Wide Receiver Usage Deep Dive: Russell Gage Flashes and the Stars Explode in Week 1
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Image Credit: Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Russell Gage.

All season long Zachary Krueger will go in-depth with all of the key wide receiver performances. Providing weekly targets, air yards breakdowns, and fantasy points over expectation trends, he’ll help you dominate the waiver wire and make the best start/sit decisions in your upcoming fantasy football matchups.

Like frost blanketed across the grass on a crisp fall morning, nothing is more beautiful than logging into the RotoViz Weekly Stat Explorer and seeing those fresh stats. As a Russell Gage fan, I could stare at his 9/114/0 receiving line all morning over a hot cup of coffee, salivating at the idea of him receiving similar volume in Week 2.

An even more exciting way to start your day could be by digging into the air yards Will Fuller received on Thursday night against the Chiefs. After all, it’s not everyday that a receiver just stumbles into 46% of his team’s air yards.

These Week 1 receiving numbers are just a few stats that we’ll emphasize as we head into Week 2. Through the assessment of valuable numbers such as targets, air yards and expected fantasy points we’ll cover all the angles and help you better understand every receiver.

Tasked with the tremendous honor of writing this weekly column, I hope we all get a chance to learn something of value through this weekly dive on WRs. With the goal of winning fantasy championships at the forefront of my mind for the next 16 weeks, let’s take a look at some Week 1 performances!

Week 1 Target Recap

Player Team Tgt Rec Yards TD
Davante Adams GB 17 14 156 2
DeAndre Hopkins ARI 16 14 151 0
Amari Cooper DAL 14 10 81 0
Jamison Crowder NYJ 13 7 115 1
Calvin Ridley ATL 12 9 130 2
Julio Jones ATL 12 9 157 0
Russell Gage ATL 12 9 114 0
Diontae Johnson PIT 10 6 57 0
John Brown BUF 10 6 70 1
Odell Beckham Jr. CLE 10 3 22 0
Quintez Cephus DET 10 3 43 0
Will Fuller HOU 10 8 112 0
A.J. Green CIN 9 5 51 0
Allen Robinson CHI 9 5 74 0
D.J. Moore CAR 9 4 54 0
Darius Slayton NYG 9 6 102 2
Mike Williams LAC 9 4 69 0
Parris Campbell IND 9 6 71 0
Sammy Watkins KC 9 7 82 1
Stefon Diggs BUF 9 8 86 0
T.Y. Hilton IND 9 4 53 0
A.J. Brown TEN 8 5 39 0
Adam Thielen MIN 8 6 110 2
Corey Davis TEN 8 7 101 0
Curtis Samuel CAR 8 5 38 0
D.K. Metcalf SEA 8 4 95 1
Jerry Jeudy DEN 8 4 56 0
Keenan Allen LAC 8 4 37 0
Marvin Jones DET 8 4 55 0
Robby Anderson CAR 8 6 115 1
Robert Woods LAR 8 6 105 0
Tyler Lockett SEA 8 8 92 0
Adam Humphries TEN 7 6 47 0
Chris Godwin TB 7 6 79 0
Cole Beasley BUF 7 4 58 0
Danny Amendola DET 7 5 81 0
DeSean Jackson PHI 7 2 46 0
Greg Ward Jr. PHI 7 5 31 0
Julian Edelman NE 7 5 57 0
Preston Williams MIA 7 2 41 0
Terry McLaurin WAS 7 5 61 0
Anthony Miller CHI 6 4 76 1
CeeDee Lamb DAL 6 5 59 0
Demarcus Robinson KC 6 3 20 0
Jarvis Landry CLE 6 5 61 0
Juju Smith-Schuster PIT 6 6 69 2
Marquez Valdes-Scantling GB 6 4 96 1
Marquise Brown BAL 6 5 101 0
N'Keal Harry NE 6 5 39 0
Scott Miller TB 6 5 73 0
Sterling Shepard NYG 6 6 47 0
Tyreek Hill KC 6 5 46 1
Brandin Cooks HOU 5 2 20 0
Breshad Perriman NYJ 5 3 17 0
Christian Kirk ARI 5 1 0 0
Cooper Kupp LAR 5 4 40 0
Dontrelle Inman WAS 5 2 21 0
Emmanuel Sanders NO 5 3 15 1
Henry Ruggs LV 5 3 55 0
John Ross CIN 5 2 17 0
Keelan Cole JAC 5 5 47 1
Kendrick Bourne SF 5 2 34 0
Larry Fitzgerald ARI 5 4 34 0
Michael Gallup DAL 5 3 50 0
Michael Thomas NO 5 3 17 0
Tim Patrick DEN 5 4 29 0
Trent Taylor SF 5 2 7 0
Tyler Boyd CIN 5 4 33 0
Allen Lazard GB 4 4 63 1
Chris Hogan NYJ 4 1 0 0
DeVante Parker MIA 4 4 47 0
Isaiah Ford MIA 4 2 13 0
Jakeem Grant MIA 4 3 25 0
Jalen Reagor PHI 4 1 55 0
John Hightower PHI 4 1 -2 0
Laviska Shenault Jr. JAC 4 3 37 1
Mike Evans TB 4 1 2 1
Miles Boykin BAL 4 3 37 0
Olabisi Johnson MIN 4 3 56 0
Willie Snead BAL 4 4 64 1
D.J. Chark JAC 3 3 25 1
DaeSean Hamilton DEN 3 1 18 0
Darnell Mooney CHI 3 3 38 0
David Moore SEA 3 3 28 0
Isaiah McKenzie BUF 3 3 17 0
James Washington PIT 3 2 34 1
Justin Jefferson MIN 3 2 26 0
Khadarel Hodge CLE 3 1 12 0
Mike Thomas CIN 3 2 17 0
Randall Cobb HOU 3 2 23 0
Steven Sims Jr. WAS 3 3 50 0
Van Jefferson LAR 3 1 31 0
Zach Pascal IND 3 2 18 0
C.J. Board NYG 2 2 17 0
Chase Claypool PIT 2 2 39 0
DeAndre Carter HOU 2 1 8 0
Gabriel Davis BUF 2 2 16 0
Hunter Renfrow LV 2 2 21 0
Javon Wims CHI 2 1 1 1
Justin Watson TB 2 1 6 0
Kalif Raymond TEN 2 0 0 0
Kenny Stills HOU 2 0 0 0
Marvin Hall DET 2 1 26 0
Michael Pittman IND 2 2 10 0
Seth Roberts CAR 2 1 5 0
Bryan Edwards LV 1 1 9 0
Chris Conley JAC 1 1 6 0
Collin Johnson JAC 1 1 14 0
Cordarrelle Patterson CHI 1 1 12 0
Damion Ratley NYG 1 0 0 0
Dante Pettis SF 1 0 0 0
Deonte Harris NO 1 1 17 0
Devin Duvernay BAL 1 1 12 0
Freddie Swain SEA 1 1 17 0
Jalen Guyton LAC 1 1 16 0
Jamal Agnew DET 1 0 0 0
Josh Reynolds LAR 1 1 17 0
Mecole Hardman KC 1 1 6 0
Nelson Agholor LV 1 1 23 1
Rashard Higgins CLE 1 1 9 0
Tajae Sharpe MIN 1 0 0 0
Ted Ginn CHI 1 0 0 0
Tre'Quan Smith NO 1 1 4 0
Tyrie Cleveland DEN 1 1 7 0
Christian Blake ATL 0 0 0 0
Joe Reed LAC 0 0 0 0

