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Wide Receiver Snap Counts and Target Trends - Week 6 Analysis

Your wide receivers remain essential components toward your primary goal of securing league championships. As this unique regular season continues to unfold, an expanding assortment of tools is available that can provide you with an extensive level of knowledge regarding this critical position. Those results are contained in this weekly statistical breakdown of multiple categories, which is designed to help you fulfill your championship aspirations.

This will be the sixth installment that will examine game-specific data, including updated totals for targets, first downs, red-zone targets, snap counts, and a compilation of advanced statistics. The information that is contained in this weekly report will analyze how various receivers are being utilized, and how effectively they are capitalizing on their opportunities. This massive collection of data supplies the foundation from which the numbers that are generated in various categories can be evaluated.

As the season progresses noteworthy changes in usage and production will be blended into the equation. That will bolster your efforts to determine which wide receivers should be in your lineups, and which are worthy of remaining on your rosters. Pro Football Reference, PFF, NextGenStats, Rotowire, Rotoviz, and Football Outsiders were all used as resources in compiling this data.

 

Week 6 Target Leaders 

Wide Receivers Total Targets Targ/Game YPT
Allen Robinson 66 11 7.2
Amari Cooper 65 10.8 7.7
DeAndre Hopkins 61 10.2 9.9
Stefon Diggs 59 9.8 9.4
Terry McLaurin 58 9.7 8.4
Calvin Ridley 57 9.5 9.6
Robby Anderson 51 8.5 11.1
Keenan Allen 50 10 7.1
CeeDee Lamb 50 8.3 9.9
Adam Thielen 49 8.2 8.5
Tyler Boyd 48 8 8.7
D.J. Moore 48 8 9.9
Jamison Crowder 46 11.5 8.3
Cooper Kupp 45 7.5 8.3
A.J. Green 45 7.5 4.8
Darius Slayton 44 7.3 9.2
Odell Beckham 43 7.2 7.4
Marquise Brown 42 7 9
Brandin Cooks 42 7 8.7
Robert Woods 41 6.8 8
Will Fuller 41 6.8 11.1
DeVante Parker 40 6.7 9.1
D.K. Metcalf 39 7.8 12.7
Tyler Lockett 38 7.6 8.9
Tee Higgins 38 6.3 8.9
Keelan Cole 38 6.3 9.5
Tyreek Hill 38 6.3 10.1
Mike Evans 37 6.2 7.6
T.Y. Hilton 37 6.2 6.5
Cole Beasley 37 6.2 9.7
Emmanuel Sanders 36 7.2 8.4
Russell Gage 36 6 8
Julian Edelman 36 7.2 8.4
Justin Jefferson 36 6 14.9
Laviska Shenault Jr. 35 5.8 8
Greg Ward 34 5.7 5.6
Michael Gallup 34 5.7 10.9
D.J. Chark 34 6.8 7.8
Jerry Jeudy 33 6.6 8
Jarvis Landry 33 5.6 9.7
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 30 6 8
Darnell Mooney 30 5 6.5
Davante Adams 30 10 8.4
Julio Jones 30 7.5 11.7

 

Allen Robinson leads all wide receivers in targets for the second consecutive week (66). Amari Cooper is second (65), followed by DeAndre Hopkins (61), Stefon Diggs (59), Terry McLaurin  (58), and Calvin Ridley (57). Robby Anderson is next (51), followed by Keenan Allen (500, CeeDee Lamb (50), and Adam Thielen (49), while D.J. Moore and Tyler Boyd are tied with 48. Jamison Crowder is next (46), followed by Cooper Kupp (45), A.J. Green (45), Darius Slayton (44), and Odell Beckham (43). Marquise Brown (42), Brandin Cooks 42.  Will Fuller 41, Robert Woods, (41), and DeVante Parker (41), are the only other wide receivers who have eclipsed 40 targets.

Robinson also leads all wide receivers with 48 targets since Week 3. Cooper is second once again with 42, followed by McLaurin (41), Diggs (37), Hopkins (36), and a three-way tie with Boyd, Ridley, and Lamb at 35. Kupp and Anderson have collected 34 targets, while Crowder and Thielen are tied with 33 during that four-game span. Allen and Tee Higgins are next with 32, Fuller has captured 31, and both Marquise Brown and Justin Jefferson have been targeted 30 times. Jefferson’s recent surge in usage and production will be examined further in the 5 Things I Noticed section.

Robinson also leads to the position with 25 targets during the last two weeks, while Diggs is located directly behind him with 24. Crowder and the surging Travis Fulghum are in a tie for third (23). Cooks and Lamb are next (21), while Cooks’ teammate Fuller is tied with McLaurin at 19. D.J. Chark Anderson and Thielen are next (18), followed by Kupp, and Ridley in a tie at 17.  Five different receivers have also been targeted 16 times during that two-game span – Higgins, Moore, Jefferson, A.J. Brown, and Marquise Brown.

Crowder leads all receivers in targets per game (11.5) and is one of six receivers who is averaging 10+ - Robinson (11), Cooper (10.8), Hopkins (10.2), Allen (10), and Adams (10).

Justin Jefferson leads all receivers with a 14.9 yards per target average. Chase Claypool is the only other receiver with an average of 14+, followed by Metcalf (12.7), Julio Jones (11.7), and three receivers who are tied with an average of 11.1 - Anderson, Fuller, and Scott Miller. Michael Gallup and Travis Fulgham are next (10.9), followed by four receivers that are tied at 10.8 – Josh ReynoldsCorey Davis. Gabriel Davis, and Mecole HardmanTim Patrick and Kenny Golladay are tied at 10.7, while Tyreek Hill (10.1), Hunter Renfrow, and Christian Kirk (10.0), are the only other receivers who currently have an average of 10+

 

Largest Weekly Changes

Wide Receivers Week 5 Week 6 Changes
A.J. Green 1 11 10
D.J. Chark 4 14 10
Davante Adams INJ 10 10
Julio Jones INJ 10 10
Tim Patrick BYE 8 8
Breshad Perriman INJ 8 8
Amari Cooper 4 10 6
D.J. Moore 5 11 6
Julian Edelman BYE 6 6
Justin Jefferson 5 11 6
Adam Humphries COVID 6 6
Terry McLaurin 7 12 5
Robert Woods 5 10 5
DeVante Parker 3 8 5
Jerry Jeudy BYE 5 5
Marquez Valdes-Scantling BYE 5 5
Zach Pascal 2 7 5
Marcus Johnson 3 8 5
Jamison Crowder 10 13 3
Will Fuller 8 11 3
Keelan Cole 6 9 3
James Washington 4 7 3
Calvin Ridley 10 7 -3
Brandin Cooks 12 9 -3
Tyreek Hill 6 3 -3
Larry Fitzgerald 7 4 -3
Brandon Aiyuk 6 3 -3
Travis Fulgham 13 10 -3
Marquise Brown 10 6 -4
Jarvis Landry 9 5 -4
Odell Beckham 9 4 -5
T.Y. Hilton 10 5 -5
Allen Robinson 16 9 -7
Robby Anderson 13 5 -7
Darius Slayton 11 4 -7
Mike Evans 9 2 -7
Chase Claypool 11 4 -7
Jeff Smith 11 4 -7
Stefon Diggs 16 8 -8
Adam Thielen 13 5 -8
Gabriel Davis 9 1 -8

 

D.J. Chark captured 14 targets during Jacksonville’s Week 6 matchup with Detroit, which was the highest total for any wide receiver during the week. It was also his first double-digit target total since Week 14 of last season. Chark was one of 13 different receivers who collected 10+ targets during the Week 6 matchups. Jamison Crowder continued his streak of double-digit targets in every game this season while also attaining the second-highest total for the week (13). Terry McLaurin’s 12 targets placed him third, while four receivers were all targeted 11 times during Week 6 -Will Fuller, D.J. Moore, A.J. Green, and Justin Jefferson.

Robert Woods was among the six receivers who captured 10 targets, as he was joined by Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Travis Fulgham, and two receivers who returned after being sidelined by injury - Julio Jones and Davante Adams. Robinson, Cooks, Kupp, and Keelan Cole all received nine targets while a group of eight receivers was targeted eight times - Stefon Diggs, DeAndre Hopkins, DeVante Parker, Tim Patrick, Marcus Johnson, Breshad Perriman, and Cincinnati teammates Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd.

Four different receivers experienced a week to week increase of +10 in their target totals. Both Devante Adams and Julio Jones had been sidelined during Week 5 and re-emerged to join the two other receivers who attained a weekly increase of +10 during their Week 6 matchups. They were joined by Chark who had been averaging five targets per game from Weeks 1-5. A.J. Green also experienced a surge of +10 by collecting 11 targets just one week after being targeted just once when the Bengals traveled to Baltimore.

Tim Patrick returned from his Week 5 bye and promptly captured eight targets in New England. That tied him with Breshad Perriman who easily established a new season-high by collecting his eight targets. Amari Cooper, D.J. Moore, and Justin Jefferson all attained a week to week increase of +6. They joined by Julian Edelman and Adam Humphries who did not perform in Week 5 but resurfaced to capture six targets in Week 6. The weekly totals for seven different receivers rose by +5 during their Week 6 matchups - Terry McLaurin, Robert Woods, DeVante Parker, Jerry Jeudy, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Indianapolis teammates Zack Pascal and Marcus Johnson.

Gabriel Davis established a career-high when he received nine targets in Week 5. However, Josh Allen only launched one pass in his direction during Buffalo's Week 6 matchup with Kansas City. The week to week decrease of -8 ties him with his teammate Stefon Diggs, and Adam Thielen. However, managers will not be concerned about the Week 6 results for either veteran.

Six different receivers experienced a week to week reduction of -7 -Allen Robinson, Robby Anderson, Darius Slayton, Chase Claypool, Jeff Smith, and Mike Evans - whose two targets in Week 6 tied his career-low.

 

Week 6 Air Yards

Wide Receivers Air Yards Cmp AY % AY aDOT
Calvin Ridley 836 453 39.5 14.9
D.K. Metcalf 717 374 44.5 17.5
Adam Thielen 696 358 43.3 14.5
Marquise Brown 673 275 45.8 16
Allen Robinson 665 343 32.8 10.2
A.J. Green 659 170 30.4 14.6
Stefon Diggs 637 420 35.1 11
Will Fuller 610 360 32.1 14.2
Tyreek Hill 580 259 34.6 15.3
Amari Cooper 569 273 26.6 8.8
Terry McLaurin 562 216 42.8 10
Darius Slayton 559 331 45 12.7
D.J. Moore 559 320 41.3 11.9
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 556 169 35.8 18.3
Odell Beckham 531 272 38.7 13.3
Michael Gallup 528 285 27.1 16
Robby Anderson 503 322 36.9 9.5
DeAndre Hopkins 494 317 30.5 8
Tim Patrick 474 259 26.2 16.3
CeeDee Lamb 471 310 22.1 9.6
Justin Jefferson 469 351 27.6 13
Tee Higgins 467 227 25.3 13.2
Brandin Cooks 456 255 26.2 11.4
Tyler Boyd 448 301 21.4 9.3
D.J. Chark 431 219 24.1 12.7
Jerry Jeudy 429 188 24.7 13.8
T.Y. Hilton 424 180 27.6 11.8
Keelan Cole 420 261 24.9 11.1
Keenan Allen 410 201 31.1 8.7
Darnell Mooney 408 166 20.7 13.8
John Hightower 400 65 19.5 21.2
Preston Williams 398 181 24.9 14.4
DeVante Parker 389 282 25.2 9.6
Mike Evans 387 209 22.6 10.5
Julian Edelman 386 230 37 10.7
Mike Williams 379 167 27.7 17.2
Christian Kirk 378 124 24.2 16.4
Scott Miller 374 201 19.3 16.3
Jamison Crowder 367 189 23.1 8
Julio Jones 359 227 16.5 12

Calvin Ridley continues to lead all wide receivers in air yards after six weeks of game action (836). He is followed by D.K. Metcalf (717), Adam Thielen (696), Marquise Brown (673), Allen Robinson (665), A.J. Green (659), Stefon Diggs (637), and Will Fuller (610). No other wide receivers have eclipsed 600 yards entering Week 7. Tyreek Hill is next (580), followed by Amari Cooper (569), and Terry McLaurin (562), while Darius Slayton and D.J. Moore are tied at (559). Marquez Valdes-Scantling is next (556), followed by Odell Beckham (531), Michael Gallup (528), Robby Anderson (503), DeAndre Hopkins (494), Tim Patrick (474), CeeDee Lamb (471), and Justin Jefferson (469).

Marquise Brown has emerged as the new league leader in percentage share of air yards (45.8). Slayton is second overall (45.0), followed by Metcalf (44.5), Thielen (43.3), McLaurin (42.8), and Moore (41.4). No other receivers have obtained an average of at least 40%. Calvin Ridley is next (39.5), followed by Odell Beckham (38.7), Julian Edelman (37.0), Anderson (36.9), Valdes-Scantling (36.0), Diggs (35.1), and Hill (34.6).

John Hightower leads all wide receivers in targeted air yards (21.3), followed by Valdes- Scantling (18.4), Mike Williams (17.6), Michael Gallup (16.8), Marquise Brown (16.4), Metcalf, and Scott Miller in a tie at 16.3. Christian Kirk is next (16.1), followed by Tim Patrick (16), Andy Isabella (15.8), Ridley (15.4), Preston Williams (15.3), and Hill (15.1). No other wide receivers have attained an average of 15+. Thielen spearheads a group of four receivers that are averaging 14+ through Week 6.

 

Week 6 First Downs

Wide Receivers First Downs
DeAndre Hopkins 31
Calvin Ridley 28
Amari Cooper 28
Tyler Boyd 27
Terry McLaurin 26
Stefon Diggs 25
Robby Anderson 24
CeeDee Lamb 24
Allen Robinson 23
D. J. Moore 23
Adam Thielen 22
Justin Jefferson 22
Keenan Allen 21
Darius Slayton 21
DeVante Parker 20
Will Fuller 20
D.K. Metcalf 19
Cole Beasley 19
Tyreek Hill 18
Cooper Kupp 18
Marquise Brown 18
Keelan Cole 18
Tyler Lockett 17
Russell Gage 17
Emmanuel Sanders 17
Mike Evans 17
Odell Beckham Jr. 17
D.J. Chark 17
Laviska Shenault Jr. 17

 

DeAndre Hopkins has maintained his league lead in first down receptions (31), while Calvin Ridley and Amari Cooper are tied for second (28). Tyler Boyd is next (27), followed by Terry McLaurin (26), Stefon Diggs (25), Robby Anderson (24). CeeDee Lamb (24), Allen Robinson (23), D.J. Moore (23), and Minnesota teammates Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson with 22. Keenan Allen and Darius Slayton are tied with 21 first downs, while DeVante Parker and Will Fuller each have 21 receptions for first downs. D.K. Metcalf and Cole Beasley are next (19), while four receivers are tied with 18 receptions for first downs - Tyreek Hill, Cooper Kupp, Marquise Brown, and Keelan Cole.

Jefferson collected six receptions for first downs in Week 6, while Cooper captured five. McLaurin accumulated four catches while a collection of receivers collected three first down receptions in Week 6.

 

Week 6 Red Zone Targets

Wide Receivers Inside 20 Inside 10 Inside 5 Team %
Calvin Ridley 8 4 2 26.67
Adam Thielen 8 4 2 38.1
Darius Slayton 8 5 2 28.57
Emmanuel Sanders 8 4 2 26.67
Russell Gage 8 4 2 26.67
D.J. Chark 8 3 1 21.05
Zach Pascal 8 4 3 25
N'Keal Harry 8 4 2 40
DeAndre Hopkins 7 3 1 33.33
Robby Anderson 6 2 1 26.09
Stefon Diggs 6 3 3 16.22
Amari Cooper 6 3 2 19.35
CeeDee Lamb 6 5 4 19.35
Allen Robinson 6 2 1 18.18
Will Fuller 6 2 1 26.09
Tyreek Hill 6 4 1 20
Cole Beasley 6 5 2 16.22
Keenan Allen 6 1 0 31.58
Julio Jones 6 2 1 20
Odell Beckham 6 5 4 33.33
Mike Evans 6 5 4 17.65
Sammy Watkins 6 5 2 20
A.J. Brown 6 3 0 24
DK Metcalf 5 4 0 17.86
Cooper Kupp 5 2 1 22.73
Tyler Lockett 5 4 3 17.86
Tee Higgins 5 3 3 17.24
Robert Woods 5 1 0 22.73
Travis Fulgham 5 1 1 22.73
Kenny Golladay 5 2 0 16.13
Preston Williams 5 4 3 19.23
Brandon Aiyuk 5 4 3 16.13
Trent Taylor 5 2 1 16.13

Entering Week 5, N’Keal Harry led all wide receivers with eight red zone targets. As we fast forward two weeks to the current leaderboard, Harry remains stagnant with his eight targets and is now tied with seven other receivers for the league lead - Calvin Ridley, Adam Thielen, Darius Slayton, Emmanuel Sanders, Russell Gage, D.J. Chark, and Zach Pascal. DeAndre Hopkins has collected seven targets, while 14 different receivers have been targeted six times inside the 20.

Five different receivers are tied for the league lead with five targets inside the 10 - Slayton, CeeDee Lamb, Cole Beasley, Odell Beckham, Mike Evans, and Sammy Watkins.

Lamb, Beckham, and Evans are tied for the league lead with four targets inside the five, while Pascal, Stefon Diggs, Brandon Aiyuk, Preston Williams, Tyler Lockett, and Tee Higgins, have all captured three targets in inside the five.

Julio Jones had only been targeted twice inside the red zone as he entered Week 6. But he registered more targets than any other wide receiver in Week 6 (4). Travis Fulgham, A.J. Brown, D.J. Chark, and Pascal all collected three targets inside the 20 during their Week 6 matchups.

 

Week 6 Snap Counts

Wide Receivers  Week 6 Snaps  Total Snaps Total Snap %
Michael Gallup 72/80.9% 417 89.84
Amari Cooper 79/88.7% 392 81.51
DeAndre Hopkins 48/77.4% 380 93.26
Terry McLaurin 70/95.9% 379 94.99
Tyreek Hill 67/91.8% 370 86.82
Robert Woods 57/95% 357 90.15
Adam Thielen 52/92.9% 350 92.11
Tyler Boyd 57/78.1% 348 77.85
Calvin Ridley 59/73.8% 346 79.18
Mike Evans 51/78.5% 344 83.7
Cooper Kupp 55/91.7% 343 86.62
D.J. Moore 64/94.1% 338 84.29
Allen Robinson 58/87.9% 338 83.87
Darius Slayton 40.83.3% 337 91.33
Zach Pascal 58/92.1% 324 81.41
Odell Beckham 48/84.2% 314 78.7
Damiere Byrd 55/96.5% 312 92.58
Stefon Diggs 51/96.2% 307 89.5
D.K. Metcalf BYE 304 95.6
DeVante Parker 46.82.1% 301 76.79
Marvin Jones 62/80.5% 301 88.01
Tyler Lockett BYE 300 94.34
Robby Anderson 59/86.8% 299 74.56
Kendrick Bourne 41/56.2% 299 72.93
T.Y. Hilton 59/93.7% 298 74.87
Brandin Cooks 63/87.5% 297 82.5
A.J. Green 58/79.5% 296 66.22
Larry Fitzgerald 38/61.3% 295 82.87
Will Fuller 66/91.7% 292 81.11
Keelan Cole 48/75% 292 73.37
Jarvis Landry 44/77.2% 289 72.43
Keenan Allen BYE 288 80.22
Brandon Aiyuk 62.84.9% 288 82.76
Tee Higgins 59/80.8% 288 64.43
Justin Jefferson 50/89.3% 287 75.53
Marquise Brown 62/84.9% 284 76.14
Dontrelle Inman 66/90.4% 280 70.18
Tre'Quan Smith BYE 279 83.28
Preston Williams 40.71.4% 275 70.15
Chris Hogan IR 274 82.78
CeeDee Lamb 60/67.4% 274 71.35
JuJu Smith-Schuster 42/64.6% 271 77.65
Josh Reynolds 50/83.3% 270 68.18
Russell Gage 51/63.8% 267 61.1
D.J. Chark 57/89.1% 266 80.12
N'Keal Harry 51/89.5% 266 78.93
Greg Ward 58/88.7% 266 62.88
Tim Patrick 59/92.2% 265 79.58
Jalen Guyton BYE 264 73.54
Demarcus Robinson 69/94.5% 263 62.32
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 53/84.1% 259 76.4

Michael Gallup now leads all wide receivers with 417 offensive snaps. His teammate Amari Cooper is second (392), followed by DeAndre Hopkins (380), Terry McLaurin (379), Tyreek Hill (370), Robert Woods (357), Adam Thielen (350), and Tyler Boyd (348). Calvin Ridley is next (346), followed by Mike Evans (344), Cooper Kupp (343), and two receivers who are tied at 338 - Allen Robinson and D.J. Moore. Darius Slayton is next (337), followed by Zach Pascal (324), Odell Beckham (314), and Damiere Byrd (312). Stefon Diggs and D.K. Metcalf spearhead a group of seven additional receivers that have been involved in at least 300 offensive of snaps from Weeks 1-6.

Metcalf leads the position in offensive snap count percentage (95.6), followed by McLaurin (95.0), Metcalf‘s teammate Tyler Lockett (94.3), Hopkins (93.2), Damiere Byrd (92.6), and Thielen (92.1). Slayton is next (91.3), followed by Woods 90.2, Gallup 89.8, Diggs (89.5), Marvin Jones (88.0), and Tyreek Hill (86.8). Jamison Crowder, and Cooper Kupp, are among the group of 17 additional receivers that have performed on over 80% of their teams’ offensive snaps.

Cooper led all receivers in offensive snaps during Week 6 matchups (79). His teammate Gallup was second with 72. McLaurin was next (70), followed by Demarcus Robinson  (69), and Hill (67), while Dontrelle Inman was tied with Will Fuller at 66. Julio Jones and D.J. Moore were next (64), while four receivers were tied with 63 snaps. Brandin Cooks, Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman, and A.J. Brown. Three receivers were next with 62 snaps - Brandon Aiyuk, Marquise Brown, and Marvin Jones. Deebo Samuel and Jeff Smith were next 60, while a group of five receivers was tied at 59 - Tee Higgins, T.Y. Hilton, Tim Patrick, Calvin Ridley, and Robby Anderson.

Damiere Byrd led the position in snap count percentage for Week 6 (96.5). McLaurin was second (95.9), followed by Woods (95), Robinson (94.6), Moore (94.1), Hilton (93.7), Thielen (92.9), and Tim Patrick 92.2. Zack Pascal was next 92.1, followed by Fuller 91.7, Kupp (91.7), Inman (90.4), and N’Keal Harry (89.5). Justin Jefferson was next (89.3), followed by D.J. Chark (89.1), Cooper (88.7), Crowder (88.7), and a collection of four additional receivers that were involved in at least 85% of their teams’ offensive snaps during Week 6.

 

Five Things I Noticed

1. The Vikings enter their Week 7 bye while contending with the uncomfortable reality of a 1-5 record.

The numerous shortcomings that have permeated the team include an overly generous defense (ranked 28th) that has surrendered 413.7 yards per game - which is 72 yards higher than the 341.6 that their 14th ranked unit allowed during 2019. The vulnerable nature of Minnesota’s defense has not compelled Mike Zimmer to completely abandon his penchant for the ground game.

But the Vikings have risen slightly to 25th in pass play percentage (53.1%), after ranking just 30th with a 50.9% percentage during 2019. The Vikings are also ranked 21st in passing (235 yards per game). This is slightly above last season when the Vikings were 23rd while averaging 220.2 yards per game. Kirk Cousins is also averaging 29.2 attempts per game, which is slightly below the 29.6 attempts per game average that he attained during 2019. However, Minnesota’s top two receiving weapons are also commandeering an even 50% of Cousins’ targets. This has enabled Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson to function as highly productive resources for their fantasy GMs regardless of their team’s deficiencies.

 

In Weeks 1-2, Jefferson averaged 3 targets, 2.5 receptions, and 35 yards per game. But the 21-year old rookie delivered a statistical explosion in Week 3 (7 receptions/175 yards/1 touchdown) that has fueled his meteoric rise toward weekly WR2 status. He accumulated more receiving yards than any other receiver in Week 6 (166) and also tied for first at his position in receptions (9). Jefferson also resides at WR1 in scoring from Weeks 3-6 and has averaged 7.5 targets, 5.8 receptions, and 117 yards per game during that span. If you extract the results of his matchup in Week 5 versus Seattle (5 targets/3 receptions/23 yards) he has averaged 8.3 targets, 6.7 receptions, and 149 yards per game.

Jefferson was outside the top 70 in receiving yards entering Week 3 but has soared to fifth overall (537) after stockpiling 166 yards during Minnesota’s matchup with Atlanta. He has also averaged at least 18.4 yards per reception and 15.1 yards per target during three of his last four contests, which has propelled him to the league lead in yards per target average (14.9), and fourth overall in yards per reception (19.2).

None of this diminishes the numbers that Adam Thielen has attained through six matchups, as he is currently WR3 in scoring. The seven-year veteran also leads the league with seven touchdowns and is fourth in percentage share of air yards (43.3%). Thielen is also 10th in targets (49), 14th in receiving yards (415), and third in air yards (696). Regardless of the frequency with which Zimmer is willing to rely on Cousins and the passing attack, Thielen and Jefferson will not be contending with formidable competition for targets. This should sustain their current status among the league leaders in a collection of categories.

 

2. DeKaylin Zecharius Metcalf entered the NFL in 2019 after performing in a total of 21 games at Ole Miss.

Projections for his professional career contained a blend of excitement surrounding his unique blend of physical attributes that was offset by concerns regarding limitations in his experience, and his need for further development as a receiver. That contributed to Metcalf being just the ninth receiver to be selected during the NFL Draft.

Metcalf’s prospects for delivering a breakout season were discussed here last April.  The rationale was based upon his exceptional combination of size, speed, and athleticism that would enable him to explode into high-end WR2 territory. He has accomplished that, while his accelerated progression as a receiver has propelled him to the periphery of WR1 status. This has also fueled Metcalf’s emergence as arguably the NFL’s premier deep threat. His usage and production have exceeded even the most optimistic expectations entering the regular season, which provides the incentive for reviewing his accomplishments after five contests.

Metcalf entered Seattle’s Week 6 bye in a tie for 13th with 39 targets (7.8 per game). He was also second in air yards (717), third in percentage share of air yards (44.5), fifth in yards per target (12.7), and eighth in targeted air yards (16.3). Metcalf was also tied for 11th in first downs (19) and tied for fifth in targets inside the 10 (4). He had also joined teammate Tyler Lockett in placing among the top 10 in Football Outsiders’ Defense-Adjusted Yards Above Replacement ratings (DYAR) for wide receivers.

Seattle's restructured offensive approach has also been beneficial in his statistical surge as the Seahawks have climbed to 11th in pass play percentage (60.9%). This represents a significant change from 2019 when the aerial attack ranked just 27th (54.0%). Russell Wilson is assembling touchdowns at a historic rate, as his 19 touchdown passes are just one short of the all-time record for the first five regular-season games.

A team-high 24.2 share of Wilson’s targets is being distributed to Metcalf, who was WR4 in scoring entering his Week 6 bye. Metcalf’s aforementioned 12.7 yards per target average is nearly four yards higher than his average as a rookie (9.0). His 22.5 yards per reception average is exactly 7 yards higher than the 15.5 he attained in 2019. Metcalf has also added an additional 42.9 yards per game when contrasted with last season 2019 (99.2/56.3). At his current pace, Metcalf would collect 125 targets, capture 70 targets, and stockpile 1,587 yards.

Tyler Lockett is also constructing a highly productive season even though he has been surpassed by Metcalf in targets, first downs, air yards, targeted air yards, percentage share of air yards, and yards per target. Lockett does lead the Seahawks in receptions (30), while his 68.4 yards per game average is still the highest of his career, However, it is Metcalf that has become Seattle’s most explosive and productive receiver. That will remain intact regardless of whether Seattle eventually adds Antonio Brown.

 

3. Several wide receivers returned to game action following their collective receiving very from injuries.

Julio Jones was leading the league in receiving yards (157), was second in air yards, and included among the top five in targets (12), and receptions (9), after Week 1. However, a protracted hamstring issue had limited him to eight targets, six receptions, and 56 yards from Weeks 2-5. It also created trepidation for many managers regarding the potential of Jones’ to deliver substandard numbers due to the lingering impact of his injury in Week 6. But he tied for eighth among all receivers in targets (10), and was third in both receptions (8), and receiving yards (137). He also accumulated 71 air yards, while averaging 17.1 yards per reception and a season-high 13.7 yards per target.

Davante Adams also re-emerged for the first time since Week 2, following a recovery from his hamstring injury. He attained a double-digit target total for the second time this season by capturing a team-high 10, and his season-long average of 10 targets per game ties him for sixth among all receivers. He also paced Green Bay in receptions (6) and receiving yards (61) during Green Bay’s matchup in Tampa. He should continue to stockpile targets and supply favorable numbers to fantasy GMs while performing as the focal point of the Packers' aerial attack.

Breshad Perriman also resurfaced in Week 6 to deliver what was easily his most productive outing since signing his one year, 8 million-dollar deal with the Jets. Perriman had been limited it came to 76 snaps, seven targets, five receptions, and 29 yards entering New York’s AFC East matchup with Miami. But he established new season-highs in targets (8), receptions (4), and receiving yards (62). The 27-year old Perriman also averaged 15.5 yards per reception and 7.8 yards per target against Miami, after averaging 5.85 yards per reception, and 4.7 yards per target prior to the contests. The Jets desperately need another receiver beyond Jamison Crowder to perform reliably, while anyone who invested in Perriman during the offseason would be ecstatic if that would transpire.

A.J. Brown was involved in his second matchup since his reemergence from a knee issue that had forced his absence in Weeks 2-3. He has collected 12 of 16 targets for 138 yards and three touchdowns since his return. Brown finished ninth among overall among all receivers with a 50.3% percentage share of air yards in Week 5 and was also 13th in target share (33.3) during that matchup with Buffalo. He has also averaged 11.45 yards per reception and 8.55 yards per target since resurfacing in the lineup. Even with Corey Davis scheduled to also return this week, Brown has reestablished his WR1 status on the Titans and should provide managers with the WR2 that they had envisioned during their draft process.

 

4. Many fantasy GMs have constructed rosters that contain Dallas receivers Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, or Michael Gallup.

If you are among them, then you might have overcome your initial concerns regarding Dak Prescott season-ending ankle fracture, and shifted into renewed optimism regarding Andy Dalton's prospects of keeping your wide receivers productive as the season advances.

Of course, that was before Dalton's calamitous performance in Week 6. Dalton's unsightly efforts included two interceptions, a 4.9 yard per attempt average, and a quarterback rating of 38.7.

However, it will be beneficial to examine the target distribution and production for Dallas receiving weaponry during Dalton’s initial start under center. Cooper was second overall in targets (55) as he entered Week 6. He was also second in receptions (39/7.8 per game), fourth in first downs (23), seventh in receiving yards (433/84.8 per game), and ninth in air yards (510). Exceptional newcomer CeeDee Lamb was 10th in targets while averaging 8-per game. He was also ninth in receptions (29/5.8 per game), and seventh overall with an 86.6 yards per game average. Lamb was also 16th in yards per target (16.8), 21st in air yards (394), 10th in first downs (20), and tied for the league lead with five targets inside the 10. Gallup was tied for 35th in targets (5.6 per game). But he was also 13th in air yards (453), third in targeted air yards (17.4), and seventh in yards per target (12.4).

Despite Dalton's deficiencies, anyone with Cooper or Lamb on their rosters has reason to be satisfied with their receiver's production. Both players collected 10 targets, caught seven of those passes, and combined for 143 yards. Cooper overcame a slow statistical start to eventually collect a double-digit target total for the fourth time this season, and the third time in his last four matchups. He also generated his second touchdown and attained a yard-per-target average of 11 + for the third consecutive game.

Lamb's 10 targets created a streak in which he has now attained a double-digit total in two consecutive matchups. His yards per reception average (9.1) was significantly lower than the 15.5 that he had averaged from Weeks 2-5. He also registered the lowest yards per target average of the season (6.4) after entering the game with an average of 10.7.

Gallup was targeted six times which essentially matched his season average. However, he tied his season-low in receptions (2) while his 23 yards were 46 fewer than his average of 69.6 prior to the matchup. He also dropped from 13th to 16th in air yards, and from third to fourth in targeted air yards. The results of the Week 6 outing also diminished his season-long yard per game average by nearly eight yards (61.8). Any continued struggles by Dalton could be most impactful to Gallup, due to his downfield usage. However, if you have been dependent upon any member of this trio for your fantasy points, there is no reason to alter your plan after one matchup.

 

5. The focus will now shift toward two receivers that have been mentioned recently in this column but still do not appear to be garnering the level of attention that they deserve among fantasy GMs.

Tim Patrick has leapfrogged presumed lead receiver Jerry Jeudy by commandeering WR1 responsibilities in Denver.

Courtland Sutton was originally expected to function as the Broncos' top receiver, but a torn ACL abruptly terminated his season. First-round selection Jeudy was the logical candidate to absorb the majority of targets following Sutton’s injury.

But Patrick has now garnered more receptions (20/17), and assembled more yardage (310/266) than Jeudy, even though his role did not expand until Noah Fant and K.J. Hamler also encountered injuries. Patrick also leads the Broncos in target share since Week 4 (25%), while Jeudy is second at 14.3%. Patrick is also leading the team in percentage share of air yards (35.1%), while easily generating the most air yards during that span (214). He has also averaged a team-high 14.0 yards per target during that sequence and is tied for third among all receivers with five receptions of 20+ yards. Even after Fant and Hamler return, Patrick should still operate as Denver’s WR1 and will supply fantasy GMs with a viable WR3 option.

 

Travis Fulgham was included in last week’s review, and his career transformation continued in Week 6. The former sixth-round pick was originally selected by Detroit in 2019. However, he did not register a reception as a Lion. But he eventually landed on the Eagles’ practice squad and was signed to their active roster in early October. His stock has soared since Week 5, as his production during the past two matchups has cemented him as Philadelphia’s primary receiving option. His ability to capitalize on his recent surge in usage has been timely for the Eagles, whose conga line of injured receiving options has been expanded following Zach Ertz’s ankle injury.

Fulgham has been WR3 in scoring since Week 5 and is third among all receivers with 23 targets during his last two contests. He also leads all receivers in air yards (124), is second in receptions (16), and is also second in receiving yards (227) during that span. He has also captured a 36.1% target share while averaging a 30.5 percentage share of air yards since his Week 5 emergence. That easily exceeds the second-highest share of both John Hightower and Zach Ertz, who were tied at 16.7%. Fulgham’s ascension into Philadelphia’s WR1 responsibilities should continue for the foreseeable future, which provides managers with a legitimate WR3 for their rosters.



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WR/CB Matchups to Target and Avoid - Week 7

The CB Matchup Chart has been a helpful resource all season, specifically in Week 6Last week's article was predictive in forecasting boom games for Julio Jones, Justin Jefferson, and Christian Kirk. It also predicted let-downs from Robby Anderson, Cooper Kupp, and Mike Evans. This week's chart will give the most accurate landscape of CB matchups yet, as I have continued to update it with new data and left and right alignment splits.

The chart below is a snapshot of each team's cornerback group as it relates to allowing fantasy points. There are inherent flaws within the data compilation of cornerback play. The first being the fact that quantifying a 1-on-1 matchup in an NFL game is unfair because of zone coverages, mental errors, certain passing concepts, and a million other things. Assigning fantasy points against a cornerback isn't a perfect science. The purpose of this chart is to give more of a general sense of how defenses are handling opposing WR groups, rather than identifying exactly where, when, and how every single encounter happened.

The "Rtng" column is the rating of each cornerback based on film study and analytics. The lower a player is graded, the easier the matchup for the WR, so low ratings are green and high ratings are red. The "PPGA" is the number of fantasy points per game that the player has given up. A name in blue means the corner could possibly shadow the WR1. A name in red means that the player is dealing with an injury. WRs highlighted in yellow have an easy matchup. WRs highlighted in pink have a tough matchup.

