High-end fantasy football performances and weekly finishes are fueled by routes run and high-value targets and touches. The majority of top scorers from last week saw healthy doses of end-zone targets, air yards, routes run, deep targets and goal-line carries.
Justin Jefferson, Brandon Aiyuk, DeVonta Smith and Pat Freiermuth and were all long overdue to score based on their previous opportunity volume inside the red zone. Each hit paydirt in Week 8: Trust the process.
To find Week 10's version of Aiyuk or Smith in the fantasy football rankings or as a waiver wire pickup, fantasy managers can leverage PFF’s fantasy stats tool to identify the players who saw the most high-value opportunities but failed to cash in.
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Most end-zone targets | Week 9
|Player||End-zone targets||End-zone touchdowns|
Darren Waller was on the cusp of a truly massive game, but Derek Carr missed him twice in the end zone. However, his 11 total targets were a return to form for the Raiders' big-bodied tight end, so he remains a screaming trade target.
Waller has taken the lead over Travis Kelce in terms of expected fantasy points per game (16.1) and is vastly overdue for touchdown production.
There's no better spot for him to find paydirt than in Week 10 versus the Kansas City Chiefs, who rank first in end-zone targets allowed and second in touchdown receptions to tight ends this season.
It’s also a massive bounce-back spot for quarterback Derek Carr, who not only missed Waller twice in the end zone but Zay Jones and Bryan Edwards as well. The Raiders quarterback ended up finishing just 1-for-7 on his passes to the end zone. Because of the plethora of high-value throws, Carr concluded Week 9 with a whopping 29.4 expected fantasy points.
Add Carr to all season-long and DFS lineups against Kansas City with positive touchdown regress firmly in sight.
Poor Brandin Cooks. The NFL’s leader in air yards share looked to have upgraded his quarterback with the return of Tyrod Taylor, but it did not go as planned. The one formerly known as TyGod missed Cooks constantly, including three times in the end zone.
Better days should be ahead for the Texans' No. 1 wide receiver, making him a buy-low target during his bye week. His schedule is favorable for the remainder of the season and his vice grip on Houston’s high-value opportunities means he has blow-up games on the horizon. Cooks has five end-zone targets to go along with a 27% target share since Week 6. However, he has caught none for touchdowns. That will regress positively in his favor.
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Chase Claypool could have had a much bigger fantasy performance if he were able to haul in either of his two end-zone targets from Big Ben. Unfortunately, the two could not connect, leaving Claypool with a mediocre three catches for 30 yards. Claypool also left Monday night with an undisclosed injury.
View the second-year wide receiver as a DFS buy-low candidate ahead of a matchup with the Detroit Lions, who rank 31st in passing touchdown rate allowed and 32nd in PFF coverage grade this season. He is also an intriguing season-long trade target with the easiest strength of schedule remaining for wide receivers.
Go get Tyler Higbee. The Rams tight end was two end-zone targets away from a huge game Sunday night, but couldn’t get both feet in bounds. Still, 10 targets and 93% routes run per dropback rate for a tight end is excellent.
The same goes for Van Jefferson Jr., who also failed to convert either of his two end-zone targets into meaningful production. Matthew Stafford missed him on plays that could have resulted in plenty of fantasy points. Still, fantasy managers should want pieces of the Rams offense, and Jefferson is the cheapest way to get exposure.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find any other team’s No. 3 wide receiver running a route on over 97% of their team’s dropbacks like Jefferson.
That’s the exact type of usage fantasy gamers should want from their tight ends, so those desperate at the position should look toward the second-year player from Dayton.
Courtland Sutton is going to score an end-zone touchdown sooner rather than later. His eight end-zone targets rank sixth among all players, but he has just one touchdown. Philadelphia ranks 31st in completions allowed inside the 5-yard line this season. Great chance Sutton scores in Week 10.
Other wide receivers/tight ends who should experience positive touchdown regression based on their target volume inside the 5-yard line include Waller, Tee Higgins, CeeDee Lamb, Diontae Johnson, Tyler Higbee, Bryan Edwards, Allen Robinson and Ricky Seals-Jones.