Wide Receiver Usage Report – Week 2

We have seen only sixteen games of the 2018 NFL season, but that doesn’t mean we can’t draw some conclusions. This is especially true regarding how players are used, especially at the wide receiver position.

We will take a weekly look at emerging trends among WRs in the 2018 season to help you identify players with low usage you should give up on along with players who are becoming more fantasy relevant and should be on your roster moving forward. Let’s see who caught our eye in Week 1.

The Big Guns

PlayerTargetsReceptionsTarget Share %PPR PointsWeekly Rank
Julio Jones191048.728WR6
Michael Thomas171638.638WR2
Antonio Brown16939.024.3WR10
Golden Tate15728.820.9WR12
Odell Beckham151141.722WR11
Jarvis Landry15738.517.6WR22
Corey Davis13634.212.2WR44
Adam Thielen12634.316.2WR24
Kenny Golladay12721.218.4WR17
Emmanuel Sanders111028.229.5WR4
T.Y. Hilton11521.215.6WR25
DeAndre Hopkins11832.415.1WR26
Keenan Allen11822.024.8WR9

There are no real major surprises among those WRs who saw the most targets in Week 1 of the season. Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, and Antonio Brown all enjoyed healthy target shares in 2017. But there are a few intriguing names, potentially clearing up situations that appeared muggy a few short days ago.

2017 wr ay

Jarvis Landry

One of the big knocks on Jarvis Landry coming into the season was his potential lack of volume. He was, after all, joining an offense that seemed to have lots of mouths to feed. But even with these mouths, Landry still enjoyed a 38.5 percent share of the Browns’ targets. Most encouraging of all was his share of air yards. In 2017, Landry accounted for just 23 percent of the Dolphins air yards. In Week 1 of his Browns debut, he had 52.8 percent. If he continues to be targeted at this rate and depth, his fantasy appeal remains high, especially in PPR formats.

Corey Davis

The Titans WR rotation had been the subject of some conjecture heading into the season. Second-year player Taywan Taylor generated some serious buzz in the last weeks of summer. But it was another 2017 draft pick, namely Corey Davis, who emerged as the Titans go-to guy in Week 1. Davis’ efficiency was far from the top drawer, but he comfortably dominated the targets with 13 and air yards with a 43.2 percent share. The good news for Davis and his owners moving forward is that the player with the third most targets and air yards, namely Delanie Walker, is almost certainly done for the season. Davis could see his shares grow as the season progresses.

Firsts Among Equals

Operating in offenses in which they are the only two options, it was interesting to see Adam Thielen and Emmanuel Sanders lead their teams in WR targets over their more highly-drafted partners, Stefon Diggs and Demaryius Thomas. Thielen saw exactly twice as many targets as Diggs for the Vikings (12 to 6). He also enjoyed a higher snap share (96 percent to 86 percent).

diggs thielen

Sanders only saw one target more than Thomas but finished with 10 catches from his 11 targets. Thomas had six from 10. Sanders also enjoyed almost 10 percent more of the team air yards.

Name Pos Team Tar Rec Rec Yards Air Yards TD MS Air Target Share PPR Pts
Emmanuel Sanders WR DEN 11 10 135 104 1 0.28 0.28 29.5
Demaryius Thomas WR DEN 10 6 63 68 1 0.19 0.26 18.3

I wrote earlier this year about why Sanders offered the best value of the two Broncos, given their respective ADPs. I’m not doing a victory lap after one game, of course. But the early signs are certainly positive.

Slow Starts

Amari Cooper, Josh Gordon, and Marquise Goodwin are all owned in at least 93.2 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues. But it’s almost as if their offenses don’t care about fantasy football. The three had a grand total of seven targets for two catches, 26 yards, and a solitary touchdown. Granted, Goodwin was injured, but the other two have no such excuse.

A slow start from Gordon was to be expected, given his interrupted offseason. His three targets did account for 20 percent of the team’s air yards. He played on 78 percent of the total offensive snaps. So one would hope for more from him moving forward. Unless, of course, the head coach and offensive coordinator actually start communicating.

Cooper, on the other hand, while not being an immediate sell candidate after a single game, could be worth gauging interest in your league for him. Cooper saw only three targets, with a single look going his way after halftime.

raiders

Only Seth Roberts had a lower share of the Raiders’ air yards than Cooper’s 9.7 percent. The Raiders offense was pretty putrid as a whole. So ditching Cooper after one week is not a strategy I would advocate. But after his woeful 2017 season, this slow start is something of a concern.

cooper