 

Cornerback Ratings and Matchups - Week 7

 

WR/CB Matchups to Target

The analysis below will help contextualize the chart, as in most cases a receiver did not score 100% of his points against the same player. However, the chart is a useful tool in getting a sense of the weakest links among corners. This weekly process has made it clear to me that the WR talent and his target share are more important than his opposition.

It’s become a tradition to start this space each week with attacking Atlanta. Kenny Golladay could have his best game of 2020 this Sunday. All of Atlanta’s outside CBs are below average, so the fact that Kenny G and Marvin Jones Jr. split time on the right and left shouldn’t matter much. Jones has had a down year so far. If he fails to produce against Atlanta, it might be time to drop him in fantasy leagues.

I highlighted both A.J. Green and Tee Higgins because they play right and left side just about evenly.  Whoever gets more snaps on the left side will have the easier matchup against Terrance Mitchell. Denzel Ward is a completely different story.  It would make sense to attack Mitchell with Higgins, but we can’t be sure until game day. Ward plays exclusively LCB.

Denver’s secondary didn’t give up much to the New England passing attack last week. Prior to their win against the Patriots, they were one of the most frequently burnt units in the league. Mecole Hardman and Tyreek Hill are in bounce-back spots after Buffalo chose to play their safeties 20 yards deep in Week 6.

Detroit has been dominated by outside WRs, so in a game with a 56.5 total, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley are both potential slate-breakers.

Stefon Diggs is in a good spot against the Jets. They move him around the formation and he has a plus matchup against two bad outside CBs.

The chart projects a very favorable matchup for DeAndre Hopkins as the LWR against Seattle. The Seahawks have been gashed by LWRs all year, and Hopkins lines up on the left side the majority of the time. However, it’s important to note that Tre Flowers has been responsible for a lot of fantasy points against that position. Quinton Dunbar hasn’t been good this year, but he’s better than Flowers. I’ll be watching that matchup very closely, especially after Hopkins inexplicably flopped against Dallas.

In the slot, Jamison Crowder gets a Bills Defense that he exposed in Week 1.  Meanwhile, Greg Ward gets a matchup with Giants rookie Darnay Holmes, who has been abysmal.  Finally, the underwhelming JuJu Smith-Schuster gets another easy matchup against Tennessee’s Kristian Fulton. Fresh off a disappointing outing against the Browns, anything other than a breakout game could mean JuJu simply isn’t a priority target for the Steelers anymore.

Finally, Tyler Boyd does not have as easy a matchup as the chart indicates. Kevin Johnson has been a much better slot corner in recent weeks compared to who the Browns used earlier this season.

 

WR/CB Matchups to Avoid

James Bradberry is having an amazing season and probably deserves some DPOY consideration at this point.  I expect him to shadow and severely limit Travis Fulgham in Week 7.

In that same game, I expect Darius Slay to match up against Darius Slayton and limit him as well.

Jaire Alexander is one of the best corners in the league and may shadow Will Fuller.  Alexander had Deshaun Watson's number in college so I wouldn't be surprised if Watson tried to avoid him.  The bad news for Brandin Cooks is that even if Alexander moves off his home at LCB and shadows Fuller, Cooks will have a tough matchup with Green Bay's other outside corners.

Tre’Davious White is back for the Bills, so Breshad Perriman is not an advisable start this week.

D.J. Chark plays both right and left, but the bad news for him is that both Chargers’ outside corners are outstanding. Laviska Shenault Jr. is going to have a game with an explosive touchdown sooner or later, but this not a good matchup for him either.

The Saints have done a terrific job against RWRs this year, so downgrade Robby Anderson a bit for the second consecutive week.

The Washington Football Team's pass defense has been well above average at limiting fantasy points to opposing WRs. With Andy Dalton at QB, all three of the top Dallas WRs should be downgraded a bit.  I especially don’t love Amari Cooper’s matchup against Kendall Fuller.

Similarly, Kyle Fuller and the Bears have done a great job against WRs all year.  This might not be the best week for the Rams’ WR group, especially Robert Woods.

As far as slots go, there are a lot of good players in bad spots.  Randall Cobb, Jerry Jeudy, Cole Beasley, Julian Edelman, and Hunter Renfrow have the most difficult slot matchups in the league this week.  I would like to specifically highlight Brian Poole, who has been stellar as the Jets’ slot corner.  The Jets have been atrocious, but Poole deserves All-Pro consideration at this point.  Nickel backs are no longer just sub-package players.

Thanks for reading and good luck this week.



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Coaching Matters: Offenses That Will Improve From Week 6

This series continues into its sixth week of where I dive into offensive areas that will improve or decline based on coaching in order to glean insight as to fantasy football value.

In Week 6, we saw performances such as Ryan Tannehill throwing for 364 passing yards, the Houston Texans running backs combining for 66 rushing yards, and the New York Giants wide receivers combining for 61 receiving yards. After these types of performances, it's important to look at each of these team's coaches and their play-calling tendencies to see if these performances are likely to continue, if they will change for the better, or if they will change for the worse.

This article will take a look at which of these areas are in line for improvement in future weeks. Let's dive in!

 

Improvements Ahead?

These are the areas and positions that will likely improve in the coming weeks, based on the team's play-caller tendencies in the past.

 

Houston Texans Running Backs

Tim Kelly

The Houston Texans fell to the Tennessee Titans last Sunday in a 42-36 overtime thriller. One area that could improve is the team's running backs. Against the Titans, the Texans running backs combined for 23 carries, 66 rushing yards, two receptions (four targets), 14 receiving yards, and one touchdown.

After this performance, on the season the running back room is averaging 17.5 carries, 67.67 rushing yards, 2.83 receptions (4.67 targets), 25.5 receiving yards, and 0.50 touchdowns (all rushing) per game.

Now let's compare this to what their offensive coordinator, Tim Kelly, has traditionally gotten out of his running back room in his time as an offensive coordinator. Texans offensive coordinator Tim Kelly has had his running back room average 21.38 carries, 95.63 rushing yards, 0.50 rushing touchdowns, 4.94 targets, 28.81 receiving yards, and 0.19 receiving touchdowns per game in the 16 games he coached as an offensive coordinator prior to this season.

Based on this information, there should be some slight improvement from the Texans running backs going forward. Now would be as good time a time as any to acquire David Johnson or Duke Johnson shares in your fantasy leagues.

Fantasy players this impacts: David Johnson and Duke Johnson

 

Indianapolis Colts Running Backs (Run Game)

Frank Reich & Nick Sirianni

The Indianapolis Colts won a close game against the Cincinnati Bengals this past Sunday. In the game, the Colts running backs combined for 13 carries, 59 rushing yards, nine receptions, 11 targets, 82 receiving yards, and zero touchdowns.

After this performance, on the season the running back room is averaging 24.67 carries, 94.67 rushing yards, 0.67 rushing touchdowns, 7.33 receptions (8.33 targets), 60 receiving yards, and 0.17 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what Colts head coach Frank Reich has traditionally gotten out of his running back room. Reich has had his running back room average 23.47 carries, 97.89 rushing yards, 0.61 rushing touchdowns, 7.16 targets, 42.09 receiving yards, and 0.18 receiving touchdowns per game in the 96 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

In addition, in the 32 games that Nick Sirianni has been the Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator, the Colts running backs have averaged 23.34 carries, 106.66 rushing yards, 0.78 rushing touchdowns, 6.78 targets, 35 receiving yards, and 0.09 receiving touchdowns per game.

Fantasy players this impacts: Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines, and Jordan Wilkins

 

Minnesota Vikings Running Backs

Gary Kubiak

The Minnesota Vikings lost to the previous winless Atlanta Falcons this past Sunday. In the game, the Vikings running backs combined for 13 carries, 32 rushing yards, three receptions (five targets), 11 receiving yards, and zero touchdowns.

After this performance, on the season the running back room is averaging 25.17 carries, 126.5 rushing yards, 1.33 rushing touchdowns, 3.83 receptions (five targets), 22 receiving yards, and zero receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what their offensive coordinator, Gary Kubiak, has traditionally gotten out of his running back room. The Vikings offensive coordinator has had his running backs combine to average 25.27 carries, 113.12 rushing yards, 0.86 rushing touchdowns, 3.55 receptions (4.92 targets), 27.83 receiving yards, and 0.10 receiving touchdowns per game in the 349 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

While Sunday's performance was disappointing, over the course of this season the Minnesota Vikings running back room is still performing on the higher end of what we would expect from Gary Kubiak's running back room.

Fantasy players this impacts: Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, Ameer Abdullah, and Mike Boone

 

Denver Broncos Wide Receivers

Pat Shurmur

In Sunday's 18-12 victory over the New England Patriots, the Denver Broncos wide receivers combined for six receptions on 16 targets for 133 receiving yards and no touchdowns.

After this performance, on the season the wide receiver room is averaging 10.2 receptions on 18.8 targets for 153.2 receiving yards and 0.6 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what their offensive coordinator, Pat Shurmur, has historically gotten out of his wide receiver room. Shurmur has had his wide receivers combine to average 20.36 targets, 150.47 receiving yards, and 0.88 receiving touchdowns per game in the 169 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

Pat Shurmur's past tendencies suggest there is potential for a few more targets and receiving touchdowns per game for this group. With starting quarterback Drew Lock finally back from his injury, the Broncos wide receivers appear to be on the upswing.

Fantasy players this impacts: Tim Patrick, Jerry Jeudy, and K.J. Hamler

 

New England Patriots Running Backs (Run Game)

Josh McDaniels

The Patriots running backs combined for 15 carries, 41 rushing yards, nine receptions, ten targets, 79 receiving yards, and touchdowns.

After this performance, on the season the Patriots running back room is averaging 22.4 carries, 111 rushing yards, 0.60 rushing touchdowns, 6.8 receptions (8.6 targets), 55 receiving yards, and 0.20 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what their offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, has traditionally gotten out of his running back room. Josh McDaniels has had his running backs combine to average 24.54 carries, 104.03 rushing yards, 0.87 rushing touchdowns, 7.1 targets, 44.98 receiving yards, and 0.28 receiving touchdowns per game in the 220 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

Based on this information, we should expect the Patriots running backs to perform better on the ground than last Sunday. However, the season totals are right in line with what we would expect from a Josh McDaniels' running back room. There isn't much of a buy-low opportunity at the moment for this group.

Fantasy players this impacts: Damien Harris, James White, Rex Burkhead, J.J. Taylor, and Sony Michel

 

New York Giants Wide Receivers

Jason Garrett

In the New York Giants first win of the season (20-19 over the Washington Football Team), the team's wide receivers combined for five receptions on nine targets for 61 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown.

After this performance, on the season the New York Giants wide receiver room is averaging 10.67 receptions (16.67 targets), 128 receiving yards, and 0.50 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what the Giants offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett, has traditionally gotten out of his wide receiver room. Jason Garrett has had his wide receivers combine to average 11.43 receptions (18.88 targets), 160.30 receiving yards, 1.26 receiving touchdowns per game in the 208 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

This year's Giants will be one of the worst offenses directed by Jason Garrett, but there may be some improvement for this team's receivers in the coming weeks.

Fantasy players this impacts: Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, and Golden Tate

 

Cleveland Browns Wide Receivers

Kevin Stefanski & Alex Van Pelt

The Cleveland Browns got decimated by the Pittsburgh Steelers, losing 38-7. In the game, their wide receivers combined for six receptions on 12 targets for 78 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown.

After this performance, the wide receiver room is averaging 9.17 receptions (14.67 targets), 123.67 receiving yards, and 0.83 receiving touchdowns per game through the first six games of the year.

Now let's compare this to what the Browns head coach, Kevin Stefanski, has historically gotten out of his wide receiver room. Kevin Stefanski has had his wide receivers combine to average 13.47 targets, 128.21 receiving yards, and 1.05 receiving touchdowns per game in the 19 games he coached as an offensive coordinator prior to this season.

In addition, in the 16 games that Alex Van Pelt had been an offensive coordinator prior to the season, his wide receiver room averaged 16.25 targets, 111.56 receiving yards, and 0.81 receiving touchdowns per game.

Overall, there should be better performances than last Sunday for the Cleveland Browns wide receivers, but as a group their season totals are right in line with what we would expect from this offense.

Fantasy players this impacts: Jarvis Landry, Rashad Higgins, and Odell Beckham Jr.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers Tight Ends

Randy Fichtner

The Steelers dominated the Browns last Sunday, winning 38-7. Because they were in control most of the game, they didn't need to pass much and it resulted in below-average showings from the team's pass-catchers. One group that struggled, in particular, was the Steelers tight ends, who only combined for two receptions on four targets for nine yards and zero touchdowns.

After this performance, on the season the Steelers tight end room is averaging 4.4 receptions on 6.4 targets for 42 receiving yards and 0.2 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what the Steelers offensive coordinator, Randy Fichtner, has traditionally gotten out of his tight end room. Fichtner has had his tight ends combine to average 6.09 targets, 47.72 receiving yards, and 0.28 receiving touchdowns per game in the 32 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

Based Fichtner's previous coaching tendencies, it's likely that we see improved performances from the tight end group in the future.

Fantasy players this impacts: Eric Ebron and Vance McDonald

 

Chicago Bears Wide Receivers

Matt Nagy & Bill Lazor

The Chicago Bears won 23-16 over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, improving their record to 5-1. In the game, the Bears wide receivers combined for 12 receptions on 18 targets for 105 receiving yards and zero receiving touchdowns.

After this performance, on the season this wide receiver room is averaging 14.67 receptions (on 23.67 targets), 160.5 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown per game.

Now let's compare this to what the Bears head coach, Matt Nagy, has traditionally gotten out of his wide receiver room. Matt Nagy has had his wide receivers combine to average 18.35 targets, 145.25 receiving yards, and 0.85 receiving touchdowns per game in the 48 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

In addition, in the 57 games that Bill Lazor had been an offensive coordinator prior to the season, he had his wide receiver room average 21.47 targets, 153.37 receiving yards, and 1.19 receiving touchdowns per game.

Seeing both of these coaches' data, there are likely to be better performances from this group than last Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. But keep in mind the season totals for the wide receivers as a whole are actually running on the higher side of what we'd expect out these coaches wide receiver room.

Fantasy players this impacts: Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Darnell Mooney, and Cordarrelle Patterson

 

Jacksonville Jaguars Running Backs

Doug Marrone & Jay Gruden

The Jaguars got trounced by the Detroit Lions on Sunday, losing 34-16. In the game, the Jaguars running backs took 12 carries for 29 rushing yards and had seven receptions for 39 receiving yards and a touchdown through the air.

After this performance, on the season the Jaguars running back room is averaging 15.17 carries, 63.17 rushing yards, 0.5 rushing touchdowns, 6.5 receptions (on 7.5 targets), 53 receiving yards, and 0.33 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now compare this to what the Jaguars head coach, Doug Marrone, has historically gotten out of his running back room. Marrone has had his running backs combine to average 23.40 carries, 94.15 rushing yards, 0.62 rushing touchdowns, 8.86 targets, 49.47 receiving yards, and 0.21 receiving touchdowns per game in the 144 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

In addition, in the 133 games that Jay Gruden had been an offensive coordinator prior to the season, his running backs have combined to average 21.95 carries, 87.59 rushing yards, 0.54 rushing touchdowns, 5.27 targets, 34.65 receiving yards, and 0.16 receiving touchdowns per game.

Based on this information, the Jaguars running back room appears to be performing below what we would expect, in particular on the ground. James Robinson is looking like a good player to be investing more into.

Fantasy players this impacts: James Robinson and Chris Thompson

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wide Receivers

Bruce Arians & Byron Leftwich

The Buccaneers dominated the previously undefeated Green Bay Packers, winning 38-10. In this game, the Buccaneers wide receivers combined for eight receptions on 14 targets for 71 receiving yards and one touchdown.

After this performance, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have their wide receiver room averaging 11.5 receptions on 16.67 targets for 152 receiving yards and 1.5 receiving touchdowns per game this season.

Compare this to what Tampa Bay head coach, Bruce Arians, has traditionally gotten out of his wide receiver room. Arians has had his wide receivers combine to average 22.15 targets, 178.39 receiving yards, and 1.12 receiving touchdowns per game in the 240 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

In addition, across the 25 games that Byron Leftwich had been an offensive coordinator prior to the season, his wide receiver room averaged 21.52 targets, 186.64 receiving yards, and 1.36 receiving touchdowns per game.

Based on these previous tendencies, we should expect more targets and receiving yards for the Buccaneers wide receivers in the future, and a slight regression in receiving touchdowns per a game. The Buccaneers wide receivers are a strong hold in fantasy football leagues right now.

Fantasy players this impacts: Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Tyler Johnson, and Scotty Miller



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Tape Tells All: D'Andre Swift's Week 6 Performance

Welcome to another edition of Tape Tells All. I've been thinking of rebranding as just TAPE. All-Caps like that. Probably wouldn't be a good idea for SEO purposes, right?

Anyways, this week we'll be discussing Detroit Lions rookie running back D'Andre Swift.

Swift set a lot of career highs this week, with bests in carries (14), rushing yards (116), and rushing touchdowns (two). But did Swift show that he's ready to be a consistent fantasy option moving forward, or was this just an illusion?

 

Background Information

When Detroit drafted the rookie out of Georgia in the second round, it was a bit of a surprise, as they'd just recently spent some high draft capital on Kerryon Johnson. But the Lions have been fruitlessly searching for a star running back since Barry Sanders retired and injuries had already started to plague Johnson's career, so it made sense.

Then, they went ahead and signed Adrian Peterson, further complicating a backfield that wasn't expected to do much anyways because of how pass-happy the Matthew Stafford Lions have been.

But Detroit is averaging 27.6 rushing attempts per game, which puts them 16th in the NFL. Last season, they averaged 25.6 rushing attempts per game, which also ranked 16th. That's where we are in the second year of Darrell Bevell as offensive coordinator. This is no longer the 2017 Lions team, which ranked 31st in rushing attempts. Things have changed in Detroit, even if the narratives around those things haven't yet.

Still, feeding multiple mouths is tough. Here's the rushing attempts and snaps for Detroit's running backs through six weeks, per Add More Funds:

Peterson has the clear edge when it comes to rushing attempts, earning 57.5 percent of carries by running backs and 48.28 percent of red zone carries. Johnson and Swift on the season have basically split the carries behind Peterson.

But things change. Johnson in the past two games has just 13.73 percent of running back carries, with Swift up to 35.29 percent. The makeup of this backfield is shifting, especially after what Swift did this week: 14 carries, 116 yards, two touchdowns.

Johnson's basically out of the picture. But, what does Week 6 really mean for Swift?

 

The Game Tape

Swift got started right away in this one, as his first carry of the game went for 54 yards. Of course, that first carry did come after Adrian Peterson had five carries, but another way to look at that would be to say that after the first series of the game where Peterson scored a touchdown, Swift outplayed and outtouched him.

Anyway, the play:

Swift finds the hole and then is off to the races, getting deep into Jaguars territory before a defensive back manages to chase him down. It's an explosive play for the rookie, who shows how he's able to get to the next level of the defense thanks to an 83rd percentile 40-time among running backs.

This also helped:

Look how that offensive line creates this perfect opening for Swift, occupying all the defenders down near the line of scrimmage and allowing Swift to get past those initial defenders.

This offensive line does rank just 19th in adjusted line yards, so it's not like these holes are being opened on each play. But on this one, it worked out for the Lions and for Swift.

But see, the blocking isn't always there. There's no hole for Swift, so he has to try to bounce outside, where he comes face to face with a Jags defensive back. One-yard gain. This is a good example of how even a talented back can't turn a nothing play like this into a something play.

Okay, on to the touchdowns.

Swift's first touchdown was a one-yarder. He's able to squeeze his way into the end zone here, doing a little sideways leap to make it happen.

More important than the actual result of the play is that Swift got the ball this deep into Jaguars territory. Swift received four red zone and three money zone attempts in this game, leading the Lions. He had 50 percent of the team's red zone carries in Week 6. Over the first four games, he'd received just 9.52 percent of those red zone looks. The biggest thing about this game, in my opinion, is that the Lions were suddenly trusting Swift in the part of the field that's most conducive to fantasy scoring.

Let's quickly zoom through some other observations before ending with the final touchdown: There were a slightly concerning number of low-yardage plays, but watching the film of those, it's hard to blame Swift too much for that. Like, they ran a 2nd and 11 toss play, but the blocking never developed and Swift was caught after just a one-yard gain. I can't hate on the running back for that when the playcalling and the line were also to blame. He did manage to find a few good holes and get some solid yardage at times, though.

Anyway, the second touchdown:

Another red zone carry!

On this one, Swift makes a nice cut back inside, then is able to absorb contact and push his way into the end zone. It's another very encouraging sign for the type of work he should get going forward.

 

Fantasy Impact

So, what do we think of Swift going forward?

I'd say to be cautiously high on him.

The increased workload seems to suggest we're moving more towards an equal split between Swift and Peterson, which should offer Swift more opportunities to make big plays. But we still have to contend with the fact that Peterson is here, and that Peterson had been the main red zone back up until the last game.

Swift is unlikely to suddenly be a bellcow. Not while they have a reliable veteran like Adrian Peterson around. But he should be someone who provides RB3 fantasy value going forward, and whose ability to get involved in multiple facets of the game -- I didn't even talk about his receiving ability -- gives him upside.

Swift has rendered Kerryon Johnson irrelevant at this point, so you can go ahead and move on from Johnson in redraft. And there's a very likely scenario in 2021 where Swift is getting 75 percent of the work in this backfield, in which case he'd be a high-end RB2 play. Dynasty managers should keep that in mind.

But in redraft, he's just fine for now. He'll have good games. He'll have not-so-good games. The talent is very clearly there, but the right opportunities might not be. Yet.



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WR/CB Matchups to Target & Avoid - Week 6

It's Week 6 and with a larger sample size, the CB Matchup Chart is becoming even more meaningful. This week's chart will give the most accurate landscape of CB matchups yet, as I spent time reviewing alignment percentages for WR and CB groups and updated the chart accordingly.

The main idea of the chart was previously to assign points based on defenses scheming to take away their opponent's "WR1." This was somewhat arbitrary and didn't take into account where that "WR1" was lining up. Or the "CB1" for that matter.

I'm excited to present this week's chart which reflects actual alignments in terms of LWR vs RCB and RWR vs LCB. All the numbers are updated accordingly.

 

WR/CB Matchups Chart

The chart below is a snapshot of each team's cornerback group as it relates to allowing fantasy points. There are inherent flaws within the data compilation of cornerback play. The first being the fact that quantifying a 1-on-1 matchup in an NFL game is unfair because of zone coverages, mental errors, certain passing concepts, and a million other things. Assigning fantasy points against a cornerback isn't a perfect science. The purpose of this chart is to give more of a general sense of how defenses are handling opposing WR groups, rather than identifying exactly where, when, and how every single encounter happened.

The "Rtng" column is the rating of each cornerback based on film study and analytics. The lower a player is graded, the easier the matchup for the WR, so low ratings are green and high ratings are red. The "PPGA" is the number of fantasy points per game that the player has given up. A name in blue means the corner could possibly shadow the WR1. A name in red means that the player is dealing with an injury. WRs highlighted in yellow have an easy matchup. WRs highlighted in pink have a tough matchup.

The analysis below will help contextualize the chart, as in most cases a receiver did not score 100% of his points against the same player. However, the chart is a useful tool in getting a sense of the weakest links among corners. This weekly process has made it clear to me that the WR talent and his target share are more important than his opposition.

 

Cornerback Ratings and Matchups - Week 6

click image for full-screen view

 

WR/CB Matchups to Target

Each week, this space starts with attacking Atlanta's terrible CB play. Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson should feast against the Falcons.

Chase Claypool is an example of why gathering CB data is tricky. Last week, he scored from various alignments, including the slot matched up with a linebacker despite his primary home for stat-gathering being at RWR. James Washington subbed in at LWR when Diontae Johnson left with an injury. So, while Claypool was the beneficiary in terms of targets and designed plays, he did not actually slot in Johnson’s position. In Week 6, Claypool at RWR has an on-paper matchup versus the highly-skilled Denzel Ward, who has played almost exclusively at LCB for Cleveland. The better matchups for the Steelers are actually at LWR and in the slot. It would make sense for Claypool to play more on the left side to take advantage of Terrance Mitchell. Whoever plays LWR - whether it’s Claypool, Diontae Johnson, or James Washington – has an easy matchup.

Dallas’ corner situation is a mess as they have been shredded by all three receiver spots at different times this season. Odell Beckham Jr. dominated Trevon Diggs in Week 4, while Darryl Worley was assigned zero points due to no Browns WR2 recording a catch. Last week, Darius Slayton torched Worley, but the Giants' non-existent WR2 situation assigned a zero to Diggs. This is a perfect example of what has become abundantly clear to me doing this work – the WR matters more than the matchup. In the case of Dallas’ secondary, start all your WRs against them regardless of position. DeAndre Hopkins is in line for a monster game, and all of the other Arizona WRs have the potential to put up good numbers. I wouldn't mind taking a flier on Christian Kirk this week.

Detroit has been terrible against outside WRs. Laviska Shenault Jr. let managers down in Week 3, but he might be worth a look again. If D.J. Chark is out, that could mean even more targets. If Chark is in, Shenault is still not a bad play because the offense just seems to be better with their No. 1 healthy. Chark is a fine play if he starts.

D.K. Metcalf just torched the Vikings' outside corners, who have been consistently terrible since Week 1. Julio Jones (if healthy) and Calvin Ridley are in boom spots.

The RCB spot in San Francisco has been a problem for a defense decimated by injuries. Whether it's Akhello Witherspoon or Brian Allen, the Rams should have no issue taking advantage on Sunday night. Robert Woods is in a great spot.

DeVante Parker also has a cake matchup against the New York Jets. He and Preston Williams play both right and left, so we don't know exactly who will draw more of RCB Bless Austin's subpar coverage. The good news for both is that Pierre Desir is arguably worse than Austin.

As for slot WRs this week, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Randall Cobb get upgrades. The chart lists Tyreek Hill as the primary slot for Kansas City, but they use all of their receivers in the slot in different formations. Buffalo has been gashed by slots all year, so Hill and Mecole Hardman get a boost.

 

WR/CB Matchups to Avoid

A.J. Green has looked like a shell of himself and will likely see a lot of Xavier Rhodes in Week 6. If Green is out, or the Bengals choose to use Tee Higgins as the LWR, the rookie would have to deal with Rhodes. Regardless, T.J. Carrie has been stellar as the LCB, so Higgins has a tough matchup no matter what.

The Rams' pass defense has been terrific at limiting wide receiver production. Jalen Ramsey is a household name, but both Darious Williams and Troy Hill have also been excellent this season. Downgrade all the 49ers receivers, including Brandon Aiyuk, Kendrick Bourne, and Deebo Samuel. One of them may have a decent game based on volume, but it's going to be tough.

Darius Slayton just enjoyed some success against the pitiful Dallas secondary, but this week he's up against Kendall Fuller. Washington's shutdown RCB has been outstanding this season.

Kendall's brother Kyle will face off against the red-hot Robby Anderson in a very interesting matchup of two guys having great years. Anderson has been tremendous for Carolina but this could be his worst game as a Panther.

Finally, there are three possible shadow situations that aren't highlighted in the chart. First is with Arizona's Patrick Peterson who would cap Amari Cooper's upside if the Cardinals choose to shadow with Peterson. If Peterson stays at LCB, Michael Gallup gets a downgrade. The second is with Jaire Alexander in Green Bay. The Packers could choose to stick him on Mike Evans. Using one of their bigger corners on Evans might make sense. It's a tough matchup for Evans regardless. The third shadow situation to look out for is Darius Slay on Marquise Brown. The Ravens' speedster finally scored a touchdown last week but may have a tough assignment in Week 6.

Thanks for reading and good luck this week.



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Tape Tells All: Chase Claypool's Week 5 Performance

On Sunday, a potential new star emerged in the NFL, as Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool scored four touchdowns.

Claypool is going to be the biggest add on the waiver wire this week, which is the right decision. Get him on your rosters. In fact, by the time you're reading this, there's a good chance he already is on your roster, since you'll be reading it the day after (most) waivers run.

But, what now? Can we trust Claypool going forward? In this week's Tape Tells All, let's explore that question.

 

Background Information

Entering this season, the projected receiver depth chart in Pittsburgh was JuJu Smith-Schuster as the No. 1 receiver, then some combination of Diontae Johnson and James Washington, then a large gap down to maybe rookie Chase Claypool as the fourth guy. Maybe.

It hasn't really shook out that way.

Johnson has played just two full games because of injury, but in those games he led the team in targets both times out, with Smith-Schuster coming in second.

Then, with Johnson exiting early in Week 3, Smith-Schuster and Washington tied for the team league in targets. In Week 4, the Steelers ended up with an early bye week because of the Titans and their COVID-19 outbreak. And then, in Week 5, with Johnson once again exiting early, the team leader in targets was Claypool with 11, while Smith-Schuster had five.

All this leaves us with a pretty murky picture of what to expect with this Steelers receiving unit. It is seeming like JuJu Smith-Schuster is best used as a really good secondary receiver, which leaves an opening for someone to take over on the other side. We thought it was Johnson, but he can't seem to stay healthy. So, maybe it's Claypool?

Let's dig in Sunday's big game and see if it gives us the evidence to actually believe that.

 

The Game Tape

We begin at the beginning, because that's a logical first place to go. Here was Claypool's first catch of Sunday's contest:

The rookie starts inside here and runs the slant over the middle. Ben Roethlisberger hits him with the well-time quick pass, threading the ball in there perfectly. Claypool brings the ball in safely, then goes down. Good to see his willingness to make that play over the middle. Good to see the Steelers trusting him on this route. Okay.

Next, let's look at his first touchdown, which was a rushing score!

This was not the only time that Claypool got a rushing attempt. I don't think end arounds are sustainable or really something we should be predicting, especially this early in Claypool's career -- like, I'm not going to say something like "we can expect Chase Claypool to add four yards and 0.25 touchdowns per game on end arounds over the rest of the season" -- but I do think he shows some good vision here to glide through the congested area and get into the end zone. Also, it's fun to watch this GIF over and over!

Here was Claypool's first receiving touchdown. He's the outside receiver -- and long-time readers of this piece will know I'm a big fan of receivers who play all over the field -- and is able to make a shifty little move right past the line of scrimmage to create space. From there, he's got this huge bubble of space to make the reception in, and then it's just about carving out the best path forward. He dodges an attempted tackle from the Eagles defender, then takes a great angle to the house for the touchdown.

So, as of now, Claypool is at two touchdowns. Will he get a third?

(lol rhetorical question, we already know he got a third, and here it is)

Okay, I started this clip like a half-second late, but what you missed is that Claypool initially lined up at running back before motioning over to where three other receivers already were, creating this four-player stack. This was such an interesting way of running this fairly simple screen pass, with the three receivers ahead of him turning into blockers and opening up the space Claypool needed to get the touchdown. Great play design. Loved this. Hope the offensive of my favorite NFL team is taking notes!

Here's the final touchdown:

Coming from the inside here, Claypool just outruns the defender who starts on him, and the safety comes over too late to stop him. He's open. He scores. The end. Touchdown No. 4 on the afternoon for the rookie.

So, to save on bandwidth and all of that, I'm just going to summarize via list my thoughts on all of Claypool's other plays instead of clipping each individual one:

  • 15-yard catch, second quarter: does a good job curling back to the ball for the catch
  • Deep incompletion, second quarter: ball was not thrown in a spot where Claypool was going to catch it
  • 5-yard catch, third quarter: short little out route, Claypool doesn't do much aside from just catch the ball
  • Deep incompletion, third quarter: looks like some more miscommunication as the pass doesn't end up where Claypool is
  • Short incompletion, third quarter: one play before the screen TD, Claypool misses on a contested play over the middle. It would have been tough to make this work.
  • 33-yard catch reversed on review, third quarter: good catch over the shoulder, but just a little too close to the sideline
  • 11-yard catch, fourth quarter: another catch in traffic
  • 42-yard touchdown overturned by offensive pass interference, fourth quarter: I mean, he commits OPI, which is why he's able to have so much space in front of him and walk in for the touchdown.

 

Fantasy Impact

Alright, so what's this all mean for you, the fantasy football manager?

Look, the tape was impressive. He made contested catches. He was elusive with the ball in his hands. He moved around the formation.

But this receiving corps is still unsettled, especially if Johnson is back for the next game. We can't just count Smith-Schuster out, even if his start to 2020 has been disappointing vs. the expectations we had of him.

One of the biggest concerns for me is with Roethlisberger, who averages the eighth-fewest intended air yards per attempt. That's worrisome. And Claypool had 73.98 percent of the team's air yards this week, which seems wildly unsustainable, right?

A lower percentage of air yards going forward in an offense that won't be going downfield as much as you might be used to with the Steelers is a bad combination.

Now, that's not to say that Claypool's a bad player to roster! We watched the tape -- he's good! But we should temper our expectations just a tad and not assume he's the unquestioned No. 1 option going forward in Pittsburgh. Think of him as a WR3 play, though.



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Wide Receiver Snap Counts and Target Trends - Week 5 Analysis

Your wide receivers remain essential components toward your primary goal of securing league championships. As this unique regular season continues to unfold, an expanding assortment of tools is available that can provide you with an extensive level of knowledge regarding this critical position. Those results are contained in this weekly statistical breakdown of multiple categories, which is designed to help you fulfill your championship aspirations.

This will be the fifth installment that will examine game-specific data, including updated totals for targets, first downs, red-zone targets, snap counts, and a compilation of advanced statistics. The information that is contained in this weekly report will analyze how various receivers are being utilized, and how effectively they are capitalizing on their opportunities. This massive collection of data supplies the foundation from which the numbers that are generated in various categories can be evaluated.

As the season progresses noteworthy changes in usage and production will be blended into the equation. That will bolster your efforts to determine which wide receivers should be in your lineups, and which are worthy of remaining on your rosters. Pro Football Reference, PFF, NextGenStats, Rotowire, Rotoviz, and Football Outsiders were all used as resources in compiling this data.

 

Week 5 Target Leaders 

Wide Receivers Total Targets Targ/Game YPT
Allen Robinson 57 11.4 7.4
Amari Cooper 55 11 7.7
DeAndre Hopkins 53 10.6 10
Stefon Diggs 51 10.2 10
Calvin Ridley 50 10 9.7
Keenan Allen 50 10 7.1
Robby Anderson 47 9.4 10.4
Terry McLaurin 46 9.2 9
Adam Thielen 44 8.8 8.3
Tyler Boyd 40 8 9.1
Darius Slayton 40 8 9.1
CeeDee Lamb 40 8 10.8
Odell Beckham Jr. 39 7.8 7.5
D.K. Metcalf 39 7.8 12.7
Tyler Lockett 38 7.6 9
D.J. Moore 37 7.4 10.3
Cooper Kupp 36 7.2 10.1
Marquise Brown 36 7.2 8.9
Emmanuel Sanders 36 7.2 8.4
Mike Evans 35 7 7.7
Tyreek Hill 35 7 10.4
A.J. Green 34 6.8 3.5
Jamison Crowder 33 11 10.2
Brandin Cooks 33 6.6 9.1
DeVante Parker 32 6.4 10.3
Russell Gage 32 6.4 7
T.Y. Hilton 32 6.4 7.2
Robert Woods 31 6.2 9.7
Greg Ward 31 6.2 5.5
Julian Edelman 30 7.5 9.8
Will Fuller 30 6 11.1
Tee Higgins 30 6 7.1
Cole Beasley 30 6 10.4
Sammy Watkins 29 5.8 7.7
Keelan Cole 28 5.8 7.6
Jerry Jeudy 28 7 8.4
N'Keal Harry 28 7 5.9
Isaiah Ford 28 5.6 6.2
Michael Gallup 28 5.6 12.4
Jarvis Landry 28 5.6 10
Laviska Shenault Jr. 28 5.6 9.6
Diontae Johnson 26 6.5 5.7
Kendrick Bourne 26 5.2 8.7
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 25 6.3 8.4
Darnell Mooney 25 5 6.4
Justin Jefferson 25 5 14.8
Larry Fitzgerald 25 5 4.9

 

Allen Robinson has now stockpiled 39 targets since Week 3, which is the most among all receivers during that three-game span. He has also collected at least 10 targets in eight of his last 11 regular-season matchups. His 16 targets in Week 5 tied his career-high which had originally been established in Week 7 of last season. It also propelled him to the league lead in targets for the year (57).

