There’s a saying in fantasy football that does something like this, “Talent doesn’t score fantasy points. Opportunity does.” Basically, NFL players need to see a consistent opportunity if they are going to gain yards or score TDs and fantasy points. One of the best ways to predict opportunity is by looking at past opportunity. With that in mind, the Week 3 Target Breakdown will be looking at the top 15 target leaders from the previous week and examining what their performances mean for the next week and the remainder of the season.
Week 3 was definitely the best week of NFL games. We actually had a great Thursday Night game and then Sunday continued the trend. On the fantasy hand, we had all kinds of players balling out, especially at the WR position. Most of the studs had great weeks, at least in terms in targets, and we saw a few breakout performances.
Week 3 Target Breakdown
|Pos||Pos Rk||Tgts||Recs||Ctch %||Yards||TDs|
|Larry Fitzgerald||WR||WR 2||15||13||86.70%||149||1|
|Doug Baldwin||WR||WR 9||15||10||66.70%||105||1|
|Emmanuel Sanders||WR||WR 32||15||7||46.70%||75||0|
|Antonio Brown||WR||WR 8||14||10||71.40%||110||1|
|AJ Green||WR||WR 7||13||10||76.90%||111||1|
|Odell Beckham Jr||WR||WR 3||13||9||69.20%||79||2|
|Julio Jones||WR||WR 26||12||7||58.30%||91||0|
|Mike Evans||WR||WR 35||12||7||58.30%||67||0|
|Stefon Diggs||WR||WR 1||11||8||72.70%||173||2|
|Christian McCaffery||RB||RB 10||11||9||81.80%||101||0|
|Jimmy Graham||TE||TE 9||11||7||63.60%||72||0|
|Brandon Marshall||WR||WR 30||11||8||72.70%||66||0|
|Golden Tate||WR||WR 19||11||7||63.60%||58||1|
|Jarvis Landry||WR||WR 43||11||6||54.50%||48||0|
|Pierre Garcon||WR||WR 15||10||7||70%||142||0|
Larry Fitzgerald – Larry Fitzgerald is a seemingly ageless player. Even at 34 years of age he continues to show up game after game and is able to produce top 2 WR production. After leading the NFL in catches in 2016, Fitz may not reach that standard again, but he’s a locked and loaded top 16 PPR WR for your fantasy team.
Doug Baldwin – Russell Wilson continues to be up and down. The Seahawks continue to be up and down. The offensive line continues to be up and down (more like down and downer). The one constant in Seattle? Doug Baldwin. Russell Wilson’s most trusted pass catcher is going to get his almost every single week. Following his breakout season 2 years ago Baldwin has been a WR 1 staple and what reason is there for that to change?
Emmanuel Sanders – For years Demaryius Thomas was the unquestioned #1 in Denver. At least, until Trevor Siemian hit the scene. Emmanuel Sanders’ 16-game pace with Trevor Siemian is 89/1193/8 while Thomas has 16-game averages of 90/1129/5. Nearly identical averages, but there was something concerning about Thomas’ 2016. It was the 4th year in a row that his YPC and TDs have fallen while Sanders maintained a more robust YPC in 2016. I expect Emmanuel Sanders to outscore Thomas in fantasy this year by virtue of TDs. The two will, again, have a very similar catch and yardage totals, but Sanders is Siemian’s more trusted red zone option.
Antonio Brown – After a down Week 2, Antonio Brown is back to lighting up scoreboards. Even in a Steelers’ loss, Brown dominated a weak Chicago secondary. Not really much to say here after that.
AJ Green – Hey look, Green also had a down Week 2 and the Bengals made a concerted effort to get him involved after he spoke out about his lack of production. This game is indicative of what we can roughly expect from Green for 2017 even as the Bengals struggle.
Odell Beckham Jr – This was OBJ’s get right game. He and the Giants offense started slowly against the Eagles, but he exploded in the second half. His juice was back and he made two crazy acrobatic TDs re-inspiring all confidence in his ability.
Julio Jones – Julio is so complicated. He’s the most physically gifted WR in the NFL, but sometimes he is crazy up and down. I attribute that to the Falcons offense and how they can attack a defense in a multitude of ways. You still have to start Julio every single week, but don’t get frustrated if he has a ‘quiet’ game because you never know when a 300-yard game is coming.
Mike Evans – Oh hey, another stud. Much like Julio, Evans had a quieter Week 2 than some of his counterparts, but once again there’s no worry. He dominates CBs at will in the red-zone and he’s going to lead the NFL in TDs for years to come and probably in 2017.
Stefon Diggs – Stefon Diggs is a damn stud. There it is. This man keeps on putting up game breaking weeks with guys like Sam Bradford and Case Keenum. Bradford is good in his own right, but he doesn’t elevate his surrounding talent. Stefon Diggs (and Adam Thielen) do that. Diggs is one of the best route runners in the NFL and he’s a lock to be a top 10 dynasty wide receiver next offseason. For the rest of 2017, he’s a WR1 and it doesn’t matter who’s at QB (within reason, not Brock Osweiler or someone that bad).
Christian McCaffery – This is what we expected when the Panthers took Christian McCaffery at #8 overall. He got targets out of the backfield and in the slot and he took the chance and ran with it. Perhaps the best sign of this game was how much McCaffery played compared to Jonathan Stewart. McCaffery played 69% of snaps and Stewart 44%. This change was effected by injuries to Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin. Without his top 2 receiving options Cam needed to look to his dynamic rookie RB. Apparently, Kelvin Benjamin is ‘fine’, but McCaffery looks like a fixture for the Carolina offense and he’ll be a very good fantasy option in 2017 and beyond.
Jimmy Graham – Graham’s Seattle tenure has been disappointing. When he got traded to the Seahawks there were grand visions of a Russell Wilson-Graham tandem on par with the Brees-Graham connection. That was derailed by Graham’s devastating knee injury and the Seahawks’ inability to insert him into their offense. Even in this 11 target game Graham barely averaged 10 YPC. Eleven targets is a surprise and probably not a common occurrence, but his TE 9 is definitely common and a likely occurrence.
Brandon Marshall – Brandon Marshall looks bad when he’s out there playing. It looks like his physical skills have deteriorated or that he just doesn’t care. He’s going to end 2017 4th on the Giants in fantasy points and he’s droppable in leagues smaller than 12 teamers.
Golden Tate – Tates’s day was almost much, much better than it already was. At the very end of the Lions’ loss, Tate almost scored a touchdown but was ruled down at the half-yard line and the clock ran out on the Lions’ offense. WR 19 is a little lower than you’d like, but it’s nothing to be disappointed with.
Jarvis Landry – Another game, another week of Jarvis Landry with a really low yardage total on lots of targets. This week seeing 11 targets didn’t help him to a high PPR finish as he finished as the WR 43 off of the 9th (tied) most targets. That’s crazy inefficient, but that’s the name of the game with Landry. He’ll work out okay in season-long, but he’s a mid-level WR 2.
Pierre Garcon – This is the Pierre Garcon that was promised when he signed with Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers were expected to be down all the time and chasing garbage points, but that’s not how Garcon produced his WR 15 week in Week 3. The Rams-49ers game was an offensive explosion. It was good to see and Carlos Hyde has been playing his butt off which only helps Garcon.