Start WR/WR, they said. It’ll be a foolproof strategy, they said. What a rough 5 weeks it’s been for those of us who doubled down on pass-catchers at picks 1 & 2 in fantasy drafts. The only consensus preseason top 5 WR who remains in the top 5 in fantasy scoring through 5 weeks is Michael Thomas, checking in at #4. Julio Jones is not far behind at #7. DeAndre Hopkins (#18), Odell Beckham Jr. (#35), and Davante Adams (#36) are all putting together disappointing campaigns thus far. Adams showed us that he can get back on track with an explosive performance against the Eagles two weeks ago and will be back on the field from injury as soon as this week. Are we panicking on Hopkins & Odell? Is it time to trade them, or trade for them? Are Chris Godwin and Cooper Kupp leading the revolution of the new group of upper-echelon fantasy WRs? Last week we talked about the good, the bad, and the ugly. For Week 5’s target analysis, we’ll also throw out a quick-hitting buy/sell list. As always, let’s start with our top-20 target leaders from week 5, via PFF. All data referenced thereafter is from AirYards.com.
|Will Fuller V||WR||HST||16||14||217||3|
|D.J. Chark Jr.||WR||JAX||11||8||164||2|
|Allen Robinson II||WR||CHI||9||7||97||2|
Will Fuller (HOU): 16 targets, 14 rec, 217 yards, 3 TDs
- If only we could cut this production in half and ship it to Fuller’s running mate, DeAndre Hopkins. Will Fuller was a week-winner for those of you who had him locked into your starting lineups on Sunday. A popular DFS pick coming into the week against the porous Atlanta pass defense, Fuller was able to live up to expectations and torch the Falcons to the tune of 143 air yards, 109 YAC, and a ludicrous 48% target share. As the story goes with Fuller, expect these astronomical highs to be paired with your typical clunkers every now & then. Fuller was the WR66 before this week. As long as Deshaun Watson can remain protected (pressured on only six dropbacks Sunday), Fuller will remain a viable flex option with an incredibly high ceiling.
Amari Cooper (DAL): 14 targets, 11 rec, 226 yards, 1 TD
- Inconsistent, you say? Amari Cooper has shed his former label and now sits as the overall WR2 on the season. Cooper showed flashes last year, even after arriving in Dallas mid-season with no knowledge of the offense or any rapport with Dak Prescott. One full offseason with Dak and new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore have made those flashes consistent, and look to have Cooper on the cusp of a monster fantasy season. He has 43 targets on the year, owns a 25% target share in the Dallas offense, and is tied for second in the league with 5 TDs. He also has 8 receptions of over 20 yards, tied for best in the NFL. Perhaps the second-best route runner in the league behind only Keenan Allen, Cooper has also proved to be matchup proof. The Packers came into this game as the sixth-best coverage unit in the NFL, per PFF. Cooper was also shadowed by standout Packers CB, Jaire Alexander. It proved to be a mismatch…favoring Cooper. The #1 option in the Dallas offense will continue on his upward trajectory to a top-5 finish this year.
Michael Thomas (NO): 12 targets, 11 rec, 182 yards, 2 TDs
- Welcome to our lone “elite” fantasy WR still gracing the top-five at his position. Thomas exploded this week against Tampa Bay putting up another double-digit reception line, coupled with over 180 yards and a pair of scores. Thomas now leads the league with 45 catches and 543 yards on the season. His aDOT still sits at a mediocre 8.8 yards, but he has nonetheless been productive without Drew Brees under center in New Orleans. He ranks as PFF’s 8th best receiver on the year, proving he can maintain an elite level of play and fantasy production independent of QB play. With Brees scheduled to be back ahead of schedule, Thomas will continue on his league-leading pace and then some.
D.J. Chark (JAX): 11 targets, 8 rec, 164 yards, 2 TDs
- Baby Chark doo doo doooo doo. My attempt at humor and relevance aside, Chark has quietly put together a top-five fantasy season to date. He and Gardner Minshew have looked to be quite the dynamic duo in Jacksonville. Chark currently owns the third-best grade among WR’s per PFF and has caught all 27 catchable passes thrown his way with 0 drops. His passer rating when targeted trails only Chris Godwin among WRs with at least 15 targets on the season. Put some respect on the man’s name – the second-year breakout out of LSU is here to stay.
Allen Robinson (CHI): 9 targets, 7 rec, 97 yards, 2 TDs
- Could you imagine if Allen Robinson was on the Chiefs? The Patriots? The Seahawks? Unfortunately, he’s stuck with Chase Daniel & Mitchell Trubisky in the lowly Chicago Bears passing attack. Robinson is an elite talent at the position and showed what he is capable of on Sunday across the pond against the Raiders. He quietly has 42 targets on the season and sits at WR14 after 5 weeks. The inconsistent QB play is a drag on his performance, but he has proven time and time again to be QB-proof. He’s PFF’s 16th ranked WR and holds a 25% target share in Chicago. The TDs may be an aberration here (his first two of the season), but the consistency and talent are most definitely not. He’s seen at least 7 targets in every game this year and has yet to log less than 4 catches or 40 yards per game.
