Target Share and the Value Beneath: Week Two – AFC

Peter Howard

Welcome back to the weekly DLF target share article. In week one, we took a brief look at the starting point for opportunity in the passing game as well as a few surprises. In week two, we are still struggling for more context. However, we can learn a bit more each week.

This will give us an idea of who is having consistent opportunity but also whose week one numbers may have been overblown. As a side note, notice how much changes week to week. This explains why DFS isn’t easy and start/sit decisions are actually difficult.

So let see what’s changed for every player on every team… think I’m joking?

Buckle up, buttercup.


  • Air yards: the distance the ball traveled before the player caught it
  • aDot: Average depth of target
  • RACR: Receiver Air yards Conversation Ratio – how well they turn air yards into receiving yards
  • WOPR – Weighted Opportunity Rating – it weights target share by air yards

AFC East

New England Patriots

word image 27

The Patriots faced the Jaguars in week two so it’s probably not a surprise their wide receivers saw a significant loss in target share across the board.

Don’t Trust: Cordarrelle Patterson’s 15% rise in target share. His role is significantly different to most players at the position. He actually had a -1 aDot in week two highlighting his behind-the-line-of-scrimmage targets.

Maybe Believe: Phillip Dorsett was the only wide receiver on the team who saw consistent usage from week one to week two. While the return of Julian Edelman is still imminent, for now it seems like Dorsett will continue to be used.

Buffalo Bills

[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]

word image 28

Hell if I know. Nathan Peterman had the start in week one and Josh Allen had already kind of taken over by the end of the game. It may be week two but we really only have one week of information.

Don’t Trust: The shift in target share from Benjamin and Jeremy Kerley to Andre Holmes may be a result of Allen’s preferences or just noise based on the way the game went.

Maybe Believe: The struggle is real. Zay Jones, famous for being able to levitate and hold the single most inefficient season for a wide receiver ever in his rookie year, had the best RACR in week two at 0.86, which is just about average. This team is not a secret cheap source of fantasy points.

Miami Dolphins word image 29

Mostly stable. They may well be who we thought they were after week one.

Don’t Trust: A.J. Derby’s rise in usage didn’t amount of mean much (two targets, ten yards) and the drop in Kenny Stills‘ production really feels like a result of game script. Still’s aDot was 6.7 in week two compared to 16 in week one.

Maybe Believe: Albert Wilson, Kenny Stills, and Kenyan Drake are the main targets on this team.

New York Jets

word image 30

Now that Quincy Enunwa’s insane stranglehold on the target share is over from week one we can begin to see else might get targets.

Don’t Trust: Terrelle Pryor’s usage. I really think the offense is going to flow through Enunwa and Bilal Powell this year.

Maybe Believe: Enunwa is the most fantasy-relevant pass catcher on this team.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers

word image 31

Don’t Trust: That JuJu Smith-Schuster is the new wide receiver one. He is awesome and clearly, Pittsburgh is on pace to produce two top 24 wide receivers this year. Antonio Brown, while injured, still had 29%.

Maybe Believe: James Washington’s 8% growth in targets. He is becoming the WR3 on this team.

Baltimore Ravens

word image 29

Don’t Trust: The tight end position. Just in case anyone was still holding out for the idea that one of the two tight ends the team drafted this year would see all the targets, I think that hope is dead (okay, dying – to be nice. Nick Boyle received a… relatively significant usage last year, and he’s doing that again this year. If you could combine all their tight ends into one, maybe we’d have a streamer.

Maybe Believe: The overall distribution. I think John Brown and Michael Crabtree are very much the main weapons in this passing offense.

Cincinnati Bengals

word image 32

Don’t Trust: The idea Tyler Boyd can outproduce A.J. Green regularly.

Maybe Believe: Boyd is a thing. (Whooooooooooooooooooo Hoooooooooooooooooooooooooo, score one for age-adjusted college production!) Boyd’s got talent, and the Bengals look ready to use it.

Cleveland Browns

word image 33

We’ve already seen the first example of the Browns offense without Josh Gordon and it happened in week two.

Don’t Believe: Jarvis Landry’s drop in targets. He was hampered by injury going into week two and I think it showed in his usage.

