Fantasy WR Target Breakdown Heading into Week 2
The Gridiron Experts Wide Receiver Targets Analysis series takes you behind the scenes with the most advanced target information, including receiving fantasy points over expectation (reFPOE), air yards, receiver air conversion ratio (RACR), weighted opportunity rating (WOPR) and other metrics.
Did you know that six wide receivers had 12 or more targets in Week 1 with 12 having 10 or more? Quincy Enunwa (0.48), Julio Jones (0.44), and Odell Beckham (0.41) were the only WRs with a target share of 40 plus percent. Jones (282) and Jarvis Landry (223) were the only WRs with 200 or more Air Yards.
JuJu Smith-Schuster had the highest RACR (Receiver Air Conversion Ratio) of any wide receiver with six or more targets. RACR is an efficiency metric that rolls up catch rate and yards after the catch into one number. It can be thought of as the number of receiving yards a WR creates for every air yard thrown at him.
When it comes to analyzing the WR positions targets and Air Yards per game are the most predictable statistics on a season to season basis. Fantasy points are a byproduct of a receiver’s targets. This week I have broken down the top-75 most targeted WRs into tiers and will provide a brief analysis on a few players per tier.
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- Jones (10.4), Beckham (10.5), and Antonio Brown have averaged over 10 targets per game in games played since 2015. All three WRs had very high positive receiving fantasy points over expectation per target over that time frame. This suggests they have been efficient with their volume. Jones (282), Beckham (146), and Brown (164) all accumulated a high number of Air Yards in Week 1 and had success converting them into receiving yards.
- Jarvis Landry (9.6) and Golden Tate (8.0) have averaged over eight targets per game over the same time frame with positive receiving fantasy points over expectation per target.
- Michael Thomas averaged 9.3 targets per game in 2017. He accumulated 44.4 percent of his receiving yards after the catch in Week 1.
- DeAndre Hopkins (10.5) and Keenan Allen (9.5) have averaged over 10 targets per game since 2016. Both WRs continue to be matchup proof and the focus of their respective team’s passing game.
- Emmanuel Sanders has averaged 8.5 targets per game over his last 27. The addition of quarterback Case Keenum is already having a positive effect on his receiving fantasy points over expectation per target (1.09). Sanders had negative receiving fantasy points over expectation (-0.32) last season.
- Adam Thielen had more targets (12), receiving yards, and Air Yards (157) than teammate Stefon Diggs in Week 1.
- Randall Cobb led all Packers WRs in targets. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise as Pro Football Focus Senior Fantasy Analyst Scott Barrett noted below:
- Larry Fitzgerald has averaged 9.4 targets per game since 2004. He should continue to see a consistent number of targets from quarterback Sam Bradford.
- Quincy Enunwa returned to the fold after a neck injury cost him the 2017 season. He led the Jets in targets and Air Yards (60). Enunwa will act as a safety valve for quarterback Sam Darnold in a Jets offense that lacks a legitimate tight end.
- Demaryius Thomas has averaged 8.9 targets per game since the 2010 season.
- Geronimo Allison broke out in the Packers season opener. He played 70 percent of the Packers offensive snaps. It remains to be seen whether Allison’s targets were the result of negative game flow as the Packers were in comeback mode, but any WR in an offense led by Aaron Rodgers seeing eight targets is worth being aware of.
- Tyreek Hill accumulated 156 Air Yards and converted them into 169 receiving yards. He averaged seven targets per game last season. Hill has scored 13 touchdowns of 50 yards or more since 2016. No other players have more than four during that time frame according to Pro Football Reference.
- The only other WRs with more Air Yards in Week 1 than Kelvin Benjamin (195) were Jones and Landry.
- It was surprising to see Phillip Dorsett see more targets than Chris Hogan and remains to be seen whether this was game plan specific or the new normal.
- Brandon Marshall is in a position to see more targets moving forward as the No. 2 receiver in Seattle due to the knee injuries to Doug Baldwin. He had 83 Air Yards in Week 1.
- Ted Ginn (0.68) is coming off of his best season in terms of receiving fantasy points over expectation per target. He played 50 percent of the offensive snaps and had the second most Air Yards (80) among Saints WRs.
- Travis Benjamin accumulated 151 Air Yards in Week 1, but only converted them into 15 receiving yards. Tyrell Williams and Mike Williams are the roadblocks that prevent him from seeing more opportunities.
- Tyler Lockett has only averaged 4.5 targets per game since his rookie season back in 2015 with positive receiving fantasy points over expectation per target. The knee injuries to Baldwin will provide him with some additional opportunities for the rest of the season.
WHAT COMES NEXT?
This column will be published every Wednesday to help you make decisions for the upcoming week. Next week I will incorporate a receiver’s target volume not only for the current week, but also for the season. I am very active on Twitter (@EricNMoody) and happy to answer any questions our readers have. I also encourage you to put specific questions in the comments for each week’s article. What was most useful to you after reading this column?