Fantasy Football Target Analysis: Week 12
Week 13 is a transitional week. Bye weeks are over and sadly, all the wonderful Thanksgiving treats were likely finished off during Sunday’s NFL slate. But looking ahead, the fantasy playoffs are within sight and we are less than a month away from winning our championship.
Looking ahead, the best way to assure a crucial win in Week 13 is to continue to analyze all the passes from the previous week. Knowing those targets and using that data correctly can give you a big edge over your opponent.
Here are the NFL target numbers from Week 12 and what it means for Week 13 and moving forward.
Week 12 byes: Kansas City, LA Rams
Larry Fitzgerald only got two targets and this is the second straight week that Fitzgerald has been held to two receptions with 30 or fewer yards. Fortunately, Fitz salvaged his fantasy output somewhat by scoring another touchdown, his third in three games and fifth in the last five.
Christian Kirk led Arizona in targets for the second straight week but was mostly held in-check by Casey Hayward. Kirk caught 4-of-6 target but only managed to accumulate 41 yards, which actually led the club. As long as Josh Rosen is being limited to fewer than 200 passing weekly passing yards, Kirk is little more than a WR4.
The Cardinals got blown out, which led to a negative game script for David Johnson. Johnson rushed 17 times for 63 yards but was held to two grabs for 16 yards, which was his lowest output under Byron Leftwich. The entire Cardinals offense should fare a little better in Week 13 at Green Bay.
Classic Julio Jones was back on display. Not the elite, high-volume pass-catcher, but the stat-padding player that fails to score touchdowns. Jones’s streak of three straight games with a score came to a halt, but this time, it wasn’t for Steve Sarkisian’s play-calling. Jones got three more red-zone targets against New Orleans. Jones remains a locked-in, top-5 option in any format but has a tough task in Week 13 against Baltimore’s excellent secondary.
Austin Hooper has picked on team’s that struggle to defend tight ends. The Saints have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to the position and limited Hooper to five grabs and just 31 yards. This week, New Orleans travels to Dallas to face a Cowboys squad that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends, so look for Hooper to rebound nicely.
Calvin Ridley caught 15-of-21 targets for 239 yards and four touchdowns in two games against the Saints this season. Ridley has only topped 70 receiving yards in one other game this season.
After rushing for 265 yards in Week 11, the Ravens again ran 43 times for 242 yards against Oakland. While effective for the offense, this conservative play-calling will lead to suppressed passing numbers for Lamar Jackson, which will hurt all of Baltimore’s pass-catchers. Don’t expect that to change. The Ravens are 2-0 in Jackson’s starts and in the thick of the AFC playoff chase.
Despite an appealing matchup with Atlanta’s leaky secondary in Week 13, betting on any of Baltimore’s wideouts is a risky proposition. John Brown once again led the club with seven looks but only managed to catch one pass. Michael Crabtree got the revenge game TD against his former squad but was limited to just seven yards-per-catch.
Even with Alex Collins being a surprise scratch for this game, Javorius Allen played a single snap and rushed once for two yards. Ty Montgomery played 40% of the snaps and touched the ball 11 times. Montgomery has clearly passed Allen on the depth chart, making Allen droppable in all formats.
Speaking of conservative offenses, Buffalo’s lack of credible passing offense has removed any Bills from fantasy consideration. LeSean McCoy is getting plenty of carries but is facing so many stacked fronts that he’s posting a career-worst 3.3 yards-per-carry and has topped 85 rushing yards only once all season.
Josh Allen ran 13 times for 99 yards against the Jaguars but the majority of that production came on a 45-yard jaunt. Allen’s other 12 carries went for 4.5 yards-per-pop. Allen won’t be on the Week 13 streaming radar against a Miami defense that allows just 10.5 rushing yards-per-game to quarterbacks and has yet to allow a QB rushing touchdown.
Robert Foster has played 33 snaps in back-to-back games while also catching five balls for 199 yards. He won’t be a consistent source of targets but is worth a waiver add as a situational deep threat.
Devin Funchess (back) missed Week 12 which led to D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel both playing 54 snaps. Moore set a career-high with eight receptions, while Samuel scored for the second straight week and third time in four games. Torrey Smith also returned to the lineup for the first time since Week 7 but went untargeted in 18 snaps.
After catching all 11 of his targets, Christian McCaffrey now leads all running backs with 71 receptions and is third with 82 targets. McCaffrey exceeded 100 receiving yards for the second time this season and also rushed 17 times for 125–the first time he’s managed to top exceed triple-digits in both categories in a single game.
