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NFC Target Analysis (2020 Fantasy Football)

Jun 18, 2020

Mike Evans and Chris Godwin were able to reach fantasy glory with their 239 combined targets last season.

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In our last edition of “Target Analysis,” we looked at the AFC conference and dissected every team’s target preference, vacated target share, and key player additions; we then forecasted how the offseason moves of these teams would affect the target share and fantasy viability of each team.

As I’ve said before, volume is the clearest indicator of fantasy success, as it’s rare for a player to be a fantasy football stud without the opportunity to convert touches into points. Pass-catching opportunities, especially in PPR leagues, are often a bigger determinant of fantasy success than the talent of a player or his circumstance.

Last year’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers present a perfect example.  Would anyone have believed me if I said Jameis Winston would produce two WR1s for fantasy? The current New Orleans backup is a mediocre quarterback in many people’s eyes, so it was perfectly understandable if you elected to pass on either Mike Evans or Chris Godwin in favor of a prospect with a more talented quarterback. Yet, volume can cure many faults, and the Buccaneers’ receiving duo were able to reach fantasy glory with their 239 combined targets.

So, let’s dive into the data and analyze how the target distribution will play out for every NFC team.

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2019 Team Tendencies

Before we project how the targets will change for the upcoming 2020 season, we must take a retrospective review of the 2019 season. Determining which teams targeted one position more often than others could give us key insights into whether or not we should place a premium on a certain position for each franchise.

2019 WR Tendencies

Team WR Targets WR% WR % Rank
Arizona Cardinals 369 69.8 1
Los Angeles Rams 393 64.4 5
Atlanta Falcons 416 63.6 8
Seattle Seahawks 306 62.3 11
Dallas Cowboys 357 62 12
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 376 62 13
Washington 287 61.9 14
Chicago Bears 350 61.8 15
Detroit Lions 328 60.1 18
New York Giants 350 59.4 20
Green Bay Packers 314 57.9 21
Carolina Panthers 334 55.6 22
New Orleans Saints 279 51.9 26
San Francisco 49ers 233 49.9 28
Minnesota Vikings 209 47.5 29
Philadelphia Eagles 255 42.2 32

In 2019, the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams both ranked in the top-five in wide receiver targets, with the former passing to the position nearly 70 percent of the time. The Cardinals employed a spread system focused on 10 personnel, so it makes sense that a majority of the volume would go towards the wideout. The Rams started out the season utilizing their patented 11 personnel with Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp reaping the benefits, but switched to more 12 personnel toward season’s end. 

Arizona failed to produce a top-32 wide receiver due to their cluster of injuries, but the Rams’ wide receiver heavy scheme early on allowed Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods to finish the season as WR6 and WR19 respectively in PPR. With DeAndre Hopkins in the fold for the Cardinals in 2020, Arizona’s high volume of wide receiver targets will likely get put to good use.

On the bottom end of the spectrum, we have the 49ers, Vikings, and Eagles finishing in the bottom-five of wide receiver targets, passing to to the position less than half of the time. These teams relied heavily on two-tight end sets and focused on their dynamic running games. Injuries to players like Desean Jackson, Alshon Jeffrey, and Adam Thielen may have forced Philadelphia and Minnesota to shy away from targeting the wide receiver, but San Francisco neglected their wideouts by design. The Vikings’ Stefon Diggs was the only player in this group to see consistent fantasy relevance, finishing as the PPR WR20 on the season.

2019 RB Tendencies

Team RB Targets RB% RB % Rank
New Orleans Saints 154 28.6 2
Minnesota Vikings 126 28.6 3
Chicago Bears 147 26 5
Carolina Panthers 154 25.6 6
Green Bay Packers 133 24.5 7
Washington 104 22.4 12
San Francisco 49ers 103 22.1 14
Arizona Cardinals 104 19.7 18
Philadelphia Eagles 114 18.9 19
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 113 18.6 21
Detroit Lions 101 18.5 22
Atlanta Falcons 117 17.9 23
Seattle Seahawks 83 16.9 24
New York Giants 99 16.8 25
Dallas Cowboys 93 16.1 27
Los Angeles Rams 61 10 32

New Orleans and Carolina were tied for the most targets to the running back position in the NFC, even though a higher percentage of the former’s targets went to the position. When you employ the two best receiving backs in the game, it makes sense that the offense will run through the position; Christian McCaffery and Alvin Kamara finished as the RB1 and RB11 respectively, with the former seeing 45 more targets than the latter.

Dalvin Cook also benefited from being the focal point in his offense and finished as the RB3 despite his injury towards the end of the season; his 64 targets ranked 13th among running backs. However, not all running back targets are created equal, as Tarik Cohen’s 104 targets only led to an RB28 finish. It’s important to remember that while volume is necessary, the type of targets also matter.

The Rams and Cowboys ranked near the bottom of this list, as their offenses flowed away from passing to the running back. The Rams design was more purposeful, as they wanted to limit the Todd Gurley’s touches to keep him upright; the Cowboys, however, just had too many mouths to feed so passing to Ezekiel Elliot wasn’t a priority. Nonetheless, both Gurley and Elliot finished as top-fifteen running backs despite their lack of receiving production. Target volume will help a running back achieve their ceiling, but a lack of targets doesn’t necessarily doom a runner’s fantasy prospects.

2019 TE Tendencies

Team TE Targets TE% TE% Rank
Philadelphia Eagles 235 38.9 2
San Francisco 49ers 131 28.1 5
Los Angeles Rams 156 25.6 7
Minnesota Vikings 105 23.9 9
New York Giants 140 23.8 10
Dallas Cowboys 126 21.9 12
Detroit Lions 117 21.4 13
Seattle Seahawks 102 20.8 14
New Orleans Saints 105 19.5 16
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 117 19.3 18
Carolina Panthers 113 18.8 20
Atlanta Falcons 121 18.5 21
Green Bay Packers 95 17.5 22
Washington 73 15.7 26
Chicago Bears 69 12.2 29
Arizona Cardinals 56 10.6 31

The Eagles and 49ers led the NFC in tight end targets, as Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, and George Kittle all finished as top-ten fantasy tight ends. This tight end preference should remain the same next season, as these offenses flow through the position. Los Angeles and New York targeted their tight ends more than 140 times, despite having three above average wideouts in their offense. With Sean McVay’s scheme change in Los Angeles and Joe Judge’s presence in New York, we could see this trend increase next season.

Arizona, Chicago, and Washington all rank on the bottom of this list, as none of these teams had capable tight ends on the roster. Trey Burton, Jordan Reed, and Vernon Davis all suffered season-ending injuries for their respective teams, while Arizona chose not to utilize Charles Clay or Maxx Williams. Talent typically wins out at the tight end position, and these franchises do not have much talent in their tight end room.

