2021 Fantasy Football Week 14 Targets & Touches

by Cale Clinton
2021 Fantasy Football Targets & Touches Week 14

Welcome to our Week 14 edition of the 2021 Fantasy Football Targets & Touches series.

We're officially in the home stretch of the football season. With four weeks left and every team officially completing their bye week, we're just one month out from the NFL playoffs. We can't take our eye off the ball yet, however. Some of us (I hope) are still in the midst of fantasy playoffs. Others are still playing just to avoid whatever crazy and outlandish punishment the league agreed upon for coming in dead-last.

Regardless of motive, we're still out here following the waiver wire, looking for any and all opportunities to make our fantasy teams better. Players are still winning bigger roles and stepping up for injured teammates. There's a lot of football left to be played, and the Targets & Touches series is here to help you navigate these last few weeks.

As always, let's state our sources up top. All metrics on run/pass frequency, yards/game or attempt, or attempts per game come from Team Rankings. All snap counts and target shares come from Fantasy Data. Any Fantasy rankings, ownership percentages, or target numbers come from FantasyPros in a Half-PPR scoring format. All references to EPA/play can be found on Ben Baldwin's Box Score plug-in on RBSDM. Anything else in the article will be directly linked to.

2021 Fantasy Football Targets & Touches Week 14

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Running Backs

Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks (59.8%)

The Seattle Seahawks are currently in an interesting position. At 5-8, their outlook as a franchise is probably at its most bleak in the Russell Wilson era. All it took was two wins, though, to give the Seahawks some momentum. All of a sudden, given the team's schedule the rest of the way and the current state of the NFC Wild Card picture, Seattle seems to be right back in the thick of it.

Pete Carroll has long preached a desire to run the ball. It basically single-handedly killed the "Let Russ Cook" movement of 2020 and led to the firing of then-offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Despite Carroll's best wishes, the Seahawks run game hasn't exactly been smooth sailing this year. Losing Chris Carson for the year was a big blow, then Alex Collins was knocked out with an abdominal injury.

In Collins' absence, Rashaad Penny shined. Even when Collins returned in Week 14, Penny took the majority of snaps against the Houston Texans. The biggest thing Penny brings to the table for Seattle is explosiveness. 18% of Penny's 27 touches over the last two games have gone for 10+ yards. That's not something easily replicable. Penny is seldom used in Seattle's passing offense, so the Seahawks will likely bring in a passing back for those situations. However, I see Penny taking the brunt of early-down carries the rest of the way.

Aaron Jones (99.7%) and AJ Dilon (88.7%)

This one's unfortunately not going to be beneficial to many of you. Despite this not being an opportunity to use the information in this article to make a savvy free agency pick-up, I'd be remiss not using the Targets & Touches article to evaluate the state of the Green Bay Packers running back room. Green Bay has two feature backs in their system: longtime veteran Aaron Jones and second-year start-up AJ Dillon. The two have gone back-and-forth throughout the season managing roles as lead ball carrier. Lately, though, it's seemingly been all Dillon.

PlayerWeek 8Week 9Week 10Week 11Week 12Week 14
Aaron Jones65.8% (48)
15 Carries
11 Targets
63.5% (40)
12 Carries
2 Targets
45.9% (34)
7 Carries
6 Targets
--48.8% (40)
10 Carries
1 Target
44.6% (29)
5 Carries
3 Targets
AJ Dillon39.7% (29)
16 Carries
0 Targets
38.1% (28)
8 Carries
4 Targets
48.6% (36)
21 Carries
2 Targets
74.6% (44)
11 Carries
6 Targets
51.2% (42)
20 Carries
5 Targets
53.8% (35)
15 Carries
0 Targets

Especially since Aaron Jones went down briefly with an injury, this has been Dillon's backfield. At least in terms of running the ball, Green Bay has consistently leaned on Dillon to take handoffs. Don't rule out Aaron Jones, though. Just because the near 50/50 split is now weighted more slightly in Dillon's favor doesn't mean Jones should just be thrown to the wayside. In Half-PPR leagues over the timeframe above, Dillon averages 13.7 fantasy points per game. Jones is still right behind him with 11.7 points per game, mainly boosted by his significant contributions as a pass-catcher.

