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For wide receivers, volume is necessary. These are the wide receivers I project to see the most targets in Week 5 (Sunday main slate only):
TOP-10 WR Target Projections
1. Antonio Brown: 12 targets – The Jets are the clearest example of a funnel defense, ranking 31st DVOA against the pass but 3rd against the run. They have no prayer against AB.
2. Brandon Marshall: 10 targets – With Eric Decker (shoulder) sidelined, Marshall is Ryan Fitzpatrick’s main man. He’s seen 22 targets the last two weeks and now finds a spot at Pittsburgh where the Jets will likely be trailing.
3. Jarvis Landry: 10 targets – Only Antonio Brown and Mike Evans have seen more targets than Landry, who has gotten double-digits in a remarkable eight straight games. He’s on pace for 124 catches and has an excellent chance to surpass that.
4. Julian Edelman: 10 targets – Over Edelman’s last 16 games with Tom Brady, he’s totaled 119 catches, 1,355 yards and 10 TDs on 176 targets. Meanwhile, the Browns have already been roasted this season by slot men such as Jordan Matthews (7-114-1) and Jarvis Landry (7-120-1).
5. A.J. Green: 10 targets – Dallas’ slow pace and ability to scheme above their talent level are concerns. But with Tyler Eifert (back, ankle) likely to sit again, Andy Dalton will continue to force-feed the dominant Green.
6. Julio Jones: 9 targets – Julio goes from a dream home spot against Carolina’s inexperienced secondary to one of the toughest spots in the league: at Mile High. Expectations need to be tempered despite last week’s eruption.
7. Odell Beckham: 9 targets – On paper, it’s a get-well spot for Beckham against a Packers’ defense which ranks 31st in YPA allowed. Without top CB Sam Shields (concussion), they’ve been hit for 9-182-1 by Stefon Diggs and 6-205-2 by Marvin Jones. But Beckham’s lack of production is concerning as Eli Manning has a lot more weapons than before – namely impressive rookie Sterling Shepard, a healthy Victor Cruz and a healthy Will Tye.
8. Emmanuel Sanders: 9 targets – I was wrong about the Broncos pass game, which is yielding value on a weekly basis. Sanders hasn’t seen fewer than eight targets in a game yet this year and has piled up 13 in back-to-back weeks. Now comes a home game against an Atlanta defense which ranks 31st in raw pass yards allowed and dead last in passing TDs allowed.
9. Jordy Nelson: 9 targets – Jordy’s surgically-repaired knee should be nearing 100 percent as he comes out of the bye. Has scored a TD in every game this year and is averaging 9.0 targets. Matchup will get a boost if Giants CB Eli Apple (hamstring), CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (groin) S Darian Thompson (foot) and S Nat Berhe (concussion) can’t go. Janoris Jenkins is not a huge threat.
10. T.Y. Hilton: 9 targets – Hilton has seen at least 10 targets in all four games this year. As noted by ESPN’s Mike Clay, he’s also lining up in the slot a ton. That’s good news as he’s home against a Bears secondary which is being forced to use UDFA rookie Cre’Von LeBlanc as their slot CB.
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. Quincy Enunwa, Jets: $4,600
Eric Decker’s shoulder injury will almost certainly keep him out of Sunday’s game against the Steelers. Note that this Pittsburgh secondary has given up more DraftKings points per game than salary-based expectation to wide receivers than any team in the league, via Fantasy Labs. Also note that Enunwa played on 94.4 percent of the snaps last week and recorded a respectable 6-60-0 line on seven targets against Seattle’s elite secondary. Averaging eight targets per game, ticketed for a bigger role with Decker out and facing a very plus matchup, Enunwa is in a bit of a perfect storm.
Projection: 9 targets
2. Brice Butler, Cowboys: $3,500
As discussed in Leverage last week, Butler isn’t some random dude off the street who can’t play. He’s a legit NFL player in terms of size, speed and production at this level (albeit in the preseason). So if Dez Bryant’s knee injury keeps him out again, we can expect more production from Brice. He played on 77.5 percent of the snaps against the 49ers, turning nine targets into a 5-41-1 line. Butler also had a second TD barely knocked out of his hands.
Projection: 8 targets if Dez is out
3. Sammie Coates, Steelers: $3,600
Coates is starting to come on following a rocky preseason. He’s still only playing about half the snaps as the Steelers work in slot man Markus Wheaton and Darrius Heyward-Bey on the outside, but Ben Roethlisberger is trusting the physical freak more. Coates saw eight targets against the Chiefs in Week 4 and now gets a matchup with a a Jets funneling defense which is 31st DVOA against the pass but 3rd against the run. Ideally, Darrelle Revis (questionable, hamstring) will suit up so Coates can roast PFF’s No. 104 coverage CB. There’s no way the Jets are dumb enough to put Revis on Antonio Brown.
Projection: 5 targets
4. Eddie Royal $4,200 and Cam Meredith $3,000, Bears
Kevin White (fibula) is out, Alshon Jeffery (knee, hamstring) is banged up, Marquess Wilson (foot) remains sidelined and the Bears have their best quarterback under center in Brian Hoyer. As noted in Usage Recap, Cam Meredith gets the biggest snap boost in the wake of White’s injury. He played on 17-of-17 snaps after White went down and saw three targets. The Bears will fill White’s big usage (23 targets on last 93 snaps) by a committee though, spreading it out across Meredith, Eddie Royal, Jeffery, Zach Miller and maybe even some Josh Bellamy. The Colts don’t have a single soul in their secondary.
Projection: 7 targets for Royal, 5 for Meredith
5. Tyrell Williams, Chargers: $4,700
Williams only had 5-40-0 last week, allowing his price to stay under $5,000. But that disappointing game against the Saints doesn’t change that the fact that his usage remains high. Over the last two weeks, Tyrell has played on 90.1 percent of the snaps and piled up 17 targets. The matchup this week (at OAK) is tough against David Amerson and Sean Smith, but Williams will have a strong weekly ceiling.
Projection: 8 targets
Adam Levitan and Pat Mayo are promoters at DraftKings and also avid fans and users (usernames: AdamLevitan and ThePME) and may sometimes play on their personal accounts in the games that they offer advice on. Although they have expressed their personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and they may also deploy different players and strategies than what they recommend above.