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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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Slow Starters Ready to Break Out in Fantasy?

We are now more than a third of the way into the fantasy football season and a seemingly clearer picture is available across the landscape. After a pandemic-shortened offseason and lack of preseason exposure, there were plenty of worries headed into the first month specifically. Thus far, one of the most prevalent topics with regards to how the pandemic played a part in fantasy is injuries because that is the easiest connection to make between lack of training camp reps, allowing for limited ramp-up time for players.

While injuries are the most tangible, slow-starting players are also ones who may have been hurt by the limited reps. Several skill guys had their snaps/roles cut early on in the season (Joe Mixon for example), yet were brought along over the course of subsequent weeks. Every player's performance is affected differently. Some are due to the pandemic, others are due to a rough schedule. It is often hard to pinpoint but this piece takes the best possible approach to evaluating each player's position.

Here are five slow starters expected to bounce back this season. For any questions on this topic or any other post, feel free to follow me on Twitter (@RotoSurgeon) and shoot it through.


Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

I'm not buying any of the Jalen Hurts hype coming from the internet. Wentz has not been perfect, but thus far, he is not the only problem in Philadelphia's offense. Currently, nine out of 11 offensive starters are out with injury. Plus, Wentz is dealing with a league-worst 16 drops from his pass-catchers.

The Zach Ertz injury is a blessing-in-disguise because a plodding TE is now removed from the equation, allowing for more dynamic players to take his place. Richard Rodgers will sub in for the interim and Dallas Goedert, upon return from IR, will then take over. Ertz has been terrible this season despite having a fruitful history as Wentz's safety blanket. He shrinks the field around him, forcing more attention elsewhere.

Losing Miles Sanders would prove costly if the Eagles were not facing the New York Giants this week and then facing off against Dallas' putrid defense afterward. Boston Scott and the backups should fill-in just fine. With a bye week right after, Sanders should be fully healthy for the stretch run to take control of the NFC East in the second half.

Jalen Reagor's timetable to return from his thumb injury lines up here as well along with DeSean Jackson and Lane Johnson. The Eagles are in the most advantageous position within the division, making it possible they even add a dynamic piece at the trade deadline given the plethora of receivers potentially available for trade. Wentz is currently QB15 in scoring with a ceiling around the top-six given his increased rushing. Wentz is running more, and more efficiently than ever with 6.1 yards-per-carry on 28 carries. He is on pace for a career-high 75 attempts and already has four touchdowns on the ground which make up for and negate the increased turnovers this season.


Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams

It is inconceivable that Akers only played one snap this past weekend versus the 49ers but it happened and Rams head coach Sean McVay's "game-flow" explanation was a non-answer. Akers was not drafted with their first pick in the 2020 draft and named starter out the gates to ride the bench. Either there was an issue in practice or Akers is still not fully healthy.

Despite playing 13 snaps in Week 5 and touching the ball nine times, it did not make much sense to keep him benched the next week, especially with McVay commenting on his increased involvement. Akers returned along a reasonable timeline from his rib cartilage injury, yet the "optimal recovery time" according to Inside Injuries of The Athletic is five weeks as to not re-aggravate the rib. Akers suffered the injury in Week 2 and we are now heading into Week 7.

Darrell Henderson has looked very good in a handful of games and mediocre in others. Nevertheless, he has the "hot-hand" and will continue to start until he is usurped or fails. Akers will have to be the one to usurp him and fortunately for fantasy GMs who are stashing him, he is quite capable. Henderson is seldom used on third-down and obvious passing-situations because of his limitations as a pass-blocker and receiver. This is where Akers could thrive and eat into the RB snaps.

Malcolm Brown has been a black hole when given touches since Week 2 but that is nothing new. Brown is averaging 3.7 yards-per-carry and 2.2 yards-per-target thus far, below-pedestrian numbers. If Akers' issue with getting on the field is due to the Rams' desire to unleash him on third-down and passing downs, there is a fantasy monster brewing that should have been unleashed earlier.


T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts

Hilton has been extremely disappointing early on, no one is arguing against that. The assumption coming into the season was that despite a clear decline for Philip Rivers, the fringe Hall-of-Fame QB would still be an upgrade over Jacoby Brissett as a passer. That, unfortunately, has not been very true as Rivers is looking like a shell of himself but the Colts are winning games on the back of their top-three defense. The addition of RB Jonathan Taylor in the second round of the 2020 draft was meant to spark the offense as well but he has been just as disappointing, if not more than Rivers given the high hopes that come with youth. All-in-all, the Colts' offense is bad.

Hilton's 6.5 yards-per-target on the season is a career-low and he has not found the end-zone yet through six games. However, he did have a TD called back this past week on a penalty far away from the play. He has six red-zone targets on the season and is still building rapport with Rivers. Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr. are out for the foreseeable future and now Hilton is playing nearly every snap. Over the first four weeks, he did not play more than 80% of the offensive snaps in a single game, but these past two, he has played 95% and 94%, respectively. Hilton owns a 19% target share this season with a season-high 10 coming two weeks ago versus the Browns. He is still fast/explosive and has brighter days ahead given a very soft second-half schedule.


Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens

Hollywood Brown is one of the fastest players in the league playing on arguably the most versatile offense, and yet, his fantasy production is lacking in 2020. Part of the reason for this is Lamar Jackson and the Ravens' low-passing volume, and another is the lack of need for extensive receiving production.

Brown has just one red-zone target on the season and did not crack 80% of snaps through the first four weeks of the season but has 86% and 85% over the past two weeks, respectively. The Ravens have outscored opponents thus far by a margin of 75 points. In their one loss to the Chiefs, Brown was blanketed and then phased out from the game by being on the opposite end of a blowout.

Brown's home-run ability makes him a stereotypical boom-or-bust option but with a 26% target share and nine yards-per-target, he is just on the wrong end of touchdown variance with one on the season. He's a fantasy star on the cusp of breaking out.


Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns

Austin Hooper has ascended to fantasy relevance over the past few weeks but has yet to truly break out. After signing the largest free-agent TE contract ever, Hooper was expected to be a massive part of Cleveland's offense after a fantastic stretch in Atlanta. While a good bit of his production was driven by a high-volume passing offense next to Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, Hooper held his own with a large target share and end-zone production.

Through the first three weeks of the 2020 season, Hooper totaled seven receptions on 10 targets for 62 yards and no touchdowns. Just this past week, he had five receptions on six targets for 52 yards with 57 yards the game prior. Snaps have not been an issue as he is on the field plenty but with David Njoku back in the mix, he has seen a dip below 80% over the past two weeks despite an increase in targets.

Fortunately, Njoku has once again requested a trade out from Cleveland, leaving Hooper and Harrison Bryant as the primary options at the position. Hooper played up to 98% of the snaps in games sans Njoku and will likely carry a massive share moving forward. He's building rapport with QB Baker Mayfield but there is work to be done.

Having only two red-zone targets thus far is disappointing, but that could change as the chemistry grows. Cleveland is being forced to throw more often than they'd like with star RB Nick Chubb out-of-commission. Hooper's role will continue to grow and it could hopefully blossom in the second half of this season.

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Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Six weeks of NFL football are behind us, aside from a pair of Monday games, including a late afternoon game between the Bills and the Chiefs.

In terms of wide receiver production this week, we didn't have the huge breakouts like we had in Week 5. Chase Claypool didn't score four touchdowns. In fact, only three receivers on Sunday had multiple receiving touchdowns, and all three are rostered in at least 87 percent of leagues. Anyway, let's get to the waiver wire.

Not all options are the same. Some players may be better in PPR or deeper leagues, so it’s not a one-size-fits-all comparison. Use your best judgment when deciding which of these players is the right fit for your roster. Check here for a complete list of our Waiver Wire Adds for Week 6 for help at all the skill positions. All players on this list here are around 30% rostered or below.


Travis Fulgham, Philadelphia Eagles

31% rostered

With their top three receivers still out, Fulgham had another strong game, catching six of his 10 targets for 75 yards and a touchdown. We're in a really weird spot here with Fulgham, because he's playing like someone who needs to not only be rostered, but needs to be in your WR2 spot. The problem is that we don't know what his workload looks like when Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Jalen Reagor are back in the fold, so in terms of value as the season goes's hard to know. But Fulgham should at least be startable next week against the Giants, and should be on your radar.

Keelan Cole, Jacksonville Jaguars

29% rostered

Cole's scored 9.7 fantasy points or more in 0.5-PPR in four of the six games this year, and Sunday was the best performance of all for him, as he grabbed six passes for 143 yards. Cole's role is likely to look more like it did in Week 3 and Week 4 -- a pair of games with four catches for 40-something yards -- than it is to look like this, but he's a fine bye-week fill-in in deeper leagues, especially full PPR ones.

Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons

27% rostered

Gage was looking like a solid WR4 play for the first couple weeks of the year but has faded since. On Sunday, he caught four passes for 65 yards, and maybe with both Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley on the field, there will be more chances for Gage to get some open looks? He's not an exciting play, but if the Falcons start to play better after firing Dan Quinn, Gage can get back to having some WR4 appeal in deeper leagues.

Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos

18% rostered

Jerry Jeudy struggled against the Patriots, catching just two passes for 32 yards. But Patrick continued his ascension, turning his eight targets into four receptions and 101 yards. Three consecutive games with at least 100 yards or a touchdown have Patrick in a really good place, though before we anoint him as a weekly WR3 play, we probably need to see how he looks when K.J. Hamler and Noah Fant are back. Still, Patrick deserves a spot on most fantasy rosters.

Randall Cobb, Houston Texans

17% rostered

A Cobb touchdown helped cover up that he had just three catches for 17 yards. Still, Houston is throwing more and Cobb has WR4 upside in full PPR leagues due to his role, and the fact that it seems Kenny Stills just isn't part of this passing game now can offer Cobb a few more opportunities each week.

James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers

10% rostered

So, about JuJu Smith-Schuster...

James Washington led the Steelers wide receivers in targets this week with seven, turning them into four catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. Diontae Johnson (back) missed this game, opening room for Washington. He should maintain a role until Johnson returns, though the bigger question is if he can leap over Smith-Schuster once Johnson is back. Washington has been outplaying JuJu. For now, Washington is a deep league option.

Adam Humphries, Tennessee Titans

9% rostered

With Corey Davis still on the COVID-19 list, Humphries had a nice workload upon his own return from the COVID-19 list, catching all six of his targets for 64 yards and a touchdown. Humphries fits an archetype I like in deep leagues: he's a slot receiver who should get six or seven targets per game, which gives him a really nice floor. There's plenty of chances for guys like that to make positive impacts in your lineup, especially as bye week replacements. And hey, Humphries is already past his bye week!

Breshad Perriman, New York Jets

8% rostered

Well, Perriman returned from an ankle injury that had caused him to miss three games. He was targeted eight times, catching four of them for 62 yards. Look, we saw last year in Tampa what Perriman can do in a good offense -- he can be really, really good for fantasy football managers. He's very clearly not in a good offense now in New York -- this offense is just ridiculously bad -- but when Sam Darnold gets back, Perriman might be able to carve out some fantasy viability in deeper leagues. I think his talent is worth a roster spot in a 14-team league.

Zach Pascal, Indianapolis Colts

6% rostered

Pascal was expected to be the No. 2 receiver while Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr. were out, and he is, though he's closer to the 1A receiver at this point with how T.Y. Hilton has been playing. Pascal was targeted seven times against the Bengals, catching four passes for 54 yards and a score. He has a bye week coming up, but should be a WR4 option until this team gets healthier.

Marcus Johnson, Indianapolis Colts

0% rostered

Like teammate Pascal, there's a bye week next week for the Colts and Marcus Johnson, but I still have to mention a guy who caught five passes on eight targets for 108 yards. While T.Y. Hilton has floundered, Johnson has seen his role grow in each of the past three games. He's the big play receiver for Philip Rivers and should be rostered in 14-team leagues.

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Wide Receiver Rankings & Start/Sit Advice - Week 6

Pierre Camus (@Roto_Chef) breaks down his weekly wide receiver rankings to help with tough fantasy football lineup decisions for Week 6 of the 2020 NFL season. Who should you start or sit among those in WR3/4 or Flex consideration?

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Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller Radio on SiriusXM (channel Sirius 210, XM 87) - every weekday morning between 6-7 AM ET. You can also find new weekly shows on the site under RotoBaller Radio podcasts.


Week 6 WR Start/Sit

Pierre looks at wide receiver matchups to help fantasy football GMs decide who to put into lineups this week.

Players discussed in this episode:

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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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Beginner's Luck? Chase Claypool, Travis Fulgham, Other WR Breakouts

It sometimes takes rookie wide receivers a season or two to reach their full potential. Davante Adams averaged 465 receiving yards in his first two NFL seasons. Michael Irvin had a total of 78 receptions in his first three NFL seasons.

