21 of his 38 targets into receptions, while Puka has converted 22 of his 37. The two Ram target hogs could each be in even more trouble now that Matthew Stafford is dealing with a thumb injury.
Austin Ekeler: 8 targets, 7 rec
After limited production in his first two games from his ankle injury, Ekeler finally put up the kind of performance we expect from last year’s reigning RB1. Most of his production came through the air, where he turned seven of his season-high eight targets into 94 yards and a touchdown. With Joshua Palmer banged up and Quentin “Quge” Johnson failing to live up to his first-round draft capital so far, Ekeler will likely continue to get work in the passing game moving forward.
Saquon Barkley: 5 targets, 3 rec
You would think leading his team in targets would have led to a massive fantasy outing for Barkley, but while his five targets were the most for the Giants in Week 8, they turned into just three catches for zero(!) yards. Barkley saved his day with the most rush attempts by any player this season, and his receiving line is more of an indictment on New York’s QB and WR situation.