2019 Overall Targets (Volume)

Team Total Total Targets Rank
Atlanta Falcons 654 1
Los Angeles Rams 610 2
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 606 3
Philadelphia Eagles 604 4
Carolina Panthers 601 6
New York Giants 589 7
Dallas Cowboys 576 10
Chicago Bears 566 12
Detroit Lions 546 15
Green Bay Packers 542 16
New Orleans Saints 538 17
Arizona Cardinals 529 18
Seattle Seahawks 491 23
San Francisco 49ers 467 28
Washington 464 29
Minnesota Vikings 440 30

The Falcons, Rams, Buccaneers, Eagles, and Panthers all eclipsed 600 total targets in 2019, with each team producing at least one top-twelve wide receiver or top-three tight end. These offenses had multiple players viable for fantasy.

San Francisco, Washington, and Minnesota ranked on the bottom of this list as they all employed a run-first approach. Their low volume did not doom all of their fantasy assets, as George Kittle was able to finish as the TE4, Stefon Diggs finished as the WR20, and Terry McLaurin finished as the WR25. However, success for other pass-catchers was few and far between, as only Deebo Samuel and Steven Sims Jr. saw enough targets to give them usable weeks for fantasy.

While targets are extremely important, I want to stress that the type of targets truly matter. Pass attempts that have a low average depth of target or fail to lead to scoring opportunities will not be as useful for the fantasy outlook of certain players and teams. You can’t have fantasy success without volume, but volume doesn’t always lead to fantasy success.

While these 2019 tendencies give us a solid baseline, the player movement during the offseason will create a great deal of change among schemes and target breakdown. Changes in quarterbacks, coaches, and skill position players will have a major impact on how the passes are distributed next season. So let’s go team-by-team, finishing up with the NFC, and look at how they could fare for 2020.

Arizona Cardinals

RB1/WR1/TE1 Targets RB2/WR2/TE2 Targets RB3/WR3 Targets Total Total Positional Targets Rank
David Johnson 47 Kenyan Drake 35 Chase Edmonds 21 104 19
Larry Fitzgerald 109 Christian Kirk 108 Damiere Byrd 46 369 5
Charles Clay 24 Maxx Williams 19 56 31

As I’ve mentioned, the Cardinals love to target their wide receivers. In Kliff Kingsbury’s first year with Kyler Muray, the Cardinals ranked fifth in the NFL in wide receiver targets and first in wide receiver target share. Larry Fitzgerald barely edged out Christian Kirk for the most targets on the team, but that was mainly due to Kirk’s injury. Surprisingly, many wideout targets went to those lower on the depth chart, as the receivers outside of the top-three combined for 106 targets.

The Cardinals may have ranked 19th in running back targets, but much of that has to do with that position being in flux after David Johnson’s injury. Prior to his injury in Week 7, Johnson averaged nearly seven targets a game; Drake didn’t match the volume to end the season, averaging four targets a game with Arizona, but that may not have been by design. The tight end room for this team, however, will continue to be the last option in the passing game.

Departing Player 1 Vacated Targets Departing Player 2 Vacated Targets Departing Player 3 Vacated Targets Vacated Targets From Top-3 Total Vacated Targets Vacated Target % Vacated Targets Rank
David Johnson 47 Damiere Byrd 46 Pharoh Cooper 35 128 156 29.40% 5

The Cardinals’ loss of targets were more from ancillary pieces than anything else. Arizona will have 156 targets up for grabs, ranking fifth-most in the NFL. While many of Arizona’s 2019 targets went to receivers and tight ends down the depth chart, we are bound to see a change after their 2020 offseason additions.

Total Vacated Targets Addition 1 Addition 2 Addition 3
156 DeAndre Hopkins Dan Arnold Eno Benjamin

The most notable addition to the Arizona Cardinals offense is DeAndre Hopkins, who will immediately take over as the WR1 in this offense and likely soak up the entirety of the target void. Given how much Arizona utilizes 10 personnel and their proclivity for passing to the wide receiver, Hopkins should see a similar target share in Glendale as he did in Houston. While I do believe there will be some growing pains in his first season with Kyler Murray, he’s bound for a large workload.

I can see Larry Fitzgerald’s targets slightly diminishing in favor of the younger Christian Kirk and Andy Isabella. Both receivers were hurt last year and showed explosiveness at points during the season. Kirk seems primed to be the No. 2 option behind Hopkins, with Fitzgerald taking on a reduced workload in his 16th season.

I expect Drake to see a similar target pace to what Johnson saw, averaging approximately five looks per contest. Drake is an avid pass-catcher and works well in space; Hopkins drawing men away from the box will allow Drake to work over the middle of the field and in the flat.

Kyler Murray threw 542 times in his rookie season, which was phenomenal as it stands. I don’t expect that big of an increase in passing volume in his second season, as Arizona improved their defense and Murray will be more efficient with better weapons. 

Hopkins and Drake will see plenty of receiving work to make them fantasy studs, while Kirk, Fitzgerald, and Isabella will be useful on a matchup basis. Even with Dan Arnold now in the fold, it is doubtful this tight end group sees any relevant work.

Atlanta Falcons

RB1/WR1/TE1 Targets RB2/WR2/TE2 Targets RB3/WR3 Targets Total Total Positional Targets Rank
Devonta Freeman 70 Ito Smith 14 Brian Hill 14 117 10
Julio Jones 157 Calvin Ridley 93 Russell Gage 74 416 1
Austin Hooper 97 Luke Stocker 14 121 10

Given this team ranked first overall in passing volume, it’s unsurprising that they ranked in the top-ten in targets among all positions. Despite Devonta Freeman missing two games last year and being oft-injured throughout the season, he still saw 70 targets among the 117 at the position. Austin Hooper allowed Atlanta to jettison themselves into the top-ten at the tight end position, as he ranked sixth among tight ends in targets despite missing three games.

The Falcons’ most targeted position was the wide receiver, as they passed to that position over 400 times. Julio Jones was obviously the mainstay in this offense, seeing over 140 looks for the fifth time in six years. Calvin Ridley was a distant No. 2 in the offense, seeing 93 targets in his 13 games while sharing time with Mohamed Sanu for half of a season. Russell Gage saw an increase in targets following Sanu’s departure and Hooper’s injury, finishing the season with 74 targets.

Departing Player 1 Vacated Targets Departing Player 2 Vacated Targets Departing Player 3 Vacated Targets Vacated Targets From Top-3 Total Vacated Targets Vacated Target % Vacated Targets Rank
Austin Hooper 97 Devonta Freeman 70 Mohamed Sanu 42 209 258 39.30% 1

The Falcons lost a lot of talent this offseason with Hooper, Freeman, and Sanu all departing from the team in some fashion or another. Their exodus from Atlanta along with a few ancillary pieces opens up 258 targets in this offense, ranking first in the league. The Falcons have 68 more vacated targets than the team ranked behind them.

Total Vacated Targets Addition 1 Addition 2 Addition 3
258 Todd Gurley Hayden Hurst Laquon Treadwell

With 258 vacated targets, there should be plenty of volume for all Atlanta pass-catchers to thrive. Todd Gurley’s addition likely fills the target void that Freeman left. While Gurley only saw 49 targets last season, that was more of a product of the load-management program that Los Angeles implemented than his own ability. Given he averaged 84 targets in the two years prior to 2019, I can easily see Gurley garnering 60-65 targets.

