WATCH: CAN PIERRE GARCON PRODUCE AGAINST THE REDSKINS?
For wide receivers, volume is necessary. These are the wideouts I project to see the most targets in Week 6 (Sunday main slate only). Please note these aren’t rankings, just volume projections:
Top 10 WR Target Projections
1. DeAndre Hopkins: 11 targets – The Browns have quietly played strong run defense this season, ranking 3rd DVOA in that category and 2nd in YPC allowed. So in theory, the Texans’ game plan should be pass-centric – especially with rookie Deshaun Watson playing at such a high level. And when Watson drops back, we know where he’s looking, as DeAndre Hopkins has an outrageous 38.6 percent target share on the season. Hopkins, who has 45 more targets than anyone else on the Texans, has seen at least 12 targets in 4-of-5 games.
2. Antonio Brown: 11 targets – Going to Arrowhead is never easy – especially for a passing game which struggles so badly on the road. But the actual matchup isn’t as difficult as it appears. The Chiefs are giving up the fifth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season as Terrance Mitchell continues to bleed production opposite Marcus Peters. Since Peters doesn’t shadow, Brown will have plenty of very plus matchups.
3. Keenan Allen: 10 targets – Allen continues to predictably pile up targets as he’s now seen at least nine in all five games and ranks third in the league with 51 overall. It’s no different than what we’ve previously seen from Philip Rivers, who targeted Allen 12.0 times per game when he was last healthy in 2015. This week’s matchup is a very strong one, especially if David Amerson (concussion) and Gareon Conley (shin) are out again. Even if that duo plays, Keenan will run circles around the weak starting pair.
4. Julio Jones: 9 targets – Julio was on his way to a big day in Week 4 against the Bills, catching three balls on four targets before a hip flexor injury knocked him out after 15 snaps. Now he’s had the bye week to rest up and is back practicing. With Mohamed Sanu (hamstring) out, Jones gets a small boost in target share. And the matchup against a bad and injured Dolphins secondary at home couldn’t be better. They’ve been one of the league’s premier pass funnels this season, ranking 29th DVOA vs. the pass and 2nd vs. the run.
5. Michael Thomas: 9 targets – The return of Willie Snead (suspension, hamstring) isn’t a real factor as he’ll play a portion of the No. 3 role previously occupied by Brandon Coleman. Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn remain the top-2 wideouts, with the talented Thomas obviously serving as Drew Brees’ prime target. Thomas has seen at least eight targets in each game this season after averaging 8.1 per game as a rookie last season. A likely shootout with the Lions reasonable spot for Thomas, but be aware he’ll likely be shadowed by Darius Slay.
6. Mike Evans: 9 targets – This would normally be a squeaky wheel spot for Evans after he got just eight targets in the Week 5 loss to the Patriots. But he has the worst possible matchup for a wideout this week as he travels to Arizona to face Patrick Peterson. The league’s most dominant shadow corner last season has already shut down Marvin Jones, T.Y. Hilton, Dez Bryant, Pierre Garcon and Alshon Jeffery this season. If looking for reasons to still play Evans, Jameis Winston did send 18 targets his way when these two teams met in Week 2 of last season. Evans finished with a 6-70-1 line.
7. Pierre Garcon: 9 targets – Garcon predictably struggled at Seattle (just five targets) and at Arizona (36 yards on eight targets) this season. But he’s seen at least 10 targets in his other three games, combining for a 21-317-0 line in those. This week presents a good micro matchup as the Redskins will be playing without top CB Josh Norman (ribs). That means they’ll be forced to use Bashaud Breeland – PFF’s No. 103 CB among 109 qualifiers – as their top corner with former UDFA Quinton Dunbar opposite. It’s a plus revenge-game matchup for Garcon.
8. Golden Tate: 8 targets – When the Lions played at New Orleans last December, Tate went off for 8-145-1 on 10 targets. I would note that Marvin Jones didn’t play in that game, but this is obviously a nice spot for Tate. We know the Saints offense is likely to perform well in the Superdome, which will force Matthew Stafford to have his foot on the gas against the broken Saints defense.
9. Jordy Nelson: 8 targets – Nelson, who missed the very end of last week’s game due to a back issue, says he’s fine and practiced fully Wednesday. So we know he’ll be the premier red-zone threat for arguably the game’s deadliest red-zone QB in Aaron Rodgers. After scoring again last week, Nelson now has 33 TDs in his last 37 games. One concern this week is the presence of standout Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes, although I’m not certain Rhodes will shadow Jordy given how well Davante Adams has been playing. Note Jordy has run 27 percent of his routes from the slot this season, where Rhodes does not travel. If we do somehow find out Rhodes will shadow Nelson, Adams would emerge as one of the stronger plays on the week.
10. Adam Thielen: 8 targets – There’s a lot working in Thielen’s favor this week. Stephon Diggs is nursing a groin issue, the Vikings will need to be aggressive on offense to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and Thielen has an excellent matchup against a Packers defense which has struggled mightily against the slot. They were hit by Doug Baldwin for 4-63-0 on four targets in Week 1, 5-85-0 by Mohamed Sanu in Week 2 and Cole Beasley for 4-23-2 last week.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is adamlevitan) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.