How time flies. We’re now at the halfway point in the 2019 NFL Season. Before we get into our Week 8 Target Analysis, let’s take a look at the top-15 overall leaders in PPR fantasy points among WRs, through week 8:
D.J. Chark and Courtland Sutton right where we expected them during the preseason, right? It’s important to remember that there are still 9 weeks left in the regular season, and quite literally anything can happen. In 2018, Derrick Henry averaged 7.0 fantasy points per game from weeks 1-13 (RB34). He then went on to average 25.7 over the season’s final 4 weeks (RB1) and finished as the RB13 overall. While that might be an anomaly, it’s important to keep perspective. Will names on this list now land outside the top-15? Yes. Will names not on this list finish inside the top-15 come week 17? Yes. Targets are a great indicator of future success and can help us identify who those players will be.
Out of the top-15 scorers so far this season, 4 are currently outside of the top-15 in targets: Kenny Golladay, Tyler Lockett, Amari Cooper, and Stefon Diggs. On the flip side, when looking at the overall target leaders, 4 of the top-15 are outside of the top-15 in scoring: Tyler Boyd, Odell Beckham, Robert Woods, and Larry Fitzgerald. Follow the opportunity.
Now, let’s take a look back at week 8.
Mike Evans (TB): 12 targets, 11 rec, 198 yards, 2 TDs
- I’m just going to permanently rename this top spot “Buccaneers Wide Reciever.” Chris Godwin is the WR2 in PPR points per game, and Evans is the WR4. They just can’t seem to produce in tandem for any given week.
D.J. Chark (JAX): 12 targets, 6 rec, 79 yards, 1 TD
- A 5/3/53 line was worrisome last week, but Chark proved the doubters wrong. The chemistry he has developed with Offensive Rookie of the Year Candidate, Gardner Minshew, has been unmatched. The catch rate could be improved, but Minshew continues to look his way often. He is the WR5 this season, and the arrow continues to point up. The only worry is that Nick Foles comes back this year and starts, but I don’t see the Jags’ brass pulling Minshew amidst this run.
Julian Edelman (NE): 11 targets, 8 rec, 78 yards, 2 TDs
- Julian Edelman leads the league with 14 red-zone targets. 10 of those targets have gone for completions, and 4 for TDs. In the last five weeks, since he has been fully healthy, he is the WR5 and only trails Michael Thomas & Cooper Kupp in targets. The Patriots will get a healthy N’Keal Harry to add alongside Mo Sanu as another weapon to free up the slot for Edelman. I wouldn’t be surprised if he finished inside the top-5 when all is said and done.
Michael Thomas (NO): 11 targets, 11 rec, 112 yards, 1 TD
- Michael Thomas is on pace for 146 catches, 1,750 receiving yards, and 8 TDs. The catch total would be a single-season NFL record. With Drew Brees back, he could exceed this pace and nobody would be shocked.
Cooper Kupp (LAR): 10 targets, 7 rec, 220 yards, 1 TD
- Once again, a brilliant outing for Cooper Kupp. He has solidified himself as a top-five option this year. This play might also be one of the most creative you’ll ever see, ending in a 65-yard TD for Kupp.
Golden Tate (NYG): 10 targets, 8 rec, 85 yards
- Tate is tied for 6th in the league in targets over his last two weeks with 21. He has a 28% target share over the same span. Over his last three weeks, he has played on 98%, 99%, and 93% of NYG snaps. It took Tate a few weeks to develop a rapport with Daniel Jones and the Giants’ offense, but he looks to be firing on all cylinders.
Kenny Golladay (DET): 8 targets, 6 rec, 123 yards, 2 TDs
- The order was restored in Detroit’s receiving pecking order, as Kenny Golladay re-asserted himself as the #1 option in Matt Stafford’s passing attack. Besides two outings this year with less than 3 PPR fantasy points, Golladay has had either at least 100 yards receiving or a score each week.
