Fantasy Football Target Trends for Week 16

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Welcome to the target trends article headed into Week 16! With Week 15 finally, mercifully, behind us, let’s start to analyze and move forward. Hopefully, you survived and are still in pursuit of a #FootClanTitle. Even if you’re not, this is a good time to remind you that staying on top of the trends over the last few weeks and through the NFL playoffs can make all the difference when you begin to prepare for next season.

As I began writing this intro before the TuesdayNightFootball.com games kicked off, Cooper Kupp already led the NFL in targets with 151. When the dust finally settled on Week 15, Kupp had totaled 164 targets on the season, maintaining his 20 target lead on Tyreek Hill,  The tight end target race is more compelling, as Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews are tied at 122 apiece. The next closest is Mike Gesicki, all the way down with 98. Leonard Fournette leads all running backs with 84, but he’ll likely be surpassed in the final weeks while sidelined with his hamstring injury.

But enough about the season-long leaders, let’s take a look at the most telling target performances from Week 15.

Marquise Brown – 14 targets, 10 rec
Mark Andrews – 13 targets, 10 rec

The 14 targets that Brown saw against Green Bay in Week 15 tied his career-high, while Andrews tied his career-high of 13 targets for the second time this season. Baltimore has a heavily concentrated passing attack, with Brown and Andrews accounting for a 51% share on the season. They each have over 120 targets, while no other Raven has yet to top 50. 

Tyreek Hill – 13 targets, 12 rec
Travis Kelce – 13 targets, 10 rec

The Kansas City offense mirrors Baltimore, as their top wideout and stud tight end account for a 50% target share. With three games left, Hill has already seen double-digit targets nine times this year and set a career-high with his 144 total targets. Kelce still has a ways to go to reach his career-high, needing 28 targets over his last three games to match it, but the 13 against the Chargers last Thursday were his season-high.

Christian Kirk – 12 targets, 9 rec
Zach Ertz – 11 targets, 6 rec

With DeAndre Hopkins out for the rest of the fantasy season, there were plenty of targets to go around for the Cardinals in a bizarre negative game script against Detroit. Kirk led the way with 12, which is the most he’s seen all season and ties his career-high from 2019. It was also the first time Ertz saw double-digit targets since Week 4 of the 2020 season. It’s worth noting that A.J. Green and Antoine Wesley saw a healthy eight targets apiece in Arizona’s loss.

Jakobi Meyers – 12 targets, 6 rec
Hunter Henry – 8 targets, 6 rec

Meyers was featured in this article series several times early in the season, but this is his first appearance since Week 4. That’s also the last time he saw double-digit targets in a game. He’s up to 102 targets on the season, far surpassing the 81 he saw last year. As for Henry, the eight targets on Saturday tied his season-high from back in Week 5.

Amon-Ra St. Brown – 11 targets, 8 rec 

According to NBA Jam rules, the Sun God is officially on fire! St. Brown has seen at least 11 targets in three consecutive games, a massive increase compared to the 4.7 targets/game he averaged from Weeks 1-12. He was one of the few bright spots in the first round of the fantasy playoffs and could be a league winner if he keeps up at this pace.

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Russell Gage – 11 targets, 8 rec

Gage has seen ten or more targets just twice this season, but both games have come over the last three weeks. Going back to Week 11, he’s averaged 8.8 targets/game over the last five weeks and produced three top-12 fantasy finishes over that span.

D.J. Moore – 11 targets, 6 rec

Moore continues to make the most of Carolina’s miserable quarterback situation. He’s commanding a 28.5% team target share and has the seventh-most targets in the entire NFL but has only been able to turn that volume into the WR17 on the season. That isn’t a terrible fantasy rank, but you have to wonder how many points he could put up if he was attached to a consistently good passer.

Rob Gronkowski – 11 targets, 2 rec

Gronk was essentially the last Buccaneer pass-catcher left by the end of the Sunday night game, so it makes sense that it was his most-targeted outing as a Buccaneer. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Leonard Fournette could all be missing in Week 16, have combined for 311 targets on the season. There should be ample opportunity for the remaining pass-catchers in Tampa Bay.

Michael Pittman – 5 targets, 1 rec

With nearly 40 more targets than any other Colt, Pittman is clearly Indy’s top option in the passing game. The problem in Week 15, however, is that it’s tough to rack up targets when your team only attempts 12 passes in a game. His five targets accounted for a 42% target share, but that only translated to one catch for seven yards.

Diontae Johnson – 5 targets, 5 rec

Johnson was a certified dud in Week 15, posting his lowest target total since Week 2. At least in that game, he salvaged his fantasy day by turning one of his targets into a 50-yard touchdown. Fantasy managers weren’t so lucky this time. Johnson posted his lowest fantasy output since Week 14 of last season when he was infamously benched due to a bad case of the drops.

Hunter Renfrow – 5 targets, 3 rec

The last time Renfrow was targeted five or fewer times was Week 11, which was also the last week that Darren Waller played a full game with the Raiders. Over the next three games without Waller, Renfrow averaged 11 targets/game. That changed in Week 15, as he was out-targeted by teammates Zay Jones and Foster Moreau, who each had nine. 

Ja’Marr Chase – 4 targets, 1 rec
Tee Higgins – 3 targets, 2 rec

Chase and Higgins each have a healthy 24% target share on the season, and each of them left fantasy managers disappointed in Week 15. It was the first time this season that the dynamic receiver duo didn’t combine for at least ten targets in a game played together, and the first time neither of them saw at least five targets.

Brandon Aiyuk – 2 targets,1 rec
Jauan Jennings – 6 targets, 3 rec 

The roller coaster that is Aiyuk’s 2021 season continued in Week 15. After seeing double-digit targets for the first time of the season in Week 14, he followed it up with just two targets. That’s his lowest total since Week 7. Meanwhile, Jauan Jennings set a new career-high with six targets, one of which he hauled in for his third career touchdown.

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Check here for all the season-long target leaders.

 

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