Fantasy Football 2018 Target Shares

Fantasy Football 2018 Target Shares
By Chet Gresham, @ChetGresham

Published June 22, 2018.

In this series, I’ll be looking at target shares for each NFL team. I will give you the two target leaders from last season, their target share for their team and how many targets they had. Then I’ll take a look at who should be the target leaders for this year and give my projections for each player. This is a good way to see who should have an opportunity this year and maybe give us some fantasy insight into each group of receivers.

Arizona Cardinals

Last Season Leaders:
    Larry Fitzgerald — 0.27 — 161
    Jaron Brown — 0.12 — 69

Last season was all Larry Fitzgerald, as he finished third in overall targets and seventh in team target-share. He had little competition for targets with Jaron Brown, J.J. Nelson, John Brown and David Johnson all missing time.

Johnson will return this season, but Jaron and John Brown are both gone and J.J. Nelson has never topped a 12-percent target share. Christian Kirk should be able to carve out a spot for himself, although in the end, the bulk of targets will go to Fitzgerald and Johnson. In 2016 when Johnson broke out and caught 80 passes, he had a 19-percent market share, while Fitzgerald had a 24-percent share. If both stay healthy, that should again be a good spot to project them. We should see fewer overall targets for Fitzgerald, as Arizona’s running game should be better and he could lose some targets to Johnson.

Target Projections:
    Larry Fitzgerald — 0.24 — 133
    David Johnson — 0.20 — 111

Atlanta Falcons

Last Season Leaders:
    Julio Jones — 0.29 — 148
    Mohamed Sanu — 0.19 — 96

Jones and Sanu have been the Falcons top-two targets in each of the last two seasons. We know how useful Jones is as a fantasy player, but Sanu, despite a strong 96 targets last year, still finished as the 37th fantasy receiver in standard leagues. That finish moves up to 30th in PPR, but that’s just staying in line with his target numbers and needs to be higher if you want a fantasy player who can get you value and up your chances of winning.

This season, Sanu will have rookie Calvin Ridley to deal with. It is difficult to push Ridley’s targets above Sanu’s in his rookie year, but Ridley is the most seasoned of the rookies and should instantly be part of the Falcons’ three-receiver sets. That should allow Ridley enough work to cut into Sanu’s numbers. although I still think it will be tough to rely on either for consistent fantasy production and instead should help Matt Ryan more in his fantasy endeavors.

Target Projections:
    Julio Jones — 0.27 — 148
    Mohamed Sanu — 0.15 — 82
    Calvin Ridley — 0.13 — 71

Baltimore Ravens

Last Season Leaders:
    Mike Wallace — 0.17 — 92
    Ben Watson — 0.14 — 79

Both of Baltimore’s previous top targets are now gone, along with the team’s third target, Jeremy Maclin, who saw 72 targets. That leaves a bunch of targets open for this season, which should be filled in some way by Michael Crabtree, John Brown, Willie Snead, the running backs and the rookie tight ends. Out of all of these possible target-void fillers, Crabtree is head and shoulders above the pack in terms of consistency and upside throughout his career. After Mr. Crabs, Brown should be next in line for targets, but injuries have plagued him and there is a slew of players who could end up nosing him out for second place. I can’t predict injuries though and Brown is the player the Ravens want to be up there with Crabtree, so I’ll give him the edge.

Target Projections:
    Michael Crabtree — 0.24 — 137
    John Brown — 0.14 — 80

Buffalo Bills

Last Season Leaders:
    Kelvin Benjamin — 0.16 — 78
    LeSean McCoy — 0.16 — 77

The Bills are set up to be absolutely awful this year, and with awfulness we usually see some odd target numbers. But when projecting, we still need to look at the two most reliable receivers on the team, and that should again be between Kelvin Benjamin, LeSean McCoy and Charles Clay. Last season, Clay missed three games and ended up third in targets with 74, tied with Zay Jones. Jones is the wildcard here, but I think we see Benjamin and Clay lead the way if everyone were to miraculously stay healthy.