The 2014 season was a special one for rookie WRs. Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., DeAndre Hopkins, Kelvin Benjamin, and Sammy Watkins all finished the season with at least 800 receiving yards. All of those receivers, except Benjamin, are still in the NFL and playing at a high level.

Several young WRs have had breakout games and enjoyed fantasy success so far this season. Is their early-season success truly reflective of their talent or can we chalk it up to beginner’s luck?  Can we count on them for the rest of this season and beyond? The following are five young receivers who’ve been lighting it up as of late. Let’s try to determine if it's legit or if there’s a Kelvin Benjamin in the group.


Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers

After a seven-catch, 110-yard, three-touchdown Week 5 performance, Chase Claypool was one of this week’s hottest fantasy football waiver wire adds. The Steelers selected Claypool in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft, and with their reputation for developing top wide receivers, the rest of the league took notice.

The six-foot four-inch Claypool is an explosive receiver with a knack for being able to bring down contested catches. With his special teams experience and above-average blocking skills, it wasn’t surprising when he saw significant playing time to start the season. However, as detailed in the chart below, Claypool’s playing time seems tied to how many snaps second-year WR Diontae Johnson plays on a weekly basis. Johnson, who leads the Steelers with 26 targets, saw limited action in Week 3 (concussion), and Week 5 (back injury) and that’s when Claypool saw a significant uptick in playing time.


Steelers WR

Week 1
Snaps %
Week 2
Snaps %
Week 3
Snaps %
Week 5
Snaps %
Chase Claypool 30 37 76 69
Diontae Johnson 86 83 24 8
James Washington 58 48 61 71
JuJu Smith-Schuster 86 91 73 76

Claypool is currently second among WRs with 9.2 Yards After The Catch Per Reception (YAC/R) and has the type of skillset that can eventually help him become one of the NFL’s top receivers for years to come. Although he deserves to be rostered in all league formats, fantasy managers should temper their expectations. There are many mouths to feed in the Steelers passing game and that can lead to some inconsistency in Claypool’s fantasy production moving forward. Fantasy managers should expect Claypool to have some very good weeks, like when he’s got a favorable matchup, and some small weeks, like when he plays against the Ravens in three weeks.

Claypool can be a significant contributor to your fantasy team’s success for the rest of the season, but you’ll need to make strategic decisions as to when to put him in your starting lineup and when to leave him on your bench. Claypool’s talent is for real, but it may not be evident on a weekly basis early in his career.


Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars

Shenault hasn’t exactly lit the fantasy world on fire, but he’s gradually developing into a reliable fantasy WR. According to Fantasy Football Today, he’s fantasy football’s WR32, averaging 12.3 Fantasy Points Per Game (FPPG) in PPR scoring formats. That means that in a 12-team league, he’s a fringe WR3 or flex option.

Breaking tackles was his specialty in college. He broke 46 of them over his last two college seasons, so it makes sense that he’s tied for fourth in receptions per broken tackle among NFL WRs this season. With his combination of size, strength, and speed he has the potential to further develop into a big-time playmaker. Shenault’s outstanding running skills make him a versatile offensive force who has already had nine carries for 53 yards (5.9 YPC) through Week 5.

As part of a Jaguars team that surprisingly leads the NFL in passing play percentage (66.56%), he should continue to grow as a receiver as the season progresses. Shenault already leads the team with 23 receptions and averages 62% offensive snaps played per game. He’s still a bit of a work in progress, but Shenault deserves to be rostered in all fantasy league formats. Shenault may not have Claypool’s high ceiling, but at least for this season, he should provide fantasy players with a bit more consistency in weekly production than the Steelers WR.


Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

With the Vikings a little thin at the WR position after Stefon Diggs shuffled off to Buffalo, many fantasy players and analysts (myself included), expected Justin Jefferson to be widely used in the Vikings’ passing game. However, asking a rookie WR to regularly put up significant fantasy numbers when he plays for a team that has the fourth-lowest passing play percentage dating back to the 2019 season is asking for a lot.

So far, the receiver who has benefited the most from Diggs’ departure has been Adam Thielen. He’s fifth in FPPG among NFL receivers. Like many rookie WRs who have come before him, Jefferson has had his ups and downs to start his career. He’s tied for fourth among WRs with 19.5 yards per reception. In Week 3, he caught seven passes for 175 yards, including a 71-yard TD reception. He followed that up with a four-catch 103-yard game. However, in his other three matchups, he’s averaged just under three receptions and 31 receiving yards per game.

Some college scouts cite Jefferson’s lack of speed and poor separation skills and consider him a career WR2, at best. Those alleged weaknesses haven’t been an issue thus far this season. He’s NFL’s WR11 when it comes to YAC/R (6.7). Maybe the scouts will end up being right and in the long term, Jefferson’s lack of speed will limit his ability to stretch the field. However, for the short term, the Vikings’ run-first offensive scheme (and maybe some typical rookie growing pains) will be his biggest hurdle to providing fantasy players with consistent fantasy production on a weekly basis. His ceiling isn’t as high as Claypool’s or Shenault’s, but he’s another rookie who deserves to be rostered. Just don’t consider him an automatic start on a weekly basis…yet.


Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals

Tee Higgins is averaging 12.7 FPPG in PPR scoring formats. That makes him a WR30 in fantasy football. If you start three WRs in your fantasy league Higgins should be one of them. He’s got it all. He’s a talented receiver who’s a deep-ball threat and can play all three receiver spots. Higgins doesn’t have blazing speed but he’s quick off the line of scrimmage and has excellent ball tracking and ball-handling skills.

Higgins finds himself in a perfect situation. Not only does he play for a team that loves to throw the ball, but because they’ll be playing from behind for much of the season, they’ll need to throw the ball.  He’s already become an integral part of the Bengals’ passing offense and averages close to eight targets per game. With future star QB Joe Burrow slinging the ball his way you’re going to want to find a way to get Higgins on your dynasty team’s roster. A.J. Green’s time has come and gone. Start Higgins every week.


Travis Fulgham, Philadelphia Eagles

Travis Fulgham has TDs in each of the last two weeks as the Eagles, who’ve been decimated by injuries to their WRs, desperately look for anyone that QB Carson Wentz can throw the ball to. Conventional wisdom tells us that Fulgham will find his way back to the Eagles’ practice squad once Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson are healthy enough to return to the football field.

Fulgham played his college ball for the lightly regarded Old Dominion and will probably never have a regular starting job as an NFL receiver, but he’s obviously formed a bit of a connection with Wentz over the past couple of weeks. Nevertheless, even if he gets one more week as a starting Eagle WR, this isn’t the time to put him in your lineup. He’ll be facing the Ravens who’ve given up the eighth-fewest fantasy points per game to fantasy WRs. Chalk up his brief time in the Eagle’s spotlight to beginner’s luck. We’ve found our Kelvin Benjamin doppelganger.

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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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Is JuJu Smith-Schuster Still a WR1?

In the last 10 seasons, only one man has been able to finish with more than 300 PPR points in fantasy leagues while playing wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers: Antonio Brown. The misunderstood and now much-maligned wideout did it six times from 2013 to 2018 without failing at it, getting between 307.3 points and 388.2 in every one of those seasons.

Sharing the field with Brown, then-sophomore JuJu Smith-Schuster had the season in 2018. When playing as the WR2 of the Steelers he racked up all of 296.9 PPR points, falling just three fantasy points short of the 300-mark. The expectations were super high for his 2019 season, but with Ben Roethlisberger getting injured, he could never live up to his WR1 role and fantasy expectations, finishing with just 113.2 PPR points in 12 games.

We're now five games into 2020 and JuJu, once more, got to the season with overly high expectations attached to his name--and with Big Ben back at manning the pocket. Smith-Schuster's ADP of 35.3 overall (drafted as early as the 21st player off the board) clearly had him as a WR1 entering 2020. At this point, though, he's just the WR31 and far from a WR2, let alone a WR1. So, what's the deal with JuJu? And more importantly, can he be trusted as a bonafide WR1 going forward? Let's explore.


What's a WR1, really?

The first thing I wanted (and feel the need of doing) to address is to define what we consider a WR1. I'm working with PPR-format, 12-team leagues data. In those competitions, starting in 2010 and up to 2019, here is how the WR1-3 groups have finished the season in terms of fantasy scoring:

On average, a WR1 has averaged 283.5 PPR over the season and 18.1 PPG, a WR2 14.4, and a WR3 12.1. Currently, through Week 5 of the 2020 season, the averages are at 18.9 for WR1 (+0.8 over the past decade average), 15.7 for WR2 (+1.3), and 12.3 for WR3 (+0.2). Makes sense, considering we're only past the first third of the season and those averages will probably come down a bit showing a regression toward those 10-year averages.

Considering those values, JuJu Smith-Schuster's current 59.8 PPR and 15.0 PPG would make him a borderline, low-end WR1 over the past decade on a per-game basis, and a high-end WR2 in 2020.

The numbers align with the reality of the Steelers roster production so far this season: Chase Claypool is putting up 17.4 PPG to JuJu 15.0, which makes Chase the WR1 in raw production for Pittsburgh followed by WR2 JuJu.


What's Going On With JuJu's Season?

After a good rookie season (WR20, 14.1 PPG) and the explosion he had as a second-year player (WR8, 18.6 PPG), all pointed to an established WR1 coming in 2019. Far from it.

JuJu's third year as a pro finished with him playing for middling, reserve quarterbacks. JuJu was also limited to just 12 games due to injuries and finished a putrid WR65 averaging a measly 9.4 PPG... With Big Ben slated to return this season, he could only get better, right? Wrong.

Here are JuJu's game results through Week 5 of the 2020 season:

Nothing beautiful about them except that Week 1 monster performance, which was a fluky, near-perfect, and hard-to-replicate 6-69-2 game in which JuJu excelled and had everything going his way.

After that, three underwhelming outings to the level of a WR3 are everything JuJu has been able to do in the past four weeks (Pittsburgh couldn't play its W4 game due to COVID-reasons leaving the Titans out of contention), touching a worrying floor this past weekend when he couldn't even reach seven PPR points (four receptions on five targets, 28 receiving yards).


JuJu's Numbers In Pittsburgh's Context

With great power comes great responsibility, they say. That was always going to be JuJu's fate as soon as Brown exited the team a couple of years ago. Through five weeks of play, JuJu's usage has hardly been low in the context of Pittsburgh, so that has nothing to do with his role as a WR1, which he has been so far for the Steelers.

JuJu has played the largest number of snaps among Steelers skill-position players and has the largest Snap% with over a seven percentage-point distance with TE Eric Ebron. No other player has even played 60% of the team snaps.

The same has been true when it has come to actual opportunities. Only Diontae Johnson (26) has more targets than JuJu in 2020 (24), who leads Chase Claypool and Eric Ebron (20) in that department. Smith-Schuster also has the highest amount of catches among Steelers with 21 receptions to Johnson's 15 as the second-best receiver. Only Claypool (four), after a monster W5 game, has more TDs than Smith-Schuster, who has three on the season.

What's wrong with JuJu, then?


Digging Deeper Into Usage

In order to get a better picture of Smith-Schuster's 2020 year, and why even on seemingly high usage and productive level of play he's struggling to get into the realm of top-tier WRs, I went to study some play-by-play data. The chart below includes Pittsburgh's top-four WR/TEs and how they've been used and fared in the passing game:

There is a lot of stuff going on there. Let's break it down a bit so it's easier to digest:

  • JuJu, along with Diontae Johnson, has mostly been used in short-to-mid pass areas (0-9 yards downfield). He has been targeted 16 times in that 10-yard span, with just one true deep pass thrown his way (he didn't catch it).
  • JuJu, though playing mostly off the slot, has yet to be targeted in the middle zone of the field at 10+ yards of distance, and he's the only Steelers pass-catcher lacking targets in three areas by distance/direction (Ebron is the only other player without a targeted area--deep right).
  • JuJu's catch rate of 87.5% is by far the best of all four players included in the chart above. In fact, he's only missed on catching one short/mid pass and his two other non-completions all went for 10+ yards.
  • Digging even deeper, we see how the two long passes he missed (right-side of the field, downfield) had Expected Completion Percentages below 50% (35%, and 46%), so it is not that those were going to be easy completions anyways.

