For wide receivers, volume is necessary. That’s especially true in cash games, where we sacrifice depth of target and ceiling in exchange for a lot of chances.
TOP-10 WR TARGET PROJECTIONS
These are the receivers I project to see the most targets during the four-game Wild Card Weekend slate:
1. Antonio Brown $9600 at Bengals: 13 targets – Bengals held Brown to 7-87-0 in Week 14, but the Steelers jumped out to a 23-7 lead early in the third quarter that day and DeAngelo Williams ended up with 23 carries. With DeAngelo (ankle) likely to miss this week, expect an extremely pass-centric gameplan. Note that Brown’s 16-game pace in the 12 games Ben Roethlisberger played this year was 158 catches for 2,132 yards – both of which would have set NFL records.
2. DeAndre Hopkins $8400 vs. Chiefs: 11 targets – Only had three games all year with fewer than 11 targets. However, efficiency issues have cropped up after the outrageous start. Over his last 10 games, Hopkins has just two 100-yard outings and is averaging a pedestrian 5.9 catches per game.
3. A.J. Green $7500 vs. Steelers: 10 targets – We love using wide receivers against the Steelers because they have a stout run defense (fifth in DVOA) which funnels action to the pass and because Big Ben is going to put points on the board. Green went 6-132-1 against the Steelers in Week 14 and the Bengals are going to need a similar output Saturday night.
4. Jeremy Maclin $6400 at Texans: 9 targets – Alex Smith has only attempted a mind-numbingly low 24.3 passes per game over the last six weeks. But Maclin has seen 34.9 percent of his targets during that span, rendering the low volume moot. He’s also the red-zone threat with six TDs in this stretch. The bigger concern is a white-hot Texans defense that has potential shadow corner Johnathan Joseph playing at an All-Pro level.
5. James Jones $4100 at Redskins: 8 targets – In the four games since Mike McCarthy took back playcalling duties, Jones’ targets have been 7, 9, 11, 13. That’s a total of 40 during that span, compared to 30 for Randall Cobb, 23 for Davante Adams and 17 for Richard Rodgers.
6. Doug Baldwin $6700 at Vikings: 8 targets – Minnesota ranks 27th in pace and 11th in pass defense DVOA. That said, Russell Wilson is proving to be matchup proof. When these two teams met in Week 13, Wilson went 21-of-27 for 274 yards with three TDs and zero INTs. Baldwin netted 5-94-2.
7. DeSean Jackson $4500 vs. Packers: 7 targets – The consistently nicked up Jackson took a rest day in Week 17, suggesting he should be near 100 percent for Sunday. That’s good news, but Sam Shields possible return from a concussion isn’t. Either way, we know Jackson is going to get his fistful of deep shots like he always does. He ranks 36th in catch rate this year and 8th in aDOT (average depth of target via PFF).
8. Randall Cobb $5800 at Redskins: 7 targets – Cobb has been under 50 yards in four of his last five games as the Packers’ pass game has grinded to a halt despite a few really good matchups and spots. Outside of one 7-91-3 eruption in Week 3, Cobb has averaged 4.8 catches for 49.2 yards and 0.3 TDs per game. That’s Brian Hartline territory.
9. Markus Wheaton $4000 at Bengals: 7 targets – Martavis Bryant is not a trusted man in Pittsburgh right now. Check out this article, which says Bryant was benched in the critical Week 17 game for running a bad route. No matter how much we want to fight it, Ben Roethlisberger has more faith in Wheaton. Via Chris Raybon, Wheaton has 11 red-zone targets over the last six weeks, tied for fourth-most in the NFL during that span. He’s at 7.8 targets during that stretch.
10. Marvin Jones $3700 vs. Steelers: 6 targets – Jones has seen at least five targets in 12 straight games. Of course, production has been limited as he has four touchdowns all year and is averaging just 51.0 yards per day. The good news is Jones should see plenty of Antwon Blake and/or Ross Cockrell in a plus volume spot as described under A.J. Green.