Target Projections:
    Kelvin Benjamin — 0.20 — 102
    Charles Clay — 0.17 — 87

Carolina Panthers

Last Season Leaders:
    Christian McCaffrey — 0.23 — 113
    Devin Funchess — 0.23 — 112

The Panthers were without Greg Olsen for much of 2017, so their 2015-16 target leader gave way to Funchess and McCaffrey. Olsen will be back this year and just signed a contract extension, so I don’t think we’re going to be able to drop his targets much for 2018. Olsen is cemented into a top-two spot on this team, so the question is, who is next to him this year? The front-runners have to be McCaffrey and Funchess, but D.J. Moore should be starting from Week 1 and has the ability to be that No. 1 receiver. It’s usually best to stay conservative with rookie receivers unless we know they will be the first option based on a void that they are filling, but with Olsen back the void doesn’t need to be filled like it was last season for McCaffrey. In the end, we should see Moore and Olsen hurt Funchess’ numbers the most, while McCaffrey should also see a dip in targets but not as severe as Funchess. The Panthers have a good problem in deciding who should take precedence in their offense compared to last season, and Cam Newton will remain a top fantasy player with their help.

Target Projections:
    Greg Olsen — 0.22 — 117
    Christian McCaffrey — 0.21 — 112

Chicago Bears

Last Season Leaders:
    Kendall Wright — 0.19 — 91
    Tarik Cohen — 0.15 — 71

The Bears had nobody at receiver last season as seen by their target leaders, but this is a completely different team with John Fox gone and Matt Nagy in place to help the offense take a step forward, or three. The wide receiver corps is completely different now with Allen Robinson as the top guy. Chicago also grabbed Trey Burton from Philadelphia and Taylor Gabriel from Atlanta, plus picked Anthony Miller in the draft to go along with the one holdout in the target leadership, Tarik Cohen. That leaves some good targets after Robinson and makes for a tough projection. Nagy has been talking Cohen up like nobody’s business, which has me intrigued to the number of targets he’ll get, as Jordan Howard should again dominate the rushing attempts. If Nagy wants Cohen on the field, he’ll need to throw him the ball. Trey Burton is also a strong contender, and with Nagy having helped Travis Kelce to big seasons, Burton could be next in line. It’s a close call, but I’m going to lean Cohen, as I think Adam Sheehan is good enough to at least find some work at tight end and possibly cut into Burton’s.

Target Projections:
    Allen Robinson — 0.24 — 127
    Tarik Cohen — 0.18 — 95

Cincinnati Bengals

Last Season Leaders:
    A.J. Green — 0.29 — 143
    Brandon LaFell — 0.18 — 89

A.J. Green will lead the Bengals in targets without much trouble, as he’s done it every season he’s been healthy. After that, the trend has been for Brandon LaFell to be the No. 2 receiver by default. This season, the Bengals would very much like for anyone else to step up and take that job, as LaFell continues to prove he is consistently average at best. Unfortunately, the two players who have the best chance of doing that are Tyler Eifert, who is the dictionary under “injury-prone,” and John Ross, who ended up with negative fantasy points for the entire 2017 season. These players are tough to back, even over LaFell, but I’m going to give Ross the job and the targets. It’s a leap of faith, but when you look at the options, it’s what the Bengals want.

Target Projections:
    A.J. Green — 0.29 — 155
    John Ross — 0.15 — 80

Cleveland Browns

Last Season Leaders:
    Duke Johnson — 0.16 — 93
    Ricardo Louis — 0.11 — 61

There are some strong targets in Cleveland this year with Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry, David Njoku and Duke Johnson leading the way. Landry was the big offseason acquisition for Cleveland and even though he won’t be the no-doubt No. 1 target like he was in Miami, he should still be considered the top target based on his past consistency. After Landry, the obvious choice is Gordon based on what he’s been able to do when on the field. He is, of course, more volatile than Landry, but his ability is too great to not give him the chance to win games for you. My sleeper is Njoku, as he should take over the No. 1 tight end position and could quickly become a safe target for whoever is throwing him the ball. Johnson is likely the least able to get back to his target numbers, as Nick Chubb and Carlos Hyde are going to hurt his time on the field overall, while Landry will take targets from him. This is a great situation for the Browns but a tough one for fantasy players. I think we must go with the Gordon/Landry duo, as that combo gives them the best chance to win games.