Most of the problems of JuJu's fantasy production, though, can be spotted looking at the field-breakdown that is in the middle of the chart (third column: Avg. rePPR):

  • JuJu is generating the second-most PPR points of Pittsburgh on that 0-to-9 area, behind TE Eric Ebron.
  • JuJu's downfield production looks great at 5.2 PPR in 10-to-20+ yards passes, but he's only been targeted four times there. Johnson, on the other hand, is generating 9.4 PPR there while being targeted a lot more in those deep spots.
  • Chase Claypool has been a beast of his own in deep routes and targets, mostly thanks to his W5 historic performance.
  • Given how production is being shared between all Pittsburgh players, and although JuJu has caught passes all around the field (and then some), he's far from the most used player of the team in mid- (Ebron and Johnson) and deep-routes (Claypool and Johnson). Those passes, if completed, hand the highest fantasy-points per play in comparison to short ones (in the 0-to-9 yards clip)
  • JuJu's is making his damage in places and depth were the fantasy upside is quite limited, having to go for extra yards after the catch himself in order to really rack up high fantasy tallies.


Higher Role, Tougher Competition

Another important point to have in consideration when looking at JuJu's production is the fact that, as the supposed WR1 of his team (at least on paper), opponents are (almost) always going to throw their best cornerbacks toward him week after week, forcing JuJu's into the hardest of coverages to beat on a game basis.

The good thing for JuJu, though, is that he's Pittsburgh's slot receiver both left and right to the ball and rarely does he lineup on the outside. He has 178 snaps in the slot (78%) compared to just 46 outside (20%). Looking at PFF Grades over the 2020 season, only five slot-corners rank inside the top-25 at the position this year, which bodes well for slot receivers like JuJu.

Per, these have been JuJu's game logs this season, including the cornerback tasked with covering him for the largest number of snaps in each of those matches.

Let's look at each of those individually, just to know a little bit more about them and how they could have impacted JuJu's upside:

  • Darnay Holmes is a rookie, and his first assignment in the NFL was JuJu (not good for the Giant). So far through five weeks of play, Holmes has 13 tackles but just two passes defended. It was going to be a cupcake of a matchup for Smith-Schuster, and it was indeed his best game of the season catching every target and scoring two touchdowns.
  • Essang Bassey is also a freshman this season, and once more he couldn't do anything to stop JuJu, who finished with 7-of-8 caught targets, only missing on a red-zone one. But this marked the first letdown in JuJu's season, and it came when covered by a low-end CB like Bassey (45.7 PFF Grade, 71st among CBs). Bad outlook.
  • Eric Murray is the best corner JuJu has faced up to Week 5. Murray is the 22nd-best CB per PFF Grades, and one of only five slot-corners inside the overall cornerback rankings. JuJu improved his W2 score, but could only catch four passes for 43 yards. He scored a touchdown, though, so I'm not sure this could be labeled as a dud given the production and competition.
  • Nickell Robey-Coleman, although having dropped from seasons prior in PFF Grade (61st-best CB this year), is still a stud slot-corner and he limited JuJu to his worst outcome of the season at just 6.8 PPR points on 4-of-5 receptions.

Even playing at the slot position--which means avoiding top-dog CBs in most cases--JuJu has only been able to truly take advantage of one cover-man in his four games (he was a rookie making his NFL debut) while having another relatively good game against stud Eric Murray in Week 3.


Will JuJu Produce At WR1-Level Going Forward? The Verdict

The equation we all want to solve, am I right? And the answer is totally in Pittsburgh's hands, folks.

Why? Because JuJu Smith-Schuster is producing as a WR1, while used as a WR2--at best.

Sometimes in fantasy football, keeping things and analysis simple is the best way to go. And that is just looking at a couple of things related to the five weeks of play already in the books and how JuJu has done in them... only in a couple of simple metrics. That is all we need to have a good idea of what has gone wrong with him.

I'm going to use two numbers here: Expected Points, and Fantasy Points Over Expectation. Here is a plot including every receiver with at least four games played and 20 targets on the 2020 season. JuJu is highlighted in yellow.

As you see, not many receivers have been put in such a position as JuJu in terms of expected points through Week 5. JuJu's EP (39.3) over that span rank 49th among the 70 qualified WRs. His FPOE (20.5), on the other hand, are 11th in that same period. Do you see what's happening here?

We have gone through a lot of stuff in the sections above, and we already knew that JuJu has looked pretty good at catching every ball thrown his way, that he's used mostly in short-pass plays leaving most of the work to him to do after the catch, and that he's been really efficient through five weeks both against bad and good corners.

Looking at EP/FPOE, we can confirm our early takeaways. It is not that JuJu isn't playing as a WR1, it is that Pittsburgh is not putting him in a position where he can rack up WR1 fantasy points. As simple as that.

Here is the chart above, now showing the EP/FPOE per target instead of the raw number over the season (min. 4 games played, 20 targets).

That, my friends, is precisely how you don't use a WR1. Check the names of the players highlighted in the chart. Chase Claypool and Justin Jefferson have had one and two explosive games respectively that have their FPOE marks above the sky. Other than them, only D.K. Metcalf and D.J. Chark are being used as a WR1 and producing at incredible levels of efficiency.

JuJu, while the fifth-most efficient player on a FPOE/TGT basis, is just not used how he should given his dominant production.

While no one is here to argue about Diontae Johnson's viability as the Steelers no. 1 receiver (he very well can play that role), the truth is that JuJu has absolutely overperformed Johnson so far. JuJu is posting up 0.85 more FP/TGT than expected, while Johnson is at -0.17 through Week 5.

All of this gets magnified by JuJu's own work on the field with his impressive yardage after the catch, which makes his "low" usage even more puzzling.

JuJu has the second-highest YAC% among receivers with 20+ targets in at least four games combined. In virtually two of each three catches, he's racking up more yards after the catch than through the air. Imagine if he could add that yardage to longer, downfield completions.

Pittsburgh has a WR1 one in its roster, yet the Steelers are using him in places, situations, and roles akin to those of Larry Fitzgerald, Golden Tate, or Curtis Samuel.

JuJu is the real deal, but Smith-Schuster is just limited in what he can do on the field as far as his usage goes. It's time to #FreeJuJu, and let him pair his own exploits (look at his 10th-best FPOE, and his RACR-rank--Receiver Air Conversion Ratio: how many receiving yards a player creates for every air yard thrown at him--in the figure below, which is the third-best in the NFL) with a better placement of passes prone to generate more fantasy points per target (instead of that putrid 54th rank in EP through W5...).

Conclusion: Consider JuJu a WR1 even if his total FP aren't still there, full stop, and hope he and Pittsburgh can find a common way to benefit from each other and unleash his true upside as we get deeper into the season. Everything is there for the Steelers to exploit, and it's only a matter of time Big Ben comes to his senses, Mike Tomlin schemes more long-ball throws to JuJu and Smith-Schusters amps up his fantasy points for the GMs rostering him.

If you can buy low on JuJu in a trade, go for it. Pittsburgh is already past its bye week and faces the second, eighth, and third-worst defenses against wide receivers (in fantasy points allowed to the position) in three of the next four weeks, and two of those teams (Dallas and Tennessee) have slot-corners ranked among the 16-worst so far this season (Tennesse's Chris Jackson is the absolute worst CB in 2020 through W5, no matter the alignment).

It just can't go wrong.

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Should We Worry About Amari Cooper and the Dallas Receivers?

With Amari Cooper and Ezekiel Elliott leading the way, the Dallas Cowboys' offense is stacked at the skill positions; however, the offensive line is a mess. Travis Frederick was a huge loss this offseason. The season-ending injury to Tyron Smith makes it even worse for anyone behind center. Andy Dalton is no Dak Prescott. He is not going to run for yardage and touchdowns. This means the run game will be important going forward. We saw this after Dak's injury last week as the first points scored were on a 12-yard run by Elliott.

Cooper has been far more consistent this season than he has in the past. No more is the boom or bust weeks where we do not know what to expect from him. We are now seeing steady weeks in which he finishes top-20 for fantasy. CeeDee Lamb has been a monster as a rookie. Again, Lamb went for over 100 yards in a game last week. Two passes on the final drive to Michael Gallup also show a connection is there between him and Dalton.

The new triplets in the Dallas offense do take a hit. Of course, Dalton is no Prescott, and this does remove some value. But not as much as you may think, as Justin Carter recently explained. Dalton is still going to throw the ball quite a bit. He will not average 400 yards per game like Dak was doing for the first month of the season. He is easily going to average the highest yardage per game of his career though - an average which to this point stands at 234.85 yards per game. While Dalton will be fine, we need to figure out what exactly we can expect from the pass catchers in Dallas.


Amari Cooper

After a career of inconsistency, Cooper has finally found his way this season in Dallas. With 39 receptions so far this season, he has established himself as the man for Dallas after signing his $100 million contract this offseason. Almost eight receptions per game is great for those playing in a PPR league format. For those still stuck in standard leagues, the 424 yards on those catches is a bit concerning for sure, as is only one touchdown catch.

Michael Gallup certainly takes the largest hit of the three main targets. Cooper also takes a hit though. No longer can we expect him to get eight receptions per game. Lamb could easily overtake him as the lead receiver with the offense going ahead the rest of the way. We also have nagging injury concerns with Cooper which we do not have with Lamb. This could cause him to lose even more of his potential output.

Of the top two receivers in the Cowboys' offense, Cooper is by far the riskiest. His tendency for inconsistency as well as his nicks and bruises could lead his managers to regret having him later in the season. If you are forced to keep him, he is still going to be good for you so do not be too concerned. He likely does not have the top-six upside he had under Prescott. He still has a comfortable top-18 WR potential the rest of the way. This can be extremely valuable, and he will still have a boom game at some point. On the other weeks, reign in your expectations and you will be happy with the production he gives you the rest of the way.


CeeDee Lamb

The rookie came into the season as an undersized prospect who has massive after-the-catch potential. He has only built on this through the first month of the season. With 29 receptions, 443 yards, and two TD so far, Lamb is on pace for a potential Offensive Rookie of the Year award. He already has two games of at least 100 yards receiving and he has yet to have fewer than five receptions in any game thus far.

In a move only Jerry Jones could achieve, Lamb fell right into the lap of the Cowboys and they pounced. It has not disappointed. Either for them or Lamb managers for fantasy.

As the slot receiver for the Cowboys, Lamb will retain the biggest value moving forward with Dalton at the helm. With the offensive line issues, Dalton will be forced to get rid of the ball quickly. Some of these dump-offs will go to Ezekiel Elliott. The majority of the rest will go to Lamb.

Lamb has already shown he is a true NFL receiver. His placement in the offense has helped Amari Cooper become far more consistent in 2020. Dalton is a smart veteran. He will realize the importance of Lamb going forward if Dallas wants to remain competitive in the NFC East.

While most weapons may take a bit of a hit due to the Prescott injury, Lamb is the exception. His value will only rise as he gains even more targets than before. This will give Dallas two WR1s in this offense. Trading for Lamb, if possible, is a good move. He is the receiver you want to roster.


Michael Gallup

Gallup was the fantasy community's sleeper darling this preseason. So far, he has been the WR3 in Dallas behind Cooper and rookie Lamb. Going forward, expect this to continue. With Cooper still receiving the lead target share, Gallup and Lamb will be garnering the secondary targets. Lamb wins in this matchup. He is the slot receiver and with the offensive line being in shambles, the short routes will be the desired dump off. Gallup will continue to get a few shots per game downfield. But he is clearly the third option so proceed accordingly.

Initially this season, Gallup was seen as a possible WR target for fantasy as he is on a great offense and has a clear connection with Prescott. With the emergence of Lamb and the continued ascension of Cooper, Gallup should be considered only a flex play at best going forward. And if you can find a league mate who is a Dallas fan or is still a believer, make a trade with them. You will be much happier and less stressed for having done it, as he could let down in low-scoring matchups.


Dalton Schultz

TE Dalton Schultz has been surprisingly productive since the injury to Blake Jarwin. Last week? Not so much. With only one reception against a vulnerable Giants Defense, his upward trajectory may have taken a downturn. There are much better options at the TE position moving ahead in the season. Of all the players on the Cowboys offense, Schultz is the only one you can and should drop.



In regard to the Dallas wide receiving trio of Cooper, Gallup, and Lamb, you can stick with them in 2020. Just know they are still going to have good seasons, but the hopes of GREAT seasons are likely gone. As long as you know what to expect from them going forward, they will not disappoint.

With not only the triplets, but solid pass-catcher Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield, expect the offense to continue to hum. Especially the passing game. This is important since the Dallas defense just gave up 34 points to the Giants. Yes, to Daniel Jones, folks. The defense does not look to be getting better any time soon. So, the output on offense will be important if Dallas wants to remain in the lead of a bad NFC East.

Another factor to consider is that even if you did want to trade them, it would be difficult. Everyone else in your league also saw Prescott get hurt. They have the same concerns you do which means you will not get a fair return in a trade for them.

Injuries can crush a season. This goes for real teams as well as fantasy teams. Not all injuries are created equally though. Some hurt more than others.