TE Greg Olsen caught 2-of-4 targets for just 11 yards. With McCaffrey and the young wideouts taking so many targets in Norv Turner’s offense, Olsen is now a touchdown-dependant weekly option at tight end, but remains valuable due to the lack of depth at the position.
With Mitchell Trubisky out due to a shoulder injury, journeyman backup Chase Daniel completed 27-of-37 passes for 230 yards and a pair of touchdowns. This was the first time In his career that Daniel threw for multiple scores in a single game. Trubisky wasn’t particularly close to playing last week on short rest. If he’s held out in a winnable game in New York, Daniel would be a lesser QB2.
After compiling a season-best 6/133/2 line against Detroit, Allen Robinson has regressed to just five grabs for 76 yards in the following two games. Regardless of who is at quarterback in Week 13, Robinson won’t be much more than a WR3 against Janoris Jenkins, B.W. Webb, and free safety Landon Collins.
Jordan Howard continues to plummet down the fantasy ranks with a season-low seven carries and 13 rushing yards. Over Chicago’s past three games, Howard has rushed 36 times for just 97 yards–an appalling average of just 2.69 yards-per-carry.
A.J. Green was expected to suit up last week but wasn’t cleared to practice all week and wound up missing his third consecutive game. Green should be back in the lineup for Week 13 but could be dealing with the double whammy of a backup signal-caller and a solid Denver secondary that’s only allowed five touchdowns this season to opposing wide receivers.
Seventh-round rookie Auden Tate got his first significant playing time. Tate played 32 snaps (43%) but only caught 2-of-7 targets for 15 yards. Once Green is back in the lineup, Tate will be hard-pressed to receiver any playing time behind Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross, and Cody Core.
Keep an eye on TE C.J. Uzomah with Jeff Driskel getting the start for Andy Dalton, who’s been placed on season-ending IR. In Driskel’s half of action, he targeted Uzomah eight times but the pair only connected on three receptions for 14 yards.
Just when it was starting to look like Duke Johnson would play a meaningful role in Freddie Kitchens’s offense, Johnson only got three touches against the Bengals. The Browns nursed a big lead throughout this game but rode Nick Chubb, who out-touched Johnson 31-3.
Rookie signal-caller Baker Mayfield is thriving in Cleveland’s new offense. After posting a TD-to-INT ratio of 8-to-6 in his first five starts, Mayfield boasts a 9-to-1 ratio and has completed over 70% of his passes during the Brown’s last three contests.
While Mayfield is trending up, Jarvis Landry is marred in a slump. Since opening the season with 100-plus yards in two out of Cleveland’s first three games, Landry has not hit the century mark again. In Cleveland’s last four games, Landry has caught only 19 out of 29 targets, averaged only 35 receiving yards, and failed to score a touchdown.
Amari Cooper has had an immediate WR1 impact on the Dallas passing attack. Dak Prescott’s top-four completion percentage games have come since the club acquired Cooper. Prescott has totaled eight touchdowns in those games and thrown only one interception.
Other than Cooper and RB Ezekiel Elliott, there hasn’t been much production out of the other pass-catchers in Big D. Cole Beasley and Michael Gallup are getting the most playing time but combined to catch just three out of eight targets on Thursday for 24 yards.
Emmanuel Sanders broke out of his mini-slump with a solid 7/86/1 line against his former club. The 12 targets that Sanders got against the Steelers were the most he’s received in a game since Week 5. With a Week 13 date versus a Cincinnati secondary that has allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks, Sanders will be a fringe WR1.
Phillip Lindsay played a season-high 63% of Denver’s snaps and dominated touches out of the backfield. Lindsay rushed 14 times for 110 yards and even got a short-yardage touchdown that normally would have went to Royce Freeman. Freeman played just 15 snaps and accumulated just 17 yards on six touches.
Courtland Sutton has led or been second in Denver’s receiving corps in targets every week since Demaryius Thomas was traded to Houston. Although he’s flashed some solid skills, Sutton is coming off of his lowest receiving output since Week 2. Still, he’ll be on the WR4/flex radar in Week 13 against the Bengals.
Since the Lions traded Golden Tate to Philadelphia, Kenny Golladay has caught 22-of-38 targets for 327 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Golladay is averaging 11 targets-per-game without Marvin Jones in the lineup. Jones was placed on IR earlier this week, meaning Golladay will continue to see all the targets he can handle.
Bruce Ellington and T.J. Jones are both playing a significant amount of snaps and splitting the slot reps. Now that Jones has been placed on IR, Ellington offers the most flexibility and will likely start outside, which will kick T.J. Jones fulltime into the slot.
