Justin Bailey

Targets and Touches

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Week 1 NFC Targets/Touches

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Targets and Touches will only have players’ six most recent games, regardless of whether they were active or on a bye. The data will be in descending order of games played. I also decided to add carries inside the five-yard line for running backs rather than just red zone carries. Carries inside the five are more valuable overall as the average touchdown rate over the last 10 years from within five yards is 39 percent, with a substantial drop from further out.


All targets and touches data is compiled from Pro Football Reference. Cornerback data is sourced via Pro Football Focus. The NFC will be released on Tuesdays, while the AFC is published on Wednesday.

The goal of these articles is to give you an idea of what the usage looks like for each player within their offenses, allowing you to spot any positive or negative trends regarding how a player is being used, and most importantly — letting the numbers tell the story. 


Note:  This data will stick to mainly fantasy-relevant players.


Arizona Cardinals


Targets: Larry Fitzgerald (13), David Johnson (9), John Brown (9), J.J. Nelson (6), Jermaine Gresham (4), Andre Ellington (3), Kerwynn Williams (1)


Carries: David Johnson (11), Kerwynn Williams (5), John Brown (1)


RZ Targets: Larry Fitzgerald (3), Jermaine Gresham (2), David Johnson (1), J.J. Nelson (1), John Brown (1)


RZ Carries: David Johnson (3), Kerwynn Williams (1)


Inside 5 Carries: David Johnson (1), Kerwynn Williams (1)


Coverage Data (via PFF): Justin Bethel (6-98-2), Patrick Peterson (1-6-1)


Observations: Carson Palmer had to throw on 73.5 percent of the Cardinals’ offensive plays, which left very little groundwork for the backfield. Predictably, Larry Fitzgerald saw a team-high 13 targets. Even though the Cardinals listed Jaron Brown ahead of John Brown on the depth chart, John Brown out-snapped the other Brown 63-to-55, and out-targeted everyone not named Larry Fitzgerald (tied with DJ’s nine targets.) Now with Johnson likely to miss an extended period of time, Kerwynn Williams and Andre Ellington will likely form a running back by committee, there’s also a possibility of them bringing in another running back. Ellington out-snapped Williams 20-to-9.


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Atlanta Falcons


Targets: Mohamed Sanu (9), Tevin Coleman (6), Julio Jones (5), Taylor Gabriel (4), Austin Hooper (2), Devonta Freeman (2), Levine Toilolo (1)


Carries: Devonta Freeman (12), Tevin Coleman (8)


RZ Targets: Taylor Gabriel (2)


RZ Carries: Devonta Freeman (2)


Inside 5 Carries: Devonta Freeman (1)


Coverage Data (via PFF): Brian Poole (7-41-0), Desmond Trufant (3-43-1), Robert Alford (4-44-0)


Observations: People may be satisfied with the work they saw from Devonta Freeman as he scored the lone rushing touchdown for the Falcons, but Freeman and Tevin Coleman each saw 26 percent of the offensive looks (touches + targets.) The Falcons had eight plays inside the red zone, but only Taylor Gabriel (two targets) and Freeman (one rush from the five-yard line) saw any of the volume from inside the 20. Austin Hooper’s 128 yards and a touchdown looks good in the box score, but he saw just seven percent of the target share (two targets) and only spent 24 snaps in route (PFF) of the 47 snaps he played.


Carolina Panthers


Targets: Christian McCaffrey (7), Kelvin Benjamin (5), Greg Olsen (4), Devin Funchess (2), Jonathan Stewart (2)


Carries: Jonathan Stewart (18), Christian McCaffrey (13)


RZ Targets: Jonathan Stewart (1)


RZ Carries: Jonathan Stewart (2), Christian McCaffrey (1)


Inside 5 Carries: Jonathan Stewart (2)


Coverage Data (via PFF): James Bradberry (4-42-0), Daryl Worley (5-46-0), Captain Munnerlyn (0-0-0)


Observations: Christian McCaffrey’s usage was very encouraging as he and Jonathan Stewart each saw 32 percent of the Panthers’ offensive looks. However, McCaffrey out-snapped Stewart 47-to-29, but Stewart claimed three red-zone looks to McCaffrey’s one. McCaffrey should be plenty valuable this season as he led the Panthers with 28 percent of the target share. He was the only offensive weapon to see more than five targets.


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Chicago Bears


Targets: Tarik Cohen (12), Zach Miller (6), Jordan Howard (5), Josh Bellamy (4), Kendall Wright (4), Kevin White (4), Deonte Thompson (2)


Carries: Jordan Howard (13), Tarik Cohen (5)


RZ Targets: Zach Miller (2), Jordan Howard (1), Josh Bellamy (1), Tarik Cohen (1)


RZ Carries: Jordan Howard (2), Tarik Cohen (1)


Inside 5 Carries: Jordan Howard (1)


Coverage Data (via PFF): Bryce Callahan (2-10-0), Kyle Fuller (5-79-0), Marcus Cooper Sr. (2-33-0)


Observations: Tarik Cohen only played 42 percent of the snaps for the Bears, but when he was on the field, they looked his way as he led the Bears with 30 percent target share and 29 percent of the offensive looks (trailed only Jordan Howard.) With Kevin White placed on injured reserve, Cohen may provide even more value in the passing game. Of Cohen’s 28 snaps, he ran a pass route on 21 of them (PFF) and led all running backs with 12 targets in Week 1.


