Target Share Report: NFC Edition

As Fantasy Football analysis becomes sharper and more precise, players look to sticky metrics that indicate future success for the upcoming season. Target Share is a massive indicator of past and future success of skill position players. I’ll be going through every team’s target numbers from 2023 and see what we can learn for 2024. Up first is the NFC!

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Arizona Cardinals

2023 Target Share Leader: Trey McBride – 106 targets, 19.6-percent

2023 Target Share Runner Up: Michael Wilson– 58 targets, 13.6-percent

2024 Outlook: Trey McBride recorded only ten targets through the first five weeks of the season, but all that changed in Week 6. Zach Ertz went down with an injury, and McBride went on to lead the offense and become the preferred target. McBride could achieve another season with a 19-percent target share or higher, but all eyes will be on rookie Marvin Harrison Jr. Harrison was one of the most hyped-up prospects heading into the draft, and his prospect profile is a promising indicator of future success.

Let’s not kid ourselves, Marvin Harrison will be the target hog in this offense. McBride is the second most talented receiving option on the team, and he will be the second most targeted player. While Zay Jones or Michael Wilson could pop off with a big game at times this season, the passing game will flow through Trey McBride and Marvin Harrison Jr.

Atlanta Falcons

2023 Target Share Leader: Drake London – 109 targets, 23.3-percent

2023 Target Share Runner Up: Kyle Pitts – 89 Targets, 17.7-percent

2024 Outlook: Two seismic shifts in Atlanta have paved the way for this offense to take the next step up. Kirk Cousins is the new starting quarterback, replacing Desmond Ridder. Secondly, Arthur Smith was shipped out of town to be replaced by Raheem Morris. Morris brings in Zac Robinson from the Sean McVay coaching tree, so we should expect plenty of 11 personnel (3-wide receiver sets) in the new look offense. I do not envision this team drawing up tight end screens to the backup tight end when they reach the endzone.

When Raheem Morris made his introductory press conference as the new head coach, the first player he said he was excited about was Drake London. London has been the target leader every season since being drafted by Atlanta, so there’s no reason to envision a changing of the guard there. Kyle Pitts and Bijan Robinson will battle it out to be second in targets. Bijan Robinson finished with the No. 3 highest target share among all running backs in 2023. I expect Kyle Pitts to outpace Bijan in total targets, but the both of them project to see plenty of passes in 2024. However, they won’t see as many as Drake London.

Carolina Panthers

2023 Target Share Leader: Adam Thielen – 137 Targets, 25.6-percent

2023 Target Share Runner Up: Jonathan Mingo – 85 Targets, 17.5-percent

2024 Outlook: After averaging less than 14 points a game, the new look Panthers can only get better in 2024. Adam Thielen was the only startable skill player on the Panthers in 2023. 2024 should be different with Dave Canales coming to town as the new head coach after having success with Baker Mayfield in Tampa Bay. Everywhere Canales has been, he has produced an offense with multiple receivers getting in on plenty of action.

Diontae Johnson, Xavier Legette, and Adam Thielen will be the names to know for the newest target leader on this team. Theilen’s familiarity and talent should be enough to have him finish in the top 3 in target share. But my favorite to lead the team in targets is Diontae Johnson. He can work inside and outside and can be a security blanket for Young. Johnson was heavily targeted in Pittsburgh, averaging 134 targets each year over the last three seasons. Legette will make a push later in the season once he is acclimated with the pro-style offense and the differences between the pro and college game.

Chicago Bears

2023 Target Share Leader: D.J. Moore – 136 targets, 28.87-percent

2023 Target Share Runner Up: Cole Kmet – 91 tgts, 19.3-percent

2024 Outlook: D.J. Moore was the leader last year, but there’s been a massive overhaul to the offense for 2024. Keenan Allen and Rome Odunze are now on the roster, and Shane Waldron comes over from Seattle to run the offense. Cole Kmet now has competition for snaps with Gerald Everett. Everett has history with Waldron in Seattle, so he and Kmet will be in a committee of sorts.

