WATCH: TARGET MONSTER – JULIO JONES
For wide receivers, volume is necessary. These are the wide receivers I project to see the most targets in Week 7 (Sunday main slate only):
TOP-10 WR Target Projections
1. Mike Evans: 12 targets – When Vincent Jackson (out, knee) missed six games last year, Evans averaged a whopping 12.5 targets per game. This week he’s facing a Chip Kelly team which allows opponents to run the third-most plays per game.
2. Julio Jones: 10 targets – With Jason Verrett (knee) and Brandon Flowers (concussion) out, Julio projects to see a lot of Casey Hayward. It’s not a real concern, especially with the game at home and the Falcons projected to score the most points of any team on the slate this week.
3. A.J. Green: 10 targets – The Browns have been torched by opposing pass games all year, giving up at least 18.3 DK points to every quarterback they’ve faced. That includes Ryan Tannehill, Kirk Cousins, Carson Wentz, Joe Flacco, Marcus Mariota and Tom Brady. Green is averaging 10.3 targets per game.
4. Antonio Brown: 10 targets – In four games without Ben Roethlisberger (out, knee) last year, Brown averaged just 4.2 catches for 58.7 yards and scored zero TDs. Yes, 2.5 of those games were with Michael Vick and 1.5 were with Landry Jones. But the combination of Jones and the Patriots defense Sunday lowers Brown’s floor massively. He’s priced as if Big Ben is playing.
5. Amari Cooper: 10 targets – Expect Cooper to do battle with talented rookie Jags CB Jalen Ramsey, the No. 5 overall pick in the draft. It’s not ideal but it’s not overly scary either, especially with Cooper seeing at least nine targets in 5-of-6 games and already tallying six red-zone targets. He only saw eight red-zone targets across all of last season.
6. Allen Robinson: 9 targets – It’s a get-well spot for A-Rob, who has significant home/road splits and gets to face the No. 28 DVOA pass defense. There’s so much room for positive regression here as Robinson is yet to top 72 yards in a game this year.
7. Jarvis Landry: 9 targets – As expected, Landry bounced back with nine targets in Week 6 after the fluky Week 5 three-target disaster. He’s now averaging 9.3 targets per game on the year, right around where he’ll likely end up.
8. T.Y. Hilton: 9 targets – Hilton ranks second in the NFL in targets, but he’s often struggled away from Indy’s fast track. He’s averaged 18.13 DK points at home vs. 14.75 on the road across his last 36 outings.
9. Brandon Marshall: 9 targets – In the one game Geno Smith played fully last year (Week 8 at Oakland), Marshall racked up an absurd 18 targets. And that was with Eric Decker healthy. Considering the way Ryan Fitzpatrick was playing (dead last in PFF’s QB grades, 27th in YPA, 31st in passer rating), the move to Geno isn’t a real downgrade for Marshall.
10. Julian Edelman: 8 targets – Edelman is averaging 8.5 targets per game since Tom Brady returned, but only is getting 4.5 catches. That’s obviously well below his career catch rate of 67.5 percent. This spot against the Steelers No. 21 DVOA pass defense is a spot to get Edelman going.
WATCH: PETER JENNINGS EVALUATES GOLDEN TATE’S UPSIDE THIS WEEK.
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. Tyrell Williams, Chargers: $4,400
With Travis Benjamin (knee) questionable, the Chargers are down to three healthy wideouts: Tyrell the gazelle Williams, Dontrelle Inman and Griff Whalen. Inman is a low-upside blocking type who has four or fewer targets in 5-of-6 games this year and Whalen has played a grand total of 14 snaps this season. The No. 1 receiver for Philip Rivers should be Tyrell, who is averaging 6.1 targets per game. The concern is that he could be shadowed by Desmond Trufant if Benjamin sits. Trufant has had majority coverage this season on Amari Cooper (5-71-0), Brandin Cooks (2-13-0), Kelvin Benjamin (3-39-1), Emmanuel Sanders (7-80-0) and Doug Baldwin (4-31-0). Still, Williams projects for serious volume in this up-tempo spot in a game projected as the highest-scoring of the entire week.
Projection: 8 targets
2. Golden Tate, Lions: $4,900
I regret that I didn’t see Golden Tate’s big game coming last week. Theo Riddick and Eric Ebron were both out, sharply narrowing the options for pass-happy Matthew Stafford in a very plus home spot against the Rams. Tate can still ball – let’s not forget that he averaged 6.9 catches for 96.5 yards in the 11 games Calvin Johnson missed all or most of across 2014 and 2015. This week could be a bit different as both Ebron (ankle) and Riddick (ankle) have a chance to return, which would obviously hurt Tate. It’s a situation to monitor closely.
Projection: 7 targets
3. Kamar Aiken $3,700 and Brashad Perriman $3500, Ravens
The Jets remain a funnel defense opponents will attack through the air. And assuming Steve Smith Sr. (ankle) sits, the clear-cut top-3 wideouts will be Mike Wallace ($5,800), Kamar Aiken and Brashad Perriman. As noted by Graham Barfield this week, Aiken’s snap count over the last three weeks has gone 26 percent, 56 percent, 78 percent. Perriman’s has gone 36 percent, 51 percent, 68 percent. They’ll both have plenty of chances in this one, with Aiken working out of the slot to replace Smith and Perriman going deep against a secondary that is 30th DVOA against the pass.
Projection: 7 targets for Aiken, 6 targets for Perriman (if Smith is out)
4. Adam Humphries, Bucs: $3,000
Vincent Jackson (out, knee) was playing on 83.3 percent of the snaps and averaging 6.2 targets per game. The Bucs are third in the NFL in pass attempts per game (41.4) and won’t have feature back Doug Martin (hamstring) Sunday. They’re also facing a Niners team which allows the third-most plays per game to opponents (69.5). So there is a lot of extra usage to be spread around without V-Jax. Cam Brate will see more targets, Mike Evans will see more targets and Cecil Shorts/Russ Shepard could see extra work as well. But the fringe player with the safest floor is now Humphries, a slot man who was already playing on 62.5 percent of the snaps and averaging 6.2 targets per game. That usage is very secure with the concentration narrowed in this offense.
Projection: 7 targets
5. Pierre Garcon, Redskins: $3,700
Garcon was averaging 6.4 targets per game through the first five weeks of the year. In Week 6, he saw 11 targets and it’s not a coincidence that happened with Jordan Reed (concussion) sidelined. Kirk Cousins rightfully locks onto Reed a ton, especially on third downs and in the underneath range where Garcon typically works. This week, Garcon has a far better matchup against a Lions team defense that is 31st DVOA against the pass. If Reed is sidelined, Garcon projects for enhanced volume and enhanced effectiveness.
Projection: Projection: 7 targets (if Jordan Reed is out)
Adam Levitan and Peter Jennings are promoters at DraftKings and also avid fans and users (usernames: AdamLevitan and CSURAM88) 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.