Week 1 Fantasy Football Target Report

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Week 1 went completely as we all expected right? It’s easy to look at a player’s fantasy points and overreact to a single week, especially after all of the work and conjecture that comes with the extended bye week that is the offseason. 

While the points all count the same, not all of the big Week 1 performances should be judged equally. Marquise Brown and John Ross had nearly identical fantasy performances, but the way they were used in their teams’ offense was quite different.

This season I’ll be writing the weekly target report for The Fantasy Footballers. I’ll explore notable target results each week, whether they’re higher or lower than expected. As you may already know, targets are an excellent indicator of a player’s role and potential volume in an offense, even if they don’t always result in a top fantasy performance in a given week. Here’s what stood out in Week 1. 

Jamison Crowder: 17 targets, 14 rec 

Jamison Crowder led the way in targets for the opening week. He battled injuries all of 2018 and joined a new team this offseason, so it may have been easy to forget that he averaged 101 targets over his last two healthy seasons in Washington. He’s clearly Sam Darnold’s favorite target, seeing a massive 41% target share from the second-year QB. He appears to have locked in involvement in the Jets offense moving forward.

Danny Amendola: 13 targets, 7 rec

There wasn’t much made of the Lions signing Danny Amendola this offseason, but he appears to have immediately stepped right into the role that saw Golden Tate average 128 targets per season over his last five years in Detroit. Granted he flourished in a juicy matchup with the hapless Cardinals defense, but Amendola showed that he’ll make an impact in Detroit.

John Ross: 12 targets, 7 rec

Is the John Ross breakout finally upon us? It certainly seems like it after the former high draft pick smashed his career records in yardage, receptions, and you guessed it, targets. Teammate Tyler Boyd actually kept pace with Ross in targets (11) and receptions (8), but Ross showed the big play ability fantasy football owners have been waiting for years to see. He should stay heavily involved in the Bengals offense while A.J. Green remains out, but don’t expect these monster games every week. 

Chris Thompson: 10 targets, 7 rec

So far I’ve only mentioned wideouts here, but work in the passing significantly boosts a running backs fantasy value. Chris Thompson was regarded as one of the top pass-catching running backs in the NFL before injuries hampered him over the better part of the past two seasons. He led Washington with 10 targets on Sunday. That tied Tarik Cohen, who is basically a wide receiver at this point, and was just one behind Christian McCaffery for most running back targets in Week 1. With Derrius Guice set to miss some time with a knee injury and Washington already lacking offensive firepower, Thompson should see plenty of work out of the backfield.

Marquise Brown: 5 targets, 4 rec

Lamar Jackson may have been the fantasy superstar of Week 1, but Marquise Brown was nearly as impressive in his supporting role. As incredible as Brown’s stat line was, fantasy owners will take pause before auto-starting him next week if they notice that he only saw five targets in the game. What’s even more concerning is the fact that he was only on the field for 18% of Baltimore’s offensive plays. Hollywood will probably have a few more blow up games this season, but they’ll be difficult to forecast if he isn’t seeing consistent targets and time on the field.

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Getty Images / Mark Brown

George Kittle: 10 targets, 8 rec

Seeing 10 targets is anything but surprising for Kittle, who was targeted 136 times in 2018. What’s worth noting, however, is that no other player on the 49ers saw more than three targets. Kittle’s day could’ve been even bigger, as he caught two touchdowns that were called back due to penalties. He’s clearly the top target in the 49ers offense, and it isn’t close.

Corey Davis: 3 targets, 0 rec
Adam Humphries: 1 target, 1 rec

If you told me before kickoff that Marcus Mariota would pass for 248 yards and three touchdowns in Week 1, I would’ve gotten at least one of these guys in my lineup. Davis caught at least one pass in every game last season and saw double-digit targets in four games. The number five overall pick from the 2017 draft hasn’t been able to find any type of consistency in his first two seasons, and his third is off to a rough start. 

Meanwhile, Adam Humphries has been a target monster over the past three seasons. He put up back-to-back 83 target seasons before seeing 105 in 2018. Yet in his first game with the Titans Sunday, he saw fewer targets than Derrick Henry, a running back with 50 career targets headed into his fourth season.

Both receivers should see more involvement in the offense moving forward, but they’re awfully hard to trust in your lineup headed into Week 2. 

Adam Thielen: 3 targets, 3 rec

At first glance, you’d probably assume that seeing just three targets is a bad sign for Thielen. Dig a little deeper and you’ll discover that those three targets were good enough for a 30% target share, as Kirk Cousins and the Vikings only attempted 10 passes against Atlanta Sunday. His lowest volume passing game of 2018 was 21 attempts, while he had seven games of 40+ pass attempts. As much as Minnesota wants to lean on their running game, the Week 1 passing output is bound to be an outlier. No need to panic with Thielen.

Geronimo Allison: 0 targets, 0 rec

Geronimo Allison’s goose egg was one of the most disappointing performances of Week 1. He’d appeared to have a good rapport with Aaron Rodgers last season when healthy, but the superstar quarterback never looked his way in the first game of the Matt LaFleur era. It’s too early to give up on Allison for the season, but he couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start. 

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