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WR Targets: Sterling Shepard Sets a Career High

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).

You and many other players were in agony this week as you dealt with roster decisions that could determine success or failure in the second week of the fantasy playoffs. If you had Sterling Shepard in your lineup, you were rewarded with 11 receptions, 139 receiving yards, and one touchdown. He had the highest Receiver Air Conversion Ratio (1.09) among WRs with 10 or more targets.1 Shepard set a career high in targets against the Eagles with 16. This was his fifth career game with double-digit targets.

Michael Crabtree led all WRs in targets with 17. He only caught seven passes for 39 receiving yards, and it would have been an abysmal performance if it were not for his two TD receptions. Crabtree has averaged 13.7 targets and 6.7 receptions over his last three games.

WR TARGETS

This week, we will continue to place additional focus on FPOE to determine the efficiency of each WR while incorporating other resources from Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards in order to give you an edge in your quest to win a fantasy championship.

TIER 1

Week 16 Targets Tier 1

  • Randall Cobb benefited from Davante Adams’ concussion and Aaron Rodgers’ return. He accumulated 52 percent of his receiving yards after the catch on his way to the most receiving yards since he posted 85 in Week 1.
  • DeAndre Hopkins continues to be matchup proof and led all WRs with 261 air yards.
  • Jarvis Landry is WR5 on the season and is on a tear. He’s averaged 9.5 targets and seven receptions over the last six.
  • Marquise Goodwin accumulated 164 air yards against the Titans and converted them into 114 yards, adding to a stretch over the last six games where he averages 99 yards per. Only Antonio Brown, Keenan Allen, Hopkins, and Julio Jones average more during that span.

TIER 2

week 16 targets tier 2

  • It is difficult to trust DeVante Parker. He has averaged 7.2 targets and 3.7 receptions per game over the last six. That represents a whopping 4.3 points per game below expectation. Only Crabtree and Zay Jones have been worse since the start of Week 10.
  • Robby Anderson‘s efficiency took a hit without quarterback Josh McCown in the lineup. He had an average depth of target of only 6.8 yards.
  • Michael Thomas has averaged 10.5 targets and 7.3 receptions over his last six.
  • Alshon Jeffery has averaged 8.6 targets per game over his last five while Larry Fitzgerald has averaged 9.8 over his last six.

TIER 3

week 16 targets tier 3

 

  • Keelan Cole had a RACR of 1.72 with 55 percent of his receiving yards coming after the catch. He took advantage of the void left by Marqise Lee’s departure due to an ankle injury. Cole had 186 receiving yards in the game while the Texans offense had 186 total yards in the game.
  • Nelson Agholor has averaged 8.6 targets and 5.2 receptions per game over the last five. He can be viewed as a WR3 even with quarterback Nick Foles under center.
  • Demaryius Thomas has averaged 9.2 targets over his last six, but the Broncos quarterback situation limits his weekly upside. He has a negative receiving fantasy points over expectation (-1.5) during that time frame but is still easily outplaying Emmanuel Sanders (-3.5).

TIER 4

week 16 targets tier 4

  • Brandin Cooks‘ statistical production has been up and down. Over the last five contests, Cooks has three games with more than 16 points and two where he didn’t hit 5.0.
  • Jamison Crowder has averaged 8.2 targets over the last six games.
  • Robert Woods picked up where he left off. He has averaged 9.3 targets over the last three games and is averaging 7.0 points per game more than expected since the beginning of Week 10, first in the NFL.
  • Davante Adams continued to operate as the Packers No. 1. I anticipated that Jordy Nelson would get more opportunities with Aaron Rodgers back in the fold, but that simply was not the case.

TIER 5

week 16 targets tier 5

  • JuJu Smith-Schuster and Martavis Bryant will see more targets with Antonio Brown sidelined due to injury. Smith-Schuster accumulated 74 percent of his receiving yards after the catch with a 69-yard catch-and-run aiding his fantasy day. Both are on the WR2 radar against the Texans defense on Christmas day.
  • Tyreek Hill has averaged 7.8 targets over the last five games. He has now scored 11 TDs of 50 receiving yards or more in his career. All seven of Hill’s scores this season have come outside of the red zone.
  • It was nice to see Stefon Diggs find the end zone, but remember that he has only averaged 6.5 targets per game over the last six.

TIER 6

week 16 targets tier 6

  • Marvin Jones has reached 85 receiving yards or more in six of the last eight games. He has averaged 5.8 targets per game while Golden Tate has averaged 7.2.
  • Positive game flow impacted Adam Thielen‘s production. He has averaged 9.2 targets per game over the last six and remains an elite WR1.
  • The absence of Woods did not help resuscitate the fantasy value of Sammy Watkins. He has averaged only 5.3 targets and 2.8 receptions over the last six games.

WHAT COMES NEXT?

This column will be published every Tuesday to help you make decisions for the upcoming week. Next week I will provide analysis on the most consistent and inconsistent WRs this season. 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?

  1. RACR is an efficiency metric that shows how well a receiver converts air yards into receiving yards.  (back)

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