Target Hogs - 2017

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Written by: Ryan Levy


Week 1 was an interesting one for Fantasy Football, but there were definitely some familiar faces leading the pack in "Target Hogs". Enjoy the writeup and may your Week 2 be loaded with targets, catches and touchdowns!

Week 1 Target Hogs


Player
Targets
Catches
DeAndre Hopkins
16
7
Amari Cooper
13
5
Randall Cobb
13
9
Larry Fitzgerald
13
6
Golden Tate
12
10
Antonio Brown
11
11
Terrelle Pryor
11
6
Adam Thielen
10
9
Corey Davis
10
6
Pierre Garcon
10
6
A.J. Green
10
5
Keenan Allen
10
5

DeAndre Hopkins

16 Targets, 7 Catches, 55 Yards, 1 TD
I was somewhat critical of Hopkins and the Texans in my preseason Target Hogs writeup, but that was mainly due to the uncertainty at the QB position, paired with the other lack of other receiving options in Houston. I certainly didn’t expect him to lead the entire league in targets after week one, nor did I expect the Texans to pull the plug so quickly on Savage. Hopkins was targeted at least 6 times in the first half with Savage at the helm, but the offensive line couldn’t give him any time to throw the ball and his production was pretty much non-existent. On a positive note, Watson wasted no time in finding his number one option upon entering the game and found him for a short touchdown after targeting him 5 times in the opening drive of the 2nd half.

Thursday Night Football Update, 9/14/2017 – 13 Targets, 7 Catches, 73 Yards – In his first career NFL start, Watson looked Hopkins’ way early and often. At this rate, Hopkins might actually surpass his 2015 targets number of 192, which would be absolutely incredible. As Watson gets more comfortable in this offense and gets away from staring down his first option before looking to tuck and run, my hope is that the yardage and touchdown numbers will increase. This will be especially true if the Texans can get their O-line and run game in order. Am I crazy for thinking Foreman looks to be the better running back in comparison to Miller?

Amari Cooper

13 Targets, 5 Catches, 62 Yards, 1 TD
As a whole, the Raiders weren’t overly impressive in Week 1 against the Titans. However, Carr was efficient going 22/32 with 262 yards through the air with two touchdown passes and no interceptions. Those who drafted Cooper in the mid to late second round, even the third round in some cases, have to be encouraged by what they saw in Week 1. Cooper was targeted nearly twice as many times as any pass catcher, including Michael Crabtree, who was targeted 7 times but led the team in catches (6) and yards (83). What does all this tell us in a small sample size? There’s plenty of fantasy production to go around in this high powered offense for two big-time receivers, and both should see 130+ targets in 2017. This offense is just getting warmed up.  

Larry Fitzgerald

13 Targets, 6 Catches, 74 Yards
Any surprise here? 8th overall in the league last year in targets and first overall in catches. Old faithful and Mr. Consistent seems to be headed to another successful season. Carson Palmer threw an astonishing 48 passes in week 1, yet only managed 268 yards en route to 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions. The injury to David Johnson might just mean we can expect more games of 40+ passing attempts for Carson Palmer, and naturally that means a lot more targets for Larry Fitzgerald. I am a little concerned with the eventual downfall of Carson Palmer, I am just hoping it’s later, rather than sooner. 

Randall Cobb

13 Targets, 9 Catches, 85 Yards
Aaron Rodgers also threw a lot of passes in Week 1 (42), but maybe most surprising of all was the fact that Randall Cobb led the Packers in targets in the victory. In fact, he had 5 more than Jordy Nelson, 6 more than Davante Adams and 7 more than Marty Bennett. He also led the team in catches and yards, but unfortunately was unable to find the end zone. Are we seeing the “resurgence” of Randall Cobb? I am not getting too excited yet and saying he will return to 2014 form, but anything is possible with Aaron Rodgers under center and it’s certainly worth noting that Cobb was the overwhelming Target Hog in Week 1 in Green Bay. Keep an eye on this situation.

Golden Tate

12 Targets, 10 Catches, 107 Yards
A lot of positives for the Detroit Lions coming out of Week 1: a victory, 4 touchdown passes for Matt Stafford, 10 catches for Golden Tate, 2 touchdowns for rookie Kenny Golladay, etc. Tate has had at least 128 targets in each of his last three seasons in Detroit, with at least 90 catches in each to go along with it. His rapport with Stafford is obvious and I don’t see any reason why the production and high volume of targets won’t continue on a weekly basis. Tate isn’t your prototypical WR1 in terms of fantasy football and he doesn’t exactly have a knack for the end zone, but he’s a PPR monster and a must start on a weekly basis, regardless of format in my opinion. 

Terrelle Pryor

11 Targets, 6 Catches, 66 Yards
Encouraging to see the targets there for the new Redskins’ receiver in the first game of the season. Not encouraging was how awful the Redskins and Kirk Cousins looked. Pryor and the rest of the pass catchers were often open and simply missed by Cousins in this game, so I am hopeful things will turn around in week 2, albeit against a better defense (Rams). I am not concerned with the Redskins yet and I’ll sleep easy Saturday night when I set my lineup with Pryor as my WR2, knowing he will likely secure double digit targets again on Sunday. I’m still a believer he’ll have more than 140 targets and a bigger statistical season than he did last year.

