Editor's note: This is a contributed piece from the writing staff at FFLockerroom.com.
Anticipating targets for wide receivers and running backs is a very difficult thing to do. But, we can use clues (I.E. patterns from the last few seasons, defensive improvements or declines, the addition of new offensive weapons, coaching changes that have historically either favored or avoided the pass and many others) to put together a mildly educated guess about the volume that a player may see.
Below are a handful of players that could see a nice uptick in targets heading into the 2016 fantasy football season.
T.Y. Hilton, wide receiver, Indianapolis Colts (2015 - 134 Targets - 8.4 TPG)
If you knew nothing else other than he was getting Andrew Luck back for a full season that may almost be enough to but into a sizable increase in targets for the Colts deep threat. Combine that with an improved offensive line and the departure of both Andre Johnson and Coby Fleener and you are looking at a player who could approach the 160 target mark (right in line with both Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr.). Even with the potential emergence of Donte Moncrief and Philip Dorsett, Hilton is a player that is poised to take that next step and really solidify himself as a target monster among the elite fantasy football WR's.
Coby Fleener, tight end, New Orleans Saint (2015 - 84 Targets - 5.6 TPG)
This move is actually a double bonus for the lovely-locked Coby Fleener. Not only should we anticipate a sizable spike in targets for him, but we should also understand that targets from Drew Brees in that offense are inherently more valuable than targets from Matt Hasselbeck or Josh Freeman. The Saints said goodbye to longtime red zone specialist Marques Colston this offseason and the rookie, Michael Thomas, will have to get his feet seriously wet before I am going to worry about him eating in to Fleener's workload. Don't believe that Fleener can have a monster year? Look at what that role did for Ben Watson last season, The New Orleans offense is incredibly tight end friendly, and Fleener is now the top dog in that area.
Tyler Lockett, wide receiver, Seattle Seahawks (2015 - 69 Targets - 4.3 TPG)
This one seems like a no-brainer to me. The loss of Marshawn Lynch and the injury to Thomas Rawls have left serious questions about the continued viability of Seattle's dominant running game. And we're not the only ones to think that as Seattle invested a premium draft pick on pass-catching specialist C.J. Prosise. The Seattle offense looked as prolific as it ever has under Russell Wilson when the coaches decided to employ a much more pass-centric offensive game plan, and their offseason moves show us that Seattle may have noticed that too. Tyler Locket was absolutely electric down the stretch last season, and it became obvious that the report he's developed with Russell Wilson leaves his arrow as a fantasy option skyrocketing upward. With Doug Baldwin, a great receiver in his own right, likely drawing the attention of the defenses number 1 corner Lockett should continue to feast on inferior defensive back competition and is a strong bet to add 20+ additional targets to his ledger by the time the season ends.