The data below shows the number of targets to each position by team, helping us see which teams are better at targeting specific positions.
You can check out my 2020 Projected Target Share by Player here.
In PPR leagues, we want running backs who are involved in the passing game.
The chart above shows the teams who attempted the most passes to RBs in 2019. Most of the teams at the top make sense, but then you have teams like Miami and Las Vegas creeping into the top 10 in pass attempts to RBs. This makes me interested in Matt Breida now that he’s a Dolphin. Breida has 67 career receptions through three seasons and is set up to reach career highs in receiving with Miami. We know Jordan Howard is not a pass catching back, so the majority of this work should go Breida’s way, perhaps making him a sleeper pick as your RB3 with upside.
In Las Vegas, Jalen Richard has been Jon Gruden’s preferred pass catching back for the last couple of years. Richard finished with 43 targets in 2019, DeAndre Washington earned 41 targets, and rookie Josh Jacobs earned 27. With Washington now in Kansas City, this leaves potentially 41 targets up for grabs between Jacobs, Richard and rookie Lynn Bowden. I would expect Josh Jacobs to get more looks in the passing game in 2020, as it is one of his best assets of his game. They simply just didn’t use him enough last year. We should see Richard get a boost in targets as well, making both Raiders backs intriguing PPR options in 2020, with Jacobs getting the biggest boost in value if he gets more work.
The best running backs offer a large amount of target opportunities as well as carries in the run game. Some of the best teams at targeting the RBs allow their top ball carrier to be their preferred receiving back. These are players we want to target in PPR leagues and include guys like Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Dalvin Cook, Leonard Fournette (maybe), Alvin Kamara, Le’Veon Bell (maybe), Ezekiel Elliott, Aaron Jones, Miles Sanders, Melvin Gordon, Nick Chubb and Todd Gurley now that he’s in Atlanta. Josh Jacobs as mentioned above could fall into this group in 2020.
Nick Chubb’s value took a hit when Kareem Hunt got on the field, but he still managed 49 targets in 2019. The 2020 Browns will be committing to a more run heavy approach, so there’s room for Chubb to earn more work as a runner with a likely decrease in targets. Chubb saw just 17 targets in the final 8 games of 2019 with Kareem Hunt on the field, so we should expect him in the 30-40 range for targets in 2020. There has also been some rumblings about getting Kareem Hunt more involved in the slot as the 3rd WR, which could get both RBs on the field together more often in 2020.
On the other hand, some 2nd or 3rd running backs on the depth chart get a significant boost in PPR leagues because of their pass catching abilities. These are players like Austin Ekeler, Tarik Cohen, James White, Duke Johnson, Nyheim Hines, Chris Thompson, Kareem Hunt and Jaylen Samuels. These type of scat backs are the ones we are looking for in the middle or end of our drafts, as they present RB2 upside on most weeks due to their volume of receptions.
Austin Ekeler may have moved out of this scat back tier and should be viewed similarly to Alvin Kamara for 2020. The biggest differences between the two will be the success of the Saints offense vs. the Chargers. Ekeler has the chance to lead his team in carries and should be the 2nd most targeted player behind Keenan Allen, making him a solid RB2 this year and a fringe RB1 most weeks.
RB Leaders in Targets:
RB vs TE Targets:
The next two charts show the teams who rely on their RBs and TEs the most.
To recap, this final chart below shows the RB, WR & TE positions by target %.
You can check out my current PPR Rankings for RBs here.
Thanks for reading!
(charts courtesy of @jkheffernon)