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Targets are king for wide receivers in Fantasy Football, especially if you play in a PPR league. Deebo Samuel and Ja'Marr Chase were the only wide receivers to finish as top-eight options with fewer than 159 targets last year. That was because of radical, unsustainable efficiency, and Samuel's rushing production. Mike Evans and Tyler Lockett were the only receivers in the top 20 with fewer than 120 targets.

Said another way, if you want wide receivers who will help you dominate your Fantasy leagues, you need wide receivers who are going to dominate targets on their own team. Or you need to catch lightning in a bottle with efficiency. I'd suggest chasing targets instead of lightning. 

Now, everyone already knows who the current target monsters are. They were the guys who won leagues last year for Fantasy managers. What we're interested in is finding the next group of guys who will demand the football. 

Last year in this column I highlighted eight receivers who I thought could make the leap: Justin Jefferson, Diontae Johnson, Ja'Marr Chase, Brandin Cooks, Jerry Jeudy, DK Metcalf, Terry McLaurin and A.J. Brown. I'd like to tell you Cooper Kupp was on the list as well, but we didn't know about Kupp and Matthew Stafford's breakfast dates at the time of publication. Before we get into the next class of target hogs, let's see how last year's group did.

Jefferson and Johnson were both around 10 targets per game, clearly establishing themselves as target monsters. Brown made a leap as well, but injuries and partial games hid that fact. Cooks set a career high with 8.4 targets per game and could very well go higher in 2022 if the Texans aren't one of the bottom three teams in offensive plays. McLaurin and Jeudy took a step back, and I'm losing confidence they'll ever join the ranks. Metcalf and Chase fell short of the target mark, but I'm leaving them on the list for this year because there is plenty of room for growth. Let's start with them.

Ja'Marr Chase

2021 T/G: 7.5

It's funny to think that Chase has room to grow, but considering he's already one of the most talented wide receivers in the league, I would definitely expect him to earn a larger number of targets in the future. As with Cooks, some of that could come because of what his team does. 

The Bengals attempted 555 passes in 2022, 38 attempts below the league median. Had they met that league-median number, Chase's 23% target share would have translated to more targets per game, even if it would have been a small boost. And there were signs down the stretch and in the playoffs that the Bengals may throw more moving forward. For what it's worth, Chase averaged 8.75 targets per game in those four playoff games.

Another thing that will contribute to more volume is the efficiency regression we should expect from both Chase and Burrow. Chase scored five touchdowns of more than 50 yards last year and another three that were 30-50 yards. There won't be as many big plays on a year-to-year basis, which will mean more plays and targets as the Bengals need more plays to score.

It's hard to expect a massive leap in Year 2 with Tee Higgins on the roster, but I have Chase projected for 8.6 targets per game, and it's very easy to see a ceiling in the 9-10 range very soon. For that reason and many more, Chase and Jefferson sit in a tier of their own in Dynasty leagues.

DK Metcalf

2020 T/G: 8.1

2021 T/G: 7.6

Metcalf actually took a step back in terms of targets per game, but that can mostly be explained by Russell Wilson's finger injury. Wilson suffered that injury in Week 5 and Metcalf only saw 23 targets from Weeks 5-8. The other 13 games of the season he averaged 8.1 targets per game, just as he did in 2020. Of course, that may not be too comforting, since Wilson is no longer on the team.

Metcalf may need for the Seahawks to acquire Baker Mayfield if he's going to make that leap this year. Or for Pete Carroll to get fired. Or for Tyler Lockett to see his role shrink. Because if it's a Pete Carroll offense, it's unlikely to be pass-heavy, especially with Geno Smith or Drew Lock under center. And Metcalf isn't topping a 25% target share as long as Lockett is still there.

Still, all this uncertainty is suppressing his ADP. And if nothing else, Metcalf's Seahawks are even more likely to run more plays because they were last in the league in 2021. That creates a value situation where Metcalf, with one or two things going right, could break into target monster territory this season and smash his ADP. Those are exactly the types of players you should be targeting in the middle rounds.

I'm projecting Metcalf for a career-high 8.3 targets per game in 2022.