Target Projections:
    Jarvis Landry — 0.22 — 128
    Josh Gordon — 0.20 — 117

Dallas Cowboys

Last Season Leaders:
    Dez Bryant — 0.27 — 132
    Jason Witten — 0.18 — 87

As you can see, the top-two targets for Dallas are no longer with football teams of any sort, and they’ve left a bunch of targets for whoever can step up. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, they did very little to fill those voids this offseason. Their attempts so far have been to sign Allen Hurns from Jacksonville and take Michael Gallup in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. And they’ve got that Terrence Williams guy as well.

So far this offseason, Allen Hurns has been practicing as the No. 1 receiver, which I expect will continue. He is likely the best receiver on the team by a decent margin right now. After him, we have Gallup and Williams but also Ezekiel Elliott. Who would you rather have catching and running with a ball? Elliott isn’t your prototypical receiving back, but he can catch the ball and has great run-after-the-catch numbers in the NFL. He’s no lock for a big target load, but looking at his competition, I don’t see how Dallas will keep from boosting his numbers way up this season.

Target Projections:
    Allen Hurns — 0.22 — 109
    Ezekiel Elliott — 0.16 — 80

Denver Broncos

Last Season Leaders:
    Demaryius Thomas — 0.25 — 140
    Emmanuel Sanders — 0.17 — 92

Demaryius Thomas has been the No. 1 target in Denver since 2012, while Emmanuel Sanders has been second since 2014. Barring injuries, they will once again be one and two on the team. And now that they’ve gotten a seemingly slightly better quarterback, those targets should be a bit more productive this year, but I do expect Denver will do its best to limit the passing game and let the rushing offense and defense lead the way this year.

Target Projections:
    Demaryius Thomas — 0.24 — 131
    Emmanuel Sanders — 0.19 — 104

Detroit Lions

Last Season Leaders:
    Golden Tate — 0.21 — 120
    Marvin Jones — 0.19 — 107

Golden Tate has been first or second in targets since 2014, and that won’t change this year. Marvin Jones just had his best season as a pro, so he’s not going to be demoted, but he will see some competition for targets from Kenny Golladay. Not enough to keep him from being the No. 2 target, but I do think he’ll have a tough time hitting his 2017 stats. Thankfully for all involved, the loss of Eric Ebron should help these top-three receivers.

Target Projections:
    Golden Tate — 0.22 — 127
    Marvin Jones — 0.18 — 104

Green Bay Packers

Last Season Leaders:
    Davante Adams — 0.21 — 118
    Randall Cobb — 0.17 — 92

The Packers had a lost season without Aaron Rodgers last year, as Brett Hundley was absolutely awful, but their two top targets remained with the team, while their usual No. 1 target, Jordy Nelson, has gone on to Silver and Blacker pastures. They did bring in tight end Jimmy Graham and a slew of rookie receivers to compete with Geronimo Allison. In the end, though, I expect Adams to be the no-doubt No. 1 while Cobb and Graham fight it out for No. 2. Graham is no-doubt on the tail end of his career, but he still saw 95 targets in Seattle last season, and he did see his yards per reception take a big hit. Graham won’t command the targets he once did, while Cobb is four years younger and a player the Packers chose to keep over Nelson, despite a big cash benefit if they had let him go. This is a hard choice, but Graham is likely going to be used more in the red zone than anywhere else, while Cobb will be used all over the field. The fantasy points could easily go Graham’s way between the two, but I think Cobb holds a small lead in targets.

