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.
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Observations: On one hand, David Johnson played merely 68% of Arizona’s offensive snaps and received only five more carries than rookie Chase Edmonds. Johnson still ran 22 routes in Week 1, though, leading the Cardinals’ offense in red zone targets. Better days are ahead. With veteran Jermaine Gresham (Achilles’) inactive, Ricky Seals-Jones quietly played a whopping 49-of-53 (92%) snaps. The Cardinals ran the second-fewest offensive plays (51) in Week 1, but Seals-Jones ranked ninth among tight ends in total routes run (35). His days of 3-19 receiving lines should be an afterthought with that type of usage.
Observations: Devonta Freeman (56% snap rate) exited early Thursday but returned shortly thereafter. Even his brief absence allowed Tevin Coleman to play 51.4% of offensive snaps, a mark slightly higher than his 44.2% 2017 average. If Freeman (knee) is healthy for Week 2, expect Coleman to revert back into a weekly boom/bust bye-week option with limited touches. Freeman, however, has been unable to practice this week.
Observations: At first glance, it may seem like Christian McCaffrey and C.J. Anderson received similar treatment. McCaffrey slightly out-carried Anderson 10-7, but it was ultimately Anderson who received an additional red zone carry. CMC unfortunately fumbled inside the five-yard line during the Panthers’ first drive then received just one of their next seven red zone carries. He was still in on a career-high 85% of offensive snaps, so there’s nothing to worry about, especially in a matchup against the Falcons, who have allowed the most receptions to running backs for three consecutive seasons. With Greg Olsen (foot) out for the foreseeable future, note that Devin Funchess averaged 7.7 targets and 14.1 fantasy points in nine games without Olsen last season.
Observations: Coach Matt Nagy hinted in the offseason that Jordan Howard would play on third downs, virtually making him an every-down bell-cow. Howard was in on 50-of-70 (70%) offensive snaps and received 15 of Chicago’s 20 backfield carries. Perhaps even more impressive, Howard ran five more routes (23) than Cohen (18). He’s a true RB1 moving forward. Don’t lose faith in Trey Burton just yet, either. He was in on 61-of-70 (87.1%) offensive snaps and ran the second-most routes for the Bears. Those peripherals (along with a 17% target share) will lead to production soon.
Observations: The Cowboys went full WRBC as five receivers played at least 30% of their offensive snaps in Week 1. Cole Beasley, who led the team with a 28% target share, is a viable (very) low-ceiling FLEX option for the time being. Dallas’ offensive line isn’t what it used to be, but Ezekiel Elliott’s sheer involvement makes him a weekly schedule-proof must-start. Elliott was in on 59-of-64 (92%) offensive snaps, handled 88.2% (15-of-17) of the team’s backfield carries, and, as NFL.com’s Graham Barfield noted, ran 34 routes on Dak Prescott’s 44 dropbacks. Salivating usage.
RZ Carries: Theo Riddick (1)
Observations: Kenny Golladay played a career-high 92.8% of offensive snaps Monday, collecting four more targets than Marvin Jones. The Lions had fallen behind early but Babytron’s involvement is still worth taking account. LeGarrette Blount’s pending injury status may leave ample opportunity for Kerryon Johnson, but I suspect the team would just activate Ameer Abdullah and thrust him into a timeshare if Blount misses any time.
Green Bay Packers
RZ Carries: Jamaal Williams (1)
Observations: Zombie Aaron Rodgers supported fantasy’s WR6, WR12, and WR15 in Week 1. Geronimo Allison should be on your radar after his clear involvement as Green Bay’s third wideout, leading all of the Packers’ receivers in air yards. Jamaal Williams took hold of Green Bay’s backfield in Week 11 last year and averaged a 79.8% snap rate the rest of the way. He played ‘only’ 62% Sunday night since Ty Montgomery (38%) was needed on passing downs. Williams is still a short-term RB2 due to opportunity, but the fact he lacks explosion and failed to break a single tackle doesn’t bode well for his involvement once Aaron Jones returns in Week 3.
Los Angeles Rams
Observations: All three of Los Angeles’ receivers were in on 61-of-63 snaps. The Rams have a concentrated target tree that lacks any tight end involvement, so the trio Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp can consistently be started with confidence. For DFS and long-term outlook, I like to buy-low on Woods right now. He nearly doubled Cooks in air yards, all the while tying Kupp for the team-lead in targets and red zone targets.