Hayden Hurst will look to take over Austin Hooper’s target share, but I doubt he’ll fill the hole Hooper left in Atlanta. Hurst was a solid No. 2 tight end in Baltimore and never developed into a legitimate receiving threat; he’ll likely start out slow in his first season. Laquon Treadwell’s addition doesn’t inspire any confidence, as he’s mainly been a depth receiver for his entire career.

I believe Calvin Ridley is in for a target boost, as he showed much promise in his second season and looked as though he could excel in a featured role. Matt Ryan may see a slight downtick in passing volume, but he shouldn’t stray too far from his 616 attempts in 2019; after all, Ryan has passed over 600 times in five of his last seven seasons in the NFL.

Carolina Panthers

RB1/WR1/TE1 Targets RB2/WR2/TE2 Targets RB3/WR3 Targets Total Total Positional Targets Rank
Christian McCaffrey 142 Reggie Bonnafon 10 Alex Armah 2 154 4
D.J. Moore 135 Curtis Samuel 105 Jarius Wright 58 334 12
Greg Olsen 82 Ian Thomas 30 113 14

The Carolina Panthers’ season went quite differently than planned, especially given Cam Newton was only able to suit up for the first two games of the season. Still, the Panthers offense produced the RB1, WR12, and TE13 on the season. The majority of the targets went to, you guessed it, Christian McCaffery. McCaffery will continue to be a target hog in any offense despite the quarterback, so Teddy Bridgewater’s addition won’t prevent him from being the clear 1.01 pick in redraft leagues.

D.J. Moore took over as the clear WR1 in this offense, seeing 135 targets and putting up over 1,000 yards in only his second NFL season. Curtis Samuel was close behind with 105 targets, but he struggled to convert these looks into a great fantasy finish given his quarterbacks’ struggle with the deep ball. Greg Olsen was once again a safety blanket for the Panthers’ quarterbacks, seeing 82 targets in only 14 games.

Departing Player 1 Vacated Targets Departing Player 2 Vacated Targets Departing Player 3 Vacated Targets Vacated Targets From Top-3 Total Vacated Targets Vacated Target % Vacated Targets Rank
Greg Olsen 82 Jarius Wright 58 Chris Hogan 15 155 155 25.80% 6

After a stellar career in Carolina, Greg Olsen departed for the rainy skies of Seattle, leaving backup Ian Thomas to take over his role. Along with Olsen, the Panthers’ third-string and fourth-string wide receivers were also jettisoned from the team, leaving a grand total of 155 targets vacated from this offense. 

Total Vacated Targets Addition 1 Addition 2
155 Robby Anderson Pharoh Cooper

Robby Anderson enters Carolina as the No. 2 wideout opposite D.J. Moore, which should relegate Curtis Samuel to the slot. Anderson is likely to make up the targets lost from Wright and Hogan while eating into Samuel’s total. I see Moore still being the clear No. 1 option in the wide receiver room and maintaining his 130+ targets, as he is the most well-rounded wideout on this team.

Ian Thomas is doubtful to replicate Olsen’s role as the TE1, but he’ll see a sufficient amount of volume to be a worthwhile streamer. Teddy Bridgewater only targeted Jared Cook 17 times during the four games they played together in New Orleans, so I predict Thomas will get a similar treatment, seeing approximately 65-70 targets over the course of the season.

Carolina averaged nearly 40 pass attempts per game in 2019, which will certainly decline with a more competent, risk-averse quarterback at the helm. McCaffery’s and Moore’s target total should be safe, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Anderson and Samuel struggle to see enough volume to remain fantasy relevant. They may be more efficient and see higher yards per target, but the volume may be an issue.

Chicago Bears

RB1/WR1/TE1 Targets RB2/WR2/TE2 Targets RB3/WR3 Targets Total Total Positional Targets Rank
Tarik Cohen 104 David Montgomery 35 Mike Davis 8 147 5
Allen Robinson 154 Anthony Miller 85 Taylor Gabriel 48 350 10
Trey Burton 24 Adam Shaheen 13 69 28

Despite being a low volume offense, the Bears ranked in the top-ten in running back and wide receiver targets. Unfortunately, the only successful fantasy asset on the Bears’ roster last season was Allen Robinson, who leveraged his 154 targets into a PPR WR7 finish. Miller filled in for the injured Taylor Gabriel and saw 85 total targets, putting together several fantasy relevant contests.

We figured out too late that David Montgomery was not going to be a workhorse running back in Chicago, as Cohen out-targeted him by nearly 70 total looks. Cohen was the main pass-catching threat in the running back room, working out of the backfield and the slot. Montgomery’s ceiling was capped as he mainly worked as a between-the-tackles runner when Cordarrelle Patterson wasn’t vulturing carries. The tight ends, as I mentioned, were oft-injured and abysmal; yet, they still managed a total of 69 targets.

Departing Player 1 Vacated Targets Departing Player 2 Vacated Targets Departing Player 3 Vacated Targets Vacated Targets From Top-3 Total Vacated Targets Vacated Target % Vacated Targets Rank
Taylor Gabriel 48 Trey Burton 24 Mike Davis 8 80 88 15.50% 19

Chicago ranks in the middle of the pack in terms of vacated targets, with Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton accounting for 72 targets to be replaced. Given Gabriel and Burton were pretty much replaced midseason, their departures are unlikely to leave a mark on this offense.

Total Vacated Targets Addition 1 Addition 2 Addition 3
88 Cole Kmet Jimmy Graham Darnell Mooney

Chicago’s main additions to the offensive side are second-round pick Cole Kmet and former Packer Jimmy Graham. Chicago has invested heavily in the tight end room this offseason, with over ten tight ends currently on the roster heading into training camp. This offense wants to utilize that position, so I would not be surprised if the Bears pull a complete 180 and become one of the most tight-end heavy offenses in the NFL. Still, it’s doubtful any tight end receives enough consistent volume to become fantasy relevant. 

Ted Ginn Jr. will replace Taylor Gabriel as the speedy receiver for screen passes and the occasional deep shot, but he won’t see significant volume; he’ll have a similar role to Cordarrelle Patterson. I expect Allen Robinson to see a similar target share as he did last season, but Miller could see a slight downtick as Chicago shifts to more 12 personnel. Miller is best utilized as a slot receiver, so more two tight end sets could relegate him to a less than ideal role.

The Bears’ backfield split will be interesting to watch headed into Montgomery’s sophomore season, but Cohen still has a stranglehold on the pass-catching role in this offense. Montgomery could surpass 40 targets, but his ceiling is limited. Cohen will likely remain the scatback in this offense and see 85-90 targets. Given the starting quarterback in Chicago is still a mystery, there’s too much risk in this offense outside of Allen Robinson.

Dallas Cowboys

RB1/WR1/TE1 Targets RB2/WR2/TE2 Targets RB3/WR3 Targets Total Total Positional Targets Rank
Ezekiel Elliott 71 Tony Pollard 20 Jamize Olawale 2 93 24
Amari Cooper 119 Michael Gallup 113 Randall Cobb 83 357 8
Jason Witten 83 Blake Jarwin 41 126 9

The Dallas Cowboys experienced an offensive explosion this past season, with the passing game finally taking precedence over the running game. Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup led the way in the receiving room with 119 and 113 targets respectively; Randall Cobb was close behind with 83 targets of his own.