Sharp Football Stats notes that Green Bay has taken 126 of their 812 offensive snaps this season with two running backs on the field. Both are still seeing heavy usage, especially for a team that runs on 41.47% of plays this season. Dillon has overtaken Jones as RB1 in Green Bay, but Jones owners should sleep easy knowing he'll still produce points down the stretch.

Wide Receivers

Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions (22.7%)

Ever since he snagged the game-winning touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings to prevent a winless season in Detroit, rookie receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown has burst onto the scene. St. Brown has logged 76 targets on the entire season, and 24 have come in the last two games alone. He is now the premier receiver for Jared Goff, managing a 28% target share over the last three games. The next closest on that list is Josh Reynolds with 17.0%.

I can imagine there's probably some skepticism about picking up a Detroit Lions wide receiver. This season in particular I've stayed away from anyone in a Lions, Jaguars, or Texans uniform not named T.J. Hockenson. However, St. Brown's uptick in production is translating into points. In the last three games, St. Brown's 28 targets have resulted in 22 receptions for 182 yards and a touchdown. That's good for WR16 in Half PPR leagues over that span. Bumping that sample size down to just the last two games for Detroit, St. Brown goes up to WR11.

With Hockenson now out for the season, I'd strongly consider picking up Amon-Ra St. Brown. Detroit is usually down in most games, forced to pass often just to stay involved. I envision St. Brown continuing to see the majority of those targets late in games.

Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers (98.5%)

Things have come back down to Earth a bit for Deebo Samuel owners. There was a point earlier in this season that Samuel DOMINATED target share, leading the league with a percentage point somewhere in the 30s. Through Week 9, Samuel had one game with fewer than 9 targets and four with double-digit target totals.

Since that time, however, Samuel's usage has plummeted in the passing game. In his last three games, Deebo Samuel is down to a 5.4% target share, good for seventh on the team. It's not totally fair to use this stat, especially considering he missed Week 13. Since Week 10, Samuel has just 10 targets. That still ranks behind Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle, Jauan Jennings, and is tied with Kyle Juszcsyk's target total over that span.

Samuel has taken an increased role in the 49ers running game, so Samuel owners can take solace in knowing he's still being used. However, I think he's fallen out of the set-and-forget, must-start fantasy role he held earlier in the season. George Kittle has returned to doing George Kittle things, while Brandon Aiyuk has seemingly taken over top wide receiver duties in the last three or four weeks. You never know what to expect out of a Kyle Shanahan offense, but I'd be wary in this case.

Tight Ends

Gerald Everett, Seattle Seahawks (24.1%)

Back to Seattle, where we now take a look at their passing attack. For the most part, the air game in Seattle runs through two people: Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. Beyond them, the Seahawks actually utilize their tight ends a great deal. On the season, tight ends Gerald Everett and Will Dissly rank third and fifth respectively in total targets.

Everett specifically has seen a boost in opportunity, currently working with a 17.7% target share over the last three weeks. Over that span, his  18 targets make him the 6th-most targeted tight end in the league. He's TE12 in all of football over the last three weeks, but TE9 if you push the arbitrary line of demarcation back to Week 10. Everyone could use a good tight end, and with Tyler Lockett currently dealing with COVID-19, Everett could reap the benefits of a bad situation.


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1 comment

2021 Fantasy Football Targets & Touches Week 15 - Fantasy Six Pack December 24, 2021 - 7:01 am

[…] Hey, remember last week when I said I wouldn’t touch any Lions players? I lied! From Weeks 13 through 15, Amon-Ra St. Brown is WR3 in Half-Point PPR leagues. He’s only rostered in 28.8% of leagues despite getting a 34.7% target share over the last three weeks. I won’t double down on him in back-to-back weeks, so if you’d like to read my write-up on him from last week’s Targets & Touches, check it out here! […]

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