Green Bay Packers
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Minnesota cornerback Xavier Rhodes did a solid job on Davante Adams. Adams caught five out of eight targets and did score his 10th touchdown of the season but has been held under 100 yards in three out of Green Bay’s past four games. With a Week 13 date versus Arizona where Adams could be shadowed by Patrick Peterson, Adams will be a fringe WR1.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling played 44 of Green Bay’s 53 snaps but ended up catching only one pass for three yards. This is the second consecutive game in which Valdes-Scantling was held to a single reception and fewer than 10 receiving yards.
With Green Bay’s receiving corps banged up and starting tight end Jimmy Graham dealing with a broken thumb, Green Bay had four tight ends receive playing time against the Vikings. Graham and Lance Kendricks both played 22 snaps and caught 4-of-7 targets. Marcedes Lewis played a season-high 23 snaps but was only targeted once. Robert Tonyan played one snap and wasn’t targeted.
Demaryius Thomas scored his first two touchdowns with the Texans, both from red-zone throws from DeShaun Watson. Watson only attempted 24 passes thanks in large part to a ground game that produced 281 yards against the Titans.
DeAndre Hopkins was held out of the end-zone for the first time in six games. While Demaryius Thomas got those red-zone looks this week, it shouldn’t have an overall negative impact on Hopkins’s role. He’ll still be a top-5 option in Week 13 against Cleveland.
Lamar Miller rushed 12 times for 162 yards. Miller was regularly breaking off big chunks of yards but the vast majority of the damage came on a 97-yard touchdown scamper. This was the second time in his career that Miller has rushed for a score from that distance.
Frank Reich indicated that TE Eric Ebron would be a matchup-dependent weekly option. After not being targeted at all in Week 11, Ebron played his most snaps since Week 6 and caught 5-of-7 targets for 45 yards. Ebron also scored two more touchdowns to boost his season total to 12. It’s impossible to sit Ebron due to his high ceiling and he’s far less likely to be so erratic with Jack Doyle’s season now officially over.
Dontrelle Inman has finished first or second among the Colts’ wideouts in targets in each of the past four games. He’s also finished second in the receiving corps in snaps in the past two games. While Chester Rogers was more productive than Inman against Miami, Inman is the best bet for weekly targets behind T.Y. Hilton.
If Marlon Mack (concussion) is unable to clear the NFL’s concussion protocol in time for the Jaguars’ game, Nyheim Hines would be the best choice to fill in. The last time Jordan Wilkins out-snapped Hines was Week 1.
Another miserable showing from Jacksonville’s offense ended up costing jobs. The Jaguars dismissed offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and have benched starting quarterback Blake Bortles in favor of Cody Kessler. Now losers of seven consecutive games, the Jaguars will be looking for a new quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft.
In addition to breaking in a new offensive coordinator, quarterback, and possibly a new running back, Jacksonville will look to end their skid against a red-hot Indianapolis Colts squad that has won five consecutive contests.
Los Angeles Chargers
Melvin Gordon will miss multiple weeks with a sprained MCL, which puts Austin Ekeler in-line to be a potential RB2 down the stretch, heading into the fantasy playoffs. Ekeler led the Chargers in targets (11) and catches (10) against the Steelers while also chipping in another 35 rushing yards and a touchdown. If Ekeler is available in your league’s waiver wire, he’s worth exhausting your remaining FAAB to acquire.
Tyrell Williams played despite a quad injury but was limited to only nine snaps and went without a target in a game that the Chargers nursed a big lead. Mike Williams played a season-high 63 snaps and caught all four of his targets, which included a pair of red-zone touchdowns. Mike Williams remains a touchdown-dependent WR4 but has WR3 potential if Tyrell Williams is unable to face the Steelers.
Kenny Stills was the only Miami wideout who played more than half of the team’s snaps against the Colts. Stills boasts a strong chemistry with Ryan Tannehill and did lead the Dolphins’ wide receiving corps with four targets but Still was limited to a single grab that went for just six yards. Still hasn’t topped 50 yards since Week 3 and is unlikely to bounce back against a Buffalo defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers.
Miami’s backfield breakdown against Indianapolis: Kenyan Drake played 24 snaps, got 13 touches, generated 96 total yards and scored twice. Frank Gore played 29 snaps and posted a 15/77/0 line, while Kalen Ballage played two snaps and caught two passes for (-5) yards.
Mike Gesicki played 70% of Miami’s snaps but was only targeted once in the passing game. Gesicki has caught only 18 balls for 156 yards and no touchdowns during his rookie season.
With 11 more targets, Stefon Diggs has now out-targeted Adam Thielen in six of Minnesota’s past seven games. Thielen still leads Diggs overall in targets, catches, yards, and touchdowns but Diggs, who missed Week 9, is closing the gap.