Dallas was extremely smart in signing Andy Dalton this offseason. Instead of this being a death sentence for the fantasy production on the Cowboys, it is a lesson. If you have a solid backup QB, you can still be relevant. Dalton keeps them relevant if not top tier.

Do not panic. Do not sell on the cheap. Things in Dallas will stay level for the most part. At worst, a slight decline is coming. At best, no decline comes as Dalton lives up to his reputation and plays up to his surrounding weapons.

Man, 2020 is a fun season, isn’t it?

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Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 6

Can you believe we're already on our way to Week 6 of the NFL? The season is flying along, even with a lot of bumps along the way.

This week saw some wild performances from some unexpected places, including Steelers rookie Chase Claypool going all the way off. It's a great time to get Claypool on your roster, and also a bad time to be me, who recently traded him away in dynasty. Oops!

Not all options are the same. Some players may be better in PPR or deeper leagues, so it’s not a one-size-fits-all comparison. Use your best judgment when deciding which of these players is the right fit for your roster. Check here for a complete list of our Waiver Wire Adds for Week 6 for help at all the skill positions. All players on this list here are around 30% rostered or below.


Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans

43% rostered

The first game of the A.B. (After Bill) era of Texans football was Sunday, and it saw Brandin Cooks catch eight-of-12 targets for 161 yards and a touchdown. Rostered in less than half of all leagues, Cooks appears to be the primary receiving option for Houston now, making him a potential WR2 play moving forward. Sure, there's a chance this receiving corps remains a little too spread out to bring consistency, but hopefully that's not the case.

Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars

34% rostered

Speaking of messy receiving situations, Jacksonville! Both Keelan Cole and Collin Johnson caught touchdown passes this week, but neither make this week's list. Instead, the rookie Shenault does, because of his team-high eight targets, resulting in seven catches for 79 yards. Shenault now appears to be the No. 2 receiver on this Jaguars team, which is a role that will likely fluctuate in terms of usage on a week-to-week basis. Still, in the right matchups, Shenault will be a solid WR3 play.

Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals

34% rostered

Weird that Christian Kirk just fell off the face of the earth to start the year, but he saw a season-high seven targets on Sunday, catching five passes for 78 yards. It's starting to seem like Kyler Murray is willing to pass the ball to people other than DeAndre Hopkins, which should help Kirk be a little more consistent moving forward. Matchups against Dallas and Seattle are on the docket next, which should offer good chances for Kirk to pile up the yardage, making him a decent WR3 option.

Preston Williams, Miami Dolphins

22% rostered

It's been a disappointing season for Preston Williams, but Sunday saw the second-year receiver catch four passes for 106 yards and a touchdown. This was by far his best game of 2020. A lot of people have been dropping Williams, but he's still the No. 2 receiver on a pass-happy offense with Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing the ball, so there's still plenty of value here.

Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers

21% rostered

Samuel continues to play a versatile role with Christian McCaffrey out. On Sunday, he was targeted five times in the passing game, finishing with 36 yards, plus added 28 rushing yards on four carries. His value will take a sharp hit when McCaffrey is back, but until then, he's a decent deep league play. Don't prioritize Samuel, but if you need to fill a roster spot and other guys on this list aren't available, Samuel is a fine option.

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers

15% rostered


This was a huge game for Claypool. The rookie was targeted 11 times, catching seven passes for 110 yards and three touchdowns. He was had three carries for six yards and a score. With Diontae Johnson leaving with a back injury, someone had to step up for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and it wasn't JuJu Smith-Schuster but instead was the rookie out of Notre Dame. Claypool was so good that we have to assume he's going to be one of the team's top targets -- if not THE top target -- moving forward. Add him. Now. In any league where he's available.

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals

13% rostered

Maybe Fitzgerald can have a bit of a resurgence? His seven targets tied a season high and helped us forget that in Week 3 and 4 he had a combined four receiving yards. The veteran receiver has some value in 16-team leagues, though there are plenty of higher upside options.

Travis Fulgham, Philadelphia Eagles

3% rostered

The Eagles will get Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson back soon, but even with that factored in, you have to add Travis Fulghum, who was just insanely good in this week's game. He was targeted 13 times, catching 10 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown. He's scored touchdowns in back-to-back weeks and is clearly the best healthy player right now in this receiving corps. Carson Wentz looked his way over twice as much as any other Eagle. I think he should be your second priority among receivers behind Claypool heading into this week's waiver wires.

Jeff Smith, New York Jets

1% rostered

Follow the targets? Okay, let's talk about Jeff Smith then. His 11 targets led the Jets this week, but he caught just three passes for 23 yards. Pretty huge discrepancy there between potential production and actual production. But Smith's been targeted 20 times in the last two games, and it's virtually impossible to ignore that level of opportunities. In deep leagues, Smith is worth a roster spot, though as the Jets get healthier, Smith is likely to slide out of the picture.

Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears

1% rostered

Say hello to the new No. 2 receiver on the Chicago Bears! Mooney's Week 5 game wasn't very good -- he caught two of his five targets for 15 yards -- but he's getting consistent targets right now and would have had a touchdown if not for a bad throw from Nick Foles. Mooney should be rostered in deep league because all second receivers should be rostered in deep leagues, and while he's probably not a future star or anything, he is a fairly exciting young player whose role should continue to grow as the season goes along.

Win Big With RotoBaller

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Wide Receiver Rankings & Start/Sit Advice - Week 5

Pierre Camus (@Roto_Chef) breaks down his weekly wide receiver rankings to help with tough fantasy football lineup decisions for Week 5 of the 2020 NFL season. Who should you start or sit among those in WR3/4 or Flex consideration?

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Week 5 WR Start/Sit

Pierre looks at wide receiver matchups to help fantasy football GMs decide who to put into lineups this week.

Players discussed in this episode:

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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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NextGen Stats - Wide Receiver/Tight End Breakdowns and Takeaways

I can't believe it. Months of waiting, painful empty weekends, and now a quarter of the NFL season is suddenly gone! But I'm not going to lie, I love the moment when the whistle blows to end the week on Monday nights. It is just the confirmation that we have another full round of data in our hands, and for a nerd like me, that's great. As a reader that likes this type of content, you might feel the same.

To gain the biggest edge in your fantasy football league, it's necessary to understand how to apply the advanced statistics being used in sports nowadays. Back in the day, it was all about wins and losses, passing yards, and touchdowns scored. It's not that those stats are now worthless, they just don't offer enough information to savvy analysts. While football is still in its infancy compared to baseball in terms of analytics, the evolution the sport has seen lately in those terms is notable.

Each week, I'll be tackling NFL's Next Gen Stats, bringing you data from the previous week's games with notable takeaways you should consider when assessing fantasy players for the upcoming week. In case you're new to the series, or Next Gen Stats altogether, I recommend you read our NGS-primer. Now, let's get to the data!


Week 4 - TE/WR Air Yards Breakdown - NextGenStats

If you remember the introductory post to the series, you already know Air Yards tells us the vertical yards on a pass attempt from the line of scrimmage to the point where the ball was caught by the receiver (or the catch failed to be completed.) I will be using mainly two metrics here: Average Targeted Air Yards (TAY), and %Share of Team's Air Yards (TAY%)TAY tells us how many air yards a receiver is thrown per target. TAY% measures the percentage of Air Yards a receiver was thrown at over the sum of his team's total Air Yards.

With four weeks in the books, we can (at least moderately) say that we have enough data to assess what and what not is going on at the wide receiver and tight end positions. This doesn't mean Air Yard values are already stabilized, not close to it, but it is highly probable that what we see in Weeks 1-4 stays mostly the same at least in the short-to-mid-term future, with high chances of staying on similar levels for the full season.

Today, I'll present each of the stats from the NFL's advanced metrics site, its correlation with receiver fantasy points, and a list of leaders and trailers in each category along with some notes and takeaways on both the players' and the metrics' impact on fantasy football as a whole.

So let's dive in. Note: The cutoff is set at 10 targets for both WR and TE.


Cushion / Separation

Correlation with Fantasy Points: negative-9% / 8%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • In a flip of what we saw over the full 2019 season, the SEP and the FP/G posted through four weeks of play correlate positively. Last season that wasn't the case, but so far (albeit on a very small sample of just four games) we're seeing the opposite to what happened last year. Don't get too high on it, as the relationship amounts to a virtually insignificant 9%...
  • Before we get deeper, let's give a shout-out to Demarcus Robinson for holding onto the highest SEP mark for another week, even with a low number of targets (11, min. set at 10 for W4) through four games. He's almost a full yard ahead of no. 2 Robert Tonyan and that's the same distance as there is between Tonyan and no. 7 George Kittle.
  • As always, plenty of tight ends made it to the top of the leaderboard. They get targeted mostly when they're open, and that's why five of the top 11 players in SEP play at that position. That doesn't mean they aren't all good enough to get separation on their own merits instead of always being left open by defenses, though (looking at you, Kittle).
  • There are 135 qualified WR/TEs in this week's rundown. Grouped by team, Kansas City is the squad with the highest SEP on average (3.9) yards, followed by Seattle (3.5) and Arizona (3.4).
  • On the other end of the SEP leaderboard, the Dolphins trail every other squad on average SEP among their receivers (2.0), with Chicago at 2.3 and Detroit at 2.3. Don't hate on Fitzpatrick, Trubisky, or Foles: those receiving corps are making things tough as nails for them all to complete passes on such tight spaces.
  • As is often the case, and as the first point of this section highlights, high or low SEP marks don't translate into more or fewer fantasy points. Green Bay receivers have the highest PPG average at 16.6 with a SEP of 3.3 but are followed by Minnesota's (16.5 PPG) with a SEP of 2.5...
  • While receivers can control their separation averages, they can't directly affect the cushion defenders give them. Although virtually not related to fantasy points in any way, the relationship is negative: more cushion, fewer PPG.
  • At the top of the leaderboard, your usual suspects: burners in the shape of K.J. Hamler (8.7 CUSH) and DeSean Jackson (8.1). More interesting, though, are the cases of elite players like DeAndre Hopkins (7.7) and Amari Cooper (7.4), as they can do it all and the cushion they are given is more related to their all-around abilities rather than just their deep-route running.
  • Through Week 4, only 28 receivers are averaging 15+ PPG. Of those, only Hopkins, Cooper, and Adam Thielen have CUSH marks above 6.7 (all 7.3+).
  • At the same time, only five players are averaging 15+ PPG while being given fewer than 5.0 yards of CUSH (Allen Robinson II, Robert Tonyan, Davante Adams, Terry McLaurin, and DK Metcalf).
  • Breakdown by teams: Denver (6.9), Carolina (6.8), and the Jets (6.5) receivers are given the largest CUSH on the league; Indianapolis (4.9), Green Bay (5.0), and Cleveland (5.0) the smallest. Not a coincidence the leading two teams have K.J. Hamler/Tim Patrick/Robby Anderson, while the trailing two feature the likes of Mo Alie-Cox/Robert Tonyan/Michael Pittman Jr.
  • As a curiosity: A.J. Green as the worst combined CUSH+SEP mark at just 6.0 yards. Defenders have closed on him, and he has been absolutely terrible at getting separation at the point of the catch. Forgettable season by the veteran on his comeback year.


