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Christian Kirk Scores 3 Times and Headlines a WR FPOE Leaderboard That Features 4 Breakout Performances

Shawn Siegele looks at all of the top wide receiver performances from Week 10, including big games from Christian Kirk, Darius Slayton, and Amari Cooper.

It was a banner Sunday in fantasy points over expectation (FPOE). Five of the top-eight scores came from rookies or second-year players. Two of those top-eight scores were fueled by another rookie. Daniel Jones led a quartet of young QBs at the top of the passing FPOE standings.

The Weekly Explorer allows you to pull up all the advanced stats for any given week or stretch of weeks.

WR Fantasy Points Over Expectation Leaderboard – Week 10

Christian Kirk

I’ve been fending off trade offers for Kirk all season. As Jack Miller has written on several occasions in his excellent Buy Low Report, Kirk was a buy not a sell.

Kirk missed a stretch in the middle of the season and only turned in a single game with plus efficiency before his three-TD explosion. The previous lack of efficiency camouflaged an impressive volume profile. With his big game in Week 10, the second-year receiver is now up to No. 12 in Expected Points per game (EP/G). He’s been active and effective at all depths on the right side of the field.

Unfortunately, this is probably also the time to sell in seasonal leagues. He capitalized on the best matchup of the season and now enters a brutal stretch.

Owners are familiar with what San Francisco has been doing to opponents, add in the bye, the Rams, and a rising Steelers defense that just locked down Cooper Kupp and embarrassed Jared Goff, and you’ve got a recipe for disappointment. If a Kirk owner happens to be a championship threat in your dynasty league, you might point out this schedule and see if he’ll part with the future star.

Golden Tate

The Giants and Jets rescued each other from the offensive doldrums. Daniel Jones had been on a cold streak, entering the game with -2.1 paFPOE/G from Weeks 4 to 9. Despite ultimately taking the loss, he rebounded with the best game of his young career.

That was enough to place two receivers on the leaderboard. Tate has benefited from Sterling Shepard’s absence to garner a 24% target share since Week 6. His overall profile in 2019 is very similar to the one he established from 2014 to 2017. An underneath receiver, Tate is consistently among the 10 best WRs in yards after the catch.

Darius Slayton

Slayton, on the other hand, has been a revelation. This was his third game with at least 7.0 reFPOE on the year. He took advantage of Evan Engram’s absence to set new career highs in targets (14), expected points (22.8), points over expectation (11.3), air yards (142), and yards after the catch (38). His target depth of 14.8 is the 11th deepest in the league, and he’s lassoing a solid percentage of those deep targets (8 of 17 for 204 yards).

He’s also been easily the most efficient of Jones’ targets.

Mecole Hardman

When Hardman made the leaderboard for the second time in Week 8, I recommended making a move for him after any low-target game where he didn’t score a long TD. That opportunity came the following week after his performance versus the Vikings, a game in which Curtis Patrick and I had to play him to cover a flurry of byes. You win some, you lose some.

He was back in the end zone against the Titans, scoring on a 63-yard TD. Hardman now has 27.5 points over the last three weeks, a stretch during which he has three total targets.

The Chiefs are having no trouble moving the ball or putting up points, but my recommendation would be to get Hardman more involved.

Marquise Brown

Brown continues to demonstrate that his speed profile is well-rounded. While he’s only caught five of 14 deep targets on the season, he can also beat defenders with the ball in his hands. Against the Bengals, he corralled all four of his targets and turned them into 46 yards after the catch. Only three WRs in the NFL average more than his 7.7 YAC.

Lamar Jackson has continued his extreme efficiency when targeting WRs, an encouraging trend in a passing offense that won’t feature a lot of volume.

It would be no surprise if this combination eventually rivals the Russell Wilson-to-Tyler Lockett connection we’ve witnessed over the past month.

Amari Cooper

Despite health concerns entering the game, Cooper strafed the Vikings for 147 yards on 14 targets. He added a highlight-reel score, appearing to defy the laws of physics with his double-toe-tap stretch. He now ranks top four in yards, TDs, PPR, and fantasy points over expectation.

The splits since his trade from the Raiders become more absurd all the time. A few more big games, and my No. 1 overall dynasty ranking for Cooper back in 2017 won’t look as egregious.

James Washington

I included Washington because this could be the week that turns his entire career around. He entered the game averaging -1.4 reFPOE for his career, with only five of 21 games in the positive.

Washington’s performance was even more encouraging since it wasn’t a single-play fluke. He set new career highs in targets (7), receptions (6), and expected points (11.7).

In a season where the Steelers QBs have capitulated to defensive attention on JuJu Smith Schuster – Smith-Schuster averaged 10.4 targets a year ago and hasn’t reached double digits in a single 2019 game – Pittsburgh has needed their secondary receivers to step up. It’s been a process, but they’ve started to do so.

 

I’m always surprised 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 Strength of Schedule Streaming tool, the Game Splits app, the RotoViz Screener, and the Weekly Stats tool.

Image Credit: Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Christian Kirk.

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