News & Analysis

Fantasy Football: Projecting the pecking order of all 32 NFL passing games

Every single NFL offense is unique. Sure, teams will steal plays and scheme ideas to implement into their own unit, but the wide array of talent, coaches and tendencies, among other factors, makes it impossible to evaluate two separate offenses under the same microscope.

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This is particularly true inside of an offense’s passing game. A No. 2 WR on one team might be the No. 2 pass-game target, but on another squad the No. 2 WR could very well also be behind a high-usage RB and target-hot TE.

What follows is the projected top-five pecking order from every NFL offense. I started with PFF fantasy projections to get an idea of the target projections before also taking into account various factors such as: coaching, QB preference, historical tendencies and general talent.

Arizona Cardinals

  1. DeAndre Hopkins
  2. Christian Kirk
  3. Larry Fitzgerald
  4. Kenyan Drake
  5. Andy Isabella

Obviously, a talent the caliber of Hopkins will take the lead role in virtually any given passing game. Fitzgerald (109) just barely out-targeted Kirk (108) in 2019 despite playing in three additional games. Drake had 35 targets in eight games with the Cardinals; the 70-target pace would’ve been tied for 10th among all RBs last season. Isabella could be more involved than most backup receivers in this four-WR-heavy offense, and he deserves the extra opportunities.

Atlanta Falcons

  1. Julio Jones
  2. Calvin Ridley
  3. Russell Gage
  4. Hayden Hurst
  5. Todd Gurley

Matt Ryan is hardly a novice when it comes to enabling multiple high-end fantasy receivers dating back to his time with Jones and Roddy White. Ridley deserves to be the 2020 version of Chris Godwin: proven talented WR in a pass-happy, yet uncrowded, offense that has loads of available targets.

Gage ranked 17th among all WRs in targets during Weeks 10-17 after Mohamed Sanu was traded to the Patriots. Hurst figures to be the offense’s full-time TE, but I’m fading him at his current top-10 ADP due to the plethora of unknowns surrounding both his talent and potential for high-end target share. I’ll also be largely staying away from Gurley due to the Falcons’ historical tendency to consistently utilize multi-back committees.

Baltimore Ravens

  1. Mark Andrews
  2. Marquise Brown
  3. Willie Snead
  4. Miles Boykin
  5. Nick Boyle

Andrews averaged a team-high 6.5 targets per game in 2019 and ranked behind only George Kittle in yards per route run. Better health should allow Hollywood Brown to post more consistent production; he spent as many weeks as a top-32 wide receiver (six) as he did outside of the top-64 options (six). Snead is expected to hold off rookie Devin Duvernay and continue to function as the lead slot WR inside of one of the league’s most run-heavy offenses.

Boykin offers an intriguing combination of size (6-foot-4 and 220-pounds) and speed (4.42-second 40-yard dash), although it’s just tough to see a scenario where he flirts with much more than 50 targets. Boyle could potentially inherit Hayden Hurst’s leftover targets, although it seems more likely things are condensed toward the top of the pecking order.

Buffalo Bills

  1. Stefon Diggs
  2. John Brown
  3. Cole Beasley
  4. Dawson Knox
  5. Devin Singletary

The Vikings' longtime stud receiver and a 2020 seventh-round pick were acquired for 2020 first-, fifth- and sixth-round picks along with a 2021 fourth-round selection; don’t expect Diggs to work behind anybody in this passing game. The disparity in targets between Diggs and Smokey Brown is unknown, although both receivers possess reasonable enough ADPs to warrant fantasy investment. Beasley had at least eight targets in three of his first four games of last season before reaching that threshold in just two of his final 12 affairs.

Knox has a smashable start to the season but more often than not should struggle to see heavy involvement in this crowded offense. Singletary played at least 65% of the offense's snaps in every game in which he wasn't either injured or just returning from a layoff, but the problem is that 1) Josh Allen checked the ball down on just six of 461 pass attempts (league-low 1.3%), and 2) New RB2 Zack Moss presents a much more formidable threat to pass-down work than the departed Frank Gore.