Antonio Brown

11 Targets, 11 Catches, 182 Yards
Can this guy get any better? He’s just unbelievable to watch play the game. Talk about efficiency and rate of production! Caught everything thrown his way, just couldn’t find the end zone. The Steelers looked pretty awful against the Browns and I fully expect them to get things moving in the right direction as the season progresses, not that it matters in terms of Brown’s production, but I’d be willing to bet he finds the end zone double digit times again in 2017. You don't need me to tell you how good Antonio Brown is, I have nothing else of value to say at this moment about AB.

A.J. Green

10 Targets, 5 Catches, 74 Yards
I projected Green to make the jump into the league’s “elite” targets category in 2017 (140+), not an earth-shattering prediction by any means, but he’s off to a pretty solid start with 18 targets through the first two weeks. Let’s be honest though, the Bengals looked absolutely atrocious on offense and after TNF, they haven’t scored a touchdown in 8 straight Quarters now. In fact, they’ve made NFL history by becoming the first team to not score a touchdown to start the season in two home games since 1939. As a result, offensive coordinator Ken Zampese lost his job on Friday and QB coach Bill Lazor will take over the play calling duties. Dalton looked better on Thursday night, but not MUCH better. 50 of Green’s 67 yards on TNF were on one pass. Here’s to hoping Dalton and company get their stuff together in a hurry.

Thursday Night Football Update, 9/14/2017 – 8 Targets, 5 Catches, 67 yards.

Corey Davis

10 Targets, 6 Catches, 69 Yards
Looks like the hamstring injury that plagued him during the preseason did not carry over into the regular season as Davis was able to lead the team in targets to open the season. He wasn’t able to find the end zone, but neither were any of the other pass catchers or running backs for the Titans. Overall, an ugly offensive performance for Tennessee - they couldn’t seem to get anything going against the Raiders. I expect much better from this offensive unit moving forward, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how heavily involved Davis was right out of the gates. Between Davis, Decker, Matthews and Walker as options for Mariota in the passing game, I see plenty of firepower and fantasy production to go around. This team will get moving in the right direction, deploy Davis and company on a weekly basis comfortable until otherwise noted.

Adam Thielen

10 Targets, 9 Catches, 157 Yards
I fell in love with this guy last season when I randomly attended a Texans @ Vikings game (most beautiful stadium I’ve ever been to, even above Jerry’s World) and Bradford hit Thielen for a 36 yard touchdown on a PERFECT “sluggo” route (slant and go). Back to current day, Thielen converted on 90% of his targets in week 1, en route to 157 yards receiving. Incredible. The guy is a machine. Great route runner, great hands. Give me Thielen over Diggs all day - I drafted that way and stand by it through the remainder of 2017. The more the Vikings o-line can keep Bradford on his feet, the bigger the fantasy season Thielen and company has (obviously). $5,000 in Draft Kings this week?! Show the man some RESPECT!

Keenan Allen

10 Targets, 5 Catches, 35 Yards, 1 TD
Love me some Keenan Allen and fully believe he returns to true WR1 fantasy status in 2017. Tough matchup in week 1 against the Broncos on MNF but was still targeted 10 times and salvaged his day with a touchdown after only gaining 35 yards on 5 catches. Deploy Keenan Allen without hesitation on a weekly basis.

Pierre Garcon

10 Targets, 6 Catches, 81 Yards
Another one of my predictions to make the leap to “elite” status in terms of target hogs in 2017, Garcon is off to a solid start, regardless of how ugly the box score was for the 49ers as a whole. He was targeted 10 times and amassed 81 yards on 6 grabs. The 49ers actually didn’t look all that bad on their first few drives but were victimized by a dropped deep pass by Goodwin and a fumble by Hoyer on the next drive. I hyped this team up a bit after watching them this preseason and I’m still somewhat of a believer, at least from a fantasy perspective. I don’t think they’re a playoff team by any means but they are going to win some games and produce some respectable fantasy players, including Garcon & Hyde, even Kittle, Goodwin and Hoyer in deeper leagues.



In closing, I’d just like to quickly mention the tight end position. We talked about it on episode 79 of the podcast (if you don’t already listen/subscribe, you can find us in iTunes and on YouTube) and referenced the lack of production from the top drafted options at the position after the first week. I don’t think there’s any reason to panic yet, but found it worth noting that there were a handful of TEs that were targeted 8-9 times, including Delanie Walker, Charles Clay, Jason Witten, Jordan Reed, Jesse James and Zach Ertz. I suppose I am telling you in an effort to prove how deep the tight end position is this season. Hopefully you waited on drafting a tight end like we’ve been telling you all off season! Best of luck in Week 2!


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