Moving Targets: Week 1
Moving Targets is a weekly column focused on tidbits and trends from target data, with an eye toward forecasting future value spikes for fantasy players. … My focus will be on the target numbers themselves, highlighting a few I find interesting. Each section will include a short blurb of analysis, but mostly I will allow you — the wise reader — to draw the conclusions you wish from the data.
Note: Target data comes from the 4for4 Player Targets App.
- Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and Jacob Tamme: 8 targets each (21%)
Matt Ryan targeted Mohamed Sanu and Jacob Tamme each eight times, equal to Julio Jones’ numbers. Tamme is not an exciting option at tight end, but he should probably be rostered in PPR leagues at least. Sanu’s involvement should thrill his owners, and it looks possible Sanu could be a fantasy starter this season.
- Kevin White: 7 targets (26%)
- Alshon Jeffrey and Eddie Royal: 6 targets each (22%)
Kevin White failed to live up to expectations in Week 1, but he saw a quarter of the team’s targets. You can spin that as either good (Cutler wants to get him involved) or bad (if he can’t succeed with that many targets, Cutler may begin looking elsewhere). Like James Simpson said on this week’s podcast, perhaps we should all be patient and think of this as his rookie season. Eddie Royal was also heavily involved on offense, and he could benefit if defenses focus their attention on Alshon Jeffery.
- Jason Witten: 14 targets (33%)
- Cole Beasley: 12 targets (28%)
- Dez Bryant: 5 targets (12%)
Dez Bryant had one catch on five targets, as Dak Prescott pelted Jason Witten and Cole Beasley with pass. Witten should already be owned in most leagues, but Beasley becomes a real option in PPR leagues.
Green Bay Packers
- Jordy Nelson: 9 targets (27%)
- Randall Cobb: 8 targets (24%)
- Davante Adams: 7 targets (21%)
Butt of countless jokes, even as he dropped another pass in this game, Davante Adams is not finished. In Week 1 he saw similar targets to the top two options in the Packers’ passing game, and it seems Aaron Rodgers trusts him enough to keep Adams involved. The Packers WR3 is likely unowned in many leagues, but I think it’s time to stash him.
- Will Fuller: 11 targets (31%)
- DeAndre Hopkins: 8 targets (23%)
- No one else with more than 4 targets.
Will Fuller looks like one of the hottest waiver targets this week, pulling nearly one third of the total team targets and producing well even after a dreadful drop that could have been another touchdown on Sunday.
New Orleans Saints
- Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead: 9 targets each (23%)
- Michael Thomas: 6 targets (15%)
- Brandon Coleman: 0 targets. Played only 5 snaps.
- RBs: Mark Ingram had 2 targets. Travaris Cadet had 7 targets.
Many things fascinate me about those numbers. First, Willie Snead picked up right where he left off last year, so hopefully you didn’t ignore him in drafts this offseason. Brandon Coleman, who had a “pedestrian” camp and preseason according to Coach Sean Payton, barely saw the field and looks to be dead on arrival for fantasy purposes this year. Finally, Mark Ingram owners hoping for a PPR burst cannot be happy that Travaris Cadet got seven targets compared to Ingram’s two. It looks like the Saints may continue to split roles in their backfield.
New York Jets
- Brandon Marshall and Quincy Enunwa: 8 targets each (23.5%)
- Eric Decker and Matt Forte: 7 targets each (20.5%)
We knew Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, and Matt Forte would highlight this offense. None of us knew Quincy Enunwa would be the fourth star of the show. Enunwa got as many targets as Brandon Marshall on two fewer snaps. I suspect Enunwa was unowned in nearly all leagues, but that should not be the case in Week 2.
- Tajae Sharpe: 11 targets (27%)
- Andre Johnson: 7 targets (17%)
- Harry Douglas: 5 targets (12%)
- Rishard Matthews: 4 targets (10%)
Titans WR snap count on the day: Tajae Sharpe 64, Harry Douglas 37, Rishard Matthews 35, Andre Johnson 24
— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) September 11, 2016
Tajae Sharpe ran away with the target competition in Tennessee, and it is clear Marcus Mariota trusts him and values him in the offense. Sharpe dominated targets and snaps, but I was surprised to see Andre Johnson get so many targets on so few snaps. He was targeted on nearly one third of the time he was on the field. I don’t know what to make of that.
Rishard Matthews, brought in — many presumed — to be the primary receiver in this offense, played 29 fewer snaps than Sharpe and saw only 4 targets all game. If you pegged Matthews as a sleeper in 2016, I would suggestion cutting bait now. Sharpe is the Titans WR to own.