Fantasy Football: Week 3 Target Report

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Welcome to the target report, where each week I highlight several key players that jump out to me in terms of their target share. We are through 3 weeks this season, which is still very early, but with a growing sample size, we can finally start to look at things like 3rd down and red zone target trends as well.

Larry Fitzgerald: 15 Targets

We had a three-way tie for the most targeted pass catcher in Week 3, but we begin with Fitz who now leads the league in total red zone targets with 8. This was largely a product of necessity given all of the injuries to Carson Palmer’s pass-catching options. The old man is nearly the only healthy and relevant option left and is still a nightmare to cover. I don’t know how long the 34-year-old can sustain this type of production, but it should be fun while it lasts.

Doug Baldwin: 15 Targets

Russell Wilson had a career-high 49 pass attempts this week which was the most of any QB. For reference, Tom Brady who had 5 passing TDs only threw the ball 35 times. Historically, the Seahawks have been more about efficiency than volume when it comes to their passing attack, but playing behind a bad offensive line has seemingly forced them to make some adjustments. Doug Baldwin has only seen more than 15 targets once in his entire career and if he continues to see this type of volume he should remain a locked and loaded WR1 when healthy. That being said, he did suffer a groin injury this week that should be monitored.

Emmanuel Sanders: 15 Targets

Of the 3 WRs that had 15  targets, this is the one that is most likely to go unnoticed since he caught less than half of them and did not find the end zone. Still, that sort of target share should not be ignored even when it doesn’t lead to huge production. Emmanuel Sanders remains a reliable weekly starter for fantasy just as he has been for the better part of the last 4 years.

Ty Montgomery: 12 Targets

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He finished as the most targeted RB in Week 3 despite not having a ton of production. Either way, he’s the bell cow RB for an Aaron Rodgers lead offense who is heavily involved in the passing game. What else do you really need to know?

Rishard Matthews: 10 Targets

With Corey Davis out it stood to reason that Rishard Matthews would be a strong play this week and he did not disappoint. His 10 targets were more than the rest of the WR corps combined. Marcus Mariota seems to have developed a good rapport with Matthews who has 12 targets on 3rd-down through the first 3 games, tied with Golden Tate for the most in the league.

Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images

Sterling Shepard: 10 Targets

The Giants offense was definitely higher functioning with Odell Beckham Jr in the lineup and healthy. They’re still more or less a train wreck with no offensive line or ground game to speak of, but that doesn’t necessarily preclude fantasy production in the passing game. Sterling Shepard is still very much a scoring threat on any given week with 6 red zone targets this year, the 3rd most in the league. That said, there are a lot of mouths to feed in that passing attack that is lead by the often volatile fantasy option that is Eli Manning. Shepard is likely to remain a boom-or-bust play going forward.

Jimmy Graham: 11 Targets

After missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday with an ankle injury, there was plenty of reason to be skeptical about playing Graham this week. However, as I mentioned earlier Russell Wilson set his career high in single-game passing attempts so naturally, he got his go-to TE involved. Tied with Zach Ertz for the 3rd most targets on third down, Graham is one of the only TE options that feels even remotely reliable on a weekly basis. Until further notice, as long as he’s active, he’s going to be in my lineup.

Jermaine Gresham: 9 Targets

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Big Gresh has always been a pretty talented pass catcher. However, the Cardinals offense historically has not utilized the position to any degree that made you feel comfortable relying on any Arizona TE for fantasy. This situation is definitely worth monitoring given that every relevant pass catcher not named Larry Fitzgerald is some type of injured.

Chris Thompson: 7 Targets

This was the 2nd straight week with 7 targets for Thompson. He’s had games with 8 to 11 targets a few times in his career, but never with enough consistency that it demanded fantasy owners play him. That would appear to be changing given that the 2 early-down backs in front of him are both injured and Terrelle Pryor, who was meant to the #1 option in the passing game, has been very underwhelming. I think that it’s time we looked at Thompson as a weekly PPR flex option the same way that we view Theo Riddick, Tarik Cohen, etc

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