The Duel

Keenan Allen, DeAndre Hopkins and Marquise Brown Fantasy Values Backed Up by Huge Target Shares

Jason Schandl
Houston Texans v New Orleans Saints
Houston Texans v New Orleans Saints / Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Yardage and touchdowns are obviously the big staples of fantasy production at the wide receiver position. But if a player is racking up big totals in those categories without seeing much volume, chasing that level success often proves to be a fool's errand. Volume — specifically targets — is how you identify who can keep producing at a high rate in fantasy football.

Looking at the players accounting for the highest percentage of their team's targets so far in 2019, some interesting names jump out.

It's no surprise at all to see DeAndre Hopkins at the top of the group. Hopkins led the NFL in target share in both 2017 (35 percent) and 2018 (32 percent), and he's looks as good a bet as anyone to do it again in 2019. Hopkins was going off the board as the top wide receiver in fantasy football drafts this summer, and he's already showing us why.

Sitting tied with Hopkins, Keenan Allen is someone to take note of as well. With no player topping a 35 percent share in any of the last two seasons, Allen's early-season volume can't be ignored. He's notched double-digit targets in both games so far, and he's second in the NFL with 25. He has a long track record of big volume, having averaged 9.2 targets per game over the last two years.

The other names above 30 percent carry some question marks. Michael Thomas won't have Drew Brees throwing him the ball for the next couple months, Jamison Crowder is dealing with one of the league's most disastrous QB situations, and Sammy Watkins' role can be expected to shrink when Tyreek Hill returns.

Then we get to the Baltimore Ravens, who are off to a strong start and have been leaning almost exclusively on two breakout players in rookie WR Marquise Brown and TE Mark Andrews.

Brown's breakout came in Week 1, when he erupted for 147 yards and two touchdowns, but his volume didn't pick up until Week 2. He went from five targets in that debut to 13 in his second game as he got fully integrated in the offense. This expanded workload has caused his fantasy football value to skyrocket.

All three of Allen, Hopkins and Brown rank among the top-15 WRs in PPR fantasy scoring to open the year, and for Allen and Hopkins in particular, this volume is a great indication that they're safe bets to stay in that range. The Ravens haven't thrown a ton, so Brown's numbers are still over a small sample size, but if he continues to soak up a high portion of Lamar Jackson's attempts then he'll also have a good shot of finishing the year among the fantasy elite.

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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.