Target Projections:
    Davante Adams — 0.25 — 145
    Randall Cobb — 0.18 — 104

Houston Texans

Last Season Leaders:
    DeAndre Hopkins — 0.34 — 174
    Bruce Ellington — 0.10 — 59

We don’t have to think too long or hard about who will lead the Texans in targets; it’s DeAndre Hopkins and that’s that. How many targets he ends up with will be interesting though, as 174 was a whopping 34 percent of the Texans’ targets and probably not the number Bill O’Brien would prefer. Since Andre Johnson left, Nuk has had 31 percent, 26 percent and 34 percent of his team’s targets, so a big drop isn’t likely but a drop is. Thankfully for his total targets, I don’t expect much of a drop because this team does not have a strong running game. I see Houston throwing the ball early and often with DeShaun Watson at the helm.

After Hopkins, we have to consider Will Fuller as the next in line. He is no lock though, as he has had trouble staying on the field and rookie Keke Coutee could move his way up if Fuller can’t stay healthy. But as it is, Fuller is a good receiver and great for Watson’s deep-ball prowess.

Target Projections:
    DeAndre Hopkins — 0.30 — 171
    Will Fuller — 0.18 — 102

Indianapolis Colts

Last Season Leaders:
    T.Y. Hilton — 0.23 — 109
    Jack Doyle — 0.23 — 108

The Colts, like the Packers, had a lost season without their starting quarterback. That ended up pushing down the targets for their most explosive receiver, T.Y. Hilton, and pushing up the targets of their steadiest and safest receiver, Jack Doyle.

For our purposes, I’m going to believe that Andrew Luck is healthy and will play this coming season. The last time Luck played, Hilton had 155 targets or 27 percent of the targets, Doyle was second with 75 targets at 13 percent, and Dwayne Allen gathered 52 targets to his name. I bring up Allen because the Colts grabbed Eric Ebron away from the Lions, making him a possibility for the No. 2 target position, as that spot looks like it could go to a lot of players, including Ryan Grant, Chester Rogers, Nyheim Hines and the tight ends I’ve already mentioned. The conservative choice would be Doyle. He is as steady as a player can be, and his reliability is a nice balance to the other receivers who are going to be more volatile. His upside is, of course, low, and if the Colts could rely on Ebron or really any of these other guys, they’d have a better shot at double-digit yards per reception from those targets. Ryan Grant could be that guy. He’s solid and would have a higher ceiling than Doyle, but at this point, it’s hard to even say he would start. I expect the Colts go with two tight ends, and Doyle and Ebron come close to each other in targets, but Doyle, being the safer option, ends up with more.

Target Projections:
    T.Y. Hilton — 0.25 — 150
    Jack Doyle — 0.13 — 78
Jacksonville Jaguars

Last Season Leaders:
    Marqise Lee — 0.19 — 96
    Keelan Cole — 0.16 — 83

The Jaguars would rather not throw the ball, and for good reason, as Blake Bortles is their quarterback. They also have a bunch of receivers who aren’t bad, but aren’t elite either, which makes it tough to project this group. Marqise Lee led the way last season, but he often wasn’t the top target in an individual game. This group is possibly the toughest to project, as I see paths for Lee, Cole, Donte Moncrief, Dede Westbrook and Austin Seferian-Jenkins to lead in targets this season.

The only player I think we can count on to be in the top two is Lee. He has a good connection with Bortles and will be considered the No. 1 receiver by the team. After him, it is a guessing game. Moncrief’s injuries have held him back, but the Jaguars paid him a starter’s salary and he’ll have to get hurt or completely bomb to not be on the field this season, which hurts Westbrook. Cole should play out of the slot and see reduced snaps but seems to be a favorite of Bortles and has shown enough to be considered the starter. The real wild card here is probably Seferian-Jenkins. He’ll be the no-doubt tight end starter and should stay on the field most of the game. With the wide receivers, I believe they’ll vulture each other enough to allow Seferian-Jenkins to find a steady target diet in comparison. He’s not going to be a stud with 120-plus targets but on this offense, he can easily finish as a top-two target.