RZ Targets: Kyle Rudolph (1)
Observations: Dalvin Cook spent the entire offseason recovering from an ACL tear then dominated Minnesota’s backfield in both snaps (51-of-70) and opportunities (carries and targets combined). Latavius Murray out-carried Cook 3-2 in the red zone, as expected. As for Kyle Rudolph and his 1-11 receiving line, note that he’s now averaged 3.4 targets and 24 yards in five games with Cook.
New Orleans Saints
Observations: Cameron Meredith was healthy scratched Sunday, leaving only Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara as legitimate consistent threats in the Saints’ receiving game. Kamara also played 52-of-64 (81.2%) offensive snaps and handled 8-of-12 backfield carries, all the while accruing a 27% target share. With only plodder Mike Gillislee and an unproven Jonathan Williams behind him, Kamara will be a bell-cow even in negative game scripts.
New York Giants
RZ Targets: Odell Beckham (2)
Observations: No.2 overall pick Saquon Barkley was a true workhorse in his pro debut, playing 55-of-71 (77.4%) offensive snaps and handling 85.7% of New York’s backfield carries (including all red zone rushes). After playing only 13.2% of his snaps from the slot the last two seasons, Odell Beckham was there on 35.9% of snaps Sunday. Coach Pat Shurmur will likely continue doing this in order to separate Beckham from some of the league’s best corners (who don’t play coverage in the slot).
Observations: Jay Ajayi handled only three backfield carries in the first half Thursday because coach Doug Pederson reportedly wanted to “ease him in.” That held true as Ajayi rushed for 51 yards (and two scores) on 12 carries in the second half. For what it’s worth, Pederson said “we’ll see more of him” moving forward. Mike Wallace accrued a team-high 109 air yards on merely three targets. With Vernon Hargreaves (shoulder, I.R.) and Brent Grimes (groin) likely out Sunday, note that the remaining Buccaneers’ corners allowed an average 124.8 passer rating in Week 1 (per Pro Football Focus).
San Francisco 49ers
Observations: Marquise Goodwin played only 17 snaps before exiting with an injury in Week 1. Meanwhile George Kittle bounced back from a shoulder injury that kept him out for most of the preseason, playing 77% of offensive snaps. Not only were his nine targets a team-high, he quietly accrued the most air yards among all tight ends in Week 1. He’s a true TE1 moving forward.
RZ Carries: Rashaad Penny (1)
CB Catches-Yards-Touchdowns Allowed: Tre Flowers (7-124-1), Shaquill Griffin (5-43-1)
Observations: Something named Will Dissly finished with a 3-105-1 receiving line, but it was likely an aberration as he ran only 20 routes on 33-of-58 (58%) snaps. Chris Carson and rookie Rashaad Penny mirrored each other in usage, handling similar snap rates (44%), opportunities (12), and routes run (12). Coach Pete Carroll recently said Carson “really took the lead at that position” and Penny looks “a little rusty”, but Carroll says a lot of things. Carson is a FLEX Option with RB3 upside in the event Penny truly is brought along slowly for the next few weeks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Observations: The Buccaneers declared rookie Ronald Jones inactive, which paved the way for Peyton Barber to handle 48-of-66 (73%) offensive snaps and 86.3% of backfield carries. It’s possible his value is lower in PPR leagues, but even Bucs third-down back Jacquizz Rodgers saw only one target Sunday. Per Evan Silva, Chris Godwin has posted receiving lines of 5-68 > 3-98 > 7-111-1 > 3-41-1 in four career games he’s played at least 40 snaps. DeSean Jackson (concussion) is unlikely to play this week.
RZ Carries: Adrian Peterson (7)
Observations: Given their lack of between-the-tackles runners, Adrian Peterson unsurprisingly handled 26 of Washington’s 34 carries. Peterson will still be a game script-dependent RB3 given that he played only 53% of the Redskins’ snaps. Chris Thompson, who averaged 15.9 fantasy points while in on 51.8% of Washington’s snaps last season, scored his typical 24.8 fantasy points on 41.8% of snaps in Week 1. His ceiling is higher in games Washington is expected to play from behind.
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