Carolina Panthers

  1. D.J. Moore
  2. Christian McCaffrey
  3. Curtis Samuel
  4. Robby Anderson
  5. Ian Thomas

Moore (9 targets per game) narrowly out-targeted CMC (8.9) on a per-game basis in 2019; look for the Panthers’ stud young WR to pull away a bit more inside of this new-look passing game. Still, McCaffrey will hardly become an afterthought, particularly with captain checkdown Teddy Bridgewater now under center. The potential for Samuel to assume a low-aDOT role in the slot while Robby Anderson works as the field-stretching receiver makes the former the superior value: Only Jimmy Garoppolo (6.5%) had a lower percentage of his passes travel at least 20-yards downfield than Bridgewater (7.1%) in 2019. Thomas should be a near every-down TE, although this crowded passing game likely won’t help his weekly ceiling inside of this sneaky-crowded and -talented passing game.

Chicago Bears

  1. Allen Robinson
  2. Tarik Cohen
  3. Anthony Miller
  4. Jimmy Graham
  5. Ted Ginn Jr.

The only receivers who are arguably more established as their offense’s No. 1 pass-game option than A-Rob are Michael Thomas, Davante Adams, Adam Thielen and Julio Jones. Cohen joins Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara and James White as the only RBs with at least 200 receptions over the past three seasons. Miller has flashed legit talent during his short career, and we're just one season removed from everyone talking themselves into Dede Westbrook based on Foles' historical usage of slot receivers.

The Bears felt strongly enough about Graham’s usage to grant his no-trade clause. Ginn (35 years old) figures to serve as more of a primary field-stretching option than Taylor Gabriel did during the past few seasons.

Cincinnati Bengals

  1. A.J. Green
  2. Tyler Boyd
  3. John Ross
  4. Joe Mixon
  5. C.J. Uzomah

It’s tough to imagine a scenario where Green plays 16 games and doesn’t lead the Bengals in targets. Still, Boyd (108 targets in 2018, 148 in 2019) also figures to again be in the triple-digit target club considering Joe Burrow’s collegiate success with slot WR Justin Jefferson. Health is always a concern with Ross, but his absurd speed figures to land him a spot in three-WR formations when he’s able to suit up. Mixon (45 targets) narrowly out-targeted Giovani Bernard (43) in 2019; here’s to hoping Mixon (6.4 targets per target) earns more of the backfield target share after vastly out-playing Gio (5.4) last season. Uzomah figures to remain a block-first TE, although the absence of Tyler Eifert should lead to a near every-down role.

Cleveland Browns

  1. Jarvis Landry
  2. Odell Beckham Jr.
  3. Austin Hooper
  4. Kareem Hunt
  5. Nick Chubb

It’s a toss-up between Landry (138 targets) and OBJ (133) in regards to who will lead the 2020 Browns in targets. Either way, Landry again appears woefully under-priced in the fantasy market after being cleared to return from offseason hip surgery. The Browns’ high-priced free agent addition *should* mean a near every-down role, although coach Kevin Stefanski’s usage of Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith with the Vikings could feasibly lead to plenty of run for David Njoku as well. Cleveland’s decision to basically fade its No. 3 WR spot throughout free agency and the draft lends credence to the idea that we’ll see plenty of two-RB formations next season.

Dallas Cowboys

  1. Amari Cooper
  2. Michael Gallup
  3. CeeDee Lamb
  4. Blake Jarwin
  5. Ezekiel Elliott

Gallup (PPR WR8), Cooper (WR21) and Randall Cobb (WR27) were each more-than-relevant fantasy options in nine games following the Cowboys' Week 8 bye last season. Still, expect Mr. $100 million to continue to function as the offense’s lead pass-game option more weeks than not. While Cooper and Gallup should again sit atop Dak Prescott’s pecking order, the Cowboys quietly boast the league’s second-most available targets from last season after parting ways with Cobb (83 targets) and Jason Witten (83). Expect Lamb to pull away from Jarwin in a dissimilar manner, although this offense could be talented enough to enable four fantasy-relevant receivers. Zeke low key has a solid chance to experience a target boom considering how he was featured in 2018 (95 targets) with Witten retired compared to 2016 (39), 2017 (38 in 10 games) and 2019 (71).

