For wide receivers, volume is necessary. These are the wide receivers I project to see the most targets in Week 3 (Sunday main slate only):
TOP-10 WR Target Projections
1. Antonio Brown: 12 targets – Eagles defense is legit, but this is still a bounce-back spot for Brown. Note he racked up 11 targets in Week 2 despite the horrific 4-39-0 line.
2. Jarvis Landry: 10 targets – The Dolphins’ run game will likely go from bad to inept without Arian Foster (groin). Adam Gase is smart enough to use underneath target magnet Landry as an extension of the run game.
3. Mike Evans: 9 targets – With Vincent Jackson out of gas and little other depth at WR, Jameis Winston is locked onto Evans. Repeatedly tested Patrick Peterson last week.
4. Allen Robinson: 9 targets – Robinson started with two very difficult matchups (Sam Shields and Jason Verrett). The Jags will make it a priority to get him going in this plus matchup against the Ravens.
5. Jordy Nelson: 9 targets – As noted in this week’s Usage Observations, Jordy is back to playing nearly every snap. Has more than enough natural ability to put points on top Lions CB Darius Slay.
6. Odell Beckham: 8 targets – Beckham is now fighting for targets with impressive Sterling Shepard, a healthy Victor Cruz, Shane Vereen and two viable pass-catching TEs. OBJ will also be shadowed by Josh Norman when on the outside.
7. Marvin Jones: 8 targets – The new No. 1 WR in Detroit has played 92.4 percent of the snaps through two weeks and racked up 21 targets. That’s tied for 8th-most in the league. He’ll get a boost if Sam Shields (concussion) is forced to sit again.
8. A.J Green: 8 targets – We know we’ll get Green at extremely low ownership as he comes off a bad game into a very difficult matchup against the Denver D.
9. Alshon Jeffery: 8 targets – Brian Hoyer steps in for Jay Cutler (thumb), downgrading Jeffery’s projected efficiency. But we’ve seen the likes of DeAndre Hopkins and Josh Gordon have monstrous years with Hoyer at the helm over the last two seasons.
10. Amari Cooper: 8 targets – Best way to attack the Titans is through the air, as they continue to stuff opposing run gams. Cooper already has 20 targets this season compared to 14 for Michael Crabtree.
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. Phillip Dorsett, Colts: $4400
Donte Moncrief (shoulder) is expected to miss Sunday’s home game against the Chargers after getting knocked out of last week’s loss at Denver. That leaves Dorsett as the one climbing the target totem pole, as he’s now the WR2 behind T.Y. Hilton. The WR2 spot is key for staying on the field, as the Colts could go back to more 2-TE sets featuring Dwayne Allen and Jack Doyle. Dorsett, a Hilton-esque 2015 first-round pick with track speed, should get the softer Week 3 matchup. Stud shadow corner Jason Verrett is more likely to trail Hilton when both wideouts are on the outside. Note that the Colts are currently have the third-highest team total on the main slate (27 points), behind only the Packers.
Projection: Seven targets
2. DeVante Parker $4900 & Kenny Stills $3600, Dolphins
With Arian Foster (groin) down, the inept Dolphins running game will grind to a virtual halt. That’s fine by Adam Gase, a flexible talent-maximizer who used a 3-WR base with a lot of success in Week 2. That base included Jarvis Landry (60-of-65 snaps), Kenny Stills (63) and DeVante Parker (59). It’s the perfect time for Parker’s role to grow as the gifted 2015 first-round pick now gets a home game against the Browns’ borderline NFL-caliber defense. Nagging injuries and mental mistakes remain, but the Dolphins are going to let him play through it.
Projection: Seven targets for Parker, five for Stills
3. Tajae Sharpe, Titans: $4700
Sharpe was surprisingly high-owned last week (16.6 percent in the Milly Maker) despite a road spot at Detroit. The spot in Week 3 is much better as he’s home against a Raiders defense which has been absolutely torched through two weeks. They’ve given up 808 passing yards so far, 113 more than the second-worst team. We know Sharpe is going to be playing every down (96.3 of the snaps so far) and will contend for the team-lead in targets (18 through two weeks). The main concern is a lack of TD expectation (two RZ targets in two games) as part of a run-heavy offense.
Projection: Seven targets
4. Tyrell Williams, Chargers: $4300
The Chargers didn’t miss a beat without Keenan Allen (ACL), ringing up 38 points on the Jaguars with ease. Note that in that game, Danny Woodhead tore his ACL after five snaps. It left Philip Rivers with a far narrower concentration of targets than he had at the beginning of the year. Instead of Woodhead and Allen soaking up usage, he now must go through Travis Benjamin, Antonio Gates and Tyrell Williams. We know Williams is a bit raw as a second-year UDFA out of Western Oregon, but he’s 6’4/205 with 4.43 speed and a 39.5-inch vertical (as mentioned in this space last week). He also has the dream matchup this week as the Colts’ absurd rash of secondary injuries hit them even harder in Week 2. They’re pulling guys off the street to play corner.
Projection: Seven targets
5. Tyler Lockett, Seahawks: $4200
It’s hard to project Lockett for week-to-week volume as he is Seattle’s No. 3 WR behind Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse. We also have to keep an eye on the sprained knee that briefly knocked him out of Week 2. But this week’s spot against the 49ers means that everyone on Seattle gets a volume boost via Chip Kelly’s fastbreak style. The Niners allowed the mind-numbing Rams to get 61 plays off in Week 1 and then allowed Cam Newton’s Panthers to rip off 85 plays in Week 2. Chip’s Eagles allowed the most opponent plays per game in both 2015 (71.8) and were 31st in 2014 (69.3). The Niners will end up near the bottom of the pack too. If there’s ever a time for Lockett to get volume, it’s against Chip’s defense.
Projection: Five targets
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is AdamLevitan) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.