Amari Cooper is second overall (55), followed by DeAndre Hopkins (53), Stefon Diggs (51), Calvin Ridley (50), Keenan Allen (48), Robby Anderson (47), Terry McLaurin (46), Adam Thielen (44), and three receivers tied with 40 - Tyler Boyd, CeeDee Lamb, and Darius Slayton - who will be discussed further in the 5 Things I Noticed section. D.K. Metcalf and Odell Beckham Jr. are tied at 39, followed by Metcalf’s teammate Lockett (38), D.J. Moore (37), Cooper, (36), Marquise Brown (36), Emmanuel Sanders (36), and two receivers tied with 35 - Mike Evans, and Tyreek Hill.

A.J. Green has been targeted just 12 times during his last three matchups combined, after collecting 22 during Weeks 1-2. That raised his season total to 34, while Jamison Crowder and Brandin Cooks are next with 33. T.Y. Hilton, DeVante Parker, and Russell Gage are tied with 32, Robert Woods and Greg Ward, have been targeted 31 times, while Will Fuller, Julian Edelman, Cole Beasley, and newcomer Tee Higgins are the only other receivers that have reached 30 targets through the first five weeks.

Calvin Ridley has collected at least 10 targets in four contests which leads all receivers. Robinson’s three games of 10+ targets tie him with Cooper, Allen, Anderson, and Crowder - who has attained double digits in all three matchups that he has played in. McLaurin and Thielen have accomplished it twice, as Thielen has captured 23 targets during his last two contests (10/13).

Nelson Agholar leads all wide receivers with a 16.8 yards per target average. Justin Jefferson is second (14.8), followed by two receivers who commandeered their place within the fantasy landscape in Week 5 - Chase Claypool, and Travis Fulgham at 13.1. D.K. Metcalf is fifth (12.7), followed by Metcalf's teammate David Moore, and Michael Gallup with 12.4. Scott Miller is averaging 11.9 yards per target, followed by Stefon Diggs 11.5, Mecole Hardman (11.4), Josh Reynolds (11.3), Andy Isabella (11.3), Will Fuller (11.1), Gabriel Davis (11,0), and D.J. Chark (11.0). Lamb, Randal Cobb, and Corey Davis are next (10.8).

Carolina teammates Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore are among the 11 additional receivers that are averaging at least 10 yards per target. Moore's current 10.3 average is the highest of his career after he averaged 9.2 during his first two seasons. Anderson's average of 10.4 also exceeds his previous career-high of 8.3. There will be more discussion surrounding these two Panther receivers in the 5 things I Noticed section.

 

Largest Weekly Changes

Wide Receivers Week 4 Week 5 Changes
Chase Claypool BYE 11 11
Travis Fulgham 3 13 10
Stefon Diggs 7 16 9
A.J. Brown BYE 9 9
Brandin Cooks 3 12 9
Gabriel Davis 1 9 8
Mike Williams INJ 8 8
Allen Robinson 10 16 6
Emmanuel Sanders 9 14 5
D.K. Metcalf 6 11 5
Calvin Ridley 5 10 5
T.Y. Hilton 5 10 5
Deebo Samuel 3 8 5
Darius Slayton 7 11 4
CeeDee Lamb 7 11 4
Larry Fitzgerald 3 7 4
John Hightower 2 6 4
Darnell Mooney 9 5 -4
A.J. Green 5 1 -4
Olamide Zaccheaus 9 4 -5
D.J. Chark 9 4 -5
Sammy Watkins 7 2 -5
Zach Pascal 8 2 -6
Terry McLaurin 14 7 -7
Hunter Renfrow 8 1 -7
Scott Miller 7 0 -7
Isaiah Ford 10 2 -8
Keenan Allen 11 2/INJ -9
DeVante Parker 12 3 -9
Amari Cooper 16 4 -12

 

 

Robinson attained the highest weekly target total when he collected the aforementioned 16 targets during Chicago’s matchup with Tampa Bay. Diggs was also targeted 16 times during Buffalo's matchup in Tennessee, which was the second time that he has attained at least 13 targets during the last four weeks. Emmanuel Sanders had averaged 4.3 targets per game from Weeks 1-3. But he has captured 23 during his last two matchups, including his highest weekly total since Week 5 of 2018.

Philadelphia’s Travis Fulgham was originally selected by Detroit in Round 6 of the 2019 NFL Draft and failed to catch a pass for the Lions throughout all of last season. But fantasy GMs have quickly become acquainted with Fulgham after Carson Wentz launched 13 passes in his direction during the Eagles’ matchup in Pittsburgh. That tied him with Thielen and Anderson for the third-highest weekly total behind Robinson and Diggs. Cooks was next with (12), which resulted in his highest weekly total since Week 3 of 2019.

Five receivers collected 11 targets during their matchups - Metcalf, Slayton, Lamb, the Jets’ Jeff Smith, and Pittsburgh rookie Chase Claypool - who has become a scorching hot waiver wire target this week. Ridley, Marquise Brown, Crowder, and Hilton were the only other receivers to eclipse 10+ targets during Week 5. Among the collection of 14 receivers that reached double-digits, new season highs were established for Robinson, Anderson, Thielen, Cooks, Slayton, Lamb, Metcalf,  Smith, Hilton, Sanders, and Brown. The weekly totals for Claypool and Fulgham were also career bests.

Claypool's 11 targets following Pittsburgh's bye launched him to the largest week-to-week increase of +11. Fulgham’s 13 targets were generated one week after he collected three targets in Week 4. That difference of +10 was the second-largest week-to-week increase among all receivers. Cooks’ 12 targets were captured one week after he had been targeted just three times, which resulted in the third-largest increase for the week (+9). That also tied him with Diggs and A.J. Brown, -who performed for the first time since Week 1. Diggs' teammate, rookie Gabriel Davis, experienced an increase of +8 after collecting a career-high nine targets. That tied him with Mike Williams, while Robinson was next (+6), followed by Metcalf, Ridley, Sanders, Hilton, and Deebo Samuel, who all attained a rise of +5 in their week to week target totals.

Amari Cooper had accumulated 28 targets in weeks four and five, including the 16 that he captured last week. However, he was only targeted four times when Dallas hosted NFC East rival New York. That produced the largest week to week decrease of -12. The week five totals of DeVante Parker and Keenan Allen were both reduced by -9 although Allen’s back issue was responsible for his decline.

Isaiah Ford’s target totals have now fluctuated significantly during the past four weeks. After attaining nine targets in Week 2, his total dropped by =7 in Week 32. He was also targeted 10 times in Week 4 but received just two targets when Miami traveled to San Francisco. That created the decline of -8. The week to week totals for McLaurin, Scott Miller, and Hunter Renfrow all dropped by -7, while Zach Pascal’s two targets in Week 5 created a reduction of -6.

 

Week 5 Air Yards

Wide Receivers  Air Yards % Air Yards aDOT
Calvin Ridley 780 41.7 15.9
D.K. Metcalf 717 44.4 17.5
Adam Thielen 626 48.4 14.6
Allen Robinson 604 33.2 10.8
Marquise Brown 597 45.1 16.6
Tyreek Hill 569 37.7 16.3
Stefon Diggs 526 33.7 10.5
A.J. Green 512 28.8 15.1
Amari Cooper 510 27.7 9.3
Darius Slayton 497 44.2 12.4
Odell Beckham 490 39.6 13.2
Terry McLaurin 466 41.7 10.4
Michael Gallup 453 26.8 16.8
D.J. Moore 440 39.2 12.2
DeAndre Hopkins 437 31.2 8.2
Will Fuller 436 27.7 13.6
Robby Anderson 435 39 9.3
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 431 34.5 17.1
Keenan Allen 410 31.1 8.4
Brandin Cooks 397 28.1 12.8
CeeDee Lamb 394 22.7 10.1
T.Y. Hilton 394 33.1 12.7
Tee Higgins 382 25.5 13.6
Mike Williams 379 25.8 17.2
Mike Evans 375 25.1 10.7
Tyler Boyd 361 21.7 9
Jerry Jeudy 353 25.8 13.6
Julian Edelman 347 39.4 11.6
Tyler Lockett 345 24.9 9.1
Darnell Mooney 341 19.3 13.7
Scott  Miller 341 20.5 16.2
Christian Kirk 341 25.2 16.2
Preston Williams 340 24.1 14.8
DeSean Jackson 338 20.9 16.9
Justin Jefferson 329 24.1 13.2
Emmanuel Sanders 322 32.7 8.9
DeVante Parker 318 23.8 9.9
John Brown 302 27 13.1

 

Calvin Ridley has maintained his league lead in air yards (780) followed by D.K. Metcalf (717), Adam Thielen (626), and Allen Robinson (604). Marquise Brown is fifth overall (597), followed by Tyreek Hill (569), Stefon Diggs (526), A.J. Green (512), Amari Cooper (510),  and Darius Slayton (497), completing the top 10. Odell Beckham (490) is next, followed by Terry McLaurin (466), Michael Gallup (453), D.J. Moore (440), DeAndre Hopkins (437), and Will Fuller (436), Robby Anderson (431), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (431), and Keenan Allen (418) complete the list of receivers that have accumulated 400+.

John Hightower leads all wide receivers in targeted air yards (18.8). Mike Williams is second overall (17.6), followed by Gallup (17.4), Valdes-Scantling (17.2), Brown (16.9), DeSean Jackson (16.8), Ridley (16.4), and three receivers that are tied at 16.3 – Metcalf, Christian Kirk, and Scott Miller. Tyreek Hill is the only other receiver that has eclipsed 16 (16.1). Higgins and teammate A.J. Green are tied with 14.9, followed by Preston Williams (14.7), Thielen (14.5) Chase Claypool (13.9), and three receivers that are tied at 13.7 - Beckham, Darnell Mooney, and Gabriel Davis.

 

Thielen continues to lead his position in percentage share of team air yard‘s (48.4). Marquise Brown is now second (45.1), followed by Metcalf (44.5), Slayton (44.2), McLaurin (43.2), and Ridley (41.7). Beckham is next (39.6), followed by Edelman (39.4), Moore (39.2), Moore's teammate Anderson (39.0), Tyreek Hill (37.7), Valdes-Scantling (34,5), Diggs (33.7), Robinson (33.2), Hilton (33.1), Sanders (32.6), and Hopkins (31.2). Allen (31.1) completes the list of receivers that are averaging at least 30%.

 

Week 5 First Downs

Wide Receivers First Downs
DeAndre Hopkins 29
Calvin Ridley 25
Tyler Boyd 25
Amari Cooper 23
Terry McLaurin 22
Stefon Diggs 22
Robby Anderson 21
Keenan Allen 21
Allen Robinson 21
CeeDee Lamb 20
D. J. Moore 19
Darius Slayton 19
Adam Thielen 19
D.K. Metcalf 19
Tyreek Hill 18
Tyler Lockett 17
Cooper Kupp 17
Russell Gage 17
Emmanuel Sanders 17
DeVante Parker 17
Marquise Brown 16
Mike Evans 16
Justin Jefferson 16
Julian Edelman 16
Laviska Shenault Jr. 16
Sammy Watkins 16
Cole Beasley 16

DeAndre Hopkins leads are wide receivers with 29 first downs, while Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd are tied for second (25). Amari Cooper is fourth (23), followed by Terry McLaurin (22), Stefon Diggs (22), and three receivers that are tied with 21 first downs – Allen Robinson, Robby Anderson, and Keenan Allen. CeeDee Lamb leads rookies in yet another category with his 20 first downs, while Adam Thielen, Darius Slayton, D.K. Metcalf, and D.J. Moore, have all captured 19. Tyreek Hill is next (18), followed by five receivers that have collected 17 receptions for first downs - Tyler Lockett, Cooper Kupp, DeVante Parker, Emmanuel Sanders, and Russell Gage.

 

Week 5 Red Zone Targets

Wide Receivers Inside 20 Inside 10 Inside 5 Team %
Emmanuel Sanders 8 4 2 26.67
Russell Gage 8 4 2 32
N'Keal Harry 8 4 2 40
Darius Slayton 7 4 2 28
Adam Thielen 7 3 1 53.85
Calvin Ridley 7 3 2 28
Mike Evans 6 5 4 21.43
Keenan Allen 6 1 0 31.58
Sammy Watkins 6 5 2 22.22
CeeDee Lamb 6 5 4 26.09
Odell Beckham 6 5 4 37.5
Robby Anderson 6 2 1 28.57
DeAndre Hopkins 6 2 1 35.29
DK Metcalf 5 4 0 17.86
Tyler Lockett 5 4 3 17.86
Tyreek Hill 5 3 1 18.52
Zach Pascal 5 3 2 18.52
Allen Robinson 5 2 1 17.24
Stefon Diggs 5 2 2 15.63
Cole Beasley 5 4 2 15.63
DJ Chark 5 3 1 17.24
Trent Taylor 4 1 0 14.29
David Moore 4 1 0 14.29
Greg Ward 4 1 0 30.77
Chris Hogan 4 2 1 26.67
Tre'Quan Smith 4 1 1 13.33
Preston Williams 4 3 2 21.05
Hunter Renfrow 4 0 0 16
Cooper Kupp 4 1 0 22.22
Collin Johnson 4 3 2 13.79
T.Y. Hilton 4 0 0 14.81
Will Fuller 4 1 1 26.67
Amari Cooper 4 1 0 17.39
Tee Higgins 4 2 2 14.81
Anthony Miller 4 1 1 13.79
Brandon Aiyuk 4 3 2 14.29
JuJu Smith-Schuster 4 3 0 25
Julian Edelman 4 2 1 20
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 4 0 0 14.81
John Brown 4 2 1 12.5
Kenand ny Golladay 4 1 0 18.18

N’Keal Harry maintained his lead in red zone targets (8). However, he is now tied with Russell Gage and Emmanuel Sanders after the Week 5 matchups. Darius Slayton, Calvin Ridley, and Adam Thielen are next (7), followed by seven receivers that have collected six targets - Odell Beckham, Robby Anderson, DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Evans, Keenan Allen, CeeDee Lamb, and Sammy Watkins (6). Eight additional receivers are tied with five targets inside the 20 - D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Tyreek Hill, Zach Pascal, Allen Robinson, Cole Beasley, D.J. Chark, and Stefon Diggs.

Beckham, Evans, Watkins, and Lamb are tied for the lead with five targets inside the 10, while eight different receivers have been targeted four times  - Harry, Ridley, Sanders, Slayton, Metcalf, Beasley, Gage, Lockett, and Sanders.

Lamb, Beckham, and Evans are in a three-way tie for the league lead with four targets inside the 5.  Lockett has captured three targets, while a collection of 15 receivers have been targeted twice.

 

Week 5 Snap Counts

Wide Receivers  Week 5 Snaps Total Snaps Total Snap%
Michael Gallup 64/97% 345 89.84
DeAndre Hopkins 65/87% 332 93.26
Amari Cooper 42/64% 313 81.51
Terry McLaurin 54/100% 309 94.79
D.K. Metcalf 52/96% 304 95.6
Tyreek Hill 63/88% 303 86.82
Tyler Lockett 52/96% 300 94.34
Robert Woods 59/87% 300 89.29
Adam Thielen 81/93% 298 91.98
Darius Slayton 64/94% 297 92.52
Larry Fitzgerald 60/80% 295 82.87
Mike Evans 60/85% 293 84.68
Tyler Boyd 46/69% 291 77.81
Cooper Kupp 56/82% 288 85.71
Keenan Allen 12/17% 288 80.22
Calvin Ridley 48/74% 287 80.39
Allen Robinson 55/87% 280 83.09
Chris Hogan 45/65% 274 82.78
D.J. Moore 51/78% 274 82.28
CeeDee Lamb 36/55% 274 71.35
Zach Pascal 51/92% 266 79.4
Odell Beckham 63/86% 266 77.78
Jalen Guyton 65/92% 264 73.54
Kendrick Bourne 42/66% 258 76.56
Damiere Byrd BYE 257 91.79
DeVante Parker 53/79% 255 75.89
Stefon Diggs 60/83% 247 91.14
Jarvis Landry 56/77% 245 71.64
Keelan Cole 60/80% 244 73.05
Robby Anderson 47/72% 240 72.07
T.Y. Hilton 53/94% 239 71.34
Marvin Jones BYE 239 90.19
A.J. Green 28/42% 238 63.64
Sammy Watkins 26/36% 237 67.91
Justin Jefferson 70/80% 237 73.15
Preston Williams 40/60% 235 69/94
Brandin Cooks 48/83% 234 81.25
JuJu Smith-Schuster 57/76% 229 80.63
Tee Higgins 54/81% 229 61.23
Mike Williams 55/78% 227 74
Will Fuller 48/83% 226 78.47
Emmanuel Sanders 45/59% 224 66.77
Marquise Brown 54/86% 222 74

 

Michael Gallup has now led all wide receivers in offensive snaps for two consecutive weeks (345). He is followed by DeAndre Hopkins (332), Gallup’s teammate Amari Cooper (313), Terry McLaurin (309), D.K. Metcalf (304), Tyreek Hill (303), and two receivers that have performed on exactly 300 offensive snaps - Tyler Lockett, and Robert Woods. Adam Thielen is next (298), followed by Darius Slayton (297), Larry Fitzgerald (295), Mike Evans (293), Tyler Boyd (291), Cooper Kupp (288), Calvin Ridley (287), and Allen Robinson (280).

Metcalf (95.6), leads all receivers in offensive snap percentage, followed by McLaurin (94.8), Lockett (94.3), Hopkins (93.3), Slayton (92.5), Thielen (92.0), Damiere Byrd (91.8), and Stefon Diggs (91.1). Gallup (89.9) is next, followed by Robert Woods (89.3), Tyreek Hill (86.8), Cooper Kupp (85.7), Mike Evans (84.7), and Allen Robinson (83.1).

Thielen led the position in offensive snaps during Week 5 (81). His teammate Justin Jefferson was second (70), followed by Jeff Smith (68), Hopkins (65), Jalen Guyton (65), Gallup (64), Slayton (64), and three receivers that tied with 63 - Beckham, Hill, and Olamide Zacchaeus. Three receivers were also tied with 60 snaps (Evans, Fitzgerald, Keelan Cole). They were followed by Woods (59) JuJu Smith-Schuster (57), Deebo Samuel (57), and three receivers that were tied with 56 - Kupp, Landry, and Tampa Bay rookie Tyler Johnson.

McLaurin and Gabriel Davis led all receivers in snap count percentage during Week 5, by performing on 100% of their teams’ offensive snaps. Smith was third for the week (98.6), followed by Gallup (97.0), Zacchaeus (96.9), Aiyul (96.9), Lockett (96.3), Metcalf (96.3), Hilton (94.6), and Slayton (94.1). Thielen was next (93.1), followed by Guyton (91.6), Zach Pascal (91.7), Samuel (89.1), Hill (87.5), Robinson (87.3), Woods (86.8), Hopkins (86.7), and Beckham (86.3).

 

Five Things I Noticed

1. It has become increasingly clear that Robby Anderson has ascended beyond D.J. Moore as Carolina's true WR1 after five weeks of the regular season.

Moore entered the year in the aftermath of his 2019 breakout, in which he finished eighth among all receivers in yardage (1,175), and 10th in both targets (135) and receptions (87). He was also averaging 9.5 targets, 6.1 receptions, and 84 yards per game from Weeks 1-15, before a concussion, prematurely ended his season. This had vaulted him into high-end WR2 terrain which propelled his momentum as a Round 3 selection during the draft process. But fantasy GMs did not display a similar level of enthusiasm for drafting Robby Anderson after he signed with the Panthers during the offseason.

Anderson had finished 33rd in targets (96/6.0 per game) 43rd in receptions (52) and 37th in receiving yards (779) during 2019, although he tied for sixth in percentage of team's air yards (36.7). He appeared to provide Carolina with a downfield weapon who would primarily clear space for Moore by running deeper routes. But Anderson has thrived in the strategic approach of Matt Rhule and Joe Brady, and now enters Week 6 with 47 targets. That is 10 more than Moore and is also the league’s sixth-highest total. Anderson is also fourth overall in both receptions (36), and receiving yards (489), and has now paced Panther wide receivers in targets and receptions during each of their last three contests. That includes Week 5 when he also led Carolina in targets (12), receptions (8), and receiving yards (112).

Moore led the team in targets during their first two games, is 16th overall for the season (37), and is also 19th in receptions (22). However, he is also 10th in yardage (381), and 14th in air yards (440) - just three spots above Anderson (435). Both receivers are currently inside the top 10 in percentage share of air yards as Moore in ninth (39.2), followed directly by Anderson (39.0). However, Moore’s 57-yard touchdown in Week 5 was generated on a short reception in which nearly all yardage was generated after the catch. It was Moore’s first touchdown of the season - which ties him with Anderson.

Even though Moore’s current per-game averages (7.4 targets/4.4 receptions/76.2 yards), do not match his averages from 2019, anyone with the third-year receiver on their rosters should not become discouraged. He remains a WR2, and would still finish the season with 118 targets, 70 receptions, and 1,219 yards if he retained those averages over a 16-game schedule. Anderson has earned the distinction of WR1 status, as his combination of talent and opportunity should allow him to continue flourishing in Carolina’s restructured offense.

 

2. On the eve of last Sunday’s Week 5 matchups, several websites categorized “all Jet receivers” as “unplayable”.

This recommendation was due to the numerous deficiencies throughout the Jet offense, which was to be accentuated by the elevation of Joe Flacco under center. However, Crowder has repeatedly overcome the various hurdles that have permeated the Jet attack – both on and off the field. He was primed to enter the matchup having already navigated his team’s internal obstacles while accumulating 23 targets in just two contests. This should have provided fantasy GMs and analysts with sufficient confidence to keep him entrenched in the lineup, even though Flacco would be spearheading the offense.

Crowder remains the only wide receiver that has collected 10+ targets in every contest this season, as he caught eight of his 10 targets during New York’s Week 5 matchup with Arizona. That currently places him in a tie for 23rd among all receivers with 33 targets for the season, even though he was sidelined in Weeks 2-3. He is also 20th in yardage despite his two-game absence, after he assembled a season-high 116 against the Cardinals. He has now exceeded 100 yards in all three games (115/104/116). Crowder also vaulted to WR7 in scoring for the week, even though he was operating with Flacco.

Crowder’s usage and production in just three matchups have been sufficient to lead the Jets in targets (33), receptions (22), while he has also generated over 200 more receiving yards than any of his teammates (335). He is also sixth overall in yards after catch (170) and is averaging a career-high 15.2 yards per reception following his performance against the Cardinals.

The drama surrounding Le’Veon Bell provides yet another self-defeating development for the Jets, and the endless collection of issues that impact the franchise could compel fantasy GMs to overlook Crowder’s accomplishments this season. But that provides the rationale for including Crowder in this section. He has earned recognition for the excellent season that he is constructing amid the ugliness of his organization. There should be no hesitation in starting him, as he has become unrestricted by what could easily have been massive constraints in his production. He should be in all lineups moving forward. as savvy managers should know that they can place infinite trust in the sixth-year veteran.

 

3. The Packers were universally expected to bolster their wide receiving arsenal during the off-season.

However, it has been well documented that General Manager Brian Gutekunst and Matt LaFleur eschewed the opportunity to provide Aaron Rodgers with additional options throughout free agency and the NFL draft. This initiated an eruption of widespread criticism, while also resulting in a Round 10 ADP for Rodgers.

Green Bay has risen to ninth in run play percentage (45.6%), after ranking 17th (40.2%) one year ago. However, the Packers also enter Week 6 bye with the league’s third-ranked passing attack (294.8 yards per game). Rodgers is QB6 in scoring, has constructed an exceptional 13:0 touchdown to interception ratio, and is second in touchdown percentage (9.4).

Rodgers accomplished this even though Green Bay ranks 24th in pass play percentage (54.4%), and has been without passing game centerpiece Davante Adams since Week 2. Adams was a strong candidate to lead the NFL in targets this season and achieved that in Week 1 (17 targets/42.5% target share). He should return this week to recapture his role as Green Bay’s target monster and could reprise his statistical surge from last season. Adams reemerged from a turf toe injury in Week 8 to finish second overall in targets (91) and receptions (58) from Weeks 8-17.

Allen Lazard generated a career-best 146 yards on eight targets in Week 3 but remains in the early stage of an extended absence following core muscle surgery. He still leads the Packers yardage (254), while Marquez Valdes-Scantling has garnered a team-high 25 targets (6.3 per game). Valdes-Scantling is also fourth among all receivers in targeted air yards (17.2), 18th in air yards (431), and 18th in percentage share of air yards (34.5). Valdez-Scantling also leads the team in target share (18.7) although that will change following Adams’ return.

Aaron Jones is second in target share (17.2). and entered his bye in a tie for third among all backs in targets (23). Third-year tight end Robert Tonyan has experienced a steady rise with his weekly target totals (0/3/5/6) which has propelled him to a 10.4 target share. Rodgers will continue to locate Jones and Tonyan as the season progresses. But Adams is easily the Packers’ primary receiver and should eventually resurface among the league leaders in each major category. Valdes-Scantling should be targeted with enough frequency to function as a WR3, even after Adams returns.

 

4. There were divergent opinions during the off-season surrounding the value for Giant wide receivers Sterling ShepardGolden Tate, and Darius Slayton.

Shepard was the first member of the trio to be selected during the draft process (ADP 112), although the fantasy community was split concerning which receiver would ultimately deliver the highest level of production.  But as the team enters their Week 6 matchup with division rival Washington, Slayton has separated himself by emerging as the most targeted and productive weapon among Daniel Jones’ trio of options at the position. The former fifth-round draft selection also collected the second-highest target total of his career in Week 5 (11), while his weekly total also tied him for eighth among all receivers.

He also eclipsed 100 yards for the second time this year, which matches the number of  100-yard performances that he delivered during his 2019 rookie season. Slayton is now 12th overall in targets (40/8 per game), fourth in percentage share of air yards (44.2%), 10th in air yards (487), 17th in receiving yards (365), and is also tied for 17th in receptions (23). He is also tied for fourth in red zone targets (7) and leads the Giants in each of those categories. Slayton also paces the team in target share (23.7), yards per reception (15.9), and yards per target (9.1). But while Slatyon's season is progressing favorably, the results have been disappointing for anyone who invested in Shepard or Tate during the draft process.

A toe injury has cemented Shepard to the sideline since he exited New York’s matchup with Chicago in Week 2. He has been limited to just 68 snaps, has collected just eight receptions, and currently remains on injured reserve. Tate’s usage and production also remain alarmingly short of expectations. The 32-year old has accumulated just 145 yards on 18 receptions and has failed to exceed 47 yards during any of his four matchups. His current per-game averages of 5.6 targets, 4.5 receptions, and 36.3 yards would result in season-long totals of 85 targets, 68 receptions, and 545 yards if Tate retained those weekly results during his remaining matchups. That would equate to his lowest usage and output since 2012.

The Giants currently rank third in pass play percentage (65.4%), and the team will not generate an effective ground game with their current components in their backfield.  This should preserve a consistent reliance on Jones and the passing game, with Slayton continuing to operate as the primary weapon in the aerial attack.

 

 

5. Henry Ruggs was one of three rookie receivers who delivered their most prolific outings of the season in Week 5.

Ruggs maximized his three targets by registering receptions of 46 and 72 yards during the Raiders' matchup in Kansas City. That resulted in astronomical averages of 59 yards per reception and 39.3 yards per target, while his 118 yards placed him eighth among all receivers in Week 5. He has been operating from the slot during 72% of his routes and is averaging 29.5 yards per reception and 16.1 yards per target. Ruggs’ exceptional speed blends favorably with his route running ability in allowing him to explode beyond defenders. Ruggs is also underrated as a competitive receiver who can prevail in contested catch situations. Volume is a concern, as he has averaged just 3.6 targets per game. But that is partially a byproduct of Ruggs playing through his knee injury in Weeks 1 and 2  If he can achieve sustained health Ruggs should justify the Raiders' decision to select him with the 12th overall pick in last April's draft.

Laviska Shenault led Jacksonville in targets (8), receptions (7), and receiving yards (79) during Jacksonville’s matchup in Houston. He has now collected 20 targets during his last three contests, which has elevated his season total to 28. That places him in a tie for the team lead with Keelan Cole. Shenault also leads the Jaguars in receptions (23) and receiving yards (270), after collecting 12 receptions and 165 yards in Weeks 4-5. Shenault is now averaging 11.7 yards per reception, after exceeding 11.3 in four of his five matchups, and has been involved in 63% of Jacksonville's offensive snaps- including his season-high 69.3% in Week 5. Shenault is also being deployed both outside and in the slot, and this versatility will blend with his physical style to expand his involvement in the offense as the season progresses.

The 6’4”, 240-pound Chase Claypool possesses the size and speed (4.42-40 yard dash) to create matchup nightmares for opponents. He had entered Week 5 with season totals of nine targets, six receptions, 151 yards, and one touchdown. But Claypool’s relevance skyrocketed when he led the Steelers in targets (11) receptions (7) and receiving yards (110) while averaging 15.7 yards per reception and generating three touchdowns. He also produced a fourth touchdown on the ground, while finishing WR1 in scoring for the week.  Claypool now leads the Steelers in receiving yards (261), and the 11 targets that he procured places his season total just six behind team leader Diontae Johnson, and only four behind JuJu Smith-Schuster. He is also third overall with an average of 20.1 yards per reception. Johnson experienced a back issue that forced him to the sideline in Week 5, but he remains Pittsburgh’s WR1. However, Claypool maintains the potential to remain relevant in the upcoming weeks, even though his production could be inconsistent.



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Coaching Matters: Offenses That Will Improve From Week 5

This series continues into its fifth week of where I dive into offensive areas that will improve or decline based on coaching in order to glean insight as to fantasy football value.

In Week 5, we saw performances such as Kyler Murray throwing for 380 passing yards, the Chiefs running backs combining for only 44 rushing yards, and the San Francisco 49ers wide receivers combining for 93 receiving yards. After these performances, it's important to look at each of these team's coaches and their play-calling tendencies to see if these performances are likely to continue, if they will change for the better, or if they will change for the worse.

This article will take a look at which of these areas are in line for improvement in future weeks. Let's dive in!

 

Improvements Ahead?

These are the areas and positions that will likely improve in the coming weeks, based on the team's play-caller tendencies in the past.

Seattle Seahawks Running Backs

Brian Schottenheimer 

The Seattle Seahawks had a dramatic come from behind victory against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football, winning 27-26. The Vikings dominated the time of possession in this game, so the Seattle Seahawks didn't get to utilize their running backs as much as they would like. The Seahawks running backs combined for 11 carries, 66 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, six receptions (seven targets), 27 receiving yards, and zero receiving touchdowns in this victory.

After this performance, on the season the Seahawks running back room is averaging 18.8 carries, 82.4 rushing yards, 0.8 rushing touchdowns, 5.8 receptions (6.4 targets), 37.6 receiving yards, and 0.8 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what their offensive coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, has traditionally gotten out of their backfield. Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has had his running backs average 25.34 carries, 106.54 rushing yards, 0.67 rushing touchdowns, 5.80 targets, 32.36 receiving yards, and 0.10 receiving touchdowns per game in the 176 games he coached as an offensive coordinator prior to this season.

Even with Russell Wilson's MVP campaign happening Brian Schottenheimer will get his running backs more involved in the future. We should expect much better days for the Seahawks running backs going forward.

Fantasy players this impacts: Chris Carson, Carlos Hyde, Rashaad Penny, Travis Homer, and DeeJay Dallas

 

Kansas City Chiefs Running Backs

Andy Reid & Eric Bieniemy

The Kansas City Chiefs lost their first game of the season to the Las Vegas Raiders this past Sunday. One big issue that they experienced in the game was getting the team's running backs involved. The Chiefs running backs combined for 11 carries, 44 rushing yards, four receptions (13 targets), 55 receiving yards, and zero touchdowns in this game.

After this performance, the Chiefs running back room is averaging 19.6 carries, 82.2 rushing yards, 0.2 rushing touchdowns, 4.6 receptions (8.2 targets), 40.8 receiving yards, and zero receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what their head coach, Andy Reid, has traditionally gotten out of their backfield. Andy Reid has had his running backs average 19.98 carries, 87.62 rushing yards, 0.65 rushing touchdowns, 6.73 targets, 42.94 receiving yards, and 0.29 receiving touchdowns per game in the 336 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

Carries Rushing Yards Rushing Touchdowns Targets Receiving Yards
Receiving Touchdowns
2020 Chiefs (5 games) 19.6 82.2 0.2 8.2 40.8 0
Andy Reid (336 Games Prior) 19.98 87.62 0.65 6.73 42.94 0.29
Eric Bieniemy (32 Games Prior) 18.88 82.88 0.81 6.09 43.38 0.47

In the 32 games that Eric Bieniemy has been the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator, the Chiefs running backs have averaged 18.88 carries, 82.88 rushing yards, 0.81 rushing touchdowns, 6.09 targets, 43.38 receiving yards, and 0.47 receiving touchdowns per game.

Everything seems in line with what we'd expect from Andy Reid and Eric Bieniemy's running back room except for touchdowns. Expect more touchdowns in the future for the Chiefs backs.

Fantasy players this impacts: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrel Williams, and Darwin Thompson

 

Philadelphia Eagles Running Backs

Doug Pederson

The Philadelphia Eagles fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday and dropped to a 1-3-1 record. In the game, the Eagles running backs did the best they could to get something going against the vaunted Pittsburgh Steelers run defense, combining for 12 carries, 83 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, two receptions (four targets), 19 receiving yards, and zero touchdowns.

After this performance, on the season the Eagles running back room is averaging 18.8 carries, 79.6 rushing yards, 0.6 rushing touchdowns, 3.8 receptions (6.4 targets), 28.8 receiving yards, and zero receiving touchdowns per game.

Carries Rushing Yards Rushing Touchdowns Targets Receiving Yards
Receiving Touchdowns
2020 Philadelphia Eagles (5 games) 18.8 79.6 0.6 6.4 28.8 0
Doug Pederson Prior (112 games) 22.63 99.18 0.86 6.62 41.18 0.3

Now let's look at what Doug Pederson has gotten out of the position traditionally. Over the 112 games he coached prior to the start of the 2020 NFL season, Pederson's running back room averaged 22.63 carries, 99.18 rushing yards, 0.86 rushing touchdowns, 6.62 targets, 41.18 receiving yards, and 0.30 receiving touchdowns per game.

If you can still buy shares of Miles Sanders and the Eagles running game, now would be the time to do so.

Fantasy players this impacts: Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, and Corey Clement

 

Washington Football Team Wide Receivers

Scott Turner

The Washington Football Team got demolished by the Los Angeles Rams. Their wide receivers, in particular, couldn't get anything going and only had five receptions on nine targets for 27 receiving yards and zero touchdowns.

This means that on the season the Football Team's wide receiver room is averaging 11.8 receptions on 18.6 targets for 137.2 receiving yards and 0.6 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what their offensive coordinator, Scott Turner, has traditionally gotten out of his wide receivers in the past. Scott Turner has had his wide receivers average 22 targets, 135.25 receiving yards, and 0.25 receiving touchdowns per game in the four games he coached as an offensive coordinator prior to this season. While this is a small sample size that is hard to have a lot of takeaways, the one thing it does show is how much of an outlier Sunday's performance was. There will be better days than Sunday for this group.

Fantasy players this impacts: Terry McLaurin, Steven Sims, and Dontrelle Inman

 

Baltimore Ravens Wide Receivers

Greg Roman

The Baltimore Ravens wide receivers combined for eight receptions (17 targets), 94 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown in their dominant victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

After this performance, on the season the Ravens wide receivers room is averaging 9.8 receptions on 15 targets for 121.2 receiving yards and 0.4 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what their offensive coordinator, Greg Roman, has traditionally gotten out of his wide receivers in the past. Greg Roman has had his wide receivers average 15.90 targets, 126.49 receiving yards, and 0.82 receiving touchdowns per game in the 98 games he coached as an offensive coordinator prior to this season.

Based on this information, we should expect improved efficiency from the wide receivers' performance Sunday, but the season averages as a whole are around what we would expect from Greg Roman's wide receiver room.