Denver Broncos

  1. Courtland Sutton
  2. Jerry Jeudy
  3. Noah Fant
  4. Melvin Gordon
  5. K.J. Hamler

Sutton commanded a 25% target share and a 40% air yard market share of the Broncos’ passing game with Lock under center in Weeks 13-17 last season. The reality that both DaeSean Hamilton (28 targets) and Tim Patrick (20) worked ahead of Fant (14) last season has me leaning toward Jeudy as this passing game’s No. 2 option, but the Broncos’ talented TE should still see plenty of action now that he’s back to 100%. While the assumed large disparity in snaps between Gordon and Phillip Lindsay is perhaps inaccurate, it would be surprising if MGIII doesn’t work as the offense’s lead pass-down back. Hamler possesses the sort of blazing speed that will be tough to leave off the field.

Detroit Lions

  1. Kenny Golladay
  2. Marvin Jones
  3. T.J. Hockenson
  4. Danny Amendola
  5. D’Andre Swift

The Lions posted the following target distribution in eight games with Stafford under center last season:

Expect Golladay’s talent to continue to win out, but Jones is once again not being priced in the fantasy market relative to his projected high-end target share. It’s reasonable to expect Hockenson to surpass Amendola in Stafford’s pecking order, particularly if the Lions cut back James’ non-insignificant usage. Nobody had a higher percentage of attempts travel at least 20 yards downfield than Stafford (19.2%) last season, meaning bunches of targets for low-aDOT specialists Amendola and Swift are unlikely.

Green Bay Packers

  1. Davante Adams
  2. Allen Lazard
  3. Aaron Jones
  4. Jace Sternberger
  5. Jamaal Williams

Adams has ranked first and second in targets per game over the past two seasons, trailing only Michael Thomas in 2019. The Packers’ undisputed No. 1 pass-game option has a non-zero chance to have a target total that starts with a 2 when this season is over. Lazard’s bromance with Rodgers has produced some elite efficiency through one season: Only Jordy Nelson (11.1) has averaged more adjusted yards per target than Lazard (10.4) among all players Rodgers has targeted at least 50 times during his career (per RotoViz).

It’d make sense if the Packers feed Jones all sorts of pass-game opportunities after curiously declining to address their WR or TE room during the offseason, although the Packers’ stud RB1 averaged 3.5 targets per game with Davante Adams in 2019 and 6.8 targets per game without. Neither Sternberger, Williams nor the offense’s additional backup receivers are guaranteed much of anything in terms of targets, although the Packers’ projected TE1 should be considered the favorite to assume some sort of fantasy-viable role.

Houston Texans

  1. Will Fuller
  2. Brandin Cooks
  3. Randall Cobb
  4. David Johnson
  5. Duke Johnson

The Texans’ unproven, yet talented, receiver room is expected to be led by Will Fuller, who has heavily influenced Deshaun Watson’s efficiency over the years:

  • Watson with Fuller (22 games): 28.1 PPR, 2.27 TD, 0.91 INT, 276.5 yards, 8.72 YPA 
  • Without (16 games): 23.3 PPR, 1.31 TD, 0.56 INT, 227.1 yards, 7.26 YPA

Tom Brady (7.96 YPA with Cooks; 7.46 without), Drew Brees (7.59 vs. 7.49) and Jared Goff (7.95 vs. 7.33) were all more efficient with Cooks than without. Don’t expect Watson’s standing as a top-five QB in fantasy and real life to go anywhere, and it sure looks like the majority of his targets will be directed toward the offense’s speedy field-stretching WRs. If you’re one of those people who simply believe Fuller and Cooks will inevitably get hurt then it’d be a good time to buy Mr. $18 million guaranteed Cobb at his depressed ADP. The Texans quietly used Duke Johnson in the slot/out wide on 26% of his snaps last season, meaning there’s a chance we see both of the Texans’ talented receiving backs featured and used to their strengths in 2020.

