Fantasy Football Target Analysis: Week 13
Evaluating all the passing targets from each NFL game is one of the best ways that we can identify which players are getting the most opportunities, and some players that might be making the most of their chances. It can also help point out players that are fading and others on the verge of a breakout.
Now that we’ve reached the fantasy playoffs, analyzing those targets is crucial. Let’s evaluate all the players that were targeted in Week 13 and what it means for the postseason.
The Cardinals were able to pull off a shocking upset, but that was more due to the defense and an ineffective Green Bay offense that ultimately led to Mike McCarthy’s dismissal. Josh Rosen completed less than half of his 26 attempts for only 149 yards — his third consecutive outing below 200 yards.
With Rosen struggling so badly, Christian Kirk only caught three of his team-leading eight targets before exiting the game with a broken foot. This is the third consecutive week that Kirk has led or tied for the club’s lead in targets, but his rookie season will come to a premature end with a 43/590/3 line, which is solid considering the overall state of Arizona’s passing offense.
Undrafted free agent Trent Sherfield is in line for an increased role in Kirk’s spot, and Larry Fitzgerald should also see a few more targets. When he returns from an ankle injury, Chad Williams is likely to start, but Williams has been one of the least efficient wideouts in football and is not fantasy-relevant.
Julio Jones easily had his worst outing of the season facing terrific shadow coverage from Jimmy Smith and dealing with a hand injury that led to a lowly two-catch, 18-yard effort on eight targets. As long as Jones isn’t hampered by the injury, he should rebound next week against a Green Bay secondary that has allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to wide receivers.
The running game didn’t fare much better. Tevin Coleman was bottled up for eight yards on six rushes. Ito Smith had an 11-yard run but only totaled an additional 11 yards on his other six totes. All told, Atlanta’s two running backs combined to generate 33 yards of offense on 15 touches.
While Baltimore shut down Atlanta’s wide receivers, Austin Hooper caught all five of his targets for a team-high 44 yards. The Falcons face Green Bay next week, which has only allowed one touchdown to tight ends all season and cedes the third-fewest fantasy points to the position.
While the Ravens are thriving overall with Lamar Jackson as the quarterback, John Brown has become a complete non-factor in the offense. Brown failed to corral any of his four targets in Atlanta and now has hauled in only two out of 12 targets in the past three games.
Willie Snead is also scuffling, with a total of just one catch on three targets in the past two weeks combined. Before that, Snead had caught at least three passes in each of Baltimore’s first 10 games.
Ty Montgomery led Baltimore in targets (seven) and catches (five) and appears to be the preferred back on passing downs. Kenneth Dixon was re-activated from IR and received eight carries and one target.
Zay Jones followed up his Week 12 dud with his first career outing with multiple touchdowns. Jones was easily Josh Allen’s favorite target on the afternoon, leading the Bills with nine looks, four receptions, and 67 yards. He’s not the most consistent choice, but Jones is on the WR4 radar in Week 14 as the Bills host a Jets secondary that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers.
Kelvin Benjamin is having one of the worst seasons for a number one wideout on record. Benjamin ranks dead last in the NFL, creating just 0.84 yards of separation and also is the worst in the league with a 15.1 QB rating when targeted.
Dating back to Week 9, Curtis Samuel has caught 19-of-28 targets for and caught three touchdowns. Samuel’s 11 targets and 88 yards against Tampa Bay also represented new career-highs for the sophomore wideout who is starting to develop into a decent fantasy option.
Greg Olsen suffered a season-ending foot injury, which should lead to more targets for Ian Thomas, Samuel, and D.J. Moore. Devin Funchess is also still recovering from a back injury and is a sneaky bet to be an underrated option during the playoffs. Funchess generally does much better when Cam Newton is not focused on Olsen.
Week 13 was the sixth straight game that Christian McCaffrey received 18-plus touches. In those six games, McCaffrey is averaging over 143 yards from scrimmage and has scored 10 total touchdowns.