Fantasy players this impacts: Marquise 'Hollywood' Brown, Miles Boykin, Willie Snead 

 

Cincinnati Bengals Wide Receivers

Zac Taylor & Brian Callahan

The Cincinnati Bengals got annihilated by the Baltimore Ravens, losing 27-3. The Bengals wide receivers combined for 10 receptions (17 targets), 122 receiving yards, and zero touchdowns in this loss.

After this performance, on the season the Bengals wide receivers room is averaging 15.8 receptions on 25.8 targets for 169 receiving yards and 0.8 receiving touchdowns.

Now let's compare this to what their head coach, Zac Taylor, has traditionally gotten out of his wide receivers in the past. Zac Taylor has had his wide receivers average 23.86 targets, 173.57 receiving yards, and 0.57 receiving touchdowns per game in the 21 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

In the games prior to this season that Brian Callahan has been the Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator, the Bengals wide receivers have averaged 24.25 targets, 172.25 receiving yards, and 0.56 receiving touchdowns per game.

Based on Zac Taylor and Brian Callahan's previous utilization of the wide receiver position, we should expect a bounce-back from Sunday's performance against the Baltimore Ravens, but the season stats as a whole for the Bengals wide receivers are right around what we would expect out of this group. Keep this all in mind when looking to buy or sell any of the Bengals wide receivers.

Fantasy players this impacts: Tee Higgins, A.J. Green, John Ross, and Tyler Boyd

 

San Francisco 49ers Wide Receivers

Kyle Shanahan

The San Francisco 49ers got annihilated by the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, losing 43-17. In this game the 49ers wide receivers combined for seven receptions (18 targets), 93 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown.

After this performance, on the season the 49ers wide receivers room is averaging 7.6 receptions (14 targets), 96 receiving yards, 0.2 receiving touchdowns.

Now let's compare this to what their head coach, Kyle Shanahan, has traditionally gotten out of his wide receivers in the past. Kyle Shanahan has had his wide receivers average 19.94 targets, 162.49 receiving yards, and 0.90 receiving touchdowns per game in the 192 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

Based on this information, we should expect better performances from Sunday and the start of the season as a whole. In particular, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk are strong buys right now and you should be doing your best to acquire them while their value is low.

Fantasy players this impacts: Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and Kendrick Bourne



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WR/CB Matchups to Target and Avoid - Week 5

The chart below is a snapshot of each team's cornerback group as it relates to allowing fantasy points. There are inherent flaws within the data compilation of cornerback play. The first being the fact that quantifying a 1-on-1 matchup in an NFL game is unfair because of zone coverages, mental errors, certain passing concepts, and a million other things. Assigning fantasy points against a cornerback isn't a perfect science. The purpose of this chart is to give more of a general sense of how defenses are handling opposing WR groups, rather than identifying exactly where, when, and how every single encounter happened.

The "Rtng" column is the rating of each cornerback based on film study and analytics. The lower a player is graded, the easier the matchup for the WR, so low ratings are green and high ratings are red. The "PPGA" is the number of fantasy points per game that the player has given up. A name in blue means the corner could possibly shadow the WR1. A name in red means that the player is dealing with an injury.  WRs highlighted in yellow have an easy matchup.  WRs highlighted in pink have a tough matchup.

The analysis below will help contextualize the chart, as in most cases a receiver did not score 100% of his points against the same player. However, the chart is a useful tool in getting a sense of the weakest links among corners.

 

Cornerback Ratings and Matchups - Week 5

click image for full-size view

 

WR/CB Matchups to Target

This is an interesting week in the fact that some of the most beneficial matchups for WRs are players who aren’t realistic fantasy options. For example, Kendrick Bourne, David Moore, and Chad Beebe have three of the easiest matchups in the NFL, but obviously can’t be started in the majority of fantasy leagues. Moore deserves a look in deep leagues, but he’s not getting enough targets to start over established WRs.

There are multiple smash spots that could define the slate this week. First is Justin Jefferson against Tre Flowers or Quinton Dunbar in Seattle. Jefferson has been fantastic, and both Dunbar and Flowers have been horrid. On the other side, D.K. Metcalf gets Minnesota’s terrible outside CBs.

Darius Slayton and Golden Tate are also in great spots against Dallas.  The Cowboys have been atrocious against wide receivers this year, unable to cover WR1s or slots.  Daniel Jones has had tough matchups all season but I expect him to have his best game of 2020 in this spot.

Another intriguing spot is in that same game with the Cowboys receivers against the Giants corners.  Amari Cooper gets a tough draw with James Bradberry, but both Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb have plus matchups.

Offenses have game-planned to take advantage of slot matchups against Dallas, Buffalo, Cleveland, and Tennessee. In addition to CeeDee Lamb, Cole Beasley, Adam Humphries (if he plays), and Zach Pascal have great matchups.

Finally, the disappointing D.J. Moore gets possibly the easiest WR spot in all of football against Atlanta.  Robby Anderson has been more productive, but I expect Moore to explode against the Falcons. Dan Quinn’s defense is disturbingly bad.

 

WR/CB Matchups to Avoid

Many of the top WRs are matchup-proof for the most part, as Allen Robinson proved once again last week. So, while Tyreek Hill has a tough matchup on paper against Lamarcus Joyner, he is still obviously a fine play.

However, there are a handful of WR1s with tough matchups that you might want to downgrade. Diontae Johnson coming back from injury against Darius Slay is a tough spot. Odell Beckham Jr. just had his best game in years but gets a rejuvenated Xavier Rhodes and the stingy Indy pass defense. Mike Evans is banged up and has to deal with Kyle Fuller and the Bears. If Tennessee does return to action this week, A.J. Brown will have to deal with arguably the best corner in the game in Tre’Davious White.

I wouldn’t downgrade Will Fuller because Jacksonville’s PPGA WR1 stat is misleading. They’ve faced off against Corey Davis, DeVante Parker, and underachievers in T.Y. Hilton and A.J. Green. As far as Amari Cooper goes, you probably aren’t sitting him regardless, but I would not be shocked to see more work go to Gallup and Lamb.

Fringe fantasy WRs in tough matchups this week include Jamison Crowder, Hunter Renfrow, Larry Fitzgerald, Scotty Miller, Preston Williams, and John Brown.  Hopefully, you have better options.

Thanks for reading and good luck this week.



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Wide Receiver Snap Counts and Target Trends - Week 4 Analysis

Your wide receivers remain essential components toward your primary goal of securing league championships. As this unique regular season continues to unfold, an expanding assortment of tools is available that can provide you with an extensive level of knowledge regarding this critical position. Those results are contained in this weekly statistical breakdown of multiple categories, which is designed to help you fulfill your championship aspirations.

This will be the fourth installment that will examine game-specific data, including updated totals for targets, first downs, red-zone targets, snap counts, and a compilation of advanced statistics. The information that is contained in this weekly report will analyze how various receivers are being utilized, and how effectively they are capitalizing on their opportunities. This massive collection of data supplies the foundation from which the numbers that are generated in various categories can be evaluated.

As the season progresses noteworthy changes in usage and production will be blended into the equation. That will bolster your efforts to determine which wide receivers should be in your lineups, and which are worthy of remaining on your rosters. Pro Football Reference, PFF, NextGenStats, Rotowire, Rotoviz, and Football Outsiders were all used as resources in compiling this data.

 

Week 4 Target Leaders

Wide Receivers Targets Targ/Game YPT
Amari Cooper 51 12.8 7.9
Keenan Allen 49 12.3 6.7
DeAndre Hopkins 46 11.5 8.6
Allen Robinson 41 10.3 8.1
Calvin Ridley 40 10 8.7
Terry McLaurin 39 9.8 9.9
Stefon Diggs 35 8.8 11.5
Tyler Boyd 34 8.5 9.4
Robby Anderson 34 8.5 11.1
Tyler Lockett 33 8.3 9
A.J. Green 33 8.3 3.6
D.J. Moore 32 8 9
Adam Thielen 31 7.8 9.2
Odell Beckham Jr. 30 7.5 7.9
Julian Edelman 30 7.5 9.8
DeVante Parker 29 7.3 9.6
Darius Slayton 29 7.3 8.1
Tyreek Hill 29 7.3 9.9
CeeDee Lamb 29 7.3 10.7
Jerry Jeudy 28 7 8.4
D.K. Metcalf 28 7 14.4
Cooper Kupp 28 7 10.6
N'Keal Harry 28 7 5.9
Russell Gage 27 6.8 7.7
Sammy Watkins 27 6.8 7.3
Greg Ward 26 6.5 5.6
Marquise Brown 26 6.5 9.3
Isaiah Ford 26 6.5 5.8
Mike Evans 26 6.5 8.8
Robert Woods 26 6.5 8.8
Diontae Johnson 25 8.3 6
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 25 6.3 8.4
Michael Gallup 24 6 11.5
Cole Beasley 24 6 10.8
Chris Hogan 23 5.8 4.3
John Brown 23 5.8 8.4
Jamison Crowder 23 11.5 9.5
Keelan Cole 23 5.8 8.4
Kendrick Bourne 22 5.5 9
Will Fuller 22 5.5 12.5
T.Y. Hilton 22 5.5 7.4
Emmanuel Sanders 22 5.5 8.3
Hunter Renfrow 22 5.5 9
Tee Higgins 22 5.5 6.9
Damiere Byrd 22 5.5 8.1
Scotty Miller 21 5.3 11.9
Danny Amendola 21 5.3 8.4
Dontrelle Inman 21 5.3 5
Brandin Cooks 21 5.3 6.6
Tim Patrick 21 5.3 10
Davante Adams 20 10 9.6
Julio Jones 20 6.7 10.7

Several prominent receivers were absent due to injuries (Michael Thomas/Davante Adams/Chris Godwin), while several others returned to their teams’ lineups (D.J. Chark/Jamison Crowder/Deebo Samuel). Other receivers encountered health issues during their matchups, or could not deliver their normal level of effectiveness while operating at less than 100% health. However, many receivers that remain unencumbered by any form of injuries are continuing to thrive.

Amari Cooper has surged beyond Keenan Allen and DeAndre Hopkins to the league lead with 51 targets. Allen is now second (49), followed by Hopkins (46) and Allen Robinson (41). Calvin Ridley is fifth overall (4), followed by Terry McLaurin (39), and Stefon Diggs (35). The former Viking has also played an integral role in the sustained success of Buffalo’s passing attack which will be discussed In the 5 Things I Noticed section.

Tyler Boyd and Robby Anderson are tied with 34 targets, while Tyler Lockett and A.J. Green are directly behind them with 33. Anderson‘s teammate D.J. Moore has been targeted 32 times, followed by Adam Thielen (31) Julian Edelman (30), and Odell Beckham Jr. (30). DeVante Parker, Darius Slayton, Tyreek Hill, and newcomer CeeDee Lamb are tied with 29 targets, followed by four receivers that have captured 28 after four matchups - Jerry Jeudy, D.K. Metcalf, N'Keal Harry, and Cooper Kupp. Russell Gage and Sammy Watkins are tied with 27 targets, while five receivers are tied at  26 (Marquise Brown, Greg Ward, Isaiah Ford, Mike Evans, and Robert Woods).

Ridley, Cooper, and Allen are the only three wide receivers that have collected 10+ targets in three of their four matchups. Robinson, Hopkins, McLaurin, Anderson, Crowder, and Diontae Johnson have all accomplished it twice, as Crowder has managed that feat despite playing in only two matchups. Five receivers have been targeted 40+ times (Cooper/Allen/HopkinsRobinson/Ridley), while 15 receivers have collected at least 30. A total of 58 receivers have attained 20+ targets, including a group of six rookies – Lamb, Jeudy, Tee Higgins, Laviska Shenault, Justin Jefferson, and Darnell Mooney.

Two rookies have commandeered the top two spots in yards per target average. Justin Jefferson leads all wide receivers (17.4), followed by Gabriel Davis at 16.1. Seattle's David Moore is third (15.7), followed by teammate D.K. Metcalf (14.4), D.J. Chark (12.8), Will Fuller (12.5), Scott Miller (11.9), Randall Cobb (11.8), and Willie Snead completing the top 10 (11.7). Stefon Diggs and Michael Gallup are next (11.5) followed by Josh Reynolds (11.3),  Robby Anderson (11.1), and a group of nine receivers that are averaging 10+ yards per target.

 

Largest Weekly Changes

Wide Receivers Week 3 Week 4 Total  Changes
Jamison Crowder INJ 10 23 10
D.J. Chark INJ 9 16 9
Isaiah Ford 2 10 26 8
Damiere Byrd 3 10 22 7
DeVante Parker 5 12 29 7
Terry McLaurin 8 14 39 6
Robby Anderson 5 11 34 6
Justin Watson INJ 6 11 5
Adam Thielen 5 10 31 5
Chris Hogan 3 8 23 5
Christian Kirk INJ 5 14 5
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 4 8 25 4
Julio Jones INJ 4 20 4
Amari Cooper 12 16 51 4
Mike Evans 4 8 26 4
Emmanuel Sanders 5 9 22 4
Darnell Mooney 5 9 20 4
Zach Pascal 4 8 19 4
John Brown 2 5 23 3
Tim Patrick 4 7 21 3
David Moore 1 4 11 3
Zay Jones 3 6 10 3
Olamide Zaccheaus 6 9 16 3
DeAndre Hopkins 12 9 46 -3
Allen Robinson 13 10 41 -3
Cooper Kupp 10 7 28 -3
Cole Beasley 7 4 24 -3
Brandon Aiyuk 8 5 16 -3
Greg Ward 11 7 26 -4
Michael Gallup 9 5 24 -4
Chris Conley 8 4 20 -4
Justin Jefferson 9 5 20 -4
Tyler Boyd 13 8 34 -5
Jerry Jeudy 9 4 28 -5
Keenan Allen 19 12 49 -7
Calvin Ridley 13 5 40 -8
Tyler Lockett 13 4 33 -9

Cooper registered the highest target total among all wide receivers in Week 4 (16). It was also his highest weekly total since Week 7 of 2017 when he stockpiled 19 targets. It was the third time this season that he has collected at least 12 targets, and the 14th time in his career. Terry McLaurin’s 14 targets placed him second overall for the week, while also establishing a new career-high. He achieved a double-digit target total once during his highly productive rookie season, but he has now achieved it twice during his first four matchups of 2020.

Devante Parker tied with Allen by accumulating 12 targets during Week 4, followed by Robby Anderson (11) and five receivers that all collected 10 targets – Robinson, Adam Thielen, Jamison Crowder, Damiere Byrd, and Isaiah Ford. Six receivers also captured nine targets - (Hopkins, Chark, Emmanuel Sanders, Chicago’s Darnell Mooney, Atlanta's Olamide Zacchaeus, and Jeff Smith of the Jets. Odell Beckham, Mike Evans, and Kenny Golladay spearheaded a group of nine receivers that were targeted eight times during their Week 4 matchups.

Several receivers resurfaced after being sidelined in Week 3 matchups, which created a surge in their week to week target totals. Jamison Crowder returned to collect a team-high 10 targets after being absent in Weeks 2 and 3 with his hamstring issue. D.J. Chark (chest) resurfaced after missing Jacksonville’s Week 3 matchup and led the Jaguars with nine targets. It was easily his highest total of the season after he only received a total of seven targets in Weeks 1 and 2 combined (3/4).

Two Dolphins collected a total of 22 targets as DeVante Parker overcame an ankle issue to capture a team-high 12. It also represented a week to week increase of +7. However, Ford’s weekly total rose by +8, after he captured a career-best 10 targets. He will be discussed further in the 5 Things I Noticed section as one of several enticing receivers that remain available on nearly all waiver wires. The weekly totals for Terry McLaurin, Robby Anderson improved by +6, while Adam Thielen, Chris Hogan, Justin Watson, Christian Kirk experienced increases of +5.

Tyler Lockett was averaging 9.7 targets per game entering Week 4, and was sixth overall with 29 targets. But Russell Wilson only launched four passes in his direction. This resulted in his lowest total since Week 13 of last season, while also creating the most significant week to week decline of -9. Calvin Ridley entered Week 4 in a tie for third with 35 targets and was the only receiver who had attained 10+ targets in each of his first three games. But a combination of his hamstring issue and excellent coverage from Green Bay's Jaire Alexander resulted in a season-low 5 targets. That also dropped his weekly total by -9.

Keenan Allen’s 12 targets were exceeded by just two receivers in Week 4. However, matching the career-high 19 targets that he attained in Week 3 was destined to be an arduous task, and his weekly total declined by-7. Tyler Boyd, joined Jerry Jeudy in experiencing a reduction of -5, while the weekly totals for Justin Jefferson, Greg Ward, Michael Gallup, and Chris Conley all declined by -4.

 

Week 4 Air Yards

Wide Receivers Air Yards Comp AY Team % AY aDOT
Calvin Ridley 667 305 38.9 17.6
Adam Thielen 486 247 46.1 15.7
Amari Cooper 477 264 29.9 9.5
A.J. Green 475 96 32.2 14.4
Allen Robinson 469 235 32.1 11.4
DK Metcalf 460 297 42.8 16.4
Marquise Brown 453 184 44.9 17.4
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 427 150 35.1 17.1
Odell Beckham Jr. 422 196 44.4 14.6
Keenan Allen 418 173 38.9 8.5
Michael Gallup 396 216 24.9 17.2
Stefon Diggs 388 331 33.2 11.1
D.J. Moore 384 245 42.2 12
Terry McLaurin 375 176 37.7 9.6
Tyreek Hill 368 186 36.5 12.7
Jerry Jeudy 353 159 26.4 12.6
Darius Slayton 351 200 37.3 12.1
DeSean Jackson 348 105 29.3 17.4
Scotty Miller 336 195 27.3 16
Julian Edelman 336 228 40.3 11.2
Tyler Lockett 335 223 31.2 10.2
Tee Higgins 328 119 22.3 14.9
John Brown 315 153 27 13.7
Robby Anderson 311 189 34.1 8.9
DeAndre Hopkins 307 212 30 6.7
Tyler Boyd 297 236 20.2 8.7
Tim Patrick 293 168 21.9 14
Julio Jones 288 155 16.8 13.7
Anthony Miller 287 119 19.7 15.1
CeeDee Lamb 283 206 17.8 8.8
Will Fuller 269 220 25.7 12.2
T.Y. Hilton 268 119 31.1 12.2
Justin Jefferson 266 218 25.2 13.3
DeVante Parker 264 214 26.5 9.1
Darnell Mooney 257 122 17.6 12.9
Diontae Johnson 252 82 31.6 9.7
Damiere Byrd 252 128 30.1 11.4
Mike Evans 247 164 20.1 9.5
Brandin Cooks 243 91 23.2 11.6
Mike Williams 243 85 22.6 17.4
Kendrick Bourne 240 127 27.4 10.9
Chris Hogan 227 63 23.6 9.9
Danny Amendola 222 94 19 10.1
Chris Conley 222 57 20.5 11.1
Christian Kirk 216 64 21.1 16.6
Zach Pascal 213 103 24.7 11.2
Emmanuel Sanders 210 152 28.3 9.5
Allen Lazard 208 153 22 12.2
DJ Chark 208 168 19.2 13
Dontrelle Inman 206 79 20.7 9.8
Cole Beasley 203 178 17.4 8.5
Jamison Crowder 202 102 21 8.8
Isaiah Ford 200 108 20.1 7.7

Calvin Ridley was leading all wide receivers in air yards by 226 yards after Week 3, and still has accumulated 181 more yards than second place Adam Thielen. Amari Cooper is third (477), followed by A.J. Green (475), Allen Robinson (469), D.K. Metcalf (460), Marquise Brown (453), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (427), Odell Beckham (422), and Keenan Allen (418). No other wide receivers have eclipsed 400 yards through four matchups.

Brown led all wide receivers in air yards during Week 4 matchups (210). Damiere Byrd was second (146), followed by Beckham (135), Thielen (133), Cooper (129), Robinson (129), Terry McLaurin (127), and Tee Higgins (125). D.J. Chark was next (124), followed by Darnell Mooney (120), and Tampa Bay teammates Mike Evans and Scott Miller (116).

Brown also leads all wide receivers in targeted air yards (17.7), followed by Michael Gallup (17.4), Ridley (17.3), Christian Kirk (17.2), and Valdes-Scantling (17.2). DeSean Jackson is next (16.8), followed by Thielen (16.5), Miller (16.3), Mike Williams (16.2), Higgins (16.1), and Metcalf (16.0). 10 additional receivers have attained a percentage of 13+. including Justin Jefferson and Tim Patrick - who will be discussed in the 5 Things I Noticed section.

Thielen leads his position in percentage share of air yards (49.1). Beckham is second overall (45.3), followed by Brown (45.0), D.J. Moore (42.7), Ridley (41.2), and Metcalf (41.1). Keenan Allen is next, (40.2), followed by Julian Edelman (39.4), Terry McLaurin (39.2), Darius Slayton (37.9), Tyreek Hill (35.9), and Robby Anderson (35.4). Valdes-Scantling, Stefon Diggs, and Robinson spearhead a group of nine receivers that are averaging a percentage share of 30+

 

Week 4 First Downs

Wide Receivers First Downs
DeAndre Hopkins 24
Tyler Boyd 23
Amari Cooper 22
Terry McLaurin 20
Calvin Ridley 19
Keenan Allen 19
Stefon Diggs 18
Robby Anderson 16
Allen Robinson 16
Julian Edelman 16
Tyler Lockett 15
Cooper Kupp 15
D.J. Moore 15
DeVante Parker 15
Russell Gage 15
Tyreek Hill 15
Mike Evans 14
CeeDee Lamb 14
Justin Jefferson 14
Sammy Watkins 14
Corey Davis 13
D.K. Metcalf 13
D.J. Chark 13
Adam Thielen 12
Odell Beckham 12
Keelan Cole 12
Will Fuller 12
Darius Slayton 12
Emmanuel Sanders 12
Cole Beasley 12

 

DeAndre Hopkins continues to lead all wide receivers in first downs (24) followed by Tyler Boyd (23), Amari Cooper (22), and Terry McLaurin (20). Calvin Ridley and Keenan Allen are next (19), followed by Stefon Diggs (18) Robby Anderson (16), Allen Robinson (16), Julian Edelman, and a cluster of six receivers that have all accumulated 15 receptions for first downs  - Tyler Lockett, DeVante Parker, Cooper Kupp, Russell Gage, Tyreek Hill, and D.J. Moore. Mike Evans, CeeDee Lamb, Justin Jefferson, and Sammy Watkins are next with 14, while D.K. Metcalf, D..J. Chark, and Corey Davis are tied with 13.  Adam Thielen, Odell Beckham, and Will Fuller are among a collection of seven receivers that have registered 12 receptions, while a total of 17 additional receivers have caught 10+ receptions for first downs after four matchups.

 

Week 4 Red Zone Targets

Wide Receivers Inside 20 Inside 10 Inside 5 Team %
N'Keal Harry 8 4 2 40
Calvin Ridley 7 3 2 31.82
Russell Gage 7 3 1 31.82
DeAndre Hopkins 6 2 1 35.29
Darius Slayton 6 4 2 27.27
Stefon Diggs 5 2 2 15.63
Robby Anderson 5 2 1 26.32
Keenan Allen 5 1 0 33.33
CeeDee Lamb 5 4 4 26.32
Cole Beasley 5 4 2 15.63
Sammy Watkins 5 4 2 25
Emmanuel Sanders 5 3 2 20.83
Zach Pascal 5 3 2 25
Amari Cooper 4 1 0 21.05
Allen Robinson 4 1 0 16
Tyler Lockett 4 3 3 19.05
Julian Edelman 4 2 1 20
Tyreek Hill 4 3 1 20
Adam Thielen 4 1 0 50
Mike Evans 4 4 3 16.67
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 4 0 0 14.81
Hunter Renfrow 4 0 0 16.67
John Brown 4 2 1 12.5
Tre'Quan Smith 4 1 1 16.67
David Moore 4 1 0 19.05
Tee Higgins 4 2 2 14.81
Anthony Miller 4 1 1 16
Kenny Golladay 4 1 0 18.18
Brandon Aiyuk 4 3 2 15.38
Chris Hogan 4 2 1 36.36
Preston Williams 4 3 2 28.57
Trent Taylor 4 1 0 15.38
Terry McLaurin 3 0 0 20
Cooper Kupp 3 0 0 21.43
Will Fuller 3 1 1 23.08
Robert Woods 3 0 0 21.43
DJ Chark 3 2 1 13.64
Davante Adams 3 2 2 11.11
JuJu Smith-Schuster 3 2 0 23.08
Chris Godwin 3 2 1 12.5
Marvin Jones 3 1 1 13.64
Adam Humphries 3 0 0 25
Chris Conley 3 2 1 13.64
Willie Snead 3 1 0 17.65

 

N’Keal Harry has captured the league lead with eight red zone targets, after collecting five during his last two matchups. Calvin Ridley and teammate Russell Gage are next with seven, while DeAndre Hopkins and Darius Slayton have each been targeted six times.

Rookie CeeDee Lamb is one of eight receivers that has captured five red zone targets. He is joined by Cole Beasley, Emmanuel Sanders, Zach Pascal, Stefon Diggs, Robby Anderson, Russell Gage, and Keenan Allen. A collection of 19 different wide receivers have all been targeted four times inside the 20.

Harry is also tied with five other receivers with four targets inside the 10. He is joined by  CeeDee Lamb, Darius Slayton, Mike Evans, Cole Beasley, Sammy Watkins. Lamb leads all receivers with four targets inside the 5-yard line, while Evans and Tyler Lockett are next with three.

Lamb and Chris Hogan collected a league-high three red zone targets in Week 4. Amari Cooper, Adam Thielen, D.J. Chark, and Kenny Golladay, were among the 11 receivers that were targeted twice inside the 20 during their Week 4 matchups. Lamb led all receivers with his three targets inside the 10 and was joined by Harry as the only wide receivers to collect more than one target inside the 5.

 

Week 4 Snap Counts

Wide Receivers  Week 4 Snaps Total Snaps Total Snap %
Michael Gallup 67/82% 281 88.36
Keenan Allen 50/94% 276 95.83
Amari Cooper 63/77% 271 85.22
DeAndre Hopkins 54/95% 267 95.02
Damiere Byrd 73/97% 257 91.8
Terry McLaurin 64/90% 255 93.75
D.K. Metcalf 55/87% 252 95.45
Tyler Lockett 56/89% 248 93.94
Stefon Diggs 56/92% 247 91.14
Tyler Boyd 58/77% 245 79.8
Robert Woods 54/95% 241 89.93
Tyreek Hill 53/93% 240 86.6
Marvin Jones 54/89% 239 90.19
Calvin Ridley 46/64% 239 81
CeeDee Lamb 62/76% 238 74.84
Larry Fitzgerald 53/93% 235 83.63
Mike Evans 54/71% 233 84.73
Darius Slayton 66/97% 233 92.09
Cooper Kupp 49/86% 232 86.57
Chris Hogan 68/88% 229 87.4
Allen Robinson 55/89% 225 82.12
D.J. Moore 55/71% 223 83.21
Tre'Quan Smith 62/89% 220 84.94
John Brown 52/85% 218 80.44
Adam Thielen 58/88% 217 91.56
Kendrick Bourne 50/68% 216 79.12
Zach Pascal 54/75% 215 77.06

N'Keal Harry

57/76% 215 76.8
A.J. Green 53/71% 210 68.4
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 61/97% 206 74.6
Tim Patrick 53/76% 206 76.58
Odell Beckham 58/77% 203 75.46
DeVante Parker 57/80% 202 75.09
Jalen Guyton 45/85% 199 69.1
Preston Williams 43/61% 195 72.49
Robby Anderson 44/57% 193 72.01
Julian Edelman 46/61% 191 68.2
Jarvis Landry 57/76% 189 70.26
Allen Lazard INJ 188 88.26
Brandin Cooks 51/94% 186 80.87
T.Y. Hilton 54/75% 186 66.67
Keelan Cole 50/74% 184 71.04
Dontrelle Inman 57/80% 183 67.28
Jerry Jeudy 48/69% 182 67.66
Emmanuel Sanders 51/73% 179 69.11
Will Fuller 50/77% 178 77.39
Tee Higgins 43/57% 176 57
Russell Gage 47/67% 176 60

Michael Gallup leads all wide receivers in offensive snaps (281). Keenan Allen is second (276), followed by Gallup's teammate Amari Cooper (271), DeAndre Hopkins (267), Damiere Byrd (257), Terry McLaurin (255), D.K. Metcalf (252), Tyler Lockett (248), Stefon Diggs (247), Tyler Boyd (245), and Robert Woods (241) completing the top 10.

Allen leads the position in snap count percentage (95.8). Metcalf is second (95.5), followed by Hopkins (95.0), New York Jet Jeff Smith (94.8) Lockett (94.0), McLaurin (93.8), and Slayton (92.1). Byrd is next (91.7), followed by Thielen (91,6), Thielen's former teammate Stefon Diggs (91.1), and Marvin Jones (90.2). No other wide receivers have eclipsed an offensive snap count of 90%.

Byrd and Smith tied for the lead offensive snaps during their Week 4 matchups (73). Smith’s teammate Chris Hogan was third (68), followed by Nelson Aguilar (67), Gallup (67), Slayton (66), and Zay Jones (66). Jamison Crowder was next (65), followed by McLaurin (64), rookie Brandon Aiyuk (64), and Cooper (63), while Tre' Quan Smith and CeeDee Lamb were tied at 62.

Byrd also was involved in the highest percentage of offensive snaps in Week 4 (97.3). Slayton was second (97.1), followed by Valdes-Scantling (96.8), Smith (94.8), Hopkins (94.7), and Woods (94.7). Allen (94.3), Brandin Cooks (93.9), Larry Fitzgerald (93.0), Hill (92.9), Diggs (91.8), Agholor (90.5), and McLaurin (90.1).

 

Five Things I Noticed

1. Buffalo’s passing attack has soared to second overall while averaging 316.3 yards per game. That is over 100 yards per game more than the Bills averaged during 2019 (201.8) when the team only ranked 26th. The potency of their passing game is even more significant when contrasted with 2018, as the Bills ranked just 31st while averaging only 174.6 yards per game. That was Josh Allen’s rookie season when he was operating with Zay Jones (102 targets/56 receptions/652 yards) and Robert Foster (44 targets/27 receptions/541 yards) as his most productive receivers.

General Manager Brandon Beane worked in coordination with head coach Sean McDermott to dramatically upgrade Allen’s weaponry by signing John Brown and Cole Beasley before the 2019 regular season. Beane and McDermott also provided Allen with his most dynamic option by extracting Stefon Diggs from Minnesota. The results have been outstanding, as Allen and the trio of receivers are performing proficiently, while the Bills deploy the pass on 61.1% of their offensive plays – which ranks 11th overall. The team was only 26th in that category just one year ago (54.3%).

Allen has already thrown for 1,326 yards, which places him second overall. He is also fourth in average completed air yards (7.9), while his completion percentage (70.9%) has risen sizably from his previous seasons (52.8%/58.8%). He has already exceeded his touchdown total from 2018 (10) and is steadily approaching his current career-high of 20 that was established last season. Diggs has made a fluid transition to the Bills while operating from the slot on 68.1% of the Bills’ offensive plays. He is currently tied for the league lead in receiving yards (403), yards before catch (334). and completed air yards (331), while he is also sixth among receivers in receptions (26), and is also seventh in both targets (35) and point per game scoring.

 

Diggs also leads the Bills in target share (24.3), and percentage share of air yards (33.2), although Brown is second at 27.0. Brown had paced the Bills in targets (115), receptions (72), and receiving yards (1,060) during 2019. But has dropped to third behind both Diggs and Beasley in targets (23) and yardage (194), and has fallen to fourth with 14 receptions. Beasley has collected 18 of 24 targets for 260 yards, while promising rookie Gabriel Davis has surged to the team lead in yards per reception (16.1) and yards per target (16.1). Anyone who was able to procure Diggs during Round 6 of their draft process should be ecstatic, as he should remain highly productive throughout the season.  Brown should now be considered an inconsistent WR3, while Beasley is best reserved for the flex. However, Davis should be secured on all dynasty rosters this week.

 

2. During Sean McVay’s first three seasons as head coach of the Rams, Los Angeles ranked 25th (55.8%), 24th (56.7%), and eighth (62%), in pass play percentage. But the 2020 version of McVay’s aerial attack currently ranks just 30th overall (48.9%). This strategic approach has elevated the Rams to third in run play percentage (51.1%). It also represents a sizable change from last season when McVay’s Rams only deployed the ground game on 38.0% of their offensive plays, which ranked just 25th overall. LA's decreased reliance on the passing attack has reduced the number of passing attempts for Jared Goff, who launched a league-high 626 throws in 2019 (39.1 per game). He is currently 21st in attempts (122) while averaging almost nine fewer attempts per game (30.5). That places him on pace for 488 attempts which will result in fewer opportunities for Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp than they collected last season.

However, both players are unchallenged as the Rams' top two receiving weapons, which will sustain their productivity despite the reduction in their targets and snaps when compared last season. Kupp is leading Los Angeles in target share (23.9%), followed by Woods (22.2%). Those shares easily exceed the percentages for Josh Reynolds (10.3%) and Van Jefferson (8.5%). The Ram tight ends became the source for significant discussion during the off-season. However,  Tyler Higbee is a distant third in team target share (12.8%) while Gerald Everett remains a complete non-factor at 4.3%. Kupp (17th) and Woods (18th) currently are adjacent in scoring, while Kupp is 18th overall in targets (28/7.0 per game). He is also averaging 5.8 receptions and 74.3 yards per game. Woods is currently 24th in targets (26/6.5 per game), while also averaging 4.8 receptions and 57 yards per game.

Kupp's averages in targets and receptions do not match the results from 2019 (8.4 targets/5.9 receptions per game). But his yardage per game is comparable to last season (72.6) and places him on pace for 1,189.

 

Woods averaged 9.3 targets, 6.0 reception, and 75.6 yards per game during 2019. His decline of 18.6 yards per game would also equate to 912 yards if it would be sustained over a 16-game period. That number would not match the result that GMs envisioned when they selected Woods. However, both Woods and Kupp are operating without a significant threat to their status as the most integral components within the restructured offense. That keeps them positioned firmly at WR2 status.

 

3. There was a reason for optimism regarding Philadelphia’s aerial attack during the offseason. The Eagles had ranked 11th in passing during 2019 (239.6 yards per game) while Carson Wentz overcame multiple injuries at wide receiver to finish at QB7. The team had also invested a first-round draft selection on Jalen Reagor, who would join a healthy DeSean Jackson in providing an explosive downfield element to the offense. But after four weeks, Philadelphia ranks 27th in passing (207.5 yards per game), Wentz is 16th in scoring. and he just operated with Greg Ward, Travis Fulgham, and fifth-round pick John Hightower as his primary wide receiving targets during the team’s Week 4 matchup in San Francisco.

Attention has been focused on the puzzling but consistent struggles of Wentz who is fourth overall in passing attempts (160) but is also 14th in completions (97), and just 28th in completion percentage 60.6. He has also constructed a nightmarish 4-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio, while also plunging to just 33rd in both Football Outsiders’ Defense-Adjusted Yards Above Replacement (DYAR) and also in Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA). But Ward has emerged as Philadelphia’s current WR1, after pacing the team in targets (18), receptions (12), and receiving yards (110) during the last two contests. That target total places him seventh overall among all receivers during that span, while his numbers during that two-game sequence have also propelled him to the team lead in each category after four weeks (26 targets/18 receptions/146 yards).

Hightower had performed on just 10% of Philadelphia's offensive snaps in Week 2, but he has averaged 82.5% during the team’s last two matchups (79%/86%). However, that percentage will decline significantly after Reagor, Jackson, and Alshon Jeffery have resurfaced. Reagor averaged 12 yards per target while providing a glimpse of his ability to function as a dynamic vertical weapon in Weeks 1-2. But his thumb injury will keep him cemented to the sideline until at least Week 7. The 33-year-old Jackson was leading Philadelphia's wide receivers in snaps (120) and snap count percentage (52.2) before a hamstring issue sidelined him in Week 4. But he still presents a mixture of health concerns with the occasional productive outing.  Jeffery has yet to play a down following LisFranc surgery and has failed to demonstrate any reasonable form of reliability during the majority of his career. These factors could combine to warrant WR3/flex usage of Ward even after Jackson and Jeffery reemerge.

