Over the course of the season, I have found a unique way to help project WR production. This, in turn, has led me to find some solid QBs to stack with the WRs. If multiple WRs from the same team is going to smash, that means the QB is also going to rack up fantasy points. I have developed what I call “Ideal Targets”. These are targets the WRs are seeing to the ideal locations of the field where the defense has really struggled. The DVOA to each section of the field comes from footballoutsiders.com, while directional receiving comes from sharpfootballstats.com. Positive numbers are what we want to target. Negative numbers are where the defense really excels in defending the pass.
We can rely on this for a couple of reasons: 1) If a defense plays man coverage a majority of the time, and there is a location of the field where the defense has a bad DVOA, then this is likely due to bad cornerback play and we can attack these bad corners. For example, Defense A has a poor DVOA to the short right of the field, but this defense runs man coverage mostly. If a slot corner is bad and in man coverage and a WR starts out on the left slot but catches the pass to the short right portion of the field, this is likely due to him being able to create separation throughout his drag route. This team has likely seen this on film and will look to exploit this.
Or 2) if a defense plays zone coverage a majority of the time, and there is a location of the field where the defense has a bad DVOA, then this is likely due to teams finding the soft spots of the zones and being able to exploit those areas. For example, Defense A has a poor DVOA to the deep middle part of the field. If a team on film runs a ton of Cover 2, this leaves a soft spot to the deep middle portion of the field. As the safeties will push towards the outer thirds of the field and the linebackers cover the underneath. Again, the offense will recognize this and look to attack this area.
Both scenarios cover 100% of defensive schemes, so while this metric isn’t going to predict every WR that puts up massive production, we should be able to supplement this research with our usual WR/CB matchups, and DVOA for a defense as a whole. With all that being said, let’s get to it…
Titans (17.75) at Chiefs (26.75) Total 44.5
Titans Defense DVOA:
Deep Left: 6.8 Deep Middle: -19.1 Deep Right: -47.6
Short Left: 19.5 Short Middle: 31.1 Short Right: 6.9
With this chart, we can see that the Titans are the best at defending the Deep Middle and Deep Right portions of the field. Just as a quick nugget, the Titans like to run a lot of single high safety which means they have one safety playing deep-middle of the field and he will help shade to the side of the field which needs help or has the better receiver. This makes sense that they defend the right side of the field well because a lot of team’s best receivers line up on the right side of the formation, which would lead to the safety shading to that side.
Chiefs Ideal Targets:
Travis Kelce: 99 targets, 762 yards, 7 TD
Tyreek Hill: 90 targets, 726 yards, 2 TDs.
Albert Wilson: 59 targets, 474 yards, 2 TDs.
Summary: As you can see here, both of the Chiefs main pass catchers have done fairly well where the Titans are weak. I can definitely get on board with a Kelce, Hill, Smith stack this weekend. I don’t mind Wilson for salary relief if needed.
Chiefs Defense DVOA:
Deep Left: 8.4 Deep Middle: 29.8 Deep Right: -16.5
Short Left: 8.3 Short Middle: 25.5 Short Right: -16.7
The Chiefs biggest weakness is clearly in the middle of the field.
Titans Ideal Targets:
Delanie Walker: 74 targets, 558 yards, 2 TDs.
Rishard Matthews: 53 targets, 551 yards, 4 TDs
Summary: I have not played the Titans’ pass game much this year, but both of these guys have decent ideal targets. If you want to choose one of them for correlation to a Chiefs stack I don’t mind it.
Falcons (21.25) at Rams (27.25) Total 48.5
Deep Left: 22.8 Deep Middle: -71.3 Deep Right: 60.3
Short Left: 4.8 Short Middle: 10.9 Short Right: -4
Rams Ideal Targets:
Cooper Kupp: 73 targets, 691 yards, 2 TDs
Robert Woods: 39 targets, 383 yards, 3 TDs
Sammy Watkins: 50 targets, 370 yards, 3 TDs
Summary: These are some unexciting numbers. If we are going by this metric, Kupp is my favorite Rams receiver. The Rams are likely to lean on Gurley pretty heavily.
Deep Left: 14.6 Deep Middle: -7.2 Deep Right: -28
Short Left: -11.4 Short Middle: – 7.9 Short Right: -14.9
The Rams have been very solid against all sections of the field, with the exception of deep-left. If the Falcons are going to move the ball, it will likely be on the ground, but I will still break down the deep left targets.
Falcons Ideal targets:
Julio Jones: 29 targets, 292 yards, 2 TDs
Mohammed Sanu: 5 targets, 44 yards, 0 TDs
Summary: If you are playing a Falcons pass catcher, Julio is your guy.
Bills (15.25) at Jaguars (24.25) Total 39.5
Deep Left: -19.1 Deep Middle: -114.6 Deep Right: 1.9
Short Left: -10.4 Short Middle: 13 Short Right: -15.6
Jaguars Ideal Targets:
Marqise Lee: 25 targets, 283 yards, 1 TD
Keelan Cole: 33 targets, 214 yards, 0 TDs
Allen Hurns: 17 targets, 161 yards, 1 TD
Dede Westbrook: 16 targets, 133 yards, 1 TD
Summary: The Jags don’t matchup well with the Bills pass D. I will likely be avoiding them if I can.
Deep Left: -20.7 Deep Middle: -91.9 Deep Right: -16.6
Short Left: -30.8 Short Middle: -2.4 Short Right: -6.6
Bills Ideal Targets:
Summary: The Jags D is elite. They are above league average on defense in every single area of the field. As a result, we have no ideal targets to point out for the Bills.
Panthers at Saints
Deep Left: 23.4 Deep Middle: 7.1 Deep Right: 8.8
Short Left: -8.3 Short Middle: -1.9 Short Right: 0.1
Saints Ideal Targets
Michael Thomas: 87 targets, 814 yards, 4 TDs
Ted Ginn: 45 targets, 546 yards, 3 TDs
Summary: While I definitely prefer Thomas here, I don’t mind Ginn at all for cheaper value
Deep Left: 35.4 Deep Middle: -17.4 Deep Right: 37.2
Short Left: -27.9 Short Middle: 3.9 Short Right: -35.4
Panthers Ideal Targets
Devin Funchess: 43 targets, 324 yards, 4 TDs
Summary: The Panthers rarely put up chunks of yards through the air. Most of their damage comes on the ground or to check downs to the RBs. Funchess’ numbers are not eye-popping in this metric and I think Lattimore may even shadow him here.
Reach out to me on twitter @matty_d_30 and let me know if you like this ideal target metric or if you prefer me to go through The Gauntlet. I wanted to try something different for the playoffs, but if The Gauntlet is preferred, I will gladly go back to that. Good luck this weekend!