The last time the Bears had two players or more with over 100 targets was in 2014 with Jay Cutler, Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett, and Matt Forte. That has a realistic chance of happening this season. I love Odunze and Allen, but I believe D.J. Moore will repeat as target share leader in 2024. Moore has been a superstar receiver catching passes from Justin Fields, Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and former XFL MVP P.J. Walker. Now, he has Caleb Williams. Moore is the top guy while Odunze and Allen battle it out to be the No. 2 option in what should be an exciting offense in 2024.

Detroit Lions

2023 Target Share Leader: Amon-Ra St. Brown – 164 targets, 30.2-percent

2023 Target Share Runner Up: Sam LaPorta – 120 targets, 21-percent

2024 Outlook: Amon-Ra St. Brown was one of five receivers in the league to hit a 30-percent target share. St. Brown will continue to be the target hog in this carefully curated offense created by Ben Johnson. Sam LaPorta was the No. 2 option, and he smashed all expectations for his rookie season. With no major acquisitions to the skill positions, these two should remain at the top of the target tree, with St. Brown at the top.

Keep an eye on Jameson Williams. He was suspended at the beginning of 2023, so his end of year numbers aren’t great. However, Josh Reynolds is no longer in Detroit, and Williams is entering the fabled third year for wide receivers.  Jahmyr Gibbs will take a step forward in the passing game now that his rookie year is behind him. But this passing game starts and ends with the Sun God and LaPorta.

Dallas Cowboys

2023 Target Share Leader: CeeDee Lamb – 181 targets, 29.9-percent

2023 Target Share Runner Up: Jake Ferguson 102 Targets. 16.8-percent

2024 Outlook: Nothing should change in Dallas as Lamb should command one of the highest target shares in the league. Dallas did nothing to improve their WR2 position, and Brandin Cooks is the favorite to hold onto his role. Dallas also lost Tony Pollard to Tennessee. Pollard posted an 11.1-percent target share- No. 20 among all RBs.

Lamb has the least amount of target competition among all alpha WR1s in football. He will post a commanding target share and has room for growth on total targets. Dallas’s lack of a clarity in the RB pecking order could lead to even more pass attempts for Dak Prescott this season with Lamb being the primary beneficiary. Ferguson took a big leap forward in 2023 and is a good bet for similar target totals in 2024.

Green Bay Packers

2023 Target Share Leader: Romeo Doubs – 96 targets, 17.5-percent

2023 Target Share Runner up: Jayden Reed – 94 targets, 17.5-percent

2024 Outlook: Green Bay was the only team to not have a receiver with a target share of 19-percent or higher. Christian Watson had a 17.6-percent target share, making it three receivers with a 17-percent target share or higher. We all trust that Love can continue bringing big time throws and hit any throw the coaching staff asks of him. But which receiver do we bet on? We haven’t even brought up Luke Musgrave!

This offense is built on spreading the ball around to all skill position players. Jayden Reed is my projected target leader for 2024 because of his dynamism in the slot, and those routes can lead to more targets. Reed had injuries hampering him during his rookie season. However, if he can stay healthy, he could sneak by Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, and Dontayvion Wicks. Christian Watson has the juice, but his injury history is lengthy. This is a tricky one, but the offense is a good one to invest in, and it would be wise to invest in one of these receivers for 2024.

Los Angeles Rams

2023 Target Share Leader: Puka Nacua – 159 targets, 28.7-percent

2023 Target Share Runner Up: Cooper Kupp – 95 targets, 25.6-percent

2024 Outlook: This offense once ran through Cooper Kupp, but there is a new alpha in town. Puka Nacua is now the unquestioned alpha on the Rams offense. After the superstar season he posted last year, theres no doubt that Nacua will again be the target leader for the 2024 season. Kupp still has some left in the tank, but last year he had a few games where he was underwhelming. Wear and tear from injuries certainly slowed his pace, but he’s a lock to finish as the No. 2 in this offense if he can stay healthy.

