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Congratulations to those of you whose diligence through the draft process and the regular season has been rewarded with an opportunity to participate in the fantasy playoffs. Your wide receivers remain essential components toward accomplishing your unwavering goal of securing a league championship. Since you are now advancing even further toward achieving your objective, it is crucial for you to utilize the tools that you have available. This will help you maintain an extensive level of knowledge regarding the number of opportunities that are being provided to your wide receivers - both in terms of their snap counts and how often they are being targeted by their quarterbacks.

This article will examine these specific categories, along with any other noteworthy changes in usage that signal an increase or regression in opportunity. This will bolster your efforts to decide which wide receivers should be in your lineups as you plan for Week 14, while also helping you determine which receivers to depend on during the crucial weeks that remain in the postseason. Pro Football Reference was used to obtain all target and red zone target totals, while snap count information was assembled with information from Football Outsiders.

We now are in possession of data from 13 weeks of game action that will provide the basis for comparison of snap counts and targets for each receiver. This will include the most likely candidates to experience a rise or decline in those numbers during the upcoming weeks. Here is a breakdown of the most compelling changes in usage and opportunity from Week 13.

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Overall Targets

Wide Receiver Week 11 Targets Week 12 Targets Week 13 Targets Total Targets Targets Per Game   
Antonio Brown 13 13 13 135 11.25
Adam Thielen 12 9 10 134 11.2
Julio Jones 9 14 8 133 11.1
Davante Adams 12 8 13 127 10.6
Odell Beckham Jr. 4 9 9 124 10.3
Jarvis Landry BYE 5 9 120 10
JuJu Smith-Schuster 10 17 9 119 9.9
Stefon Diggs 18 11 5 119 10.8
DeAndre Hopkins 6 6 12 114 9.5
Keenan Allen 12 7 19 113 9.4
Mike Evans 7 8 6 105 8.8
Michael Thomas 4 6 8 105 8.8
Tyreek Hill 14 BYE 6 100 8.3
Robert Woods 11 BYE 9 99 8.3
Emmanuel Sanders 6 12 6 98 8.2
Tyler Boyd 11 8 8 97 8.1
Golden Tate 8 8 7 96 8.7
Kenny Golladay 15 8 8 92 7.7
Corey Davis 4 4 7 91 7.6
Brandin Cooks 12 BYE 6 90 8.2
Michael Crabtree 3 6 4 89 7.4
T.Y. Hilton 9 10 13 86 8.6
Willie Snead 8 0 3 80 6.7
Nelson Agholor 2 1 8 79 6.6
A.J. Green INJ INJ 1/INJ 77 8.5
Sterling Shepard 2 6 6 76 6.3
Taylor Gabriel 9 8 7 76 6.3
John Brown 1 7 4 75 6.3
Larry Fitzgerald 4 2 6 75 6.3
Adam Humphries 5 6 9 73 6.1
Amari Cooper 5 9 8 72 6.5
Allen Robinson 7 4 9 71 7.1
Devin Funchess 8 INJ 3 71 6.4
Donte Moncrief 2 4 4 71 5.9
Calvin Ridley 4 13 5 71 5.9
Dede Westbrook 4 4 5 71 5.9
Christian Kirk 4 6 8 70 5.8
DeSean Jackson 7 8 INJ 70 6.4
Julian Edelman BYE 5 8 69 8.6
Zay Jones BYE 1 9 69 5.8
Demaryius Thomas 1 5 5 69 5.8
Chris Godwin 3 4 6 67 5.6
Antonio Callaway BYE 5 6 66 5.5
Jermaine Kearse BYE 12 0 65 5.9
Cole Beasley 7 2 3 65 5.5
Quincy Enunwa BYE 4 6 65 6.5
Alshon Jeffery 5 3 5 65 7.2
Danny Amendola BYE 1/INJ INJ 62 5.6
Josh Doctson 7 10 5 61 5.1
Josh Gordon BYE 5 3 60 6.0

Antonio Brown has now ascended into the overall league in targets for the season (135), while Adam Thielen (134) and Julio Jones (133) loom immediately behind Brown. Davante Adams has been targeted 127 times, followed by Odell Beckham Jr. (124), Jarvis Landry (120), Stefon Diggs (119) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (119). DeAndre Hopkins is next (114) followed by Keenan Allen (113), Michael Thomas (105), Mike Evans (105) and Tyreek Hill (100). No other wide receivers have reached 100 targets for the season through 13 weeks. However, Robert Woods (99), Emmanuel Sanders (98), Tyler Boyd (97), Golden Tate (96), Kenny Golladay (92), Corey Davis (91), and Brandin Cooks (90) all have an opportunity to accomplish that this week.

Allen also captured the most targets among all receivers in Week 12 (19). The sixth-year receiver easily established a new season-high, while attaining a weekly total that was a whopping six targets higher than any other receiver during Week 12 game action.    Brown, Adams, and Hilton were all allotted 13 targets during their matchups, while Hopkins received 12.