Jason Witten returned from the Monday Night Football booth and reprised his role as the safety blanket for Dak Prescott; he saw 83 targets and finished as a top-twelve tight end in 2019. Blake Jarwin took a backseat, yet he still garnered over 40 targets. Many were disappointed that Ezekiel Elliot did not see his role expand in the passing game, as he saw 24 less targets than the season before despite an increase in team passing plays; he finished with the ninth most targets among running backs nonetheless.

Departing Player 1 Vacated Targets Departing Player 2 Vacated Targets Departing Player 3 Vacated Targets Vacated Targets From Top-3 Total Vacated Targets Vacated Target % Vacated Targets Rank
Randall Cobb 83 Jason Witten 83 Tavon Austin 24 190 190 33.10% 2

The Cowboys are a distant second behind the Falcons in terms of vacated targets, but they still have a large void to fill. Randall Cobb and Jason Witten each leave behind 83 targets, a lot of volume for the player willing to work over the middle of the field. Tavon Austin’s 24 vacated targets bring the total up to 190, a 33 percent vacated target share.

Total Vacated Targets Addition 1
190 CeeDee Lamb

Dallas only made one notable addition on offense and that was CeeDee Lamb, their first-round pick at No. 17 overall. Lamb will immediately take over for Randall Cobb in the slot and likely see a similar amount of volume. Given his competition, 83 targets is the ceiling for Lamb in his rookie season. Blake Jarwin should slide into Jason Witten’s role as the safety blanket for Prescott and could see 70-80 targets next season.

While Michael Gallup’s upside was certainly capped with Lamb’s addition, he should still see 90+ targets next season, especially given the coaching change. During Mike McCarthy’s last season as a head coach, his team ranked dead last in rushing attempts; he has a preference for the passing game, so I wouldn’t be shocked to see Prescott throw the ball 600 times again. 

Amari Cooper will also surpass triple digits in targets, but he could once again be dead even with Gallup. Prescott spreads the ball around, so I am not sure any receiver has a stranglehold on targets.

Elliot might relent a bit more receiving work to Tony Pollard, as the rookie ranked 11th among all running backs in yards created per touch last season. McCarthy had not rostered a running back with Elliot’s pedigree during his coaching career with Green Bay, but he still implemented a committee between Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams during his last year with the Packers. Elliot could struggle to hit 60 targets next season in this crowded offense.

Detroit Lions

RB1/WR1/TE1 Targets RB2/WR2/TE2 Targets RB3/WR3 Targets Total Total Positional Targets Rank
J.D. McKissic 42 Ty Johnson 31 Kerryon Johnson 15 101 22
Kenny Golladay 116 Danny Amendola 97 Marvin Jones 91 328 15
T.J. Hockenson 59 Logan Thomas 28 117 11

With the injuries to Matt Stafford, Kerryon Johnson, Marvin Jones, and T.J. Hockenson last season, the target picture became a little murky in the Motor City. Still, the top-three receivers in Detroit each surpassed 90 targets. Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones appeared to alternate as the primary option in the passing game, with Golladay taking a stranglehold of the role toward the end of the season. 

Hockenson’s season was tough to quantify, as he seemed to alternate between high and low volume games; the young tight end saw six or more targets in five of his twelve games, but one or fewer targets in five other contests. Nonetheless, Detroit still finished in the top 12 in the league in terms of tight end targets. With Kerryon Johnson sidelined, J.D. McKissic took over the role as the scatback in this nightmare of a Matt Patricia committee.

Departing Player 1 Vacated Targets Departing Player 2 Vacated Targets Departing Player 3 Vacated Targets Vacated Targets From Top-3 Total Vacated Targets Vacated Target % Vacated Targets Rank
J.D. McKissic 42 Logan Thomas 28 Paul Perkins 1 71 71 12.90% 23

Detroit didn’t lose much talent this offseason, with only their scatback McKissic and third-string tight end Thomas departing from the team. The Lions’ 71 vacated targets rank 23rd in the NFL.

Total Vacated Targets Addition 1 Addition 2 Addition 3
71 D’Andre Swift Geronimo Allison Quintez Cephus

The Lions have an excess of skill-position players at their disposal, including newcomers D’Andre Swift and Geronimo Allison. Allison is likely to split touches relatively evenly with Danny Amendola, with their shared work cannibalizing each other’s fantasy value. 

Swift will likely take most of Johnson’s receiving work, as the rookie is a more adept pass-catcher and creator in space. I don’t expect the total running back targets to surpass triple-digits with Stafford’s return, but Swift should still manage 45 or more targets while Johnson sees half of that.

I expect Hockenson to take a lion’s share (get it?) of the tight end work, potentially eclipsing 80 targets in his sophomore season. Meanwhile, a healthy Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay could each surpass 110 targets and see enough work to finish as top-twelve wide receivers. Before Stafford went out in Week 10, Golladay and Jones were the WR11 and WR 14 respectively, so it’s possible they could be this year’s Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.

Stafford was on a 16-game pace for 582 attempts last season, which would be 12 more attempts than Detroit’s combined 2019 total; I don’t expect the passing volume to increase much in 2020, but there should be plenty to go around for Golladay, Jones, and Hockenson to be fantasy studs.

Green Bay Packers

RB1/WR1/TE1 Targets RB2/WR2/TE2 Targets RB3/WR3 Targets Total Total Positional Targets Rank
Aaron Jones 68 Jamaal Williams 45 Dan Vitale 12 133 6
Davante Adams 127 Marquez Valdes-Scantling 56 Geronimo Allison 55 314 18
Jimmy Graham 60 Marcedes Lewis 19 95 23

Aaron Rodgers didn’t have a lot of playmakers at his disposal in 2019. Despite missing four games, Davante Adams still garnered more targets than Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison combined. Adams was Rodgers’ only reliable target, so it is no surprise that he became the focal point in the passing game. Jimmy Graham saw 60 targets despite being utterly irrelevant on a weekly basis, while Valdes-Scantling, Allison, Kumerow, and Lazard ate into each other’s workload.

Matt LaFleur’s offense ran through Aaron Jones, who saw a career-high 68 targets in his first season as the lead runner. His backup Jamaal Williams still inherited the role as the pass-catching specialist in the backfield, accumulating 45 targets of his own. Still, these running back targets could largely be attributed to the lack of receiving talent on the roster.

Departing Player 1 Vacated Targets Departing Player 2 Vacated Targets Departing Player 3 Vacated Targets Vacated Targets From Top-3 Total Vacated Targets Vacated Target % Vacated Targets Rank
Jimmy Graham 60 Geronimo Allison 55 Dan Vitale 12 127 132 24.30% 8

The Packers rank eighth in the NFL in terms of vacated targets, with over 130 targets up for grabs. Jimmy Graham and Geronimo Allison were the main losses, as both players defected to their division rivals. 