Targeted Air Yards / % Share of Team's Air Yards

Correlation with Fantasy Points: 6% / 46%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • Opportunity trumps everything in fantasy football, and it can be seen in the highly related link between the percentage of yards a team/QB throws toward a player and the fantasy point he scores.
  • This is made clear by the table above, which I have sorted by Targeted Air Yards% (among teammates). Virtually every player (except MVS) shown at the top of the table (and in fact, every player with a TAY% higher than 34%) is averaging double-digit fantasy points through Week 4.
  • Oh, and this has yet to catch up in terms of correlation with fantasy points: last season the relationship ended at a positive 71% between TAY% and PPG, so we're still way behind that mark.
  • While Justin Jefferson has had a breakout during the past two weeks, he's miles away from reaching Adam Thielen's league-leading TAY% of 49.1 percent. Thielen is the only player getting more than 40% of his team's AY while keeping up a catch rate above 64%.
  • Speaking of Thielen, Minnesota's qualified receivers also have the highest TAY average of all teams at 14.9. Not only that, but the distance with the second-highest team (Denver, 12.2 TAY) is as big as that between Denver and no. 19 (!) Jacksonville (9.5 TAY).
  • All five Kansas City's qualified receivers (min. 10 targets) make up for 100% of the team's TAY%. They are the only team to reach that full percentage. Seattle's four players sit second at 95%, with Dallas (five players) and Tampa Bay (six) at 94%.
  • At the other end, Las Vegas' qualified receivers (three players, min. 10 targets) only account for 55.9% of the team TAY, followed by Tennessee (three) at 61.5% and the Jets (four) at 67.2%.
  • Those last two points highlight the difference between established offenses that always operate on the same terms and use the same players and squads that have suffered injuries and have needed to share the ball between many more players to start the year.
  • The relationship between aDOT (TAY) and fantasy points is almost nonexistent, but at least there is some positive correlation there. Not much, though, as six players have 16.8+ TAY marks and three of them are averaging 10+ PPG while the other three are below that mark...
  • Marquise Brown has the highest TAY (17.7) and also the third-highest TAY% (44.9) among all qualified players. He's both a deep threat and the most sought-after player by Lamar Jackson.
  • In a completely opposite situation, Michael Gallup ranks second in TAY (17.4) but his TAY% among Cowboys only gets to 26.4%. I mean, that's the secondary effect of playing in such a loaded offense that features all of Gallup, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Ezekiel Elliott...
  • Only five of 35 qualified tight ends currently have aDOT marks above 10.0 yards per target. Of those, just two (Mark Andrews and Mike Gesicki) hold those values while having been targeted 20+ times through four games.
  • Even with a paltry 5.8 TAY Darren Waller has gathered 25.5 of Las Vegas' TAY%. Obviously, that's because he's been targeted a monster 40 times already, while no other tight end is over 33 targets (Kelce) in four games combined.
  • After his incredible Week 4 performance, George Kittle leads all WR/TEs in PPG with 24.7. Even with that, he only has a TAY% in San Francisco of 15.2%. Davante Adams is in a similar situation, having just 14.95% of Green Bay's TAY%. The common denominator: both have missed time, lowering their shares as they couldn't rack up AY while their teammates did.
  • Other than those two outliers, every WR/TE averaging 18+ PPG currently holds a TAY% of at least 20%. Again, the correlation is just at 41% through four games, while last season it ended at 71%, so expect the likes of Justin Jefferson, Darren Waller, Cooper Kupp, Keenan Allen, or Mike Evans (all with TAY% above 20% already) to improve their PPG averages through the next few weeks.


Receptions / Targets / Catch% / Touchdowns

Correlation with Fantasy Points: 74% / 62% / 35% / 80%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • Obviously, receptions trump targets in terms of fantasy-point production (in PPR formats, that is) because well, they hand out actual fantasy points. That's why 14 of 16 (87.5%) players with 20+ receptions are averaging 16+ PPG through four weeks of play.
  • Up to 37 receivers have logged between 15 and 19 receptions but only eight of them (21.6%) are averaging 15+ PPG.
  • All but four of 28 players averaging 15+ PPG have been targeted 20+ times. The four with fewer than 20 targets still putting up those PPG: DJ Chark Jr., JuJu Smith-Schuster, Allen Lazard, and Kenny Golladay (all missed time, which if it hadn't happened would have fostered them to the 20+ target group).
  • With 40 targets in 4 games, Darren Waller is the only tight end averaging 10+ per game, which tells you everything you need to know about Las Vegas' offense. Kelce is second at 33 with Engram coming in third with 30.
  • Five wideouts with 40+ targets, but with widely varying receiving numbers: only Cooper and Hopkins have catch rates above 65% while Keenan Allen, Allen Robinson, and Calvin Ridley are at or below that mark.
  • Of the wide receivers with those 40+ targets through four games, expect some positive regression on the touchdown department for the top three as they only have one TD on the year. Just on pure volume, the scores will come without a doubt.
  • Just one player holding onto the perfect 100% catch rate through four weeks while having 10+ targets: Willie Snead IV, 10-for-10. His PPG average: a putrid 6.9...
  • Actual impressive catch rates: Kittle 95% (19-for-20, 24.7 PPG), DJ Chark Jr. 93.8% (15-for-16, 17.8), Davante 85% (17-for-20, 24.1), and Hopkins 84.8% (39-for-46, 21.2).
  • One thing is not like the others in the chart above: A.J. Green has 33 targets... and just 14 catches for a catch rate of 42.4% and an average of 6.5 PPG. Stinker of a season so far for him, being the only player with more than 28 targets and a catch rate below 51%.
  • Shouts out to Mike Evans and Robert Tonyan (what) for being the only players with more than a touchdown per game through four weeks. Evans, I can understand, but Tonyan has overperformed as hell with a TD rate of 35.7% per target (5 in just 14 targets, three scores in Week 4 alone).
  • Positive touchdown-regression tracker: Green, D.J. Moore, Edelman, and Engram have 30+ targets and no scores. Cooper, Allen, Hopkins, and Waller have 40+ (!) targets and just one TD.
  • Negative touchdown-regression tracker: Tonyan, Andrews, Jonnu Smith, JuJu, Chark, and Higbee all have 3+ TDs on 20 or fewer targets.


Yards / "Total" Yards (Air Yds + YAC) / "Air" Yards

Correlation with Fantasy Points (based on the 2019 season): 80% / 70% / negative-8%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • Nothing surprising here, as receiving yardage is factored into the calculation of fantasy points without much hard-math involved. Leaders in yardage average the most fantasy points, with touchdowns and receptions just being a weekly bonus to their tallies.
  • The race is hot at the top: three players with 400+ receiving yards already and all inside a two-yard gap. Oh, and it is not that no. 4 Hopkins is far from them with 397 himself...
  • Also: Kelce is the most ridiculous thing to grace a gridiron. That's it. That's the take.
  • Counting stats are nice, but what if we factor targets in? That changes the picture, vastly. Among receivers with 20+ targets, Justin Jefferson has the highest Y/T at 17.4 followed by DK Metcalf (ridiculous season), Will Fuller V, and Scotty Miller. Shouts out to the three non-DK guys for exploiting the game with nobody expecting it!
  • Here's to hope David Moore, Mo Alie-Cox, Andy Isabella, Willie Snead IV, and Josh Reynolds see more targets down the road. All of them are averaging 11.0+ Y/T but none has been targeted more than 13 times this season.
  • The Air Yards leaderboard is always bonkers. Four players with 264+ air yards through four weeks, but widely varying percentages in terms of how many of their total yards have come through the actual air: from Calvin Ridley's 85.4% to Amari Cooper's 65.3%.
  • Of 18 receivers with at least 200 air yards, only two (Justin Jefferson and DeAndre Hopkins) have YAC% of 35%+. That's the sweet spot: reliable targets downfield with the bonus upside after the catch.
  • Kudos to Isaiah Wright for pulling off the negative-AY feat with minus-5 air yards and 44 total yards on the season, generating 111% of his yardage after the catch. LOL
  • The most airborne of players: Kenny Stills with only 1.1 percent YAC%, followed by Preston Williams (9 percent) and K.J. Hamler (11.5). Adam Thielen is fourth (13.4) but it is not that he's needed to catch-and-run a lot to generate fantasy points as Kirk Cousins has thrown his way in the end zone a lot and he already has 4 TDs through four games.


Yards After Catch / Expected YAC / YAC Above Expectation

Correlation with Fantasy Points (based on the 2019 season): 18% / 8% / 24%

Leaders and Trailers: 

Leaderboard Notes:

  • Even though it's been four weeks already, I would advise not getting too lost in this data for the time being. Things will take a little bit more to stabilize as more reps are factored into the stat lines.
  • Jamison Crowder keeps being the no. 1 player over expectations, but as you know that is still the secondary effect of his Week 1 reception for a touchdown that absolutely skewed his +/- as he dodged the defense and added a ton of yards after the catch in a single play, boosting his overperformance.
  • Someone I trust more, though, is no. 2 Justin Jefferson. I was hesitant after his Week 3 performance, but he doubled down on it in Week 4, and with back-to-back great showcases I'm getting every Jefferson share I can put my hands on. Kid's legit, folks.
  • All players with a plus/minus of 2.5+ currently averaging 14+ PPG, with four of them almost at 18+. Bet on overachievers, they have the ability in them.
  • Only Davante Adams (-0.1) and Tyler Lockett (-0.3) have negative YACOE (+/-) while still averaging 20+ PPG.
  • At the other end, though, among the worst receivers on average PPG (below 4.6) only three (Deonte Harris, Van Jefferson, and Demarcus Robinson have positive YACOE marks. Those are middling names that have been targeted just 10 or 11 times, though.
  • Looking at receivers with at least 20 targets so far, we find 73 qualified players. Of those 73, 24 are averaging negative YACOE and are averaging 12.4 PPG. The remaining 49 have positive YACOE marks and are averaging 13.3 PPG.
  • In the same group of 73, there are 14 players at-or-below -0.5 YACOE and they are averaging 12.1 PPG. There are 21 players at-or-above 1.0 YACOE and they are averaging 13.5 PPG. The distance between both groups will keep rising, as the correlation should go up as we get deeper into the season (judging by 2019 stats).

That's it for today. Until we meet again next week, I hope you can crush your waiver wire, set up the best possible lineup, and get ready for another weekend full of fireworks!

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Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 5

Another week is in the books, though not how we expected, with one game postponed until later in the year and Patriots/Chiefs postponed until Monday night.

We saw some good wide receiver performances this week, some of which came from unexpected places. We saw two long touchdowns from random Chargers receivers, for example! Who expected that! (Those two players aren't in this article because they each saw just one target, though.)

Not all options are the same. Some players may be better in PPR or deeper leagues, so it’s not a one-size-fits-all comparison. Use your best judgment when deciding which of these players is the right fit for your roster. Check here for a complete list of our Waiver Wire Adds for Week 2 for help at all the skill positions. All players on this list here are around 30% rostered or below.


Tre'Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints

27% rostered

While the impending return of Michael Thomas will cut into his value, Smith is still an ascending player on this Saints team. He had four catches for 54 yards and two  scores this week and now has 13 receptions over the last three weeks. Yes, he takes a major hit if Thomas is back next week, but with a Week 6 bye, the Saints could play it safe and let Smith be their main receiver again next week. If so, he's a great start in a flex spot in 12-team leagues.

Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills

25% rostered

Y'all. Beasley keeps being underused in fantasy. He had his first touchdown of the year this week and while his target share took a bit of a dive, he still had another solid fantasy day. Beasley's a must-roster player in 12-team full PPR leagues, so it's weird that he's available in 75 percent of leagues. I get why you wouldn't have him in standard because he does rely on short catches too much sometimes, but he's been a startable fantasy option all year!!!

Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars

24% rostered

D.J. Chark Jr. is the clear No. 1 receiver in Jacksonville, but the No. 2 role remains completely up for grabs. Keelan Cole staked an early claim to it, but seems to be fading back into No. 3 guy territory, opening room for the rookie Shenault. This week, he caught five passes for 86 yards and also added a five-yard carry. It seems that Shenault's trending towards being that second weapon for quarterback Gardner Minshew II.

Scotty Miller, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

16% rostered

Miller's role continues to grow on this team. This week saw him find the end zone for the first time, as he finished with five catches for 83 yards and a score. He's had 73 or more yards in three of Tampa's four games this year and is pretty solidly rosterable in most formats at this point. He's also playable against the Bears on a short week with Tampa dealing with a lot of injuries to their skill position players.

Zach Pascal, Indianapolis Colts

4% rostered

Seems like the whole Colts team is beat up, with Michael Pittman Jr. and Parris Campbell both out right now. And with neither guy playing this week, Pascal was targeted eight times, bringing in three of them for 58 yards. Starting wide receivers on Philip Rivers-led offenses should be rostered in more than four percent of leagues. Pascal's a high-floor flex play in deep leagues until the Colts get some receivers back.

Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos

1% rostered

At this point, we all know the story in Denver: Courtland Sutton is done for the year and someone has to step up aside from Jerry Jeudy in this wide receiving corps.

Maybe that someone is Tim Patrick?

Patrick was targeted seven times this week, catching six of them for 13 yards and a touchdown. He's now scored touchdowns in back-to-back weeks, and while he's not going to win you a fantasy league, he's a solid deep league play at this point. I'd be especially interested in him in Week 6 against Miami, if you're looking a little ahead.

Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears

1% rostered

RIP, Anthony Miller hype and hello, Darnell Mooney hype. As Miller's role continues to shrink, Mooney's grows. His nine targets this week were second on the team to Allen Robinson, and he brought in five of them for 52 yards. While not the most exciting player in the world, Mooney is a streamable deep league option for the Bears and could wind up as more than that down the stretch, so getting him early is a smart move.

Isaiah Ford, Miami Dolphins

1% rostered

In Week 2, Ford was targeted nine times, but then last week that number shrunk to two, so it seemed like we were wrong on him. But against Seattle, he ended up with 10 targets, and while he only brought four of them in for 48 yards, that target share is interesting.