The passing game flows through Nacua and Kupp but keep your eyes out for Tutu Atwell and Demarcus Robinson. Both of them had surprise weeks last season, and Atwell had some encouraging usage in 2023. The Rams operate in 11 personnel at the highest rate in the NFL, so there’s opportunity for the No. 3 most targeted receiver to be fantasy relevant.

Minnesota Vikings

2023 Target Share Leader: Justin Jefferson – 100 targets, 27.1-percent

2023 Target Share Runner Up: T.J. Hockenson – 127 targets, 24.2-percent

2024 Outlook: Theres been a big change at the quarterback position in Minnesota, but how will it affect the receivers? Justin Jefferson is the clear alpha in terms of target share. He’s head and shoulders above the rest of the other receiving options on the team. With his new deal done, we can rest assured that there won’t be any hold outs or issues associated with the superstar wideout.

T.J. Hockenson suffered a nasty knee injury and will miss at least the first four weeks of the season, possibly more. Hockenson vacated a massive 24-percent target share, with Jordan Addison ready to step up. Addison did get some big touchdown luck in 2023, scoring a touchdown on every ten targets. But with 24-percent of targets available, Addison is the clear beneficiary to receive most of those vacated targets. His total touchdowns may regress to the median, but he should remain busy catching passes.

New Orleans Saints

2023 Target Share Leader: Chris Olave, 138 targets, 25.1-percent

2023 Target Share Runner Up: Alvin Kamara, 87 targets, 19.3-percent

2024 Outlook: Chris Olave was the obvious alpha from 2023, and with no major additions he’s set to smash in 2024. Michael Thomas only played half the season, and Derek Carr struggled all season with getting in rhythm with his receivers. The Saints brought in Klint Kubiak from San Fransisco to run the offense, so there will be changes to the offense.

Olave is once again the clear target hog for 2024, but with a wide-open depth chart behind him, who will step up? Rashid Shaheed has speed to get behind the defense, but can he become a reliable target? Shaheed will make a push to be the second most targeted player in the offense. He’s got incredible speed and the potential absence of Juwan Johnson due to injury opens up more targets. Kamara will be in the mix, but the Saints may want to keep him fresh and use more Kendre Miller in 2024.

New York Giants

2023 Target Share Leader: Darren Waller, 74 targets, 20.6-percent

2023 Target Share Runner Up: Wan’Dale Robinson– 78 targets, 18.5-percent

2024 Outlook: Darren Waller is officially retired from the game to pursue his rap dreams. Respect. Fortunately for the Giants, they have a superstar in waiting. The Giants drafted Malik Nabers, and his skillset matches nicely with being a target magnet. He’s quick and shifty, able to navigate through the secondary with effortless ease. Unlike a physical clasher that thrives in contested situations, Nabers ability to get open will meld well with Brian Daboll and the coaching staff.

Wan’Dale Robinson finished No. 2 in target share last season, and this year he’s coming into the offense completely healthy. Robinson had a slow start in 2023 after going through ACL surgery during the end of the 2022 season. With no lingering issues, he’s a strong bet to remain a reliable target in this offense. Malik Nabers is a strong bet to finish with the highest target share among all rookies in 2024.

Philadelphia Eagles

2023 Target Share Leader: A.J. Brown – 158 targets, 30-percent
2023 Target Share Runner Up: Devonta Smith – 112 targets, 22.7-percent

2024 Outlook: A.J. Brown had another monster season in Philadelphia, finishing as one of seven receivers with a 30-percent target share or higher. Even with the changes new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore will bring, Brown is a strong bet to remain the top dog in the Eagles’ offense. What happens behind Brown will be interesting to watch.

Devonta Smith is possibly the most talented No. 2 wide receiver in the NFL, and it will be a close competition between him and Dallas Goedert as to who will finish as the second most targeted player.  Goedert finished with a 19-percent target share behind Smiths 22-percent share, but Moore’s history shows that he uses the tight end often in the passing game. Moore himself stated that he does not plan to change much of how the offense operates, which is good news for these skill position players.

