As touches are to a running back, so are targets for a receiver.
It’s the opportunity to do something good for his team …
and my fantasy lineup. Or to waste his chance to be noticed.
Now to figure out how to evaluate receivers based on targets.
Not every receiver produces at the same level, so 100 targets
for A.J. Green is not the same as 100 targets for Anquan Boldin.
For that reason we have done a simple calculation comparing targets
to fantasy points produced aptly named FPPT (fantasy-points-per-target).
It’s so simple, yet revealing.
We took the information and evaluated the players at both ends
of the spectrum. Then analyzed the receivers based on usage. For
this analysis, I use six targets-per game to determine high volume.
What remains are four categories: 1) high volume, high FPPT; 2)
high volume, low FPPT; 3) low volume, high FPPT and 4) low volume,
1) High Volume, high FPPT
Most of these guys are already stars because they are producing
and getting ample opportunities. Fantasy owners already know what
to do here. The only thing I’ll add is that they are probably
near their peak upside.
Beware of top FPPT receiver Doug Baldwin. He did most of his
damage with Jimmy
Graham sidelined by injury. Can he do it with Graham back,
along with young Tyler
Lockett and Jermaine
Kearse demanding more targets too? The same goes for Ted
Ginn Jr. because of the return of Kelvin
Benjamin. The Jaguars’ pair of Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson
should get better as their young quarterback, Blake
2) High Volume, low FPPT
If these receivers are young, or have an improving quarterback
situation then they might still have a chance to improve their
FPPT. However, the older the player the more likely he is to stay
at this production level.
Davante Adams was simply horrible in 2015 and will have to work
to regain the confidence of his quarterback Aaron
Rodgers as a No. 3 receiver. Meanwhile, I still believe in
Randall Cobb and he’ll likely be more comfortable returning to
his role as the No. 2 receiver with the return of Jordy
Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans, who led the NFL in drops last season,
is too talented to accept playing at his 2015 level and should
be a quality WR1 in 2016 due to his improvement and the maturation
of second year QB Jameis
At the other end of the state, Jarvis Landry needs to improve
on his ability to turn catches into touchdowns. He’s already caught
195 balls over two seasons, but scored only nine times. He’s obviously
got better value in PPR leagues, but he will have to share targets
with a now healthy DeVante
Stills and TE Jordan
Dez Bryant will be a stud when both he and his quarterback are
healthy and on the field at the same time. That didn’t happen
very often last season.
Those fantasy owners who had Demaryius Thomas know the troubles
he had getting good quarterback play in 2015. Under the direction
Sanchez and Paxton
Lynch the passing offense doesn’t figure to be much better.
However, Sanchez does have a tendency to lock in on one receiver
so if you see during the exhibition season that his one receiver
is Thomas, you have a chance to get decent production.
3) Low Volume, high FPPT
These guys know how to produce, they just haven’t seen enough
chances (maximum five targets per game). Fantasy owners need to
decide whether they will see more opportunities and if that’s
the case then they are also the most likely to grow into sleeper
status. However, if their targets are still limited, they aren’t
likely to improve their fantasy production because they are already
producing at a high level.
The problem with hoping for more targets for talented Tyler Lockett
or Jermaine Kearse is that they have to also share with Doug Baldwin
and Jimmy Graham. That’s a great quartet for Russell Wilson
owners, but a difficult problem for trying to figure out each
week’s receiving distribution.
Oakland’s No. 3 wideout, Seth Roberts, should be a stash
in case either Amari Cooper or Michael Crabtree are injured, however,
the big improvement is more likely to be Clive Walford at tight
4) Low Volume, low FPPT
This is not where you want to see your receiver listed. They aren’t
getting opportunities and even when they are they aren’t
producing. However, sometimes a rookie who is buried on the depth
chart starts to “get it” in Year 2 and blows up. (Minimum
I can’t see any of this tier group becoming fantasy worthy,
but if you forced me to choose one I’d go with the Eagles’
Nelson Agholor. The second year receiver was feeble as a rookie
(23-283-1), but he had to deal with the Chip Kelly offense and
a high ankle sprain which slowed him for a majority of the season.
Agholor is probably on a short leash, however, because the Eagles
Randle in free agency and the former Giant could eventually
become a starter after a solid 2015.
Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.