Fantasy Football Target Trends: Week 4

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The data continues to pile up, and while I prefer to look at the season in four-week chunks, at least we know more now than we did a week ago regarding target trends.

Three weeks in and coming as a shock to nobody, Davante Adams is atop the NFL target leader board with 34 targets. Darren Waller and his 33 targets continue to lead tight ends, even though the 19 he saw in Week 1 are still more than the 14 combined from that past two weeks. Najee Harris, this week’s most targeted player, supplanted D’Andre Swift as the most targeted running back with 27 through three weeks.  

But enough about the season-long leaders, let’s take a look at the most telling target performances from Week 3. 

Najee Harris: 19 targets, 14 rec

Have a day Najee! The rookie became just the fifth running back to see 18 or more targets in a game since the stat started getting tracked in 1992. His 19 targets Sunday fell just one short of the record 20 seen by Alvin Kamara in 2018. Harris had only seen eight targets combined over the first two weeks, but with Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster dealing with injuries, Harris should continue to get peppered with targets.

Davante Adams: 18 targets, 12 rec

Adams is no stranger to getting hyper-targeted. He’s averaged 10.9 targets/game since the 2018 season. The 18 targets he saw this week were the most for him since 2018, but it wasn’t a career-high; he was targeted 21 times way back in Week 9 of 2015. Back to the current 2021 season, he’s the NFL target leader through three weeks and could realistically hold the title all season long.

Chase Claypool: 15 targets, 9 rec

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Najee Harris wasn’t the only Steeler with double-digit targets in Week 3. Claypool set a new career-high in both targets and receptions. He leads Pittsburgh in targets with 29 through three weeks, and that isn’t likely to change anytime soon given the health status of Diontae Johnson and JuJu-Smith-Schuster.

Jakobi Meyers: 14 targets, 9 rec

Mac Jones threw the ball 51 times in the Week 3 loss to New Orleans, and 14 of those attempts were directed towards Meyers. He leads the Patriots with 29 targets on the season, good enough for nearly a 25% team target share. Despite all the targets, Meyers has yet to score a touchdown. The fact that he’s been targeted 151 times over his career thus far and still hasn’t found the endzone is bizarre.

Jaylen Waddle: 13 targets, 12 rec
Mike Gesicki: 12 targets, 10 rec

Jacoby Brissett has thrown the ball 89 times over the last two games, and Waddle has been his go-to receiver. He’s seen his targets increase each of the first three weeks of the season. Even the debut of Will Fuller didn’t slow him down. Meanwhile, Gesicki was right behind him with 12 targets that he turned into a career-high ten catches.

Michael Pittman: 12 targets, 6 rec

Pittman appeared in last week’s Target Trends article, but he’s worth mentioning again here this week. He’s seen 12 targets in back-to-back weeks but what’s more impressive is his raw target share, which has topped 33% in both weeks. The touchdowns haven’t come yet, but as long as he remains the focal point of Indy’s passing game, they will soon enough. 

Giovani Bernard: 10 targets, 9 rec

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After seeing just five targets over the first two weeks, it certainly didn’t look like the “James White” role was in the cards for Bernard with Tom Brady. In Week 3, however, we got to see how he’s used when Brady and the Buccaneers are in catch-up mode. It was the first time since 2016 that Bernard saw double-digit targets. While the target increase is a great sign, his status needs to be monitored after he suffered a knee injury at the end of the game.

Kalif Raymond: 10 targets, 6 rec

It’s surprising to find Raymond in this article. The journeyman wideout on his fifth team in as many years had never seen more than four targets in a game before Sunday. He led the Lions in targets on the week and is now the third-most targeted player on the team behind just D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson. He’s nothing more than a PPR longshot at this point, but he’s a name that should be on fantasy radars.

Brandon Aiyuk: 6 targets, 4 rec

Finally! Signs of life from Aiyuk! Six targets aren’t typically worth mentioning in this article, but that total was enough to triple his target output on the season. He was still third on the 49ers in targets behind Deebo Samuel (10) and George Kittle (9), but Aiyuk was the one of the three to find the end zone. This was the game that his fantasy managers needed to see. 

Kyle Pitts: 3 targets, 2 rec

Through three weeks, Pitts is trending in the wrong direction. He was targeted eight times during his Week 1 debut and six times in Week 2 before his meager Week 3 performance. His snap percentage has gone up every week, but it hasn’t translated to more usage. There are likely brighter days ahead for the rookie tight end, but it may take longer than his fantasy managers had hoped.

Robby Anderson: 2 targets, 1 rec

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Anderson led Carolina with a career-high 136 targets last season. Now, after three games, he’s on pace for just 63 targets in 2021 despite an extra game on the schedule. He can still potentially put up a week’s worth of fantasy points in a single play, but he looks to be more of a boom/bust option than a reliable receiver you can trust from week to week.

Check here for all the season-long target leaders.

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