Kyle Rudolph finally emerged from a slump by catching all seven of his targets for 63 yards, his best showing since Week 2. While Rudolph enters Week 13 as the No. 12 tight end in PPR scoring, his 8.9 fantasy points-per-game average is his lowest figure since 2015.
The Vikings pretty much evenly distributed playing time and touches between Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray, which was a huge disappointment for Cook owners. Cook played 41 snaps and generated 76 total yards and a touchdown on 13 touches. Murray played 28 snaps and rushed 11 times for 33 yards.
New England Patriots
Rob Gronkowski might not be fully recovered from his back injury but he was healthy enough to lead New England in targets, including a 34-yard touchdown against the Jets. That score was only his second of the season and first since Week 1.
Julian Edelman has led New England’s receiving corps in targets in each of the past five games. Edelman and Josh Gordon are dominating snaps and targets for the Patriots, while Chris Hogan has only recorded four receptions over New England’s past four.
James White had his best rushing performance of the season, running nine times for a season-best 73 yards. White’s rushing output helped offset what was easily his poorest outing as a receiver. White got five targets but only managed to catch one pass for five yards, his worst showing of 2018. It might be difficult for White to rebound in Week 13 as the Patriots face a Minnesota defense that ranks sixth against fantasy running backs.
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees did a masterful job spreading the ball all around with Tre’Quan Smith missing from the lineup. Brees still completed passes to four wide receivers, two tight ends and two running backs. Half of Drew Brees’s 22 targets against the Falcons were intended for undrafted players, including all four touchdown grabs.
The Falcons had 366 total yards to the Saints’ 312 but the game was never really in doubt for New Orleans. Drew Brees was efficient, tossing four scores in his 11 completions and the Saints ran 31 times for 150 yards.
New York Giants
Despite leading the Giants in targets and receiving yards, Week 12 was a disappointing performance for Odell Beckham. Philadelphia’s secondary has been ravaged by injuries and entered the week as the second-worst fantasy wide receiver defense. Things won’t get much easier for Beckham in Week 13 facing Chicago’s Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara.
Evan Engram injured his hamstring in pre-game warmups and could be sidelined for multiple weeks. Rhett Ellison filled in admirably, catching 4-of-6 targets for 77 yards. Ellison is on ok waiver wire option for Engram owners, but not a permanent solution in lineups.
New York Jets
Sam Darnold should be back under center for the Jets in Week 13, which might not be welcomed news for Jermaine Kearse. Kearse has built up a solid rapport with Josh McCown. Kearse led the Jets in targets and caught his first touchdown since Week 12 of the 2017 season, which also came via a McCown pass.
TE Chris Herndon caught a career-high seven passes from McCown and also set a new personal best with eight looks. Herndon has scored a touchdown or surpassed 50 receiving yards in five out of New York’s past six contests, which have included starts from McCown and Sam Darnold. Herndon has become a solid fantasy TE2.
Robby Anderson was supposed to play a limited number of snaps but ended up being on the field for 48-of-64 snaps, which was 75% of New York’s offensive plays. Quincy Enunwa led the way with 60 snaps and caught all four of his targets for a team-leading 73 yards.
After missing one game while recovering from a knee injury, Jordy Nelson played 90% of Oakland’s offensive snaps and was shut out on his lone Derek Carr target. In the seven weeks that have concluded since Nelson’s last passable fantasy showing, the 33-year-old veteran has caught five total passes for 36 yards, three fewer than reserve tight end Lee Smith accumulated in Baltimore.
Marcell Ateman led the Raiders with a healthy 10 targets but only managed to account for 16 receiving yards. That 1.6 yards-per-target figure ranked 168th in the NFL for the week heading into Monday night’s game.
With his fifth TD grab of the season, Jared Cook remains one of the few bright spots to come from a haggard offensive showing from the Raiders. Cook enters Week 13 as a top-5 fantasy tight end, which is quite a remarkable accomplishment when you take into account that the Raiders have struggled so badly on offense.
Golden Tate has led Philadelphia with eight targets in back-to-back weeks, but he’s only produced nine catches for 78 yards. Carson Wentz has struggled in his past two games, which has led to a difficult time building chemistry with Tate. After throwing multiple touchdowns in six consecutive games, Wentz has thrown one score and three picks in the Eagles’ past two contests.
Nelson Agholor has also been a complete non-factor in those two games. After Golen Tate started getting worked into the mix, Agholor has seen just one target in the Eagles’ past two games and Jordan Matthews has logged only 14 snaps in each.
