The following 30 wideouts have accrued at least 40 targets—the number of times a receiver is thrown to—for the season.
In the realm of evaluating talents for points-per-reception leagues, this stat is absolutely essential to the process.
And unless we're talking about Green Bay's James Jones (NFL-high seven touchdowns among receivers), there's a direct correlation between elite wideouts...and the number of targets they collect on a per-game basis.
Noticeably absent from the list: Sidney Rice, Malcom Floyd, Steve Smith, Brandon Gibson, Hakeem Nicks, Greg Little, Justin Blackmon, Lance Moore, Mike Wallace.
1. Victor Cruz, Giants—70 Targets
2. Reggie Wayne, Colts—70 Targets (five games)
3. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals—67 Targets
4. A.J. Green, Bengals—67
5. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs—66
6. Wes Welker, Patriots—66
7. Percy Harvin, Vikings—62
8. Steve Johnson, Bills—57
9. Brandon Lloyd, Patriots—57
10. Calvin Johnson, Lions—56 (five games)
11. Brandon Marshall, Bears—56 (five games)
12. DeSean Jackson, Eagles—54
13. Julio Jones, Falcons—54
14. Brian Hartline, Dolphins—53 (five games)
15. Roddy White, Falcons—53
16. Eric Decker, Broncos—52
17. Kendall Wright, Titans—52
18. Marques Colston, Saints—50 (five games)
19. Michael Crabtree, 49ers—50 (seven games)
20. Antonio Brown, Steelers—49 (five games)
21. Dez Bryant, Cowboys—48 (five games)
22. Jordy Nelson, Packers—48
23. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos—48
24. Donnie Avery, Colts—47 (five games)
25. Davone Bess, Dolphins—47
26. Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers—46 (five games)
27. Anquan Boldin, Ravens—44
28. Andre Johnson, Texans—42
29. Andre Roberts, Cardinals—41
30. Nate Burleson, Lions—40 (five games)
1. Victor Cruz (43 catches, 496 yards, six TD) has collected eight-plus targets in all six games this season. That's comforting news for those who are worried about a continuation of last year's two-game output against the Redskins—five catches, 10 targets, 44 yards.
2. A.J. Green scored a touchdown in both games against the Steelers last season. It was an impressive feat considering that he only drew 13 combined targets.
3. Of his last five outdoor games on grass, Marques Colston (28 catches, 444 yards, four TD) broke the 100-yard mark and scored at least one TD four times. And his last performance at Tampa Bay's Raymond James Stadium entailed seven catches, 118 yards and one touchdown.
These 26 tight ends are averaging at least four targets per game.
Noticeably absent from this list: Lance Kendricks, Joel Dreessen, Tony Scheffler, Kellen Davis, Rob Housler, Marcedes Lewis, Dallas Clark, Dustin Keller.
1. Tony Gonzalez, Falcons—54 Targets
2. Brent Celek, Eagles—43 Targets
3. Jimmy Graham, Saints—42 Targets (five games)
4. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots—42
5. Brandon Pettigrew, Lions—42 (five games)
6. Dennis Pitta, Ravens—42
7. Kyle Rudolph, Vikings—41
8. Jason Witten, Cowboys—40 (five games)
9. Owen Daniels, Texans—38
10. Jermaine Gresham, Bengals—38
11. Jacob Tamme, Broncos—38
12. Jermichael Finley, Packers—35
13. Antonio Gates, Chargers—35 (five games)
14. Vernon Davis, 49ers—34 (seven games)
15. Heath Miller, Steelers—34 (five games)
16. Greg Olsen, Panthers—34 (five games)
17. Anthony Fasano, Dolphins—33
18. Martellus Bennett, Giants—32
19. Scott Chandler, Bills—32
20. Jared Cook, Titans—32
21. Coby Fleener, Colts—31 (five games)
22. Fred Davis, Redskins—30
23. Jeff Cumberland, Jets—25
24. Benjamin Watson, Browns—25
25. Brandon Myers, Raiders—24 (five games)
26. Aaron Hernandez, Patriots—17 (three games)
1. In his last four games, Brent Celek has pedestrian tallies of 13 catches, 135 yards and one touchdown. To be fair, though, a short TD against the Lions (Week 6) was negated by a sketchy interference call. For the season, Celek has just one game of four-plus catches and 70-plus yards (Week 2).
2. Kyle Rudolph ranks third in tight end targets since Week 4 (23)—an encouraging stat that boosts his fantasy profile in standard-scoring and PPR leagues. In early September, he was only a starter-worthy asset in TD-only leagues.
3. I may be a fan of Jermaine Gresham's underrated talents, but that's no excuse to turn down a history lesson. In his last three games against Pittsburgh, Gresham has a grand total of nine catches for 71 yards. Ouch!
These 24 tailbacks are averaging at least three targets per game.
Noticeably absent from the list: Ahmad Bradshaw, Michael Turner, Steven Jackson, Toby Gerhart, C.J. Spiller, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Marshawn Lynch, Stevan Ridley, Daryl Richardson, Fred Jackson.
1. Darren Sproles, Saints—39 Targets (five games)
2. Ray Rice, Ravens—37 Targets
3. LeSean McCoy, Eagles—32 Targets
4. Darren McFadden, Raiders—32 (five games)
5. Trent Richardson, Browns—31
6. Ryan Mathews, Chargers—23 (four games)
7. Adrian Peterson, Vikings—23
8. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs—22
9. Willis McGahee, Broncos—22
10. Ronnie Brown, Chargers—21 (five games)
11. Reggie Bush, Dolphins—21
12. Arian Foster, Texans—20
13. Frank Gore, 49ers—19 (seven games)
14. Chris Johnson, Titans—19
15. Doug Martin, Buccaneers—19 (five games)
16. Chris Ogbonnaya, Browns—19 (five games)
17. Marcel Reece, Raiders—19 (five games)
18. Joique Bell, Lions—18 (five games)
19. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars—18 (five games)
20. DeMarco Murray, Cowboys—18 (five games)
21. Jacquizz Rodgers, Falcons—18
22. Pierre Thomas, Saints—18 (five games)
23. Matt Forte, Bears—16 (four games)
24. Mikel Leshoure, Lions—13 (three games)
1. Through five games, Darren Sproles (326 total yards, two TD) collected seven or more targets four times. And of those four outings, he caught five or more balls each time.
2. The targets totals for Oakland's Darren McFadden are a tad misleading. After 18 in Week 1 (vs. San Diego), DMC has combined for just 14 targets in his last four games.
3. Adrian Peterson's 15 targets over the last three games is his fourth-best targets run (over three weeks) since 2008. And it's the highest three-pack of targets in the Christian Ponder starting era.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.