Shawn Siegele looks at all of the top wide receiver performances from Week 11, including big games from Stefon Diggs, Calvin Ridley, and John Brown.
WR Fantasy Points Over Expectation Leaderboard – Week 11
In the midst of a brutal stretch where he has the most difficult WR schedule in football, Diggs ignited a Vikings second-half comeback with 121 yards and a score as he caught all five of his targets. That stopped a 10-quarter slide where he’d only garnered 10 total targets and scored 10.5 points. The Minnesota star had been held without a target in the first half.
It’s been a strange season for Diggs. He’s now back up to 15.2 PPG, despite only managing 7.4 over the first three games and then enduring the recent cold spell. His lack of consistency can be traced back to a profile that emphasizes deep targets.
Few receivers in football can match Diggs as a deep threat. He’s turned 20 deep targets into a ridiculous 499 yards, and he’s multifaceted in his attack. Diggs is both targeted very deep (15.4) and then generates plenty of additional yards after the catch (5.8).
Unfortunately, he’s also the most underutilized star in the game. Despite Adam Thielen’s extended absence, Diggs’ target share of 21% is tied for 31st. That’s a drop from 26% in 2018, and most of those lost targets are of the high-completion variety. Last year he was targeted 74 times within five yards of the line of scrimmage. He turned those targets into 60 receptions, or points as they’re known in PPR leagues.
Unfortunately, Ridley’s target numbers haven’t risen sharply since the departure of Mohamed Sanu. In fact, Russell Gage has siphoned 18 targets in the three games since the trade, only two fewer than Ridley has total in that span.
On the plus side, Ridley caught all eight of his targets against the Panthers and turned them into his second 100-yard game of the season.
Even in a frustrating season where he ranks outside the top 30 in targets, Ridley sits at No. 22 in receiving yards and No. 16 in FPOE.
One of the top dynasty gurus in the industry and a must-read for me every time out, Patrick Kerrane recently sent D.K. Metcalf and Christian Kirk for Courtland Sutton and Calvin Ridley. I love all four players in this deal, and it’s a great example of having to give something to get something. It would have been very difficult to part with Metcalf and Kirk, but Sutton and Ridley are going to be dynasty foundation pieces for a decade.
You should be using this recent drought to pry Ridley away from any dynasty owner who has soured on his chances to become a top-10 dynasty receiver.
Jones is older than you might realize, but he’s wearing a flashing Buy sign according to our remaining criteria. He scored 225 points in 2017 and recorded extremely impressive efficiency numbers in the year before and the year during his decline.
BOUNCEBACK? GMS PPR EP FPOE YES 15.00 177.98 167.06 9.17 NO 14.14 149.44 144.23 3.36
Blair’s explanation: Some of the most important distinctions are in the actual production profiles. Successful bouncebacks tend to be much more productive in the season prior to a decline, scoring almost 30 PPR points more than the failures. If this sounds like I’m just saying that good players tend to bounce back more often than bad players, that’s because it is what I’m saying.
How to Play It: Matt Wispe selects Jones in Round 8 of his Perfect Standard Draft, and he’s a strong selection in that range.
He’s also been more than a little lucky. Jones is tied for No. 1 in receiving TDs despite weaker peripherals.
Due to the TD numbers, Jones is No. 10 in FPOE on the season, but his targets (27), receptions (17), receiving yards (20), air yards (18), and expected points (34) suggest his PPR ranking will be difficult to maintain.
It’s still been a very impressive campaign from Jones. As a Lions receiver tends to show up on the leaderboard almost every week, we’ve talked a lot about Matthew Stafford’s career-best season with 6.1 paFPOE/G.1 That efficiency seemed likely to dissolve after the injury-induced move to Jeff Driskel, but Jones helped fuel a 7.5 paFPOE game from the fill-in.
Brown had a second-year breakout back in 2015, and second-year breakouts historically go on to tremendous careers. Unfortunately, injury and health concerns derailed his tenure in Arizona. In one of the NFL’s best comeback stories, he’s vanquished the competition in Buffalo and become once again the T.Y. Hilton-esque speed threat that Davis Mattek and Matthew Freedman loved out of Division II Pittsburg State.
The demolition of Miami (14-9-137-2) vaulted him to WR13, and he’s been almost impossible to cover in the intermediate or deep areas on either side of the field.
The Bad News: Brown’s schedule is about to flip. He’s enjoyed the third-best WR schedule through the first 11 weeks but now enters a stretch where he faces the most difficult remaining slate.
Brown has hit double-digit FPOE on three occasions. Two of them were against the Dolphins, and the hat trick came in his third-easiest matchup (NYJ). This isn’t a criticism. He’s doing what stars do – exploit the matchups you should exploit. But he’s also posted negative FPOE in his two toughest matchups, exactly the type he has remaining.
If you can still make trades in your league, Brown gives you a lot of ammunition to fill holes after his 35-point Week 11.
With back-to-back games with 20-plus points, Cobb becomes one of the must-adds of the week. This is especially true with Dak Prescott emerging as one of the best passers in the game. He’s now up to 62.9 paFPOE, with gaudy efficiency when targeting his two stars.
Cobb’s 7.92 AYA when targeted does offer a reminder of the downside for the former star. His three highest-target games have come in the last three (8, 8, 7), but his target share hasn’t really jumped. Instead, this was the result of a three-game stretch in which Prescott averaged 42 passes.
However with Amari Cooper hobbled and facing a slate of elite defenses that should prioritize his elimination, Cobb could continue to be the beneficiary during the most important part of the fantasy season.
I’m constantly impressed at the depth and breadth of the information in tools built by Mike Beers, Dave Caban, and Anthony Shook. If you enjoyed some of the visualizations used in this piece, make sure to check out the NFL Stat Explorer, the NFL Pace app, the Best Ball Win Rates tool, the Game Splits app, the RotoViz Screener, and the Weekly Stats tool.
Image Credit: Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Calvin Ridley.
- Prior to 2019, Stafford averaged 0.5 paFPOE/G. (back)