Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Welcome back to WR1 status, Mike Evans. May you never know what was once written about you just a mere 7 days ago. Putting my Evans whiff behind me, if you were with us last week you hopefully had the chance to buy low on players like Tyler Lockett, Tyler Boyd, and Terry McLaurin. The latter now officially known as “F1.” Week 3 brought us a few stalwart performances – looking at you Keenan Allen & Cooper Kupp. It also brought us a few “where ya at” performances – hey there, Robert Woods & Davante Adams (buy-low candidates). Without further ado, let’s get to our Week 3 Target Analysis starting with the top-20 target leaders from this past weekend. As always, target data is from PFF, all other statistics are from AirYards.com.
|Marvin Jones Jr.||WR||DET||9||6||101||1|
|Paul Richardson Jr.||WR||WAS||9||8||83||1|
Keenan Allen (LAC): 16 targets, 13 rec, 183 yards, 2 TDs
- What a day for Keenan Allen. Allen needs to be in the discussion as one of, if not the best receivers in the game right now. He currently leads the league in targets, receptions, air yards, target share, receiving yards (by almost 100), and PPR fantasy points…18 ahead of Julio Jones. He is undoubtedly the best route runner in the league in a prolific passing offense lead by Phil Rivers, with a banged-up defense keeping him in positive game scripts. If you drafted him in the third round, hats off to you. You may have just landed the overall WR1 in 2019.
Darren Waller (OAK): 14 targets, 13 rec, 134 yards
- If you watched Hard Knocks this year, you’ll know Waller’s backstory. Once a drug addict unable to stay on the field, he’s now transformed himself into one of the best tight ends in the league. A converted WR, Waller can navigate the entire route tree and is essentially unguardable in a 1-on-1 matchup. Waller tied with Mike Evans this week posting a 41% target share, putting him at 30% on the year, tied with Cooper Kupp for third. He also leads all tight ends in receptions with 29, only behind Keenan Allen amongst all pass catchers. Derek Carr has a new favorite target in Oakland and those who took a late-round flier on Waller are sitting pretty with a locked-in top 5 tight end.
Mike Evans (TB): 14 targets, 8 rec, 190 yards, 3 TDs
- Well, well, well. Here we are once again, albeit a little higher on the list this time. Mike Evans proved his doubters dead wrong and posted the most PPR fantasy points amongst all players on Sunday. He owned an absurd 41% target share and had 244 air yards on the day. The only wrinkle in Evans’ day has to be that Jameis Winston seems unable to produce multiple fantasy-relevant weapons on a week-by-week basis. Fellow teammates Chris Godwin & O.J. Howard were nowhere to be found. Again, a small blemish in an otherwise elite showing from Evans, but Winston’s inaccuracy (57% catch rate for Evans on the day, and ranked 35th in adjusted completion % on the year) will prove to be frustrating down the road and limit Evans’ ceiling.
Tyler Lockett (SEA): 13 targets, 11 rec, 154 yards, 1 TD
- I guess Lockett was able to find that yin & yang on Sunday after all. Russell Wilson went bonkers on the day, and Lockett was his go-to man hauling in 11 of 13 targets for 154 yards and a score. We’ve now seen the two sides of Lockett – the low aDOT, high volume early-season Lockett, and the deep ball extraordinaire from yesteryear. 2019 Tyler Lockett has somehow fused the two versions, furthering his connection with elite QB Russell Wilson. Lockett is now an every-week WR1…let’s hope Seattle continues to even out their run-pass splits.
Cooper Kupp (LAR): 12 targets, 11 rec, 102 yards, 2 TDs
- Our little Cooper Kupp. With so many mouths to feed in the Rams’ receiving corps, it was hard to predict who would emerge are Jared Goff’s WR1. That case is now closed. Cooper Kupp enjoyed a 32% target share on Sunday night, a 98% snap share, and the third most WR fantasy points across the NFL. Now tied for fifth in receptions and third in target share, Kupp has asserted himself as not only the best option on the LA offense but as an elite WR. Per Scott Barrett, in Kupp’s last 6 full games, he ranks #1 amongst WRs in fantasy points per game at 23.4.
Josh Gordon (NE): 11 targets, 6 rec, 83 yards
- Nobody benefited more from the Antonio Brown release than Josh Gordon. Gordon was targeted 11 times on the day, 1 more than fellow Patriot Julian Edelman. His aDOT was above 10 yards and he was on the field 88% of the time. That’s up from 67% and 79%, respectively, in weeks 1 & 2. It wouldn’t shock me to see Gordon finish above double-digit targets for the foreseeable future. The only things limiting his ceiling are his off-field issues which seem to have subsided, and the Patriots finding themselves in negative game script situations. I’m fading those prognostications and buying Gordon’s massive upside.
Robert Woods (LAR): 8 targets, 3 rec, 40 yards
- Enter, the forgotten man of the Rams’ receiving trio. The aforementioned Cooper Kupp is now a fantasy superstar, and the only thing more predictable than Brandin Cooks averaging 12 PPR points per game was AB’s very brief tenure under Bill Belichick. Okay, last AB reference, I promise. Robert Woods was the most consistent of the LA WRs just a year ago, so what happened here? He has still managed a 22% target share, been on the field over 95% of the time in the last three games, and has a workable 23 targets on the year. These aren’t elite numbers by any means, but I think Woods’ is the optimal buy-low candidate right now. Sean McVay doesn’t look quite like his wonder-boy self so far this year, but I’m willing to bet the Rams pick it up down the stretch, and Woods’ emergence is a big reason why.
Greg Olsen (CAR): 7 targets, 6 rec, 75 yards, 2 TDs
- How about a little love for one of the veterans making a big splash so far this year? Greg Olsen has been nothing short of electric to start 2019 and proved he can be a fantasy asset even without Cam Newton under center. Who’s to say that Kyle Allen isn’t better and more accurate than Cam Newton? A healthy Cam at that? I’m not here to get into that smoldering take war, but I can definitively say that Allen is better than hobbled Newton for all Carolina fantasy stars. Olsen is tied for fifth amongst tight ends in receptions and rec. yards on the year. I’d expect those ranks to keep climbing as his new young quarterback looks to the security blanket early & often.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT): 6 targets, 3 rec, 81 yards, 1 TD
- Panic button? I’m almost there, to be honest. If not for a 76 yard TD this week, we’re looking at 5 targets, 2 rec, 5 yards. THAT is alarming. Can he handle the double coverage and the lockdown corners shadowing him? I had faith before the year started, but it may be time to sell him at a decent high right now if you can get the right offer. He only has 23 targets on the year, and perhaps even worse, a 21% target share. Will Diontae Johnson’s breakout affect JuJu’s value even more? I’m saying yes.
Davante Adams (GB): 4 targets, 4 rec, 56 yards
- This situation is not in panic button territory. Adams will be just fine, and you should be trying to buy low on him everywhere you can. In the last three weeks, Adams has faced Denver, Chicago, and Minnesota, three teams in PFF’s top 15 graded coverage units. With that, he has been shadowed by Xavier Rhodes and Chris Harris, two top-notch CBs. Adams has a 23% target share, ceding some to teammate Marques Valdez-Scantling. However, he has been on the field over 90% of the time each game this season, while MVS has not. I’m buying the dip, starting with the Eagles porous pass defense on Thursday.
There you have it. A lot of players are due for positive regression this week, so don’t hang your head if your WR1 hasn’t lived up to his billing just yet. One more chance this week, then it might be time to hit the panic button. Tweet me @themurph34 and @FF_Authority with your reactions.