 

4. Many of you have been contending with uncomfortable roster decisions as a number of starting receivers have been sidelined by injuries. The absence of high-profile receivers has been particularly challenging when fantasy GMs attempt to locate alternative players for their lineups. However, there are also wide receivers that are experiencing a surge in usage and production as the result of the injuries. This elevates them into consideration as potential solutions to any difficult roster situations – even though several of these options may not be widely known.

Greg Ward has been mentioned in this section, and he is included in this collection of receivers that are rising in relevance. Tim Patrick was originally signed by Baltimore as an undrafted free agent in 2017. However, he did not enter the field until 2018. He averaged 7.5 targets and 60.5 yards per game from Weeks 13-17 before descending into irrelevance until Week 4. Patrick collected six of seven targets and generated a career-high 113 yards while averaging 18.8 yards per reception against the Jets. Injuries to K.J. Hamler and Noah Fant have combined with the absence of Courtland Sutton to create a path for Patrick to seize a consistent role in Denver’s depleted offense. He has the size (6’4”, 210-pound) and sufficient speed to operate efficiently on the perimeter while Jerry Jeudy functions predominantly in the slot.

Isaiah Ford is a seventh-round draft pick who entered 2020 with career totals of 36 targets, 24 receptions, and 244 yards. But he has overtaken Preston Williams as Miami’s WR2 and can provide a boost for anyone who is searching for flex options in deeper leagues. Ford is currently second on the Dolphins in targets (26) and target share (18.4) and is also third in receptions (15), receiving yards (151) air yards (200), and percentage share of air yards (20.1). Williams has caught just six of his 17 targets and has only manufactured 89 yards after four contests. He has also plunged to fifth in team target share 12.1, while Ford also attained a higher snap share than Williams in Week 4 (63% /61%).

Darnell Mooney was selected by Chicago in the fifth round of last April's Draft after he delivered a blazing 4.38 in the 40-yard dash during the NFL combine. His snap share has risen steadily from 34% during the Bears season opener to a season-high 74% in Week 4. That has improved his overall snap share to 58%, which is higher than the 52% of third-year receiver Anthony Miller. Mooney's target total has also elevated to the season season-high nine that he collected in Week 4 (3/3/5/9).

Mooney is now second only to Allen Robinson among Chicago wide receivers in targets (20), target share (13.0), receptions (13), and receiving yards (145). Miller has been a perpetual disappointment while Mooney's stock is on the rise. His current shoulder issue should be monitored, his prospects for delivering expanding target and yardage totals as the season progresses are legitimate.

 

5. The situation surrounding Atlanta’s trio of wide receivers has transformed dramatically after their seasons began with a promising sequence in September. Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Russell Gage were in a three-way tie for fifth in targets (12) following the Falcons’ season opener and were also tied for fourth with nine receptions. Jones was leading the NFL in receiving yards (157) while Ridley was fourth (130), and Gage was tied for sixth (114). Jones and Ridley were both among the top five in air yards, as they entered Week 2.

But the situation began to degenerate due to Jones’ protracted hamstring issue. He only caught two of his four targets in Week 2, then was sidelined during Atlanta’s Week 3 matchup with Chicago. However, Ridley did surge to the league lead in touchdowns (4), receiving yards (239), and first downs (16), and was fourth in targets (22) and third in receptions (16). Gage was eighth in targets (21), sixth in receptions (16), and third in first downs (12) while contributing to the team’s aerial attack from the slot.

But Gage encountered his own statistical decline in Week 3 when a concussion limited him to 12 snaps. Ridley was still able to commandeer a double-digit target total for the third consecutive week (13). He was the top point per game scorer, surged to the league lead in air yards (599), and was also second in receptions for first downs. Despite pregame concerns regarding the health of each receiver, Matt Ryan began the team’s Week 4 matchup with Jones, Ridley, and Gage in the lineup. However, the ever-changing outcomes for Falcon receivers shifted once again in Week 4, as Olamide Zaccheaus led the team in snap share (76%), targets (9), receptions (8), and receiving yards (86). Jones’ lingering hamstring issue prevented him from finishing the contest, while Ridley shockingly failed to garner any of his five targets.

Anyone with the Falcons’ primary receivers on their rosters has now been forced to remain flexible with their expectations. Ridley’s latest performance resulted in a drastic decline from his recent production and is likely an aberration. But it is uncertain how long Jones will be impacted by his injury. Anyone with Jones on their rosters can add Zaccheaus, as his role will temporarily expand.



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Tape Tells All: Robert Tonyan's Week 4 Performance

Finding a consistent NFL tight end for fantasy purposes isn't an easy thing to do.

But maybe there's hope that a new player is about to enter that tier: Green Bay Packers tight end Robert Tonyan.

In this week's edition of Tape Tells All, I'll be looking at Tonyan's three-touchdown Week 4 to see if his recent production can be sustained.

 

Background Information

Robert Tonyan has now caught five touchdown passes this season. He leads the team in receiving touchdowns by a wide margin over Aaron Jones, Allen Lazard, and Davante Adams, who all have two.

In fact, his five touchdowns tie him for the NFL lead with Mike Evans. 25 percent of the way through the season, that's a notable thing.

Also notable is that quarterback Aaron Rodgers has always been a quarterback who led to inconsistent production for tight ends. You can attribute that to the fact that his best tight ends have been Jermichael Finley and past-prime Jimmy Graham, but Rodgers has always seemed to look for wide receivers in the passing game more than other positions.

But injuries can change things. The Packers are currently without Davante Adams and Allen Lazard, and while Adams is expected back as early as next game, Lazard is set to still miss some time, and the options behind Lazard are replacement-level guys at best. Which means that hey -- it's entirely possible that Tonyan is going to be a key going forward.

 

The Game Tape

So, let's see what Tonyan did on Monday night.

.

On his first catch, Tonyan starts as one of two in-line tight ends on the right side of the formation. At the snap, he comes across the middle of the play, getting some separation from the linebacker covering him, then making the reception and turning upfield to gain some yards.

I'm impressed by Tonyan's ability to get that separation. I know, I know, workout metrics can be misleading, but look at this:

image from PlayerProfiler.com

Those are incredibly impressive numbers, especially when all taken together. And one play in, we're seeing that speed on tape.

Moving on to the next play for Tonyan:

Again, Tonyan's in-line here. He takes off streaking towards the end zone at the snap and once again is being covered by a linebacker and friends -- don't think linebackers should be covering Tonyan at this p0int! By the time this defense realizes Tonyan's heading directly for the end zone, it's too late for 54 to catch up to him, which leaves Atlanta hoping they can get a safety to slide over and meet Tonyan before he gets the touchdown. Spoiler: doesn't work, as they all collide inside the five and Tonyan falls into his first touchdown of the game.

Hey, it's basically that same crossing route that Tonyan ran on his first reception. And why not go back to it, as he's got the speed to exploit the slower defender. Aaron Rodgers places the ball well here, and Tonyan gets enough space to make the catch. Touchdown.

And then there was the other touchdown:

I...what...is...

Tonyan is working more as a slot guy than a tight end here, is running the streak, and just gets upturned like five yards down the field. Play over, right?

Nah. He just casually gets up and is like "let me finish this route," and with the player who was defending him going down, he's wide open to just finish the route and score the touchdown.

This is such a weird play that it taught he zilch about Tonyan except for the fact he plays hard, which is a really abstract quality that doesn't impact my analysis of him. But hey, overall, this was a very good game for him!

 

Fantasy Impact

So, what do we make of this?

Tonyan's workout metrics are incredibly encouraging, and that they've actually translated into real production so far is even more encouraging. His ability to create space on these crossing patterns sets him up as a strong short-yardage option for Aaron Rodgers, especially down in the red zone.

And his speed also means he can be used in the vertical passing attack. That first touchdown is a great example of how Tonyan can get going down the field and creates a huge mismatch for the Packers offense to take advantage of.

By now, I assume Tonyan is no longer sitting on the waiver wire in your leagues. If he is for some reason, definitely add him right now. Don't pass go, don't etc. etc. etc. Pick up Tonyan.

The real question is how to think of him now that he's on your team.

Obviously, you start Tonyan when he has a good matchup, or you start him if the tight end you drafted to be your starter is hurt.

But is he someone you can lock in as a weekly TE1?

The skills are there. The passing volume is there.

But the Packers have a Week 5 bye, which gives them time to get healthier, which means that we should expect Davante Adams to be on the field the next time the Packers play.

Still, while Tonyan's role will decrease as other options become available, his usage is trending up and he's played at least 60 percent of snaps in each game. It's hard to just dismiss him due to the return of Adams. I think he's a high-end TE2 moving forward, with the upside to be a consistent TE1 if the usage remains after the bye. Worst case for Tonyan is being a viable streaming play each week, and if that's the worst case for an Aaron Rodgers tight end, then you know he's a talented player.



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Coaching Matters: Offenses That Will Improve From Week 4

This series continues into its fourth week of where I dive into offensive areas that will improve or decline based on coaching in order to glean insight as to fantasy football value.

In Week 4, we saw performances such as the Arizona Cardinals wide receivers only totalling 67 receiving yards, the Cleveland Browns running backs taking 35 carries for 228 rushing yards, and the Jacksonville Jaguars wide receivers catching 20 passes for 271 receiving yards. After these performances, it's important to look at each of these team's coaches and their play-calling tendencies to see if these performances are likely to continue, if they will change for the better, or if they will change for the worse.

This article will take a look at which of these areas are in line for improvement in future weeks. Let's dive in!

 

Improvements Ahead?

These are the areas and positions that will likely improve in the coming weeks, based on the team's play-caller tendencies in the past.

Dallas Cowboys Running Backs - Run Game

Mike McCarthy & Kellen Moore

The Dallas Cowboys lost 49-38 to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. While the passing game was great with Dak Prescott throwing for 502 passing yards, the run game did not perform to the level we have expected out of this team in the Ezekiel Elliott era. In this game, the Cowboys running backs took 15 carries for 70 rushing yards and a touchdown. Through the air, they had nine receptions on 10 targets for 87 receiving yards.

After this performance, on the season the Cowboys running back room is averaging 19.25 carries, 76.25 rushing yards, one rushing touchdowns, seven receptions (on 9.25 targets), 48.75 receiving yards, and 0.25 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what their coaches, Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore, have traditionally gotten out of their backfield. Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy has had his running backs average 21.17 carries, 89.18 rushing yards, 0.57 rushing touchdowns, 5.38 targets, 31.44 receiving yards, and 0.10 receiving touchdowns per game in the 304 games he coached (as either a head coach or an offensive coordinator) prior to this season.

Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore had only been an offensive coordinator for 16 games prior to this season. In this time, his running backs combined to average 24.19 carries, 113.25 rushing yards, 0.88 rushing touchdowns per game, 5.69 targets, 32.94 receiving yards, and 0.19 receiving touchdowns.

RB Room Carries RB Room Rushing Yards RB Room Rushing Touchdowns RB Room Targets RB Room Receiving Yards
RB Room Receiving Touchdowns
2020 Dallas Cowboys (4 games) 19.25 76.25 1 9.25 48.75 0.25
Mike McCarthy (304 games prior) 21.17 89.18 0.57 5.38 31.44 0.1
Kellen Moore (16 games prior) 24.19 113.25 0.88 5.69 32.94 0.19

Based on these coaches' previous history of utilizing the position, expect an increase in carries and rushing yards for the Dallas Cowboys running backs in the future.

Fantasy players this impacts: Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard

 

Detroit Lions Running Backs - Run Game

Darrell Bevell

The Detroit Lions lost to the New Orleans Saints 35-29. In the game, the Lions running backs didn't see as much usage or produce as many yards as we are used to seeing, putting up 18 carries, 67 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, five receptions (on seven targets), 33 receiving yards, and a receiving touchdown. Now on the season the Lions running back room is averaging 21.75 carries, 89.5 rushing yards, 0.75 rushing touchdowns, 4.75 receptions (6.25 targets), 43 receiving yards, and 0.25 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now compare this to Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and his running back room historically. In the 208 games he coached as an offensive coordinator prior to this season, Bevell's RB room averaged 24.06 carries, 104.92 rushing yards, 0.73 rushing touchdowns, 5.63 targets, 35.75 receiving yards, and 0.14 receiving touchdowns per game.

While we should expect better usage and yardage from Sunday's performance, overall the season totals are roughly in line with what we should expect from a Darrell Bevell offense.

Fantasy players this impacts: D'Andre Swift, Adrian Peterson, and Kerryon Johnson

 

Miami Dolphins Running Backs - Run Game

Chan Gailey

In Sunday's 31-23 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the Miami Dolphins running backs ended up totalling 15 carries, 51 rushing yards, seven receptions, 58 receiving yards, and zero touchdowns. On the season the Dolphins running backs have combined to average 21 carries, 69.5 rushing yards, 0.75 rushing touchdowns, 6.25 receptions (seven targets), and 40 receiving yards per game.

Now let's compare this to Chan Gailey's historical production at the position. Over the 224 games he coached prior, Gailey's RB room averaged 24.57 carries, 102.93 rushing yards, 0.66 rushing touchdowns, 30.04 receiving yards, and 0.15 receiving touchdowns per game.

Based on Gailey's previous success at the position, Sunday's performance on the ground will be improved upon in the future.

Fantasy players this impacts: Myles Gaskin, Jordan Howard, and Matt Breida

 

Los Angeles Chargers Running Backs - Touchdowns

Anthony Lynn

The Los Angeles Chargers lost to Tom Brady's Buccaneers in a high-scoring matchup, 38-31. In the game, the Chargers struggled to get their running backs involved as they totalled 17 carries, 28 rushing yards, six receptions (on six targets), 40 receiving yards, and zero touchdowns. On the year, they are averaging 27.25 carries, 108.75 rushing yards, 0.5 rushing touchdowns, 6.5 receptions (6.5 targets), and 60 receiving yards per game.

Carries Rushing Yards Rushing Touchdowns Targets Receiving Yards
Receiving Touchdowns
2020 Chargers (4 games) 27.25 108.75 0.5 6.5 60 0
Anthony Lynn Prior (62 games) 22.42 102.87 0.94 8.29 57.95 0.4

Meanwhile, in the 62 games Anthony Lynn coached prior as either an offensive coordinator or head coach, Lynn has had his running back room average 22.42 carries, 102.87 rushing yards, 0.94 rushing touchdowns, 8.29 targets, 57.95 receiving yards, and 0.40 receiving touchdowns per game.

Looking at these numbers, the Chargers running back room is currently running on the higher side of carries and rushing yards than what we'd expect from an Anthony Lynn offense. But the position group is also scoring significantly fewer touchdowns than we'd expect in Lynn's offense. Expect the Chargers running backs to improve in this area and score more touchdowns in future weeks.

Fantasy players this impacts: Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson, and Joshua Kelley

 

Arizona Cardinals Wide Receivers

Kliff Kingsbury

Besides the Cardinals running backs, the Cardinals wide receivers struggled more on Sunday than we'd expect based on Kliff Kingsbury's previous production at the position. In the game, the Cardinals wide receiver room caught 14 passes on 20 targets for 67 receiving yards and one touchdown. On the year, the Arizona Cardinals wide receiver room is averaging 17.25 receptions on 23.75 targets for 175.5 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown per game.

WR Room Targets WR Room Receiving Yards
WR Room Receiving Touchdowns
Cardinals vs. Panthers (10/4/2020) 20 67 1
2020 Arizona Cardinals (4 games) 23.75 175.5 1
Kliff Kingsbury Prior (16 games) 23.69 168.44 0.81

Now compare this to the usage and production Kliff Kingsbury's offense put out last year. Last year, Kingsbury's wide receiver room averaged 23.69 targets, 168.44 receiving yards, and 0.81 receiving touchdowns per game. This tells us two things. Firstly, it tells us that based on Kingsbury's previous production, Sunday's poor performance by the positional group is a clear outlier. And secondly, it shows that the overall season averages of the Cardinals wide receivers are right in line with what we should expect in this offense.

Fantasy players this impacts: DeAndre Hopkins, Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, and Andy Isabella

 

Chicago Bears Running Backs

Matt Nagy

The Chicago Bears went up against the Indianapolis Colts tough defense and struggled to score, only putting up 11 points. In the game, the Bears only utilized one true running back, David Montgomery, who could just never get going, totalling 10 carries, 27 rushing yards, three receptions (on six targets), 30 receiving yards, and a successful two-point conversion. This means that on the year the Chicago Bears running back room is averaging 16.75 carries, 73 rushing yards, four receptions (6.25 targets), 34.25 receiving yards, and 0.25 receiving touchdowns per game.

Carries Rushing Yards Rushing Touchdowns Targets Receiving Yards
Receiving Touchdowns
2020 Chicago Bears (4 games) 16.75 73 0 6.25 34.25 0.25
Matt Nagy Prior (48 games) 20.58 82.75 0.58 7.96 47 0.31

Now let's compare this to Matt Nagy (Chicago Bears head coach) and his running back room's production historically. In the 48 he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to the start of the 2020 NFL season, Nagy's running backs combined to average 20.58 carries, 82.75 rushing yards, 0.58 rushing touchdowns, 7.96 targets, 47 receiving yards, and 0.31 receiving touchdowns per game.

Looking at these stats and knowing that Tarik Cohen is out for the year, it's clear that David Montgomery has some untapped potential for the rest of the 2020 NFL season. Invest accordingly.

Fantasy players this impacts: David Montgomery and Ryan Nall

 

Philadelphia Eagles Running Backs

Doug Pederson

The Philadelphia Eagles ground out a tough win over the San Francisco 49ers in week 4's Sunday Night Football game, winning 25-20. In the game, the Eagles running backs combined for 18 carries, 38 rushing yards, three receptions (five targets), 32 receiving yards, and zero touchdowns. On the year, the Philadelphia Eagles running backs have combined to average 20.5 carries, 78.75 rushing yards, 0.25 rushing touchdowns, 4.25 receptions (on seven targets), and 31.25 receiving yards per game.

Carries Rushing Yards Rushing Touchdowns Targets Receiving Yards
Receiving Touchdowns
2020 Philadelphia Eagles (4 games) 20.5 78.75 0.25 7 31.25 0
Doug Pederson Prior (112 games) 22.63 99.18 0.86 6.62 41.18 0.3

Now let's look at what Doug Pederson has gotten out of the position traditionally. Over the 112 games he coached prior to the start of the 2020 NFL season, Pederson's running back room averaged 22.63 carries, 99.18 rushing yards, 0.86 rushing touchdowns, 6.62 targets, 41.18 receiving yards, and 0.30 receiving touchdowns per game.

Expect the Philadelphia Eagles backs to improve in future weeks. There's a very strong chance this is the cheapest you can acquire Miles Sanders over the course of the rest of the NFL season, so make your offers this week!

Fantasy players this impacts: Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, and Corey Clement



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WR/CB Matchups to Target and Avoid - Week 4

Three weeks into the NFL season, the PPGA (points per game against) stat is beginning to stabilize and give us a better understanding of CB matchups. The truth is that defensive performance against a position is mostly driven by the receiver. For example, WR2s are only averaging 2.7 PPG against the Bengals. That is more because they’ve played three of the worst WR2s in the league during their first three weeks rather than the shutdown play of Darius Phillips. On the other end of the spectrum, Shaquill Griffin is not as bad as his PPGA would suggest. He just had to face off against Julio Jones and Amari Cooper in shootouts. With that said, some of the statistics appear to be meaningful and will hopefully turn out to be predictive as we gather more data (a lot of the predictive analysis from Week 3's article turned out to be true).

The following chart is a snapshot of each team's cornerback group as it relates to allowing fantasy points. There are inherent flaws within the data compilation of cornerback play. The first being the fact that quantifying a 1-on-1 matchup in an NFL game is unfair because of zone coverages, mental errors, certain passing concepts, and a million other things. Assigning fantasy points against a cornerback isn't a perfect science. The purpose of this chart is to give more of a general sense of how defenses are handling opposing WR groups, rather than identifying exactly where, when, and how every single encounter happened.

The "Rtng" column is the rating of each cornerback based on film study and analytics. The lower a player is graded, the easier the matchup for the WR, so low ratings are green and high ratings are red. The "PPGA" is the number of fantasy points per game that the player has given up. A name in blue means the corner could possibly shadow the WR1. A name in red means that the player is dealing with an injury. The analysis below will help contextualize the chart, as in many cases a receiver did not score 100% of his points against the same player. However, the chart is a useful tool in getting a sense of the weakest links among corners.

 

Cornerback Ratings and Matchups - Week 4

WR/CB Matchups to Target or Avoid

WR1s against Atlanta have the best matchup in football right now. Davante Adams is in a dream spot in Week 4 if he's able to suit up. WR1s against Minnesota are also in a great spot. Will Fuller could go off as well.

The best matchup for WR2s so far has been against Seattle. The Dolphins' Preston Williams should take advantage against Tre Flowers this week. Shaquill Griffin is better than his stats suggest, but Seattle has been gashed by slot receivers too. Isaiah Ford is listed on the chart, but the more exploitable strategy could be using tight end Mike Geseiki in the slot against the smaller Ugo Amadi.

Buffalo has been shredded by slot receivers for three straight weeks. Taron Johnson is not having a good year and gets the sneaky Hunter Renfrow in Week 4. On the other side, Lamarcus Joyner has been shutdown against opposing slot receivers this year. Cole Beasley is not a great play this week.

Speaking of Jefferson, he gets an easier draw against the slot defenders of Houston while Adam Thielen has to deal with the shadow coverage of Bradley Roby, who has played well so far this season.

The Dallas-Cleveland game features a big-time matchup of Amari Cooper versus Denzel Ward. Cooper might be somewhat matchup proof, but Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb, and possibly Cedrick Wilson have easier draws. On the other side, Dallas is fresh off giving up 100 yards and three touchdowns to Tyler Lockett. Jarvis Landry could have his best game of 2020 this week.

It looks like Xavier Rhodes has regained his top form after a disastrous 2019. Allen Robinson gets a boost with Nick Foles at QB, but it’s a tough matchup.

In New York, James Bradberry has been lockdown this year for the Giants, which has led to WR2s getting fed against them. Robert Woods plays different alignments, but Josh Reynolds or Van Jefferson could be sneaky plays. The Giants haven’t been exposed by slot receivers since JuJu Smith-Schuster and Pittsburgh in Week 1. However, they’ve faced two below-average slot receivers since then. Cooper Kupp could have another huge game.

Jason Verrett is back for San Francisco and performed well last week. He was one of the best CB prospects of his draft class but has struggled with injuries throughout his career. WR2s and slots have it tough against the Niners because of Verrett and slot corner K’wuan Williams.  I wouldn't feel great about a Hail Mary John Hightower play this week.

The Los Angeles Chargers CBs continue to stifle opposing receivers, most recently shutting down the talented trio in Carolina. Casey Hayward presents a problem for Mike “Jerome Bettis” Evans. However, Chris Harris Jr. could miss the game due to injury and Evans has played a lot in the slot this year. Whoever gets those slot targets will have an easier matchup than the outside receivers against the Bolts. It could be Justin Watson.

Thanks for reading and good luck this week.



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Coaching Matters: Offenses That Will Decline From Week 3

This series continues into its third week of where I dive into offensive areas that will improve or decline based on coaching in order to glean insight as to fantasy football value. After much research, I've developed a broad knowledge of how each team's play-caller historically operates and compiled data to help make informed decisions throughout the regular season as well.

After a wild Week 3 where we saw performances such as the Dallas Cowboys wide receivers catching 26 passes on 36 targets for 405 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns against the Seattle secondary or the New York Giants running backs taking only ten carries for 17 rushing yards, it's important to look at their play-caller's history and see if these performances are likely to continue, if they will change for the better, or if they will change for the worse.

This article will take a look at which of these areas are in line for a decline in future weeks. Let's dive in!

 

Regression

 

Chicago Bears Tight Ends (Matt Nagy)

Last week versus the Atlanta Falcons, the Bears tight ends caught nine passes on 13 targets for 75 receiving yards and two touchdowns. This means that through the first three games, the Bears tight ends have 14 receptions on 25 targets for 130 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns, and as a group, they are averaging 4.67 receptions on 8.33 targets for 43.33 receiving yards and a touchdown per game.

Meanwhile, Bears head coach Matt Nagy has had a solid TE room but definitely not that level of efficiency. Over the 48 games he was an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to the 2020 NFL season, his TE room averaged 6.69 targets, 49.06 receiving yards, and 0.35 receiving touchdowns per game. There is a decline coming for the Bears tight ends, in particular with receiving touchdowns.

Fantasy players this impacts: Jimmy Graham, Demetrius Harris, and Cole Kmet

 

Pittsburgh Steelers Running Backs (Randy Fichtner)

The Steelers running backs took 32 carries for 163 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. In addition, they had five receptions on seven targets for 47 receiving yards (and zero receiving touchdowns). On the year this group has combined for 77 carries, 398 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, 12 receptions (on 18 targets), 71 receiving yards, and zero receiving touchdowns. On a per-game basis, this is 25.67 carries, 132.67 rushing yards, 0.67 rushing touchdowns, four receptions (on six targets), 23.67 receiving yards, and zero receiving touchdowns per game.

Now compare this to what offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner has historically gotten out of his running back room. In the 32 games as an offensive coordinator prior, Fichtner had the Steelers running backs combining to average 20.13 carries, 81.09 rushing yards, 0.63 rushing touchdowns, 6.59 targets, 42.19 receiving yards, and 0.25 receiving touchdowns per game.

What this means is there is likely to be a dip in how much work these running backs get in the running game and it will result in fewer rushing yards than what the Steelers backs are currently getting.

Fantasy players this impacts: James Conner, Benny Snell Jr., and Anthony McFarland Jr.

 

Los Angeles Chargers Wide Receivers (Anthony Lynn)

The Chargers wide receivers combined for 17 receptions on 27 targets for 187 receiving yards and a touchdown last Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. On the year they are averaging 12 receptions (20.33 targets), 144.33 receiving yards, and 0.67 receiving touchdowns per game.

Looking at how much production Anthony Lynn's offense has gotten out of the position prior to this season, we should expect worse numbers than they put up against the Panthers. In the 62 games Anthony Lynn coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to the 2020 NFL season, his wide receiver room averaged 18.35 targets, 156.66 receiving yards, and 0.85 receiving touchdowns per game.

Overall, the season numbers look in line with what we'd expect in an Anthony Lynn offense. Just don't expect Sunday's performance to be the new norm.

Fantasy players this impacts: Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Jalen Guyton

 

Seattle Seahawks Wide Receivers (Brian Schottenheimer)

The Seattles Seahawks wide receivers had 15 receptions on 23 targets for 225 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns. On the year, they are averaging 15.33 receptions, 20.33 targets, 228.33 receiving yards, and three receiving touchdowns per game.

Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer had coached 176 games as an offensive coordinator prior to the 2020 NFL season. Over the course of these 176 games, his wide receiver room has averaged 18.31 targets, 140.48 receiving yards, 0.94 receiving touchdowns.

While Russell Wilson's MVP campaign is going to make these numbers higher than a typical year in Brian Schottenheimer's offense, there is regression incoming for this group.

Fantasy players this impacts: D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and David Moore

 

Green Bay Packers Tight Ends (Matt LaFleur)

Last Sunday, the Green Bay Packers tight ends had nine receptions on 10 targets for 104 receiving yards and two touchdowns. On the year they are averaging 4.33 receptions (on six targets) for 48.33 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown per game.

Head coach Matt LaFleur has been an offensive coordinator or head coach for 48 games (three seasons) prior to the start of the 2020 NFL season. In this time, he had his tight end room average 5.65 targets, 44.06 receiving yards, and 0.31 receiving touchdowns.

The performance last week was an outlier from LaFleur's previous production, with the team utilizing the position more with star wide receiver Davante Adams out. Going forward, expect a slight decline at the position, in particular with regards to receiving touchdowns.

Fantasy players this impacts: Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis, and Jace Sternberger

 

Browns Running Backs - Touchdowns (Kevin Stefanski)

The Browns running backs took 35 carries for 154 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in week 3. In addition, they also combined two receptions on four targets for 20 yards and a touchdown. This means that on the season, the Browns running back room is averaging 30.33 carries, 167 rushing yards, 1.67 rushing touchdowns, 3.67 receptions (4.67 targets), 19.67 receiving yards, and 0.67 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now compare this to Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski's previous production at the position. In the 19 games Stefanski coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season, his running back room averaged 26 carries, 123.21 rushing yards, 1.05 rushing touchdowns, 5.89 targets, 41.84 receiving yards, and 0.05 receiving touchdowns per game.

So what should we expect in the future? Surprisingly, the relative workload and yards seem sustainable so far this season based on Stefanski's previous reputation as one of the most effective coaches in the NFL at providing work for his running backs. But if there's one thing that seems unsustainable, it's the fact that the Browns runnings backs are averaging 2.33 total touchdowns per game right now. Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb will continue to be one of the most dangerous running back duos in recent history, but they are running on the high side of what we should expect over the course of the season.

Fantasy players this impacts: Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb

 

Cowboys Wide Receivers - Receiving Yards (Mike McCarthy & Kellen Moore)

The Dallas Cowboys wide receivers caught 26 passes on 36 targets for 4o5 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. On the year they are averaging 20 receptions on 29 targets for 295.67 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown per game (3 games).

The receiving yards per game are clearly in for regression. Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore directed one of the best offenses in the league last year where Dak Prescott threw for 4902 passings yards and his WR room 'only' averaged 217.19 receiving yards per game. In addition, considering Mike McCarthy topped out at 229.19 receiving yards per game back in 2011 for the Green Bay Packers, it seems highly likely regression is in place.

Expect the Cowboys wide receivers to perform well all year as they have two the best coaches in the NFL at getting production out of their wide receiver rooms. Just do not expect the current level of production.

Fantasy players this impacts: Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb




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Wide Receiver Snap Counts and Target Trends - Week 3 Analysis

Your wide receivers remain essential components toward your primary goal of securing league championships. As this unique regular season continues to unfold, an expanding assortment of tools is available that can provide you with an extensive level of knowledge regarding this critical position. Those results are contained in this weekly statistical breakdown of multiple categories, which is designed to help you fulfill your championship aspirations.

This will be the third installment that will examine game-specific data, including updated totals for targets, first downs, red-zone targets, snap counts, and a compilation of advanced statistics. The information that is contained in this weekly report will analyze how various receivers are being utilized, and how effectively they are capitalizing on their opportunities. This massive collection of data supplies the foundation from which the numbers that are generated in various categories can be evaluated.

As the season progresses noteworthy changes in usage and production will be blended into the equation. That will bolster your efforts to determine which wide receivers should be in your lineups, and which are worthy of remaining on your rosters. Pro Football Reference, PFF, NextGenStats, Rotowire, Rotoviz, and Football Outsiders were all used as resources in compiling this data.

 

Week 3 Target Leaders

Wide Receivers Targets Targ/Game Yards/Targ
DeAndre Hopkins 37 12.3 9.6
Keenan Allen 37 12.3 7.2
Amari Cooper 35 11.7 7.6
Calvin Ridley 35 11.7 10
Allen Robinson 31 10.3 7.4
Tyler Lockett 29 9.7 8.9
Stefon Diggs 28 9.3 10.3
A.J. Green 28 9.3 4.1
Tyler Boyd 26 8.7 8.8
D.J. Moore 26 8.7 9.2
Diontae Johnson 25 8.3 6
Terry McLaurin 25 8.3 10.8
Jerry Jeudy 24 8 7.2
Russell Gage 24 8 7.8
Robby Anderson 24 8 11.6
Julian Edelman 24 8 10.8
Tyreek Hill 23 7.7 9.7
Odell Beckham Jr. 22 7.3 7
Darius Slayton 22 7.3 8.5
D.K. Metcalf 22 7.3 13.5
N'Keal Harry 22 7.3 6.6
Cooper Kupp 21 7 10.9
Adam Thielen 21 7 8.1
CeeDee Lamb 21 7 11
DeSean Jackson 20 6.7 6.1
Cole Beasley 20 6.7 11.4
Adam Humphries 20 6.7 6.8
Davante Adams 20 10 9.6
Sammy Watkins 20 6.7 7.8
Robert Woods 19 6.3 10.2
Corey Davis 19 6.3 10.8
JuJu Smith-Schuster 19 6.3 8.4
Greg Ward 19 6.3 5.7
Michael Gallup 19 6.3 12.9
Mike Evans 18 6 6
Brandin Cooks 18 6 7.7
Danny Amendola 18 6 6.7
John Brown 18 6 8.4
Marquise Brown 18 6 8.7
DeVante Parker 17 5.7 9.9
T.Y. Hilton 17 5.7 7.8
Marvin Jones 17 5.7 7.6
Allen Lazard 17 5.7 14.9
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 17 5.7 9.7
Keelan Cole 17 5.7 8.7
Kendrick Bourne 16 5.3 10.3
Julio Jones 16 8 11.3
Dontrelle Inman 16 5.3 4.8
Isaiah Ford 16 5.3 6.4
Chris Conley 16 5.3 5.5
Will Fuller 15 5 11.1
Chris Hogan 15 5 5
Larry Fitzgerald 15 5 5.6
James Washington 15 5 6.1
Tee Higgins 15 5 5
Justin Jefferson 15 5 16.3

DeAndre Hopkins is currently leading the NFL in targets for a second consecutive week. However, Keenan Allen vaulted into a first-place tied with the former Texan after stockpiling 19 targets during the Chargers’ Week 3 matchup with Carolina. Amari Cooper and Calvin Ridley are tied for third (35), followed by Allen Robinson (31), Tyler Lockett (29), Stefon Diggs (28), A.J. Green (28), Green’s teammate Tyler Boyd (26), and D. J. Moore completing the top 10 with 26.

Terry McLaurin and Diontae Johnson have each collected 25 targets, followed by four receivers that are tied with 24 after their first three matchups – Robby Anderson, Julian Edelman, Russell Gage, and Jerry Jeudy. Tyreek Hill is next with 23, while Odell Beckham Jr., Darius Slayton, D.K. Metcalf and N’Keal Harry have all captured 22 targets. Cooper Kupp, Adam Thielen, and CeeDee Lamb have all been targeted 21 times, while DeSean Jackson (20), Cole Beasley (20), Adam Humphries (20), Sammy Watkins (20), and Davante Adams (20) are also on the list of 29 wide receivers that have been targeted at least 20 times through Week 3.

Ridley is the only wide receiver that has eclipsed double digits during all three of his matchups (12/10/13). Hopkins (16/12), Allen (10/19), Cooper (14/12), and Johnson (10/13) are the only other receivers that have collected at least 10 targets in two different matchups. Robinson, Lockett, Kupp, Boyd, and Greg Ward all attained a double-digit total for the first time this season. Rookie Quintez Cephus was one of 12 wide receivers to collect at least 10 targets in Week 1. But he was not targeted during Detroit’s Week 3 encounter with Arizona.

 

Largest Weekly Changes

Wide Receivers  Week 2 Week 3 Weekly Changes
Greg Ward 1 11 10
Keenan Allen 10 19 9
Kenny Golladay 0 7 7
Cedrick Wilson 0 7 7
KeeSean Johnson 0 7 7
Justin Jefferson 3 9 6
Hunter Renfrow 3 9 6
Chris Godwin 0 6 6
Isaiah Wright 0 6 6
Tyler Lockett 8 13 5
Tyler Boyd 8 13 5
Sammy Watkins 3 8 5
Will Fuller 0 5 5
Brandon Aiyuk 3 8 5
Olamide Zaccheaus 1 6 5
Allen Robinson 9 13 4
Cooper Kupp 6 10 4
Michael Gallup 5 9 4
KJ Hill 0 4 4
Brandon Powell 0 4 4
Robby Anderson 10 6 -4
John Brown 6 2 -4
Larry Fitzgerald 7 3 -4
Braxton Berrios 8 4 -4
Van Jefferson 5 1 -4
Steven Sims 4 0 -4
Julian Edelman 11 6 -5
Tyreek Hill 11 6 -5
DeSean Jackson 9 4 -5
Chris Hogan 8 3 -5
Mike Evans 10 4 -6
Damiere Byrd 9 3 -6
Josh Malone 6 0 -6
Stefon Diggs 13 6 -7
A.J. Green 13 6 -7
Isaiah Ford 9 2 -7
N'Keal Harry 12 4 -8
D.J. Moore 13 4 -9
Diontae Johnson 13 2 -11

Allen easily led all receivers in targets during Week 3, as the 19 passes that he collected were six more than any other player. His Week 3 target total also tied his career-high which was originally established in Week 13 of 2018. Allen’s usage and production with Justin Herbert under center will be examined further in the 5 Things I Noticed section.

