WATCH: WR SHOWDOWN: Antonio Brown v. Odell Beckham Jr.
For wide receivers, volume is necessary. These are the wide receivers I project to see the most targets in Week 13 (Sunday main slate only):
TOP-10 WR Target Projections
1. Antonio Brown: 11 targets – The matchup with Janoris Jenkins and a quietly stiff Giants defense isn’t ideal, but let’s not split hairs. This game is at home where Ben Roethlisberger dominates and the unguardable Brown is averaging 11.0 targets per game.
2. Mike Evans: 11 targets – As noted in this space last week, matchups don’t matter too much to Evans or Jameis Winston. Evans has seen at least 11 targets in 9-of-11 games and shouldn’t be bothered by Chargers shadow corner Casey Hayward.
3. Julio Jones: 10 targets – It’s an eruption spot for Mount St. Julio as he goes up against Phillip Gaines and a Chiefs secondary which has sunk to 21st DVOA vs. opposing WR1s. Marcus Peters does not shadow.
4. Odell Beckham: 10 targets – Beckham is yet to see more than 12 targets in a game this year but also has never seen fewer than seven. He’s proven more scorer than volume player, piling up eight TDs in his last seven games.
5. Julian Edelman: 10 targets – Edelman is averaging 10.2 targets per game since Tom Brady came off suspension seven games ago. With Rob Gronkowski (back) out, he’ll continue to be featured at an extremely high rate on underneath routes.
6. Jordy Nelson: 9 targets – Nelson’s last four games in which he hasn’t seen Josh Norman: 4-94-1, 7-94-1, 12-126-1, 8-91-0. He’s going overlooked this week with David Johnson, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Julio, Mike Evans and Odell all in plus spots.
7. Amari Cooper: 8 targets – Cooper has been held under 50 yards twice before this season. His lines after those games were 6-138-1 and 12-173-1.
8. DeAndre Hopkins: 8 targets – As discussed below in the Will Fuller notes, it’s a plump spot for the Texans pass game. Of course, the concern is Brock Osweiler’s horrid play crippling Nuk. He’s topped 71 yards once all year and hasn’t scored a TD since Week 5.
9. Larry Fitzgerald: 8 targets – Fitz will likely avoid Josh Norman, who typically plays outside. Meanwhile, Michael Floyd (hamstring) and John Brown (sickle cell trait) are both at less than 100 percent.
10. Michael Thomas: 8 targets – It’s become increasingly clear that Thomas is Drew Brees’ favorite target, especially in the red-zone. He’s averaging 8.1 targets over the last nine games and ranks second on the team in red-zone targets. Only Coby Fleener has more.
WATCH: SLEEPER: JEREMY KERLEY
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 $5000 who I project for at least five targets.
1. Marquess Wilson, Bears: $4,000
Cam Meredith led the Bears by playing on 86 percent of the snaps against the Titans last week. Behind him there was a rotation featuring Marquess Wilson, Josh Bellamy and Deonte Thompson. Wilson only played 58 percent of the snaps, but was clearly the best wideout on the field for quietly impressive Matt Barkley. Wilson recorded a 8-125-1 line while leading the Bears in targets with 11. This isn’t a huge fluke – he’s a talented 6’4/206 player who went 82-1388-12 as a sophomore at Washington State in 2011 and then quit the team. If the coaches of the Bears have any sense, Wilson will be the featured wideout this week – this time against a 49ers defense which ranks 23rd in yards per pass attempt allowed and 31st in passing TDs allowed.
Projection: 7 targets
Editor’s Note: Marvin Jones is a “longshot” to play against the Saint’s today, per Ian Rapoport. Be sure to check his status before game time.
2. Marvin Jones, Lions: $4,400
The fall of Marvin Jones has been steep. Since ripping the Titans for 8-118-0 in Week 2 and the Packers for 6-205-2 in Week 3, he’s failed to top 13.7 DK points in a single game. Perhaps he’s simply not that good, but the matchups haven’t helped. Over the last seven weeks Jones has faced the Vikings (twice), a quietly good Jags secondary, the Texans, Josh Norman and the Redskins, the Rams and an Eagles secondary that was playing elite at the time. This run of poor production has caused Jones’ price to nosedive as he’s now $4,400 after peaking at $7,600 in Week 5. This week he plays in a game projected as one of the biggest shootouts of the year in New Orleans.
Projection: 7 targets
3. Will Fuller, Texans: $4,700
Will Fuller’s brief reign as a Rookie of the Year candidate lasted roughly four weeks. During the first month of the season, he averaged 4.7 catches for 80.7 yards and scored two TDs. It’s been a nightmare since then as Brock Osweiler has regressed toward the worst quarterback in the league and Fuller has battled hamstring/knee issues. The good news is Fuller appears healthy now (played 76.8 percent of snaps last week) and has one of the best possible matchups. He’s in a spot at Lambeau where the Texans will be trying to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and facing the Packers’ injury-riddled secondary.
Projection: 6 targets
4. Dorial Green-Beckham, Eagles: $3,000
Green-Beckham certainly has his warts on the mental side of the game and precision part of the game. It’s not a fluke the Titans traded him away for a backup offensive lineman. But the Eagles don’t really have a choice right now but to put DGB out there and live with the mistakes. Their wide receiver corps consists of slot man Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor (healthy scratch last week), a 2015 UDFA in Bryce Treggs and a 2016 UDFA in Paul Turner. So DGB, a certifiable physical freak at 6’5/237, has played on 79.8 percent of the snaps over the last two weeks and seen 18 targets. There’s a low floor here in a pop-gun passing attack on the road, but there’s also upside at stone minimum. DGB has 11 red-zone targets (second on team) despite playing just 59.2 percent of the snaps on the year.
Projection: 5 targets
5. Tyreek Hill, Chiefs: $4,600
We will see if Jeremy Maclin (groin) can play in Atlanta Sunday. If he can’t we can expect more quick screens, slants and handoffs to Tyreek aka TyFreak Hill. The fastest rookie in the league is averaging 9.3 targets per game over the last three weeks while Maclin has been hurt, most of which around the line of scrimmage. On the season, he’s getting just 9.5 yards per catch. If Maclin does end up playing, Hill’s target projection will sink down to four.
Projection: 7 targets (if Jeremy Maclin sits)
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