It seems off the field NFL news has dominated the headlines of week 8, and deservedly so! The fantasy landscape has shifted as much as it has since this offseason with the Zeke suspension conclusion (maybe) as well as all of the trade deadline deals around the league. In some situations, such as in Carolina and Buffalo, we need have a forward-thinking mentality about who will step up and replace or be replaced in their respective depth charts. The impact of Jimmy Garoppolo is still uncertain as well, and what target distribution will that team have moving forward? These questions and more are on the forefront of owner’s minds as we head into the second half of the fantasy season. Here’s this week’s target market shares as well as yearlong statistics and target score metrics sorted by descending week 8 target share. As you’ll notice, some target scores are negative – indicating that the player is not regularly a highly targeted player in that offense. A negative target score closer to 0 indicates that a player is close to being a top 36 average target share player.
|Player||Week 8||Average Target Market Share/Game||Standard Deviation||Target Score|
Week 8 Notables:
JuJu Smith-Schuster (32.26%) – #TeamStartJuJu exploded onto the scene this week with a monster game against Detroit, in part due to the team-determined absence of Martavis Bryant. I faded Bryant hard this offseason, and it seems now his team is fed up with his on and off the field performances/antics. Enter the 20 year old 2nd round rookie JuJu. He possesses many qualities of a number one WR in the NFL, and that showed this Sunday night. His role will continue to increase in terms of consistency throughout the year. You shouldn’t expect nearly 200 yard performances often, but JuJu is one of my favorite ROS plays and Dynasty WRs from this class. I expect his target share to remain around 25%, which should be plenty of opportunity for WR2 numbers in this offense.
Will Fuller (26.67%) – Insane TD rate aside, Fuller has been main point of this offense since his return a few weeks ago. In three of the four weeks, he’s had a target share of 17%+ with a high this week of around 26%. The best part about Fuller’s game is that he doesn’t need a high target share – and likely won’t get one with DeAndre Hopkins on the other side of him – to have a fantasy relevant game. But, when he breaks that 25% mark, he is more than likely going to finish as a high end weekly wide receiver. He still profiles as a boom or bust kind of player, but at this rate that tag will not apply to him soon. He’s been a consistent producer thus far and will continue to be.
Jamison Crowder (33.33%) – Crowder was a very popular candidate for 100 catches in a new look Redskins offense this season behind Kirk Cousins. He certainly be a disappointment through the first 7 weeks, but week 8 provided hope to fantasy owners who drafted him in the 3rd and 4th rounds back in August. Terell Pryor has been a massive disappointment, John Doctson is coming into his own but he isn’t yet ready to take the lead in that WR core, their tight ends have been lackluster, yet Kirk Cousins still manages to put up QB1 fantasy numbers! If Kirk starts consistently looking Crowder’s way, he’ll be right back on track as a WR2 for the rest of the season. He might not put up 100 catches on the year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he puts up 50 catches in the final 8 weeks.
Analyzing targets via market share is essential to understanding the complete picture, but when it comes down to it, gross target numbers are key to fantasy success as well. Player X having 5 targets, but a higher market share, is less likely to outperform Player Y who had 8 targets but a lower overall market share. In the long run, market share will indicate performance during the ups and downs of the fantasy season. Gross targets, however, indicate the chances for success in any given week. More targets are always better than fewer targets for possible fantasy production, as opportunity is a key indicator for success. With that in mind, here are the top 36* WRs with the most targets-to-date in 2017.
*Note – There are actually 39 receivers listed; there was a drop off after 42 targets, so I’ve included all players who have at least 42 targets on the season.
*All data courtesy of Pro Football Reference*