Zach Ertz leads all tight ends with a 31 percent target share.
Ertz also ranks second in targets per route run (.33) and air yards share (28 percent). Despite having no touchdowns on his ledger, Ertz is currently the TE7 in PPR scoring. The PPR scam is in full effect and it’s not slowing anytime soon.
Bijan Robinson is on pace for 247 carries at 6.2 yards per carry.
For reference, there have been seven running backs in NFL history to average more than six yards per carry on at least 200 attempts. Robinson is also crushing it as a pass-catcher. He has caught all but one of his 11 targets for 75 yards and a touchdown. The record for yards from scrimmage for a rookie is 2,212 set by Eric Dickerson. Robinson is on pace for 2,168 yards from scrimmage.
The Ravens ranked third in EPA per play in Week 2.
Entering the season, Lamar Jackson had failed to live up to the hype his 2019 MVP generated in three straight years. Then the offense looked sluggish in a Week 1 win over the lowly Texans, causing even more concern. The ship was righted in Week 2 with the Ravens dropping 27 points at .225 EPA per play on a better Cincinnati defense. Jackson’s 112.8 Quarterback Rating was his highest mark since Week 2 of the 2022 season.
Damien Harris, Latavius Murray, and Josh Allen all have more red zone carries than James Cook.
Harris and Murray each have four red zone carries plus two attempts inside the five-yard line. Cook has two red zone carries and no looks inside the five despite looking like the most explosive back on the roster. He ranks seventh in missed tackles forced and yards after contact per carry according to PFF. However, his big gains aren’t enough to offset his lack of usage where it counts most. The missing goal line touches will keep him out of my top-20 RB rankings heading into Week 3.
Adam Thielen earned a 30 percent target share.
It took two weeks in Carolina for Thielen to reach this mark. He hit a 30 percent target share once in the 2022 and 2021 seasons combined. Jonathan Mingo has had no issues earning targets, but he simply can’t come down with any of them. He has a 39 percent catch rate on 13 looks. DJ Chark, on the other hand, couldn’t get open in his Week 2 debut. That left Thielen with sole ownership of the WR1 role for the Panthers. It’s possible he will hold onto the role for the foreseeable future.
Justin Fields has two designed runs on the season.
Fields averaged 5.5 designed runs per game from Week 7 through the end of the season last year. The focus on his best asset, his legs, made him an elite fantasy option and got more points on the board for the Chicago offense.
Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy has no interest in unleashing the best rushing quarterback on the league this time around and Fields is not able to handle to duties of a traditional pocket passer. The Chicago offense is a disaster on all fronts.
Ja’Marr Chase was held under 10 PPR points in back-to-back games for the first time in his career.
Chase ranks 43rd in total air yards among receivers and his aDOT of 7.5 yards is the same as Deebo Samuel and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine. Chase was used as a downfield option as a rookie and exploded from the jump. His efficiency numbers all took big hits in his second season when the Bengals brought his targets significantly closer to the line of scrimmage. It looks like we are in for more of the uninspiring usage for Chase this season.
Deshaun Watson’s sack rate of 10.8 percent while in Cleveland would be the second-highest all-time rate for a player’s career.
Watson had a shockingly high sack rate in Houston and things have only gotten worse with the Browns. His interception rate is 2.9 percent since joining the Browns while his yards per attempt is down to 6.2. Watson ranks last in the NFL in EPA per play this year.
Tony Pollard leads the NFL with 16 red zone carries.
Pollard also leads the NFL in carries inside the five. He is tied for fourth among all players in red zone receptions. If he were to average eight red zone carries per game, he would have roughly 50 more red zone rushes in a single season than any other player in the last 23 years. I don’t expect this hilarious pace to hold, but it does make Dallas’s intentions for Pollard’s usage stunningly clear. Pollard is my rest of season RB2 and he is closer to Christian McCaffrey than he is to the RB3.
Marvin Mims leads the NFL with 7.6 yards per route run.
You have to lower the minimum routes requirement to 15 to sneak Mims onto the list, but it’s hard to argue that he hasn’t been one of the most exciting receivers on a per-route and per-touch basis through two weeks. He has caught all four of his targets for 122 yards, a touchdown, and three first downs. Mims has also flashed his big-play speed as a returner. Here’s to hoping he runs more than six routes in Week 3.
Jahmyr Gibbs out-touched Craig Reynolds 7-4 after David Montgomery left Week 2 with a thigh bruise.
It wasn’t exactly a great split of the touches for the No. 12 overall pick. Gibbs didn’t put a notable gap between himself and Reynolds in terms of snap counts either.