Indianapolis Colts

  1. T.Y. Hilton
  2. Parris Campbell
  3. Jack Doyle
  4. Michael Pittman
  5. Nyheim Hines

We are 100% sure that Hilton is the Colts' No. 1 pass-game option when healthy. Just ask OC Nick Sirianni:

“He’s still the main piece of this offense. T.Y. Hilton is who this pass offense runs through. Things will be schemed to get him the football. I know he’s worked hard on his body and worked hard through the offseason. He’s our guy. He’s our lead dog. He’s our alpha dog. And if he stays healthy, the sky’s the limit again for him.”

The Colts’ 2019 second-round pick unfortunately played fewer than 200 offensive snaps last season due to injuries, but head coach Frank Reich was certainly high on Campbell entering the year by noting, “He's making legit, NFL, I'm gonna be a stud receiver type plays.” The only hesitation in assuming Doyle will put up numbers as Philip Rivers’ No. 1 TE is the potential high-end involvement of both Trey Burton and Mo Alie-Cox. It’d hardly be shocking if either first-round rookie Pittman or pass-friendly scat-back Hines manage to climb their way up into Rivers’ top-three options.

Jacksonville Jaguars

  1. D.J. Chark
  2. Dede Westbrook
  3. Chris Conley
  4. Laviska Shenault
  5. Tyler Eifert

Chark‘s 97 targets were the most among all Jaguars in 14 games that Gardner Minshew threw at least 25 passes; there are some 2019 Fitzpatrick/Parker vibes to the Jaguars’ YOLO-ball gunslinger and his undisputed No. 1 WR. Westbrook‘s 86 targets were the second-most pass-game opportunities during Minshew's time under center, although his role could be at most risk of being taken by talented second-round rookie Shenault. Conley figures to function as the offense’s field-stretching talent, a role which doesn’t provide much consistent volume. Eifert’s projection has received a boost with Josh Oliver (foot, IR) injured, although expecting another 16 games from the ex-Bengals TE is probably wishful thinking.

Kansas City Chiefs

  1. Travis Kelce
  2. Tyreek Hill
  3. Clyde Edwards-Helaire
  4. Sammy Watkins
  5. Mecole Hardman

Kelce has led the Chiefs in targets and his position in PPR points in four consecutive seasons. Even if Hill plays 16 games and emerges as the No. 1 target, the presence of Patrick Mahomes under center should enable both talents to elite fantasy production. Coach Andy Reid has never shied away from feeding the likes of Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy and Kareem Hunt featured pass-game roles; don’t expect CEH to be any different considering his high-end route-running ability.

Watkins deserves credit for posting 6-62-0, 4-114-0, 2-76-0, 7-114-1 and 5-98-0 receiving lines in five playoff games over the past two seasons, and he worked alongside Hill as the offense’s top-two WRs in the Super Bowl. Expect Hardman to surpass Demarcus Robinson sooner rather than later in three-WR sets, while it’d hardly be surprising if the Chiefs’ absolutely electric second-year WR also unseats Watkins before too long.

Las Vegas Raiders

  1. Darren Waller
  2. Henry Ruggs
  3. Hunter Renfrow
  4. Tyrell Williams
  5. Jalen Richard

Waller should be considered the favorite to again lead the way for the Raiders, although the decision to bring in Jason Witten is objectively bad news for his ceiling and floor alike. There’s also the possibility that coach Jon Gruden gets back to featuring a No. 1 WR after having a TE lead the way in back-to-back seasons. Triple-digit targets were dished out to the likes of Joey Galloway (152, 143), Keyshawn Johnson (142), Keenan McCardell (139, 101), Antonio Bryant (138) and Michael Clayton (122) between 2002-2008, not to mention some of the success Gruden had with Tim Brown and Jerry Rice during his first stint with the Raiders. Ruggs’ natural talent and status as the No. 12 overall pick makes him the lead candidate to rise to the top of Derek Carr’s pecking order.

