WATCH: TARGET MONSTER – JORDY NELSON
For wide receivers, volume is necessary. These are the wide receivers I project to see the most targets in Week 10 (Sunday main slate only):
TOP-10 WR Target Projections
1. Mike Evans: 12 targets – Evans’ volume has reached epic proportions. He’s averaging an absurd 13.7 targets per day over his last seven games and leads the NFL in target share over the last four games (38.1 percent). He’s also a massive red-zone threat at 6’5/231, scoring five TDs there already this year.
2. Antonio Brown: 11 targets – Dallas lead the NFL in time of possession, effectively hiding their talent-deficient defense. Still, Big Ben’s home splits are wildly severe as he averaged 11.06 more DK points at Heinz than on the road over his last 35 games. He has nowhere reliable to go other than Brown and Le’Veon Bell in the pass game.
3. Julio Jones: 10 targets – The Falcons played the Thursday game in Week 9, meaning the oft-nicked Julio has had a chance to get healthy. We saw the Eagles secondary spring leaks last week as Leodis McKelvin and Jalen Mills have turned into liabilities.
4. Alshon Jeffery: 10 targets – In the seven full games Alshon played with Jay Cutler last year, he never saw fewer than nine targets and averaged 12.0. Now Jeffery is healthy coming out of a bye, the Bucs will play stout run D with Gerald McCoy and he’ll match up a lot with rookie Vernon Hargreaves (PFF’s No. 116 coverage CB among 117 qualifiers).
5. Jordy Nelson: 10 targets – Perhaps the explosiveness isn’t quite there as Jordy comes off his ACL tear at age 31, but he’s still extremely effective and leads the league in red-zone targets (19). Nelson will also see a lot PFF’s No. 112 coverage CB in Perrish Cox, as noted by ESPN’s Mike Clay.
6. Allen Robinson: 10 targets – Robinson has racked up 27 targets across the last two weeks and now Allen Hurns (concussion) is questionable. On the season, A-Rob is averaging 10.2 targets and playing on 94.6 percent of the snaps. In two games against HOU last year he went 6-86-1 and 5-108-0.
7. Julian Edelman: 9 targets – In the four games since Tom Brady returned, Edelman is averaging 8.5 targets per game. That number could very well rise as the Seahawks pass defense is most susceptible in the interior of the middle of the field.
8. Demaryius Thomas: 9 targets – Over the last four games, Thomas has seen 40 targets while Emmanuel Sanders has seen 35. The Saints rank 32nd in pass yards allowed per game, T-30th in sacks, 31st in pass yards per attempt allowed and 28th in yards per catch allowed.
9. Larry Fitzgerald: 9 targets – The Cardinals won’t be afraid to run up the score on the pathetic 49ers, who are allowing 71.4 plays per game (31st in NFL). With John Brown (hamstring) limited and Michael Floyd struggling badly, Fitzgerald is averaging 8.1 targets per game. The 33-year-old Fitz is on pace for a career-high 112 catches, similar to Hines Ward who caught 95 balls for Bruce Arians at age 33.
10. Stefon Diggs: 9 targets – The Vikings have arguably the league’s worst offensive line right now thanks to an embarrassment of injuries. The wise adjustment is to put Stef Diggs in the slot and get the ball out quickly to him. It’s resulted in 27 targets over the last two weeks.
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 five wide receivers under $5,000 who I project for at least five targets.
1. J.J. Nelson, Cardinals: $4,200
Before the Cardinals went on bye, Bruce Arians came out and said J.J. Nelson is a starting WR for him now. It was a shot at struggling contract-year WR Michael Floyd and also an admission that John Brown’s sickle cell issue is going to remain on the radar. Nelson played on 87.3 percent of the snaps across the Cardinals’ last two games and saw 19 targets during that span. So we can expect the opportunity to be there for the lightning fast Nelson in a game against a pathetic Niners defense which has allowed the most points (32.5 per game) and total yards (428.0) in the NFL.
Projection: 7 targets
2. Rishard Matthews, Titans: $4,200
If the Titans were smart, they would have made Matthews their No. 1 WR right out of the gate. Instead they fell in love with fifth-round rookie Tajae Sharpe and decrepit veteran Andre Johnson. As we sit today, Sharpe has fallen into a complementary role and Johnson has retired. That’s allowed a featured role for Matthews, whose snap count has gone from 40.3 percent to 66.2 to 88.1 to 89.2 over the last four games. He’s averaging 6.0 targets during that span.
Projection: 6 targets
3. Dontrelle Inman, Chargers: $3,400
Travis Benjamin’s Grade 2 PCL sprain limited him to seven snaps last week and has him questionable for this week. We know Inman will be on the field no matter what as he’s played 90.2 percent of the snaps on the season. This week makes for an excellent spot though as Benjamin could miss and the Dolphins continue to trot out borderline NFL players at their corner spots. Inman has at least 56 yards in three straight games, averaging 6.6 targets per game during that span. He’s a low-ceiling play but has a reasonable floor for someone in this price range.
Projection: 6 targets
4. Albert Wilson, Chiefs: $3,300
Jeremy Maclin aggravated his groin injury two snaps into Week 9 and sat out the rest of the game. Albert Wilson came on and posted a 3-42-1 line on eight targets while playing 41 snaps. If Maclin misses again, expect Wilson and Chris Conley to be the primary wideouts against a funneling Panthers defense which ranks fourth DVOA vs. the run and 23rd vs. the pass. In the one game Maclin missed last year (Wk 7 at PIT), Wilson posted 5-52-0 on eight targets.
Projection: 7 targets if Maclin sits out
5. Sammie Coates, $4,000
Coates was a painful hole in my main GPP lineup last week, but I’m fine with the process. He played on 65.2 percent of the snaps, ran a route on 36 of Ben Roethlisberger’s 48 dropbacks and was targeted five times. That included a bunch of deep balls, one of which hit Coates in the hands in the back of the end zone. With Darrius Heyward-Bey (foot) out, Coates will again have to fill the Martavis Bryant streaker role in Pittsburgh’s vertical offense. We saw the floor (0 points) last week, but the ceiling remains sizable.
Projection: 5 targets
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