Fantasy Football Target Report for the 2020 Season

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Before the season started I wrote an article previewing what to expect from the Weekly Target Report series. In brief, I emphasized the importance of following target trends to identify consistent fantasy performers throughout the season. As you’ll find in this season recap, that methodology tended to work out pretty well in 2020, though there are always exceptions. The quality, location, and consistency of targets play a vital role when diving into the data, which can also vary by position. Continue reading to see how targets factored into the 2020 fantasy football season.

Most Targeted Players
Player Targets Target/game Team Target Share Fantasy Finish
Stefon Diggs 166 10.4 29.6% WR3
DeAndre Hopkins 160 10.0 29.0% WR5
Allen Robinson 151 9.4 26.4% WR12
Davante Adams 149 10.6 34.5% WR1
Keenan Allen 147 10.5 26.8% WR14
Travis Kelce 145 9.7 25.1% WR4*
Darren Waller 145 9.1 27.7% WR8*
Diontae Johnson 144 9.6 23.9% WR23
Calvin Ridley 143 9.5 24.8% WR4
Robby Anderson 136 8.5 26.3% WR24

* Finish denotes where the player would’ve finished among wide receivers 

Despite the preseason narrative, changing teams in the offseason definitely didn’t have any negative effects for Stefon Diggs or DeAndre Hopkins. As the two most targeted players in the league, they were both exceptionally consistent for the entirety of the marathon that is the 16-game NFL season.

While the duo of Diggs and Hopkins led the way in overall targets, Davante Adams and Keenan Allen both topped them in targets/game. What Adams accomplished in just 14 games was remarkable. He finished as the WR1 on the season and his 10.6 targets/game were the most in the NFL. It’s actually the same rate he was targeted at last season when he only played in 12 games. His 34.5% team target share was easily the highest in the NFL and even topped the 32% that Michael Thomas saw during his record-setting 2019 campaign. If Adams can play a full 16-game season in 2021 he could take down records.

Most Targeted Tight Ends
Player Targets Target/game Team Target Share Fantasy Finish
Travis Kelce 145 9.7 25.1% TE1
Darren Waller 145 9.1 27.7% TE2
Logan Thomas 110 6.9 19.1% TE6
Evan Engram 109 6.8 22.1% TE16
T.J. Hockenson 101 6.3 18.6% TE4
Hunter Henry 93 6.6 17.0% TE13
Noah Fant 93 6.2 18.6% TE12
Eric Ebron 91 6.1 14.9% TE15
Dalton Schultz 89 5.6 13.9% TE14
Mark Andrews 88 6.3 24.2% TE5

When it comes to tight ends, Travis Kelce and Darren Waller are in a tier of their own. They finished with the same amount of targets on the season, but Kelce got there without playing in Week 17. If he had suited up, he would’ve had a shot at the all-time tight end target record of 156 set by Zach Ertz in 2018.

It gets ugly after Kelce and Waller. While targets are arguably the best indicator of fantasy consistency for wideouts and running backs, it’s clear that they can’t be trusted as much for tight ends. Evan Engram had the fourth most targets at the position but finished all the way down at TE16 on the season. Meanwhile, Robert “TD” Tonyan finished as the TE3 on the season despite being just the 24th most targeted tight end.

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Most Targeted Running Backs
Player Targets Target/game Team Target Share Fantasy Finish
J.D. McKissic 110 6.9 18.7% RB24
Alvin Kamara 107 7.1 22.9% RB1
Nyheim Hines 76 4.8 13.8% RB20
Ezekiel Elliott 71 4.7 12.5% RB11
Mike Davis 70 4.7 14.3% RB15
David Montgomery 68 4.5 11.2% RB4
Chase Edmonds 67 4.2 12.6% RB28
Austin Ekeler 65 6.5 16.9% RB29
Aaron Jones 63 4.5 14.4% RB5
James White 62 4.4 17.3%

RB47

 

It was a down year for pass-catching running backs. Last season four backs cracked the 100 target threshold and two more had at least 95. Nyheim Hines finished as the third most targeted back with 76 targets this season, a number that would’ve put him eighth overall for backs last season. 

After Week 10 Kamara was on pace to tie Christian McCaffrey’s NFL record of 142 targets set last season. When Taysom Hill stepped in for the injured drew Brees from Weeks 11-14, Kamara totaled just 16 targets over four games. It wasn’t a total let down of course, as Kamara finished as the RB1 on the season and won #FootClanTitles for plenty of managers with his six TDs on the ground in Week 16.

If he had been healthy all season, Austin Ekeler would’ve likely joined Kamara and McKissic in the 100 target club. His 6.5 targets/game works out to a pace of 104 on the season, and that includes the Week 4 game where he played just three snaps before leaving with the injury that would cost him six games.

Most Targeted Rookies
Player Targets Target/game Team Target Share Fantasy Finish
Justin Jefferson 125 7.8 25.3% WR6
Jerry Jeudy 113 7.1 21.5% WR44
CeeDee Lamb 111 6.9 18.3% WR20
Chase Claypool 109 6.8 16.1% WR19
Tee Higgins 108 6.8 19.6% WR30
Darnell Mooney 98 6.1 15.3% WR51
Brandon Aiyuk 96 8.0 22.9% WR33
Laviska Shenault 79 5.6 14.7% WR47
Gabriel Davis 62 3.9 10.5% WR54
Michael Pittman Jr. 61 4.7 14.3% WR81

It was a banner year for the highly touted rookie wideout class of 2020. Five rookies saw at least 100 targets in 2020, something that only DK Metcalf (barely) accomplished last season. Brandon Aiyuk also deserves some recognition for totaling 96 while only playing in 12 games.

Of course, Justin Jefferson was the star of the class with his record-setting 1,400 receiving yards. From a targets perspective, his 125 were the most by a rookie since Amari Cooper’s 130 back in 2015.

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For what it’s worth, Cole Kmet led all rookie tight ends with 44 targets. Ironically enough, that’s the same number of targets that his veteran teammate Jimmy Graham(pa) saw a decade ago.

Most High-Value Targets
Player Red Zone Targets Ten Zone Targets
Davante Adams 25 18
Travis Kelce 23 15
Darren Waller 23 12
Calvin Ridley 20 10
Jimmy Graham 20 12
Adam Thielen 19 12
Tyreek Hill 19 12
Mike Evans 18 14
Allen Robinson 18 8
Eric Ebron 18 8

The most valuable targets in fantasy football come in the red zone and ten-zone, so it’s no surprise to see Davante Adams out in front for both areas of the field. Adam Thielen, Mike Evans, and Tyreek Hil stick out as players that weren’t in the top ten most targeted players but finished top-ten in fantasy points, demonstrating that the location of targets is often more valuable than the overall number of targets.

Top 10 Single Week Performances

20 targets – Tyler Lockett, Week 7
20 targets – Cooper Kupp, Week 8
19 targets – Keenan Allen, Week 3
19 targets – Keenan Allen, Week 11
18 targets – Tyreek Hill, Week 9
17 targets – Davante Adams, Week 1
17 targets – Darren Waller, Week 13
16 targets – 11 separate occurrences

The players with the top two single-game target performances of the season didn’t show up anywhere else in this article. Tyler Lockett ended with a respectable 132 targets and WR9 finish on the season, while Cooper Kupp totaled 124 targets and finished as the WR27.

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