Whether or not fellow rookie Edwards can crack three-WR sets remains to be seen, although I’ve officially turned the corner on his Year-1  projection after news hit that Tyrell Williams will attempt to play through a torn labrum. Either way, don’t expect this Derek Carr-led offense to enable more than two or three high-end fantasy assets more weeks than not; Edwards fell in the draft in large part due to injury concerns, but a lack of overall target share could limit his ceiling even if health remains a non-issue. Josh Jacobs (27 targets) finished well behind *both* Richard (43) and DeAndre Washington (41) in Derek Carr’s pecking order last season; expect Richard to again lead the way while the likes of Devontae Booker, rookie Lynn Bowden and Theo Riddick also vie for work on pass downs.

Los Angeles Chargers

  1. Keenan Allen
  2. Mike Williams
  3. Hunter Henry
  4. Austin Ekeler
  5. K.J. Hill

Allen has averaged 148 targets over the past three seasons. Ekeler had 108 targets in 2019. Both Williams (90) and Henry (76) each felt extremely underused with their respective target totals. Tyrod Taylor never fed a receiver 100-plus targets in his three years as the Bills' starting QB. Those offenses ranked 31st, 32nd and 31st in pass attempts. Even if Taylor doesn’t wind up starting more than a handful of games, it’s tough to feel too optimistic about rookie Justin Herbert’s chances of enabling multiple fantasy-relevant WRs. Allen is again the favorite to lead the way as one of the league’s premiere route-running technicians, although his stranglehold on the No. 1 pass-game option job is more weak than usual. Williams leads the NFL in yards per reception (17.1) since entering the league in 2017 (min. 100 receptions) and could feasibly lead the way.

Los Angeles Rams

  1. Robert Woods
  2. Cooper Kupp
  3. Tyler Higbee
  4. Gerald Everett
  5. Josh Reynolds

The absence of Brandin Cooks leads me to believe the base Rams offense will consist of the following players:

Kupp oddly played just 28% of the offense's snaps in Week 14 before finishing the season with back-to-back performances with just 61% snap rates; the Rams dropped from first to 12th in three-WR sets pre/post bye. Even if you want to argue Kupp should be projected for slightly more targets than Woods, the latter WR’s quietly robust rushing role (36 carries over the past two seasons) makes him the superior fantasy option.

Higbee posted 7-107-1, 7-116-0, 12-111-0, 9-104-0 and 8-84-1 receiving lines to end the season, averaging a robust 11.2 targets per game along the way. However, Everett was dealing with injuries at the time, and it’s more likely than not we continue to see both TEs involved on a week-to-week basis. Expect Reynolds to operate as a lesser-used version of Cooks on the outside, as second-round WR Van Jefferson projects more similarly to Kupp than a field-stretching talent.

Miami Dolphins

  1. DeVante Parker
  2. Preston Williams
  3. Mike Gesicki
  4. Matt Breida
  5. Jakeem Grant

New OC Chan Gailey is all about enabling a high-end fantasy WR1, as his last six stops with the Chiefs, Bills and Jets have demonstrated over and over again:

Expect Parker to potentially clear his 128 targets from 2019 in style, while a similarly pass-happy offense could also enable the likes of Williams and Gesicki (77% snaps in the slot or out wide) to solid seasons. Disagreements about the top-three options in Miami can be mitigated by the reality that this is a condensed pecking order, and each of Parker, Williams and Gesicki are being priced much closer to their floor than ceiling in fantasy football land. It remains to be seen just how many snaps Breida will steal away from Jordan Howard, although the ex-49ers RB is clearly the superior pass-game option. Grant is the favorite to function as the offense’s No. 3 WR after Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson both opted out, although it’s unwise to expect anything resembling a consistent role for the longtime pint-sized speedster.

