Target Analysis Entering Week 10
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.
Michael Thomas led all wide receivers in targets with 15. DeAndre Hopkins accounted for 50 percent of the Texans target share last week against the Broncos. Josh Gordon led all wide receivers in Air Yards with 169 yards and converted them into 130 receiving yards against the Packers.
Adam Humphries (2.83) led all wide receivers with six 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. Hopkins (1.1) had the highest Weighted Opportunity Rating. WOPR is a weighted combination of the share of team targets a player receives and the share of team air yards. 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 I will share statistical observations regarding a player from each tier that you should know about heading into Week 10.
- Maurice Harris finally went boom for fantasy players in Washington’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons. He played 87 percent of the team’s offensive snaps and was targeted on 20 percent of them. This was the fifth game Harris has filled the void for Washington’s injured slot receiver Jamison Crowder. Paul Richardson was recently placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury which will open up even more targets for him. Did you know that Harris has led the team in targets (29) and has the second most Air Yards (253) over the last five games? He could emerge as Washington’s No. 1 receiver if Crowder is placed on IR. If he is somehow available in your fantasy football league I recommend you stop reading this article and add Harris now. He faces a Buccaneers’ secondary allowing 307.1 passing yards per game which are especially vulnerable to slot receivers.
- Josh Gordon’s role within the Patriots offense continues to expand due to the injury woes of tight end Rob Gronkowski. This was his second 100-yard receiving game in the last three weeks. Gordon has averaged 7.6 targets and 116 Air Yards per game over that time frame.
- Hope is not a strategy when it comes to Kelvin Benjamin. He leads the Bills in targets (53) and Air Yards (893), but has been ineffective all season only averaging 6.2 fantasy points per game in PPR formats. Benjamin has been a disappointment considering he’s been relatively healthy all season. He looks sluggish and disinterested when running routes this season. This is not optimal considering every practice and every play is essentially a job interview in the NFL.
- Adam Humphries leads the Buccaneers in receptions and fantasy points over the last four games. He is averaging 9 targets and 6.3 receptions over the three games. Humphries results last week were a byproduct of the Panthers secondary taking away Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, and Chris Godwin. He should still be added in deeper formats, but it would be prudent not to expect these results every week from Humphries.
- Jarvis Landry is averaging 11 targets, 64 receiving, and 113 Air Yards per game this season. He has not been as effective this season as he has been in the past when analyzing Landry’s receiving fantasy points over expectation per target. As you can see below slot receivers have been very productive against the Falcons secondary this season.
- Marquez Valdes-Scantling has 100 or more receiving yards or a receiving touchdown in four straight games. He has averaged 6.75 targets per game over that time frame. Geronimo Allison was placed on IR earlier this week which solidifies Valdes-Scantling as the Packers No. 2 receiver for the rest of the season.
- As Sun-Tzu said, “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” Pryor was targeted five times and had the second most Air Yards (66) among the Bills receivers in his first game with the team. Pryor played 82 percent of the offensive snaps against the Bears while Kelvin Benjamin only played 74 percent. He could play a substantial role moving forward considering the volume of Air Yards Benjamin has accumulated yet failed to translate into receiving yards.
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- Golladay had 428 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns during the first five games of the season. He averaged 8.2 targets and 103.4 Air Yards per game over that time frame. Golladay has 7 targets, 95 receiving yards, and 75 Air Yards coming in the three games after the Lions bye week. He has been a bigger focus of opposing defenses coverage plans. Golladay has also had challenging matchups against opposing cornerbacks such as Xavien Howard and Shaquill Griffin. The Lions coaching staff must be more creative in finding ways to involve Golladay and provide him more targets considering Golden Tate owned a 27 target share. The team’s schedule does not get any easier from here on out with matchups against the Bears, Panthers, Rams, Bills, and Vikings.
- It was encouraging to see Demaryius Thomas play 79 percent of the offensive snaps in his debut with the Texans and operate as the team’s No. 2 receiver. He will thrive opposite of DeAndre Hopkins and has the bye week to master the Texans playbook. The Broncos face the Redskins in Week 11.
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?