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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.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Premium articles, rankings, projections, 15 lineup tools and daily Premium DFS research/tools including our Lineup Optimizer, Research Station and so much more! Sign Up Now!

 

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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