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 18 WRs saw double-digit targets in Week 14 and those players averaged 18.7 fantasy points per game? Antonio Brown led the way with 18 and a 27 percent target share. He leads the NFL in receptions for 20 yards or more (24) this season and has finished in the top five in this category for each of the last two seasons.1 The only WR with more air yards than Brown (226) was DeAndre Hopkins (240). Brown led all WRs with 75 yards after the catch and joined Davante Adams and Hopkins as the only other WRs to score two touchdowns.
We will pick up the analysis from last week as you prepare to attack the waiver wire for Week 15. 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
Brown, Hopkins, Adams, and Michael Thomas have all averaged 8.5 or more targets per game this season and have created positive receiving fantasy points over expectation. They were all week-winners in the first round of the fantasy playoffs.
WR TIER 2
Marquise Goodwin has averaged 10 targets, seven receptions, and 102.5 receiving yards per game in two games with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo under center. He can be viewed as a high-end WR3 against the Titans.
A.J. Green and Michael Crabtree both struggled, catching only 12 of a combined 25 targets and underperforming their fantasy expectation by nearly 13 total points.
WR TIER 3
It is very frustrating watching Mohamed Sanu or Nelson Agholor catch TD passes if you happen to have Julio Jones or Alshon Jeffery in your starting lineup. You should continue to start them as their stats have trended up since Week 8.
Jones remains the higher-volume play, but Jeffery has outscored his opportunity by a wider margin, having recorded six of his eight TDs during that stretch.
WR TIER 4
Stefon Diggs has averaged 6.5 targets, 4.2 receptions, and 49.8 receiving yards over his last six games with a negative receiving fantasy points over expectation. Adam Thielen continues to be the Vikings No. 1 receiver, and it’s beginning to look like this won’t change in 2017.
If you dive deeper into the production of Golden Tate and Marvin Jones over the last seven games it is crystal clear which one is superior.
WR TIER 5
Jarvis Landry, Larry Fitzgerald, Keenan Allen, Devin Funchess, and Brandin Cooks are all top-25 WRs this week. All of these WRs have averaged 7.5 or more targets per game since Week 8 with a positive receiving fantasy points over expectation.
The return of Robert Woods negatively impacts Cooper Kupp. He has averaged eight targets, six receptions, and 98.7 receiving yards per game over the last three weeks with strong reFPOE numbers.
WR TIER 6
Doug Baldwin, Tyreek Hill, Jamison Crowder, Marqise Lee, and Josh Gordon were also top-25 WRs this week. The season-ending injury to quarterback Josh McCown obviously has a negative impact on Robby Anderson. He showed a connection with Bryce Petty in 2016 and possesses sneaky upside.
WR TIER 7
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers announced on Instagram that he has been medically cleared to return against the Panthers. The team has an opportunity to make the playoffs if they run the table. This is obviously great news for those who have been holding Jordy Nelson. Rodgers has generated 11.9 adjusted yards per attempt to Jordy Nelson since 2009. This leads all Packers WRs during that time frame with 50 or more targets.
Dez Bryant and Mike Wallace have favorable matchups against the Raiders and Browns. Mike Evans continues to struggle and things do not get any easier for him this week against the Falcons secondary.
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. A 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.
Remember that you want to buy targets, receptions, and receiving yards, often even in difficult matchups. You would never bench Brown, Hopkins, Allen, Thielen, or Jones. This is how the top-20 most targeted WRs 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?
- These statistics are courtesy of NFL Research. (back)