Tarik Cohen had his second 100-yard receiving game of the season and is starting to heat up at just the right time. Over his last four games, which has included two starts out of Chase Daniel and Mitchell Trubisky, Cohen has averaged seven receptions and 85 total yards of offense per game.
The Giants are a top-10 fantasy wide receiver defense, but Allen Robinson still had a productive day, catching five of his nine targets for 79 yards. Up next, Robinson should be in the WR2 mix as the Bears face a high-scoring Los Angles Rams squad that also has allowed the second-most touchdowns (18) to wide receivers in 2018.
Anthony Miller only received two targets but made his one catch count. Miller scored on a one-yard toss from Chase Daniel. Miller has now produced a touchdown in three out of his last four games and has scored in six of the 11 NFL games he’s played.
A.J. Green went down with a non-contact foot injury, which likely was the same toe injury that had kept Green out for the Bengals’ past three contests. Green was spotted in a walking boot on Monday, but with Cincinnati’s season spiraling and the team out of playoff contention, Green’s season is almost certainly over.
Without Green, Tyler Boyd will be the main benefactor. Boyd has actually fared better as a complimentary piece this season, with Green commanding most of the top cornerbacks. In the three games that Green just missed, Boyd averaged fewer than five catches and 73.6 receiving yards per game. Both of those marks are lower than Boyd averaged in the nine games he played with Green in the lineup.
It was good to see Jarvis Landry finally have another productive outing. This was Landry’s first game with 100-plus receiving yards since Week 3 and he comes off the heels of a cold streak where he had 50 or fewer yards in five out of Cleveland’s prior six games. Landry’s nine targets were the most he’s had in a game since Week 8.
Antonio Callaway had a big game that could have been much bigger if not for penalties and a fumble at Houston’s goal line that led to a turnover instead of a score. Callaway has consistently played the second-most snaps in Cleveland’s receiving corps and has a solid Week 14 matchup against a Carolina secondary that ranks 26th against opposing wideouts.
Amari Cooper doesn’t have the best reputation in fantasy circles, but it’s becoming apparent that Cooper’s problem may have, in fact, been issues with the Raiders. At the very least, a change of scenery worked wonders. Since being traded to Dallas, Cooper has a 77% catch rate and has led Dallas in targets in all but one game.
Michael Gallup has become the only other outside receiver getting significant snaps, with Cole Beasley staffing his customary slot position. The last time a wideout besides Cooper or Beasley got more targets than Gallup was Week 7, before the club traded for Cooper.
Ezekiel Elliott has also developed into a fine pass catcher, which wasn’t a big part of Elliott’s game in his first two seasons. Elliott has already surpassed all of his personal bests in receiving and actually ranks seventh among all running backs with 53 grabs.
Denver had an easy road win, but the offense had an ugly showing against a Bengals team that had been hemorrhaging points to their opponents. Case Keenum tied a season-low with 21 pass attempts and threw for only 151 yards. In an effort to end on a positive note, Keenum has now been interception-free for the past four games.
Keenum’s struggles were a detriment to Emmanuel Sanders, who had his poorest outing of the season. While the Broncos will remain a run-first, conservative squad, Sanders should bounce back next week against a San Francisco secondary that has yielded the ninth-most fantasy points to wide receivers.
Bruce Ellington has developed into a decent PPR WR4. Ellington has taken over as the slot receiver after Golden Tate’s trade to Philadelphia and caught 19-of-26 targets since singing with the Lions. Unfortunately, Ellington is also averaging a meager six yards per catch and is not a red zone threat, so his upside is rather capped.
The return of Aqib Talib to the Rams’ secondary was enough to assure a lousy overall outing for Kenny Golladay, who was held to his lowest catch and yardage total in a month. With Arizona’s Patrick Peterson on deck for Week 14, fantasy owners will have to make a tough decision about sitting one of the league’s top young wideouts.
