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Even with two teams on a bye, the number of players with a high number of targets in Week 5 was high. While Week 4 was a little lower than normal, Week 5 has reverted back to the mean.

The purpose of the target analysis is to see which players are a key part of their team’s offense. While some players may be a target hog one week, it is also important to see who is consistently getting targets.

When looking at the waiver wire, most fantasy owners sort by total fantasy points or projected fantasy points. While those stats are valuable, what is equally important is how many targets the player is getting.

Targets show how often the quarterback is looking for the receiver. If a quarterback trusts the pass-catcher, he’ll throw him the ball more often. It doesn’t take a So-Called Expert to realize that more trust in a receiver equals more targets. More targets equals more chances for receptions. More receptions equal more fantasy points.

As always, none of the charts below show total receptions, total fantasy points or touchdowns. The sole purpose of this analysis is to look at targets.

Week 6 Target Watch

Each week I will be reviewing the targets from the past week, the season and even digging deeper by running back and tight end. I will also be analyzing any trends I find along the way.

Week 5 Only Double-Digit Targets

Player Team Targets
Brandon Marshall New York Jets 15
Jeremy Kerley San Francisco 49ers 13
Greg Olsen Carolina Panthers 13
Jordy Nelson Green Bay Packers 13
Mike Evans Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12
Odell Beckham Jr New York Giants 12
Cameron Meredith Chicago Bears 12
Amari Cooper Oakland Raiders 12
Travis Benjamin San Diego Chargers 11
Sammie Coates Pittsburgh Steelers 11
Jordan Reed Washington Redskins 11
Antonio Brown Pittsburgh Steelers 11
Le’Veon Bell Pittsburgh Steelers 11
Mike Wallace Baltimore Ravens 11
Brandon LaFell Cincinnati Bengals 11
Randall Cobb Green Bay Packers 11
T.Y Hilton Indianapolis Colts 11
Tavon Austin Los Angeles Rams 10
Julian Edelman New England Patriots 10

When looking at this list each week, some familiar faces appear, and some newcomers join the crew. This week is no exception. Cameron Meredith made his way into fantasy relevance by catching nine of 12 targets for 130 yards and a touchdown. With Alshon Jeffery struggling and Brian Hoyer looking for a target, Meredith should continue to be a target monster for the Bears. Eddie Royal is banged up and Meredith should surpass him on the depth chart. He is owned in three percent of Yahoo leagues and should be owned in much more. He has WR3 value right now with a high ceiling.

Sammie Coates (36 percent owned) is another big Week 5 name. He only caught six of his 11 targets, but he had 139 and two touchdowns with those six receptions. Had he not been hampered by a hand laceration, which may have led to the troublesome drops, his day could have been much bigger. Monitor the practice reports this week and the hand may cost him a week or so, but he’s on the WR2 radar if active.

Top 9 Target Leaders This Season

Player Team Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Total
Mike Evans Tampa Bay Bucs 7 17 13 11 12 62
Antonio Brown Pittsburgh Steelers 11 11 18 5 11 56
T.Y. Hilton Indianapolis Colts 12 11 11 10 11 55
Brandon Marshall New York Jets 8 9 10 12 15 54
Greg Olsen Carolina Panthers 9 8 10 13 13 53
A.J. Green Cincinnati Bengals 13 8 11 12 8 52
Emmanuel Sanders Denver Broncos 8 8 13 13 9 51
Odell Beckham Jr. New York Giants 8 11 11 9 12 51
Jarvis Landry Miami Dolphins 10 13 12 10 3 48

 

At the end of Week 4, only two players remained who had double-digit targets in all four weeks that they’ve played: Jarvis Landry and T.Y. Hilton. At the end of Week 5, that number is down to one: T.Y. Hilton. As the last pass-catcher in the NFL to have double-digit targets in every game this season, Hilton also has rewarded fantasy owners with over 100 fantasy points in PPR leagues (good for fifth-best among all running backs, tight ends and wide receivers, and second-best among wide receivers, behind only Antonio Brown).

While Ryan Fitzpatrick has struggled, Brandon Marshall has still been his favorite target on the team. Marshall has seen an increase in targets throughout all five weeks, which is impressive in itself. With Eric Decker now on the I.R., Marshall should continue to see plenty of targets in the coming weeks.

Top Tight End Targets In Week 5

Greg Olsen Carolina Panthers 13
Jordan Reed Washington Redskins 11
Martellus Bennett New England Patriots 8
Zach Miller Chicago Bears 8
Jesse James Pittsburgh Steelers 8
Gary Barnidge Cleveland Browns 8
Dennis Pitta Baltimore Ravens 8
C.J. Fiedorowicz Houston Texans 8
Delanie Walker Tennessee Titans 8

 

For the second week in a row, Kyle Rudolph didn’t make the list of the top tight ends targeted. He’s dropped from 10 to seven to four in the past three weeks. A tight end to watch is Zach Miller. With Kevin White on the I.R. and Alshon Jeffery fading out of WR1 status rapidly, the targets are going to Miller. Brian Hoyer seems to look for his tight end in the red zone and when he needs help, and Miller has been benefitting from this. He’s also caught the majority of his targets so far this season (25 out of 29). He’s making his way onto the TE1 radar.

Former Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett has been stepping up while Rob Gronkowski is still recovering from a hamstring injury. While the three touchdowns may not occur again this season, the takeaway here is that even with Tom Brady and Gronkowski back, Bennett still has a clear role in the Patriots offense. He’s a TE1 even with Gronk on the field.

Top Running Back Targets In Week 5

Le’Veon Bell Pittsburgh Steelers 11
Bilal Powell New York Jets 8
Jalen Richard Oakland Raiders 7

 

The list of running backs with the most targets is short this week. 12 different running backs had six targets each, but the focus here is on the players with the most targets. Bell has more targets than most wide receivers in the league and is proving time and time again that he’s one of the best running backs in the game for fantasy owners, in PPR and standard leagues.

Last week, Bilal Powell was on this list as well, and he continues to see work in the passing game. Matt Forte is still the lead back, but Powell is worth flex consideration in PPR leagues. Jalen Richard is in a timeshare with DeAndre Washington, which cuts into his value. However, he did catch six of his seven targets in Week 5. Until he shows that he has consistent value, he is not worth starting, even in PPR formats.

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