While we’re only three weeks into the season, we’re starting to see the TPL (Target Percentage Leaderboard) take shape, giving us a better look as to which receivers are presented with the greatest opportunities to accrue fantasy points. Obviously the list is still evolving due to the small sample size of data we have, but it is definitely becoming easier to see who is being leaned on most. There are still a number of factors that you must also take into account – red zone targets and total yardage, for example – but the theory remains strong in the aggregate, that the more opportunities a player receives the more likely they are to rack up fantasy points.
Let’s start with a look at the weekly leaderboard:
Top 20 Targets – Week 3
As stated last week, one of the best ways to isolate fluke performers each week is to compare names between this list and the running TPL found below. There are, in fact, two names listed here that you won’t find below, yet only one should be considered an outlier at this time and that’s Eagle’s wide receiver Damaris Johnson
. With Jeremy Maclin
out with an injury, Johnson was given the start and targeted a team high 11 times this week. His 45.5-percent catch rate should be a pretty good indication as to why he doesn’t normally start and why he will probably, once Maclin returns, fade into obscurity once again.
The other name you won’t find below is Titans wideout Kenny Britt
, but that has more to do with the fact that he missed the first week and therefore is a game’s worth of targets shorter than everyone else. Knowing Britt’s role in the Tennessee offense and just how pass-happy that team has become, it’s just a matter of time before he joins the overall list below.
What we’ll also see here on a week to week basis, which is why the list below becomes so important, is that there are teams with strong passing offenses that might not be represented here. For example, the Giants are definitely considered a pass-heavy team, yet after jumping out to an early lead over Carolina, they were able to run the ball more and chew up the clock rather than having to air it out and play catch-up as they did in Week 2 against Tampa Bay. Victor Cruz
still had a high percentage of targets with respect to the Giants level of passing, but he did not see as many looks as some other players whose teams' took it to the air more often. Even though he may have had an off-week, Cruz will still be reflected as a primary target below and should still be viewed as a top option/must-start each week.
Now let’s hit the overall and discuss some of the specifics worth noting.
Targets Percentage Leaderboard
If there was ever a reason to incorporate Catch Percentage into your decision-making process, it is found right here at the top. Looking at targets and target percentage is great, but as you can see with Vincent Jackson
, Santonio Holmes
and even Brandon Marshall
, though they are the top targeted player on their respective teams, they still might not be the best play amongst your wide receivers, since the quarterback on each of their teams doesn’t have the luxury of multiple targets. Sure, there are other guys on the field, but no one that can really be considered reliable. Maybe you could consider Mike Williams
a possibility in Tampa, but neither Stephen Hill
nor Alshon Jeffery
have proven themselves to be consistent performers. Therefore, Holmes, Jackson and Marshall are dealing with heavy coverage which will ultimately hinder their catch rate.
might warrant consideration in the above group; however, his catch percentage is being skewed by a really poor week here. While I won’t necessarily throw him a mulligan, I’m willing to give him another week or two to right the ship.
Touchdowns, baby! Touchdowns. It may sound stupidly obvious, but it’s the guys that find the endzone the most that should, in the end, prove to be the most valuable. Yardage is great, and in PPR play, receptions are big, but the number of touchdowns a player scores should be one of the first things you look for in a receiver. You can start with red zone targets and red zone target percentage to see where your best chances lie, but ultimately, the number of scores is where you should be looking first. A tight end like Vernon Davis
may not see as many targets or accrue as much yardage as teammate Michael Crabtree
, but he’s accrued more fantasy points thanks to his four touchdowns. After isolating those that score the most, then items like target percentage and catch rate become more helpful in determining who to start.
Speaking of touchdowns, or at least the potential for more, Panthers tight end Greg Olsen
was incorporated into the offensive scheme a little more this week and while he failed to score, he was a huge red zone target for Cam Newton
. If that trend continues, then Olsen, who already leads the Panthers in target percentage, could be in for a breakout very soon.
Buffalo’s Steve Johnson
is already racking up fantasy points due to his three touchdowns this season, but with continued looks within the red zone, another three this past week, there should be no reason other than a bye week or debilitating injury to have him on your bench.
We pointed out the target percentages between Demaryius Thomas
and Eric Decker
last week and noted the surprise given that Decker was expected to be Peyton Manning
’s go-to guy. See that gap closing? It wouldn’t be a total shock to see them swap places on the leaderboard in another week or two.
Owning Percy Harvin
might be a little frustrating right now as his failure to find the endzone is limiting his overall value. However, he is still the most targeted receiver on Minnesota and has a phenomenal 84.4-percent catch rate. It won’t be long before he starts scoring, so if you see a frustrated owner in your league, you might want to consider trading for him. Steve Smith
is another one who falls into this category.
Potential fallers from the leaderboard after next week include: Justin Blackmon
, Scott Chandler
, Kendall Wright
and Kevin Ogletree
Potential risers who failed to make the cut this week include: Greg Jennings
, Jordy Nelson
, Andrew Hawkins
, Torrey Smith
, Denarius Moore
, Heath Miller
and Golden Tate
Week 4 Match-Up to Watch:
Washington at Tampa Bay – You’re looking at the two worst pass defenses in the NFL right now, with the Redskins allowing an average of 350 receiving yards per game and 10 touchdowns through the air already, while Tampa Bay has coughed up an average of 365 receiving yards per game and four touchdowns. Vincent Jackson
, Mike Williams
, Fred Davis
and even Leonard Hankerson
should all be strong plays this week. Pierre Garcon
as well, but with the foot injury, he might miss another game this week.
Week 4 Potential Breakouts: Owen Daniels, Andre Roberts, Laurent Robinson, Anquan Boldin, Jacob Tamme, Denarius Moore.
Week 4 Potential Busts: Brandon Marshall, Martellus Bennett, Kenny Britt, Steve Smith (CAR), Brian Hartline, Danny Amendola.
Have a question or need some advice from Howard Bender? Follow @rotobuzzguy on Twitter, or feel free to e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org