What is the definition of a true NFL No. 1 wide receiver? ESPN Mike Clay and colleagues of NFL Nation deciphered the league in Rating No. 1 wide receivers for all 32 NFL teams.


While there are several clear-cut top options such as Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones and Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, many teams deploy a committee of receivers to address their passing games. Clay and NFL Nation addressed this based on one specific variable: target share

Target share is the percentage of the team's total targets handled by a single player. For example, the Houston Texans registered 508 targets last season and 172 of them were directed at DeAndre Hopkins. That works out to a league-high 33.9 percent share (the NFL's third-highest mark since 2007).

Using target share as an indicator, all 32 teams' wide receiver situations were graded into four tiers: clear No. 1s (1), not-quite No.1s (2), emerging No.1s (3), and committee attacks (4).

More specifically, Clay and ESPN's 49ers reporter Nick Wagoner teamed up to shed light on the 49ers receiving corps--Pierre Garçon was graded as a "Not Quite No. 1" with a projected 20% target share:

2018 outlook: Garçon is the Niners' most experienced and accomplished receiver but is returning from a neck injury that limited him to eight games in 2017. With Garçon out, Marquise Goodwin emerged as the team's top wideout, especially after Jimmy Garoppolo took over at quarterback. But Garçon and Garoppolo should be able to get on the same page in relatively short order given Garçon's intermediate route-running ability and Garoppolo's accuracy on such throws. Garçon has four years left on the five-year deal he signed in 2017, but every year after 2018 comes in the form of a club option. With Goodwin signing an offseason extension and the Niners using a second-round pick on Dante Pettis, there are options in place should Garçon be unable to produce. But he remains a strong locker room presence and should still be able to be a top target for Garoppolo in 2018, even if his numbers don't approach those of a more "traditional" No. 1 receiver. -- Nick Wagoner, ESPN 49ers reporter

Projected target share: 20 percent. Garçon was the 49ers' clear-cut No. 1 wideout this time last year, but Goodwin's emergence and, to a lesser extent, the team's second-round selection of Pettis can't be overlooked. Garçon has averaged a target share of at least 19 percent when active each of the past eight seasons, but Goodwin has eclipsed 17 percent each of the past two years and figures to be right on Garçon's heels for the team lead in 2018. -- Clay

Poll

  • Who will be the 49ers' top wide receiver for the 2018 season?
  • Pierre Garcon
  • Marquise Goodwin
  • Trent Taylor
  • Dante Pettis