All jokes about drooling over my coffee aside, Russell Gage’s 12 targets were a pleasant surprise in Week 1. The Falcons stuck to the preseason narrative of being one of the most pass-heavy teams in the league, as the trio of Julio JonesCalvin Ridley, and Gage each received 12 targets and eclipsed 100 receiving yards. Atlanta’s pass-heavy approach last week against the Seahawks may have had more to do with the negative script in a game they ended up losing 38-25, but I wouldn’t be so quick to ignore Gage’s numbers.

Looking back at his last 10 games, Gage is tied for 17th in targets per game (7.8) among all wide receivers.1 Gage’s 12 targets from last week weren’t even a career high for him, as he was targeted 13 times in Week 17 last year. Gage’s 20.4 fantasy points (WR11) did set a new career mark.

With the Falcons defense looking like a sieve at home against the Seahawks, negative script could become a norm. Atlanta gets a talented Cowboys offense in Week 2 that’s coming off a tough loss in their opener against the Rams.

If you find yourself already looking for a new WR3/4, Gage is a sure bet to outproduce his offseason FFPC draft slot of 269.5. His 7.8 targets per game over his last 10 puts him on a 16-game pace for 125 total targets. That would have been the 16th most among WRs in 2019.

By contrast, I’m fading the Week 1 target numbers for Quintez Cephus.

Last week, Cephus became only the 16th WR since 2000 to see 10-plus targets in his rookie debut.

While Cephus’ high-volume debut looks good on the surface, it’s worth noting a few things.

First and foremost, Cephus’ performance came without Kenny Golladay (hamstring). Had Golladay been healthy, Cephus would have been hard pressed to see the field, much less 10 targets.

Moreover, Cephus was the second-most inefficient WR in Week 1, posting -9.2 fantasy points over expectation (reFPOE). He turned his 10 targets into a dismal receiving line of 3/43/0 and only 7.3 PPR points. While his debut makes him an interesting dynasty stash, I’m not trying to jam Cephus into any Week 2 lineups.

In the same way I would be rushing to the waiver wire to add Gage, I’m just as quickly moving away from any thoughts of adding Cephus.

Week 1 Expected Points Recap

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Zachary Krueger

Staff writer & fantasy analyst. I like best ball and dislike early-round TEs.

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