Fantasy Target Strategy: Tips to Finding Weekly Value

Fantasy Target Strategy

Fantasy Football 2015Did you know that Golden Tate led all wide receiver with 15 targets for Week 5?

We currently have nine wide receivers with 50 targets or more on the season. Gridiron Experts writer Jen Ryan is doing a phenomenal job this season of analyzing wide receiver targets. The purpose of this column is to expand on the foundation she built by evaluating the opportunity those wide receivers had to collect those yards.

If Player X had 200 yards receiving while Player Y only had 100 yards then the first player clearly had more yards. But if Player Y produced 100 yards running just 30 routes as opposed to 60, is production from Player Y not more impressive?

The Pro Football Focus figure receiving-yards-per-route-run takes into account the number of snaps a player went into a pattern. Let us take a different perspective in evaluating Week 5’s top 12 leaders in wide receiver targets relative to their receiving-yards-per-route-run (YPRR).

WR Targets and Receiving Yards Per Route Run

Name Team Targets Rec. Yards Snaps in Route YPRR
Golden Tate
15 74 56 1.32
DeAndre Hopkins
14 169 43 3.93
Emmanuel Sanders
12 111 35 3.17
Jeremy Maclin
12 85 34 2.50
Odell Beckham Jr.
11 121 41 2.95
Anquan Boldin
11 107 37 2.89
Willie Snead
11 141 39 3.62
Travis Benjamin
11 83 54 1.54
Julio Jones
10 67 43 1.56
T.Y. Hilton
9 88 27 3.26
Allen Robinson
9 72 39 1.85
Andrew Hawkins
9 49 45 1.09
Brandin Cooks
9 107 45 2.38

Analysis

Hopkins led in receiving yards per route run and continues to provide tremendous value relative to his average draft position. It was a dominating performance in which all of his elite athletic ability and very good hands were on display. Hopkins is like a juggernaut that I do not see slowing down anytime soon. He continues to transcend the inefficient quarterback play of the Texans. Hopkins has averaged four targets of greater than 20 yards a game.

Snead continues to emerge as one of quarterback Drew Brees top targets in New Orleans. Brees has a quarterback rating of 123.2 when targeting him through Week 5 of the season according to Pro Football Focus. Snead and Brandin Cooks very close in total targets at this point of the season.

TY HiltonHilton is not having a great season relative to his average draft position. He is currently not in the top 30 fantasy wide receivers. Hilton was very productive and registered the lowest number of snaps running a route of the receivers on this list. He will have a chance to land on the WR1 radar with quarterback Andrew Luck expected to return in Week 6.

Sanders continues to be more productive fantasy wide receiver in Denver this season in terms of points. Manning had a quarterback rating of 103.1 when targeting him in Week 5. That was the highest rating for any Broncos wide receiver with three or more targets.

Beckham bounced back in Week 5 with his best overall game of the season. He was a great buy low entering the game against the 49ers. Beckham injured his hamstring in that game and is currently listed as questionable for the Monday Night Football game against the Eagles.

Boldin will rise as high as quarterback Colin Kaepernick will take him. This makes him a low end WR3 on a week by week basis. Boldin is leading the 49ers in targets, but the average depth of his targets are 9.1 yards according to Pro Football Focus.

The dream heading into the season of Cooks becoming a WR1 is simply a mirage at this point. Snead is outplaying him so far this season. Cooks is struggling with the defensive attention he’s receiving as the Saints top receiving option. He is ranked outside the top 25 fantasy wide receivers in terms of fantasy points. The majority of Cooks’ Week 5 production came on the team’s final drive in garbage time.

TE Targets and Receiving Yards Per Route

Name Team Targets Rec. Yards Snaps in Route YPRR
Antonio Gates
11 92 29 3.17
Martellus Bennett
11 32 42 0.76
Jacob Tamme
10 94 36 2.61
Tyler Eifert
10 90 45 2.00
Gary Barnidge
10 139 48 2.90
Richard Rodgers
8 45 35 1.29
Larry Donnell
7 35 33 1.06
Zach Ertz
7 60 31 1.94
Jason Witten
6 33 39 0.85
Delanie Walker
6 36 25 1.44

Analysis

Gates returned from his suspension with a bang. The Chargers limited him snaps running a route to certain personnel packages in order to put him in opportunistic situations. The game plan worked perfectly as Gates finished as a top 3 fantasy tight end in Week 5.

Eifert benefited from Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman taking away A.J. Green after his teammate Cary Williams was getting torched earlier in the game. When he goes boom it can help you win fantasy matchups.

Barnidge continues to produce for fantasy owners. The game script was perfect for him leverage. The Ravens secondary is weak and the Browns attempted a pass on 72 percent of their offensive plays.

Rodgers ran 54.3 percent of his routes lined up as a slot receiver in Week 5 according to Pro Football Focus. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has targeted him 25 percent of the time on pass attempts inside the 10 yard line. Rodgers is a touchdown dependent tight end, but in the Packers offense he has a high probability to score a touchdown on a week by week basis.

Conclusion

When you combine target numbers with receiving-yards-per-route-run it provides clarity on wide receiver and tight end production. What are your thoughts on these statistics relative to the wide receiver and tight end targets? Reach out to me on Twitter @EricNMoody and let me know.

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