Ridley, Robinson, Lockett, and Boyd all received 13 targets during their Week 3  matchups, while Cooper and Hopkins collected 12. Greg Ward’s 11 targets established a new career-best, as the second-year receiver’s previous high (9) was achieved twice during his 2019 rookie season (Weeks 14/15). Cooper Kupp was the only other receiver who collected at least 10 targets in Week 3. Hunter Renfrow, Michael Gallup, and a trio of rookies - Jerry Jeudy, Justin Jefferson, and Tee Higgins - all garnered nine targets. McLaurin, Metcalf, newcomer Brandon Aiyuk, Allen Lazard, and Chris Conley all captured eight targets during their Week 3 matchups.

 

Ward had entered Week 3 with a season total of eight targets and had been only targeted once in Week 2. That resulted in the largest week to week increase among all receivers in Week 3 (+10).  Allen’s rise of +9 placed him directly behind Ward, while Kenny Golladay made his season debut and collected seven targets. Cedric Wilson and Keesean Johnson also performed for the first time in Week 3 and matched Golladay's rise of +7.  Jefferson, Renfro, and Chris Godwin all attained an increase of +6, while Lockett, Boyd, Aiyuk, and Will Fuller expanded their weekly totals by +5.

All fantasy GM’s who have Johnson on their rosters are already aware that he experienced a concussion when Pittsburgh hosted the Texans. He left the contest during the second quarter after capturing two targets. Otherwise, it is highly unlikely that Johnson’s week to week decline of -11 would have transpired. D.J. Moore’s weekly drop of -9 is more concerning since he was involved in 88% of the Panthers’ offensive snaps.

N’Keal Harry was only targeted four times when the Patriots faced Las Vegas. This resulted in a decline of -8 after he had attained a career-best 12 targets in Week 2. A.J. Green and Stefon Diggs both experienced a drop of -7 after each receiver had been targeted 13 times in Week 2, then collected six targets in Week 3. The weekly totals for Mike Evans, Damiere Byrd, Josh Malone, and Russell Gage all declined by -6. However, Gage’s week to week reduction was also injury-related (concussion). The weekly totals for Edelman, DeSean Jackson, Tyreek Hill, and Chris Hogan all declined by -5.

 

Week 3 Yards-Per-Target

Justin Jefferson skyrocketed into the league lead with a 16.3 yards per target average. D.J. Chark (15.6) remains second despite missing his Week 3 matchup, followed by Allen Lazard (14.9), Gabriel Davis (14.3), Josh Reynolds (13.8), Randall Cobb (13.6), D.K. Metcalf (13.5), Michael Gallup (12.9), and Steven Sims (12.9) completing the top 10 at 12.9. Marquise Brown and Scott Miller are tied with an average of 11.9, followed by Robby Anderson (11.6), Cole Beasley (11.4), Julio Jones (11.3), and five wide receivers that are averaging 11+ - Chris Godwin, Will Fuller, David Moore, CeeDee Lamb, and Jarvis Landry. Cooper Kupp and Terry McLaurin spearhead a group of nine wide receivers that have attained a yards-per- target average of 10+.

 

Week 3 Air Yards

Wide Receivers Air Yards  Comp AY Team % AY aDOT
Calvin Ridley 559 305 41.9 16.9
A.J. Green 373 93 34.2 13.3
D.K. Metcalf 372 237 48.4 16.9
Adam Thielen 353 160 45.5 16.8
Amari Cooper 348 193 32.2 9.9
DeSean Jackson 348 105 33.2 17.4
Keenan Allen 342 149 38.6 9.2
Allen Robinson 340 148 30.8 11
D.J. Moore 332 211 48.9 12.8
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 313 120 33.1 18.4
Michael Gallup 312 189 28.9 16.4
Julian Edelman 293 199 52.3 12.2
Stefon Diggs 289 230 30 10.3
Odell Beckham Jr. 287 116 41.8 13.7
Jerry Jeudy 286 105 27 11.9
John Brown 278 121 28.9 15.4
Julio Jones 277 144 20.7 16.3
Tyler Lockett 267 205 34.8 9.2
Darius Slayton 265 169 35.7 12
Tyreek Hill 263 150 33.3 11.4
Diontae Johnson 252 82 31.6 9.7
Anthony Miller 252 108 22.8 18
Terry McLaurin 248 88 31.9 9.9
Mike Williams 243 85 27.4 17.4
DeAndre Hopkins 238 188 29 6.4
T.Y. Hilton 224 98 35.7 13.2
Scotty Miller 220 135 27.1 15.7
Brandin Cooks 213 91 27.7 11.8
Chris Conley 210 47 27.3 13.1
Robby Anderson 208 151 30.6 8.7
Allen Lazard 208 153 22 12.2

Calvin Ridley leads all receivers with 559 air yards, followed by A.J. Green (373), D. K. Metcalf (372), Adam Thielen (353), Amari Cooper (348), DeSean Jackson (348), Keenan Allen (342), Allen Robinson (340), D.J. Moore (332), and Marques Valdes-Scantling (313) completing the top 10. Michael Gallup (312), Julian Edelman (293), Stefon Diggs (289), Odell Beckham (287), Jerry Jeudy (286), John Brown (278), Julio Jones (277), Tyler Lockett (267), Darius Slayton (265), Tyreek Hill (263), Diontae Johnson (252) and Anthony Miller (252), have all eclipsed 250 air yards. 

Valdes-Scantling is currently the league leader in targeted air yards (18.4), followed by Anthony Miller (17.8), Thielen (17.7), Gallup (17.6), Jackson (16.8),  and Jones (16.7), while Metcalf and Ridley are tied at 16.5. Mike Williams is next (16.2) followed by K.J. Hamler (15.6), Scott Miller (15.6), the emerging Tee Higgins (15.1), and three receivers that are tied at 14.8 - John Brown, Mecole Hardman 14.8, and Chase Claypool. Beckham (14.2), and Marquise Brown 14.1 complete the top 20 in this category.

 

Julian Edelman leads all wide receivers in percentage share of air yards (51.2) for the second consecutive week. Moore is second overall (48.9), followed by Metcalf (48.4), Thielen (45.5), Ridley (41.9), Beckham (41.8), Allen (40.7), Marquise Brown (38.9), and Lockett (36.8), with both Slayton and T.Y. Hilton tied with 35.7. Hill is next (38.4),  followed by McLaurin (33.6), Green (33.3), Cooper (32.3), Valdes-Scantling (32.2), and Jackson (32.0). Four additional wide receivers have eclipsed a percentage of 30+ - Robby Anderson, Michael Gallup, Kendrick Bourne, and Stefon Diggs.

 

Week 3 First Downs

Wide Receivers First Downs
DeAndre Hopkins 21
Calvin Ridley 19
Tyler Boyd 17
Keenan Allen 16
Tyler Lockett 14
Cooper Kupp 14
Russell Gage 14
Stefon Diggs 13
Julian Edelman 13
Corey Davis 13
Terry McLaurin 12
D.J. Moore 12
Amari Cooper 12
Sammy Watkins 12
Allen Lazard 11
Robby Anderson 11
Allen Robinson 11
CeeDee Lamb 11
Tyreek Hill 11
JuJu Smith-Schuster 10
Davante Adams 10
Keelan Cole 10
Darius Slayton 10
Justin Jefferson 10
DeVante Parker 10
Cole Beasley 10

Calvin Ridley leads all wide receivers in first downs after the matchups of Weeks 1 and 2. However, DeAndre Hopkins has now advanced beyond him into the league lead (21). Ridley is second (19), followed by Tyler Boyd (17), Keenan Allen (16), and three receivers that are all tied with 14 receptions for first downs -  Cooper Kupp, Tyler Lockett, and Russell Gage. Corey Davis, Julian Edelman, and Stefon Diggs are all tied with 13, while Terry McLaurin, D.J. Moore, Sammy Watkins, and Amari Cooper have all captured 12 receptions for first downs. A group of six receivers is tied with 11 - Allen Lazard, Tyreek Hill, Robby Anderson, CeeDee Lamb, Sammy Watkins, and Allen Robinson, while a collection of seven receivers have all caught 10 receptions for first downs - DeVante Parker, Davante Adams, Keelan Cole, Darius Slaton, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Cole Beasley, and rookie Justin Jefferson.

 

Week 3 Red Zone Targets

Wide Receivers Inside 20 Inside 10 Inside 5
Calvin Ridley 6 3 2
N'Keal Harry 6 2 0
DeAndre Hopkins 5 2 1
Stefon Diggs 5 2 2
Keenan Allen 5 1 0
Russell Gage 5 2 0
Emmanuel Sanders 5 3 2
Robby Anderson 4 1 0
Tyler Lockett 4 3 3
Julian Edelman 4 2 1
Cole Beasley 4 4 2
Darius Slayton 4 3 2
Anthony Miller 4 1 1
Tee Higgins 4 2 2
Terry McLaurin 3 0 0
Allen Robinson 3 1 0
Cooper Kupp 3 0 0
Davante Adams 3 2 2
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 3 0 0
JuJu Smith-Schuster 3 2 0
Sammy Watkins 3 3 1
John Brown 3 2 1
Chris Godwin 3 2 1
Hunter Renfrow 3 0 0
Adam Humphries 3 0 0
Marvin Jones 3 1 1
Mike Evans 3 3 3
David Moore 3 1 0
Preston Williams 3 2 2
Zach Pascal 3 2 1
Trent Taylor 3 1 0

 

Calvin Ridley joins second-year receiver N'Keal Harry in leading their position with six red zone targets. Five receivers have all collected five targets - Hopkins, Diggs, Allen, Gage, and Emmanuel Sanders, while eight receivers have captured four targets inside the 20 - Anderson, Lockett, Edelman, Slaton, Higgins, Cole Beasley, Watkins, and Anthony Miller. 13 different receivers have received three targets inside the 20, including McLaurin, Robinson, Kupp, and Evans.

Beasley leads all wide receivers with four targets inside the 10 while six other receivers have captured three - Ridley, Lockett, Slaton, Watkins, Evans, and Sanders. Evans and Lockett also lead the position with three targets inside the five.

 

Week 3 Snap Counts

Wide Receivers Week 3 Snaps  Total Snaps Total Snap %
Keenan Allen 75/96.2 226 96.17
Michael Gallup 70/85.3 214 90.68
DeAndre Hopkins 61/93.9 213 95.09
Amari Cooper 65/79.3 208 88.14
D.K. Metcalf 73/96.1 197 98.01
Calvin Ridley 63/92.7 194 87.39
Tyler Lockett 74/97.4 192 95.52
Stefon Diggs 61/98.4 191 90.95
Terry McLaurin 64/98.5 191 95.02
Allen Lazard 59/95.2 188 88.26
Tyreek Hill 60/80 188 85.07
Tyler Boyd 54/75 187 80.6
Robert Woods 67/97.1 187 88.63
Marvin Jones 61/91.0 185 90.69
Damiere Byrd 66/95.7 184 89.76
Cooper Kupp 62/89.9 183 86.73
Larry Fitzgerald 56/86.2 182 81.25
Mike Evans 61/89.7 179 89.95
CeeDee Lamb 48/59.8 176 74.58
JuJu Smith-Schuster 58/72.5 172 82.3
Mike Williams 40/51.3 172 73.19
Corey Davis 55/73.3 171 78.44
Allen Robinson 64/78.1 170 80.19
D.J. Moore 45/88.2 168 87.96
Darius Slayton 51/98.1 167 90.27
John Brown 29/46.8 166 79.05
Kendrick Bourne 64/83.1 166 83
Sammy Watkins 65/86.7 165 74.66
Chris Hogan 51/79.7 161 87.03
Zach Pascal 56/93.3 161 77.78
Adam Thielen 61/93.9 159 92.98
Tre'Quan Smith 61/100 158 83.6
N'Keal Harry 46/66.7 158 77.07
A.J. Green 55/76.4 157 67.67
Jalen Guyton 63/80.8 154 65.53
Tim Patrick 53/84.1 153 76.88
Preston Williams 35/57.4 152 76.77
Robby Anderson 40/78.4 149 78.01
DeVante Parker 56/91.8 145 73.23
Julian Edelman 56/81.2 145 70.73
Odell Beckham 51/81 145 74.74

Keenan Allen has ascended into the league lead with 226 offensive snaps after three matchups. Michael Gallup is second overall (214), followed by DeAndre Hopkins (213), Amari Cooper (208), D.K. Metcalf (197), Calvin Ridley (194), Tyler Lockett (192), Stefon Diggs (191), Terry McLaurin (191), and Allen Lazard completing the top 10 (188). Tyler Boyd and Robert Woods are tied at 187, followed by Marvin Jones (185) Damiere Byrd (1840, Cooper Kupp (183), and Larry Fitzgerald (182). Six additional receivers have performed on at least 170 of the team's offensive snaps -Mike Evans, CeeDee Lamb, Juju Smith-Schuster, Mike Williams, Corey Davis, and Allen Robinson.

Metcalf leads the position in offensive snap percentage (98.0), followed by Allen (96.2), Lockett (95.5), Hopkins (95.1), McLaurin (95.0), Thielen (93.0), Diggs (91.0), Marvin Jones (90.7), Gallup (90.7), Darius Slayton (90.3), and Evans (90.0). No other wide receivers have been involved in 90% of the team's offensive snaps. However, Byrd, Tre' Quan Smith, Kendrick Bourne, and Chris Hogan are among the list of 21 receivers that have played on over 80% of their teams' offensive snaps.

The conga line of injuries that has dramatically depleted Philadelphia's receiving weapons has also created opportunities for several other Eagle receivers. Greg Ward will operate as the team's temporary WR1 this week, while rookie John Hightower has also elevated into an expanded role. He also led all wide receivers in offensive snaps during Week 3 (78). Ward was second (76), followed by Allen (75), Lockett (74), Metcalf (73), Gallup (70), Woods (67), Byrd (66), Watkins(65), and Cooper (65). McLaurin, Robinson, and Bourne were next with 64 snaps.

Smith led all wide receivers in snap count percentage in Week 3 by performing on 100% of New Orleans' offensive snaps. McLaurin was second (98.5), followed by Diggs (98.4), Slaton (98.1), Lockett (97.4), Woods (97.1), Allen (96.2), Metcalf (96.1), Byrd (95.7), and Lazard completing the top 10 at (95.2). Hopkins, Thielen, Will Fuller, and Zach Pascal were among the 10 additional wide receivers that were involved in at least 90% of their team's offensive snaps in Week 3.

 

Five Things I Noticed

1. Keenan Allen has thrived with Justin Herbert under center for two consecutive games after Tyrod Taylor spearheaded the Chargers' passing attack during their season opener. Allen was targeted eight times in Week 1 but only collected four of those passes for 37 yards. Taylor only completed 53.3% of his throws, generated 208 yards through the air, and ended the matchup with a quarterback rating of 25.6. His inaccuracy was a factor with Allen’s inability to garner a higher percentage of his targets.

The 28-year old Allen also averaged just 4.63 yards per target during his first game without Philip Rivers, and these results were unsettling for anyone who had secured Allen for their rosters.  But his numbers have improved considerably during two games with Herbert repeatedly launching passes in his direction. Taylor is still recovering from a collapsed lung and could recapture his starting role after he resurfaces with the team.

But Hebert has completed 69.5% of his passes, averaged 320.5 yards per game, and his propensity to target Allen has propelled a significant increase in the veteran receiver’s production. Allen accumulated a league-high 29 targets (14.5 per game) in Weeks 2-3, which is six more than any other receiver. He also leads his position in both receptions (20) and receiving yards (228) during that two-game sequence. Allen is fourth with four receptions of 20+ yards during those contests and has averaged 8.3 yards per target – which is nearly four yards higher than the average that he attained with Taylor guiding the offense.

Allen was also just WR60 in point per game scoring following Week 1. But he has now soared to WR9 and is WR2 behind Tyler Lockett during the combination of Weeks 2-3. Allen has also vaulted to seventh in air yards (342), and percentage share of air yards (38.6), and is second among wide receivers in target share (34.3). Allen also leads the Chargers in red zone targets (5) after collecting three targets inside the 20 during Week 3. He has performed as a high-end WR1 with Herbert as his signal-caller and should continue to flourish if the rookie remains under center.

 

2. A trio of rookie receivers planted themselves securely within the fantasy landscape during their performances in Week 3. Justin Jefferson had only been targeted six times during his first two matchups. But Kirk Cousins launched nine passes in his direction during Minnesota’s Week 3 encounter with Tennessee. This launched Jefferson's statistical explosion (7 receptions/175 yards/1 touchdown) after the former LSU Tiger had entered the game with just five receptions for 70 yards.

 

Jefferson’s yardage total easily led all receivers, while he finished among the top 10 in targets and receptions during Week 3's matchups. Jefferson is now tied with Adam Thielen for the team lead in receptions after three weeks (12), while the first-year receiver has soared to first in yardage (245). He is now fifth among all wide receivers with an average of 20.4 yards per reception and is averaging a league-best 16.3 yards per target among receivers with 10+ targets.

Brandon Aiyuk commandeered a team-high eight targets in his second game with San Francisco and collected five passes for 70 yards. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan had exchanged three draft picks in order to seize Aiyuk at 25th overall pick in last April’s NFL Draft. He had been affixed to the sideline during the team’s season opener (hamstring), while his involvement was limited in Week 2 (3 targets/2 receptions/21 yards). But he tied for 15th in targets during San Francisco’s matchup with the Giants, while operating from the slot on 58% of his offensive plays.

Tee Higgins was targeted nine times by Joe Burrow, which was second to Tyler Boyd’s team-high 13. Higgins also scored his first two touchdowns, while collecting five receptions for 40 yards. The steady progression in his usage and output is encouraging, as his rising snap shares (22%/65%/79%) and his expanding target totals (0/6/9) provide an indication that he has secured WR3 responsibilities behind Boyd and A.J. Green. The Bengals’ decision to relegate John Ross to healthy scratch status also underscores the upward trend in Higgins’ stock.

Jefferson now leads all rookies in receiving yards after his performance. However, Jerry Jeudy has garnered the most targets among rookies (24) while CeeDee Lamb has collected the most receptions (16).

 

3. Odell Beckham Jr.’s ADP of 31 during the recent draft process resulted in the seven-year veteran being selected before a large collection of receivers including five of the top seven scorers in the PPR format - Calvin Ridley, Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs, D.K. Metcalf and Keenan Allen. Amari Cooper, Cooper Kupp, D.J. Moore, Robert Woods, Adam Thielen, Terry McLaurin, and JuJu Smith-Schuster are also contained on the lengthy list of receivers that have generated more fantasy points than Beckham after three matchups. 

Beckham is currently 18th in targets (22), but just 40th in receptions (11), and 36th in receiving yards (155). He is also 38th in scoring, as his production through three contests has been a source of frustration for many fantasy GMs that secured him with a third-round investment. However, his numbers are largely a byproduct of Cleveland's redesigned offense under Kevin Stefanski. Cleveland currently ranks 31st in pass play percentage (47.3%), as the Rams are currently the only team that is even less reliant on their aerial efforts (45.9%). When Baker Mayfield, does launch the ball, he is targeting his wide receivers on 54% on his attempts. This ranks just 26th overall.

Beckham is sixth overall in percentage share of air yards (41.8) and is also sixth in team target share (25.2). He collected a season-high 10 targets during Week 1. He also manufactured just 22 yards on three receptions during that matchup, although that can be partially attributed to Mayfield’s inaccuracy. But any optimism surrounding that initial target total has diminished, as Beckham has been targeted six times by Mayfield in both Weeks 2 and 3. His only touchdown of the season occurred on a 43-yard reception, and his unimpressive numbers would be even more problematic if that play had not transpired.

Some discouraged managers have considered trading Beckham. However, he will be the recipient of an enticing matchup this week. Dallas has surrendered seven touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, while also permitting Metcalf (110), Ridley (109), Woods (105), and Lockett (100) to generate 100+ yards. If Stefanski increases Cleveland’s deployment of the pass in order to exploit this matchup, then Beckham could deliver his most productive outing of the season.

 

4. Terry McLaurin has made a seamless progression from his stellar rookie season when his name could be located among the leaders in multiple categories. Washington selected McLaurin with the 76th overall pick in the NFL draft and he immediately became the team's most prolific receiver. McLaurin promptly collected 5 of 7 targets for 125 yards and a touchdown during his NFL debut, and ultimately finished sixth overall in percentage share of air yards (37.09), 10th in yards-per-target average (9.9), and 16th in targeted air yards (14.1). He also finished second in point per game scoring, targets (93/6.6 per game), and receptions (58), among first-year receivers – even though he missed two games due to injuries (Week 4-hamstring/Week 17-concussion).

McLaurin has transitioned fluidly into a revamped offense under new coordinator Scott Turner, without the benefit of normal offseason activities. McLaurin leads all wide receivers in yards after catch (174) and is second in broken tackles (4). He is also sixth overall in receiving yards (269), 11th in targets (25), and 14th in receptions (16). He is also tied for first with six receptions of 20+ yards and is also eighth in yards per reception (16.8). The 25-year old McLaurin has also operated on the perimeter during 74.2% of Washington's offensive plays while providing the team with a dynamic downfield presence.

McLaurin has already proven that he can remain proficient while quarterback Dwayne Haskins continues his learning curve, as Haskins is currently just 32nd in completion percentage (56.4%). Washington's remaining receiving weapons also contains no discernible competitor for targets, as Dontrelle Inman, Steven Sims Isaiah Wright, and rookie Antonio Gandy-Golden remain stationed below McLaurin on the depth chart. If he can sustain achieve sustained health, McLaurin will continue to his steady climb beyond high-end WR2 status.

 

5. Anyone who selected D.J. Chark in Round 5 during their draft process has been contending with disappointment in both his usage and output. He was Jacksonville’s undisputed WR1 at the onset of the season and led the Jaguars in yardage (109) and yards per target (15.6) through Week 2, However, he was just WR34 in point per game scoring and outside the top 70 in targets (7), while Keelan Cole led the Jaguars in targets (12), and receptions (11). He was followed by promising rookie Laviska Shenault (8 targets/6 receptions/72 yards) and Chris Conley (8 targets/5 receptions/54 yards).

But there is a reason for optimism if you invested in Chark, following the results from Week 3 - even though he was sidelined when Jacksonville hosted Miami (chest/back). The Jaguars’ passing attack was ineffective in his absence, while Conley failed to approach Chark’s proficiency as a reliable downfield option for Gardner Minshew.

Conley led the Jaguars in targets during the matchup (8) but only managed three receptions for 34 yards. Shenault collected five of his six targets for 33 yards, while Cole captured four of his six targets for a team-high 43 yards. Cole has now operated in the slot on 84.3% of his offensive plays, and leads Jaguar wide receivers in targets (17) receptions (15), and receiving yards (148). Cole registered his career-high in targets during 2017 (83) but only captured 42 receptions. But his current averages (5.7 targets/5 receptions/49.3 yards per game place him on track to establish new career bests in each category (96 targets/80 receptions/789 yards).

Conley has just one fewer target (16) but has only collected eight passes for 88 yards. His 50.0% catch rate is also the lowest of his career. He averaged a 38.5% snap share in Weeks 1-2 before performing on 80% of Jacksonville’s snaps during Chark’s absence. Shenault has accrued 14 targets, 11 receptions, 105 yards, and his involvement in the offense will rise as the season continues. Cole should remain a viable WR3 for fantasy GMs as the weeks advance, while Conley should be relegated to modest usage following Chark’s return. Chark’s managers can monitor his status, in hopes that he returns for Sunday’s matchup with Cincinnati.



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Tape Tells All: Justin Jefferson's Week 3 Performance

Welcome back to Tape Tells All, your home for film and stat breakdowns of a rising fantasy player's performance from the previous week.

In today's addition, we'll be looking at Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. The rookie exploded in Week 3, catching seven passes for 175 yards and a touchdown. Is he the new Stefon Diggs?

This article also comes with an important caveat, as Jefferson plays for Minnesota, who faced Tennessee this past weekend. After positive COVID-19 tests from the Titans, both teams are currently not practicing, which could put Minnesota's status to play in Week 4 in jeopardy. Something to be aware of and monitor as we move forward.

 

Background Information

This all starts with the Stefon Diggs trade.

In March, the Vikings traded Diggs to Buffalo for a host of draft picks, including Buffalo's first rounder. That first rounder was used to draft the presumed Diggs replacement, LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson.

Last year with the Tigers, Jefferson caught 111 passes for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns. Those numbers ranked:

  • tied with James Proche for first in receptions
  • third behind teammate Ja'Marr Chase and Arkansas State's Omar Bayless in receiving yards
  • second to teammate Ja'Marr Chase in receiving touchdowns

So, Jefferson showed that he could excel with a good quarterback throwing him the ball, and he also showed that he could still put up big numbers playing with another top wideout. I'm not sure Kirk Cousins is good enough for that first point to translate well to the NFL, but Jefferson's ability to succeed with Chase on the other side of the field does suggest to me that he can form a strong pairing with Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen.

In terms of workout metrics, Jefferson runs a 4.43 40-yard dash, which ranks in the 86th percentile at his position. He's got strong speed and burst scores as well. There are some concerns about his college metrics -- a 50th percentile dominator score, a 47th percentile target share -- but some of that can be chalked up to playing for LSU, where there are always so many talented skill positions that it can become difficult to completely dominate in terms of opportunities.

Through his first two games of his NFL career, Jefferson hadn't done much, with five total receptions for 70 yards. He only played 54 percent of the snaps in Week 2 with OlaBisi Johnson taking 78 percent of the snaps and serving as the primary No. 2 receiver.

Things changed this week. Jefferson was the one playing 78 percent of the snaps, with Johnson playing just five snaps and Chad Beebe taking the No. 3 role. It really looks like Jefferson has taken the reins of the No. 2 receiver role in Minnesota.

Now, what can he do now that he has it? Let's turn to the tape.

 

The Game Tape

Let's jump right into it with Jefferson's first reception of the game:

First off, are the Vikings spreading out the field??? Whoa! Seeing this kind of spacing for a Vikings team that's run 21 personnel the fourth-most in the league is nice to see, even if this isn't a true four receiver set since one of those players out wide is a running back.

Anyway, now that I'm not distracted by spacing, let's talk about Jefferson. A big question with him was how he'd fit on a Vikings team with Thielen because both players are excellent from the slot. Turns out, you can just make it work.

On this play, Jefferson's on the inside, runs a little out route, then turns it up field and is able to wind up with a few yards after the catch. Good, steady play that also hints at Jefferson's explosiveness, as he looks like he's shot out of a cannon once he gets the ball. Unfortunately, that cannon had two defenders right on him then and the explosion just kind of fizzled out.

Here, we see a more Vikings-like formation -- two receivers, two running backs, one tight end. Jefferson operates as the outside receiver here on the left and, like in the first play, uses his footwork to get open. A nice cut gives him the space to make the play, but he isn't able to do much after because the defender is there on him. We see Jefferson playing really physically after the catch again, though -- like the first play, he can't break through the defender, but he does give it his best effort.

We're going to skip the next two catches, because they were a lot like the first two -- Jefferson makes a 90-degree cut, catches the pass, etc.

Up after that was a 31-yard gain:

Hey, another play where motioning a back out wide creates a de-facto four receiver set!

Jefferson's your main outside man here and instead of running 10 yards and cutting towards the sidelines, the team dials up the deep route for him. Jefferson is being single covered over there, making this a pretty simple play: Jefferson outruns the defender and is able to go up and make the catch.

This is where we should note something: for all the faults we hear about Kirk Cousins, Jefferson's catchable target rating of 86.7 percent ranks 27th among wide receivers and his target quality rating is 10th. He's not getting thrown bad passes from Cousins, and that's a nice bonus for Jefferson.

Anyway, I think y'all probably want to talk about the touchdown. Let's talk about the touchdown.

JUSTIN JEFFERSON.

Lot happening here. Jefferson starts in the left slot, then comes across the field at the snap, where he's picked up by Titans safety Kevin Byard. Byard is a good player, but Jefferson is able to just completely outrun him, getting a ton of space over on the deep right segment of the field.

Jefferson's momentum carries him towards the sideline and he slows up a little to keep from going out of bounds, allowing Byard to catch up to him and make the tackl...oh, no, Byard can't bring Jefferson down, who shifts around and ends up just walking in for the score.

This is a big thing I like about Jefferson: he can just be explosive as hell out there, and he moves so fluidly. He's no Stefon Diggs (yet???) but he's an extremely talented receiver.

 

Fantasy Impact

So, what do we make of Jefferson going forward?

First off, the Jefferson trade market is probably out of control this week in dynasty leagues. Be careful with overpaying.

But in redraft leagues, there's a good chance Jefferson is out there on waivers, in which case you 100 percent should be picking him up. He's not going to have this kind of performance each week or, likely, even one more time this year, because huge touchdowns don't grow on trees.

But Jefferson is trending up. He's taken clear control of the No. 2 receiver role in an offense that's done a good job supporting two good fantasy receivers. He can play inside and outside, and his footwork helps him be an impactful player in the short passing game.

I don't know how reliable deep targets will be for Jefferson. This is not an offense that feels designed for deep targets. But even if the air yards don't come, Jefferson's still a solid play in full PPR leagues. Week 3 might not be repeatable as a whole, but certain moments from it definitely are.



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Coaching Matters: Offenses That Will Improve From Week 3

This series continues into its third week of where I dive into offensive areas that will improve or decline based on coaching in order to glean insight as to fantasy football value. After much research, I've developed a broad knowledge of how each team's play-caller historically operates and compiled data to help make informed decisions throughout the regular season as well.

After a wild Week 3 where we saw performances such as the Dallas Cowboys wide receivers catching 26 passes on 36 targets for 4o5 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns against the Seattle secondary or the New York Giants running backs taking only ten carries for 17 rushing yards, it's important to look at their play-caller's history and see if these performances are likely to continue, if they will change for the better, or if they will change for the worse.

This article will take a look at which of these areas are in line for improvement in future weeks. Let's dive in!

 

Improvement Ahead

These are the areas and positions that will likely improve in the coming weeks, based on the team's play-caller tendencies in the past.

 

New York Giants Running Backs

For the second week in a row, the New York Giants running backs land on this list of teams that should improve. Against the San Francisco 49ers, the New York Giants running backs were terrible. On the ground, they combined to take ten carries for 17 rushing yards, and through the air, they had three catches on six targets for 17 receiving yards.

But wait, there's more! On the year, the New York Giants running backs have combined for 40 carries, 72 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, 14 receptions (on 22 targets), 127 receiving yards, and zero receiving touchdowns. There's nothing to say except the production out of this group so far this season has been abysmal.

Prior to this season, over the course of 208 games, Jason Garrett's running back room averaged 23.63 carries, 106.15 rushing yards, and 0.69 rushing touchdowns per game. Through the air over those 208 games, his running backs averaged 5.61 targets, 35.07 receiving yards, and 0.09 receiving touchdowns per game. This rushing attack is on pace to be the worst of Garrett's career, but even with Saquon Barkley out for the year, expect at least a little improvement for these running backs on the ground.

But even with this projected improvement, it's going to be hard to trust any of these running backs to be anything more than an RB3 in fantasy leagues.

Fantasy players this impacts: Devonta Freeman, Dion Lewis, and Wayne Gallman

 

Houston Texans Running Backs

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a tough matchup for running backs. On Sunday against the Steelers, the Texans running backs took 14 carries for 24 rushing yards and one touchdown. Through the air, David Johnson was the only running back on the team to get any work, to the tune of two receptions on three targets for 23 receiving yards.

After this performance, the Texans running backs have combined for 41 rushing attempts, 149 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, seven receptions (on 12 targets), 71 receiving yards, and zero receiving touchdowns on the year (three games). On a per-game basis, that's 13.67 carries, 49.67 rushing yards, 0.67 rushing touchdowns, 2.33 receptions (on four targets), 23.67 receiving yards, and zero receiving touchdowns per game.

Looking at head coach Bill O'Brien's running back room track record, we can expect some improvement here. Over 112 games prior to the start of the 2020 season, O'Brien's RB room averaged 5.06 targets, 29.78 receiving yards, 0.18 receiving touchdowns, 24.88 carries, 100.71 rushing yards, and 0.50 rushing touchdowns per game.

A tough opening schedule and Bill O'Brien's past tendencies suggest that there's going to be an improvement for the Texans running backs. Now is a fantastic time to buy this backfield!

Fantasy players this impacts: David Johnson and Duke Johnson

 

Dallas Cowboys Running Backs (Run Game)

In the loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Ezekiel Elliott was the only player to get any carries from the team's running back room. He took 14 carries for 34 rushing yards and scored one rushing touchdown. In the air, Elliott and Tony Pollard combined for seven receptions on 13 targets for 19 receiving yards and zero touchdowns. This means that through the first three games of the season, the Dallas Cowboys running backs are averaging 20.67 carries, 78.33 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, 6.33 receptions (9.33 targets), 36 receiving yards, and 0.33 receiving touchdowns per game.

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy has had his running backs average 21.17 carries, 89.18 rushing yards, 0.57 rushing touchdowns, 5.38 targets, 31.44 receiving yards, and 0.10 receiving touchdowns per game in the 304 games he coached (as either a head coach or an offensive coordinator) prior to this season.

Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore had only been an offensive coordinator for 16 games prior to this season. In this time, his running backs combined to average 24.19 carries, 113.25 rushing yards, 0.88 rushing touchdowns per game, 5.69 targets, 32.94 receiving yards, and 0.19 receiving touchdowns.

RB Room Carries RB Room Rushing Yards RB Room Rushing Touchdowns RB Room Targets RB Room Receiving Yards
RB Room Receiving Touchdowns
2020 Cowboys (3 games) 20.67 78.33 1 9.33 36 0.33
Mike McCarthy (304 games prior) 21.17 89.18 0.57 5.38 31.44 0.1
Kellen Moore (16 games prior) 24.19 113.25 0.88 5.69 32.94 0.19

Based on these coaches' previous history of utilizing the position, expect an increase in carries and rushing yards for the Dallas Cowboys running backs in the future.

Fantasy players this impacts: Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard

 

Jacksonville Jaguars Running Backs (Run Game)

The Jacksonville Jaguars running backs took 13 carries for 49 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground, and in the air, they were good with 11 receptions on 12 targets for 118 receiving yards and zero touchdowns in Week 3. This means that through the first three weeks of the season, the Jaguars running backs are averaging 15.67 carries, 73.33 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, 6.67 receptions (on 7.67 targets), 63.33 receiving yards, and 0.33 receiving touchdowns per game.

In the 144 games prior to this season as an offensive coordinator or head coach, Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone had his running backs average 23.40 carries, 94.15 rushing yards, 0.62 rushing touchdowns, 8.86 targets, 49.47 receiving yards, and 0.21 receiving touchdowns per game.

In addition, Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Jay Gruden had his running backs combine to average 21.95 carries, 87.59 rushing yards, 0.54 rushing touchdowns per game, 5.27 targets, 34.65 receiving yards, and 0.16 receiving touchdowns in the 133 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

RB Room Carries RB Room Rushing Yards RB Room Rushing Touchdowns RB Room Targets RB Room Receiving Yards
RB Room Receiving Touchdowns
2020 Jaguars (3 games) 15.67 73.33 1 7.67 63.33 0.33
Doug Marrone (144 games prior) 23.40 94.15 0.62 8.86 49.47 0.21
Jay Gruden (133 games prior) 21.95 87.59 0.54 5.27 34.65 0.16

Based on all this information, there is likely to be a slight uptick in carries and rushing yards for the Jaguars' backs, as well as a downtick in touchdowns per game.

Fantasy players this impacts: James Robinson, Chris Thompson, and Ryquell Armstead

 

Miami Dolphins Wide Receivers

The Dolphins wide receivers had 10 receptions on 10 targets for 109 receiving yards and a touchdown in Week 3's Thursday Night Football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. On the year (three games), the Dolphins' wide receivers are averaging 12 receptions on 17.67 targets for 130.33 receiving yards and 0.67 receiving touchdowns per game.