Minnesota Vikings

  1. Adam Thielen
  2. Dalvin Cook
  3. Justin Jefferson
  4. Irv Smith
  5. Kyle Rudolph

The Vikings will again be a run-first offense under OC Gary Kubiak, but don’t underestimate the longtime offensive wizard’s ability to enable a legit fantasy WR1. Overall, Kubiak enabled a top-12 PPR WR in 12 of 23 seasons as a head coach or offensive coordinator and a top-24 WR in 19 of 23 seasons (with two of the four exceptions being due to injury). All in all, his No. 1 WR averaged a monstrous 138 targets per season.

The only real sort of competition for Thielen is the team’s rookie first-round pick, Jefferson. The talented contested-catch artist has an underrated chance to lead the Vikings in receiving scores thanks to his big-play ability and potential to dominate from the slot. Still, it’s not a certainty that Jefferson starts the season ahead of the likes of Tajae Sharpe, Bisi Johnson and Chad Beebe. I’m guessing he will, but even then Thielen is locked in as this offense’s undisputed No. 1 pass-game option.

Cook finished second on the team in targets last season and has plenty of room for further growth. Rudolph (39-367-6) was more productive than Smith (36-311-2) last season, but Rudolph (48 targets) was barely more involved on a per-pass basis than Smith (47); it's tough to expect much from either as long as they're splitting snaps and all but certain to work behind Thielen, Jefferson and Cook in this run-first offense (even if Irv deserves more run).

New England Patriots

  1. Julian Edelman
  2. Mohamed Sanu
  3. N’Keal Harry
  4. James White
  5. Devin Asiasi

Only Michael Thomas (185), Julio Jones (157) and Allen Robinson II (154) had more targets than Edelman (153) last season, and the Patriots’ No. 1 WR is also objectively the best talent in this offense’s passing game. Training camp hype and 2019 usage points to Sanu being a better late-round dart throw than Harry. Perhaps Cam Newton feeds White targets in a similar manner to Christian McCaffrey. I don’t buy it, particularly after considering he's averaged 5.4 targets per game with Rex Burkhead compared to 8.6 without since 2017. It’d hardly be surprising if Burkhead or fellow third-round rookie TE Dalton Keene ultimately functions as the offense’s No. 5 pass-game option.

New Orleans Saints

  1. Michael Thomas
  2. Alvin Kamara
  3. Emmanuel Sanders
  4. Jared Cook
  5. Tre’Quan Smith

Obviously, the NFL’s reigning receiving leader will sit atop Drew Brees’ pecking order once again. It’s also almost certain that Kamara will be the No. 2 pass-game option (even if he doesn’t catch exactly 81 passes for the fourth consecutive season). The mystery is Sanders vs. Cook. The 33-year-old TE was dominant during the second half of the season once Drew Brees returned to the lineup, although he ultimately finished with fewer than five targets in eight of 15 games. Sanders appeared as good as ever despite rupturing his Achilles in 2018 and was a better ball away from scoring a late go-ahead TD in the Super Bowl.

Ultimately, neither Sanders nor Cook will likely provide all that consistent of production as the offense’s No. 3 option, although the weekly ceiling for both remains high inside of this high-powered unit. It wouldn’t be all that surprising if Smith loses snaps to All-Pro returner Deonte Harris.

New York Giants

  1. Golden Tate
  2. Sterling Shepard
  3. Evan Engram
  4. Darius Slayton
  5. Saquon Barkley

We didn’t have a single game with Daniel Jones, his top-three WRs, Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley in 2020, but the Giants’ top five pass-game options did post the following per-game target totals with Jones under center:

  • Tate: 8.4 targets per game
  • Shepard: 8.3
  • Engram: 7.7
  • Slayton: 6.1
  • Barkley: 5.7

Jones quietly looked Tate's direction (1.54 deep-ball targets per game) more often than Darius Slayton (1.43) downfield. Additionally, the presence of Tate caused Shepard's once-robust slot rate to dwindle. Shepard was the sixth-most-sensitive WR to non-slot usage when taking the difference in yards per route run from the slot vs. elsewhere. All three Giants WRs are worth pursuing in the WR3-5 range in fantasy, just realize Slayton’s status as the consensus leader is probably unwarranted based on what we saw last season. Expect Engram and Barkley to continue to function as top-five players at their positions whenever healthy enough to suit up. 