Stefon Diggs (MIN): 7 targets, 7 rec, 143 yards
- Another efficient outing for Diggs on Thursday night. He currently leads all WRs (minimum 30 targets) with an aDOT of 15.8 yards. The Vikings continue to run the ball at the second-highest rate in the league, but Diggs is an every-week WR1.
Jonnu Smith (TEN): 7 targets, 6 rec, 78 yards, 1 TD
- Ryan Tannehill has started two games for the Titans. Over those two games, Jonnu Smith has 10 targets, 9 receptions, 142 yards, and a score. Over a full season, that’s 80/72/1,136/8. Let’s not get carried away, but Smith has emerged as a favorite target of Tannehill’s and will continue to provide fantasy managers life in what is a desolate TE landscape.
Darren Fells (HOU): 6 targets, 6 rec, 58 yards, 2 TDs
- The elusive 33-year-old veteran breakout season is upon us. Fells is now the TE8 on the season and has been the TE3 over the last 4 weeks. Over that span: 17/16/174/4. He’s bound to see negative regression in the TD department, as he’s converted 8 red-zone targets into an absurd 5 TDs. I am still buying the TE1 upside here, especially with the dynamic Deshaun Watson under center in Houston.
Tyler Lockett (SEA): 6 targets, 6 rec, 100 yards
- The king of efficiency strikes again with a picture-perfect stat line. A TD would have been the icing on the cake. Russell Wilson has a 140.2 passer rating when targeting Lockett this year. Lockett also leads the league among qualifying WRs (15 targets), with an 86.8% reception percentage. The duo continues to make magic, and Lockett is an every-week WR1.
Mohamed Sanu (ATL): 5 targets, 2 rec, 23 yards
- The weather conditions were poor, the NE defense controlled the game, and Sanu only played on 54% of the Patriots’ snaps after a half week of practice. 5 targets are not necessarily a negative sign given the circumstances.
Larry Fitzgerald (ARI): 4 targets, 2 rec, 8 yards
- Over the last two weeks, Fitzgerald has just 7 targets for 3 catches and 20 yards. His snap share remains near his season average, but Christian Kirk is back and healthy. He commanded 11 targets on Sunday and was on the field for 86% of the snaps, which topped Fitzy. I expect better days for the future Hall of Famer, but his ceiling is limited.
Robert Woods (LAR): 2 targets, 2 rec, 36 yards
- Over the last 4 weeks, Woods has put up a pedestrian 22/12/164/0 line, good for WR37. He remains 14th in the league in targets, but that number has been buoyed by two games with 13+ targets. He is capable of winning you a week, but can’t be trusted as more than a flex option at this point.
Zach Ertz (PHI): 4 targets, 2 rec, 20 yards
- Per Scott Barrett, Weeks 6-8 TE splits for PHI:
- Zach Ertz: 165 snaps, 17 targets, 19.2 PPR points
- Dallas Goedert: 135 snaps, 16 targets, 37.9 PPR points
- Goedert set season highs in snaps and snap rate in week 8. Per SharpFootballStats, Philly runs 12 personnel (two tight ends) at the second-highest rate in the league (33%). Ertz is no longer an elite option at TE with the emergence of his second-year running mate.
DaeSean Hamilton (DEN): 1 target, 0 rec, 0 yards
- So much for that breakout. Hamilton was on the field for 62% of the snaps on Sunday and only managed 1 target. The Denver passing game starts and ends with Courtland Sutton.
Gerald Everett (LAR): 3 targets, 2 rec, 15 yards
- Tyler Higbee out-snapped Everett for the third time this year. Everett in those games: 9/5/31/0, TE44. Better days are ahead, but not without significant scoring volatility.
Buys: Dallas Goedert, Adam Thielen, Robert Woods, Tyler Boyd
Sells: Zach Ertz
Is Zach Ertz done? Do you still believe in Tyler Boyd? Let me know what you think @themurph34 & @FF_Authority.