San Francisco 49ers

2023 Target Share Leader: Brandon Aiyuk – 105 targets, 25-percent
2023 Target Share Runner Up: Deebo Samuel – 89 targets, 22-percent

2024 Outlook: Now this is a hard one to predict. Similar to Green Bay, we have another explosive offense with the receivers’ target numbers all clustered together. The leader in the offense will come down to Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. Aiyuk had more than double the air yards than Samuel, and as Brock Purdy continues to grow in this offense, he will continue to locate the deep pass more efficiently.

George Kittle (20.9-percent target share) and Christian McCaffrey (19.3-percent target share) deserve to be mentioned here. Both of them will likely finish No. 3 and No. 4 in 2024 target share, but there have been rumors of Samuel being traded as the team navigates a new contract with Aiyuk. Just like Green Bay, this is an offense where you want to try and grab a skill player if you can. However, the pieces to this offense come at a much higher price in drafts.

Seattle Seahawks

2023 Target Share Leader: D.K. Metcalf – 120 targets, 22.9-percent target share
2023 Target Share Runner Up: Tyler Lockett – 122 targets, 22.3-percent target share

2024 Outlook: D.K. Metcalf led the team in target share, but Tyler Lockett actually had two more targets because Lockett played in one more game than Metcalf. Those two will compete to be the leading target getter in 2024, with Jaxon Smith-Njigba locked in as the third option. But now there is a new offense in town with the departure of Shane Waldron. Former University of Washington offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb is now in charge of the offense in Seattle.

In Washington, he had great success spreading the ball around to a trio of talented receivers: Rome Odunze, Ja’Lynn Polk, and Jalen McMillan. I expect a similar finish in target shares for 2024. However, there is one significant change that I am expecting. JSN had a wrist injury during the preseason in 2023, but if he’s able to enter 2024 completely healthy he will improve on his 17-percent target share and make a strong push to be the No. 2 target in this offense.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2023 Target Share Leader: Mike Evans, 135 targets, 24.5-percent target share
2023 Target Share Runner Up: Chris Godwin: 131 targets, 23.8-percent target share

2024 Outlook- Mike Evans was the top dog in the offense, but things could flip in 2024. Dave Canales has left, and Liam Coen has replaced him. Coen spent time with the LA Rams and coached Baker Mayfield briefly there. Evans is the alpha, and while he should continue to earn the majority of targets, the Bucs did advise one important change for 2024.

Chris Godwin will play more in the slot, which should create more opportunities for him to receive underneath throws. Godwin has a real chance to be the top dog in the offense. He was only four receptions behind Evans last year. Both receivers will produce, but Godwin has a real shot at more targets operating as the slot receiver in the offense. The passing game in Tampa will flow through these two superstar receivers.

Washington Commanders

2023 Target Share Leader: Terry McLaurin – 130 targets, 21.6-percent target share
Runner Up: Logan Thomas – 79 targets, 13.8-percent target share

The Commanders will have a completely different offense in 2024 with new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Jayden Daniels. With all the changes this offense will undergo, Terry McLaurin appears destined to finish again as the target share leader for 2024. He’s far and away the most talented pass catcher on the roster, plus Daniels could very well be the best quarterback he’s ever had in the NFL.

After McLaurin, its a very crowded pass catcher room in Washington. Ertz will share time with rookie Ben Sinnott, so I hesitate to nominate him as the No. 2 target. Brian Robinson and Austin Ekeler will compete for targets out of the backfield. And then there’s the battle between Luke McCaffrey and Jahan Dotson. Dotson was a former first round pick, but with a new staff in town, they have no ties to him. I’m torn between Dotson and McCaffrey to be the No. 2 most targeted receiver on the team. At this time, I lean Dotson, but McCaffrey has the pedigree and a growing chemistry with fellow rookie Jayden Daniels. Football could be fun again in D.C.

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