There’s an old saying that goes: “Once is a fluke, twice is a coincidence, three is a trend”. As we get further and further into the 2018 season, the data that we have is more reliable and trustworthy to build out trends and forecasts. After week 2, we were able to get a baseline analysis of Target Score.
Having three weeks of data to develop Target Score, the conclusions we draw are more founded and actionable. To quickly review what we’re looking at in the chart below, higher Target Score players get a higher percentage of their team’s targets the most consistently. So without delay, let’s look at the top Target Score players thus far this season!
Target Score Report: Week 3
One small amendment to Target Score I made was simply to multiply the statistic by 100. Target Score inherently centers around 0, and as we get more data, more and more players near that central mark. Last week, there were many players between 0.1 and -0.1, as to be expected. Multiplying by 100 simply allows us to get a better understanding of the rankings you see above.
Each week, I’ll discuss some notable players from the prior week both from a positive and negative lens. Early in the season, it’s crucial to see how players’ opportunities are shaping out and how consistently they’ll be used in their respective offenses. After week three, here are my players to watch for based on Target Score.
Devin Funchess (Week 3 Target Share: 29%):
About this time last year, Funchess was also a player I was targeting in seasonal leagues. In 2017, Funchess saw 8%, 18%, and 30% target share in weeks one, two, and three, respectively. This is a prime example of that old saying, “three’s a trend”. Funchess would go on to be a very consistent weekly asset for your fantasy teams, finishing as the PPR WR21 on the season.
Funchess has had a very similar start to his season this year, registering 19%, 20%, and 29% market share in his first three games. Another clear similarity is the absence of Greg Olsen as a weapon in this passing game. While Cam Newton has historically not been a volume passer, the number one option on his team has finished as a WR2 or better in four of the past seven seasons. With the Panthers on a bye, this week now may be a good time to go trade for Funchess.
Taylor Gabriel (Week 3 Target Share: 29%):
Another player who has seen his target share rise each week, Gabriel has been the clear number two option in the Bears’ passing attack thus far. Registering 14%, 22%, and 29% of Chicago’s targets in weeks one, two, and three, respectively, Gabriel has a positive Target Score on the season. With Anthony Miller possibly sidelined – or at least hampered on the field – from a shoulder injury, Gabriel has the possibility to gain even more target share.
I think an apt comparison for Gabriel is Mohamed Sanu from last season. While nothing flashy, Sanu hovered around baseline Target Score for the season as a whole. Finishing as the PPR WR29 on the season, Sanu was a valuable contributor to fantasy teams. Gabriel has a similar opportunity this season to provide fantasy owners with excellent value. Likely on your waiver wire, Gabriel is a target of mine if I need WR depth.
Christian Kirk (Week 3 Target Share: 31%):
Keeping in the theme of this week’s article, Kirk is yet another player who has improved his target share each and every week this season. With this addition, you could even say that this article has a trend to it. Kirk hasn’t had a “blow-up” game yet, but he’s on a trajectory to be a major contributor in the Cardinals’ offense the rest of the year. Kirk’s target shares come in at 6%, 19%, and 31% this season, a very steady increase.
It remains to be seen if Josh Rosen can take this team back out of the basement of offensive incompetence. Personally, I think Rosen will perform well if given the opportunity. The Cardinals have attempted the third fewest pass attempts in the league thus far and have the lowest total team passing yards. Expectations should be tempered for a rookie quarterback, but it’s fair to expect an improvement upon these numbers. I’d be picking up Kirk everywhere in seasonal leagues.
Mike Williams (Week 3 Target Share: 23%):
A former first-round pick, Williams may seem to finally be catching his stride in the NFL. After a solid week three performance, Williams is a popular waiver wire add this week in seasonal leagues, and for good reason. He’s a high upside player in an explosive offense.
Mike Williams’ Target Score thus far suggests that he will not be a reliable fantasy contributor to your team. With weekly target shares of 11%, 7%, and 23%, Williams ranks 58th in seasonal Target Score at -3.68. This score ranks him behind other upside plays like Geronimo Allison, Antonio Callaway, and John Brown. This isn’t to say that Williams can’t turn into a consistent producer for your fantasy team, but in order to do so, he’ll need to improve his weekly target share numbers.
With week three in the books, we can already see that our analysis is less “what-if” than week two was. As we progress through these next few weeks, Target Scores will begin to stabilize. As mentioned in my introductory article, Target Score after week 5 last season has a 0.89 correlation to end of season target score. We’re getting closer and closer to that time! Make sure to check back each week as we go through notable players based on Target Scores and weekly market share data.
Thoughts? Questions? Check me out on twitter @FFzinger or comment below!