Chan Gailey has been around so long in this league that he coached two seasons where targets weren't even tracked in 1989 and 1990. In the 192 games (of his 224 games as an offensive coordinator or head coach) prior to this season where targets were tracked, his wide receiver room saw 20.78 targets per game. Over the 224 games he'd been a coach, his WR room averaged 154.93 receiving yards and 0.89 receiving touchdowns per game.

The Dolphins wide receivers are looking like a strong buy-low based on Chan Gailey's usage historically. Invest accordingly.

Fantasy players this impacts: DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, and Isaiah Ford

 

Cincinnati Bengals Running Backs 

Joe Mixon was the only back to get carries and he had 17 carries for 49 rushing yards and zero touchdowns. Through the air, Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard combined for five catches on six targets for 71 receiving yards and zero touchdowns. On the year (three games), the Bengals running backs are averaging 18 carries, 58 rushing yards, zero rushing touchdowns, 6.33 receptions (on eight targets), 52 receiving yards, and zero receiving touchdowns.

Looking at Bengals head coach Zac Taylor's 21 game history as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season, his running backs combined to average 21.05 carries, 81.14 rushing yards, 0.43 rushing touchdowns, 5.48 targets, 32.86 receiving yards, and 0.14 receiving touchdowns per game.

Based on this information, the Bengals running backs are in line for some improvement, in particular with regards to the run game.

Fantasy players this impacts: Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard

 

Running Low

Denver Broncos Running Backs

The Denver Broncos got thrashed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, losing 28-10. In the game, the team's running backs got 10 carries for 30 rushing yards and zero rushing touchdowns. Through the air, they had six receptions on eight targets for 43 receiving yards and zero receiving touchdowns. After this game, the Broncos running backs are averaging 18.33 carries, 74 rushing yards, 0.33 rushing touchdowns, and 4.33 receptions (on 5.33 targets) for 29.33 receiving yards and 0.33 receiving touchdowns per game on the year (three games).

The Denver Broncos offensive coordinator, Pat Shurmur, coached 169 games as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season. In those games, his running back room averaged 6.86 targets, 38.56 receiving yards, 0.11 receiving touchdowns, 23.10 carries, 96.32 rushing yards, and 0.66 rushing touchdowns per game.

Fantasy players this impacts: Melvin Gordon, Phillip Lindsay, and Royce Freeman

 

New York Jets Wide Receivers

The New York Jets struggled on Sunday, losing 36-7. In that blowout, their wide receivers combined for only six receptions on 11 targets for 99 receiving yards and a touchdown. On the year, that means the Jets wide receivers are averaging 11.67 receptions on 19 targets for 131 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown per game.

WR Room Targets (per game) WR Room Yards (per game)
WR Room TD (per game)
2020 Jets (3 games) 19 131 1
Adam Gase (112 Games Prior) 21.61 175.29 1.19

Over the 112 games prior to this season, Adam Gase's wide receiver room averaged 21.61 targets, 175.29 receiving yards, and 1.19 receiving touchdowns per game. What this shows us is that we should expect better performances than last Sunday's blowout loss, but the New York Jets wide receivers in the season as a whole seem to be getting roughly the workload we'd expect in an Adam Gase offense.

Fantasy players this impacts: Breshad Perriman, Jamison Crowder, and Braxton Berrios

 

Indianapolis Colts Wide Receivers

In the Indianapolis Colts' 36-7 blowout of the New York Jets, the Colts' wide receiver room had 10 receptions on 14 targets for 135 receiving yards and zero touchdowns. On the year, that puts this group at 35 receptions on 53 targets for 377 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown. On a per-game basis, this is 11.67 receptions on 17.67 targets for 125.67 receiving yards and 0.33 receiving touchdowns per game.

Over the 96 games prior to this season, Frank Reich's wide receiver room averaged 19.45 targets, 144.88 receiving yards, and 0.93 receiving touchdowns per game. Based on this, I would expect the Colts wide receivers to improve from Sunday's performance. However, I'm a little more uncertain about major improvement on the team's season stats. The number of targets this year (three games) for Frank Reich's wide receivers is actually higher than 2019, so there's a very real possibility that this is what we should expect from the receiving corps going forward.

Fantasy players this impacts: T.Y. Hilton, Michael Pittman (out), Parris Campbell (out), and Zach Pascal



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Coaching Matters: Offenses That Will Improve From Week 2

This series carries over from last week, where I dived into offensive areas that will improve or decline based on coaching in order to glean insight as to fantasy football value. After much research, I've developed a broad knowledge of how each team's play-caller historically operates and compiled data to help make informed decisions throughout the regular season as well.

After a crazy Week 2 where we saw performances of Browns running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt running wild and taking 32 carries for 210 rushing yards, the Cowboys wide receivers getting 292 receiving yards, and the Chargers running backs getting 39 carries, it's important to look at their play-caller's history and see if these performances are likely to continue, if they will change for the better, or if they will change for the worse.

This article will take a look at which of these areas are in line for improvement in future weeks. Let's dive in!

 

Improvement Ahead

These are the areas and positions that will likely improve in the coming weeks, based on the team's play-caller tendencies in the past.

 

San Francisco 49ers Wide Receivers

Against the New York Jets, the 49ers' wide receivers had eight receptions on 11 targets for 98 receiving yards and zero touchdowns. On the year, the wide receiver room has totaled 12 receptions on 21 targets for 139 receiving yards and zero touchdowns. On a per-game basis, this is just six receptions, 10.5 targets, 69.5 receiving yards, and zero touchdowns for the whole wide receiver room.

Targets Receiving Yards
Receiving Touchdowns
49ers 2020 WR Room (2 games) 10.5 69.5 0
Prior Kyle Shanahan WR Room (192 games) 19.94 162.49 0.9

Looking at 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan's utilization of his wide receivers in the 192 games he was an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season, we see on average he gave his wide receiver room 19.94 targets per game and they produced 162.49 receiving yards and 0.90 receiving touchdowns per game. Based on this, we should expect a bounce-back from the 49ers receivers, especially once Deebo Samuel gets healthy.

Fantasy players this impacts: Brandon Aiyuk, Kendrick Bourne, Deebo Samuel, and Trent Taylor

Minnesota Vikings Wide Receivers

Last week, the Minnesota Vikings got destroyed by the Indianapolis Colts, and the offense could just never get going. The Vikings' wide receiver room finished the day with seven receptions on 14 targets for 99 receiving yards and no touchdowns. This means that on the year, the group has 18 receptions on 29 targets for 291 receiving yards and two touchdowns, and has been averaging nine receptions, 14.5 targets, 145.5 receiving yards, and one touchdown per game.

Targets Receiving Yards
Receiving Touchdowns
Vikings 2020 WR Room (2 games) 14.5 145.5 1
Prior Gary Kubiak WR Room (349 games) 18.46 150.21 0.86

Gary Kubiak had been an offensive coordinator or head coach for 349 games prior to this season. Over the course of those 349 games, his wide receiver room averaged 18.46 targets, 150.21 receiving yards, and 0.86 receiving touchdowns per game. Based on this, we should expect a bounce-back from Sunday's performance against the Indianapolis Colts from this group. But for the overall season, there doesn't appear to be too much of a discrepancy, outside of maybe targets.

Fantasy players this impacts: Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson, and Bisi Johnson

Minnesota Vikings Running Backs

The Vikings' wide receivers weren't the only ones to have a bad day. The Minnesota Vikings' running backs totaled 17 carries for 76 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. In addition, they caught three passes on four targets for 11 receiving yards and zero touchdowns. This means that on the year, the running back room has 35 carries, 176 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns, eight receptions (on 10 targets), 39 receiving yards, and zero receiving touchdowns. On a per-game basis, this is 17.5 carries, 88 rushing yards, 1.5 rushing touchdowns, four receptions (on five targets), 19.5 receiving yards, and zero receiving touchdowns.

Carries Rushing Yards Rushing TDs Targets Receiving Yards Receiving TDs
Vikings 2020 RB Room (2 games) 17.5 88 1.5 5 19.5 0
Prior Gary Kubiak RB Room (349 games) 25.27 113.12 0.86 4.92 27.83 0.1

This doesn't quite line up with Gary Kubiak's history utilizing the position. In Kubiak's 349 games as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season, his running back room averaged 25.27 carries, 113.12 rushing yards, 0.86 rushing touchdowns, 4.92 targets, 27.83 receiving yards, and 0.10 receiving touchdowns per game. Based on this, we can expect more usage than the position group got last Sunday. Additionally, based on the season's production so far versus Gary Kubiak's historical production at the position, we can expect an uptick in usage and yardage.

Fantasy players this impacts: Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison

New York Giants Running Backs (Run Game)

Against the Chicago Bears last Sunday, the New York Giants took 14 carries for 48 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. On the season, the team's running backs have put up a putrid 30 carries for 55 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown.

Carries Rushing Yards Rushing TDs
Giants 2020 RB Room (2 games) 15 27.5 0.5
Prior Jason Garrett RB Room (208 games) 23.63 106.15 0.69

Looking at offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and his past offenses, it makes it obvious that there is nowhere to go but up from here (unless this is one of the worst running offenses in NFL history). Prior to this season over the course of 208 games, Jason Garrett's running back room averaged 23.63 carries, 106.15 rushing yards, and 0.69 rushing touchdowns per game. While this rushing attack will likely be one of the worst of Garrett's career with Saquon Barkley out for the year, expect some improvement for these running backs on the ground.

Fantasy players this impacts: Devonta Freeman, Dion Lewis, and Wayne Gallman 

Chicago Bears Wide Receivers

The Chicago Bears' passing game was subpar last Sunday against the New York Giants, with Mitchell Trubisky only throwing for 190 yards. The wide receivers, in particular, had a rough game catching ten passes on 19 targets for 94 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown.

Now, compare this to Matt Nagy's history of utilizing the position. Prior to this season, Matt Nagy's wide receiver room averaged 18.35 targets, 145.25 receiving yards, and 0.85 receiving touchdowns in his three seasons as an offensive coordinator or head coach in the NFL.

Targets Receiving Yards
Receiving Touchdowns
Bears 2020 WR Room (2 games) 20 147.5 1.5
Prior Matt Nagy WR Room (48 games) 18.35 145.25 0.85

On the season, the wide receiver room has caught 24 passes on 40 targets for 295 receiving yards and scored three receiving touchdowns. On a per-game basis, that's 12 receptions, 20 targets, 147.5 receiving yards, and 1.5 receiving touchdowns. This is more in line with the production and opportunity that Matt Nagy has traditionally provided the position. Expect improvement from the Bears' wide receiver room in comparison to Sunday's game, but overall, the season totals seem pretty accurate with what we'd expect from a Matt Nagy offense.

Fantasy players this impacts: Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, and Cordarelle Patterson



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WRs to Target or Avoid - Week 3 Cornerback Matchups

After two weeks, NFL defenses are starting to round into form. This article will take a look at each team's cornerback group in an effort to find the best matchups to attack in fantasy.

The following chart is a snapshot of each team's cornerback group as it relates to allowing fantasy points. There are inherent flaws within data compilation of cornerback play. The first being the fact that quantifying a 1-on-1 matchup in an NFL game is unfair because of zone coverages, mental errors, certain passing concepts, and a million other things. Assigning fantasy points against a cornerback isn't a perfect science. The purpose of this chart is to give more of a general sense of how defenses are handling opposing WR groups, rather than identifying exactly where, when, and how every single encounter happened.

The "Rtng" column is the rating of each cornerback based on film study and analytics. The lower a player is graded, the easier the matchup for the WR, so low ratings are green and high ratings are red. The "PPGA" is the amount of fantasy points per game that player has given up. A name in blue means the corner could possibly shadow the WR1. A name in red means that player is dealing with an injury. The analysis below will help contextualize the chart, as in many cases a receiver did not score 100% of his points against the same player. However, the chart is a useful tool in getting a sense of the weakest links among corners.

 

Cornerback Ratings - Week 3

click image to view full-screen

 

WR/CB Matchups to Target or Avoid

Miami's secondary was torched by Buffalo in Week 2 after Byron Jones went down. The Jaguars WRs all have easy matchups in Week 3.

The most intriguing matchup of Week 3 is Bears standout rookie Jaylon Johnson versus Falcons WR Calvin Ridley. Both have been stellar through two games. It would not shock me to see Ridley have a down game.

In that same game, Allen Robinson should get the squeaky wheel treatment against Atlanta's terrible corners. Anthony Miller burned fantasy players last week, but whoever plays the slot will have a hilariously easy matchup as well.

Another pressure point is the Bills talented receiving corps versus the solid cornerback group of the Los Angeles Rams. Darious Williams has been terrific so far and is becoming a problem for opposing WRs. John Brown might be in for a letdown.

Jerry Jeudy has a tough matchup with Tampa Bay's Sean Murphy-Bunting. K.J. Hamler gets a boost dealing with the weakest link in the Bucs secondary.

Jeff Okudah struggled in his debut, but the Lions chose to be gashed via the run rather than the pass. DeAndre Hopkins is obviously matchup-proof but it will be interesting to see if the rookie looks more comfortable in his second game.

Speaking of rookies struggling, both Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler have been exposed in Minnesota. Whoever the Titans give targets to at WR should be in for a big game in Week 3.

Baltimore's secondary took a hit in losing Tavon Young for the season. The Chiefs mix and match with their WR alignments, but Tyreek Hill plays the slot most frequently. Look for them to attack Young's replacement, Anthony Averrett.

One of the curious two-week trends has been the performance of slot receivers against the Bills. Cooper Kupp could have a breakout game.

Carolina's receivers get the stingy Chargers defensive backs in Week 3. I would give a slight downgrade to both D.J. Moore and Robby AndersonCurtis Samuel may see more work out of the backfield, but in the slot versus Chris Harris Jr. will be tough. CHJ's numbers are skewed because Tyreek Hill scored a long touchdown last week.

The following WRs are borderline Week 3 plays that get a boost based on matchup:

Thanks for reading and good luck this week.



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Wide Receiver Snap Counts and Target Trends - Week 2 Analysis

Your wide receivers remain essential components toward your primary goal of securing league championships. As the season unfolds, an expanding collection of tools are available that can provide you with an extensive level of knowledge regarding this critical position. Those results are contained in this weekly statistical breakdown of multiple categories, which is designed to help you fulfill your championship aspirations.

This will be the second installment that will examine game-specific data, including updated totals for targets, first downs, red-zone targets, snap counts, and a compilation of advanced statistics. The information that is contained in this weekly report will analyze how various receivers are being utilized, and how effectively they are capitalizing on their opportunities. This updated data supplies the foundation from which the numbers that are generated in various categories can be evaluated.

As the season progresses noteworthy changes in usage and production will be blended into the equation. That will bolster your efforts to determine which wide receivers should be in your lineups, and which are worthy of remaining on your rosters. Pro Football Reference, PFF, NextGenStats, Rotowire, Rotoviz, and Football Outsiders were all used as resources in compiling this data.

Week 2 Target Leaders

Wide Receivers  Targets  Targ/Game  YPT
DeAndre Hopkins 25 12.5 8.8
Amari Cooper 23 11.5 7.9
Diontae Johnson 23 11.5 6.5
D.J. Moore 22 11 7.9
Calvin Ridley 22 11 10.9
A.J. Green 22 11 3.6
Stefon Diggs 22 11 10.9
Russell Gage 21 10.5 7.6
Davante Adams 20 10 9.6
Robby Anderson 18 9 12.4
Julian Edelman 18 9 13.1
Allen Robinson 18 9 5.9
Keenan Allen 18 9 7.4
N'Keal Harry 18 9 6.2
Terry McLaurin 17 8.5 10.9
Tyreek Hill 17 8.5 8.5
John Brown 16 8 9.5
Tyler Lockett 16 8 9.9
Adam Thielen 16 8 8.8
Odell Beckham 16 8 6
DeSean Jackson 16 8 6.9
Julio Jones 16 8 11.3
Darius Slayton 15 7.5 9
CeeDee Lamb 15 7.5 11
Jerry Jeudy 15 7.5 7.9
D.K. Metcalf 14 7 13.4
JuJu Smith-Schuster 14 7 8.4
T.Y. Hilton 14 7 5.8
Marvin Jones 14 7 5.6
Danny Amendola 14 7 7.3
Mike Evans 14 7 7.6
Isaiah Ford 14 7 6.4
Corey Davis 13 6.5 10.5
Jamison Crowder 13 13 8.8
Adam Humphries 13 6.5 7.3
Tyler Boyd 13 6.5 8.1
Robert Woods 13 6.5 9.2
Brandin Cooks 13 6.5 8.8
Cole Beasley 13 6.5 9.8
Mike Williams 13 6.5 6.4
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 13 6.5 12.3
Quintez Cephus 13 6.5 7.5

A barrage of injuries have already created torment for many fantasy GMs. This includes anyone who was been forced to reconstruct their rosters due to the absence of highly productive wide receivers during their Week 2 matchups. The challenges that ensued for some of you will be discussed in the 5 Things I Noticed section. However, there have also been impressive performances as other receivers have accumulated favorable results during the first two weeks of regular-season game action.

That list includes DeAndre Hopkins, who now leads all wide receivers with 25 targets. His league-best total has been built primarily through the 16 targets that he collected during Arizona's season opener. Amari Cooper and Diontae Johnson are next with 23, followed by D.J. Moore, Calvin Ridley, Stefon Diggs, and A.J. Green with 22. Moore's usage and production will be discussed further when Carolina’s passing attack is examined in the Five Things I Noticed Section.

Atlanta's Russell Gage (21) and Davante Adams (20) are also included in the top 10, followed by five receivers that have captured 18 targets - Julian Edelman, Allen Robinson, Keenan Allen, N’Keal Harry, and Robby Anderson. Terry McLaurin and Tyreek Hill have both collected 17 targets, while six receivers are tied with 16 targets through two matchups (John Brown/Tyler Lockett/ Adam Thielen/Odell Beckham Jr./DeSean Jackson/Julio Jones).

Darius Slayton joined CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy in collecting 15 targets, as Lamb and Jeudy also lead their rookie class in this category. They are followed by seven different receivers that have been targeted 14 times – D.K. Metcalf, JuJu Smith-Schuster, T.Y. Hilton, Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola, Mike Evans, and Miami’s Isaiah Ford.

27 additional receivers have reached 10+ targets during their first two games. This list includes seven players that are tied with 12 - Marquise Brown, Preston Williams, DeVante Parker, Sammy Watkins, 37-year-old Larry Fitzgerald, Chris Hogan, and Keelan Cole.

Johnson and Ridley are the only two receivers that have attained a double-digit target total in both of their contests. Quintez Cephus (13) is the only other rookie beyond Lamb and Jeudy that has exceeded 10 targets after two weeks of the regular season.

 

Largest Weekly Changes

Wide Receivers Week 1  Week 2  Total Targets Weekly Changes
Damiere Byrd 0 9 9 9
Braxton Berrios 0 8 8 8
K.J. Hamler INJ 7 7 7
N'Keal Harry 6 12 18 6
Mike Evans 4 10 14 6
Tre'Quan Smith 1 7 8 6
Chris Conley 1 7 8 6
Tee Higgins 0 6 6 6
Josh Malone 0 6 6 6
Tyreek Hill 6 11 17 5
D.J. Moore 9 13 22 4
A.J. Green 9 13 22 4
Stefon Diggs 9 13 22 4
Julian Edelman 7 11 18 4
Isaiah Ford 5 9 14 4
Chris Hogan 4 8 12 4
DeVante Parker 4 8 12 4
Michael Pittman 2 6 8 4
Deonte Harris 1 5 6 4
Diontae Johnson 10 13 23 3
Terry McLaurin 7 10 17 3
CeeDee Lamb 6 9 15 3
Tyler Boyd 5 8 13 3
Brandin Cooks 5 8 13 3
Randall Cobb 3 6 9 3
Russell Gage 12 9 21 -3
Darius Slayton 9 6 15 -3
Corey Davis 8 5 13 -3
Robert Woods 8 5 13 -3
Jarvis Landry 6 3 9 -3
Anthony Miller 6 3 9 -3
Scotty Miller 6 3 9 -3
Breshad Perriman 5 2 7 -3
John Ross 5 2 7 -3
John Brown 10 6 16 -4
Odell Beckham 10 6 16 -4
T.Y. Hilton 9 5 14 -4
Amari Cooper 14 9 23 -5
Mike Williams 9 4 13 -5
Sammy Watkins 9 3 12 -6
Curtis Samuel 8 2 10 -6
Greg Ward 7 1 8 -6
DeAndre Hopkins 16 9 25 -7
Quintez Cephus 10 3 13 -7
Julio Jones 12 4 16 -8
Will Fuller 10 0 10 -10
Davante Adams 17 3 20 -14

Moore, Johnson, Diggs, and Green all collected 13 targets in Week 2, which was the highest total among all wide receivers. Harry established a career-high with 12 targets, while Harry's teammate Edelman and Hill both captured 11. Anderson, McLaurin, Allen, Ridley, and Mike Evans were all targeted 10 times in Week 2.

Various factors emerged that created enormous fluctuations in weekly target totals for several players when contrasting their numbers from matchups in Weeks 1 and 2. Some receivers experienced significant increases in Week 2, after being unavailable in Week 1. Others were simply deployed with greater frequency after minimal involvement during their season openers. This created a dramatic rise for multiple receivers whose names do not normally appear in this column.

That applies to Damiere Byrd (+9) who collected nine targets in Seattle. That placed him third on the Patriots behind Harry (12) and Edelman (11) while propelling him to the largest increase of the week. Braxton Berrios (+8) established a new career-high with eight targets, which tied him with Hogan for the team lead on the increasingly beleaguered Jets. K.J. Hamler (+7) was inactive in Week 1 due to a hamstring issue. But he tied Jeudy for the team lead with seven targets during Denver’s Week 2 matchup with Pittsburgh. Hogan’s eight targets in Week 2 represented his highest weekly total since Week 17 of 2018. Ironically, Cole’s seven targets in Week 2 were also the most that he has collected since that same week in 2018.

 

 

Tee Higgins (+6) was limited to 15 snaps during Cincinnati’s Week 1 matchup with the Chargers and failed to receive a target. But his involvement expanded in Week 2, and his weekly total rose by +6. Harry’s career-best 12 targets were mentioned previously, and they also propelled him to a rise of +6. Higgins and Harry were joined by Evans, Chris Conley, and Josh Malone, while Hill’s 11 targets represented an increase of +5.  The weekly totals for Moore, Green, Stefon Diggs, Edelman, DeVante Parker, Hogan, and Ford all increased by +4.

Davante Adams (-14) led all receivers in targets during Week 1 (17), but only registered three when the Packers faced Detroit in Week 2. However, a hamstring issue and a favorable game script contributed to his decline.

Will Fuller’s target total also dropped significantly (-10). This was just the latest statistical fluctuation for Fuller, whose erratic totals have been a frequent occurrence throughout his career. After finishing in a tie for eighth overall with 10 targets during Houston’s initial matchup last season, Fuller was not targeted during the Texans’ encounter with Baltimore. He appeared to be impacted by an injury. However, nothing has been confirmed by the team.

This is a familiar pattern for anyone who experienced the volatile numbers that were delivered by Fuller last season. He was  14th in targets from Week 1-6 (48/6 per game) but injured his hamstring on Houston’s first possession in Week 7. He accumulated 11 targets upon his return in Week 12 but only collected 11 more targets during the Texans’ final five contests.

Julio Jones (-8) was impacted by a hamstring issue during his Week 2 matchup with Dallas and only received four targets. The significant decrease in usage has allowed Ridley to surpass Jones for the team lead entering Week 3 (22/16).

 

Week 2 Yards-Per-Target

D.J. Chark’s usage and production have failed to reach expectations of the fantasy community and anyone who drafted him. However, he does lead all wide receivers with a 15.6 yards per target average. Willie Snead is second overall (15.5), followed by D.K. Metcalf (13.4), Steven Sims (12.9), David Moore (12.7), Robby Anderson (12.4), Darnell Mooney (12.3), Allen Lazard (12.0), and Jalen Reagor (12.0). Marquise Brown was next (11.9), followed by Jarvis Landry (11.9), Bisi Johnson, (11.4), Julio Jones (11.3), Tre’ Quan Smith (11.3), Will Fuller (11.2), CeeDee Lamb (11.0),  and Cooper Kupp (11.0). Six other receivers are averaging over 10 yards per target including Diggs, Ridley, and McLaurin.

Odell Beckham averaged 12.3 yards per target against Cincinnati, which was just the fifth time that his average has eclipsed 10+ during his 18 games as a Brown. Green averaged just 2.23 yards per target against Cleveland which was his lowest average since Week 17 of 2017.

 

Week 2 Air Yards

Wide Receivers  Air Yards Comp AY Team % AY aDOT
A.J. Green 330 63 44.4 15
Calvin Ridley 309 204 34.4 15.5
DeSean Jackson 286 99 37.2 17.9
Julio Jones 277 144 30.9 16.3
Adam Thielen 269 139 48 16.8
D.J. Moore 260 155 47.2 11.8
Stefon Diggs 248 191 38.4 11.3
Allen Robinson 239 88 40.1 13.3
Amari Cooper 234 131 37.4 10.2
Mike Williams 229 71 38.9 17.6
Julian Edelman 224 180 51.1 12.4
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 224 116 33.5 17.2
John Brown 220 121 34.1 13.8
DK Metcalf 207 140 50.9 14.8
Jerry Jeudy 198 71 25 13.2
Odell Beckham 190 66 37.9 12.7
T.Y. Hilton 188 62 38.5 13.4
Keenan Allen 185 65 31.5 10.3
Davante Adams 184 137 27.5 9.2
Robby Anderson 183 129 33.2 10.2
Diontae Johnson 176 82 38 7.3
Tyreek Hill 176 98 38.4 10.4
Terry McLaurin 171 69 32.9 10.1
Brandin Cooks 166 83 32.3 12.8
Darius Slayton 165 122 35.6 11
Christian Kirk 163 49 31.6 20.4
Marquise Brown 161 113 38.9 13.4
Tim Patrick 161 37 20.3 16.1
Jalen Reagor 158 65 20.6 19.8
Henry Ruggs 153 35 38 19.1
Anthony Miller 152 73 25.5 16.9
Danny Amendola 149 73 24 10.6
Corey Davis 148 105 34.7 11.4
Preston Williams 148 59 27.6 12.3
Michael Gallup 147 85 23.5 16.3
Russell Gage 144 98 16.1 6.9
Tyler Lockett 139 109 34.2 8.7
Hunter Henry 138 86 23.5 8.6
Quintez Cephus 137 53 22.1 11.4
DeAndre Hopkins 135 111 26.2 5.4
Kendrick Bourne 131 59 36.6 13.1
Will Fuller 128 84 24.9 12.8
CeeDee Lamb 125 80 20 7.8

However, Green also leads all receivers in air yards following his prolonged absence (330), while Calvin Ridley is the only other receiver who has eclipsed 300 yards after two games (309). Week 1 air-yard leader DeSean Jackson is third (286), followed by Julio Jones (277), Adam Thielen (269), D.J. Moore (260) Stefon Diggs (253), Allen Robinson (239), Amari  Cooper (234), and Mike Williams (229). Marquez Valdes-Scantling (224), Julian Edelman (224), John Brown (220), and D.K. Metcalf (207) complete the list of 14 receivers that have surpassed 200 air yards after two contests.

 

 

Edelman leads all wide receivers in percentage share of air yards (51.1). Metcalf is second (50.9), followed by Thielen (48.0), Moore (47.2) Green (44.4), and Robinson (40.1). No other receivers are averaging shares above 40%. Mike Williams is next (38.9), along with Marquise Brown (38.9), T.Y. Hilton (38.5), Tyreek Hill (38.4), Diontae Johnson (38.0), Odell Beckham (37.9), Amari Cooper (37.4), and DeSean Jackson (37.2).

Christian Kirk has averaged a league-best 20.8 in targeted air yards, followed by Gallup (18.8), Jalen Reagor (18.5), Ruggs (17.7), Thielen (17.5), Valdes-Scantling (17.3), Jackson (17.3), Courtland Sutton (17.0), Julio Jones (16.7), Mike Williams (16.4), Anthony Miller (16.4), and Green (15.9).

 

Week 2 First Downs

Wide Receiver First Downs
Calvin Ridley 16
DeAndre Hopkins 13
Russell Gage 12
Stefon Diggs 11
Julian Edelman 11
Davante Adams 10
D. J. Moore 10
Corey Davis 10
Diontae Johnson 9
Tyler Boyd 9
Darius Slayton 9
Amari Cooper 8
Robby Anderson 8
Terry McLaurin 8
Tyler Lockett 8
Keenan Allen 8
Cooper Kupp 8
JuJu Smith-Schuster 7
Julio Jones 7
CeeDee Lamb 7
John Brown 7
Tyreek Hill 7
Adam Thielen 7
D.J. Chark 7
D.K. Metcalf 7
Sammy Watkins 7
Keelan Cole 7
Isaiah Ford 7

Ridley leads all wide receivers in first downs for a second consecutive week (16). Hopkins is second overall (13), followed by Russell Gage (12), Diggs (11), Edelman (11), and three receivers all tied with 10  - Adams, Moore, and Corey Davis.

Diontae Johnson, Tyler Boyd, and Darius Slayton have all generated nine first downs through receptions, while Robby Anderson, Amari Cooper, Terry McLaurin, Tyler Lockett, Keelan Cole, and Cooper Kupp have all registered eight catches for first downs. 11 different receivers have attained seven first downs including Smith Schuster, Julio Jones, Lamb, and Metcalf.

 

Week 2 Red Zone Targets

Wide Receivers Inside 20 Inside 10 Inside 5 Team % 
Calvin Ridley 4 2 1 30.77
Emmanuel Sanders 4 2 2 40
Russell Gage 4 2 0 30.77
Darius Slayton 4 3 2 26.67
DeAndre Hopkins 3 1 1 60
Stefon Diggs 3 0 0 16.67
Julian Edelman 3 1 0 37.5
Robby Anderson 3 0 0 50
Davante Adams 3 2 2 20
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 3 0 0 20
John Brown 3 2 1 16.67
Cole Beasley 3 3 1 16.67
JuJu Smith-Schuster 3 2 0 33.33
N'Keal Harry 3 2 0 37.5
Allen Robinson 3 1 0 23.08
Sammy Watkins 3 3 1 33.33
Marvin Jones 3 1 1 33.33
David Moore 3 1 0 37.5
Zach Pascal 3 2 1 25
Trent Taylor 3 1 0 25

Sanders led all wide receivers in red-zone targets after Week 1. However, he was not targeted inside the 20 during his Week 2 matchup. This has dropped him into a tie with three other receivers atop the league lead (Slayton, Ridley, and Gage). 15 different receivers have collected three targets including Hopkins, Andersen, Edelman, Harry, Smith-Schuster, and all three of Buffalo’s top receiving options (Diggs/Brown/Beasley). 18 additional receivers have received two targets inside the 20.

Slayton, Watkins, and Beasley lead their position with three targets inside the 10, while Slayton, Sanders, and Adams have all attained a league-best two targets inside the five.

Hopkins has captured the highest red zone percentage among all wide receivers (60). Anderson is second (50%) followed by a trio of receivers that are tied with 37.5% -  David Moore, N'Keal Harry, and Edelman). A group of five receivers are all tied at 33.3% - Smith-Schuster, Thielen, Watkins, Marvin Jones, and Justin Jefferson.

 

Week 2 Snap Counts

Wide Receiver Week 2 Snaps Total Snaps Total Snap % 
DeAndre Hopkins 75/97% 152 95.6
Keenan Allen 81/98% 151 96.18
Michael Gallup 75/91% 144 93.51
Amari Cooper 75/91% 143 92.86
John Brown 56/92% 137 92.57
Tyler Boyd 78/85% 133 83.13
Mike Williams 74/89% 132 84.08
Calvin Ridley 63/84% 131 85.06
Stefon Diggs 48/79% 130 87.84
Allen Lazard 61/84% 129 85.43
Tyreek Hill 69/90% 128 87.67
Terry McLaurin 62/94% 127 93.38
CeeDee Lamb 68/83% 127 82.47
Larry Fitzgerald 61/79% 126 79.25
D.K. Metcalf 63/100% 124 99.2
Marvin Jones 53/90% 124 90.51
Julio Jones 59/79% 124 80.52
D.J. Moore 65/89% 123 87.86
Cooper Kupp 59/86% 121 85.21
Robert Woods 59/86% 120 84.51
Tyler Lockett 60/95% 118 94.4
Mike Evans 53/87% 118 90.08
Damiere Byrd 62/86% 118 86.76
Steven Sims 60/91% 118 86.76
Preston Williams 61/81% 117 85.4
Russell Gage 62/83% 117 75.97
Darius Slayton 58/89% 116 87.22
Corey Davis 50/81% 116 81.12
JuJu Smith-Schuster 59/91% 114 88.37
N'Keal Harry 61/85% 112 82.35
Chris Hogan 59/91% 110 90.91
Christian Kirk 47/61% 110 69.18
Diontae Johnson 54/84% 109 84.5
Robby Anderson 54/74% 109 77.86
Davante Adams 38/52% 108 71.52
Allen Robinson 53/82% 106 81.54
Michael Pittman 67/92% 106 72.11
Zach Pascal 59/81% 105 71.43
Kendrick Bourne 45/74% 102 82.93
A.J. Green 57/62% 102 63.75
D.J. Chark  59/79% 101 80.8

DeAndre Hopkins leads his position in offensive snaps (152), followed closely by Keenan Allen (151), Michael Gallup (144), Amari Cooper (143), John Brown (137), Tyler Boyd (133), Mike Williams (132), and Calvin Ridley (131). Stefon Diggs is next with 130, followed by Allen Lazard (129). Tyreek Hill (128), Terry McLaurin (127), CeeDee Lamb (127), Larry Fitzgerald (126), and Julio Jones (124). Marvin Jones (124), D.K. Metcalf (124), D.J. Moore (124), Cooper Kupp (121), and Robert Woods (120) completed the top 20 in offensive snaps after two matchups.

Metcalf has attained the highest snap count percentage (99.2), followed by Allen (96.2), Hopkins (95.6), Lockett (94.4), Gallup (93.5), McLaurin (93.4), Cooper (92.9), John Brown (92.6), and Thielen (92.5), completing the top 10 in this category. Chris Hogan (91.0), Marvin Jones (90.5), and Mike Evans (90.1) are the only other wide receivers that performed in at least 90% of the teams’ offensive snaps.

Metcalf also played on 100% of Seattle’s offense of snaps during Week 2. Allen was involved in 97.6% of the Chargers’ snaps, while Hopkins attained the third-highest percentage in Week 2 (97.4). Lockett (95.2), McLaurin (94.0), John Brown (91.8), Michael Pittman (91.8), Cooper (91.5), Gallup (91.5), and Steven Sims (91.0), completed the top 10. Hogan (90.8), and JuJu Smith-Schuster (90.8), were the only other wide receivers that were involved in 90+ percent of their teams’ offensive snaps.

Allen played on 81 snaps in Week 2, which was the most of any wide receiver. Boyd (78), Hopkins (75), Cooper (75), Gallup (75), Mike Williams (74), Hill (69), Lamb (68), Pittman (67), and DeVante Parker (66), completed the top 10 in offensive snaps during Week 2.

 

Five Things I Noticed 

 

 

1. If Michael Thomas, Chris Godwin, Kenny Golladay, A.J. Brown, or Jamison Crowder, are contained on your rosters, then you were affected by their absence in Week 2. The avalanche of injuries has been impactful for many managers while altering the usage and production of other receivers on their teams. Matthew Stafford distributed 19 passes to Detroit’s wide receivers, with Danny Amendola collecting a team-high seven. But Amendola’s failure to capitalize (2 receptions/21 yards) underscores the need for fantasy GMs to avoid him throughout the season. Marvin Jones did not deliver a productive outing (6 targets/4 receptions/23 yards). But he should regain his effectiveness after Golladay resurfaces. Quintez Cephus easily led the team in receiving yards (54) and yards per target (18) and should retain a spot on Dynasty rosters.

Mike Evans captured 10 of the 17 passes that Tom Brady launched to the wide receivers that remained in his arsenal. Evans easily paced the Buccaneers in receptions (7), and receiving yards (104), while generating a touchdown. Justin Watson (2 receptions/48 yards/16 yards per target) outproduced Scott Miller - who managed just two receptions for an anemic 11 yards, If you prioritized seizing Miller from your waiver wire last week, you can discard him immediately. Godwin has cleared concussion protocol and should line up against Denver on Sunday.

