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After literally an onslaught of passes in Week 3, Week 4 came back down significantly. Quarterbacks were still throwing the ball; they were just focusing on a few key receivers.

A key to the waiver wire (and setting a starting line-up) is to know who those key receivers are. The box score will tell you who had the most yards and who had the most receptions, but an often overlooked stat is targets.

When looking at targets, it is important to look at trends as well as who the target leaders are in the league. Now that a quarter of the fantasy season is over, owners can look at their team and drop players who just aren’t getting looks from their quarterback.

If the player is part of the offensive scheme, the player will get targets. It’s that simple. What they do with those targets turns into fantasy points (and may cause the quarterback to trust them more – or less).

None of the charts below show total receptions or total fantasy points. Touchdowns are ignored for this analysis as well. Just targets.

Week 4 Only Double-Digit Targets

Player Team Targets
John Brown Arizona Cardinals 16
Julio Jones Atlanta Falcons 15
Emmanuel Sanders Denver Broncos 13
Greg Olsen Carolina Panthers 13
Michael Crabtree Oakland Raiders 12
Brandon Marshall New York Jets 12
A.J. Green Cincinnati Bengals 12
Dontrelle Inman San Diego Chargers 11
Mike Evans Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11
Steve Smith Sr Baltimore Ravens 11
Jordan Reed Washington Redskins 10
Jarvis Landry Miami Dolphins 10
Mike Wallace Baltimore Ravens 10
Allen Robinson Jacksonville Jaguars 10
T.Y Hilton Indianapolis Colts 10
Josh Ferguson Indianapolis Colts 10
Robert Woods Buffalo Bills 10

 

Week 4 provided the fewest players with double-digit targets. Just for comparison, Weeks 1 and 2 had 20 different players with double-digit targets, and Week 3 had 25 different players.

Most fantasy owners aren’t surprised by this list. However, some players are new additions that should be looked at closer. Robert Woods, for example, led the Buffalo Bills in targets with Sammy Watkins out. While the Bills may not focus on one pass catcher to fill Watkins’ role, Woods seems to be carving out a decent spot for himself, especially in PPR leagues. He caught seven of those targets for 89 yards.

Other interesting notes: Dontrelle Inman had the most targets on the team (his 11 to the next-highest seven) and he did the most with them. He ended Week 4 with seven receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown. He’s owned in two percent of Yahoo leagues, and while chasing targets isn’t recommended, he is someone to keep an eye on to see if the Chargers use him more than Travis Benjamin.

Michael Crabtree has quietly had double-digit targets the past two weeks. In Week 3, he caught eight targets for 102 yards. In Week 4, he caught seven passes for 88 yards and three touchdowns. He has four touchdowns and a two-point conversion on the season. He’s widely owned, but should be widely started as well.

Top 9 Target Leaders This Season

Player Team Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Total
Mike Evans Tampa Bay Bucs 7 17 13 11 50
Antonio Brown Pittsburgh Steelers 11 11 18 5 45
Jarvis Landry Miami Dolphins 10 13 12 10 45
T.Y. Hilton Indianapolis Colts 12 11 11 10 44
A.J. Green Cincinnati Bengals 13 8 11 12 44
Emmanuel Sanders Denver Broncos 8 8 13 13 42
Allen Robinson Jacksonville Jaguars 15 5 11 10 41
Greg Olsen Carolina Panthers 9 8 10 13 40
Terrelle Pryor Cleveland Browns 7 10 14 9 40

 

Only two players remain who have double-digit targets in all four weeks that they’ve played: Jarvis Landry and T.Y. Hilton. Even in a half-point per reception scoring league, both are in the Top 10 for total fantasy points among wide receivers.

Emmanuel Sanders has been an interesting player to watch. He’s been consistently getting more targets than Demaryius Thomas and his targets have been steady and rising each week. He’s scored three touchdowns in the past two weeks (with his highest target totals of the season). Sanders is also in the Top 10 among fantasy points for wide receivers.

Top Tight End Targets In Week 4

Greg Olsen Carolina Panthers 13
Jordan Reed Washington Redskins 10
Jason Witten Dallas Cowboys 9
Cameron Brate Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8
Travis Kelce Kansas City Chiefs 8
Jimmy Graham Seattle Seahawks 8
Delanie Walker Tennessee Titans 8

 

Last week, Coby Fleener and Kyle Rudolph were two names to watch, and now the pair aren’t even in the Top 7 target leaders among tight ends. Rudolph had seven targets, and is still on the TE1 radar, but Fleener had five targets and seems to be sliding back to the performances of his first two weeks.

Cameron Brate is a newcomer to this list. With 10 targets in Week 3 and eight targets in Week 4, he is making his way on the tight end scene. He has five receptions in each of the past two games and combined 113 yards and two touchdowns. He’s owned in 10 percent of Yahoo leagues, and is a great tight end pick-up for those looking at the bye weeks.

Top Running Back Targets In Week 4

Josh Ferguson Indianapolis Colts 10
Bobby Rainey New York Giants 9
Bilal Powell New York Jets 9
Fozzy Whittaker Carolina Panthers 9
Duke Johnson Jr Cleveland Browns 8
Mark Ingram New Orleans Saints 7
Theo Riddick Detroit Lions 7
Melvin Gordon San Diego Chargers 7
Kyle Juszczyk Baltimore Ravens 7

 

Justin Forsett had seven targets in Week 3, and now Kyle Juszczyk has seven targets in Week 4. If fantasy football has taught owners anything, it’s don’t go chasing running back targets. Forsett was a healthy scratch and then cut from the team; Juszczyk isn’t worth the waiver add with Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon also in the picture.

Josh Ferguson did catch seven of his 10 targets, but only managed 33 yards. He isn’t going to save your fantasy season; don’t chase him on the waiver wire either. Bobby Rainey has taken over the Shane Vereen role for the Giants and is worth a look in deeper PPR leagues. Bilal Powell has stepped up the past two weeks with four receptions in each game. Seen as a Matt Forte handcuff, Powell may start to have value in PPR leagues as Forte is banged up.

Photo Credit: Denver Jeffrey

Sarah Lewis
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Sarah Lewis

Sarah Lewis (formerly Sarah Bojarski) once spent an entire cocktail hour at a wedding reception answering Fantasy Football start/sit questions on Twitter. She has been writing about Fantasy Football for five seasons now, and is always willing to talk draft strategy with anyone looking to win their league. Follow her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32
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