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There should be no doubt that the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be two of the most prolific pass offenses in the NFL In 2021. But there's still plenty of doubt where exactly all those passes are going. Both teams look like they have too many weapons for just one football. 

It's pretty much impossible to solve this riddle by looking at least year's numbers. Dallas only had four and a half games with Dak Prescott and Blake Jarwin left after Week 1. O.J. Howard left in Week 4 last year and Antonio Brown didn't arrive until Week 9. Giovani Bernard wasn't even a part of the equation. But we can at least get an idea of the positional target share. 

Kellen Moore's offense in Dallas has distributed between 62-64% of the targets to wide receivers the past two seasons, with 17-21% going to tight ends and 16-18% going to running backs. In Tom Brady's first year in Tampa, the Buccaneers WR target rate fell from 62% to 57.6% and the running backs and tight ends saw an increase that covered that drop. 

At wide receiver, that leaves enough room for all six receivers on the two teams to receive a 20% target share, but not much more...if it's an even split. That's great for offensive efficiency, because it's not predictable on a given play, but it probably rules out a top-12 season unless someone has a crazy touchdown year like Mike Evans did last year.

One game isn't going to fully solve this mystery, but I will be watching very closely to see snap and target rates for Antonio Brown and Michael Gallup in particular. They were the two cheapest, by far on Draft Day. If drafters were right and they're a distant third in the target share, Evans, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Chris Godwin have a much better chance of justifying their ADP.  If not, we could have a handful of low-end WR2s on these two teams. 

Two things for the future, before we get to the rest of the preview:

1. On both these teams, if one of the top three receivers misses time, the other two should be absolute stars.
2. I have no trouble with starting all of these guys simply out of FOMO. I expect fireworks in the opener.

Here is the rest of the Week 1 WR Preview:

Week 1 WR Preview
WR Preview
Who's Out

The following players are not being projected to play Week 1 at this time. Here's what it means:

MIA Miami • #3
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Expect Albert Wilson to fill Fuller's role, but I also project a small target boost for Jaylen Waddle. DeVante Parker, and Mike Gesicki.
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #82
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Crowder's absence would give both Corey Davis and Elijah Moore enough room to be starters.
NO New Orleans • #13
Age: 28 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Thomas will miss at least the first six weeks of the season. Marquez Callaway appears to be his replacement, and the only Saints wide receiver worth starting.
IND Indianapolis • #13
Age: 31 • Experience: 10 yrs.
T.Y. Hilton will miss at least the first three weeks of the season. Michael Pittman is the main beneficiary but both Parris Campbell and Michael Strachan are deep sleepers.
BAL Baltimore • #12
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
Rashod Bateman will miss at least three weeks of the season, which should mean Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews continue to see a big target share. Sammy Watkins could be a sleeper as well.
WR Preview
Numbers to Know
  • 70 -- Allen Robinson had 70 yards against the Rams in 2020, if you're looking for a reason for hope.
  • 45% -- The Raiders ranked dead last in share of targets to their wide receivers last year; that will need to change if Henry Ruggs or Bryan Edwards is to matter for Fantasy.
  • 10.4 -- Michael Thomas averaged 10.4 targets per game over the past two seasons. If Marquez Callaway earns 75% of that he'll be a must-start receiver.
  • 5.6 -- Brown led the Buccaneers with 5.6 catches per game in 2020. If that continues, it will be hard for Evans and Godwin to justify their ADP.
  • 17% -- Lamb had a 17% target share with Dak Prescott. He probably needs a 20% increase to come close to justifying his ADP.
  • 0 -- Jakobi Meyers has still never scored a touchdown in a real NFL game.
  • 10 -- Corey Davis saw 10 targets in two quarters of the preseason. It's possible I'm still too low on him even with the Week 1 boost.
  • 4 -- Ja'Marr Chase dropped four preseason passes. I don't really care about that but I do worry that a couple of Week 1 drops could exacerbate the problem. He's an upside WR3.
  • 5.9 -- Sammy Watkins averaged 5.9 targets per game in Kansas City. How those are distributed will help determine whether the Chiefs have another Fantasy-relevant wide receiver.
WR Preview
Matchups that matter
Matchups that matter
Projections powered by Sportsline
CHI Chicago • #12
Age: 28 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ LAR LAR -7.5 O/U 44.5
OPP VS WR
3rd
PROJ PTS
14.1
WR RNK
10th
JAC Jacksonville • #10
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ HOU JAC -3 O/U 44.5
OPP VS WR
24th
PROJ PTS
14
WR RNK
25th
NYG N.Y. Giants • #19
Age: 27 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs DEN DEN -2.5 O/U 42
OPP VS WR
7th
PROJ PTS
12.5
WR RNK
37th
2020 Stats
REC
20
TAR
32
REYDS
338
TD
2
FPTS/G
13.2
WR Preview
Waiver Wire Targets
Week 1 Waivers
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #8
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CAR CAR -5 O/U 45
OPP VS WR
5th
WR RNK
42nd
ROSTERED
59%
We didn't see Moore in the preseason because of an injury, but he was the absolute star of training camp before that. Moore is instantly among the fastest wide receivers in the NFL, and he used that speed to average nearly 150 yards per game in his final season at Ole Miss. With Jamison Crowder likely out, Moore should be the second option on the team behind Corey Davis. Even if he isn't great against the Panthers, be patient. Rookie receivers can take a few weeks to get going.
NYG N.Y. Giants • #3
Age: 28 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs DEN DEN -2.5 O/U 42
OPP VS WR
7th
WR RNK
52nd
ROSTERED
28%
Shepard isn't particularly exciting but he has the best floor of anyone on the waiver wire and may just be the Giants' No. 1 receiver in Week 1. Kenny Golladay has been slow to get back from his hamstring injury and the Broncos present a very difficult challenge on the outside. Shepard should once again be Daniel Jones' safety valve and could be a solid No. 3 in PPR Week 1.
DET Detroit • #14
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs SF SF -7.5 O/U 45.5
OPP VS WR
8th
WR RNK
57th
ROSTERED
22%
St. Brown is a rookie like Moore, but his production is more likely to look like Shepard's. He's the best short-area route runner in the Lions receiving corps and this is a team that figures to be playing from behind a lot. It's not hard to envision a high-volume role developing throughout the season for St. Brown.
CAR Carolina • #88
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NYJ CAR -5 O/U 45
OPP VS WR
20th
WR RNK
63rd
ROSTERED
38%
Marshall will be the big slot for the Panthers, and quite possibly their best red zone threat in the passing game. It's that touchdown potential that makes him worth a dart throw in Week 1, but I'm more interested to see how his target share compares to D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson. Marshall is no stranger to crowded receiving corps. In 2019 he scored 13 touchdowns on a team that included Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase.
ARI Arizona • #4
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ TEN TEN -3 O/U 52
OPP VS WR
30th
WR RNK
66th
ROSTERED
41%
The Cardinals found a variety of ways to get Rondale Moore the ball in the preseason, now we get to see how much they want to do that when the games count. Moore is a unique prospect because of his lack of height, but don't call him small. He squatted 600 pounds in college and there are plenty of videos of his weight room prowess at Purdue. He also posted 1,258 yards and 12 TD as an 18-year-old and has blazing speed. He seems like the perfect fit for Kliff Kingsbury's system. We'll see how they use him.
DET Detroit • #6
Age: 29 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs SF SF -7.5 O/U 45.5
OPP VS WR
8th
WR RNK
49th
ROSTERED
35%
I know Williams isn't going to get anyone fired up, but he has a better Week 1 projection than the three rookies listed above him. The last time he was in this position he caught 69 passes for 1,059 yards and seven touchdowns for the Chargers. That was five years ago, so we'll have to see what the 29-year-old has left in the tank.
Stashes
IND Indianapolis • #13
Age: 31 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs SEA SEA -2.5 O/U 48.5
OPP VS WR
28th
WR RNK
NR
ROSTERED
35%
Hilton's neck injury appears to be less severe than was feared and there's some hope he could be ready by Week 4. If you have an IR spot, he's definitely worth a stash. I would still expect him to be Carson Wentz's favorite target once he's 100% healthy.
BAL Baltimore • #12
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ LV BAL -4.5 O/U 51
OPP VS WR
17th
WR RNK
NR
ROSTERED
15%
It wouldn't be surprising at all if Rashod Bateman became the No. 1 wide receiver in Baltimore at some point this season. That alone makes him worth a stash in any league where you have an IR slot.
WR Preview
DFS Plays
Top Play
Projections powered by Sportsline
NO New Orleans • #1
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs GB GB -4.5 O/U 50
OPP VS WR
14th
PROJ PTS
12.2
WR RNK
22nd
Don't be afraid to take the free spaces in Week 1. Callaway is priced like a WR4 and should lead the Saints wide receivers in targets. Jameis Winston starting means he also likely gets a couple of deep shots, which helps with the upside.
Contrarian Play
Projections powered by Sportsline
SEA Seattle • #16
Age: 29 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ IND SEA -2.5 O/U 48.5
OPP VS WR
23rd
PROJ PTS
16
WR RNK
29th
The thing that no one likes about Tyler Lockett, his inconsistency, is also what makes him one of the best tournament plays in DFS. Lockett has Milly Maker winning upside every week and his roster rate should be held down by the 'Q' that shows up because of his injury this preseason.
WR Preview
Heath's Projections