Total Vacated Targets Addition 1 Addition 2 Addition 3
132 Devin Funchess AJ Dillon Josiah Deguara

There is not much competition to fill that target void in Green Bay, as the only notable additions to the Packers offense are Devin Funchess and AJ Dillon. Funchess will come in as the presumed No. 2 wideout in this offense and replacement on the outside for Valdes-Scantling. He’ll likely take a majority of Valdes-Scantling’s work, provided he is healthy enough to stay on the field. I still expect Lazard to have a decent role, as he impressed the staff late in the season; he could be in line for Allison’s target share if he can transition to the slot. 

AJ Dillon will battle Jamaal Williams for touches; given Dillon is a more physical runner and not an avid pass-catcher, the total running back targets may decrease as LaFleur transitions to Year 2 of his run-oriented system. Jones may see a small spike in targets, but Williams’ total could diminish down to the low-teens.

Jimmy Graham’s departure opens up work for the Packers’ 2019 third-round pick Jace Sternberger, who caught two touchdowns last postseason. As the Packers offense transitions to their run dominated scheme, Sternberger will likely see more playing time and could surpass Graham’s total of 60 targets. The former third-round pick could be a surprise streaming candidate come September.

The Packers offense did not pass much last season, and I highly doubt they will vary much from their 569 attempts. Adams and Jones seem primed for a similar, if not increased, target volume, while the latter may suffer a loss of carries given Dillon’s presence. While Sternberger could see sufficient volume to become a weekly streamer, Funchess, Lazard, and the rest of the Packers pass-catchers will be fighting for scraps.

Los Angeles Rams

RB1/WR1/TE1 Targets RB2/WR2/TE2 Targets RB3/WR3 Targets Total Total Positional Targets Rank
Todd Gurley 49 Darrell Henderson 6 Malcolm Brown 6 61 31
Robert Woods 139 Cooper Kupp 134 Brandin Cooks 72 393 2
Tyler Higbee 89 Gerald Everett 60 156 3

The 2019 Rams offense was a far cry from what we were used to in the past, but the volume was certainly still present. Jared Goff tied Jameis Winston for the most pass attempts in the league, which allowed Los Angeles to finish in the top-three of wide receiver and tight end targets. 

Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp each saw over 130 looks, while Brandin Cooks’ injury and ineffectiveness caused him to dip below 100 targets for the first time since 2014. Tyler Higbee also set a career-high in targets following Gerald Everett’s injury and the December switch to 12 personnel, accumulating 89 targets and finishing seventh among tight ends in that category. 

The Rams ranked in the bottom-two of running back targets, electing to limit Todd Gurley’s route running in order to keep him fresh and his touch total low. Still, Gurley’s 49 targets ranked 22nd among running backs.

Departing Player 1 Vacated Targets Departing Player 2 Vacated Targets Departing Player 3 Vacated Targets Vacated Targets From Top-3 Total Vacated Targets Vacated Target % Vacated Targets Rank
Brandin Cooks 72 Todd Gurley 49 Mike Thomas 5 126 126 21.40% 10

The Rams rank in the top-ten in vacated targets, losing key contributors like Brandin Cooks and Todd Gurley due to cap reasons. Their departures open up over 120 targets and 21 percent of the target share.

Total Vacated Targets Addition 1 Addition 2 Addition 3
126 Cam Akers Van Jefferson Brycen Hopkins

The Rams elected to replace Gurley and Cooks with second-round draft picks Cam Akers and Van Jefferson. Given Akers’ pedigree as a between-the-tackles runner, I doubt he’ll match Gurley’s target share. Instead, I expect Darrell Henderson to see a bulk of the reception workload out of the backfield.

With the remainder of this offense, the target distribution depends entirely on the narrative you believe. If you contend the Rams’ December switch to 12 personnel will be permanent, then Woods and Higbee are bound to see an extraordinary bump in target share and fantasy value. During the last five weeks of the season, Woods averaged approximately 12 targets per game and finished as the WR5 in that span, while Higbee averaged seven targets per game and finished as the TE1. Kupp, who scored five touchdowns in December, averaged 5.5 targets per game.

However, if you believe the Rams stick with McVay’s patented 11 personnel, then Cooper Kupp will once again reprise his role as the main target in this offense, while Woods and Jefferson see serviceable volume for multiple matchups. Higbee would suffer in this system and become nothing but a matchup-dependent streamer.

Personally, I believe McVay will vary it up, so the truth is somewhere in the middle. I also believe Josh Reynolds will start out as the WR3 in this offense and benefit in both systems; he could be a sneaky fantasy contributor and late-round target to pursue. Nonetheless, this is a pass-happy offense that should offset their volume regression (626 attempts in 2019) with higher touchdown efficiency (22 passing touchdowns in 2019).

Minnesota Vikings

RB1/WR1/TE1 Targets RB2/WR2/TE2 Targets RB3/WR3 Targets Total Total Positional Targets Rank
Dalvin Cook 63 CJ Ham 26 Ameer Abdullah 21 126 8
Stefon Diggs 94 Adam Thielen 48 Olabisi Johnson 45 209 30
Kyle Rudolph 48 Irv Smith Jr. 47 105 19

The Minnesota Vikings saw a grand scale change from a pass-first offense in 2018 under John DeFilippo to a run-first offense in 2019 under Kevin Stefanski, with the total number of pass attempts declining by 162. With Adam Thielen injured, the lion’s share of the 444 attempts went to Stefon Diggs, who finished as the PPR WR20; in their time together, Diggs out-targeted Thielen 58 to 48.

Dalvin Cook played a more substantial role in the offense, seeing 65 targets in his 14 games played. The Vikings tight ends also saw an increase in usage, with Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr. seeing a combined 95 targets in Stefanski’s scheme. As this offense continues to evolve under Gary Kubiak, it should be expected that these tight ends see a larger role in the passing game.

Departing Player 1 Vacated Targets Departing Player 2 Vacated Targets Vacated Targets From Top-3 Total Vacated Targets Vacated Target % Vacated Targets Rank
Stefon Diggs 94 Laquon Treadwell 16 110 110 24.80% 14

The biggest loss for this offense was their No. 1 wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who will leave behind 94 targets. Laquon Treadwell’s transition to Atlanta leaves behind an additional 16 targets, totaling 110 vacated targets for Minnesota.

Total Vacated Targets Addition 1 Addition 2 Addition 3
110 Justin Jefferson Tajae Sharpe K.J. Osborn

Although Justin Jefferson was drafted as the heir apparent to Stefon Diggs, it is doubtful he will replicate his target total in 2020. Adam Thielen will reprise his role as the first option in this offense, likely seeing 90-100 targets provided he can stay healthy. Jefferson will probably remain somewhere in the 60-70 range as the secondary option. Tajae Sharpe, Olabisi Johnson, and K.J. Osborn will fight for what little is left of the wide receiver targets.

Dalvin Cook should stay close to his 65 targets, but I would not be surprised to see either Alexander Mattison or Ameer Abdullah spell Cook in this area to keep him fresh. Much to the chagrin of fantasy football players, fullback CJ Ham will continue to steal 15-25 targets per season.

The targets for the tight end position should once again eclipse triple-digits, but I believe Irv Smith Jr will see an increased role in his sophomore season. A 60/40 split in favor of the former Alabama player would not surprise me, as both tight ends have late-round stream appeal in 2020.