Lions snaps after David Montgomery’s injury:
Jahmyr Gibbs: 17
Craig Reynolds: 10
Gibbs also led team with 9 targets for the day.
Plenty of negatives in his usage, but there were some positives, as well.
— Jim Sannes (@JimSannes) September 17, 2023
The good news is that four of his touches were targets. Gibbs is tied with few other backs for first in the NFL in total targets at 11. He is third in targets per route run.
Green Bay Packers
Jordan Love leads all quarterbacks in EPA per play (.478).
Love is nearly .1 EPA per play ahead of the No. 2 quarterback in the league, Dak Prescott. Love also leads the NFL in touchdown rate (11.5 percent), adjusted yards per attempt (9.8), and Quarterback Rating (118.7). Yards after the catch have been a big part of Love’s game and he hasn’t had the hardest schedule yet, but neither excuse can be used to take too much away from his incredible start. Quarterbacks play a role in creating YAC via their ball placement and good passers shred bad defenses. Love’s first real test will come in Week 3 against the Saints.
Nico Collins ranks third in air yards share (47 percent) among wide receivers.
Collins was told to watch Julio Jones film by Bobby Slowik this offseason, but he should have been checking out Calvin Ridley’s tape. In 2020, Ridley led the league in air yards by bagging 9.5 targets per game at a 14.1 aDOT. Collins is averaging 10 targets per game at a 14.3 aDOT.
Gardner Minshew targeted Michael Pittman on 36 percent of his pass attempts.
Minshew took over for Anthony Richardson after the rookie went down with a concussion early in the second quarter. The veteran passer found his top receiver and dialed in on him for the remaining three frames of action. He primarily looked for Pittman on short and intermediate throws, but it’s good to know that Indy’s top receiver will still get fed if Richardson can’t suit up for Week 3.
Christian Kirk had set a career-high in targets (14) and receptions (11).
Zay Jones left the game with an injury and was listed as questionable, though he eventually returned. Calvin Ridley collided with the field goal base and was shaken up before another hit later in the game left him wobbly. Playing alongside two injured receivers went a long way in Kirk racking up receiving volume, so I wouldn’t run to the podium to declare him a target dominator.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs did not have a receiver with a target share over 15 percent in Week 2.
This shouldn’t come as a shock, but none of the Kansas City wide receivers are playable right now. Skyy Moore broke a long catch and scored in Week 2, but his target share remained in the basement. It’s Travis Kelce or bust in the Chiefs’ pecking order.
Las Vegas Raiders
Josh Jacobs ranks 14th in running back touches and is the RB28 in PPR points.
Not only is Jacobs doing well for himself in total touches. He is also dominating the Raiders’ backfield. Jacobs has seen 85 percent of the Raiders’ running back carries with a 19 percent target share through two games. The Las Vegas offense is the only thing holding him back. The Raiders rank last in the NFL in points scored and plays per game.
Los Angeles Chargers
Keenan Allen is on pace for 1,590 receiving yards.
Outside of winning football games, the Chargers offense is all systems go. They rank top-10 in plays and yards per game. The combo of efficiency and volume has them at fourth in yards per game. Allen’s 28 percent target share has him putting up absurd numbers.
Los Angeles Rams
Puka Nacua is the only receiver in NFL history with 20 receptions in his first two games.
The thing is, Nacua doesn’t have just 20 receptions. His 25 catches are six more than any receiver in NFL history.
Plenty of people telling you today that no one had as many receptions as Nacua through two games. Neat, that’s swell.
What they’re not telling you is only fourteen players even have *half* as many receptions as Nacua through two career games. pic.twitter.com/is2OTp07eV
— Adam Harstad (@AdamHarstad) September 19, 2023
Nacua is first in the NFL in receptions and targets. He ranks second in the league in yards.
Raheem Mostert is one of just eight running backs with at least a 70 percent snap share in both weeks.
Mostert has been thriving as the Dolphins’ primary back. He is the only running back with a carry inside the five for Miami and has run a route on 65 percent of Tua Tagovailoa’s dropbacks. Mostert ranks as the PPR RB6 after a pair of contests.
The Vikings have a pass rate over expected of +8.4 percent.
Minnesota ranks second in the league in PROE and seventh in situation-neutral pace. It shouldn’t be a surprise to see Kirk Cousins leading the NFL in passing touchdowns while sitting second in passing yards when he is getting a considerable boost from his team’s tendencies on offense.
New England Patriots
Kendrick Bourne ranks second in the NFL in air yards (314).