Maybe Trust: Rashard Higgins and David Njoku. You probably remember trying to trust Higgins usage before, and you’re not alone. I’ve been burned before. But as a veteran member of the team, he has an advantage over a volatile – if talented – rookie like Antonio Callaway.

Njoku has been the second most target player for the team both weeks. While he’s struggling with drops right now, he’s earning a lot of chances to fix it.

AFC South

Jacksonville Jaguars

word image 34

Well, that cleared up… nothing.

Don’t Trust: Keelan Cole. While it’s tempting to call a “win” over a UDFA who caught over 100 receiving yards this season (#AGoodSign) through two weeks, the opportunity share of this team spread out further rather than condensed. It’s promising, but not certain by any means.

Maybe Believe: Donte Moncrief’s consistent usage. Moncrief looks to have the most consistent usage of anyone on the team. He’s had the most air yards and his target share (the highest in week one) went up in week two (still highest). Production could well follow from that kind of usage.

Tennessee Titans

word image 35

Hard to choose just two notes here. The quarterback problem is… a problem. I want Marcus Mariota back and healthy. No matter how bad he looked so far, we all know Blaine Gabbert is worse for everybody.

Don’t Trust: Most of this. We have not seen this offense as it was meant to be or even how it might be to this point in the season.

Maybe Trust. Corey Davis and maybe Jonnu Smith. Corey Davis is getting some juicy opportunity numbers. Hopefully, the team can right itself enough to not stall this breakout. Smith hasn’t taken a lot of the target opportunity but it’s stable and he jumped up to a 100% snap share in week two with the loss of Delanie Walker.

Indianapolis Colts

word image 36

Don’t Trust: The idea Andrew Luck will keep throwing short. I think he’ll pick up the pace eventually. Hopefully this year? Also, Eric Ebron isn’t the best tight end option on the Colts. Jack Doyle is destroying him in opportunity. Don’t trust touchdowns.

Maybe Believe: T.Y. Hilton is the target hog on this team. If we could just get those targets to move a little further down the field…

Houston Texans

word image 37

So Will Fuller is back. There are only two targets on this team and we all know who they are.

Don’t Trust: I don’t know. This all looks right to me.

Maybe Believe: All of it? Start DeAndre Hopkins and Fuller… log out.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs

word image 38

Yes, the touchdowns will have to slow down, but boy is this fun.

Don’t Trust: Travis Kelce’s production and Sammy Watkins‘ usage in week two. Kelce is getting plenty of opportunity, it should pay off more often eventually.

Maybe Believe: Kareem Hunt’s lack or receiving. I don’t know or want to think whether this will continue of not but right now, there has been no sign they need to change it in 2018.

Los Angeles Chargers

word image 39

So the winner of the “Travis Benjamin is out” sweepstake was… Virgil Green. That helped no one, and probably means nothing.

Don’t Trust: The “who is the WR2” battle. I think it’s fascinating and I’m rooting for both players to have good NFL careers (Tyrell Williams and Mike Williams.) Through two weeks, Mike is the clear winner, despite Tyrell playing 20% more snaps both weeks. But the reason I wouldn’t trust it is that Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler will likely continue to see heavier targets compared to last year, and beyond that, I think Keenan Allen is going to put a stranglehold on what is left pretty soon. He had 30% of targets in week two!

Oakland Raiders

word image 40

Oakland had to go to Denver to get their wide receivers going. Makes sense, I guess…

Don’t Trust: Jared Cook‘s usage, ever. Also Martavis Bryant‘s 15% of targets just looks like a trap to me. Jordy Nelson had the toughest CB matchup in Denver and that could well have been the reason.

Maybe Believe: That Amari Cooper will get lots of targets this year. He should, at least.

Denver Broncos

word image 41

Don’t Trust: Demaryius Thomas‘ target share. I try to be the last person to get worried about a player over the age of 30. But despite his bounce back in air yards in week two, receiving yards failed to follow. I don’t think he’s done, I’m just not sure he’s the number one target on this team for 2018.

Maybe Believe: Courtland Sutton is getting worked into the offense this season.


peter howard
Follow me