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Wide Receiver Target Share Analysis (2022 Fantasy Football)

Wide Receiver Target Share Analysis (2022 Fantasy Football)

Efficiency is excellent for wide receivers. However, jaw-dropping volume can offset poor efficiency. In other words, volume can cure a lot of ills. Additionally, players who earn a high target share are typically talented. Thus, many of the 2021 target share leaders at wide receiver were among the NFL’s elite at the position.

Target Share (Sports Info Solutions)

Target Share is listed as Share% at Sports Info Solutions (SIS) and on the tables below. It measures the percentage of a team’s targets directed to a player. But, of course, since it uses a team’s overall targets for a season, players who missed games in 2021 were dinged in this metric. Out of receivers targeted at least 50 times in 2021, 20 exceeded a 20% Target Share and seven accounted for more than one-quarter of their team’s targets.

Leaders

Instead of analyzing individual players, let's first take a macro look at the leaders. According to the Fantasy Football Leaders tool, among receivers with at least 10 games played in 2021, four of the top-five receivers in point-per-reception (PPR) points per game were on the Target Share leaderboard. Moreover, seven of the leaders were in the top 10 in per-game scoring,

The floor was high, too. Only Marvin Jones was outside the top-36 receivers who played at least 10 games in per-game scoring, ranking as WR42 with 9.9 PPR points per game. Thus, a high target share is a harbinger of good-to-great fantasy results.

D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett were the only teammates on the leaderboard. Sadly, they'll have to adjust to life without Russell Wilson. Now that Wilson is on the Broncos, it's easy to understand why many pundits and gamers are excited about the outlook of Denver's receivers.

Finally, Cooper Kupp and Justin Jefferson are in their own class of elite receivers, with all due respect to Ja'Marr Chase. The Bengals struck gold when they selected Chase last year, pairing him with his college quarterback, Joe Burrow. However, as great as Chase is, he's prone to more volatility as a big-play wideout who shares volume with another young stud, Tee Higgins. In 2021, Chase had an 18.8% Target Share and Higgins had a rock-solid 16.3% Target Share, despite playing only 14 games. Again, Chase is an elite receiver, but he's closer to Stefon Diggs and Davante Adams than Kupp and Jefferson. That's accurately reflected in the average draft position (ADP). In PPR scoring, Kupp is WR1 (4.2 ADP) and followed by Jefferson as WR2 (5.8), Chase as WR3 (8.6), Adams as WR4 (10.4) and Diggs as WR5 (12.4). I'd flip Diggs and Adams but otherwise agree with the rankings and ADP.

Laggers

The five players on the laggers' table have generated varying degrees of buzz this offseason. Jerry Jeudy's Target Share was obviously impacted by playing in just 10 games in 2021. Still, his placement on the table is grounds for digging deeper.

According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Jeudy had a 21.4% target rate on his routes as a rookie before sporting a 21.3% mark last year. So, he essentially repeated his usage while bumping his Yards Per Route Run (Y/RR) up from 1.66 Y/RR to 1.85 Y/RR. The improvement in efficiency was positive and created a reason for optimism this year.

Still, Courtland Sutton is another year removed from ACL surgery in 2020, and the Broncos signed Tim Patrick to a three-year contract extension last November. As a result, Denver's receiver pecking order is an intriguing story to monitor in camp and the preseason. Additionally, according to PFF, Jeudy had a 76.4% slot rate and only a 23.2% wide alignment rate in 2021. Comparatively, Sutton was aligned wide at an 86.2% clip, and Patrick had a 72.3% wide rate. Does Patrick's wide-alignment advantage give him an edge on Jeudy when Denver uses only two receivers? Maybe. Again, this is a situation to keep tabs on.

Adams is leaving behind a massive Target Share for Green Bay's remaining pass-catchers. However, it's alarming that Allen Lazard hasn't claimed a larger share of the pie to this point. In 2021, he was targeted on just 13.0% of his routes, lower than Aaron Jones (21.6%), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (16.3%) and Randall Cobb (14.2%). In five games Lazard played in that Adams missed in 2019 and 2020, Lazard was targeted on 20.4% of his routes. That's markedly better than his rate with Adams and encouraging for his outlook. As a result, Lazard is a fine pick at his 115.6 ADP as WR48 in PPR re-draft leagues. However, if his stock skyrockets, as in best ball formats, he's a candidate to disappoint gamers.

Gabriel Davis is a polarizing figure in fantasy football circles. The third-year receiver's detractors usually point to his low target share and fourth-round pick draft capital. Nonetheless, Davis climbed the depth chart at the end of the year, playing more than 80% of Buffalo's offensive snaps in his last four games (he was on the COVID list for Week 16). He also shined in the playoffs.

In Davis's last four games in the regular season and two postseason contests, he was targeted on 20.6% of his routes, parlaying his usage into 26 receptions, 449 receiving yards, eight touchdowns and 2.10 Y/RR. As you'll learn in an upcoming piece examining Yards Per Route Run, Davis's 2.10 Y/RR was tremendous and would've been a top-15 mark among receivers targeted at least 50 times in 2021. Davis is WR31 in ADP (74.4), but he's a player worth reaching for and should be closer to a low-end WR2 than a mid-range WR3.

CTAs


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Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.

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