For wide receivers, volume is necessary. These are the ones I project to see the most targets in Week 10 (Sunday main slate only). Please note these aren’t rankings, just volume projections:
Top-10 WR Target Projections
1. Antonio Brown: 11 targets – Brown comes off a bye to face one of the softest matchups he’ll see all year. The Indianapolis Colts are dead last in yards per pass attempt allowed, 31st in pass yards per game allowed, dead last in pass plays of 20+ yards allowed and 25th in pass defense DVOA. Vontae Davis was also released Thursday by the Colts. When the Steelers played at Indianapolis on Thanksgiving last season, Brown went for 5-91-3 on six targets in a game Ben Roethlisberger was forced to throw just 20 passes.
2. A.J. Green: 9 targets – Green wasn’t suspended for going ballistic on Jalen Ramsey last week, so he gets to suit up against the Titans’ funnel-ish defense this week. They rank 22nd in DVOA vs. the pass and 12th vs. the run. It’s a better spot than last week for the Bengals’ beleaguered offensive line, when that unit had no prayer against the Jaguars. At just $7,700, Green is the cheapest he’s been for a non-Jacksonville game this season.
3. Julio Jones: 9 targets (if healthy) – Jones is dealing with an ankle sprain this week. If he can go and is near 100 percent, he’ll be set up reasonably well in what projects as the highest scoring game of the week. Jones has averaged 2.6 more DK points per game at home vs. on the road over the last four seasons. If he hadn’t dropped that easy touchdown bomb last week, he probably would be far more owned than he likely will be this week. The Cowboys have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game to wideouts this season.
4. DeAndre Hopkins: 9 targets – Tom Savage is a disaster, but he knows where his bread is buttered. Hopkins racked up 16 targets against the Colts last week, double Will Fuller’s eight for an outrageous 36 percent share. The Texans likely will be trailing again this week against the fast-paced Rams, although the matchup is more difficult than the one against Indy. The Rams have been a reverse-funnel defense for much of the season and rank third DVOA vs. the pass and 20th DVOA vs. the run.
5. Michael Thomas: 9 targets – Thomas still hasn’t had his breakout day this season, as he has zero 100-yard games and just two touchdowns all season. It’s not really his fault, as the striking improvement of the Saints’ defense combined with an excellent run game are holding him back. Regardless, playing at New Era Field in Buffalo is never a great spot for an eruption, especially with Bills corners Tre’Davious White and E.J. Gaines playing so well.
6. Dez Bryant: 9 targets (if healthy) – Bryant was forced out of last week’s game due to knee and ankle issues. It doesn’t look like anything serious, and he’s questionable for Sunday. If active, he’ll do battle with a Falcons secondary that isn’t using Desmond Trufant as a shadow corner, but Bryant is having trouble separating even when completely healthy. He has zero 100-yard games this season, a career-worst catch rate of 50 percent and a career-worst yards per reception average of 11.6.
7. Golden Tate: 9 targets – The Browns are quietly strong against the run, ranking first in DVOA, first in yards per carry allowed and fourth in rush yards allowed per game. Expect a pass-centric gameplan from the Lions, who have been known for this under Matthew Stafford, anyway. YAC king Golden Tate has seen at least seven targets in six of eight games this season and is averaging 8.1 on the season. The floor here is high.
8. Sterling Shepard: 9 targets – In his first game without Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall, Shepard racked up nine targets. That’s what happens when your competition for target share is the likes of Roger Lewis, Tavarres King and Rhett Ellison. Now Shepard gets a dream matchup against a 49ers secondary that fields three of Pro Football Focus’ worst 11 corners. If Eli Manning has success Sunday, it will be through Shepard and stud rookie tight end Evan Engram.
9. Marvin Jones: 8 targets – Jones comes in hot with at least 11 targets in three straight games, resulting in 20.2 DK PPG during that span. His matchup will be downgraded slightly if Browns CB Jason McCourty (ankle) can go, but Jones remains an underrated talent and red-zone threat. He now has 23 TDs on his last 204 catches (11.2 percent); better than the career TD rates of guys like Michael Crabtree (8.8 percent), Mike Evans (11.1 percent) and A.J. Green (10.2 percent).
10. T.Y. Hilton: 8 targets – Hilton predictably erupted last week against Houston’s injury-ravaged defense. Now he will be the focus of a Steelers defense that has quietly dominated this season. Joe Haden and Artie Burns are tough matchups on the perimeter, and the Colts’ offensive line will struggle with the Steelers’ strong pass rush. Hilton is always a stronger play at home, but the matchup here is difficult. He still has zero double-digit target games this season.
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