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Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Michael Fabiano

Quarterbacks That Targeted Their Receivers the Most and Least Last Season

The quarterback position is the most important in the world of professional football. He has the ball in his hand on the majority of offensive snaps, and his knowledge, skill set and decision-making ultimately determine how an offense will perform. That also means he’s integral in the production of points for our fantasy teams.

As a result, it makes sense for us to know his tendencies.

What position does he target most in the pass attack? Does he take chances downfield? The answers are important to his draft value and of the value of the players around him. As a result, let’s look at which field generals targeted their offensive weapons the most and the least per skill position during last season.

In the second of a three-part series, let’s continue with the wide receivers.

Note: Quarterbacks in this research started a minimum of 10 games last season.

With a pair of wideouts like Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, it’s no surprise Tua Tagovailoa targeted his receivers more than any other quarterback last season.

Jeff Romance/USA Today Sports

Wide Receivers – Most Targets

1. Tua TagovailoaDolphins (68.3%): This should come as a surprise to no one, as the Dolphins featured a pair of top-10 fantasy wideouts last season in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. I’d expect more of the same in 2023, as Hill and Waddle will continue to be focal points for Tagovailoa and coach Mike McDaniel.

2. Jalen HurtsEagles (65%): The same analysis for the Dolphins also applies to the Eagles, who also had two top-10 fantasy wideouts in A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. The offense ranked sixth in plays out of 11 personnel, and things don’t seem likely to change this season. Look for Hurts and crew to fly high again.

3. Josh AllenBills (62.8%): The Bills field just one fantasy superstar wideout in Stefon Diggs, but Allen still threw 363 passes to the position last season. I wouldn’t be surprised if that number dropped a bit in 2023, though, as the Bills added rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid to the pass attack. While he’s listed as a tight end, Kincaid is going to be lined up in the slot and used more as a receiver this season. That should mean more 12 personnel, which the Bills ran just 66 times (31st) in 2022.

4. Trevor LawrenceJaguars (62.2%): Lawrence loved throwing to his wideouts a season ago, as Christian Kirk and Zay Jones accounted for 254 targets alone. Now with Calvin Ridley in the mix, Lawrence’s targets to his wideouts seem destined to increase. In fact, he’s a virtual lock to finish in the top five in attempts to receivers this upcoming season. Lawrence is on the verge of a breakout.

5. Tom BradyBuccaneers (60.7%): Yes, I know … Brady is retired, and the Bucs have a new offensive coordinator in Dave Canales. It’s still notable that the team threw to the wideouts so much because new projected starter Baker Mayfield threw to his wideouts fewer than 50% of the time in seasons where he started at least 10 games. Even if the Bucs continue to chuck it downfield, it’s tough to see Chris Godwin and Mike Evans duplicating their past stat sheet success.

6. Joe Burrow, Bengals (60.4%)

7. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers (60.1%)

8. Kirk Cousins, Vikings (60%)

9. Derek Carr, Raiders (59.4%)

10. Jared Goff, Lions (59.3%)

Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports

Wide Receivers – Least Targets

1. Lamar JacksonRavens (40.8%): The Ravens were dead last in running 11 personnel last season, which should come as a surprise to no one. But with new offensive coordinator Todd Monken at the helm and Odell Beckham Jr., Zay Flowers and Nelson Agholor now in the mix, this percentage has to increase. In fact, his quarterbacks threw an average of 65.5% of the time in his three seasons leading the offenses in Tampa Bay. This will be a different Ravens offense, folks.

2. Patrick MahomesChiefs (46.3%): When you have Travis Kelce at tight end and your wideouts are average, well, it’s no surprise that Mahomes was second to last in terms of throwing to his wideouts. I could argue that his receivers are even worse this season, especially if Kadarius Toney continues to have health issues. It matters little though, as Mahomes remains an elite fantasy quarterback.

3. Kenny PickettSteelers (51.2%): Pickett, my favorite sleeper quarterback for this season, didn’t throw much to his wideouts last season. I expect that to change this year, though, as reports suggest we’re already seeing Pickett throw down the field more often in training camp. George Pickens is also drawing rave reviews and the Steelers added Allen Robinson, so look for Pickett to improve in Year 2.

4. Russell WilsonBroncos (51.3%): Wilson was plain awful in the stat sheets last season, and it trickled down to his receivers. Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy had a combined 209 targets (131 catches), and neither was reliable in fantasy leagues. New coach Sean Payton’s most recent offenses in New Orleans didn’t throw to his wideouts a ton, but Michael Thomas missed time and Alvin Kamara was a target machine at running back. Let’s see if Payton can work his magic in an offense with much different personnel than he had to work with in the bayou.

5. Davis MillsTexans (51.4%): Davis isn’t going to start with C.J. Stroud now in the offense, and things will look different now that Bobby Slowik is the brand new coordinator. With that said, the Texans don’t have any established receivers on the roster so a committee situation could emerge. Nico Collins and maybe John Metchie will be worth late-round looks in most fantasy football redrafts.

6. Andy Dalton, Saints (51.6%)

7. Ryan Tannehill, Titans (51.7%)

8. Justin Herbert, Chargers (53.5%)

9. Jacoby Brissett, Browns (54.2%)

10. Marcus Mariota, Falcons (54.2%)

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