Target Projections:
    Marqise Lee — 0.21 — 110
    Austin Seferian-Jenkins — 0.16 — 84

Kansas City Chiefs

Last Season Leaders:
    Travis Kelce — 0.23 — 122
    Tyreek Hill — 0.2 — 105

Kansas City has well-defined star players, and last season ,there were just the two top receivers, which makes their 100+ targets each fairly predictable. This season, Kansas City has added another top receiver in Sammy Watkins, who could funnel some of those target numbers his way. We know that Watkins is a deep threat as seen by his great 2015 season, when he turned 60 receptions into 1,047 yards and nine touchdowns. And when you look at last season, you can make a case that Jared Goff’s inability to throw deep hurt Watkins, but he still turned his 39 receptions into eight touchdowns. What I’m saying here is, Watkins could be better than Hill and since he should be on par with him for snaps, the idea that he could out-target Hill isn’t out of the realm of possibility. But I’ll still lean toward Hill because he knows this offense and should at the very least start the season as the top wide receiver target.

Target Projections:
    Travis Kelce — 0.22 — 119
    Tyreek Hill — 0.18 — 97
    Sammy Watkins — 0.16 — 86

Los Angeles Chargers

Last Season Leaders:
    Keenan Allen — 0.28 — 159
    Melvin Gordon — 0.14 — 83

Keenan Allen has no competition for the No. 1 target spot in Charger-land this year, and now that Hunter Henry is out for the season, Allen’s high total should be secure again. After him, second place on the team is up for grabs, but Melvin Gordon should still be the front-runner. His competition will be Mike Williams and Tyrell Williams. If we could combine those two into one player, he’d have a much better chance, but I see these two hurting each other’s total targets enough to keep Gordon at the top, especially without a strong tight end to look for on shorter routes.

Target Projections:
    Keenan Allen — 0.28 — 159
    Melvin Gordon — 0.15 — 85

Los Angeles Rams

Last Season Leaders:
    Cooper Kupp — 0.18 — 94
    Todd Gurley — 0.17 — 87

The Rams traded for Brandin Cooks to be their No. 1 receiver and let Sammy Watkins walk. Watkins was treated like their No. 1 receiver by defenses last season and ended up third in wide receiver targets. That should be a little scary for Cooks’ fantasy outlook this season, but I still expect him to be near the top of this team’s targets. The question is, will Todd Gurley see the same workload if Robert Woods stays healthy all season, Cooper Kupp continues to develop, and Cooks fits in well with the offense? Additionally, the Rams just got a lot better on defense over the offseason and could easily see a decrease in overall offensive snaps as they ice games in the fourth quarter.

I don’t feel confident about my projections on this one, but I can’t get past Cooks’ ability and Goff’s affinity for Kupp. Gurley is going to get his, although I believe Cooks and Kupp beat him out by a nose.

Target Projections:
    Brandin Cooks — 0.19 — 98
    Cooper Kupp — 0.18 — 93
    Todd Gurley — 0.17 — 88

Miami Dolphins

Last Season Leaders:
    Jarvis Landry — 0.27 — 161
    Kenny Stills — 0.18 — 105

Jarvis Landry is now in Cleveland, but his 161 targets are back in Miami waiting to be wooed by another. Kenny Stills is likely that guy, but we’ll see those targets distributed a bit more evenly this season, or at least that’s what the coaches will want to see. DeVante Parker is who they very much would like to see command more targets this season, and if he can stay healthy and play close to his potential, that should happen. If not, Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola both could be target hogs in the slot, like Landry, if given the chance.

Target Projections:
    Kenny Stills — 0.19 — 106
    DeVante Parker — 0.18 — 101

Minnesota Vikings

Last Season Leaders:
    Adam Thielen — 0.27 — 143
    Stefon Diggs — 0.18 — 95

The Vikings make for pretty easy projections, even with a new quarterback in tow, as their top players are well defined and their top-two receivers have both proven their worth and have no competition at their positions. Kendall Wright, Kyle Rudolph and Dalvin Cook will all contribute in the passing game, but Thielen and Diggs are the receivers the Vikings want getting the ball downfield.