With Gary Kubiak calling the plays, Cousins should remain below 500 attempts for a second consecutive season. Despite the low volume, there should be enough work to support one top-24 wide receiver and two streaming tight ends. 

New Orleans Saints

RB1/WR1/TE1 Targets RB2/WR2/TE2 Targets RB3/WR3 Targets Total Total Positional Targets Rank
Alvin Kamara 97 Latavius Murray 43 Zach Line 10 154 3
Michael Thomas 185 Ted Ginn 56 Tre’Quan Smith 25 279 24
Jared Cook 65 Josh Hill 35 105 20

2019 was the year of Michael Thomas. The former second-round pick broke career-highs in targets, receptions, and receiving yards last season, finishing as the WR1 in fantasy football by over 90 PPR points. Despite Thomas’ dominance and the astronomical number of targets, the Saints only ranked 24th in wide receiver targets and failed to produce another receiver with over 60 targets.

As usual, the Saints were one of the best teams in terms of passing to the running back, throwing to the position over 150 times. Alvin Kamara saw a career-low in targets due to injury, but he still finished as the PPR RB11 despite the lower target volume and menial touchdown output. Murray filled in nicely as the backfield complement and saw 43 looks in the passing game. Jared Cook caught 65 targets in his first season in New Orleans, finishing as the PPR TE7 on the season.

Departing Player 1 Vacated Targets Departing Player 2 Vacated Targets Departing Player 3 Vacated Targets Vacated Targets From Top-3 Total Vacated Targets Vacated Target % Vacated Targets Rank
Ted Ginn 56 Zach Line 10 Dan Arnold 4 70 72 12.90% 22

The Saints didn’t lose much this offseason, with their main departure being the aging Ted Ginn Jr. The Saints’ 72 total vacated targets rank 22nd in the league.

Total Vacated Targets Addition 1 Addition 2
72 Emmanuel Sanders Adam Trautman

New Orleans has finally given Drew Brees his first legitimate WR2 since Brandin Cooks, as they signed Emmanuel Sanders away from San Francisco in free agency. Sanders will likely take Ginn’s 56 targets and eat into Tre’Quan Smith’s target share as well; the former 49er garnering 90 or more targets in 2020 would not surprise me. 

Michael Thomas is bound to see a downtick from his 185 targets in 2019, but it is doubtful he’ll drop significantly. Thomas will still be the focal point in this offense and is virtually unguardable; he’s primed for over 150 targets yet again this season. Jared Cook could see a slight uptick, as he became a favorite target of Brees when the quarterback returned from injury; still, it is unlikely Cook will receive enough work to crack the top-five tight ends, especially with Adam Trautman’s addition.

Kamara should stay relatively close to his 100-target range as the Saints have demonstrated they are unwilling to overwork their young runner; Murray will once again play the complementary role to spell Kamara and receive a noticeable share of targets. 

There is not much change expected for this offense. Thomas and Kamara will be first-round fantasy assets, Jared Cook and Emmanuel Sanders will be matchup-dependent plays, and Taysom Hill will continually be an enigma. The only notable difference will be that if Brees once again falls victim to injury, Jameis Winston will enter the lineup and increase the fantasy viability of every player across the board.

New York Giants

RB1/WR1/TE1 Targets RB2/WR2/TE2 Targets RB3/WR3 Targets Total Total Positional Targets Rank
Saquon Barkley 73 Wayne Gallman 16 Elijhaa Penny 4 99 23
Golden Tate 85 Darius Slayton 84 Sterling Shepard 83 350 11
Evan Engram 68 Kaden Smith 42 140 7

The targets among the New York Giant receivers were as even as you could get last season. The top-three receivers for New York all fell within at most two targets of one another, with Golden Tate barely edging out Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard for the team lead. However, each receiver missed multiple games due to injury. On a per-game basis, Shepard averaged 8.3 targets per game, Tate averaged 7.7 targets per game, and Slayton averaged 6.0 targets per game. 

The Giants ranked seventh in tight end targets, with Evan Engram putting up 68 targets in only eight contests. Kaden Smith filled in nicely for Engram and had several quality streaming performances. Saquon Barkley saw the biggest hit in targets, losing 48 targets from the prior year despite only playing three fewer games.

Departing Player 1 Vacated Targets Departing Player 2 Vacated Targets Departing Player 3 Vacated Targets Vacated Targets From Top-3 Total Vacated Targets Vacated Target % Vacated Targets Rank
Cody Latimer 42 Bennie Fowler 36 Rhett Ellison 28 106 126 20.60% 11

The Giants rank 11th in vacated targets, despite returning all of their starters for the 2020 season. The loss of depth frees up 126 targets for this New York offense.

Total Vacated Targets Addition 1 Addition 2
126 Dion Lewis Levine Toilolo

While we can’t be sure what type of scheme Jason Garrett will implement as offensive coordinator, it seems likely based on the offseason comments that it will be more focused on the run than in prior years. The Giants allowed three wideouts to average over 12 PPR points per game in 2019, but I’d expect less 11 personnel in 2020. As a result, I am inclined to believe Golden Tate loses a fair share of targets.

Shepard and Slayton should see slight upticks despite the expected decrease in passing volume, but they’ll each struggle to see enough targets to be fantasy relevant on a weekly basis. Still, I’d give the slight edge to Shepard over Slayton for next season, with each vying to be relevant WR3s in fantasy.

Engram should see a major uptick, as he was on pace for over 130 targets last season; if he can stay healthy, the 2017 first-round pick could surpass 100 targets and vaunt his way back up into top-eight tight end territory. 

Barkley is unlikely to improve his target total, as Dion Lewis is a significant pass-catching upgrade over Wayne Gallman; he’ll, unfortunately, limit Barkley’s receiving upside and keep him below 80 targets. While many project a repeat of Barkley’s incredible rookie season should he play all 16 games, I don’t buy it. Over the past two seasons, Barkley only averaged 5.6 targets per game with Jones compared to 7.2 targets per game with Eli Manning; Jones’ preference for wideouts and tight ends as well as his mobility will keep him from dumping off to the running back as much as Manning had. Barkley should still be the 1.02 pick in redraft, but don’t expect a high target volume.

Philadelphia Eagles

RB1/WR1/TE1 Targets RB2/WR2/TE2 Targets RB3/WR3 Targets Total Total Positional Targets Rank
Miles Sanders 63 Boston Scott 26 Jordan Howard 14 114 12
Alshon Jeffery 73 Nelson Agholor 69 Greg Ward 40 255 27
Zach Ertz 135 Dallas Goedert 87 235 1

The cluster of injuries to this team made it very difficult to project targets in 2019. DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffrey, Jordan Howard, and Zach Ertz missed a combined 26 contests, forcing role players like Greg Ward, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, and Paul Perkins into the lineup. The unavailability of the receiving core combined with the talent of Ertz and Goedert allowed Philadelphia to lead the NFL in tight end targets and produce two top-ten fantasy tight ends.

Miles Sanders excelled towards the end of his rookie season and garnered 63 targets, with Boston Scott seeing 26 looks as a replacement for Darren Sproles. Alshon Jeffrey led the way among wideouts with 73 targets, but that may have been due to the lack of available competition more than anything else.