Mac Jones leads the NFL in pass attempts, Bourne has a 22 percent target share, and his average target depth has been roughly 16 yards downfield. All of the math adds up yet it remains hard to believe. Unfortunately, DeVante Parker’s return to the lineup bumped Bourne’s share of the routes from 93 percent in Week 1 to 55 percent in Week 2.
New Orleans Saints
Taysom Hill led the Saints in rushing yards (75) in Week 2.
Hill ranks 11th in yards after contact per carry and saw a pair of red zone totes last week. He wasn’t particularly involved in the Saints’ game plan in his 2023 debut, but the mid-game loss of Jamaal Williams spurred Pete Carmichael to scheme up some looks for his positionless player in Week 2. If Kendre Miller and Williams can’t play in Week 3, expect to see more touches for Hill.
New York Giants
Daniel Jones leads all quarterbacks in rush attempts (22) and yards (102).
Jones is one of just two quarterbacks with more than 20 attempts to his name and is the only passer to top 100 yards. Because the Giants’ opponents have amassed 68 points already, Jones has dropped back 86 times, sixth-most in the NFL. Given how often he scrambles when pressured, we should expect Jones to be one of the league’s top runners at the quarterback position this year.
New York Jets
Zach Wilson ranks last among starting quarterbacks in career yards per attempt (6.4) and touchdown rate (2.5 percent).
That is among all starters with at least 500 attempts. The only active (but non-starting) quarterbacks who look anything like Wilson statistically are Josh Rosen and Blaine Gabbert. Wilson also has the second-highest interception rate and sack rate among the league’s 32 starters. Expect the Jets’ nightmare on offense to continue until they find a new option under center.
D’Andre Swift’s 175 rushing yards were a career-high and his 28 carries were the second-most for him in a single game.
Swift has only seen more carries in a single game once, dating all the way back to his time in high school. He rewarded Nick Sirianni’s faith in him with 6.3 yards per carry and a rushing touchdown. Swift played on 75 percent of the Eagles’ offensive snaps.
Kenneth Gainwell was sidelined with a rib issue after dominating Philly’s backfield touches in Week 1. I expect Swift’s Week 2 blowup to earn him more carries going forward, even once Gainwell is back in the lineup.
Kenny Pickett ranks 32nd in the NFL in EPA per play.
Pickett also ranks 32nd in Pro Football Focus passing grade. He doesn’t fair much better in most traditional stats including completion rate and yards per attempt. Pickett ranks 27th and 26th in the two stats respectively. George Pickens should see the ball enough to sustain WR2/3 numbers as long as Diontae Johnson is sidelined, but Pat Freiermuth and the secondary Pittsburgh receivers are all easy fades unless Pickett starts to show some signs of life.
San Francisco 49ers
Deebo Samuel saw 38 percent of the 49ers’ targets in Week 1.
Brandon Aiyuk got all of the buzz in San Francisco after a two-score game to open the year, but Deebo reminded fantasy managers of his greatness last week with 101 yards from scrimmage and a rushing score. As we expected in the offseason, the 49ers have too many mouths to feed for any of the pass-catchers to be consistent contributors, but the ceilings of everyone involved are sky-high.
Kenneth Walker has seen 74 percent of the Seahawks’ rush attempts.
Walker also has a route rate of 44 percent. He isn’t playing a three-down role for Seattle, but a two-and-half-down role would be a fair characterization of his job. Per usual, Walker is seeing all of the team’s short-yardage work. He has been on the field for all nine of the Seahawks’ plays with less than three yards to the sticks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Evans is pacing the Bucs in target share (28 percent) and air yards share (38 percent).
Evans is leading Tampa Bay in most receiving categories. He is averaging more targets and yards per route run than any of the team’s other wideouts or tight ends. Evans has also become Baker Mayfield’s favorite option in scoring situations. His 38 percent share of the Bucs’ end zone targets is tied for a team-high.
Derick Henry is averaging a career-low, .09 rush yards over expected per carry.
This is according to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats. Henry has been on a slow decline toward league-average in this metric. He isn’t far from his previous low and is still gaining slightly more yards than expected. However, the draw with Henry has always been his outlandish rushing efficiency. With Tyjae Spears taking routes off his plate and Henry’s efficiency not at the top of the league, it’s becoming easy to see him as a silent killer of fantasy teams in 2023.
The Commanders do not have a player with a target share north of 20 percent.
They do, however, have three players over 15 percent. Logan Thomas suffered a concussion in Week 2, causing him to miss the bulk of Washington’s game against the Broncos. He was heavily involved in the passing attack in Week 1 and his absence likely freed up some looks for Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson. By both targets and air yards, not much is separating the two receivers at the moment.