Welcome to the Target Report, where each week I highlight several key players who jump out to me in terms of their target share.
Amari Cooper: 19 Targets
Cooper was averaging just over 5 targets per game over the last 5 weeks prior to this showing. It was a long enough span that it had many worried and more people probably benched him this week than would care to admit. The biggest takeaway from this monster game was that the Raiders really made an effort to get him going and help break him out of this slump rather than going away from him. He had never been targeted more than 15 times in any one game before and it’s likely that going forward we can expect numbers closer to his career average of 9 targets per game. He always comes with the big play ability and that volume should be enough to make him a weekly starter for fantasy, despite a ton of dropped passes. Those are kinda his thing.
Adam Thielen: 12 Targets
We now have 2 games in a row with double-digit target numbers for Thielen. The big question on everyone’s mind when Bradford went down was, will his volume and role in the offense remain secure, and it feels like we have our answer. Thielen is a very talented WR with the 2nd most targets on third down in the league trailing only Keenan Allen. Now that he and Case Keenum has developed a rapport I think you can just start him every week with confidence regardless of who’s under center.
Javorius Allen: 11 Targets
Allen finished 17th in PPR fantasy points, but first in targets among RBs this week. Since Alex Collins has stepped in for the injured Terrance West, we’ve seen Buck Allen’s carries steadily decrease while his target share has increased. Deciding whether or not to start him in most leagues will likely come down to trying to predict game script. Generally, I would prefer to start him in matchups with high over/under lines when the opposing team is favored.
Cooper Kupp: 10 Targets
He’s a part of the article every week it seems but it’s for good reason. There isn’t a single WR in the NFL with more red zone targets than Cooper Kupp and that’s really about all you need to know. He’s on bye this week, but if he gets dropped in your league because of that, don’t hesitate to snatch him up.
Mohamed Sanu: 10 Targets
Other than the game against Buffalo when he was injured Sanu has commanded at least 6 targets in every game he has played. Granted the TDs haven’t been there, but then again they haven’t been there for any ATL pass catcher. Matt Ryan has been painfully useless for fantasy to a degree that makes fantasy owners want to tear their hair out and stand outside Kyle Shanahan’s bedroom window with a boom box raised overhead. That said most of my optimism for Sanu revolves around the hope that Ryan plays better at some point this season. In the meantime, Sanu is getting enough volume to make him start-worthy as a flex.
Cameron Brate: 9 Targets
OJ Howard made the headlines but Brate got the targets. He’s had at least 8 targets in each of his last 3 games which is the trend I would much rather chase. Technically the 2 TDs for OJ this week made him the 8th highest scoring TE in leagues with non-PPR scoring, which is impressive considering he was averaging exactly 1 reception per game prior to this week. The TE position is a bit of a crapshoot this season, but when hasn’t it been. In the end, I’ll stick with the guy who has 39 targets on the year so far, 11th most in the league despite having played one game fewer than many on that list.
Kenny Stills: 9 Targets
Statistically Kenny Stills has performed better and more predictably with Matt Moore playing QB than he has with either Ryan Tannehill or Jay Cutler. As long as Devante Parker is missing time, I’m fully confident in starting him every week based on volume and even when Parker returns Stills should be remain a flex-worthy option because of his ability as a deep threat combined with Moore’s tendency to take deep shots down the field in his direction.
Marlon Mack: 6 Targets
This may not seem like a lot, but for a rookie player who was expected to make a splash in the passing game this sort of spike is worth pointing out. Mack had only seen 5 total targets in his first 6 games which was really capping his weekly ceiling especially in PPR leagues. In addition to learning the offense, rookies often have to prove that they can pass protect before they see much usage, even if that is what they were brought in to do. I think we’re on the verge of seeing his first game with double-digit targets so if he’s available in your league for whatever reason, go get ‘em.