The first round of the fantasy playoffs was brutal for some of the NFL’s target hogs. Four of the top 24 target leaders on the season, Mike Evans, DeVante Parker, DJ Chark, and Calvin Ridley, exited with injuries and may not be ready to go next week. They’ve combined for 411 targets so far this season, and their respective teams are going to have to distribute those targets somehow. Even more important, their fantasy owners may be in desperate need to find some reliable receiving options in fantasy playoff semifinals.
Here’s a look at some of the most notable target performances from the opening round of the fantasy playoffs.
Michael Thomas: 15 targets, 11 rec
Thomas easily leads the NFL with 147 targets on the season, but this was the first time all year that he led a given week. At 11.3 targets per game, he’s averaging nearly a full target more than the league’s second-most targeted player, Julian Edelman.
Julian Edelman: 12 targets, 8 rec
Speaking of Edelman, he’s now seen double-digit targets in eight consecutive games. He’s far and away Tom Brady’s most trusted receiving option, having seen 52 more targets than the second-most targeted player on the Patriots, running back James White.
Robby Anderson: 11 targets, 7 rec
After averaging just 4.2 targets per game from Weeks 8-12, Anderson has now been targeted 21 times over the past two weeks. That includes the season-high 11 that he saw this past week. Anderson seems to have a knack for becoming a target magnet in the fantasy playoffs; he averaged 10.7 targets per game in Week’s 14-16 last season.
Tyler Higbee: 11 targets, 7 rec
The Rams have utilized the tight end position significantly more this season than any other year under Sean McVay. Tight ends accounted for 14.9% of all Rams targets in his first two seasons as coach, but that number has spiked to 22.8% so far this season. Higbee has been a huge beneficiary the past two weeks with Gerald Everett sidelined. His 11 targets Sunday were the highest total of his career and he’s now put up 223 yards on 19 targets over the past two games.
Ian Thomas: 10 targets, 5 rec
The second-year tight end once again filled in admirably for an injured Greg Olsen. The ten targets he saw on Sunday were the most he’s seen this season. He averaged 6.8 targets and scored two touchdowns in the final four games for the Panthers in 2018. He looks locked in as the future tight end in Carolina and could be a valuable player for the remainder of the fantasy football playoffs if Olsen doesn’t return this season.
Michael Gallup: 10 targets, 6 rec
Amari Cooper is the de facto number one receiver in Dallas, but is Gallup really that far behind him? He only has eight fewer targets on the season but has played two fewer games. In fact, Gallup is outpacing Cooper on a per-game basis, averaging 8.4 targets compared to 7.7.
Isaiah Ford: 9 targets, 6 rec
At this point, the wide receiver room in Miami is looking more like a hospital ward. Since Week 10 the Dolphins have lost Preston Williams, Jakeem Grant, Albert Wilson, and DeVante Parker. Enter Ford, who had never seen more than three targets in a game before being peppered with nine on Sunday. If you’re desperate for a wideout you could do worse than Ford, who could be seeing plenty of targets from Ryan Fitzpatrick against the Giants in Week 15.
Justin Watson: 8 targets, 5 rec
Much like Ford, Watson is likely to benefit from an injury to a star teammate. The second-year receiver saw a career-high eight targets and found the end zone after Mike Evans suffered what seems to be a season-ending hamstring injury. We can be pretty confident that Jameis Winston will continue to air it out and Watson is a physically talented wideout that could come down with some big catches in the fantasy playoffs.
Devin Singletary: 8 targets, 6 rec
The Bills faced a negative game script all day against the Ravens, but that didn’t stop Singletary from racking up fantasy points. The rookie saw a career-high eight targets while playing 91% of the offensive snaps, also a career-high. He appears to be primed for a workhorse load with Buffalo down the home stretch, though we should know better than to ever count out the eternal Frank Gore.
Aaron Jones: 7 targets, 6 rec
After seeing just four total targets over a three-game stretch, Jones has now seen 13 over the past two. It seems head coach Matt LaFleur was sincere when he committed to making sure Jones was more involved in the pass routes out of the backfield. As one of the most explosive running backs in the NFL, every target he sees has big-play potential.
Other notable target counts in Week 14:
DeAndre Hopkins – 13
Zach Ertz – 13
Christian McCaffrey – 12
D.J. Chark – 10
Zach Pascal – 9
Travis Kelce – 9
Christian Kirk – 9
Robert Woods – 9
Jordan Akins – 9
Emmanuel Sanders – 9
George Kittle – 8
Keke Coutee – 8
Chris Thompson – 8
Diontae Johnson – 8
Davante Adams – 6
Odell Beckham – 5
O.J. Howard – 5