Wide Receiver Target Analysis Entering Week 5
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.
Adam Thielen and Antonio Brown are the only wide receivers with 50 or more targets entering Week 5. There are nine over receivers with 40 or more targets. Julio Jones (32), Corey Davis (32), Jarvis Landry (31), and DeAndre Hopkins (30) are the only receivers with team target shares over 30 percent. Jones (713), Hopkins (669), and John Brown (662) are the only receivers with 600 or more Air Yards. Cooper Kupp (1.67) currently leads all receivers with 20 or more targets in Receiver Air Conversion Ratio. 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 player creates for every air yard thrown at him. Jones (0.84) is leading the position in Weighted Opportunity Rating. WOPR is a weighted combination of the share of team targets a player receives and the share of team air yards. Other notable wide receivers with high WOPRs entering Week 5 are Davis (0.77), Odell Beckham (0.75), and Thielen (0.73). You can find these statistics at AirYards.com.
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 we will break down all of the wide receiver target leaders with 10 or more targets entering Week 5. As always I will provide a brief analysis of one to two players per tier.
- Adam Thielen is currently the WR2 in PPR formats, has the second most receptions, the second most receiving, and is averaging 130 Air Yards per game. He also has positive receiving fantasy points over expectation which suggests Thielen is outperforming his target volume.
|6||Odell Beckham Jr||NYG||4||45||31||331||65|
- Michael Thomas, like Thielen, is another receiver outperforming his average draft position. He is the WR1 in PPR formats, receptions leader, has a catch rate of 96 percent, ranked fourth in receiving yards, and has the second most targets in the red zone. Thomas is averaging an insane 6.6 receiving fantasy points over expectation.
- Corey Davis is someone I have been championing for the last few weeks due to his target share and Air Yards per game. It was great to see him go boom statistically in Week 4.
- Mike Evans has quietly put together one of his most efficient starts to a season in his career. He is averaging 7.3 receiving fantasy points over expectation. Evans comes out of the bye week with very favorable matchups against the Falcons, Browns, and Bengals. All three of these team defenses rank near the bottom of the league in passing yards allowed per game.
- The season-ending injury to Tyler Eifert will allow Tyler Boyd to see some additional targets. He has a favorable matchup this week against the Dolphins defense.
- John Brown is not too far behind Michael Crabtree in targets but has nearly doubled his Air Yards. He is the Ravens receiver to have on your roster from a fantasy football perspective.
- Antonio Callaway (387) has the second highest number of Air Yards on the Browns behind Jarvis Landry (492). He is averaging 9.5 targets over the last two games. Callaway is in a great position to go boom once he builds rapport with Baker Mayfield.
- DeSean Jackson is only averaging 5.5 targets per game, but has a catch rate of 77 percent. He should still be viewed as a boom or bust receiver.
- If Courtland Sutton happens to be available in your fantasy league he is someone I recommend you stash. He only has three fewer targets than Demaryius Thomas and has more Air Yards over the last two weeks. Sutton could see some additional opportunities the second half of the season if Thomas continues to struggle.
- Mike Williams is another receiver to stash as an upside WR3 if he happens to be available. The Chargers used No. 7 overall pick on him back in the 2017 NFL Draft. Williams is finally healthy and provided fantasy players a taste of what he can bring to the table from a statistical perspective in Week 3. He currently leads the Chargers in Air Yards with 301.
- Success or failure for Keke Coutee comes down to the health of Will Fuller. He was heavily targeted in his rookie debut in Week 4, but Coutee had a depth of target or aDOT of only 3.4 yards. A high number of his touches were manufactured. It remains to be seen how Coutee vertical game translates to the NFL.
- Jamison Crowder is one of my favorite buy lows at the wide receiver position coming out of the Redskins bye week. He has a mouthwatering matchup against the Saints defense on Monday Night Football.
Secondary wide receivers vs #Saints this year:
Chris Godwin- 3-41-1
DeSean Jackson- 5-146-2
Antonio Callaway- 3-81-1
Calvin Ridley- 7-146-3
Sterling Shepard- 10-77-1
Jamison Crowder on Monday night?
— Adam Pfeifer (@APfeifer24) October 2, 2018
WHAT COMES NEXT?
This column will be published every week to help you make decisions for the upcoming matchup. 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?
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Thanks for Reading
Eric Moody is a member of the FSWA (Fantasy Sports Writers Association) and writes exclusively about fantasy football. He has a lifelong passion for the game and played on the collegiate level as an offensive lineman. Eric also participated in Dan Hatman’s Scouting Academy in order to learn the process of player evaluation at an NFL level by using game film. When he provides fantasy football advice he prefers to “play the piano with both hands” using game film, analytics, and statistics to help you understand his perspective. Eric enjoys Netflix, listening to music, playing bass guitar, drinking coffee, and spending time with his family. He lives in Dallas, Texas