Julio Jones (ATL): 6 targets, 3 rec, 42 yards
- Man, the Falcons are bad. Appearing here for the second straight week does not mean that Julio Jones is also bad, however. Jones was out-targeted by teammates Austin Hooper and Calvin Ridley against the Texans on Sunday and logged his second consecutive game with fewer than 5 catches and 60 yards. He’s also been kept out of the end-zone during that same span. The Falcons travel to Arizona this week which should be the right prescription to get Jones out of his funk. He trails only Mike Evans with 573 air yards on the season and is 8th in the league in targets. The one thing to keep an eye on is target share – Julio sits at just 20%. Austin Hooper has eaten into a big chuck during his emergence, but this is still Julio’s offense. Buy low on him if you can – the window will shut this week.
Odell Beckham Jr. (CLE): 5 targets, 2 rec, 27 yards
- And you thought the Falcons were bad?! The Browns laid an egg on Monday Night Football and Baker Mayfield continued on his downward spiral. To date, Baker has thrown 8 INTs, only tossed 4 TDs, fumbled 3 times, and has completed only 55.9% of his throws. His completion percentage ranks last among QBs with at least 100 attempts this season. Mayfield has also faced pressure on 66 dropbacks and been sacked 16 times. Do you know what all of the above points have in common? They’re unrelated to OBJ. Yes, he is still somewhat dependent on good QB play, but I’m still of the mindset that the best days are yet to come for Baker, OBJ, and the rest of this Browns’ offensive unit. Beckham still has 43 targets on the year and a 26% target share – he’s not being ignored. Not necessarily a buy candidate for me, but hold while you can and don’t sell too low.
Darren Waller (OAK): 5 targets, 4 rec, 39 yards
- What happened to our beloved Wallerus? Sunday marked Waller’s first game this season with under 7 targets. He finished as the TE17, but remains the TE6 through 5 weeks and trails only Engram, Kelce, Hooper & Ertz with 42 targets. He bests all five with 37 receptions. The Raiders have created an offensive identity behind great O-Line play, a bruising rushing attack led by Josh Jacobs, and quick, short, accurate throws by Derek Carr. He ranks first among QB’s (min 100 attempts) with an adjusted completion percentage of 84.7%. The Raiders are on a bye this week but expect Waller to continue to eat up targets in the quick passing game against the Packers in week 7.
Stefon Diggs (MIN): 4 targets, 3 rec, 44 yards
- The squeaky wheel gets the grease, right? Maybe Stefon Diggs should publicly call out his QB, Kirk Cousins, for not looking his way with the football. That sure worked for Adam Thielen. Diggs has just 23 targets, an 18% target share, and is WR58 through week 5. The Vikings run the ball at the second-highest rate in the league, Kirk Cousins ranks as PFF’s 27th best QB, and the Minnesota O-line ranks 31st in PFF pass-blocking grade. This team wants to run the ball, and when they do pass, Adam Thielen is the go-to guy. Here’s to hoping Diggs has his trade wishes granted.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB): 4 targets, 1 rec, 18 yards
- MVS was a popular flex play this week with stud WR Davante Adams out with an injury for Green Bay. The talent seems to be there, as he has shown flashes and hauled in his fair share of big-time throws from Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has looked his way this season, even with Adams on the field. MVS has 32 targets this year, but only a 56% catch rate. He ranks as PFF’s 93rd WR and has proven, even with opportunity, he has failed to reach his athletic ceiling. With Adams returning from injury as soon as this week, MVS is a bye-week fill in and nothing more.
Mike Evans (TB): 2 targets, 0 rec, 0 yards
- Guess who’s back. Back again. Evans is back. Tell a friend. Our best friend Mike Evans has indeed found himself at the bottom of the list, yet again. I do have some good news, however. Marshon Lattimore, the Saints’ lockdown CB, shadowed Evans on 83% of his routes on Sunday, allowing 2 targets for 0 catches. Let’s chalk this one up as another aberration in the bumpy Mike Evans 2019 roller coaster ride. He leads the league with 603 air yards, has 38 targets, and is still maintaining a 23% share in the Tampa passing attack. He’s my favorite buy-low candidate right now.
DeAndre Hopkins, T.Y. Hilton, Mike Evans, Keenan Allen, Robert Woods, Julio Jones
Stefon Diggs, Brandin Cooks, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Allen Robinson