Fantasy football advice: Maybe it’s time to look at targets differently

Dan Schneier breaks down targets as they relate to both yards and routes run in an effort to find the most efficient WRs out there.

| 2 months ago
(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Fantasy football advice: Maybe it’s time to look at targets differently

When fantasy football first hit the mainstream, it didn’t take long for owners to start looking for an edge before their drafts. Individual player targets quickly became an elite stat to rely on. We know Player X had this many yards and touchdowns, but knowing how many targets he saw overall and in the red zone helps us determine what kind of production we can expect in the future.

Targets have become an accepted stat, referenced everywhere, but is there a more efficient way to look at targets? Today, we’ll take a deeper dive into wide receiver targets in 2015. If all goes well, we’ll look at running backs and tight ends next week. The goal is to unlock some interesting trends that can help us find over- and undervalued players for the 2016 season.

Instead of looking at total targets, we’ll take a look at targets per route run. The goal is to find out how often a receiver was targeted not only when he was on the field but when he was deployed as a pass-catcher. This will help us separate the injury and offensive-scheme factors that go unaccounted for in total targets.

We’ll also take a look at yards per target instead of yards per route run. The goal here is to see what each receiver was able to do on a per-opportunity basis. With both measurements, we’ll be looking at each player’s updated situation heading into 2016 and his offseason progression. Let’s jump in.

In the first dataset, we looked at players who saw at least 25 percent of their team’s targets. This excluded key fantasy options in 2016 like DeSean Jackson, who missed time with injuries, but don’t worry, we’ll look at all players who were targeted too. There were 83 wide receivers who saw at least 25 percent of targets.

Here’s a look at the top 12 wide receivers in targets per route run:

Player Targets Snaps In Route TPRR YPPT
Alshon Jeffery 92 281 0.327 8.772
Julio Jones 193 615 0.314 9.694
Steve Smith 70 231 0.303 9.571
Antonio Brown 190 636 0.299 9.689
Mike Evans 146 510 0.286 8.295
Demaryius Thomas 169 594 0.285 7.716
DeAndre Hopkins 187 664 0.282 8.134
Jarvis Landry 155 570 0.272 7.465
Devin Funchess 61 233 0.262 7.754
Brandon Marshall 167 643 0.260 8.994
Keenan Allen 86 335 0.257 8.430
Odell Beckham Jr. 153 598 0.256 9.503

*TPRR – Targets per route run
*YPT – Yards per target

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Dan Schneier is a staff writer for PFF Fantasy, a former FOX Sports NFL scribe, and an auction format enthusiast.

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