Departing Player 1 Vacated Targets Departing Player 2 Vacated Targets Departing Player 3 Vacated Targets Vacated Targets From Top-3 Total Vacated Targets Vacated Target % Vacated Targets Rank
Nelson Agholor 69 Mack Hollins 22 Jordan Howard 14 105 128 21.10% 9

The Eagles rank in the top-ten in vacated targets, opening up 128 looks for Philadelphia pass-catchers. However, none of their departures were consistent factors in the offense, as only Nelson Agholor saw more than 25 targets among those that have left the team.

Total Vacated Targets Addition 1 Addition 2 Addition 3
128 Jalen Reagor Marquise Goodwin John Hightower

The Eagles brought in more depth at receiver this offseason, adding first-round pick Jalen Reagor and former 49er Marquise Goodwin. Despite the draft capital spent on the new additions, I still expect the incumbents Jeffrey and Jackson to see a majority of the wide receiver targets; Reagor will likely fill in as the third wideout on this team and see 55-65 targets if his teammates are able to stay healthy. Goodwin, Arcega-Whiteside, and Ward will fight for scraps at the bottom of the depth chart.

This offense will flow through the tight end once again, with Ertz and Goedert likely to combine for over 200 targets for a second consecutive season. Both tight ends will receive sufficient volume to warrant being drafted relatively high in fantasy, but the presence of one will hurt the upside of the other. Assuming the wide receiver core is able to stay healthy and siphon targets, I find it hard to believe either will crack the top-three or fall below the top-twelve.

Miles Sanders was the pass-catching option of choice in this offense following Darren Sproles’ injury, but he started losing targets to Boston Scott later in the season. In the last quarter of the season, Scott out-targeted Sanders 25 to 22. With Howard’s departure, Sanders should still be the primary runner in this backfield, but his pass-catching upside may be limited by Scott; nonetheless, I expect Sanders to improve on his 63 targets from last season.

San Francisco 49ers

RB1/WR1/TE1 Targets RB2/WR2/TE2 Targets RB3/WR3 Targets Total Total Positional Targets Rank
Tevin Coleman 30 Kyle Juszczyk 24 Matt Breida 22 103 21
Deebo Samuel 81 Emmanuel Sanders 53 Kendrick Bourne 44 233 29
George Kittle 107 Ross Dwelley 22 131 8

The San Francisco 49ers became one of the best rushing units in the league last season despite having an immobile quarterback at the helm. Still, their passing work generated some viable fantasy assets. George Kittle finished as the PPR TE4 and accumulated 107 targets in only 14 games.

Deebo Samuel led the way among San Francisco wideouts with 81 targets, seeing an increased role towards the end of the season and finishing as the WR36; Sanders followed suit with 53 targets in his nine games with the 49ers. Despite boasting an impressive running game, however, running back targets were few and far between. Tevin Coleman barely edged out fullback Kyle Juszczyk for the target lead in the backfield.

Departing Player 1 Vacated Targets Departing Player 2 Vacated Targets Departing Player 3 Vacated Targets Vacated Targets From Top-3 Total Vacated Targets Vacated Target % Vacated Targets Rank
Emmanuel Sanders 53 Matt Breida 22 Marquise Goodwin 21 96 98 20.90% 18

The 49ers rank in the middle of the pack in terms of vacated targets, with nearly 100 targets up for grab in this offense for 2020. Their main departures include Emmanuel Sanders, Matt Breida, and Marquise Goodwin, who combined for 98 percent of the vacated targets.

Total Vacated Targets Addition 1 Addition 2
98 Brandon Aiyuk Travis Benjamin

The only significant addition to this offense is first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk, who should slide into Emmanuel Sanders’ role as the compliment opposite of Deebo Samuel. As with most high capital rookies, he will probably see south of 90 targets in his first season as he adjusts to the game; given the complicated nature of Shanahan’s system, Aiyuk may be on the lower end of the spectrum.

Deebo Samuel should experience a rise in targets as he becomes the de facto No. 1 option at wide receiver. Jalen Hurd will likely make up the rest of the vacated targets, as he is a jack-of-all-trades player who Shanahan can use in a variety of ways. Still, it’s hard to see how he’ll make any fantasy impact this season given Aiyuk’s presence.

George Kittle will once again be among the elite tight ends in terms of fantasy production and volume. There are no other relevant tight ends in San Francisco to take away any meaningful targets, so it’s highly likely Kittle will once again be a top-five tight end for fantasy, if not the No. 1 overall tight end.

The passing targets will continue to be split among Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert, Jerick McKinnon, Kyle Juszczyk, and Jeff Wilson. Given the multitude of players competing for touches, it’s unlikely any runner in this backfield will receive enough receiving volume to reach their ceiling. 

Seattle Seahawks

RB1/WR1/TE1 Targets RB2/WR2/TE2 Targets RB3/WR3 Targets Total Total Positional Targets Rank
Chris Carson 47 Travis Homer 13 C.J. Prosise 12 83 27
Tyler Lockett 110 D.K. Metcalf 100 David Moore 34 306 19
Jacob Hollister 59 Will Dissly 27 102 21

Like the 49ers, the Seahawks were also a run-centric team in 2019 and look to repeat that game plan next season. Seattle ranked in the bottom half of the league in targets for every position, with wide receiver being their highest targeted position. Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf both accumulated triple-digit targets and leveraged their opportunity into the WR17 and WR35 fantasy finish respectively.

Although Will Dissly looked as though he could revive the tight end position in Seattle, seeing 27 targets in his six starts in 2019, the position was a fantasy wasteland for the rest of the season. Jacob Hollister took over as the starter and only put together two performances over 12 fantasy points. Chris Carson saw 47 targets as the workhorse runner, but Seattle still ranked 27th in terms of passing to the running back.

Departing Player 1 Vacated Targets Departing Player 2 Vacated Targets Departing Player 3 Vacated Targets Vacated Targets From Top-3 Total Vacated Targets Vacated Target % Vacated Targets Rank
Jaron Brown 28 Malik Turner 22 Josh Gordon 11 61 79 16.00% 20

Seattle ranks 20th in the NFL in vacated targets, with 79 reception opportunities opened up for next season. Depth receivers such as Jaron Brown and Malik Turner were the key departures, with Josh Gordon being the sour footnote of the 2019 season.

Total Vacated Targets Addition 1 Addition 2 Addition 3
79 Greg Olsen Phillip Dorsett DeeJay Dallas

The Seahawks brought in Greg Olsen to bring stability to the tight end position this offseason, and I’m suspecting he’ll become the featured option among that group. The competition for targets at tight end is aplenty, with Hollister, Wilson, and Dissly looking to eat into Olsen’s share; however, I believe Olsen could see around 65-70 targets in this offense should he stay healthy, making him a viable streaming candidate.

Phillip Dorsett will take over the role Jaron Brown and Malik Turner left behind, becoming another wideout to catch the occasional deep pass and fill-in when the Seahawks elect to use 11 personnel. He’s not a threat to Lockett or Metcalf, as he’ll probably garner 30-40 targets this season. Metcalf and Lockett are primed for another season of 100+ targets each barring a late addition to this wide receiver room; they’ll each have the potential to finish as WR2s for fantasy.

