High-end fantasy football performances and weekly finishes are fueled by routes run and high-value targets and touches, as the majority of top scorers from last week received healthy doses of end-zone targets, air yards, routes run, deep targets and goal-line carries.
Tee Higgins stole the show for the Cincinnati Bengals with his 194 receiving yards and two touchdowns in Week 16, but Ja’Marr Chase almost had a massive day as well, recording three targets inside the five-yard line that didn't convert into any touchdowns.
Therefore, Chase'sHiggins-esque game in a shootout versus the Kansas City Chiefs shouldn't have been a surprise, as the rookie went nuclear for 266 receiving yards, three touchdowns and 55.6 fantasy points. Zay Jones also received plenty of high-value targets, and he cashed in with 120 receiving yards in Week 17.
To find Week 18’s version of Chase or Jones 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 17
|Player||End-zone targets||End-zone touchdowns|
Nobody left more fantasy points on the table in Week 17 than Stefon Diggs and Josh Allen. Diggs commanded a whopping four end-zone targets but was unable to haul in any for touchdowns. The Buffalo Bills‘ No. 1 wide receiver also received a week-leading 37% target share and 133 air yards.
Those high-value looks are a tell-tale sign that Diggs should bounce back massively against the New York Jets. The last time Diggs faced the Jets, he finished with a season-high 162 receiving yards.
And because it’s Week 18, contract incentives also need to be considered for certain players. Diggs will earn some extra dough if he can achieve 100 receptions and 1,375 receiving yards, but he currently has 94 receptions and 1,144 receiving yards. Look for Allen to feed him as the Bills look to lock up their second straight AFC East division title.
Have a day, Kristian Wilkerson! The New England Patriots practice squad wide receiver was elevated to the gameday roster due to Nelson Agholor‘s concussion in addition to starting over N’Keal Harry, who disappointed many while replacing Agholor in Week 16.
Wilkerson flashed chemistry with Mac Jones during the preseason, and their connection was apparent against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Wilkerson ran a route on 89% of the Patriots’ dropbacks and caught two touchdown passes from eight targets. He was one long pass attempt away from a hat trick, but a defender bopped his head and forced an incompletion.
The former Southeast Missouri State Redhawk‘s performance all but solidifies Harry’s bust status in New England and could lead to a larger role on offense for the second-year receiver even if Agholor returns. He should be added to dynasty rosters if available.
Don’t go overboard chasing Jarvis Landry’s end-zone targets. Donovan Peoples-Jones operated as the Cleveland Browns‘ true No. 1 wide receiver on Monday night, running a route on a team-high 94% of Cleveland's offensive dropbacks. Landry's routes run declined by 20% to 69% route participation.
With Cleveland’s playoff chances gone for 2021, it would make sense for the Browns to pull back Landry in an effort to give DPJ and their other receivers more opportunities.
Peoples-Jones’ 38% air yards share ranks fifth among all players over the last four weeks, which foreshadows that a big game is on the horizon. He’s a value on DraftKings at just $4,300.
We knew DK Metcalf’s three-touchdown eruption was imminent, as he entered Week 17 fourth in air yard share (385 air yards, 38%) and sixth in target share the prior four weeks. The big-bodied wideout was also coming off an outlier Week 16 performance, which further suggested a blow-up game.
Other wide receivers/tight ends who should experience positive touchdown regression based on their overall target volume inside the five-yard line include Van Jefferson, Marquise Brown, Mike Williams, A.J. Green, CeeDee Lamb, DeVonta Smith, Chase Claypool, Darren Waller, Courtland Sutton and Marvin Jones Jr.
Don’t be too aggressive adding Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Antoine Wesley even in a plus matchup versus the Seattle Seahawks. His recent production has been tied to his three receiving touchdowns, but he ran a route on just 49% of Kyler Murray’s dropbacks in Week 17.
After Michael Gallup tore his ACL, Cedrick Wilson was re-inserted into the starting lineup as the Dallas Cowboys‘ No. 3 wide receiver. He looked nothing like a third option, however, catching six of six targets for 35 yards and score, running 92% of his routes from the slot.
Wilson has now received at least five targets in his last four starts, which makes him an intriguing WR option in Week 18 — especially if CeeDee Lamb and/or Amari Cooper are rested in any capacity. His 29% target rate per route run in Week 17 led all Dallas wide receivers and tight ends. He’s a value on the Saturday two-game slate at $4,200.
DEEP TARGETS AND AIR YARDS