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.
Tyler Lockett and Dawson Knox were overdue to score based on their previous opportunity volume inside the red zone. Both hit paydirt in Week 14. Tee Higgins owned a 41% air yards share heading into Sunday and finished with his third straight game with over 100 receiving yards.
Trust the process.
To find Week 15’s version of Lockett or Higgins in the fantasy football rankings or as a waiver wire pickup, fantasy managers can leverage PFF’s fantasy stats tool to identify players who saw the most high-value opportunities but failed to cash in.
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Most end-zone targets | Week 14
|Player||End-zone targets||End-zone touchdowns|
|Allen Robinson II||2||0|
I’m at a loss for words when it comes to D.K. Metcalf’s plummet in fantasy production this season. Coming off an eight-target game with over 130 air yards, I expected big things for the gargantuan receiver, but alas he left fantasy managers wanting more once again.
He had 11 targets — 34% target share — for just four catches and 43 receiving yards. Metcalf also ghosted on his three end-zone targets. He's now 0-for-8 on end-zone targets since Week 10. Woof.
It’s not all his fault, as one of the catches was called back by a holding penalty and he drew pass interference on another.
Point blank: Russell Wilson was making a deliberate effort to force Metcalf the ball near the end zone, and that should not change in Week 15.
The Rams defense has has limited Metcalf in the past, but there’s a strong chance Jalen Ramsey isn’t available after being placed on the COVID/reserve list. The stars are aligning for Metcalf to break the slate at $6,200 on DraftKings.
The world was robbed of a Justin Jefferson explosion on Thursday night. The Vikings star wideout was peppered with four end-zone targets, but only two were deemed catchable. He hauled in one for a score and dropped the other.
Jefferson has a whopping 10 end-zone targets in his last three games — no coincidence with touchdown machine Adam Thielen out with a bummed ankle the last two games. Teammate K.J. Osborn also saw two end-zone targets and has totaled four in the past two weeks.
Jefferson was not the only wide receiver to command four end-zone targets on Thursday night, as fellow alpha No. 1 wide receiver Diontae Johnson also saw four end-zone targets. However, he was unable to corral any for a touchdown, with one being a drop.
Johnson ranks second in the NFL in targets inside the 5-yard line (20) but has just three touchdowns on such throws.
We should easily see Johnson bounce back from his rare dud versus the Tennessee Titans, who rank first in fantasy points per game and end-zone targets to WRs this season. He is finally priced appropriately at $7,500 on DraftKings for Week 15.
Jared Cook came through for fantasy managers in a pinch with a touchdown grab on one of his three end-zone targets. I would not chase the score off waivers even in a high-flying affair versus Kansas City on Thursday night. He still works in a timeshare with Donald Parham Jr., and the Giants matchup dictated the heavy red-zone usage.
The New York defense ranks last in the league in red-zone targets to tight ends. The Chiefs rank closer to the middle of the pack. I’d use the matchup advantage to gravitate toward Dalton Schultz as a tight end to score next Sunday with Dallas taking on Big Blue.
Gabriel Davis is a high-value target machine who looks to be in line for a massive uptick in playing time with Emmanuel Sanders out with a knee injury. The Bills’ second-year WR has 12 targets (18th) inside the 5-yard line this season, which ties Sanders for the second on the team behind Stefon Diggs.
He also ran a route on a season-high 81% of dropbacks and caught five of eight targets for 43 yards and a touchdown in Week 14. Davis will be the immediate premier pay-down option in DFS at $3,700 as a full-time player in the Bills offense.
Nico Collins ran a route on 79% of offensive dropbacks and saw a career-high 10 targets in Week 14. He also had two-end zone targets, bringing his season-long total to six. He has scored zero touchdowns thus far despite the team featuring the big-bodied wide receiver in the red zone.
Jacksonville is the No. 1 matchup for WRs per PFF’s strength of schedule tool.
Van Jefferson Jr. delivered on Monday Night Football with a long-touchdown grab from Matthew Stafford, but his day could have been even better if he caught any of his three end-zone targets. The second-year wide receiver’s upside in the Rams’ high-flying offense makes him a weekly fantasy WR3 for the season-long playoff run.
Related content for you: Fantasy Football Week 15: 5 to Waiver Wire Add, 5 to Drop, 5 to Buy Low, 5 to Sell High via Nathan Jahnke
It’s time to come to grips with reality when it comes to DeAndre Hopkins: He is no longer the fantasy WR1 that commands targets at an elite level. Sure, he saw 12 targets — 22% target share — in Week 14, but he turned it into just five catches for 54 receiving yards against a Jalen Ramsey-less L.A. secondary.
However, Hopkins’ saving grace has been the touchdowns, as evidenced by his two end-zone targets on Monday. The Cardinals No. 1 wide receiver leads Arizona in end-zone targets and touchdown receptions this season despite missing so many games in the middle of the year.
The reliance on scoring has made Hopkins much more boom-or-bust than in years past, and I’d be concerned he doesn’t live up to expectations even in a perceived plus-matchup against the Lions. Detroit has given up the fourth-fewest completions to WRs in the end zone.
Other wide receivers/tight ends who should experience positive touchdown regression based on their target volume inside the 5-yard line include Kenny Golladay, CeeDee Lamb, DeVonta Smith, Allen Robinson, Mike Williams, Chase Claypool, Darren Waller, Courtland Sutton and Chris Godwin.
DEEP TARGETS AND AIR YARDS