New York Jets

  1. Jamison Crowder
  2. Chris Herndon
  3. Breshad Perriman
  4. Le’Veon Bell
  5. Denzel Mims

Gase has struggled to engineer anything resembling high-scoring offenses without Peyton Manning under center. The one positive from a fantasy perspective has been the presence of a high-usage slot WR:

Crowder is the favorite to (again) lead the Jets in all receiving categories. The wild card of the group is Herndon, who has received rave reviews from Gase and beat writers alike throughout training camp. The potential for 1) Perriman to function as a primary field-stretching option, 2) Bell to lose snaps and opportunities to Frank Gore, and 3) Mims to miss time with his current hamstring issue, makes Herndon the favorite to assume No. 2 pass-game duties. He’s been one of “my guys” throughout the entire offseason.

Philadelphia Eagles

  1. Zach Ertz
  2. Jalen Reagor
  3. DeSean Jackson
  4. Miles Sanders
  5. Dallas Goedert

Ertz narrowly out-targeted Goedert 60 to 55 after the Eagles' Week 10 bye. Ertz remains the preferred fantasy option, but the ceiling is lower than past years, particularly after considering the Eagles spent three draft picks to address the WR position. Concerns about Reagor's lack of efficiency in college are outweighed by the reality that TCU QB Max Duggan was one of the most inaccurate passers in all of college football. He’s already being used all over the formation and figures to be a Week 1 starter inside three-WR sets.

Perhaps Alshon Jeffery (foot) recovers in time to start the regular season, although it’d make sense if Carson Wentz prioritizes getting the ball to the likes of D-Jax, Sanders and Goedert. The ceiling might be the roof for Sanders’ receiving ability: Only Alvin Kamara (8.26) has averaged more yards per target than Sanders (8.08) among 32 rookie RBs with at least 50 targets since 2000.

Pittsburgh Steelers

  1. JuJu Smith-Schuster
  2. Diontae Johnson
  3. James Conner
  4. Eric Ebron
  5. James Washington

Ben Roethlisberger fed both A.B. and JuJu over 160 targets in 2018, helping both to fantasy WR1 heights. Expecting this for Johnson and JuJu in 2020 is a bit unrealistic, but it’s the ceiling. There’s even a scenario where Johnson emerges as the passing game’s best WR, as was the case for most of last season.

Washington is the more likely candidate to lose snaps to second-round rookie WR Chase Claypool; expect a committee of sorts at the WR3 spot if Big Ben continues to struggle to get on the same page as the offense’s rising third-year receiver. Conner was on pace for a robust 87.4 targets in 2018 before falling to injury; expect a three-down workhorse role until the wheels fall off the wagon. There’s potential for Ebron to split snaps with Vance McDonald, although a rather voluminous receiving role isn’t out of the question. People forget Ebron scored 14 TDs as recently as 2018.

San Francisco 49ers

  1. George Kittle
  2. Deebo Samuel
  3. Brandon Aiyuk
  4. Kendrick Bourne
  5. Jerick McKinnon

Kittle has led the 49ers in targets in back-to-back seasons. The stud 26-year-old TE is entering the prime of his career and continues to see little competition for targets on the roster — particularly now that he faces significantly less incumbent “foes” with developments from Emmanuel Sanders (signed with the Saints) and Deebo Samuel (foot surgery). Look for Samuel to function as the offense’s No. 1 WR whenever he’s healthy enough to return to action, although first-round WR Aiyuk’s high-end YAC ability should also earn him plenty of designed touches with or without the 49ers’ talented second-year receiver. Bourne figures to again assume a high-snap, low-target role, while McKinnon appears to be locked in as the passing game’s lead RB for however long the ex-Vikings back can stay healthy.