JuJu Smith-Schuster led the NFL in targets and receiving yards in Week 12, including a 97-yard touchdown grab that was the longest play from scrimmage in the NFL this season. This was Smith-Schuster’s sixth 100-plus yard game of the season and the sophomore standout has now topped 1,000 receiving yards for the season.
Antonio Brown’s impressive streak with at least one touchdown ended after eight games. Brown will have a tough time starting a new streak in Week 13 against a surging Chargers defense, but the All-Pro has scored in all but one home game this year.
Ryan Switzer had his best game of the season, playing 67% of Pittsburgh’s snaps and racking up a career-high 67 receiving yards. Switzer’s heavy usage was likely simply an in-game adjustment as the Steelers moved away from James Washington to utilize Switzer on short throws. Switzer won’t be a recommended fantasy play against the Chargers.
San Francisco 49ers
Nick Mullens only threw for 221 yards against the NFL’s worst secondary. Mullens was only able to connect with five of his teammates and has now thrown four interceptions and averaged just 6.63 yards-per-attempt following his unlikely NFL debut. C.J. Beathard has a good chance of reclaiming the starting job as soon as this week in Seattle.
With Pierre Garçon (knee) and Marquise Goodwin (personal) out of the lineup, the 49ers featured Dante Pettis and Kendrick Bourne as the starters. Richie James was the only other San Francisco wideout to receiver a target in this contest. Goodwin should be back in Week 13, which will limit James’s opportunities in Seattle.
While Tyler Lockett and David Moore thrived against Carolina’s shaky secondary, Doug Baldwin continued to struggle. Baldwin has been battling a groin ailment on and off but scored his first touchdown last week which raised hopes that the trusty veteran was back. Instead, Baldwin caught just five passes for 39 yards, his third straight game averaging under eight yards-per-catch.
Lockett entered 2018 with nine career touchdown receptions in 47 games and now has nearly doubled that total in just 11 Seahawks’ games. With a remaining schedule that includes San Francisco twice, Minnesota, and Kansas City, Lockett looks like a good bet to score double-digit touchdowns and could even surpass 1,000 yards.
Ed Dickson out-snaped Nick Vannett for the first time but both players put up similar two-catch, two target afternoons. The Seahawks simply aren’t including the tight end into many of their gameplans, which has led to stagnant overall numbers from a group that dominated in the red-zone last season thanks to Jimmy Graham.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It has now been 16 full starts with Jameis Winston as the starter since DeSean Jackson has topped 100 receiving yards. Unlike the rest of the Bucs’ wideouts, Jackson fared far better with Ryan Fitzpatrick as the signal-caller. While Jackson did tie Mike Evans for a team-leading eight targets, he only mustered three catches for 19 yards.
Adam Humphries has now topped 50 receiving yards in five straight games and scored four touchdowns over the past four. Humphries trails Evans and Jackson in targets for the season but is second on the club with 64 receptions in 2018.
As expected, Cameron Brate played a season-high 51 snaps and was targeted early for a red-zone score. Tampa won this game rather easily, so there wasn’t a need for too many second-half targets but Brate and Jameis Winston have a solid rapport which makes Brate a solid TE2.
Houston’s secondary did a good job on Tennessee’s wideouts, but Corey Davis still had a big game, catching all four of his targets for 96 yards and a touchdown. Davis also produced 39 rushing yards and is now on pace to end his sophomore season with 1,021 receiving yards.
Jonnu Smith took advantage of a coverage breakdown by Houston and scored on a 61-yard touchdown grab in the first quarter of Tennessee’s Week 12 Monday night loss. Inexplicably, Smith then went untargeted for the remainder of the game. Smith hasn’t been the most consistent source of weekly production, but he has scored in three out of the Titans’ past four games. Smith will be a boom-or-bust TE2 in Week 13 against a Jets’ defense that ranks third in the NFL against tight ends.
Josh Doctson drew a season-high 10 targets, six catches and 66 yards against Dallas. Doctson is earning plenty of playing time and seemed to be the primary target for Colt McCoy. He’ll be on the WR3/4 radar in Week 13 as Washington travels to Philadelphia to face a banged-up Eagles secondary.
55% of Colt McCoy’s 268 passing yards went to tight ends Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis, who combined to catch 8-of-12 targets, including Davis’s long TD bomb. McCoy barely topped seven yards-per-attempt and also tossed three interceptions. Alex Smith only had five picks in 328 attempts.
Chris Thompson (ribs) has returned to practice and is getting closer to playing. Thompson hasn’t suited up since Week 8 and his absence has been felt by a struggling Washington offense that has also been hit hard by injuries throughout the receiving corps.