Granted, DeVante Parker exited the game for awhile before returning, which helped Ford but in a pass-happy offense like Miami, there's room for a player like Ford to be a viable deep league option depending on the matchup.

David Moore, Seattle Seahawks

1% rostered

I mean, if you need a deep league play, you can do worse than Moore, who has a pair of touchdowns this year. Seattle's explosive offense is going to lead to a few strong games for Moore, though his role in the offense will also lead to some duds. But hey, if you need to take a big swing in a 16-team league, Moore's an option!

Nelson Agholor, Las Vegas Raiders

1% rostered

Yeah yeah yeah, I know you don't want to play Nelson Agholor, who has a reputation for drops. But the Raiders are dealing with injuries and Agholor had four catches for 44 yards and a touchdown. If they're still short on players against Kansas City and you desperately need a streamer...he's a decent option.

Jeff Smith, New York Jets

0% rostered

Well, that was unexpected.

Smith was activated off the IR before Thursday's game and ended up getting targeted nine times, catching seven of them for 81 yards. If everyone in New York was healthy, you probably wouldn't want Smith on your roster, but at this point, he's worth a look in deep leagues solely on the hopes that things continue on the injury-riddled path they've been on and Smith maintains a solid role.

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Wide Receiver Rankings & Start/Sit Advice - Week 4

Pierre Camus (@Roto_Chef) breaks down his weekly wide receiver rankings to help with tough fantasy football lineup decisions for Week 4 of the 2020 NFL season. Who should you start or sit among those in WR3/4 or Flex consideration?

Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well!

Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller Radio on SiriusXM (channel Sirius 210, XM 87) - every weekday morning between 6-7 AM ET. You can also find new weekly shows on the site under RotoBaller Radio podcasts.


Week 4 WR Start/Sit

Pierre looks at wide receiver matchups to help fantasy football GMs decide who to put into lineups this week.

Players discussed in this episode:

DeAndre Hopkins
Julio Jones
Odell Beckham Jr.
Julian Edelman
DeVante Parker
Terry McLaurin
Justin Jefferson
TY Hilton
Marquez Valdes-Scantling
Hunter Renfrow
Randall Cobb

Thanks for listening to today's episode! Be sure to tune in throughout the week, and to also follow RotoBaller on Twitter, YouTube and iTunes for the latest fantasy news and analysis. We are your secret weapon...

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Regression is Coming - Five Players Bound to Decline

It's been three weeks of games already. That means we're quickly approaching the completion of the first quarter of the season. Time flies, folks. With a big enough sample of data already in our hands, it's time we start separating the wheat from the chaff before it's too late. And that's what I'm here for.

By my count, at least 90 players--all positions considered--have been on the field for 150 or more snaps so far this season. Those 90 players are averaging 186 snaps through Week 3, which means they are playing near 62 any given Sunday. More than enough to put up numbers, right? Well, that's correct, but how are they scoring fantasy points? Are they getting them with season-long sustainable production, or have they just put on some fluky, bound to regress performances?

Today, I'm taking a look at some players around the league to let you know about their scoring so far this season, and how it is more than probable that they drop their production levels during the next few weeks. Let's go analyze!


Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

Before you close this tab and label me as a hater, let me tell you that I am and have always been Allen's no. 1 stan. This is not hating on Allen, it is just pointing out facts.

After three games, Allen leads all quarterbacks (tied with Russell Wilson) in fantasy points (100.9) and is second in FP per dropback with 0.79 (Wilson is first with 0.83). You can make a case for Wilson to drop his production too, but Wilson at least has some serious track record to make me believe he can average 20+ FPPG while Allen has been average through two pro-years averaging 17 and 18 FP per game.

So far, Allen has completed 81 passes against 6 drops. Among QBs with at least 100 pass attempts (20), Allen has the 9th-lowest drop-to-completion ratio. He has also passed for more than 300 yards in all three games of the season, being the only player to do so. He's second to Wilson (14) in touchdowns with 10 in three games.

Although he's not the highest-yardage rusher of the league (8th, 83 rushing yards) Allen has scored 2 TDs on the ground already, becoming one of just five QBs having 2+ scores rushing through W3.

While Allen ranks first in EP, that is, has had the best chances at getting high fantasy-point tallies, he's also third at the QB position in surpassing the expectations. In fact, strictly looking at passing numbers, he ranks second with 22.7 FPOE. All things considered, it's going to be tough for Allen to keep all of those marks up for much longer.


James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars

Former Illinois State running back and undrafted free-agent signee James Robinson has taken the league by storm in his rookie season. Three weeks into the year, Robinson is the RB5 only behind Kamara, Jones, Elliott, and Gordon in PPR points. He's already reached 61.9 for an average of 20.6 FPPG after replacing always-underperforming Leonard Fournette in Jacksonville. That, my friends, is unexpected and probably unsustainable at the very least.

It is too early to know if Robinson's performances are just a fluke, or if he's actually a stud on his way to becoming one the best rushers in the league. That being said, though, the EP he's been put in position to get (22nd-most among RBs) and the way in which he's overperforming the expectations (3rd-highest FPOE) don't align at all. And the marks he's putting up make it clear.

Robinson has played 101 snaps in 2020. In those plays, he has seen 54 opportunities and turned 53 of them in actual touches. He's converted 10 of 11 targets and rushed the ball 43 times already. Not only is Robinson good at running with the rock, but he's also played to an incredible level as a low-volume receiver so far this season averaging 11.7 yards per target and 12.9 per reception (both lead the league among RBs with at least 10 targets, and it is not even close).

Only two other RBs are generating more PPR points per snap (Mostert, Kamara, and Jones) than Robinson (0.61) among players with at least 25 opportunities through W3, and Robinson is also generating the 8th-highest PPR points per touch (1.17). The rookie has scored 3 TDs too, one of only 10 rushers to do so this season.


Rex Burkhead, New England Patriots

Veteran rusher Rex Burkhead is currently the RB17 in PPR leagues. He's scored 46.9 points in three games playing for the Patriots and as part of an infinite-RB-committee backfield that will be welcoming back even more players soon.

Looking at Burkhead counting stats you'll be amazed at his production given his low-key profile entering the year: he is averaging 15.6 FPPG, has caught 11 of 15 targets for 96 yards and a score, and most importantly he's rushed the ball a super-efficient 19 times for 83 yards (4.4 YPC) and 2 TDs on the season.

Now compare those numbers to these ones: 13 rushing attempts, 4 of 6 receptions, 81 yards from scrimmage, zero touchdowns. Those were Burkhead numbers in weeks 1-2. And those stats are most probably what we should expect from Burkhead going forward, not his monster W3 performance (6 carries for 49 yards and 2 TDs, 7 receptions for 49 yards and 1 TD).

Rex Burkhead featured in 13 games in 2019 and finished with 103.1 PPR points as the RB47. This season, in just three games, he's already at 46.9 (that is 45.5 percent of all points he got last season in four-times more games). Among running backs with at least 30 touches through Week 3, Burkhead (1.56) ranks second to Alvin Kamara (1.84) in PPR points per touch and he's 13th in PPR points per snap played.

Of Burkhead's 46.9 PPR points, 74.2 percent of them came in just his Week 3 performance against Las Vegas. Forget about this becoming the average and expect a hard-hitting regression coming his way.


D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks

Truth be told, calling Metcalf regression-bound might be a stretch at this point. The Seahawk has played all three games to an impossibly steady average level of performance: 19.5, 19.2, and 19.0 are the PPR points he's scored to start the season, which amounts to virtually no variation at all in his scores. And in fact, his stats have been very similar game to game: 4 receptions in each of them, 95/92/110 yards in order, and one TD in every game. That's insane.

Obviously, such a great three-game span has Metcalf ranked as the WR5 in 2020 with 57.7 fantasy points. Now, the problem I see with Metcalf is his usage and the ridiculous efficiency he's put up through Week 3. Metcalf has played 199 snaps, and just for context, Tyler Lockett has played 194 himself in the same offense. Lockett has scored 73.9 PPR points in the same games.

The difference between Lockett and Metcalf, though, is that Lockett is averaging a reasonable 0.38 PPR points per snap to Metcalf's 0.30, but Metcalf is outperforming Locket by a thousand miles in PPR points per touch: Metcalf has just 12 receptions for 297 yards and 3 TDs (should have been 4 had he not fumbled in W3 near the end zone) while Lockett has 259 yards and 4 TDs in twice those receptions (24).

Metcalf has caught just 60% of the passes thrown his way, has an aDOT of 17.5 yards downfield (third-highest among WRs targeted 20+ times), and his averages of 14.9 Y/Tgt and 24.8 Y/R (!!!) aren't even close to the rest of the players at the position. To put a cherry on top of this unsustainable level of performance, Metcalf is also averaging 5.3 YAC good for 6th among WRs.

We all know Russ is cooking, and Metcalf is definitely eating. But at this rate, the logical next event is for Metcalf to put on a dud and have very serious indigestion served by Chef Wilson.


Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans

As I'm writing this (Saturday), we have already watched the match between the Jets and the Broncos from the W4 scheduled games. Right now only three tight ends have reached 49+ PPR points in the season (Smith, Noah Fant, and Travis Kelce) and just two are averaging more than 14 FPPG (Kelce and Smith). Not bad, right?

Jonnu Smith (179) leads Tennessee is snaps played, followed by Corey Davis (171) and Derrick Henry (161). One man missing that top-three but expected to get there in due time: WR A.J. Brown, who has been out from Week 2 on after getting injured. That alone is reason enough to expect some regression from Smith. But there is more to it.

In a similar case to that of Burkhead (read above), Jonnu Smith has tallied most of his fantasy points in just one game in Week 2. After starting the season with a relatively good game (4-36-1 for 13.6 PPR points) he absolutely exploded in Week 2 against Jacksonville posting a 4-84-2 line that rocketed Smith to 24.4 fantasy points and a TE4 finish on the week. He came back to Earth already last weekend when he could only reach 11.1 PPR points even while having a season-high in receptions with 5 and being targeted the most times so far this season (8).

The tight end position holds no secrets. It is the most volatile one, and heavily touchdown-dependent. Up to 25 tight ends have been on the field 120+ snaps through Week 3 and W4's TNF. Of those, Jonnu Smith is averaging the second-most PPR points per snap (0.27) while "only" having 181 receiving yards compared to Fant's 219 and Kelce's 227. The reason? Smith's 3 TDs compared to Kelce's and Fant's 2 TDs.

On top of all of the prior numbers, Smith is also posting the highest YAC average at 7.5 yards (T.J. Hockenson is second at 7.3; no other TE is over 6.5 YAC), the highest Y/R average at 13.9 (Higbee is second at 13.4)... but one of the lowest catch rates among the heavy-use TEs this year catching just 65% of his targets (Kelce, for context, is catching 84% of his targets).

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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.


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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Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 4

Week 3 is in the books. It was a week of close, exciting games, and also the week that the Bengals and Eagles played to a tie, with both teams giving up at the very end to avoid losing. That was a very bad overtime.

Anyway, wide receivers! That's why you're here! Read on to see why you should add a couple of guys from that aforementioned Cincy/Philly game, plus a bunch of other guys.

Not all options are the same. Some players may be better in PPR or deeper leagues, so it’s not a one-size-fits-all comparison. Use your best judgment when deciding which of these players is the right fit for your roster. Check here for a complete list of our Waiver Wire Adds for Week 2 for help at all the skill positions. All players on this list here are around 30% rostered or below.


Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

29% rostered

This was the Justin Jefferson break out that we were waiting on.

The Vikings offense had looked bad through two games, in large part because without Stefon Diggs across from Adam Thielen, there wasn't an outside weapon for Kirk Cousins. Jefferson had been used some over the first two games, but this was the day when he became a viable fantasy option, catching seven of his nine targets for 175 yards and a score. His 71-yard touchdown showed that he can make big plays. Get Jefferson on your roster in 12-team leagues, because his role is going to remain large moving forward, even if he doesn't have games as explosive as this on a weekly basis.

Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers

27% rostered

Versatility! Aiyuk caught five passes for 70 yards and added three carries for 31 and a score. He can be the end-around guy for this offense right now and while the impending return of Deebo Samuel will take opportunities away from Aiyuk, this is an offense in need of playmakers, so Aiyuk should have a pretty sizable role going forward.

Scotty Miller, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

16% rostered

Chris Godwin left Sunday's game with a hamstring injury. Miller, meanwhile, tied Mike Evans for second on the team in targets, catching three of his five for 83 yards. With Evans having some weird usage -- his two catches went for just two yards, but also for two touchdowns -- Miller could be a huge beneficiary of a Godwin absence next week and would be the main short-yardage weapon for Tom Brady.