We don’t get to cover offensive tackles in this piece too often, so props to Taylor Decker with catching his first target and scoring the only touchdown of the day for the Lions.
Green Bay Packers
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Green Bay’s latest meltdown resulted not only in the club falling out of playoff contention but also costing Mike McCarthy his job. The coaching change was long overdue as the Packers have been a disappointment and there are various reports that McCarthy had lost the locker room, which necessitated the club dismissing a head coach in-season for the first time.
You have to be impressed with Jimmy Graham’s effort one week after breaking a finger. Graham’s 11 targets and eight receptions were both season bests, but he only managed to average a pedestrian 6.3 yards per target.
Randall Cobb also returned to the lineup and played 61 snaps, but made minimal impact. Davante Adams and Aaron Jones remain the only two Green Bay position players that are dependable weekly fantasy options, at least prior to the coaching change. All bets are off with Joe Philbin at the helm.
DeAndre Hopkins has only topped 100 receiving yards now once in Houstons’ last seven games. While Nuk was supplementing his outcome with five consecutive games with a touchdown grab, Week 13 was the first time this season that Hopkins failed to nab a TD in back-to-back games. After starting his career with eight scoreless games against the Colts, Houston’s Week 14 opponent, Hopkins has gotten into the end zone in each of the past two games against Houston’s AFC South nemesis.
There’s a good chance we won’t see Keke Coutee for a while with his latest hamstring setback. That makes DeAndre Carter Houston’s slot receiver. While Carter did haul in all six of his targets against the Browns, Houston’s low output passing attack doesn’t make Carter much of a fantasy contributor.
Demaryius Thomas was actually more of a factor in Denver’s low-output offense. In four games with the Texans, Thomas has caught 10 passes for 131 yards. Both of his touchdowns with the Texans occurred in Week 12. Regardless, Thomas has been largely irrelevant. He’s no more than a touchdown-dependant WR4 against a solid Indianapolis secondary that ranks sixth against wide receivers.
Andrew Luck and company had a forgettable trip to Jacksonville, coming away with just 265 total yards of offense and getting shut out. Luck’s streak of games with three-plus passing touchdowns came to a screeching halt and he’ll have trouble starting another one in Week 14 against a Houston secondary that hasn’t surrendered three TD tosses in a game since Week 4 when Luck lit up the Texans for 464 yards and four scores.
Considering he was blanketed by Jalen Ramsey and briefly left the game with an injury, T.Y. Hilton had a respectable game, pacing the receiving corps with 13 targets and eight receptions. No other Indy wideout caught more than two balls against a tough Jaguars’ defense.
Even though he didn’t produce a touchdown, Eric Ebron still had a monster showing against Jacksonville, absorbing a whopping 16 targets and catching 10 passes. Ebron will be a top-three fantasy option in Week 14 against a Houston secondary that has allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to tight ends.
The quarterback change for the Jaguars certainly didn’t lead to big improvements on the scoreboard, but Cody Kessler did complete 75% of his 24 pass attempts and avoided turnovers. Jacksonville ran the ball 27 times but struggled with Leonard Fournette sidelined. Expect the team to remain a low-scoring, ball-control offense in Week 14, which puts a damper on all of the team’s pass catchers.
Another reason to avoid using Jaguars players this week is the matchup. Jacksonville typically struggles against Tennessee. When these two clubs met back in Week 3, neither team produced a touchdown in an ugly 9-6 Titans’ victory.
Kansas City Chiefs
Spencer Ware played 69% of Kansas City’s snaps, which is on par with the 70.4% snap share that Kareem Hunt played. Damien Williams was in on 27% of the Chiefs offensive plays and trailed Ware in touches 15-7. Ware doesn’t offer the same explosiveness as Hunt, but it looks like the usage will remain the same.
Travis Kelce had a monster outing, catching a season-high 12 passes and setting a new personal best with 168 yards. Kelce also scored two more touchdowns to push his total to a new career best of nine scores on the season. It was also the third time in 2018 that Kelce has caught two touchdowns in a game.
