Welcome to the target report, where each week I highlight several key players that jump out to me in terms of their target share and also look in on some situations that are regarded as somewhat murky from a fantasy perspective.
Dez Bryant: 16 Targets
We begin with the most targeted pass catcher in football for Week 2. Dez faced a tough matchup in the Denver Broncos, wearing Aqib Talib like an itchy sweater for most of the game. Fortunately for fantasy owners that did not stop Dak Prescott from peppering him with enough targets that he nearly guaranteed fantasy relevance. The volume was encouraging, however, the efficiency was concerning. In his first two games, Dez has a 36% catch rate, a number which will have to improve or we will surely see a decrease in target share. He has another tough date with the Arizona secondary this week.
Jason Witten: 13 Targets
Speaking of the Dallas Cowboys, Jason Witten continues to get it done both in real football and for fantasy purposes. He continues to be Dak Prescott’s reliable safety blanket just as he was a season ago. He was especially necessary this week with slot corner Chris Harris Jr. covering his other favorite underneath target Cole Beasley.
Tarik Cohen: 9 Targets
For the second week in a row, Tarik Cohen was the most targeted RB in the NFL. His second performance was much less inspiring than his first in terms of fantasy points, but the blame hardly falls on him personally. The Chicago Bears offense is just plain bad. Jordan Howard is banged up, the WR corps is a joke, and their QB Mike Glennon, who probably wouldn’t be good even in an ideal scenario, appears completely out of his depth. The good news for Cohen owners is that the Bears will continue to be trailing in most every game they play, which should continue to make Cohen a pretty safe volume play with some upside if he can break off some big plays.
Jarvis Landry: 15 Targets
With all the pre-season hype around Jay Cutler and his love for big bodied outside receivers and inevitable connection Devante Parker, we sort of forgot that Jarvis Landry was in town. He reminded us with 13 receptions on 15 targets making him the second most targeted WR for Week 2. Personally, I believe this to be the result of the Dolphin’s wisely taking advantage of the absence of CB Jason Verrett. This left their other great CB Casey Hayward covering Parker for most of the game which opened things up for Landry. It was nice to see that Cutler would go to Landry when he needs to instead of locking onto Parker. It was also encouraging that Parker still had 9 targets even in a game where Landry was the better option of the two.
Alshon Jeffery: 13 Targets
Alshon Jeffery owners were able to let out a huge collective sigh of relief on this one. It was nice to see Alshon getting double-digit targets with his new team after a lackluster Week 1 opener where he had a measly 3 catches on 7 targets. Meanwhile, Nelson Agholor who stole the show last week finished with only 3 targets. Alshon is the clear #1 option for this team that is currently struggling to get anything going with their ground game. The offensive line has looked strong so far, allowing Carson Wentz the second most amount of time to throw according to NFL’s next-gen stats. If Alshon continues to see this around this many targets he could shoot up the fantasy rankings very quickly.
Benjamin Watson: 8 Targets
The Ravens this week seemed to finally realize what many of us believed to be true the second that Dennis Pitta and Crockett Gillmore went down with injuries, which is that Benjamin Watson is now the most viable pass catching TE on the roster. This offense facilitated the most receptions and the third most targets for a single TE just one season ago. If Flacco comes to rely on Watson in the Dennis Pitta role, then you could have a steady, safe and reliable weekly TE sitting on waivers right now.
Jack Doyle: 8 Targets
A solid pass catching TE is a young QBs best friend as Jacoby Brissett proved this week. I will be the first to admit that when it became evident Andrew Luck was going to miss significant time, I left Doyle for dead. After 8 receptions on 8 targets, I’m starting to think I did so a bit prematurely. He still doesn’t have the same upside that he did with Luck at the helm, but in a week where a lot of fantasy owners lost their best options at TE due to injury, Doyle showed that he is still a viable streaming option. Plus Luck is coming back at some point this year, maybe, we hope.
Hunter Henry: 7 Targets
Speaking of leaving TEs for dead, put away your shovels people, it’s not yet time to bury Hunter Henry just yet. The second-year TE who was a standout as a rookie came back with a vengeance in Week 2 after going without a single reception in Week 1. If I had to guess, and I suppose I do, I would say that this is closer to what we can expect from Henry on a weekly basis. I believe in the talent without a doubt and believe that the volume will be there more often than not. Antonio Gates, if you’re reading this, you’ve had your time, you got your record now sit back, relax, and let’s see what the kid can do.