Despite the additions of Carlos Hyde and DeeJay Dallas, Chris Carson’s role as the primary runner in the backfield remains. As such, he’ll see a majority of the limited running back targets. Still, his ceiling is capped at 50 targets given C.J. Prosise and Travis Homer are much more adept pass-catchers.

Russell Wilson threw the ball 516 times last season, and I don’t see any reason why that volume should vary. The additions to the receiving core were modest at best and Seattle was highly successful running the ball 30 times a game. The offensive line did experience a slight downgrade this offseason, so it’s possible the run game won’t be as efficient and more passing could be required; nonetheless, this offense should support multiple pass-catchers for fantasy, with Lockett and Metcalf being the most likely to thrive.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

RB1/WR1/TE1 Targets RB2/WR2/TE2 Targets RB3/WR3 Targets Total Total Positional Targets Rank
Dare Ogunbowale 46 Ronald Jones II 40 Peyton Barber 24 113 13
Chris Godwin 121 Mike Evans 118 Breshad Perriman 69 376 4
Cameron Brate 55 O.J. Howard 53 117 12

Last year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers produced one of the most prolific passing offenses we’ve seen in recent memory, thanks in part to Jameis Winston, who threw the ball 626 times for 5,109 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 30 interceptions. The incredible volume allowed for multiple fantasy contributors across the board.

Chris Godwin and Mike Evans both finished in the top-twelve of wide receivers, despite each of them missing time. Godwin slightly out-targeted Evans, but that was due to the latter missing one more game. Breshad Perriman also saw 69 targets as the third option in this offense and put together a WR4 finish in the fantasy playoffs. 

Despite finishing in the top twelve in the NFL in tight end targets, the Buccaneers could not produce a top-24 fantasy tight end. As for the running backs, Dare Ogunbowale took over most of the passing duties as both Jones and Barber split time as the lead runner. 

Departing Player 1 Vacated Targets Departing Player 2 Vacated Targets Departing Player 3 Vacated Targets Vacated Targets From Top-3 Total Vacated Targets Vacated Target % Vacated Targets Rank
Breshad Perriman 69 Peyton Barber 24 Bobo Wilson 11 104 108 17.70% 15

The Buccaneers rank in the top half of the league in terms of vacated targets, with over 100 targets available for incoming pass-catchers. Perriman and Barber were the main losses for this team, as they combined for 93 targets on their own. 

Total Vacated Targets Addition 1 Addition 2 Addition 3
108 Rob Gronkowski Ke’Shawn Vaughn Tyler Johnson

First and foremost, this Buccaneers offense will be entirely different with Tom Brady at the helm. Despite Brady ranking in the top-five quarterbacks in terms of pass attempts last season, I highly doubt he will be throwing as much this season. His team will be trailing less often and he’ll have more help on offense than he’s had in the past decade. This offense will not be as high-flying as many think.

That being said, there will be multiple fantasy-relevant pieces on this team. Chris Godwin comes to mind as the key contributor, as he’ll be the slot receiver that Brady has historically relied upon during his career; he’s my pick to finish as the best option on this team. Mike Evans will likely see a downtick in targets, although he will experience higher efficiency; the 6’5” receiver will probably see around 100 targets in this offense if he can play a full 16 games. Justin Watson and Tyler Johnson will see enough volume to make them annoying for Godwin and Evans owners.

Rob Gronkowski won’t pick up where he left off in New England, but he’ll have the most rapport with Brady out of any of these pass-catchers. He’ll probably finish in the top-fifteen among tight ends in targets and see heavy red zone usage. O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate are wild cards, as either of them could end up as the secondary tight end in this offense; they’ll have the occasional fantasy-relevant game, but those outcomes will be highly unpredictable.

The pass-catching running back for Tampa Bay is likely to be Ke’Shawn Vaughn, but I wouldn’t bank on him being fantasy viable right away. Ronald Jones is still the incumbent starter and was highly efficient in several games last season. I expect Vaughn and Jones to split the targets 65-35, but it likely won’t be enough to allow either player to enter the mid-RB2 territory.


RB1/WR1/TE1 Targets RB2/WR2/TE2 Targets RB3/WR3 Targets Total Total Positional Targets Rank
Chris Thompson 58 Adrian Peterson 23 Wendell Smallwood 13 104 20
Terry McLaurin 93 Steven Sims 56 Trey Quinn 47 287 23
Jeremy Sprinkle 40 Vernon Davis 19 73 27

This analysis will end on a sad note, as I do not expect much for the Washington offense this season. The lone bright spot last season was Terry McLaurin, who led all rookie wide receivers in targets and finished as the WR25 in fantasy. Aside from McLaurin, this offense was highly irrelevant.

Steven Sims came on towards the end of the year, averaging eight targets per game over the last five contests. Chris Thompson reprised his role as the pass-catching specialist in the backfield, while Sprinkle fell into the starting tight end position for this team due to injuries to Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis. Aside from these players, there was nothing else of note in Washington.

Departing Player 1 Vacated Targets Departing Player 2 Vacated Targets Departing Player 3 Vacated Targets Vacated Targets From Top-3 Total Vacated Targets Vacated Target % Vacated Targets Rank
Chris Thompson 58 Paul Richardson 42 Vernon Davis 19 119 134 28.90% 7

Washington ranks seventh in the NFL in terms of vacated targets, leaving 134 pass-catching opportunities up for grabs. Chris Thompson, Paul Richardson, and Vernon Davis combined for 119  of the 134 vacated targets. 

Total Vacated Targets Addition 1 Addition 2 Addition 3
134 Peyton Barber Antonio Gibson Antonio Goldy-Golden

The Washington offense will once again be low-volume and run-oriented in nature, especially now that Ron Rivera will implement his defensive-minded philosophy. Even so, I expect two players to be fantasy relevant during 2020.

Terry McLaurin will be the saving grace for this team and look to enter WR2 territory in his second season catching passes from Dwayne Haskins. After seeing 93 targets last season, I fully expect McLaurin to surpass 100 targets with the potential to reach 125 looks. Steven Sims could operate as a decent slot receiver and have some fantasy viable performances in PPR. I am not confident he will repeat his December target share given the small sample size, but if he wins the job in training camp, he could be a 65-75 target wideout in 2020.

Washington brought in little competition to supplant Jeremy Sprinkle at the tight end position, with their only signings being free agent Richard Rodgers and undrafted free agent Thaddeus Moss. It’s possible someone in this group surpasses 50 targets, but I don’t want any part of it. Just like last year, the tight end position in Washington is better off not being mentioned.

Chris Thompson’s previous role as the pass-catching running back in this offense will likely be split between Antonio Gibson and Derrius Guice, with the former seeing a greater share of the targets. Washington’s coaching staff has compared Gibson’s skill set to that of Christian McCaffery, so it is possible they want to utilize him as a player that can be lined up all over the formation. He’s a decent long-shot option to draft in the last round of redraft leagues with the hopes he’ll see a large role in Week 1.

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Dan Ambrosino is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Dan, check out his archive and follow him @AmbrosinoNFL.

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