While Kelce was sizzling, Tyreek Hill fizzled. Even though the Chiefs put up 40 points, Hill was a non-factor, catching just one of six targets for 13 yards. This was the first time all season that Hill was held under 50 receiving yards while failing to catch multiple passes. Things won’t get much easier in Week 14 as Kansas City hosts Baltimore’s elite stop unit.
Los Angeles Chargers
In Week 13, Keenan Allen looked a lot like the player he was last season, absorbing a ton of targets, catches, and touchdown opportunities. After failing to get into the end zone for seven consecutive games, Allen has now scored in four straight and gets a tasty matchup in Week 14 against a beleaguered Cincinnati secondary.
At the same time that Allen is surging, Tyrell Williams is fading fast. Williams has been dealing with a quad injury and hasn’t scored or surpassed 50 yards in a month. Even with an appealing matchup on deck this week, Williams should probably be benched until he is fully healthy.
Austin Ekeler fell flat in his second attempt at taking over for an injured Melvin Gordon. Ekeler rushed 13 times for only 21 yards while seventh-round rookie Justin Jackson took over in the second half and ran for almost eight yards per carry. Gordon could possibly be back this week, but Week 15 seems like a more reasonable timeline. Jackson should be more of a factor on early downs, which would put Ekeler back into the change-of-pace role he’s excelled in.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams looked flat coming off of their bye week. Jared Goff’s streak of five straight games with multiple touchdowns came to an end as he put up a season-low 6.3 yards per attempt. Goff only threw for 202 yards and one touchdown while committing two turnovers. A date with Chicago’s ferocious defense is on deck for Week 14, so Goff won’t be facing an easy rebound.
While the passing offense sputtered, Todd Gurley rushed 23 times for 132 yards and a pair of touchdowns. This was Gurley’s highest rushing output since Week 6 and his sixth 100-yard performance of the season.
Josh Reynolds (67) actually played one more snap than both Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks. Even without Cooper Kupp, the Rams haven’t changed their three-wide, open attack. Reynolds hasn’t developed the kind of chemistry that Goff and Kupp had, so he’s become a touchdown-dependent WR4.
While Ryan Tannehill has been a marked improvement over Brock Osweiler, the Dolphins are not pushing the ball downfield. Tannehill put up a 5.7 yards per attempt number versus Buffalo’s tough secondary. This was the third time in his last four starts than Tannehill has been below six yards per attempt.
Even without the deep looks, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills both managed to produce a touchdown last week to salvage their dwindling fantasy stocks. Stills’ four grabs tied his season-high set way back in Week 1 and Parker’s score was his first of the season.
The Patriots did a solid job on Minnesota’s wideouts, limiting Adam Thielen to his second-lowest catch and yardage totals of the season. Thielen salvaged his day with another red zone score but was limited to 28 yards. Diggs caught all five of his targets but snapped a three-game scoring streak.
It may have been simply matchup based, but Aldrick Robinson out-snapped Laquon Treadwell for the first time all season. Robinson’s nine targets, five grabs, and 37 yards were all his highest totals of the season. Regardless of who winds up being the Viking’s third wideout, they’re well off the fantasy radar.
Dalvin Cook got 17 touches against New England, his most since the season opener. Cook’s eight receptions also marked a season-high, while he generated 84 rushing yards on just nine attempts. Cook looked healthy and explosive just in time for the fantasy playoffs. Minnesota travels to Seattle in Week 14 to take on a Seahawks defense that has been vulnerable to the run.
New England Patriots
On the surface, New England had an easy 24-10 victory over a solid Minnesota squad, but New England’s passing game just isn’t clicking right now. While Tom Brady did throw for 311 yards, he threw for just one touchdown. Brady has only thrown for multiple touchdowns once in New England’s past four games. Brady is only on pace to throw for 26 touchdowns this season, which would be his lowest total in over a decade.