James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers

11% rostered

Diontae Johnson left Sunday's game with a concussion. With the short-term status of the top Steelers receiver in question, Washington -- who led the receivers in targets with seven -- is a strong waiver addition this week. If Johnson's back, you probably keep Washington on your bench, but if Johnson is out in Week 4, Washington is solid flex option in 12-team leagues against the Titans.

Hunter Renfrow, Las Vegas Raiders

10% rostered

Entering Week 3 with just five targets on the year, Renfrow exploded on Sunday. He was targeted nine times, pulling in six of them for 84 yards and a touchdown. He was also about a yard away from having a second touchdown after one was called back via review. The slot receiver is an appealing play in deeper full-PPR leagues than he is elsewhere, but overall he's a reliable target for Derek Carr who should have some good games coming up as the Raiders likely will have pass-heavy game scripts in their next three games.

Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills

9% rostered

Beasley keeps getting targets, keeps getting yards, and keeps getting under-rostered in fantasy leagues. He was targeted seven times against the Rams and now has been targeted 20 times this year. He caught six of them for 100 yards in this one. Beasley won't always have triple-digit yards, but he will always have a chance to get five or six receptions, making him a great roster option in full PPR leagues.

Randall Cobb, Houston Texans

6% rostered

Should you roster Randall Cobb? As a Texans fan, I have to say "man, I don't know." Cobb's been pretty inconsistent this year, but Sunday seemed to see him trending in the right direction as he caught four passes for 95 yards and a score. He's seen an increase in yards each week and has some plus matchups coming up. Cobb's a good addition in deep leagues and someone who can be played against teams who struggle with slot receivers.

Kendrick Bourne, San Francisco 49ers

6% rostered

The argument for Bourne is basically the same as the argument for Aiyuk, minus the versatility of Aiyuk. Bourne has been targeted at least five times in each game and has consecutive games with at least 63 yards. Once players start returning to this team, Bourne might see a drop in how much usage he's getting, but until then, he's a solid deep-league flex play.

Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals

4% rostered

When John Ross was made a healthy scratch ahead of Sunday's game, it became pretty clear that the Bengals wanted to concentrate more on their rookie wideout. And concentrate on Higgins they did, as he was targeted nine times, catching five of those targets for 40 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Joe Burrow and the Bengals will be playing from behind a lot this season, which should allow ample chances for Higgins to have solid fantasy performances, though don't expect him to get a pair of touchdowns every week.

Braxton Berrios, New York Jets

1% rostered

Yikes, the was a rough game for the Jets. The only bright spot was Berrios, who had four catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. I really like Berrios as a deep-league streaming option as long as the entire Jets receiving corps is out. The reason I don't like him in shallower formats? Because his value is entirely dependent on every better option on this team being hurt, which is obviously a bad sign.

Andy Isabella, Arizona Cardinals

1% rostered

Isabella was only third of the receivers in targets, with DeAndre Hopkins leading the way and KeeSean Johnson getting seven targets. But Isabella made the most of his four chances, catching all of the for 47 yards and two scores. Isabella isn't the most reliable fantasy option, but he's trending up and is rosterable in 14-team leagues now.

Gabriel Davis, Buffalo Bills

0% rostered

With John Brown missing a large chunk of this game with a calf injury, Davis was targeted four times, catching all of them for 81 yards. If Brown misses time, I like Davis as a deep-league option and a deep threat for quarterback Josh Allen.

Dontrelle Inman, Washington Football Team

0% rostered

Inman caught two touchdowns. Washington doesn't have a lot of talent. Put those two things together and I can see why managers in really deep leagues would look at Inman, though I'll be honest here -- I'm only writing about him because I told myself I have to mention anyone who scored multiple touchdowns, no matter how risky their rest-of-season outlook is. Grab him in a 16-teamer, I guess.

Greg Ward, Philadelphia Eagles

0% rostered

Ward was targeted 11 times against the Bengals, catching eight of them for 72 yards and a score. His performance was aided by injuries all over this Eagles offense, both before the game and during it. But hey, Ward showed that he can perform when pressed into a larger role, and if we get clarity before waiver runs that the Eagles will be banged up again for next week's game against the 49ers, he'll be a solid addition and potential deep league flex option.

Cedrick Wilson, Dallas Cowboys

0% rostered

Like I said earlier, I've got to mention anyone who had multiple touchdowns, if only to say "hey, let's make sense of this game, y'all." I don't think you need to go out and make Wilson a priority add this week, even though he caught five passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns. I do think if you've got a lower waiver position or just really need a receiver, you can make a speculative addition here, but he was still behind Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb in targets and Dak Prescott won't be throwing 57 passes every week.

Kalif Raymond, Tennessee Titans

0% rostered

Raymond caught three passes for 118 yards against the Vikings. He hadn't recorded a catch all season coming in. Raymond's got slight appeal in 16-team leagues provided A.J. Brown misses more time, but if Brown is back next week, Raymond's not worth a roster spot.

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Completed Air Yards Over Expectation - Fantasy Football Risers, Fallers

If you play fantasy football, you know your great deal of statistics and metrics. At the end of the day, we need some way to measure production. While the basic numbers (targets, receptions, yards,...) are often enough to give us a solid idea of what we're dealing with, the truth is that the deeper we dig, the more information we get, and the more data points we have to make sound decisions that help our teams.

At this point in time, the NFL analytics movement is going forward at a good pace and through the last few years, we have seen concepts make it to the surface and become mainstream when assessing players. Enter Air Yards, and "stats over expectation". For example, the very own NFL is publishing data related to how quarterbacks are completing passes over or under expectation over NextGenStats, that is, if they are connecting with receivers in plays they shouldn't (based on historical data) or the opposite. The same goes for rushers and the yards they gain, or receivers and the yards after catch they are able to rack up.

One metric that doesn't appear in NGS, though, is Completed Air Yards Over Expectation. Today, I'll be writing about it and how the field of NFL players have feared in that metric through two weeks of games and leading up to this Sunday's slate of games. Let's get to it.


Completed Air Yards Over Expectation (CAYOE) Model

Although the NFL has made public multiple "over-expectation" metrics already, one that is not available but can be easily calculated is the one named in this section's headline: Completed Air Yards Over Expectation (CAYOE). I'm not using NGS data nor model to calculate those values, though, so you might find some differences if you make calculations yourself using those numbers.

As we know the completion probability of every pass thrown by quarterbacks (from zero percent to 100 percent), the air yards traveled by each of those passes, and whether they finished as being completed throws or incomplete ones, we can calculate the CAYOE of each play/receiver and come up with a total and an average per target easily.


This is the formula I'm using:

CAYOE = (IF (Complete Pass) THEN (AirYds) ELSE 0) - (IF (AirYds)>0 then COMP%*AirYds ELSE 0)


Basically, I look for air yards gained in a play (AirYds if the pass is completed, 0 if it is not), and subtract CMP%*AirYds from it. That means that for example, a pass of 10 AirYds with a 100% chance of being completed would yield the following formula:

CAYOE = 10 - (1.0*10) = 0


Meaning the receiver was 100% expected to make the catch, and did so, so he gained no CAYOE at all. If the pass only had a 50% chance of being completed and the receiver hauled it in, though, that'd mean:

CAYOE = 10 - (0.5*10) = 10 - 5 = 5


The receiver would be expected to make that catch 50% of the times he's being targeted with it, and as he completed it, he gained 5 CAYOE. Had he missed the reception, then it'd have been "0 - 5 = -5 CAYOE".


CAYOE Leaders/Trailers Through Week 2 (Individual Games)

First of all, here is the leaderboard (top-10 leaders and bottom-10 trailers) through two weeks of games, with the performances taken individually--meaning each game is considered separate from each other instead of all combined (we'll tackle that in later in the next section). I have set the minimum targets at 5 for each player/game and sorted the leaderboard by CAYOE/Target.

Some quick takeaways:

  • Julian Edelman had an impossible Week 2 performance. He was targeted more than 10 times (it has happened only 28 times this season through two weeks of games) and racked up the most yards of every player in Weeks 1 and 2 with his 179 (16.2 per target). 86% of those yards came through the air, with just 25 after the catch.
  • Edelman's 83 CAYOE almost doubled the second-highest mark of the first two weeks (Darius Slayton's 43), although on a per-target average the difference wasn't that large between Edelman (7.5) and Marquise Brown (6.5).
  • Edelman's biggest bump in CAYOE came from this insane downfield completion (28% completion probability):


  • Don't get it wrong, though: Edelman's 83 CAYOE had little to do with his season average as he posted a negative minus-8 (-1.1 CAYOE/Tgt) in Week 1. The 83-mark was definitely a weekend-winning stat, but it was also a large outlier.
  • Minnesota had a great debut this season with Adam Thielen as its new WR1 after Diggs departure, and he played to the expected level--actually, over it. He was targeted 9 times, reached 112 yards virtually without needing YAC at all (4), and averaged 4.3 CAYOE/Tgt to make the top-10 so far this season. But look at what happened in Week 2: Thielen reached just under a quarter of his Week 1 yard-tally when he should have at least completed receptions for double his yards, and posted one of the bottom-10 CAYOE/Tgt of the first two weeks.
  • Both Odell Beckham Jr. and A.J. Green were the only players to post CAYOE marks at-or-under minus-45. No matter what, they were targeted 10+ times each and wildly underperformed the expectations with less than 30 completed air yards while expected to reach at least 59 in each of those two games.
  • Shame on Christian Kirk. The volume was low at just five targets, but he and his minus-3 completed air yards didn't help Kyler Murray at all while he should have racked up 26 for (at least) an average of 5.0 yards per target without taking potential YAC into account. His worst play in terms of CAYOE was a ball that he was so close to catching but ultimately couldn't:


CAYOE Leaders/Trailers Through Week 2 (Season Totals)

With the individual games covered, here is the season-long leaderboard (top-10 leaders and bottom-10 trailers) through two weeks of games. I have set the minimum targets at 10 for each player and sorted the leaderboard by CAYOE/Target over the year.

Some quick takeaways:

  • As I told you above, Edelman's Week 1 was far worse (he posted a negative CAYOE of minus-8) than his Week 2, but even with that he still leads the field through two weeks of play for an average of 4.2 CAYOE/Tgt. Brown also retains his no. 2 spot, in this case with steadier performances of 39 and 6 CAYOE respectively.
  • While Stefon Diggs has been targeted the fifth-most times this season (22), he ranks fifth overall in CAYOE/Tgt after hauling in passes for a combined 67 air yards over expectation. That raw mark is the second-largest only behind Edelman, but it's much healthier as Diggs had 27 CAYOE in W1 and 40 in W2 compared to the much-more-volatile Edelman numbers.
  • This has been Diggs' best play so far, good for all of 24 CAYOE in W2:


  • Atlanta's Calvin Ridley is the only player to have accrued more than 200 completed air yards through Week 2 games. He's 13 yards over second-best Stefon Diggs, although he's averaged 0.5 CAYOE/Tgt less than the latter and both are tied with 239 receiving yards.
  • If we go by expected-CAY, then the best receivers of the season should actually be D.J. Moore (153 eCAY) and A.J. Green (148). While Moore has produced at least to those expectations (160 CAY, 0.3 CAYOE/Tgt), Green has been absolutely atrocious with just 67 CAY for a minus-3.7 CAYOE/Tgt.
  • No wonder why Green is the worst receiver so far, no matter the angle you look at him from:


  • Although Corey Davis missed on the top-10, he's got the 15th-best CAYOE mark of the year so far and he's converted the most targets in first downs (77%). Only Cooper Kupp (73%) and Calvin Ridley (70%) are at-or-above 70% on the season while targeted at least 10 times.
  • One of the most talked-about players during the first couple of weeks of the season has been TE Logan Thomas, from Washington. He's been good for TE18 through Week 2, but he's been far from efficient completing just 36 air yards of an expected 73 (minus-2.2 CAYOE/Tgt) and still tied with Terry McLaurin (another underperformed) in targets (17).
  • This pass-incomplete combination between QB Dwayne Haskins Jr. and TE Logan Thomas has been the most costly CAYOE-wise from the tight end (minus-9.7 CAYOE, 70% completion probability):


Get ready for another Sunday of action, packed-full of interesting matchups. With three matches in the bag when all is said and done after today's (and tomorrow's) slate of games, we should start to see trends solidifying and outliers getting wiped out of the map. Here's to hope Julian Edelman keeps it up and A.J. Green rebounds to his years-prior self and helps Joe Burrow at least a bit more than he has so far this season.

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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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Corey Davis's Fantasy Value Is Here To Stay

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Corey Davis is finally enjoying some semblance of a breakout and it has been long overdue. The former fifth-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft has had a tumultuous start to his career with injuries, a lack of targets, and generally disappointing performances marring his real-life and fantasy value.

