Targets and Touches will only have players’ six most recent games, regardless if they were active or on a bye. The data will be in descending order of games played.
All targets and touches data is compiled from Pro Football Reference. Air yards data is sourced via Josh Hermsmeyer’s AirYards.com. Cornerback and routes run data is sourced via Pro Football Focus. The AFC will be released on Tuesdays, while the NFC is published on Wednesday.
The goal of these articles is to give you an idea of what the usage looks like for each player within their offenses, allowing you to spot any positive or negative trends regarding how a player is being used, and most importantly — letting the numbers tell the story.
Note: This data will stick to players averaging over one target/touch per game. Players are listed in order of target/touch leaders for their respective teams.
Observations: Alex Collins (7-13-1) was the only running back to carry the ball during the Ravens’ first five drives. He fumbled and was promptly yanked from the game but returned and handled both carries on Baltimore’s opening drive to start the second half. There should be no concern over his usage. If anything, Sunday proved that Javorius Allen still has a secure role as Baltimore’s backup. He was in on 38% of offensive snaps Sunday, tying Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead, and Nick Boyle with a team-high six targets. Note that Joe Flacco has averaged 250.3 yards, two touchdowns, and 18.3 fantasy points over his last six games dating back to last season.
RZ Targets: Kelvin Benjamin (1)
Observations: Kelvin Benjamin led the Bills with a 24% target share, but six of his eight targets came from Nathan Peterman. Once No. 7 overall pick Josh Allen took over, it was Zay Jones who recorded four of his six targets on the day. Still, Benjamin accumulated the third-most air yards among all receivers in Week 1, so that, combined with Allen’s exciting yet often at times errant 14.5 aDOT, would make for a fun watch against this banged up Chargers defense.
RZ Targets: A.J. Green (1)
RZ Carries: Joe Mixon (3)
Observations: Some (including myself) drafted Gio Bernard in the later rounds thinking he would have occasional standalone value. That was apparently the square line of thinking as Joe Mixon was in on 42-of-55 (76.3%) offensive snaps, handling 17 carries (including two inside the five-yard line) to Gio’s one. Mixon even trumped Bernard at his own game, running 23 passing routes to Bernard’s seven. Barring injury, Mixon is the player to own in Cincinnati’s backfield.
RZ Targets: Jarvis Landry (1)
Observations: Tyrod Taylor completed 15-of-40 passes for 197 yards and 4.9 YPA Sunday. It was truly an abysmal outing. His weapons are essentially locked into their respective roles, though, as David Njoku logged a career-high 87.6% snap rate and Josh Gordon, despite being on a “pitch count”, played 77.5% of snaps. Perhaps even more impressive was Jarvis Landry’s 223 accumulated air yards, 38% target share, and 13.9 aDOT. Assuming Gordon sees more than three targets, Week 2 makes for a terrific opportunity to start all your Browns skill players (or roster them with confidence in DFS) on turf and indoors at the Super Dome.
RZ Targets: Demaryius Thomas (1)
Observations: The Broncos’ backfield was a two-way split between rookies Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay, essentially ousting Devontae Booker from meaningful usage. Freeman and Lindsay essentially mirrored each other in carries (15), yards (71), and snaps (29-26). Booker was in on 19 snaps but only received two carries. The real standout in Denver’s offense continues to be Emmanuel Sanders, who buoyed his 43.8% target share from Case Keenum in the preseason into 10-135-1 and a 28% target share Sunday. As noted by Adam Levitan, Sanders worked from the slot on 51% of his snaps Sunday compared to 27% just last year.
Observations: Without D’Onta Foreman (Achilles’, PUP) available, Lamar Miller was in on 57-of-74 (77%) offensive snaps. Alfred Blue scored, but four of his five carries came on the same drive in the third quarter. Miller, who handled 77.7% of Houston’s backfield touches, is the back to own despite his lack of success in Week 1. Will Fuller (hamstring) is expected to play in Week 2, but note that three of Ryan Griffin’s five targets came in the redzone.
RZ Carries: Jordan Wilkins (2)
Observations: Eric Ebron (4-51-1) ultimately found the end zone over starter Jack Doyle (7-60), but the former will have to continue being uber-efficient on limited opportunities if he’s going to produce. Doyle’s usage was far away more consistent as he was in on 77-of-82 (93.9%) offensive snaps and ran 55 passing routes. Ebron played only 36-of-82 (43.9%) snaps and ran 25 routes. Rookie Jordan Wilkins was Indy’s clear-cut No. 1 back sans Marlon Mack (hamstring), handling 66.6% of the team’s backfield carries on 46 snaps (56%). It’s best to watch this one shakeout from afar, though, once Mack returns (at least at first).
RZ Targets: T.J. Yeldon (1)
Observations: As expected, Jacksonville’s receiving corps without Marqise Lee (ACL) was muddled. Dede Westbrook led the group in targets, Keelan Cole in yards (54), and Donte Moncrief in air yards. Note that Cole, however, was in on 74.6% of offensive snaps. If anything, we can at least be sure that T.J. Yeldon is the backfield heir if Leonard Fournette misses time. Without the latter available in the second half, Yeldon handled every carry. He’s arguably the No. 1 waiver priority if we get negative injury news on Fournette.
Kansas City Chiefs
RZ Carries: Patrick Mahomes (2)
Observations: Including the preseason, Tyreek Hill has recorded 21-353-3 on 24 targets from Patrick Mahomes. Sammy Watkins meanwhile has floundered for 4-35 on 12 targets. Hill’s explosiveness and big-play ability is what always kept him in the conversation as a WR3 with weekly WR2 upside. The difference now, though, is that he has a real shot at a sub-30% target share to go along with 4.34 40 elusiveness. He can legitimately finish as a top-six receiver since Kansas City’s offense has no choice but to stack points each and every week. Preseason included, the Chiefs defense has allowed passing lines of 9-11-97-2 > 5-7-90-1 > 15-18-198-2 > 5-7-57-1 > 34-51-424-3 in their last five games.
Los Angeles Chargers
Observations: The Chiefs defense (or lack thereof) was a known exploit in Week 1. It was still surprising that the Chargers decidedly attacked via their backfield, allowing Melvin Gordon to tie Dalvin Cook for the second-most routes run (31) among running backs in Week 1. Gordan played 62-of-82 (75.6%) offensive snaps, leading the team in both targets and carries. Austin Ekeler averaged 12.6 yards per touch, but still only ran 15 routes on 22 snaps.