Target Projections:
    Adam Thielen — 0.22 — 122
    Stefon Diggs — 0.21 — 116

New England Patriots

Last Season Leaders:
    Brandin Cooks — 0.20 — 114
    Rob Gronkowski — 0.18 — 105

Brandin Cooks is in L.A., and Julian Edelman will return after missing all of last season, which would have made Edelman an easy target hog for this year, but he had to go and get a four-game suspension. If that suspension holds up, it makes our projections tougher. On a per-game basis, I think we can be safe in giving that lead to Edelman once he returns, but he’ll need to do some heavy lifting for those 12 games to get into the top two, although it’s not out of the question.

Rob Gronkowski will be the No. 1 target while Edelman is out, and Chris Hogan and the running backs will follow Gronkowski. There are some wild cards in there, like Jordan Matthews, but I like Hogan and see him being a consistent player for the Patriots all season. Hogan has a chance to beat out Edelman but when the latter is on the field, he is a target vacuum. In 2016, Edelman averaged 10 targets a game, and in 2015, he had 9.8 per game; it’s been steady throughout his career. Those numbers at that kind of consistency just don’t happen that often.

Target Projections:
    Rob Gronkowski — 0.19 — 111
    Julian Edelman — 0.18 — 105

New Orleans Saints

Last Season Leaders:
    Michael Thomas — 0.28 — 149
    Alvin Kamara — 0.19 — 101

Michael Thomas saw a huge chunk of the targets last season, and I expect that 28 percent to stay around that number. He is easily the best receiver on the team and is only going to get better. After him, there is room for someone other than Kamara, but now with Mark Ingram out for four games, I feel that Kamara should be able to see a similar target load without much of a problem. Cameron Meredith might be the biggest wild card in this receiving corps, but he will still be third on the depth chart to start the season while the Saints’ offense consistently throws to their running backs, especially when those backs are as dynamic as Kamara.

Target Projections:
    Michael Thomas — 0.27 — 153
    Alvin Kamara — 0.19 — 108

New York Giants

Last Season Leaders:
    Evan Engram — 0.19 — 115
    Sterling Shepard — 0.14 — 84

The Giants severely missed Odell Beckham Jr. last season along with Sterling Shepard’s four missed games. That gave Evan Engram a clear shot as the No. 1 target, but if there aren’t a slew of injuries, I expect Engram won’t be a top-two targets this season. He’s likely to go higher in drafts than his opportunities will dictate.

Beckham Jr. is, of course, the top target when healthy and, in turn, will make this offense run much better than the abomination of an offense last season. Then, we get to add a great pass-catching back with Saquon Barkley and, of course, Shepard and Engram. That’s a nice core group of receivers for Manning, but that does make it tough to project targets, which I know the Giants are worried about.

New head coach Pat Shurmur isn’t shy about giving running backs targets. He gave Matt Asiata 32 receptions a couple years ago! In his three years as offensive coordinator in Philadelphia, the Eagles ranked eighth overall in running back targets during that span and third in 2015. Will Barkley out-target Shepard and Engram? I think it’s a possibility, but it will be close. I’m going to give the edge to Barkley because I think the Giants will need that quick outlet often this coming season.

Target Projections:
    Odell Beckham Jr. — 0.28 — 155
    Saquon Barkley — 0.18 — 100

New York Jets

Last Season Leaders:
    Robby Anderson — 0.23 — 114
    Jermaine Kearse — 0.21 — 102

Robby Anderson is the Jets’ No. 1 receiver, and if he doesn’t get a suspension for his off-field activities, he should be a top-two target. There is a decent chance he faces some kind of suspension, but I wouldn’t expect anything more than two games, which would probably keep him near the top overall. After Anderson, there are a bunch of receivers vying for targets. Jermaine Kearse was the benefactor of Quincy Enunwa’s injury last season, but Enunwa will be back and if he is the same player, he’s my pick to buddy up with Anderson for the target lead.

