Fantasy Football: Week 3 Target Report
The first 2 weeks of this article series were spent talking about those players who accumulated a lot of targets. Those are the players we should keep an eye out for. That won’t stop in this Week 3 edition. One thing that will change going forward, however, is the mention of players with surprisingly low target volume. As the season progresses, it will be easier to pick up on certain trends and/or determine if the target volume for each player mentioned is expected or inconsistent. I would like this article series to be a great tool to help you gauge your confidence in a player on your roster and whether or not you should play them every week, drop, or trade them.
Adam Thielen: 19 targets, 14 rec
Apparently, it would not be a week in 2018 without some WR getting 19 targets. For the third week in a row now (Julio Jones, Week 1 & Juju Smith-Schuster, Week 2) we have a WR with 19 targets and this time, it’s Adam Thielen. Thielen is off to a great start this year as he is now 1 of only 2 WRs with 100+ receiving yard games in each of the first 3 games of the season. Week 3 was an interesting one for the Vikings. They found themselves down early and often against the Buffalo Bills. Kirk Cousins continues to look Thielen’s way when the Vikings are winning, losing, tied, it doesn’t matter. Adam Thielen is a locked and loaded start every week, regardless of matchup.
Juju Smith-Schuster: 11 targets, 9 rec
The reason to mention Juju Smith-Schuster this week is to make you aware of what he is doing in this Steelers offense to begin the year. Juju has out targeted Antonio Brown in 2 of the first 3 games of the season, he has only 4 fewer total targets than Brown, and he has 3 more receptions on the year than Brown. Not saying Juju Smith-Schuster is better than Antonio Brown but it is worth calling out for those who believed that last year wasn’t sustainable for Juju. Clearly, he is a key cog in this offense and could easily find himself as a WR1 by year’s end.
Calvin Ridley: 8 targets, 7 rec
Calvin Ridley had the spotlight on him last week as he caught 7 of 8 targets for 146 yards and 3 TDs! He now is tied with A.J. Green for most TD receptions on the season (4). As exciting as this past game was for Ridley, it would not be wise to expect elite games from him on a consistent basis for the rest of the year solely based on this past week. The game was a complete barn burner and both teams had to throw the ball to keep up with each other. There are some great takeaways for Ridley to give you confidence in his role with the Falcons moving forward, however. His target count has increased by 3 each game since Week 1 which is a good sign that Matt Ryan is beginning to trust the young wideout. He now has over 200 yards receiving and 4 TDs in his past 2 games so he has shown us that he is capable of having big impact weeks giving him a pretty lofty ceiling. He is a must-own in all leagues but I’d pay close attention to matchups before automatically rolling him out there week to week.
Tyreek Hill: 5 targets, 2 rec
In a game where the Chiefs scored 38 points and QB, Patrick Mahomes threw the ball 38 times, you’d probably expect Tyreek Hill to be more involved. That wasn’t the case this past Sunday as he was targeted just 5 times and caught just 2 balls for 51 yards. He didn’t completely ruin your day but he wasn’t what you expect out of him each week. He was out-targeted by both Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins, something that could happen this season more often than Hill owners would like. The silver lining for Hill owners is that Tyreek Hill has proven he doesn’t need a ton of volume to produce a great fantasy week. He typically does that on 1 play. It is worth keeping an eye on moving forward that if the Chiefs find themselves up early, Mahomes may not look to take shots at Hill downfield, leaving him with lower floor games as we saw Week 3.
Jamison Crowder: 4 targets, 4 rec
4 seems to be the magic number for Crowder. He has 4 targets in each of his first 3 games. It does give us some kind of floor (a very low floor) for Crowder but could potentially be a little too close to his ceiling as well. This is not something Crowder believers want to hear. Unfortunately, the volume just hasn’t been there for Crowder. He did turn things on later in the season in 2017 so maybe there is a world where that happens again. For now, Crowder should not be in your fantasy football starting lineups until he can at least double his single-game target count of 4.
Alvin Kamara: 20 targets, 15 rec
Kamara continues to prove that he isn’t capable of having a bad day. He was the leader in targets and receptions in Week 3 and he more than doubled the target count of any other RB this past week. He combined his 15 receptions with another 16 rushing attempts! Granted, that rushing number should decrease a bit once Mark Ingram returns Week 5. Obviously, Kamara is an every week starter, you don’t need me to tell you that. Just thought he was worth a shout out for his receiving game skills this past week.
Christian McCaffrey: 2 targets, 2 rec
It was opposite day for CMC! Typically known for his production in receiving, McCaffrey dominated on the ground with 28 carries for 184 rushing yards. He was only targeted twice, catching both for a dismal 10 receiving yards. I’m not sure what the Panthers were doing this week with McCaffrey but it was working. Maybe the Bengals weren’t expecting McCaffrey to run the ball so much and as a result, CMC ate up the groundwork. I’d be very surprised to see the Panthers install this type of game plan with McCaffrey on a consistent basis moving forward. He is most effective through the air. The second McCaffrey cannot gain ground in the run game, his target totals will regress back to the mean.
Eric Ebron: 11 targets, 5 rec
Double-digit targets for a TE2 on his own team definitely stands out. But don’t expect too much from Ebron moving forward. Eric Ebron gained just 33 yards in Week 3 and caught less than 50% of the balls thrown to him. This was clearly a result of Jack Doyle not playing. With 11 targets, Ebron didn’t do himself any good a far as earning more looks from Andrew Luck moving forward. Although the number of targets was impressive, especially for a TE, it was a lot of fluff. Ebron is nothing more than a desperate streaming option.