Julian Edelman had his worst game of the season, catching only three out of his eight targets for a season-low 25 yards. Edelman had a pair of ugly concentration drops and was unable to shake Vikings’ slot corner Mackensie Alexander, who has only been average in coverage in 2018.
Rex Burkhead returned from the IR and immediately played 23% of New England’s snaps. Burkhead got nine touches and generated 41 yards of offense. James White led the trio with 33 snaps, 13 touches, and 118 yards. Sony Michel played 30 snaps for the second consecutive week and took a team-high 17 carries.
New Orleans Saints
This was easily the worst game of the season for the Saints, who were completely bottled up by an underrated Dallas defense. Drew Brees threw for just 127 yards and has averaged just 188.2 passing yards per game over the Saints’ past five road contests. New Orleans’ next two games are on the road but fortunately are against bottom-10 secondaries in Tampa Bay and Carolina.
The Saints didn’t have much success on the ground, either. Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram combined to rush 18 times for just 63 yards, an average of 3.5 yards per carry. Relief should come in the form of a Week 14 matchup against a Tampa defense that surrenders the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing backfields.
Tre’Quan Smith played 44-of-52 snaps but was shut out. Smith commanded just one target and has now gone without a reception in three out of the past four weeks. Smith’s huge 10/157/1 performance in Week 11 still pops out but looks more and more like an anomaly. Smith has failed to catch a single pass in four out of the Saints’ six road contests.
New York Giants
Since putting up 167 yards on Atlanta’s lackluster secondary in Week 7, Sterling Shepard has failed to top 37 receiving yards in New York’s next five games. His struggles have certainly not been related to playing time. Shepard has only played 10 fewer snaps than Odell Beckham this season.
Speaking of Beckham, he threw his second touchdown pass of the season, but was otherwise hampered by Eli Manning’s erratic afternoon. At this point, the Giants might actually do better with Beckham under center.
Saquon Barkley’s 21 receiving yards were his second-lowest receiving total of the season but he ran for 100-plus yards for the third consecutive game. Barkley has topped 100 scrimmage yards in 11 out of New York’s 12 games and leads all rookies with 12 total touchdowns.
New York Jets
Josh McCown had an ugly three-game stretch as the starter and will find himself back on the sidelines as first-rounder Sam Darnold reclaims the starting gig in Week 14. Unfortunately, Darnold’s return comes on the road in hostile Buffalo to a Bills’ defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. With fantasy playoff games on the line, there’s simply no reason to start any part of the Jets’ passing game this week.
Isaiah Crowell was the lone bright spot for the Jets in Tennessee. Crowell touched the ball 25 times and produced 107 yards. Facing a Buffalo defense that has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to running backs, Crowell is the only New York player that is remotely relevant in Week 14.
Jordy Nelson 10 catches and 97 yards against the Chiefs were both more than he had totaled in his past six games combined. Nelson has been hampered by a knee injury but has still been a huge disappointment this season. Nelson won’t be much more than a WR4 against the Steelers in Week 14.
Marcell Ateman has played 86.1% of Oakland’s snaps since making his NFL debut three weeks ago. He’s not filling the stat sheets, but Ateman did use his big frame to make a nice play in the end zone while securing his first professional touchdown against Kansas City. Ateman isn’t commanding enough volume to warrant starting consideration, but he’s definitely on the dynasty radar.
After a pair of lousy showings, Carson Wentz threw for 306 yards and a pair of touchdowns on Monday to keep the Eagles in the playoff hunt. Almost half of Wentz’s 39 passes went towards Zach Ertz and Golden Tate. Tate, who reeled in all seven of his targets, easily had his best game as an Eagle.
Washington’s secondary offered up a good spot for Alshon Jeffery to halt his skid, but the team’s number one wideout continued to struggle. Jeffery’s 31 yards were his lowest of the season and he won’t be anything more than a WR3 in Week 14 against a Dallas secondary that is playing lights out.