Michael Pittman

2020 T/G: 4.7

2021 T/G: 7.6

Michael Pittman took a leap in Year 2, and I don't think he's done yet. The former second-round pick was held back by Carson Wentz and the fact that the Colts only threw 521 passes last year. To see how thoroughly Pittman dominated targets, you only have to look at his teammates. Zach Pascal was second on the team with 69 targets, which was 60 fewer than Pittman. In fact, Pittman had more targets last year than any two Colts put together.

Like Chase, he just needs his team to throw more often for him to move into the top 12 in targets this season. And I'm betting the acquisition of Matt Ryan will give Frank Reich the courage to do just that. After all, Reich's Colts threw 552 passes in 2020. If they go back to that rate, they'll throw 66 more passes in 2022, which should equal at least one more target a game for Pittman. All it takes at that volume is for Pittman to bump his target share up to 26 or 27% and he could legitimately have top-five upside. Based on the moves (or lack of) the Colts made this offseason, that's well within the range of possible outcomes.

Pittman is a borderline No. 1 wide receiver for me in full PPR, and I'm projecting him for 8.4 targets per game.

Marquise Brown

2020 T/G: 6.3

2021 T/G: 9.1

You could make the argument that Marquise Brown already made the transition to target hog by claiming 9.1 targets per game in 2021. But there are two reasons I wouldn't. One, a chunk of those targets came in that weirdly inefficient stretch late in the season with backup quarterbacks. It's hard to know what to make of those five games where he averaged 9.4 targets but just 36.6 yards per game.

The second reason inspires more hope because there's a lot more volume available in Kliff Kingsbury's offense than there is in Greg Roman's. And Kyler Murray is a more accurate passer to boot. Over the past two seasons, the Cardinals have thrown 736 passes to wide receivers, while the Ravens have targeted the position 558 times. While there is more competition in Arizona, at least once DeAndre Hopkins returns, the upside if Brown earns the No. 1 role is at least 10 targets per game. 

Brown was really breaking out in the first half of 2021, before Lamar Jackson got hurt, averaging 8.8 yards per target on nine targets per game the first nine weeks of the season. Even a slight boost in targets would put him in the top-five discussion. If he's doing that the first six weeks of the season, it may not matter that Hopkins is back.

To be safe, I'm projecting Brown for a slight step back, at 7.9 targets per game, and he's still a top-24 wide receiver. He should get an audition the first month to be far more than that.

CeeDee Lamb

2020 T/G: 6.9

2021 T/G: 7.5

I get caught writing a lot of negative things about these next two players, so I'm glad I get to change that up here because they're both phenomenal players. They're just being drafted as if they're already target hogs.

Make no mistake about it: Lamb should dominate targets one day, and 2022 sets up about as well as it could for him. Amari Cooper is off to Cleveland, and Michael Gallup is recovering from a torn ACL. The only pass catchers of significance they added are James Washington and Jalen Tolbert. Neither should impact Lamb's target share at all. Hopefully, Kellen Moore doesn't either.

In Moore's three seasons calling plays for the Cowboys, no player has averaged more than 8.1 targets per game. Last year, six different players saw at least 60 targets. The two years before, four players saw 80-plus targets. This simply hasn't been an offense with a consolidated target share. Moore is a good coach, so we have every right to hope he unleashes Lamb as a target monster in 2022. But it should still be framed as a hope, not an expectation until we see it happen.

For now, I'm projecting Lamb for 8.1 targets per game, which is why I'm not quite on board with him in Round 2. But he should still take another step forward.

Kyle Pitts

2021 T/G: 6.5

The bar is a little lower for tight ends to be target hogs, but Pitts is no typical tight end. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he's arguing he's not a tight end at all when he starts contract negotiations in a couple of years. 

Earning 110 targets on a 19% target share as a rookie is impressive regardless of what position you're playing, and Pitts possesses physical traits that give him every bit of Alpha No. 1 upside. Whether he hits that in 2022 will depend on whether Marcus Mariota or Desmond Ridder can get him the ball. 

The team did draft Drake London at No. 8 overall, but the Falcons are so utterly devoid of talent around Pitts and London that there's room for a pair of target hogs if everything goes right. If everything goes wrong, this dynamic duo will likely enter the following year with a rookie quarterback from the heralded 2023 class. And they'll be right back in this article, only with more upside.

I gave Pitts a slight boost to 7.1 targets per game in my projections, but he has upside far beyond that.