WR Targets takes you behind the scenes with the most advanced target information, including receiving fantasy points over expectation (reFPOE), air yards, receiver air conversion ratio (RACR), and weighted opportunity rating (WOPR).
Did you know that 17 wide receivers saw double-digit targets in Week 12? Julio Jones led the way with 15 for a 42 percent target share. He also led in receptions (12), receiving yards (253), and Air Yards (256). Jones had the third-most yards after catch (60) and was one of four WRs to score two touchdowns. His receiving yardage was the most by any player in a game since Week 4 of the 2016 season when Jones himself had 300 receiving yards against the Panthers. He now has the most receiving yards in his first 90 career games (8,649) in NFL history.
The statistical production between Jones and quarterback Matt Ryan throughout their career has been up and down like the S&P 500, but generally, there is a regression to the mean.
We will pick up the analysis from last week as you prepare to attack the waiver wire for Week 13. This week, we will continue to place additional focus on FPOE to determine the efficiency of each WR while incorporating in other resources from Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards.
WR TARGETS TIER 1
The signs of Jones’ eruption were there in the four games leading up to his Week 12 eruption. He had a target share of 29 percent and a 50 percent share of the team’s air yards over that time frame.
Keenan Allen set a career-high with 172 receiving yards against the Cowboys. This was the most receiving yards allowed to a single player by the Cowboys since Calvin Johnson had 329 receiving yards in Week 8 of 2013 according to NFL Research. Allen’s previous high was 166 receiving yards against the Lions back in 2015. Nearly 40 percent of his 172 receiving yards were after the catch. Allen also accumulated 143 air yards and had a Weighted Opportunity Rating (WOPR) of 0.96. He’s averaged 9.75 targets over the last four games.
WR TARGETS TIER 2
Cooper Kupp set career highs in targets, catches, and receiving yards. He produced 2.97 yards per route run according to Pro Football Focus and accumulated 44.8 percent of his receiving yardage after the catch. Kupp also led the team in Receiver Air Conversion Ratio (RACR) with 1.22 and created 1.8 more fantasy points than his volume suggsted (reFPOE). Kupp benefited as the Rams offensive game plan attacked a Saints secondary missing numerous players.
WR TARGETS TIER 3
Robby Anderson’s breakout season continues as he set a career high in receiving yards with 146. The only WR with more air yards than his 218 was Jones. Anderson has scored a TD in five straight games and is the clear-cut No. 1 WR in New York, averaging 6.72 targets per game this season. We can see some of the volatility for vertical receivers in fantasy points over expectation. Anderson posted 17.1 reFPOE this week, a stark contrast to Mike Wallace (-10.1), Tyreek Hill (-5.5), and DeSean Jackson (-2.5).
Jamison Crowder set a new career high in receiving yards with 141 and has averaged 9.6 targets per game over the last three. He showed his electric playmaking ability in scoring 11.5 points more than his volume suggested.
Zay Jones is in position to finish the season as the Bills No. 1 WR as Kelvin Benjamin sits with a torn meniscus. He has a very favorable schedule for the rest of the season for those preparing for the fantasy playoffs.
WR TARGETS TIER 4
Marvin Jones’ performance shocked many considering the matchup against Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes. He has averaged 7.25 targets and 80.7 receiving yards per game over the last four while leading the Lions’ WRs in air yards with 377 over that time frame.
WR TARGETS TIER 5
Corey Coleman has accumulated 19 targets in two games since returning from injury. The return of Josh Gordon after overcoming personal demons is a phenomenal redemption story, but the reality is that he has not played in a game since December 2014. It is unlikely he will play a high number of snaps. Coleman has led the Browns’ WRs in air yards with 285 over the last two weeks. He has a favorable matchup against the Packers in Week 14 as the fantasy playoffs begin.
WR TARGETS TIER 6
Brandin Cooks has produced 8.75 targets, 5.75 receptions, and 83 receiving yards per game over the Patriots’ last four. He has benefited tremendously from the absence of WR Chris Hogan.
Cooks has accumulated 468 air yards over that time frame with 30 percent of his receiving yards coming after the catch. This hybrid profile makes him almost impossible to defend with Tom Brady.
WR TARGETS TIER 7
Success or failure for Nelson Agholor has been defined by TDs. He scored for the first time since Week 7 against the Bears. Agholor has averaged 4.8 targets per game this season but does lead the team in yards after the catch with 186.
WR TARGETS TIER 8
Dez Bryant continues to disappoint fantasy players despite having the eighth most targets (102) among WRs. He ranks No. 4 in expected points (reEP) but languishes at WR23 as his reFPOE has fallen to -37.9. Efficiency may be difficult to predict, but it does matter. He now trails Antonio Brown by 84.8 in that category.
WR TARGETS TIER 9
The poor quarterback play from Marcus Mariota is sabotaging the fantasy prospects of WR Corey Davis. When Davis catches all of his targets, you’d like to see more volume.
Josh Doctson has 23 targets over the last four games to Crowder’s 29. Doctson is leading the team in air yards with 363 over that time frame. He will have another opportunity to go boom against the Cowboys secondary tomorrow night.
WR TARGETS TIER 10
Tyrell Williams has only accumulated 45 targets this season despite playing a high number of snaps. Mike Williams is day-to-day with a knee injury. If he misses time this could open to door for more opportunities for Tyrell.
WHAT COMES NEXT?
This column will be published every Tuesday to help you make decisions for the upcoming week. I am very active on Twitter (@EricNMoody). I also encourage you to put specific questions in the comments to each week’s article. Those comments automatically go to our Message Boards. I will respond to as many questions as I can, and other writers (not to mention our community of well-informed readers) will jump in as well. I also encourage you to make use of our Apps. Our in-season apps will help you identify teams with great upcoming schedules, as well as insight into player-specific match ups.
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