Davis's fifth-year option on his rookie contract was not picked up, leaving him a free agent after the 2020 season. It is in his best interest to perform as well as possible every year, but particularly, this year. Contract-year narratives are a tad overblown but there is an added sense of urgency and pressure to perform for players knowing that their careers are not guaranteed a few months ahead. Football is a brutal sport and every player needs to take care of themselves meticulously to navigate the confines of a 16-game season.

This piece is a follow up to my offseason article regarding Davis and why we should buy-in just once more. You can check that out here.


Consistency Finally Here?

Davis's fatal flaw is a lack of consistency. Through two games, he has put up 13 targets, 10 receptions, 137 yards and a TD (76.9% catch rate, 10.5 yards-per-target). Not particularly eye-popping but he has scored over 10 PPR points in each game which is something to keep an eye on. So often, we witness a game in which he looks to have broken out and the next game he falls flat.

Now, this article by no means intends that Davis is a superstar, The point is, with the caveat of health, Davis is fantasy-viable and an option to slide into our WR2 and/or FLEX spots from here on out, particularly with A.J. Brown out of commission with a lower-body bone bruise.

Notice below, some important numbers to note: his catch rate and yards-per-target have gone up each season of his career. He showed a solid rapport with current QB Ryan Tannehill in 2019 prior to injuring his hamstring and now, fully healthy, he seems to have re-kindled that relationship.

Corey Davis has graded out as the seventh-best WR in the NFL through two games and while this small sample is lofty in projecting his rest-of-season, we can rest assured knowing that what we have seen early on is not a result of flukey outcomes.

Also, upon A.J. Brown's return from injury, it is very likely that Davis returns to receiving secondary attention from defenses while Brown draws the primary focus of DBs. Davis might not always have the upper-hand in these matchups but he will have a marginal boost in seeing weaker coverage by the CB2 rather than the CB1 more often than not. Over the next few weeks, Davis has some excellent matchups in Minnesota and Houston along with some tougher ones with Pittsburgh and Buffalo. A.J. Brown should return by Week 5 to attract shutdown cornerback Tre'Davious White away from Davis.

For now, while Brown is out, Davis may have more difficult matchups, but that is made up for by the increase in targets allocated towards him. The Titans are extremely thin at receiver and need one or both of Davis/Brown to take on a significant chunk of the team's target share, even with the team more skewed towards the run.

Davis's athletic profile and build fits the mold of a WR1, however, he should remain the WR2 on his own team but could very well be productive for the rest of the season. Buy the new and improved Corey Davis as a true fantasy asset you can trust most weeks.

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Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 3

Whew, that was a rough day of football. It seemed like we just watched an endless parade of injuries all day.

It wasn't quite as rough for wide receivers as it was for other positions. But while your No. 1 waiver claim this week might not end up being a wide receiver, that doesn't mean you aren't going to find some useful, important value at the position on the wire.

Not all options are the same. Some players may be better in PPR or deeper leagues, so it’s not a one-size-fits-all comparison. Use your best judgment when deciding which of these players is the right fit for your roster. Check here for a complete list of our Waiver Wire Adds for Week 2 for help at all the skill positions. All players on this list here are around 30% rostered or below.


Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons

21% rostered

So, the Falcons are bad. This defense is just going to give out an never-ending stream of high-scoring games in 2020.

But that game script is good for Atlanta's receivers, who'll all get a lot of opportunities. Gage, for example, is coming off a six-catch, 46-yard Week 2 game in which he found the end zone. His role as the No. 3 receiver on this team appears to be safe, and he needs to be added in 12-team leagues at this point, because he's going to keep getting targets.

Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts

15% rostered

With Parris Campbell suffering an ACL injury on Sunday, the second-year receiver is likely going to miss some time, opening up a chance for the rookie Pittman to play more. This week, Pittman was tied for the team lead in targets with six, catching four of them for 37 yards.

The numbers themselves aren't super encouraging, but Pittman is a big-bodied outside receiver for Philip Rivers to throw to, and historically that's been a pretty good position to be in.

Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills

7% rostered

The Bills are throwing more than expected as Josh Allen has really started to see his throwing ability catch up to his rushing ability.

Beasley has been targeted 13 times in two games and against Miami caught five passes for 70 yards. The slot receiver has a fairly safe role as the short-yardage option for Allen, and while Beasley's not going to have an explosive week on an offense that features John Brown and Stefon Diggs, he has a strong floor in full PPR leagues and can help fantasy managers get through some injury woes.

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers

5% rostered

JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson are the top two receivers here, but it's becoming clear that James Washington's spot as the third guy isn't safe.

Why? Because Chase Claypool. The rookie had two catches for 39 yards in Week 1, then followed that up with three catches for 88 yards and a touchdown in Week 2.

That touchdown was an 84-yarder, so Claypool didn't do a ton aside from that, but he looked explosive on the touchdown and is an emerging weapon for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. He's not ready to be a fantasy starter, but you could get him now before his value goes even higher.

Keelan Cole, Jacksonville Jaguars

2% rostered

I cover Jaguars news for this website and even I didn't see this coming. Cole has gone from an afterthought in 2019 to a key player for the Jaguars in 2020 and has now caught a touchdown in both weeks of this season. Against the Titans, he was targeted seven times, hauling in six passes for 58 yards and the score.

The Jaguars Defense is going to be bad enough this year to lead to a very pro-passing game script, and the next couple of weeks look like good chances for Cole to pile up yardage against the Dolphins and Bengals. I'm not fully sold on Cole, but he's getting more targets than D.J. Chark Jr. and will likely have plenty of chances at finding the end zone. I'm having real "Allen Hurns in that one season with Blake Bortles" flashbacks here.

Adam Humphries, Tennessee Titans

2% rostered

This is all about A.J. Brown's knee injury. If Brown is back next week, I wouldn't have much interest in Humphries. But with Brown sidelined and Corey Davis being Corey Davis (three catches for 36 yards, though at least one catch was for a touchdown.), Humphries was targeted six times, catching five passes for 48 yards and a score. In a deep league, Humphries is a viable flex option until Brown returns.

K.J. Hamler, Denver Broncos

1% rostered

Courtland Sutton played despite his shoulder injury, then exited with some combination of a knee issue and cramping. If he misses more time, it looks like the rookie Hamler is gong to be able to make some noise. Hamler didn't play in Week 1, but this week he was targeted seven times, bringing in three catches for 48 yards. He added a nine-yard carry as well. Hamler is definitely more interesting in dynasty than redraft, but he has value as an injury replacement in deep redraft leagues.

Braxton Berrios, New York Jets

0% rostered

The Jets are a disaster at receiver. Jamison Crowder was out. Denzel Mims is on the IR. Breshad Perriman left Sunday's game with an ankle injury.

And so it was Chris Hogan and Braxton Berrios who led the team in targets.

Berrios -- who I liked a lot in the past and then honestly gave up on -- was targeted eight times, catching six passes for 59 yards and a score. He could be an interesting deep, deep league play in the short term, though it's worth remembering he's still Braxton Berrios.

Chris Hogan, New York Jets

0% rostered

Really, the same thing as Berrios, but the version who we've at least seen more of in the NFL. He had six catches for 75 yards this week and like Berrios is an option in deep leagues if the Jets injury woes continue another week.

Isaiah Ford, Miami Dolphins

0% rostered


Ford was targeted more than any other Dolphins wide receiver in Week 2 (and was second in targets to tight end Mike Gesicki) with nine of them. He caught seven for 76 yards. Ford was able to make an impact in the middle of the field, and in deep, deep leagues is an interesting upside guy moving forward, especially as it seems more and more that Preston Williams isn't the option that we thought he might be.

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NFL Week 1 Analysis: Trend or Anomaly?

In preparation for another weekend of fantasy football, you might be closely reviewing the previous week’s box scores as you try to get a leg up on your competition. There may have been only one week of football played so far this season, and yet, you’re diligently trying to identify any potential emerging trend that will help you make smart decisions as you set your lineups for Week 2.

We’ve been carefully poring over last week’s box scores too, and there were a few things that caught our attention. There were a few teams who, when it came to running their offenses, zigged when we thought they were going to zag.

The following are a few such examples with our take on whether or not they are legitimate examples of trends that will continue in the coming weeks.


Baltimore Ravens

Mark Ingram II and J.K. Dobbins played an almost identical number of offensive snaps in Week 1.

RotoBaller Evaluation: Trend

The Ravens' backfield is kind of hard to read after Week 1. Many presumed that Mark Ingram would be the Ravens’ lead back to start the season with J.K. Dobbins slowly increasing his role from week to week. However, J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram played an almost identical number of offensive snaps (23 vs. 21, respectively) and Dobbins got both of the team’s carries from inside the five-yard line. He scored TDs on both plays.

There were a total of 21 carries distributed among Ingram (10), Dobbins (7), and Gus Edwards (4). We’ll have to see if Dobbins continues to be the team’s goal-line back. Prior to the start of the season, Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Norman said that Mark Ingram remained the starter but “we’ll definitely use three every week and sometimes four… how we deploy them, that will change on a week-to-week basis a little bit.” Based on Week 1’s box score, that wasn’t just coach speak. It’s looking like the Ravens backfield could end up being a fantasy wasteland.


Indianapolis Colts

T.Y. Hilton played fewer snaps than Parris Campbell.

RotoBaller Evaluation: Trend

T.Y. Hilton has developed into a more complete wide receiver, but at his core, he’s a big-play threat whose strength remains in his ability to catch a deep ball. Unfortunately, new Colts QB Philip Rivers’ arm strength simply isn’t what it used to be. Parris Campbell makes his living catching passes near the line of scrimmage and using his explosiveness to turn short completions into big gains.

Let’s not overreact. T.Y. Hilton will still be a big part of the Colts’ pass offense and there will be weeks when he’ll play more snaps than Campbell. However, Campbell’s ability to run effective short to intermediate routes, which result in a high percentage of completed passes, might be a better fit for the Colts offense given Rivers’ current skillset. Keep in mind that as rookie Michael Pittman Jr., who is a big playmaker, becomes a bigger part of the Colts' pass offense, he’ll chip away at Hilton’s targets and snaps played percentage as well.


New Orleans Saints

Latavius Murray had more carries than Alvin Kamara.

RotoBaller Evaluation: Anomaly

Latavius Murray carried the ball 15 times for 48 yards compared to Alvin Kamara who carried the ball 12 times for 16 yards in Week 1. However, Kamara dominated when it came to snaps played. He played 45 offensive snaps (66%) and Murray played 23 offensive snaps (34%). Murray having more carries than Kamara in a given game shouldn’t really be all that shocking. Kamara has never really been your classic bell-cow type back, as he’s never had more than 194 carries in a given season. He’s a huge threat in the passing game as evidenced by his 81 receptions in each of his first three seasons in the NFL. He seems healthy to start the season, but let’s not forget that Kamara played with a torn MCL last season and opted to rehab the injury as opposed to undergoing surgery in the offseason. There were also reports that he received an epidural injection in his back at the end of August.

You have to believe that the Saints did their due diligence before signing Kamara to a five-year contract extension and consider his long term health prospects to be good. Since they have a legitimate complementary back like Latavius Murray on their roster, the Saints would be smart to manage Kamara’s usage in order to ensure that he remains productive for this season and for future seasons as well. It should be noted that the Saints ran the ball 51.52% of the time in Week 1, which is significantly higher than their 39.62% rate from 2019. We’ll have to monitor the Saints offense over the next couple of weeks to see if this becomes a trend. Perhaps Drew Brees’ weakened arm strength combined with star WR Michael Thomas’ high ankle sprain may force the Saints to run the ball more.


Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks ran the ball 20 times in Week 1. They averaged just over 30 rushing attempts per game last season.

RotoBaller Evaluation: Anomaly

By his own admission, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll loves to incorporate a prominent run game into his team’s offensive scheme. According to Carroll, “we love running the ball, we always have, and those guys will get more carries as we move down through the schedule.'' Those guys he’s talking about are Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde. The fact that Hyde had seven carries compared to Carson’s six in Week 1 was a bit odd, but Carson played more snaps (28) than Hyde (21). Neither Hyde (3.29 YPC) or Carson (3.5 YPC) were very effective in running the ball. However, Hyde did score a rushing TD and Carson pulled in six receptions and scored two receiving TDs.

According to Carroll, QB Russell Wilson was so effective moving the ball through the air in Week 1 that the game flow called for focusing on the passing game more. In the end, the Seahawks won, and that’s all he cares about. The Seahawks would be smart to run the ball a bit more in Week 2 against a dominant Patriots secondary.

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More Fantasy Football Analysis

2020 Fantasy Football Advice Editor Note NFL Analysis RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

Wide Receiver Snap Counts and Target Trends - Week 1 Analysis