With 10 receptions and 154 yards, Antonio Brown had his best game of the season. Despite facing a tough assignment against Casey Hayward, Brown got 13 targets from Ben Roethlisberger for the third consecutive game and scored his 12th touchdown of the season. Brown will be an elite option in Week 14 in Oakland.
While AB thrived, JuJu Smith-Schuster was held to a season-low 8.2 yards per catch on his six receptions. This was Smith-Schuster’s lowest fantasy output since Week 8. While a rebound against lowly Oakland is in order, the Raiders have been underrated against the pass this season, so expectations for Smith-Schuster need to be cautiously optimistic.
Justin Hunter played for the first time in four weeks and ended up third on the receiving corps with three targets. Hunter didn’t record a reception and ended up leaving the game with a shoulder injury. Ryan Switzer, who caught six balls for 67 yards in Week 12, should see a boost in playing time and has some PPR value this week.
San Francisco 49ers
Jeff Wilson took over lead back duties for Matt Breida, who re-injured his ankle in pre-game workouts. Wilson, who made his NFL debut in Week 12, touched the ball 23 times, including a team-high nine targets and eight receptions. Wilson generated 134 yards of offense and should be the top waiver wire add for this week. Matt Breida has already been ruled out for Week 14, which sets Wilson up for another heavy workload against Denver.
Dante Pettis again flashed terrific route-running ability and has now caught nine passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns in San Francisco’s past two games. Pettis has taken advantage of an expanded role while Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garçon have been sidelined, but has looked like a potential star. Pettis will be on the WR3 radar in Week 14 versus Denver’s solid secondary.
The Seahawks rushed 29 times for 168 yards, which led to depressed passing numbers for Russell Wilson. Wilson’s 17 pass attempts tied his season-low, but four of his 11 completions went for touchdowns to wide receivers. 22 of Wilson’s 29 TD tosses this season have gone to wideouts.
David Moore was un-targeted against San Francisco and has seen his snap counts decline in each of the past five games. With Minnesota’s strong defense on deck for Week 14, Moore’s lack of consistency makes him a risky bet in fantasy lineups.
Tyler Lockett only recorded one catch last week, but made it count by reeling in a 52-yard TD bomb. Lockett entered the 2018 season with nine career touchdown grabs in 47 games and has now doubled that total in 12 games.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
DeSean Jackson (thumb) was ruled out, which led to more opportunities for Adam Humphries and Chris Godwin, who played a season-high 80% of Tampa Bay’s snaps. Godwin took advantage of the extended snaps by having his best fantasy game of the season in the club’s upset victory. If Jackson is unable to play again in Week 14, Godwin will be an intriguing start at home against a Saints’ secondary that has ceded the most fantasy points to wide receivers.
Humphries has now surpassed 50 receiving yards in Tampa Bay’s past six games and scored five touchdowns in the past five. Humphries is second among the team’s wideouts in snaps and has become the club’s main weapon out of the slot. Humphries has another plus matchup in Week 14 paired with New Orleans slot corner P.J. Williams.
Ronald Jones played for the first time in five weeks. The second-round bust played nine snaps and managed to account for two rushing yards on four attempts.
Taywan Taylor sat out three games and had a big return, catching half of his six targets for a season-best 104 yards. Taylor rotated in and out of the lineup with Cameron Batson, but Taylor had an impact on the game while Batson caught one pass for seven yards.
Corey Davis stayed hot and has now secured a touchdown reception in three out of the past four games. Davis is too hot to sit, but with a Thursday night date with Jalen Ramsey and the Jaguars, Davis is only a fantasy WR3 in Week 14.
Colt McCoy suffered the same fate as Alex Smith, which means it’s now Mark Sanchez time in Washington. Sanchez has only been with the club for a couple of weeks and now takes over as the starter for a fading Redskins squad that is still alive in the NFC East. With Sanchez under center, none of Washington’s skill position players other than Adrian Peterson will be recommended fantasy plays.