Dallas Cowboys


Targets: Dez Bryant (9), Jason Witten (9), Terrance Williams (7), Cole Beasley (5), Ezekiel Elliott (5)


Carries: Ezekiel Elliott (24), Alfred Morris (4)


RZ Targets: Dez Bryant (3), Ezekiel Elliott (1), Jason Witten (1)


RZ Carries: Alfred Morris (2), Ezekiel Elliott (2)


Inside 5 Carries: None


Coverage Data (via PFF): Anthony Brown (1-6-0), Chidobe Awuzie (3-22-0), Nolan Carroll (3-13-0), Orlando Scandrick (1-12-0)


Observations: With Eli Manning and the Giants not putting up much of a fight on offense, the Cowboys hammered away with Ezekiel Elliott's 24 rushing attempts (104 yards.) Elliott saw 41 percent of the Cowboys’ offensive looks thanks to his career-high five targets. It was Elliot’s best performance against the Giants in his career as last season he averaged just 11.45 fantasy points (PPR) and 79 rushing yards. Dez Bryant and Jason Witten each saw nine targets, but Bryant failed to do much against the Giants’ stout boundary corners. The Giants ranked No. 1 in pass-defense DVOA against No. 1 receivers last season, while they ranked 26th in pass-defense DVOA against tight ends.


Detroit Lions


Targets: Golden Tate (12), Kenny Golladay (7), Theo Riddick (7), Ameer Abdullah (4), T.J. Jones (4), Eric Ebron (3), Marvin Jones (2)


Carries: Ameer Abdullah (15), Dwayne Washington (6), Golden Tate (2), Theo Riddick (1)


RZ Targets: Golden Tate (1), Kenny Golladay (1), Marvin Jones (1), Theo Riddick (1)


RZ Carries: Ameer Abdullah (4), Dwayne Washington (2)


Inside 5 Carries: Ameer Abdullah (1)


Coverage Data (via PFF): Darius Slay (2-9-0), DJ Hayden (4-74-0), Nevin Lawson (5-57-0), Quandre Diggs (1-4-0)


Observations: Golden Tate led the Lions with 12 targets, 10 receptions, and 107 receiving yards while owning 29 percent of their target share. Rookie Kenny Golladay turned in a strong performance with a 4-69-2 receiving line, tying Theo Riddick for the second-most targets at seven. It’s also notable that Ameer Abdullah and Riddick each ran 17 pass routes on Sunday, but Riddick out-targeted Abdullah 7-to-3. Dwayne Washington and Abdullah each saw two carries from inside the 10-yard line. Abdullah saw the only carry from inside the five.


Green Bay Packers


Targets: Randall Cobb (13), Jordy Nelson (8), Davante Adams (7), Martellus Bennett (6), Ty Montgomery (4)


Carries: Ty Montgomery (19)


RZ Targets:


RZ Carries: Ty Montgomery (1)


Inside 5 Carries: None


Coverage Data (via PFF): Damarious Randall (4-59-0), Quinten Rollins (5-55-0)


Observations:  With Randall Cobb avoiding the Seahawks’ boundary corners, he had an easier time running in the slot where he ran 84 percent of his routes and saw 10 of his 13 targets. He led the Packers in targets and receiving yards. The Packers only ran three red-zone plays all game, one of them being a carry for Ty Montgomery on the six-yard line that he was able to punch in for a touchdown. Montgomery could be in for a huge game against the Falcons in Week 2 that opened with a 53.5-point over/under.

Los Angeles Rams


Targets: Cooper Kupp (6), Todd Gurley (6), Robert Woods (5), Sammy Watkins (5), Tavon Austin (1)


Carries: Todd Gurley (18), Malcolm Brown (7), Tavon Austin (2)


RZ Targets: Cooper Kupp (1)


RZ Carries: Malcolm Brown (3), Todd Gurley (1)


Inside 5 Carries: Malcolm Brown (1), Todd Gurley (1)


Coverage Data (via PFF): Kayvon Webster (1-32-0), Nickell Robey-Coleman (1-1-0), Trumaine Johnson (2-25-0)


Observations: Cooper Kupp continued his preseason rampage into the regular-season as he played the second-most snaps and ran 62.5 percent of his routes from the slot. Kupp was tied with Todd Gurley for the team-lead in targets (six), but he scored their lone passing touchdown and led the team with 76 receiving yards. Gurley’s box score looked great as his rushing score and his receiving game (5-56) made up for his ineffective running. He ran for just 40 yards on 19 carries which was good for a paltry 2.1 yards per carry (YPC.) Also, Tavon Austin played just seven snaps.


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Justin Bailey has been working with Rotoworld since 2015. His stat-forward analysis can also be found on FantasyLabs and 4for4. Follow him on Twitter - @justinbailey32.
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