For wide receivers, volume is necessary. These are the wide receivers I project to see the most targets during the Conference Championships:

TOP 5 WR Target Projections


1. Julian Edelman: 12 targets – In the eight games since Rob Gronkowski’s injury, Edelman is averaging a whopping 12.6 targets per game. And given how effortlessly he gets open, the floor is massive in a full-PPR format.

2. Antonio Brown: 11 targets – Brown hit the Patriots for 7-106-0 in Week 7, 9-133-1 in Week 1 of 2015 and 5-71-1 back in 2013. Shadow coverage from Malcolm Butler obviously isn’t much of a concern; as noted by ESPN’s Mike Clay, Brown has flamed Butler for 15-193-1 on 20 targets during 68 routes across their two career meetings. Note that the Patriots finished the regular season 20th in DVOA vs. No. 1 wideouts.

3. Julio Jones: 9 targets – Julio aggravated his toe sprain against the Seahawks last week and ended up playing on just 59.2 percent of the snaps. He’s going to play in Sunday’s likely shootout against the Packers, but we’ve seen him struggle at less than 100 percent before. Also note that the Packers held Jones to 3-29-0 on five targets in Week 8 – a game Matt Ryan still went 28-of-35 for 288 yards with three TDs and zero INTs.

4. Randall Cobb: 9 targets (if Jordy Nelson is out) – With Nelson (ribs), Davante Adams (ankle) and Geronimo Allison (hamstring) all banged up, Cobb has health on his side. He’s seen 15 targets over the last two weeks and was in on 92 percent of the snaps against the Cowboys.

5. Davante Adams, 8 targets (if healthy) – Adams’ ankle sprain is serious enough that he’s not expected to practice all week. So even though he’ll likely play against the Falcons, there’s some risk of ineffectiveness plus aggravation here.

Figuring out the top-end guys (above) is relatively easy. The low-end wideouts are much harder – and more valuable. Each week, I’ll discuss wide receivers under $5,000 who I project for at least five targets.

1. Mohamed Sanu, Falcons: $4,500


Julio Jones’ toe sprain aggravation gives Sanu’s projection a higher ceiling than usual. Note that the Falcons called a fade to Sanu with a first-and-goal from the 1-yard line against the Seahawks last week – they have a lot of confidence in him. When the Falcons played the Packers back in Week 8, Sanu went 9-84-1 on 10 targets while the defense swarmed Julio (3-29-0).

Projection: Six targets

2. Taylor Gabriel, Falcons: $4,900


The foot issue that bothered Gabriel down the stretch of the regular season was a non-issue against the Seahawks last week. But with all the Falcons healthy, he was only in on 35.2 percent of the snaps and only ran a route on 21 of Matt Ryan’s 40 dropbacks. Still, when the gadgety Gabriel is on the field the Falcons try to get the ball in his hands – he’s seen at least six targets in four if his last five games. With Julio’s toe an issue once again this week, and the Falcons projected team total sitting out an outrageous 32.5 points, Gabriel is certainly in play for all formats.

Projection: Six targets

3. Eli Rogers, Steelers: $3,900


Rogers, the Steelers’ slot man, has clearly secured the WR2 role behind Antonio Brown. He played on 84.8 percent of the snaps last week and saw seven targets. The problem is Rogers doesn’t have a real red-zone role (six RZ targets in 13 regular season games) and rarely runs routes deep down the field. Rogers remains a low-ceiling salary-saver only.

Projection: Five targets

4. Geronimo Allison, Packers: $3,800


With Jordy Nelson (ribs) considered a longshot and Davante Adams (ankle) not practicing all week, Allison at least has a chance at an increased role Sunday. His hamstring injury does not appear serious and the Packers have been staunchly against using special teamer Jeff Janis on offense. Allison, who saw five targets last week, six in Week 17 and seven in Week 16, has some level of chemistry with Aaron Rodgers. That can be enough to make up for some talent deficiencies from the UDFA rookie.

Projection: Five targets


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