Targets RB – 2019 Regular Season

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Targets and TD's

I continue to look back at the 2019 Regular Season and those statistics that I utilize most. Those being the same as the site name, my Targets and TD’s pages for 2019. Last week I reviewed the TD’s (Touchdowns) II – 2019 Regular Season (players 51-100, rushing and receiving touchdowns) and this week I want to go back to Targets. In particular, Targets for running backs.

Earlier in the NFL off-season I spoke about the top 100 targeted players in the NFL with the Targets – 2019 Regular Season. Of those 100 players only 15 were running backs. I enjoy finding opportunity and ways to get production out of my fantasy football players. At the end of the day do I care if my running backs are accumulating more rushing yards than yours? Maybe not, because I may be offsetting the rushing yards with catches and receiving yards. Targets are the opportunities a player sees that usually lead to more catches and receiving yards. I believe Targets are also more consistent than their counterpart Touchdowns. If you find a trend or opportunity for those players getting the targets you will have the edge! This week let’s look at top 15 running backs in Targets in 2019!

Top 10 RB in Targets

Below you will see the top 10 running backs for targets in 2019. I went ahead and calculated their total yards on the far right of the chart. This will be used for comparisons later. It may be wise to keep these names at the ready come the 2020 Fantasy Football season if they find themselves with similar opportunities.

NameTargetsReceptionsReceiving YardsRushing YardsTotal Yards
Christian McCaffrey1421161,0051,3872,392
Austin Ekeler108929935571,550
Tarik Cohen10479456213669
Leonard Fournette100765221,1521,674
Alvin Kamara97815337971,330
James White9572645263908
Le’Veon Bell78664617891,250
Saquon Barkley73524381,0031,441
Ezekiel Elliot71544201,3571,777
Devonta Freeman70594106561,066

The top 3 running backs in total yards from above: Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliot and Leonard Fournette. I think McCaffrey was the no-brainer that anyone could pick out, but not so sure about selecting the other two. I’m interested to see how many targets Elliot sees in 2020 as the other 2 backs already eclipsed 100+ targets but Elliot just had 71 in 2019. Austin Ekeler is next in total yards and is the first running back with more receiving yards than rushing yards. Saquon Barkley similar to Elliot would have some opportunity with only 73 targets in 2019 where I think his capability can be at the 100+ target mark. Alvin Kamara from New Orleans is next and he splits pretty evenly in receiving and rushing yards. Kamara was only a handful of targets away from 100 in 2019. I think it’s fair to say that for his targets of 104, Tarik Cohen was not nearly as productive as an owner would hope.

Top 10 RB in Rushing

Below I decided to take the top 10 running backs in regards to rushing yards and calculate their total yards to compare with above. As a lot of comparisons for running backs default to just showing rush yards (don’t be deceived by those!).

NameTargetsReceptionsRushing YardsReceiving YardsTotal Yards
Derrick Henry24181,5402061,746
Nick Chubb49361,4942781,772
Christian McCaffrey1421161,3871,0052,392
Ezekiel Elliott71541,3574201,777
Chris Carson47371,2302661,496
Leonard Fournette100761,1525221,674
Josh Jacobs27201,1501661,316
Joe Mixon45351,1372871,424
Dalvin Cook63531,1355191,654
Marlon Mack17141,091821,173

Interestingly enough, the top 3 guys (Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliot and Leonard Fournette) in total yards from the first chart are in the top 5 here for total yards. I would note that even though the following backs did not rank top 10 in rushing yards, they were more productive in total yards than those on this list: Austin Ekeler had more total yards than Chris Carson (#5 on the top rushing list). Saquon Barkley paced ahead of Joe Mixon in total yards (#8 on the top rushing list). Alvin Kamara is ahead of Josh Jacobs in total yards (#7 on the top rushing list). Even Le’Veon Bell had more total yards than Marlon Mack (#10 on the top rushing list).

Unique Takeaways

  • Leonard Fournette was only 11 receiving yards behind Alvin Kamara. I feel like most give Kamara too much receiving credit and Fournette not enough.
  • 100+ Target pace a year and you are more than likely looking at a very productive running back.
  • The majority of yards for running backs will still be the rushing yards but if you can supplement 500+ receiving yards with that rushing production you will be happy with your running back in 2020.
  • It also looks like 70 or so targets will get you in that above 50 receptions mark.

Remaining 5 RB’s in Top 100 of Targets in 2019

NameTargetsReceptionsReceiving YardsRushing YardsTotal Yards
Kenyan Drake68503458171,162
Aaron Jones68494741,0841,558
Dalvin Cook63535191,1351,654
Miles Sanders63505098181,327
Duke Johnson6244410410820

In the above list we are enjoying some running backs that were more efficient than some of the top 10 with target opportunities. Dalvin Cook had 158 more total yards than Chris Carson (#5 on the top rushing list). Aaron Jones had more total yards than Chris Carson (#5 on the top rushing list) too. Miles Sanders had more total yards than Josh Jacobs (#7 on the top rushing list). Those three in particular look very capable of hitting that 500+ receiving yards in 2020 as well in their current situations. I will also note that Kenyan Drake was just 11 total yards shy of matching Marlon Mack’s (#10 on the top rushing list) total yards.

Targets – RB Final Thoughts

So as you are reviewing the running back position for 2020, keep in mind if your lists are just showing rushing yards or are incorporating total yards. I think more and more total yards should be used to compare the players. I am not even mentioning the half point and full point per game production/benefit from those running backs that get more targets and most likely receptions than your NFL league leading rushers. Targets lead to receptions, which lead to receiving yards that contribute to a players total yards each year!

At the end of the day don’t be deceived by running back lists that just show the top rushing yards at the position. Be aware that the more the NFL leans to the passing game, that not just your wide receivers and tight ends are your beneficiaries. Do you pick all the highlighted players that are high in targets in the first few rounds of your 2020 drafts? Maybe not. Although when you compare them to others around their average draft position, I would tend to lean towards the player that is getting more targets than not. Feel free to reference the Targets and TD’s pages to see who has gotten the looks and end-zone appearances through the 2019 regular season.

Targets and TD's

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