Targets. They make the world go round in fantasy football when it comes wide receivers and pass-catching running backs or tight ends. Targets are also incredibly influential on our fantasy football rankings and draft strategies. It's not just for the early picks, but you can use targets data when identifying fantasy football sleepers as well. In the early rounds of fantasy football drafts, we want guys that are LOCKED into a high target share. These are high-value draft picks, so we want certainty. With the later rounds, however, we start looking at NFL offenses where the target pecking order isn’t settled yet. We want that volatility. Uncertainty becomes our friend as we take advantage of players further down fantasy football ADP. That’s exactly what we attempt to do with the Target Totem Pole as you prepare for the 2022 fantasy football season and look at NFL pre-season projections.



The idea is simple. We take the top targets from each NFL team and then rank them in the order we think they will finish – from most targets to least. But that isn’t enough, because a lot of these situations are uncertain. So we also color-code the receivers and pass-catchers based on certainty – ranging from guys we think are a guarantee to get 100+ targets to guys where we think it’s simply not possible. Here is how that color coding scale works:

 Lock for 100+ targets
 Likely 100+
 Possible 100+
 Unlikely 100+
 Lock for under 100+

Why do we care about 100+ targets? Well, for starters, every WR1 over the last decade has gotten more than 100 targets and the vast majority of WR2s do as well. Getting 90 targets or more is also a huge barrier to entry for a top-five tight end in fantasy, so 100+ is a great place to shoot for. Most fantasy-relevant pass-catchers in general are getting around that so you want it within the range of outcomes. 

If you are interested in hearing the thought process behind this grid, Jon Impemba and I recorded a full podcast discussing how we came to these conclusions. So feel free to check that out as well. But, without further ado, here is the grid.



NFL Targets Totem Pole

 One Two Three Four Five 
Arizona CardinalsMarquise BrownFLZach ErtzTEDeAndre HopkinsSEAJ GreenSERondale MooreSL
Atlanta FalconsKyle PittsTEDrake LondonSECordarelle PattersonRBBryan EdwardsFLOlamide ZaccheausSL
Baltimore RavensMark AndrewsTERashod BatemanSEJK DobbinsRBDevin DuvernayFLNick BoyleTE
Buffalo BillsStefon DiggsSEGabriel DavisFLIsaiah McKenzieSLDawson KnoxTEJames CookRB
Carolina PanthersDJ MooreSEChristian McCaffreyRBRobbie AndersonFLTerrace MarshallSLIan ThomasTE
Chicago BearsDarnell MooneyFLCole KmetTEDavid MontgomeryRBByron PringleSEVelus JonesSE
Cincinnati BengalsJa'Marr ChaseFLTee HigginsSETyler BoydSLHayden HurstTEJoe MixonRB
Cleveland BrownsAmari CooperSEDavid NjokuTEDonovan Peoples-JonesFLDavid BellSLKareem HuntRB
Dallas CowboysCeeDee LambSL/FLDalton SchultzTEMichael GallupSEJalen TolbertSLEzekiel ElliottRB
Denver BroncosJerry JeudySL/FLCourtland SuttonSEAlbert OkwuegbunamTEKJ HamlerSLJavonte WilliamsRB
Detroit LionsTJ HockensonTEAmon-Ra St. BrownSLDJ CharkSED'Andre SwiftRBJameson WilliamsFL
Green Bay PackersAllen LazardSL/SEAaron JonesRBChristian WatsonSERomeo DoubsFLRandall CobbSL
Houston TexansBrandin CooksFLNico CollinsSEBrevin JordanTERex BurkheadRBChris ConleySL
Indianapolis ColtsMichael PittmanSEAlec PierceFLParris CampbellSLKylen GransonTENyheim HinesRB
Jacksonville JaguarsChristian KirkSL/FLMarvin JonesSEEvan EngramTETravis EtienneRBZay JonesFL
Kansas City ChiefsTravis KelceTEJuJu Smith-SchusterSL/FLSkyy MooreSLMarquez Valdes-ScantlingSEMecole HardmanFL
Los Angeles ChargersKeenan AllenSL/FLMike WilliamsSEAustin EkelerRBGerald EverettTEJosh PalmerFL
Los Angeles RamsCooper KuppSL/FLAllen RobinsonSEVan JeffersonFLTyler HigbeeTECam AkersRB
Miami DolphinsTyreek HillSEJaylen WaddleSL/FLMike GesickiTEChase EdmondsRBCedrik WilsonSL
Minnesota VikingsJustin JeffersonFLAdam ThielenSEKJ OsbornSLIrv SmithTEDalvin CookRB
New England PatriotsDeVante ParkerSEJakobi MeyersSLHunter HenryTEKendrick BourneFLPierre StrongRB
New Orleans SaintsMichael ThomasFL/SEJarvis LandrySLChris OlaveFLAlvin KamaraRBAdam TrautmanFL
New York GiantsKenny GolladaySEKadarius ToneyFLSaquon BarkleyRBWan'Dale RobinsonSLDaniel BellingerTE
New York JetsElijah MooreSL/FLGarrett WilsonFLCorey DavisSECJ UzomahTEBreece HallRB
Las Vegas RaidersDavante AdamsSEDarren WallerTEHunter RenfrowSL/FLKenyan DrakeRBKeelan ColeFL
Philadelphia EaglesAJ BrownSEDeVonta SmithFLDallas GoedertTEKenneth GainwellRBQuez WatkinsSL
Pittsburgh SteelersDiontae JohnsonSL/FLChase ClaypoolSENajee HarrisRBGeorge PickensFLPat FreiermuthTE
San Francisco 49ersDeebo SamuelFLGeorge KittleTEBrandon AyuikSEJauan JenningsFLRay-Ray McCloudSL
Seattle SeahawksTyler LockettFLDK MetcalfSENoah FantTEDee EskridgeFLDeeJay DallasRB
Tampa Bay BuccaneersChris GodwinSL/FLMike EvansSEJulio JonesFLRussell GageSLLeonard FournetteRB
Tennessee TitansRobert WoodsSL/FLTreylon BurksSEAustin HooperTENick Westbrook-IkhineFLKyle PhillipsSL
Washington FootballTerry McLaurinFLJahan DotsonSECurtis SamuelSLJD McKissicRBLogan ThomasTE

Positional Key:

  • SE = Split-end wide receiver
  • FL = Flanker wide receiver
  • SL = Slot wide receiver
  • FS = Field-stretching wide receiver
  • TE = Tight end
  • RB = Running back

Totem Pole Notes:

  • Uncertainty as to who could lead some NFL teams in targets creates the potential for upside for some pass-catchers at their current ADP. Those teams are:
    • Detroit Lions
    • Green Bay Packers
    • New England Patriots
    • New York Giants
    • New York Jets
    • Jacksonville Jaguars
  • A number of teams have a high upside-opening for second in targets as well:
    • Washington Commanders
    • Houston Texans
    • Indianapolis Colts
    • Buffalo Bills.
  • We already wrote about why the set up for the Baltimore Ravens offense creates highly-consolidated targets among the top two pass catchers.
  • Certain teams are highly predictable and therefore have “safe” receiving targets:
    • Cincinnati Bengals
    • Los Angeles Chargers
    • Denver Broncos
    • Minnesota Vikings
  • The more yellow players a team has, the more likely they are to produce a sleeper or upside play from the later rounds.
  • There are few tight ends that even have a chance to lead their team in targets or at least be second. Make sure you walk away with at least one in drafts.


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