Adam Humphries led the Titans in targets (6) and paced Tennessee’s wide receivers in receptions (5), and receiving yards (48) during Brown’s absence. He supplies fantasy GMs with a viable WR3 option if Brown remains sidelined. However, the career resurrection of Corey Davis has increased his relevance considerably. He collected three of his five targets for 36 yards and a touchdown against Jacksonville. He also leads the Titans in receiving yards (137), air yards (148), and percentage share of air yards (34.7).

Crowder was sidelined with his hamstring issue, while the talented but frequently disappointing Breshad Perriman managed just 12 yards on two receptions before contending with an ankle issue. This propelled two receivers from that outer region of irrelevance into the team lead in targets (8), as Chris Hogan and Braxton Berrios also combined for 105 snaps, 12 receptions, and 134 yards. Berrios’ output elevated him to 14th in point per game scoring, and he will operate in the slot until Crowder resurfaces.

Drew Brees did not have the luxury of locating Michael Thomas (ankle) but did launch 15 passes to his wide receivers in Las Vegas. Only one was collected by Emmanuel Sanders, as anyone who started the 33-year old was subjected to a nightmarish outing (3 targets/1 reception/18 yards). However, Tre’ Quan Smith’s emergence was a promising development, as he led New Orleans wide receivers in targets (7), receptions (5), and receiving yards (86). The third-year receiver also averaged 12.3 yards per target, and now presents the most enticing option on your waiver wire among receivers that have been discussed in this section.

 

2. Carolina’s massive offensive transformation during the offseason included the arrival of Matt Rhule and Joe Brady as the Panthers’ new decision-makers, with Teddy Bridgewater responsible for on-field navigation of the refurbished attack. During the initial installment of Carolina's transformed offense in Week 1, former Jet Robby Anderson led the Panthers in receptions (6) and receiving yards (115), while also averaging 19.2 yards per reception and 14.4 yards per target. D. J. Moore paced the Panthers with nine targets. However, he only caught four of those passes, while accruing 54 yards.

Overreaction to Week 1 game action is perpetually rampant, and some fantasy GMs expressed concern regarding Moore’s numbers in the season opener. However, the results from Week 2 should have quelled any escalating uneasiness as Moore tied for the league lead with the aforementioned 13 targets. He also tied for second in receptions (8) and was fourth among all receivers with 120 yards. Moore is now tied for fourth in targets after two games (22) and is 11th in receiving yardage (174). He also leads the Panthers in target share (29.7) and percentage share of the air yards (47.2).

Anderson is second in those categories (24.3/32.2), while he is also tied for 10th overall in targets (18) and has also vaulted to fourth in receiving yards (223). His current 111.5 yards per game average easily surpasses his career-best (58.8), while Anderson is also sixth with a 12.4 yards per target average - which exceeds the season-best 8.3 that he registered during 2017.

Curtis Samuel’s current numbers have yet to approach the results that have been attained by Moore and Anderson. He is third on the Panthers in targets (10) and has only manufactured 51 yards. His current average of 7.6 yards per reception is the lowest of his career, while his yard per target average (4.8) is his lowest since Samuel’s 2017 rookie season.

Christian McCaffrey’s absence will only enhance the importance of Moore and Anderson within the reshaped attack. Deficiencies also permeate the Panthers’ defense, which will also compel Rhule and Brady to depend on Bridgewater and the aerial attack even further, This should keep Moore entrenched among the high-end WR2s throughout the season, while Anderson is emerging as a viable WR3.

 

3. After two weeks with Cam Newton spearheading New England’s offense, he is eighth in passing yardage (522). Newton is also completing a career-best 71.4% of his throws, while his 8.8 yards per attempt average is also the highest of his career. His numbers have been built primarily through connections with N’Keal Harry and Julian Edelman, who are tied for the team lead in targets (18) and receptions (13).

Despite offseason uncertainty surrounding Edelman’s ability to flourish without Tom Brady under center, the 34-year old is averaging 9 targets per game. Edelman easily leads the Patriots in receiving yards (236) which has vaulted him to third overall in that category. He has never exceeded a 7.9 yards per target average during his first 10 seasons but is now averaging 13.1 after two games. His average of 18.2 yards per reception is also 5.9 yards more than his previous season-high. Edelman is also first overall in percentage share of air yards (51.1)

Harry’s underwhelming 2019 season has been well documented. The Patriots invested a first-round selection on Harry during the NFL Draft, after he had accumulated 213 receptions, and generated 2,899 yards at Arizona State. There were conflicting opinions regarding his chances for success at the NFL level, as concerns about his ability to gain separation were blended with optimism regarding his propensity to secure contested throws.

A lingering ankle issue sidelined him from Weeks 1-10, and he ended the season with just 24 targets, 12 receptions, and 105 yards. But he has already surpassed last season’s reception and yardage totals with his career-best results against Seattle in Week 2.

Damiere Byrd is a distant third in the major receiving categories, as New England will be reliant on Edelman and Harry to operate as Newton's primary weapons. This should reward anyone who waited until Round 7 to select Edelman. It could also provide a massive reward for anyone who refused to dismiss Harry following his forgettable rookie year.

 

4. There is a very good chance that you became aware of the "Let Russ Cook” campaign that escalated as we approached Week 1. However, there is a combination of factors that have propelled Wilson into an exceptional start to his ninth professional season. Seattle’s offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has migrated from the field into the booth for his playcalling while making various adjustments to the attack. Wilson has also been maximizing his opportunities when spearheading Seattle’s aerial assault.

Wilson is averaging 31.5 attempts per game - which is actually below his average from last season (32.5) but also higher than his average from 2018 (26.7 per game). He has performed exceptionally during his matchups against Atlanta and New England and is now 24th in attempts (63), but ninth in completions (52). Wilson also leads the NFL in completion percentage (81.5), and touchdown percentage (14.3) and is also third with a quarterback rating of 88.9.

His 9.7 yards per attempt average is the highest of his career, while his league-high nine touchdowns has enabled him to construct a stellar 9:1 touchdown to interception ratio. Wilson’s proficiency has been also extremely beneficial for anyone who secured D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett for their rosters. Metcalf is seventh in receiving yards and 14th in air yards. He is also second in both yards per receptions (23.4) and percentage share of air yards (50.9), while the second-year receiver is also sixth in yards per target (13.4) and completed air yards (140).

 

 

Metcalf’s unique blend of size, speed, and athleticism also remains a problematic matchup for opposing defenders. This was displayed to a national audience during the Seahawks’ Sunday night encounter against New England when Stephon Gilmore was forced to endure a rare nightmarish experience. Lockett has attained a team-best 26.7 target share, is tied for seventh in receptions (15), and is pacing the Seahawks with 16 targets. He is also tied for 15th with eight receptions for first downs and joins Metcalf among the top four in snap count percentage (Metcalf 99.2%/Lockett 94.4%). Fantasy GMs that have Metcalf or Lockett on their rosters should experience more favorable results as the Seahawks progress through their schedule.

 

 

5. After Dallas selected CeeDee Lamb 17th overall during last April‘s NFL draft, there were conflicting opinions regarding the timeline for Lamb to become a regular contributor to the Cowboys’ aerial attack. But the immensely talented rookie is already blending favorably into a passing offense that ranked second in 2019. Lamb is tied for 23rd in targets (15), and just delivered his first 100-yard performance against Atlanta (106).

Amari Cooper has been undeterred by Lamb’s presence, while rewarded his managers with a sizzling start. Cooper is currently tied for second in targets (23), tied for third in receptions (18), and ninth in air yards (234). Cooper also leads the Cowboys in targets, receptions, receiving yards (181), while Lamb is second in each category (15/ targets/11 receptions/165 yards).

There were questions regarding Lamb’s potential impact on Michael Gallup, who seemed primed to achieve breakout status before Lamb was drafted. Gallup has delivered a late-season statistical surge in 2019, by finishing in a tie for eighth among all receivers in targets (67) and fifth in receiving yards (653) from Weeks 10-17. But Gallup is now third behind both teammates (10 targets/5 receptions/108 yards) after two matchups.

Cooper has also attained the highest target share (27.4) and leads in percentage share of air yards (37.4). Lamb is second in team target share (19.0), followed by Gallup (10.7). However, Gallup is second in percentage share of air yards (23.5) and leads the trio in snap count percentage (93.5).

Both Cooper and Lamb have captured two red-zone targets. But Lamb is the only member of the receiving unit that has collected opportunities inside both the 10-yard line and the 5-yard line. When these numbers have been fully absorbed it indicates that Cooper is entrenched as a low-end WR1 for fantasy GMs, while Lamb is rapidly approaching WR3 status. Anyone who drafted Gallup will not receive the level of scoring that would have been delivered if he was still operating as the Cowboys’ clear RB2.



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Evaluating Early Air Yard Data - Week 3

Air yards are becoming a more commonly used statistic for fantasy football purposes. Popularized by Josh Hermsmeyer, who developed metrics like RACR (receiver air conversion ratio) and WOPR (weighted opportunity rating), it is a useful way to dig deeper into receiver performance beyond just targets, receptions, and yards gained.

Statistics like Mike Clay's aDoT (average depth of target) are helpful in explaining how a receiver has primarily been used, whether mostly on shorter routes like most slot receivers or as a field-stretcher at the Z position. In future weeks, we'll dive into those advanced statistics once the sample size is larger.

For now, let's evaluate some of the early leaders in total air yards and team air yard share in order to determine which WR options might be undervalued or ready to regress. Data is taken from Addmorefunds and is current as of September 23.

 

Air Yards Leaders Worth Noting

A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals

Those looking for solace in the wake of Green's three-catch Thursday night performance could point to the fact he was targeted a whopping 13 times, bringing his total to 22 in two games. Of course, the fact he wasn't able to connect on the majority of those targets can also be a cause for concern. Seeing as how nobody expected Green to jump back up to fantasy WR1 status this year anyway, it should be viewed more as a positive. Plus, there's the fact he looks to be healthy and Joe Burrow is the real deal.

Not only is Green getting targeted a ton, though, but he is also by far the leader in total air yards with 338. The next closest is DeSean Jackson with 282 and only five receivers are within 100 yards of his total! The Bengals are slowly working Tee Higgins into the mix and Tyler Boyd is a capable receiver too but that shouldn't matter. The Bengals appear ready to let Burrow sling it, as evidenced by his 61 attempts in Week 2, so there will be plenty of targets to go around. Buy into Green as a solid WR2 for the time being.

Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers

Has Mike Williams been playing this season? It would be easy to forget since he showed up on the injury report before Week 1 and wasn't expected to play, therefore taking a seat on most fantasy benches. He did come out to catch four passes for 69 yards before laying an egg with two catches for 14 yards in Week 2. His numbers aren't impressive but it is worth noting that he has 211 air yards, which is equal to Calvin Ridley and more than DK Metcalf after two games. Just slightly different results.

Williams' four-reception opener should have been higher, as he was targeted nine times, including several down the field. That's because Tyrod Taylor was behind center slinging it deep. He ranks second in Intended Air Yards per attempt at 11.2 although his Completed Air Yards per attempt is far lower at 4.3 (16th). If Justin Herbert is still the starter this week as it seems and for the remainder of the season, does that hurt Williams? It sure could. It's too early to tell what a Herbert-led offense will fully look like but it's safe to say Williams won't see the same volume of deep passes like he did with Philip Rivers last year or in one game with Taylor.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers

A Week 1 blowout against a Minnesota team that suddenly doesn't know how to play defense led to a 96-yard day on four receptions for MVS. Much of the damage came on a 45-yard touchdown pass but it wasn't all he contributed. Fast forward a week and the Pack again put up 40+ points with Valdes-Scantling catching three of seven targets for 64 yards. One of those went for 41 yards, again accounting for much of his yardage.

At this point, it's obvious what he is in this offense - the deep threat and fly guy who will try to beat DBs down the field while all the attention is given to Davante Adams and/or Aaron Jones. So far, it's working. Although a 53.8% catch rate isn't impressive (neither is a 50% career Comp%), that statistic doesn't necessarily correlate with fantasy production. Several of last year's receiving yard leaders were under a 60% catch rate because their yards per reception average was so high.

This isn't to say that Valdes-Scantling will be a top-20 receiver or is in the same neighborhood as Mike Evans or Kenny Golladay. The point is that a steady share of targets can lead to enough big plays to make him flex-worthy in the right matchups. It's hard to fathom Green Bay's passing offense clicking this well all year long but Aaron Rodgers has an obvious reason to be motivated.

Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals

What's disappointing about Kirk is the 12.86% target share. When you have a guy like DeAndre Hopkins gobbling up all the passes (25 targets in two games), it's easy to see a decline. Larry Fitzgerald is also very much still alive with 12 targets to trump Kirk's 11. This offense isn't spreading the ball around as much as promised but Kirk still isn't benefiting, at least not yet.

The encouraging sign is that Kliff Kingsbury is trying to take advantage of Kirk's speed on downfield routes while Fitz works underneath as usual and Nuk owns the perimeter. Kirk is second among all receivers with a 20.1 aDoT, behind Marvin Hall Jr. This will lead to a boom-or-bust output for Kirk most weeks where he will have to exploit good matchups. San Francisco was not a good matchup in Week 1 and Washington's defense allowed Kyler Murray to beat them with his legs rather than his arm. A tussle with Detroit could be a good spot to flex Kirk if you are willing to take the risk but his air yard total will only help those not in full PPR leagues.

 

Air Yard % Leaders Worth Noting

Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings

The fact that Thielen is one of two receivers who has over 50% of his team's air yards so far makes a lot of sense. It's telling that the team didn't replace Stefon Diggs with another receiver outside of rookie Justin Jefferson and has little depth at the position. Bisi Johnson is the only other wide receiver to catch a pass this year for the Vikes. It's been the Thielen show, as he put up a monster 6-110-2 line in the opener before catching three of eight targets in their second contest. Unfortunately, despite the heavy attention he's getting from Kirk Cousins, we could see more games like Week 2 going forward.

If Thielen is going to consistently draw the other team's top corner and defenses don't have to respect the other targets, it will be tough to imagine his continuing to put up big receiving numbers. Plus, Minnesota is going to stay with the running game as often as possible in a trend that began last year. Thielen still has WR2 upside but his output will largely be dependent on game script unlike most alpha receivers. The upcoming contest with Tennessee might be low-scoring but the Vikes then face Houston, Seattle, and Atlanta which are all plus-plus WR matchups. If he is a dud in Week 3, consider throwing out lowball offers for him.

Julian Edelman, New England Patriots

Small sample alert: Edelman's huge Sunday night game in Seattle (eight receptions for 179 yards) accounts for most of his production. Much like Thielen, he is guaranteed a high target share but not necessarily a high weekly volume because of the run-first nature of his offense. It is intriguing to see Edelman used down the field so much in his first tour with a new non-Brady quarterback, though. N'Keal Harry seems to be the short-yardage receiver who is simply catching screen passes and staying near the line of scrimmage.

Edelman ranks ninth in total air yards with 233 after amassing 172 in Week 2 alone. His AY% didn't shoot up very much though, as it was 49% after the opener and now is at 52.24%, good for second among all receivers and just 0.15% behind the leader in Thielen. It would be a pleasant surprise for those who settled for Edelman as a low-end WR2 if he continues this type of usage but there are no guarantees. Still, it's a promising start so Edelman can be started with more confidence than previously though.

Kendrick Bourne, San Francisco 49ers

This one is easy - no Brandon Aiyuk in Week 1, no George Kittle in Week 2, no Deebo Samuel at all so far. The Niners' de facto WR1 has been Bourne because he's practically the only one healthy. No, Dante Pettis still doesn't count.

Although he currently ranks 10th in team air yard share at 37%, that number is sure to drop precipitously even if Samuel doesn't return soon. Last year, Bourne came away with a 12.7% AY%. The fact that Nick Mullens is now at QB and the running game is also a big question mark doesn't bode well for the offense as a whole. He is very streamable in Week 3 based on the matchup with the Jets and the fact that there is still a questionable designation for Kittle.

Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers

Based on last year's 21.75% air yard share and 18% target share, Johnson's current 32.6% AY% and 31.9% TGT% are signs of an expected step forward in his second season. Having Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback was obviously going to help his situation. What was unknown prior to the start of the season is how the targets would be distributed with a healthy JuJu Smith-Schuster on the field, Chase Claypool and Eric Ebron added to the mix, and James Conner back to tote the rock. It's gone surprisingly to Johnson's favor by a wide margin.

Johnson is getting the most targets but he isn't the top fantasy producer among Steelers receivers because he has zero red-zone targets as opposed to two end-zone targets for Smith-Schuster which both resulted in touchdowns. Johnson has one more catch and 32 more yards than Smith-Schuster so far; it appears both can function as fantasy WR2 types harmoniously. They've had an easy start to the season by facing the Giants and Broncos, so we'll see how consistent this passing game can be once things tighten up. Johnson is also battling a toe injury, so keep an eye on that.

Van Jefferson, Los Angeles Rams

The most surprising name on here is second-round pick Van Jefferson, who looks to be replacing Josh Reynolds as the WR3 in L.A. You'd figure the team didn't spend that high a pick on someone they didn't have plans for and it's not as if Cooper Kupp or Robert Woods are going anywhere. The increased implementation of 12 personnel has been a talking point all offseason but Gerald Everett has been banged up and Jefferson has gotten on the field for 42% of the team's offensive snaps compared to Everett's 38% If Jefferson starts eating into Reynolds' snaps more just as he's already done with targets, a slow increase in production could follow.

The value of the WR3 on this offense was nullified last year by Brandin Cooks' concussion and subsequent ineffectiveness upon return. This year, we're seeing something closer to the Rams of 2018, at least initially. Jefferson is deeper on the fantasy radar for redraft leagues but someone who bears monitoring and should be an instant add should something unfortunate happen to either Kupp or Woods.



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Tape Tells All: Keelan Cole's Week 2 Performance

Welcome to the second week of Tape Tells All, now with 100 percent more tape since the All-22 film is up!

If you aren't familiar with this series, I take a guy who did some interesting things this past week, fire up All-22 film and a bunch of advanced stats, and then use those things in unison to figure some things out about the player in question.

This week, we're looking at Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Keelan Cole. In Week 2, Cole caught six passes for 58 yards and a touchdown.

 

Background Information

Last year, it looked like Keelan Cole was done in Jacksonville.

After a rookie year that saw him catch 42 passes for 748 yards in 2017, his numbers dropped to 38 catches fr 491 in 2018 and then down to 24 catches for 361 yards in 2019. He played 75 percent of the team's snaps just twice last season and had five games without a single target. Then Jacksonville drafted Laviska Shenault Jr. this year. You'd be forgiven for thinking that Cole was on his way out in Jacksonville.

But something's changed this season, and that something has been that Dede Westbrook has been a healthy scratch each game, which has meant that the addition of Shenault didn't send Cole to the bench. Instead, Cole is the only Jaguars player with double-digit targets this season, and he leads the team in receptions and touchdowns and is a close second to D.J. Chark Jr. in yards.

Cole is second on the team in air yards, though his aDOT ranks seventh among the 10 Jaguars players to be targeted this season. Cole is mainly playing the slot role that we thought Westbrook would play, and his success so far seems to suggest that Westbrook's not getting that role back.

 

The Game Tape

Let's watch Cole's game tape from this week.

We'll start with Cole's first reception. He starts as the inside receiver on the left side of the formation. Tennessee isn't going with man coverage here, and Cole is able to find a soft spot in the zone on this little curl route. This is...exactly what the Jaguars need Keelan Cole to do, and he does it!

Love the pre-snap motion from the tight end here, which almost seems to make the defense forget that Cole is even over there. Gardner Minshew drops the ball off to him right after the snap, and from there Cole's got a nice bubble of space to work in until the defense catches up to him and gang tackles him.

Sure is a lot of short yardage work here for Cole! As mentioned above, his air yards per play are really low. That's 100 percent going to negatively impact Cole's ceiling this year, even if his current usage suggests he has a high floor.

Maybe we can see a play where Cole gains at least a few more yards? Maybe...23 of them?

So, good news: Cole made a catch down the field!

Possible bad news: he really got no separation on this play, and it ends up looking like the 23-yard version of his short-yardage plays, which is that he positions himself well to make the catch but then there isn't really much happening after the catch, as Cole turns out of bounds. Of course, he needed to get out of bounds to stop the clock here, but even if he hadn't, he wasn't getting anything after the catch.

Even Cole's touchdown was short, with a two-yard score:

Have to say that I love everything about this play.

Jacksonville motions Laviska Shenault Jr. into the backfield pre-snap, which instantly puts the Titans Defense on notice. Then, at the snap, Shenault circles around behind Minshew like this is an option play, which leads to one of the Titans linebackers to have to do a big "WHOOPS GOING THE WRONG WAY" pause. Then, Minshew rolls out to the right, forcing the defense to crash down toward him. With the multiple Titans defenders deciding to go after Minshew here, Cole who started this play in the slot and spent much of it stuttering around the front line of the end zone, is able to slip into the open space in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.

Side note here that isn't directly related to Cole: you can already see how the addition of Jay Gruden as the offensive coordinator is making this team far less predictable. Somehow, in spite of what appears from the outside to be a big lack of talent on this team, they're making things work on offense. The Jaguars are a scary team to play! They're not going to end up with the No. 1 pick! Gardner Minshew is here to stay!

But anyway, Keelan Cole. What do we think of him?

 

Fantasy Impact

The big thing about Keelan Cole for me is that he seems to be trending into a certain realm of player that I like a lot in deep, full PPR leagues as a solid flex play. I call it the "Cole Beasley Slot Guys" role. Like Beasley, Keelan Cole is not going to have some big, explosive game where he breaks off a 85-yard touchdown or something. He'll line up in the slot most of the time. He'll get a good number of targets in the short passing game, and because those are relatively easy catches to make, he'll make them, and because he made them, the offense will keep trusting him more and keep using him on those plays.

It's a cycle.

D.J. Chark is still the lead receiver here for fantasy purposes, because his ability to be a downfield threat gives him so much more upside than Cole. To return to the Beasley analogy, it's like how Cole Beasley might lead the Bills in targets on any given week, but you aren't ranking him ahead of Stefon Diggs a single time. Except Cole might be in a slightly safer spot than Beasley, because while Beasley also has to contend with John Brown for targets, Cole has to contend with rookie Laviska Shenault Jr. and Chris Conley.

Anyway, all this is to say that Keelan Cole should be on your roster in a 12-team, full PPR league, and he should 100 percent be someone you use once bye weeks start to strike, or if injuries have you depleted. Keelan Cole will not win you a fantasy league and his touchdown rate is going to fall, but there's something to be said for a steady player who can make positive plays and give you a solid fantasy floor.



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Coaching Matters: Offenses That Will Decline From Week 2

This series carries over from last week, where I dived into offensive areas that will improve or decline based on coaching in order to glean insight as to fantasy football value. After much research, I've developed a broad knowledge of how each team's play-caller historically operates and compiled data to help make informed decisions throughout the regular season as well.

After a crazy Week 2 where we saw performances of Browns running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt running wild and taking 32 carries for 210 rushing yards, the Cowboys wide receivers getting 292 receiving yards, and the Chargers running backs getting 39 carries, it's important to look at their play-caller's history and see if these performances are likely to continue, if they will change for the better, or if they will change for the worse.

Now, let's dive into the performances that are in for regression based on a play-caller's previous history!

 

Negative Regression Coming

These are the areas and positions that will likely decline in the coming weeks based on the team play-caller's tendencies in the past.

Chargers RB Room (Carries)

The Chargers' running backs, Joshua Kelley and Austin Ekeler, combined for 39 carries versus the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. This put the team's running backs at 72 carries on the year and on pace for 576 RB carries for the year. Considering this would be a historic pace and the season-high for running back carries for an Anthony Lynn RB room is 375 (23.44 per game) back in 2017, it's more likely that regression in the carries department is incoming in the next few weeks.

Fantasy players this impacts: Joshua Kelley, Austin Ekeler, and Justin Jackson

Bills WR Room

The Bills' WR room had 20 receptions on 28 targets for 358 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns in Week 2. They have now caught 43 passes on 59 targets for 605 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns on the year, putting their season per-game averages at 21.5 receptions on 29.5 targets for 302.5 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll's wide receiver room has averaged 18.01 targets, 123.60 receiving yards, and 0.54 receiving touchdowns per game over the course of his six seasons (96 games) prior to this year. With Josh Allen's improvement, there's a good chance that we will see the highest numbers out of Brian Daboll's WR room to date, but this production out of the WR room is unsustainable over the course of a full NFL season.

Fantasy players this impacts: Stefon Diggs, John Brown, and Cole Beasley

Packers RB Room (Run Game)

The Green Bay Packers' running backs took 31 carries for 248 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns last week against the Detroit Lions. On the year, they've taken 59 carries for 387 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. This means that they've averaged 29.5 carries, 193.5 rushing yards, and 1.5 rushing touchdowns per game. Over the course of his career as an offensive coordinator or head coach, Matt LaFleur's running back room has averaged 22.60 carries, 99.54 rushing yards, and 0.94 rushing touchdowns per game. So while LaFleur is a pretty good coach for running backs, this pace in carries and rushing yards is not in line with his previous history as a play-caller, and we should expect regression.

Fantasy players this impacts: Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, and A.J. Dillon

 

Running High, But Might Be Legit

These are the performances that could be outliers, but based on their coach's previous success/utilization of the position, could just be career years.

Cowboys WR Room (Receiving Yards)

The Dallas Cowboys' wide receivers put up 292 receiving yards in an amazing come from behind victory against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2. On the year (2 games), they have caught 34 passes on 50 targets for 482 receiving yards and zero touchdowns. The WR targets would be the higher end of Mike McCarthy's history (in 2016 his WR room averaged 25.44 targets per game), but still doable. And offensive coordinator Kellen Moore's WR room averaged 22.31 targets per game last year, so there's a high chance the target pace can be maintained with such a talented WR room.

My concern comes with the receiving yards. The Dallas Cowboys' wide receivers are averaging 241 receiving yards per game. Considering offensive coordinator Kellen Moore directed one of the best offenses in the league last year and his WR room averaged 217.19 receiving yards per game, along with Mike McCarthy topping out at 229.19 receiving yards per game back in 2011 for the Green Bay Packers, it seems likely some regression is in place.

Fantasy players this impacts: Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb

Steelers WR Room

The Steelers' wide receivers combined for 21 receptions on 29 targets for 250 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns against the Broncos last Sunday. The group now has 34 receptions on 45 targets for 427 receiving yards and five touchdowns on the year (on a per-game basis, that's 17 receptions on 22.5 targets for 213.5 receiving yards, and 2.5 receiving touchdowns). Prior to this year, Randy Fichtner's WR room had averaged 23.25 targets, 170.88 receiving yards, and 1.09 receiving touchdowns over the course of the 2018 and 2019 NFL seasons.

In addition, in 2018, Randy Fichtner's offense with Ben Roethlisberger had the WR room average 27.81 targets, 206.38 receiving yards, and 1.5 receiving touchdowns per game. This shows that while this WR room is running on the higher end of its production, in particular with regards to receiving touchdowns, there is a chance that Randy Fichtner's offense can get this kind of production out of its WR room.

Fantasy players this impacts: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and James Washington

Patriots WR Room

The Patriots' wide receivers had 23 receptions on 33 targets for 330 yards and zero touchdowns against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday Night Football. This means that on the year, the Patriots' wide receivers have 33 receptions, 46 targets, 426 receiving yards, and zero receiving touchdowns on the year, and are averaging 16.5 receptions on 23 targets for 213 receiving yards per game.

While Sunday's numbers in wide receiver targets and receiving yards are an outlier compared to Josh McDaniels' career as an offensive coordinator, the season averages are attainable thus far even though they seem to be running on the higher end of his production. Over his career, McDaniels' WR room has averaged 21.76 targets, 164.85 receiving yards, and 1.04 receiving touchdowns per game. Looking just at those averages, it seems like 213 receiving yards is completely out of the realm of possibility. But it's important to keep in mind that McDaniels has had two seasons in the past where his WR room averaged 230+ receiving yards per game, in 2007 with the Patriots and 2010 with the Denver Broncos. So while it is unlikely that this wide receiver corp averages 213 receiving yards per game over the course of the full season in McDaniels' offense, it's not out of the realm of possibilities.

Fantasy players this impacts: Julian Edelman, N'Keal Harry, and Damiere Byrd 

Browns RB Room (Run Game Efficiency)

The Browns' running backs ran wild on a Cincinnati Bengals Defense that was missing Geno Atkins and Mike Daniels, taking 32 carries for 210 rushing yards in Week 2. This put the Browns' RB room at 56 rushing attempts for 347 rushing yards and three rushing TDs on the year. While I believe that the rushing attempts can hover around this range based on Kevin Stefanski's previous 19 game history as a play-caller, the efficiency of 6.2 yards per carry is going to be difficult to maintain over the course of a full season, as well as averaging 1.5 rushing touchdowns per game. I've personally got a lot of stock in this backfield and believe if any backfield is going to do it, it would be one with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. But, looking at Kevin Stefanski's history, it would take this year being a historic year for this level of efficiency to be maintained over the course of a full season.

Fantasy players this impacts: Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt



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Cornerback Matchups Chart - Week 2 Analysis

With Week 1 in the books, there is now 2020 data for all 32 teams.  This article will take a look at each team's cornerback group in an effort to find the best matchups to attack in fantasy.

The following chart is a snapshot of each team's cornerback group as it relates to allowing fantasy points.  There are inherent flaws within data compilation of cornerback play.  The first being the fact that quantifying a 1-on-1 matchup in an NFL game is unfair because of zone coverages, mental errors, certain passing concepts, and a million other things.  Assigning fantasy points against a cornerback isn't a perfect science.  The purpose of this chart is to give more of a general sense of how defenses are handling opposing WR groups, rather than identifying exactly where, when, and how every single encounter happened.

The "Rtng" column is the rating of each cornerback based on film study and analytics.  The lower a player is graded, the easier the matchup for the WR, so low ratings are green and high ratings are red.  The "PPGA" is the amount of fantasy points that player gave up in Week 1.  The analysis below will help contextualize the chart, as in many cases a receiver did not score 100% of his points against the same player.  However, the chart is a useful tool in getting a sense of the weakest links among corners.

 

Cornerback Ratings - Week 2

click image to view full-screen

 

WR/CB Matchups to Target or Avoid

The breakout star in Week 1 was C.J. Henderson.  The Jags' rookie dominated T.Y. Hilton, making him someone you probably want to avoid going forward.  It's only been one game, but I wouldn't feel great about A.J. Brown in Week 2.  Henderson showed shutdown potential on his college film.  UPDATE: A.J. Brown could be out, which could mean Corey Davis sees more of Henderson depending on gameplan. Davis might be a worthy play due to volume, but don't be surprised if he disappoints against Henderson.

Another key takeaway from Week 1 is to attack Minnesota.  Davante Adams going nuts is one thing, but they allowed touchdowns to both the WR2 and slot in Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard.  All three Colts WRs have blow-up potential in Week 2.

The San Francisco data is skewed and can probably be ignored.  Kyler Murray targeted DeAndre Hopkins all over the field.  Richard Sherman may be on a decline, but we need more games to know.  UPDATE: He was dealing with an injury Week 1.

The New York Jets have a solid slot corner in Brian Poole, but will likely be susceptible at outside receiver all year.  If Brandon Aiyuk plays, he could have a surprise game.

Houston's corners went up against the Chiefs in Week 1, so we shouldn't overreact.  However, it's likely they'll give up a bunch of big games.  Bradley Roby isn't terrible but whoever he's not on will have an extremely easy matchup.

Jaire Alexander did not give up all 28 points to Adam Thielen.  He did give up the last touchdown, however.  I view Alexander as a tough matchup but it's a situation to monitor.

Washington's corners dominated the weak Philadelphia receivers, but they get DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, and Larry Fitzgerald this week.  I buy their defensive line dominance, but I'm not sold on their secondary just yet.

The New York Giants don't have a good secondary, but they will be especially exposed by slot receivers.  Anthony Miller is a great play in Week 2.

Indianapolis has one of the best slot corners in the league in Kenny Moore, but very burnable outside corners.  Adam Thielen played mostly outside in Week 1, so expect him to have another good game, while Justin Jefferson gets stuck with Moore.

The following teams are tough matchups for all WRs including WR1s, WR2s and slots:

  • Baltimore
  • Buffalo
  • Cincinnati
  • Dallas
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • New England
  • Pittsburgh
  • Tampa Bay

The following WRs are borderline Week 2 plays that get a boost based on matchup:

Thanks for reading and good luck this week.



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Coaching Matters: Offenses That Will Improve From Week 1

In fantasy football, we try to take as much data into account before making a conclusion on players. That includes means looking at things like game tape, snap counts, the team's offensive line, or their primary play-callers historical tendencies to utilize a certain position. After much research, I've developed a broad knowledge of how each team's play-caller historically operates and compiled a bunch of data.

After an incredible week 1 where we saw performances like Gardner Minshew throwing more touchdown passes than incompletions, Odell Beckham Jr. only had 3 receptions and 22 receiving yards on 10 targets, or the Atlanta Falcons WR room having three 100+ yard receivers, it's important to look at their play-callers history and see if these performances are likely to continue, if they will change for the better, or if they will change for the worse.

This article will take a look at which of these areas are in line for improvement in future weeks. Let's dive in!

 

Improvement Ahead

These are the areas and positions that will likely improve in the coming weeks, based on the team's play-caller tendencies in the past.

 

Cleveland Browns Running Backs

In week 1, the Browns running backs totaled 24 carries for 137 rushing yards with Kareem Hunt getting 13 of those carries for 72 yards, Nick Chubb getting 10 carries for 60 yards, and D'Ernest Johnson getting one carry for five yards. In addition, through the air, they combined to catch five passes on seven targets for fifteen yards.

Now compare this to Kevin Stefanski's averages in the past. Prior to this game historically, Kevin Stefanski's running back room averaged 26 carries, 123.21 rushing yards, 1.05 rushing touchdowns, 5.89 targets, 41.84 receiving yards, and 0.05 receiving touchdowns per game (19 games).

While the carries, rushing yards, and targets are around Browns' head coach Kevin Stefanski's career averages, the receiving yards and touchdowns are much lower than we should expect from his running backs. While we don't know how the distribution is going to shake out between Chubb and Hunt on a week to week basis, you can bet on the Browns running backs having improved fantasy production in the future.

Fantasy players this impacts: Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb

 

Jacksonville Jaguars Wide Receivers (Number of Touches + Yards)

A phenomenal performance by Gardner Minshew led to some decent fantasy days from D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault, and Keelan Cole despite not getting a ton of work. Yesterday the Jaguars wide receivers combined for 13 receptions on 14 targets for 129 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns.

In the past offensive coordinator, Jay Gruden and head coach Doug Marrone have given more usage to their wide receivers and gotten more receiving yards out of them. Prior to week 1, in 133 games as an offensive coordinator or head coach, play-caller Jay Gruden's wide receiver room averaged 20.11 targets for 156.13 receiving yards and 0.96 receiving touchdowns per game. In addition, in Doug Marrone's 144 games as an offensive coordinator or head coach, his wide receiver room averaged 20.26 targets for 160.24 receiving yards and 1.01 receiving touchdowns per game.

Expect the targets and receiving yards to increase in the future for the Jaguars wide receivers and the receiving touchdowns to dip a bit.

Fantasy players this impacts: D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault Jr., Chris Conley, and Keelan Cole

 

Philadelphia Eagles Running Backs

The Eagles were without lead back Miles Sanders on Sunday and it cost them greatly with the team losing to the Washington Football Team. The team failed to establish the run, with their running backs only getting 16 carries for 55 rushing yards and no touchdowns. They also clearly missed Sanders' ability in the passing game with Boston Scott and Corey Clement only combining for four receptions on four targets for 21 receiving yards.

Based on Doug Pederson's history, this is going to change for the better. In Doug Pederson's 112 games as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this game, his running back room averaged 22.625 carries, 99.18 rushing yards, 0.86 rushing touchdowns, 6.62 targets, 41.18 receiving yards, and 0.30 receiving yards. The Eagles running backs should be better in the coming weeks.