Seattle Seahawks

  1. D.K. Metcalf
  2. Tyler Lockett
  3. Greg Olsen
  4. Will Dissly
  5. Phillip Dorsett

It took Doug Baldwin (four years) and Lockett (five years) quite a while to get triple-digit targets from Wilson in a single season; Metcalf did so as a rookie. Both Metcalf and Lockett are prime fantasy targets at their current respective ADP even if the order is flip flopped considering 1) Russell Wilson feeds both a heavy dose of fantasy-friendly targets, and 2) This is one of the more condensed pass-game pecking orders in the league. The rest of the RB, TE and No. 3 WR projections are a bit murky; don’t expect much consistent target share for whoever emerges as the No. 3-5 targets inside of this run-first offense.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  1. Chris Godwin
  2. Mike Evans
  3. Rob Gronkowski
  4. Scotty Miller
  5. Dare Ogunbowale

Godwin’s case for another excellent season is simple: Brady just fed No. 1 slot wideout Julian Edelman 153 targets, and Godwin is fresh off averaging an absurd 11 yards per target on his way to functioning as the WR2 in PPR points per game. The talented 24-year-old is plenty capable of thriving with Brady under center. However, there’s a bit more competition for slot targets with Gronk in town, and it’s unlikely Brady leads the league in pass attempts like Winston did last season. Both Evans and Godwin are exceptional, but the Brady hype has caused each to be valued near his ceiling. Don’t expect a fourth fantasy-viable option to emerge regardless of whether or not the Buccaneers’ trio of talented receivers somehow manage to meet their respective robust ADPs.

Tennessee Titans

  1. A.J. Brown
  2. Corey Davis
  3. Adam Humphries
  4. Jonnu Smith
  5. Derrick Henry

AJB deserves all the targets he can handle fresh off breaking the NFL rookie record with 12.5 yards per target among 168 first-year WRs to have more than 50 targets in the Randy Moss era (1998-2019).

Both Adam Humphries and Corey Davis are back to join Brown inside of three-receiver sets. Both complementary receivers were hampered by injuries last season. I'm out on Humphries functioning as a consistent fantasy option in this offense, but perhaps Davis could be looking at a late-career, DeVante Parker-esque breakout. The offense would probably be better off finding more ways to get their YAC-monster TE the ball, but Smith at least has the sort of high-end efficiency to make the most out of a small workload.

Henry won't be confused with Christian McCaffrey or Alvin Kamara as a receiver anytime soon, although the only RBs to average more than Henry's 7.5 yards per target among 69 RBs with at least 50 targets since 2017 are Austin Ekeler (8.6), Kyle Juszczyk (8.2), Miles Sanders (8.1) and Kareem Hunt (7.9). Rookie Darrynton Evans will probably assume Dion Lewis’ scat-back role, but it’d be reasonable for Henry to at least reach 30 targets in a season for the first time in his career.

Washington Football Team

  1. Terry McLaurin
  2. Steven Sims
  3. Antonio Gibson
  4. Trey Quinn
  5. Antonio Gandy-Golden

McLaurin caught 58 of 93 targets for 919 yards and seven receiving scores in 14 games during his debut campaign. His 22% target share was tied for 20th among all WRs, while he joined Courtland Sutton, Stefon Diggs and Michael Thomas as the only receivers with a 40%-plus market share of their team’s air yards. One-hundred-fifty targets isn’t out of the question for 2020 after Washington curiously declined to add any sort of real competition for No. 1 pass-game duties. The absence of Kelvin Harmon (torn ACL) means sneaky-explosive slot WR Sims could function as the pass offense’s No. 2 option, although second-round rookie Gibson and the team’s incumbent backup could feasibly shake things up under a new-look coaching staff.

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