Target Projections:
    Robby Anderson — 0.20 — 108
    Quincy Enunwa — 0.17 — 91

Oakland Raiders

Last Season Leaders:
    Michael Crabtree — 0.19 — 101
    Amari Cooper — 0.17 — 96

The Raiders let Crabtree go and replaced him with Jordy Nelson this offseason. Crabtree led the Raiders in targets all three seasons he was in Oakland and was consistently a better fantasy scorer than his counterpart Amari Cooper. It might not have been the best choice for the Raiders, but it sure will give Cooper a clear shot at big target numbers.

Nelson wasn’t good last season. Of course, that was expounded by the loss of Aaron Rodgers, but Davante Adams was still able to cobble together some good games even with Brett Hundley throwing the ball at him. I don’t think Nelson is that close to his previous self, but there aren’t many options after him. Martavis Bryant could move up the pecking order, along with Jared Cook, but Nelson will be given a chance to be the No. 2 target, and Bryant and Cook aren’t exactly poised to make big impacts past their No. 3 and 4 target slots.

Target Projections:
    Amari Cooper — 0.24 — 132
    Jordy Nelson — 0.17 — 94

Philadelphia Eagles

Last Season Leaders:
    Alshon Jeffery — 0.22 — 120
    Zach Ertz — 0.20 — 110

The Eagles throw the ball a lot, but they also spread the ball around a lot as well. Jeffery was sporadic to start his first season in Philadelphia, but he found consistency toward the second half of the season and all the time was the No. 1 target. He’s not going to have huge target numbers, but as long as he is healthy, he will be their No. 1.

After Jeffery, Zach Ertz is the steadiest receiver, although Nelson Agholor isn’t far behind, plus, Philadelphia picked up Mike Wallace from Baltimore and will have receiving specialist Darren Sproles back after injury. Wallace is a big upgrade over Torrey Smith and should be able to push for more than Smith’s 68 targets from last season.

I think it’s tough to get past Jeffrey and Ertz as one and two, but with the way this team spreads the ball around, any injury is likely to throw these projections into the dumpster.

Target Projections:
    Alshon Jeffery — 0.22 — 126
    Zach Ertz — 0.18 — 103

Pittsburgh Steelers

Last Season Leaders:
    Antonio Brown — 0.28 — 162
    LeVeon Bell — 0.18 — 106

The Steelers are probably the most predictable offense when it comes to target leaders in the league. Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell are Pittsburgh’s most dynamic offensive studs and deserve to see the ball as often as possible. There is more talent alongside them now, as JuJu Smith-Schuster put up big numbers last season and Vance McDonald gave us a glimpse of what he can do offensively when healthy, but unless there is an injury, I don’t expect much to change for the top two.

Target Projections:
    Antonio Brown — 0.28 — 166
    LeVeon Bell — 0.17 — 101

San Francisco 49ers

Last Season Leaders:
    Marquise Goodwin — 0.18 — 105
    Carlos Hyde — 0.15 — 88

The 49ers didn’t have many receivers to count on last season, so we saw Carlos Hyde double his usual targets and we got to see what Marquise Goodwin could do with significant opportunities. Hyde is gone but he’s been replaced by a better receiving back in Jerick McKinnon and they will also get Pierre Garcon back and a likely more involved George Kittle at tight end.

Goodwin is San Francisco’s deep threat, and if the other receivers stay healthy, he will have trouble leading the team in targets again. Garcon is the player we expect to lead in targets, and I think we have to project him for that lead, although I would also like to see where he is in training camp before I go all-in on him. McKinnon and Kittle are the two players I like to push into that top-two spot, with McKinnon as my favorite. We’ve seen how Kyle Shanahan likes to pass to his running backs, and McKinnon is the best receiving back on the team. Shanahan ranked seventh overall in targets to running backs while with Atlanta and second last season with the 49ers. He would rather split those targets up more, but I expect McKinnon’s ability keeps him as the main back in the passing game.

