Targets Per Route Run Report: Week 2 (Fantasy Football)
This is the first article in a series where we’ll be looking at Targets per Route Run (TPRR) for wide receivers, both for the current week and the season overall. To learn more about TPRR and why it’s a useful tool, check out Kyle Borgognoni‘s primer and my 2022 season preview.
The first week of the NFL season is a very small sample size. On the one hand, we don’t want to overreact. At the same time, it’s easy to hand-wave early warning signs. Each week, I’ll highlight 3-5 players or teams that stand out in a positive way, and I’ll do the same on the worrying side of the spectrum. After a few weeks, we’ll build out our season leaders list and identify potential targets for your roster.
Week 1 TPRR Recap
The most challenging thing about this Week 1 report is deciding which data is relevant. With only one game played, it’s challenging to set a minimum target or routes-run threshold. After all, I’m looking for players who did a lot with a little or did nothing despite seeing a lot of playing time. To cut through the noise, let’s look at a table from both ends of the TPRR spectrum.
Here’s a look at the top-25 players in TPRR (min. 10 routes run)
1. Elites are gonna elite
I won’t point t this out every week, but there are a lot of familiar names near the top of this list. So far, it seems like all the hand-wringing for star receivers on new teams was for naught. Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill were downright selfish in the targets department to kick off the season, and A.J. Brown‘s 11 targets are great news for fantasy managers who drafted him as their WR1. Save some for the rest of us, boys.
2. Non-elites are gonna do their thing, too
As we always say, targets are earned. Diontae Johnson, Christian Kirk, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Jarvis Landry all find themselves with new teams (or quarterbacks for Johnson), but each player commanded a top-25 TPRR in Week 1. None blew up the score sheet, but I’d be targeting them before they do.
3. Ashton Dulin might be the WR2 in Indianapolis
It didn’t show in the final stat line, but Ashton Dulin out-targeted Alec Pierce and Parris Campbell despite running a fraction of the routes of either. It’s too early to say for sure, but a 43% TPRR is encouraging on a strong Colts offense. The team was playing catch-up in the second half against Houston so keep that in mind.
Three Red Flags
1. Buffalo could drive you nuts
First, why don’t we call the Bills receivers the “Buffalo Wings”? Let’s get that going ASAP. Isaiah McKenzie scored on Thursday Night Football, but Jamison Crowder‘s 33% TPRR indicates there could be more of a split out of the slot. Gabriel Davis is a legitimate deep-ball threat and was on the field the entire game. He’ll have boom games, but 5 targets on 38 routes run make him more of a boom-bust player. Josh Allen has his #1 target in Stefon Diggs, but the rest of the Buffalo Wings will likely be touchdown or game script-dependent.
2. Yes, Allen Robinson (4% TPRR) should worry you
It was an offseason of redemption for Allen Robinson, but he started 2022 the same way he finished 2021. Despite running roughly the same number of routes as Cooper Kupp, Robinson was only targeted twice. The good news is that almost everyone on the Rams looked terrible, and Los Angeles won’t be facing the Bills defense every week. It’s too early to panic, but Matthew Stafford has a history of over-targeting his WR1. The hope is that defenses keying in on Cooper Kupp will open opportunities for Robinson. If Week 1 is any indication, Cooper Kupp‘s 30% TPRR could leave only scraps for the rest of the receivers.
3. Brandon Aiyuk | 2 targets on 38 routes run
After emerging from the infamous Shanahan doghouse in 2021, Brandon Aiyuk started 2022 playing 99% of the offensive snaps. He ran more routes than Deebo Samuel. He only managed two targets from Trey Lance, and that’s with George Kiittle sidelined and the 49ers’ run game in flux. Week 1 could be an outlier with the brutal weather in Chicago, but it’s a troubling sign for Aiyuk on a San Francisco offense that doesn’t project to pass much anyway.