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Fantasy Football: Who are 2021's projected alpha target hogs?

Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews (89) makes a third quarter touchdown catch defended by Tennessee Titans defensive back Amani Hooker (37) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

We’re in the thick of the NFL offseason and it’s officially time to start fantasy football prep. I’ll be answering the biggest questions heading into the 2021 season. Click here to read the series of questions answered so far.

Every NFL passing game is different. Some have an alpha target hog who seemingly gobbles up all the production, while others use a committee of sorts and rely on teamwork to make the dream work.

Editor's Note: PFF's 2021 Fantasy Football Draft Guide and 2021 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheets are LIVE!

There isn’t a right or wrong method. While the idea that passing attacks are only as strong as their weakest link makes sense, it’s tough to blame the Green Bay Packers for feeding Davante Adams all the targets he can handle when nobody else on the roster is deserving of the same sort of opportunity.

Ultimately, whatever method gets the job done in real life football is fine; today’s question will be from a fantasy point of view and centers around which offenses might boast these sort of target-hog alphas. It’s not smart to blindly chase volume in fantasy football land, but it does tend to lead us down the right path more often than attempting to determine whether or not a specific player is talented enough to win their matchup.

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At wide receiver, the magic number has been 150. Overall, 65 WRs have had at least 150 targets in a season since 2010 — their average finish has been as the PPR WR6. Fifty-nine of the 65 WRs (91%) finished as a top-12 PPR receiver. Only 2012 Larry Fitzgerald and 2016 DeAndre Hopkins and Allen Robinson failed to post top-24 production thanks to the likes of John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley, Brian Hoyer, Brock Osweiler, Tom Savage and Blake Bortles. One-hundred-fifty is certainly an arbitrary number to some extent; just realize it’s tough for these sort of high-volume receivers to bust in fantasy land.

What follows is a breakdown on which players have the highest potential 2021 target shares based on PFF’s 2021 fantasy projections as well as which teams boast the largest difference from their No. 1 to No. 2 pass-game option. The only players presently projected to clear even 140 targets are Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins and Calvin Ridley — unsurprisingly, three of PFF’s top five receivers in our consensus wide receiver ranks. Getting a better understanding of the teams that feature a similar alpha with top-end target potential *without* a real partner in crime could help pinpoint some value.

The following players 1.) have a team-high projected target share, and 2.) are ahead of their team’s No. 2 pass-game option by at least 5%. They’re listed in order of the greatest difference in target share between the No. 1 and No. 2 target-getter:

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