Wide Receiver 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 13 WRs saw double-digit targets in Week 13? A.J. Green led the way with 16 and a 44 percent target share. Green and Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton have connected for 52 touchdowns since entering the NFL together in 2011. This is the third most among QB-WR duos.1 The only WRs in Bengals franchise history with more receiving TDs than Green are Chad Johnson and Carl Pickens.
We will pick up the analysis from last week as you prepare to attack the waiver wire for Week 14. 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 TIER 1
- Josh Gordon played 78 percent of the Browns offensive snaps and accumulated 210 air yards. Hue Jackson mentioned last week that Gordon would not only start, but “play a lot.” It was a rare moment when an NFL coach delivered on his promise. The only wide receiver to have more receiving yards against the Chargers defense this season was Odell Beckham.
- Did you know that Nelson Agholor had been held under 50 receiving yards for five straight games? He went boom against the Seahawks with the stat line above and led all WRs in air yards with 260. This was Agholor’s second straight week with a TD.
WR TIER 2
- Jermaine Kearse has been targeted 21 times over the last two games. He accumulated 48.4 percent of his receiving yards after the catch.
- Larry Fitzgerald continues to thrive after the Cardinals lost QB Carson Palmer. He’s averaged 10.2 targets per game since Week 9. Fitzgerald passed Isaac Bruce (15,208) for fourth on the NFL’s all-time receiving list.
- Marqise Lee bounced back nicely after dealing with coverage from Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson last week. He has seen nine or more targets in three out of the last four games.
WR TIER 3
- Michael Thomas has averaged 9.2 targets, 6.2 receptions, and 72.9 receiving yards per game this season. His receiving TD against the Panthers was his first since Week 4. Thomas and the Saints face off against the Falcons in Week 14 and Week 16. These two games are anticipated to be high scoring, and he will have an opportunity to shine against the Falcons secondary.
- Mike Wallace has had 19 targets over the last two games. His strong performance against Detroit pulls him up to 2.7 reFPOE on the season.
- Tyreek Hill led all WRs this week in receiving yards and the third most air yards (217). He now leads all WRs in efficiency at 55.6 points above expectation. (Only Antonio Brown is within 15 points of this number.) Hill and tight end Travis Kelce each had two receiving TDs. The last time multiple Chiefs had two or more receiving TDs in the same game, Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston managed it against the Colts in Week 5 of the 2011 season.
WR TIER 4
Marquise Goodwin leads the 49ers WRs in targets with 70. He has averaged 3.8 receptions, 6.8 targets, and 82 receiving yards over the last four games. He’s led the 49ers WRs in air yards with 397 during that time frame. He has a very favorable matchup against the Texans this week and can be viewed a solid WR3 or flex with Jimmy Garoppolo under center.
WR TIER 5
- Dez Bryant now has 72 career receiving TDs and is the Cowboys franchise leader. He’s sixth in expected points with 183.4 on the season but still sits at -32.5 FPOE even after the strong performance.
- Devin Funchess has averaged eight targets, 5.2 receptions, and 86.5 receiving yards per game since Kelvin Benjamin was traded to the Bills. He has also posted a positive receiving fantasy points over expectation during that time frame.
- Zay Jones has averaged 6.2 targets per game, but has only averaged 2.3 receptions per game all season and has a negative receiving fantasy points over expectation in 11 games.
WR TIER 6
- Cooper Kupp led the Rams WRs in targets with six, but was out-targeted by running back Todd Gurley who had seven. Kupp has averaged 7.6 targets, 5.3 receptions, and 66.7 receiving yards per game over the last six. Kupp can be viewed as a low-end WR2 if Robert Woods continues to miss time.
- Julio Jones will be in a perfect position to bounce back against with two matchups against the Saints defense in Week 14 and Week 16. In 11 career games against the Saints, he has averaged 8.6 targets, 5.72 receptions, and 83 receiving yards per game. The health of Marshon Lattimore could be key.
TARGET ANALYSIS FOR THE FANTASY PLAYOFFS
The Buy Low Machine is an excellent resource to better understand which WRs have favorable or unfavorable matchups from Week 14 to Week 16. Strength of schedule is based on measuring defenses by their performance versus what the opponent scored in fantasy points in all other games. The measure is then scaled from 0 to 100 with 100 being the easiest matchup. Year to date SOS is offered as a mental yardstick so that you can think about a team’s upcoming schedule vs. the one they’ve faced to date. I’ve highlighted WRs below that have very favorable matchups based on the graphic above and what they have averaged so far this season in targets, receptions, and receiving yards.
The following teams do not have a favorable schedule based on the Buy Low Machine.
Remember that you want to buy targets, receptions, and receiving yards, often even in difficult matchups. You would never bench Antonio Brown or DeAndre Hopkins. This is how some of the WRs from the above teams have performed on a per game basis.
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.
What was most useful to you after reading this column?
- According to NFL Research. (back)