Target Projections:
    Pierre Garcon — 0.20 — 119
    Jerick McKinnon — 0.16 — 95

Seattle Seahawks

Last Season Leaders:
    Doug Baldwin — 0.22 — 116
    Jimmy Graham — 0.18 — 95

Seattle is another team that likes to spread the targets around, but the team probably should focus a bit more on Doug Baldwin at times. That, of course, is just my wish, and wishing sure doesn’t make it true. The Seahawks did lose Paul Richardson to Washington and Jimmy Graham to Green Bay, so there is going to be a shakeup in targets. If Rashaad Penny were a better receiver, I would pencil him in as the No. 2 guy behind Baldwin, but Penny has work to do in that area and the Seahawks have a couple of good receiving backs if he doesn’t. The only player who has the ability and opportunity is Tyler Lockett. Lockett has had trouble staying on the field, yet he is entrenched in the No. 2 receiver spot, and with Graham and Richardson gone, all he needs to do is stay healthy.

The good news for fantasy is that Baldwin should be forced into more targets than his pitiful seven per game last year. That makes me a big Baldwin fan this season. Target Projections:
    Doug Baldwin — 0.24 — 130
    Tyler Lockett — 0.18 — 98

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Last Season Leaders:
    Mike Evans — 0.23 — 136
    DeSean Jackson — 0.15 — 90

Mike Evans had a significant drop in targets from 172 in 2016 to 136 in 2017, which was a drop from a 30 percent target share to a 23 percent one. I expect this is more in line with what the Bucs want to do with the offense, but there is still no arguing that Evans is the top target. After him, DeSean Jackson came in second while Adam Humphries was a close third. If Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard were one person, that would be the person I’d choose to finish second in targets on the team, but it looks like they will hurt each other’s numbers this season. After Jackson is Chris Godwin, who was behind Humphries last season but is poised to pass him up this year. I think Godwin is more useful than Jackson at this point in their careers, but the veteran also isn’t going to lay down and wi’ll start the season as the No. 2 receiver, so I expect a similar season to last year when it comes to targets for the top-two receivers.

Target Projections:
    Mike Evans — 0.23 — 136
    DeSean Jackson — 0.16 — 95

Tennessee Titans

Last Season Leaders:
    Delanie Walker — 0.23 — 111
    Rishard Matthews — 0.18 — 87

Since 2014, Delanie Walker has been first or second in targets for the Titans while those around him have done little to nothing. Walker is one of the steadiest fantasy and real-life tight ends in the league and will once again be the top target for Marcus Mariota, even if Corey Davis steps up this year. And that is the real question when looking at this offensive target breakdownapalooza. Will Davis be able to beat out Rishard Matthews in targets this year? Both players had some injury trouble last year, but Davis’ was more severe and hurt his usage more. In the end, Matthews averaged 6.2 targets per game while Davis averaged 5.9, and it sure seems like the Titans would like for Davis to take over as the No. 1, especially after putting so much draft stock into him. I like Matthews a lot and feel better drafting him in fantasy, but I think if both players remain healthy, that Davis beats Matthews out in targets.

Target Projections:
    Delanie Walker — 0.21 — 119
    Corey Davis — 0.19 — 107

Washington Redskins

Last Season Leaders:
    Jamison Crowder — 0.25 — 103
    Josh Doctson — 0.19 — 78

Washington really wanted to give Josh Doctson some targets to end last season and pelted him with 23 over the last two games. He only caught six of those, but it sure looks like the Redskins believe he has the stuff to take over as their No. 1 receiver. I don’t know if that is true because I’m just an observer. Besides Jamison Crowder and Doctson, Jordan Reed is probably the player who deserves the most targets and would get them if he could stay healthy. Reed has now played in 52 of 80 games – with quite a few of those games marred by an injury of some sort. Can we project even 12 healthy games for him? I just don’t know. I think the Redskins are past relying on him, and anything he contributes is seen as whipped cream on your pop tart, which should be the same in fantasy. Crowder deserves his targets, and Doctson will be given his until he deserves them, so I’m leaning toward those two again this year.

Target Projections:
    Jamison Crowder — 0.20 — 110
    Josh Doctson — 0.20 — 110

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