Two receivers that have not inhabited the weekly leader list with any frequency whatsoever were next as Jordy Nelson and Curtis Samuel each collected 11 targets. Bruce Ellington (10) and Thielen (10) were the only other wide receivers who attained 10+.

Brown has also surged to the overall lead in target-per-game average (11.25) just ahead of Thielen (11.2), and Jones (11.1).  Diggs is next (10.8), followed by Adams (10.6), Beckham (10.3), and Landry (10). No other wide receivers have attained an average of 10 targets-per-game, although a collection of seven other receivers have all maintained weekly averages that underscore their consistent usage throughout the year - Smith-Schuster (9.9), Hopkins (9.5), Allen (9.4), Michael Thomas (8.8), Mike Evans (8.8), Golden Tate (8.7), Julian Edelman (8.6), and T.Y. Hilton (8.6).

 

Largest Increases And Decreases

Wide Receiver Week 11 Targets Week 12 Targets Week 13 Targets Total Targets Targets Per Game    Largest Weekly  Changes
Keenan Allen 12 7 19 113 9.4 12
Jordy Nelson 1 1 11 51 4.6 10
Curtis Samuel 7 2 11 36 4 9
Zay Jones BYE 1 9 69 5.8 8
Nelson Agholor 2 1 8 79 6.6 7
DeAndre Hopkins 6 6 12 114 9.5 6
Davante Adams 12 8 13 127 10.6 5
Allen Robinson 7 4 9 71 7.1 5
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 3 2 7 51 4.3 5
Taywan Taylor INJ INJ 5 35 3.5 5
Jarvis Landry BYE 5 9 120 10 4
Larry Fitzgerald 4 2 6 75 6.3 4
Corey Davis 4 4 7 91 7.6 3
T.Y. Hilton 9 10 13 86 8.6 3
Willie Snead 8 0 3 80 6.7 3
Adam Humphries 5 6 9 73 6.1 3
Julian Edelman BYE 5 8 69 8.6 3
Courtland Sutton 6 4 7 59 4.9 3
Bruce Ellington 9 7 10 38 6.3 3
Michael Thomas 4 6 8 105 8.8 2
Chris Godwin 3 4 6 67 5.6 2
Quincy Enunwa BYE 4 6 65 6.5 2
Alshon Jeffery 5 3 5 65 7.2 2
Kenny Stills BYE 4 6 43 3.9 2
Mike Evans 7 8 6 105 8.8 -2
Robert Woods 11 BYE 9 99 8.3 -2
Michael Crabtree 3 6 4 89 7.4 -2
Josh Gordon BYE 5 3 60 6 -2
Anthony Miller 3 4 2 50 4.5 -2
John Brown 1 7 4 75 6.3 -3
Tyler Lockett 5 5 2 56 4.6 -3
Doug Baldwin 10 7 4 50 4.2 -3
John Ross 7 7 3 39 4.3 -4
Josh Doctson 7 10 5 61 5.1 -5
David Moore 8 5 0 37 3.1 -5
Julio Jones 9 14 8 133 11.1 -6
Stefon Diggs 18 11 5 119 10.8 -6
Emmanuel Sanders 6 12 6 98 8.2 -6
Brandin Cooks 12 BYE 6 90 8.2 -6
Ryan Switzer 3 8 2 35 2.9 -6
Marcell Ateman 5 10 4 19 6.3 -6
JuJu Smith-Schuster 10 17 9 119 9.9 -8
Tyreek Hill 14 BYE 6 100 8.3 -8
Calvin Ridley 4 13 5 71 5.9 -8
Jermaine Kearse BYE 12 0 65 -12 -12

While Allen has now reached double-digit targets in three of his last five contests, his previous weekly total of seven in Week 12 was his lowest during that sequence of games. As a result, the 19 targets that he attained in Week 13 also provided the largest increase of the week (+7). Jordy Nelson had received a grand total of 16 targets from Weeks 5-12 before having a season-high 11 passes launched in his direction. The resulting increase of +10 represented the second biggest rise for the week.

Samuel’s total expanded by +9 after he received a season-best 11 targets, while the oscillating weekly totals for Zay Jones experienced another upward surge of +8. His last three matchups have resulted in weekly totals of 9/1/11, as he was targeted nine times by Josh Allen one week after being targeted once in Week 12. Jones’ 11 targets during Buffalo’s previous contest were generated against the Jets, which just happens to be the Bills’ Week 14 opponent. While those throws were launched by Matt Barkley, at least Jones owners can be encouraged that Allen located him with greater frequency.

Agholor’s eight targets were the most since Week 4 while boosting his weekly total to an increase of +7 from Week 12. The expanded weekly totals that were obtained by Hopkins (+6) and Adams (+5) occurred primarily as the result of Week 12 numbers that failed to reach normal levels. However, the +5 increase for Robinson was generated through his highest weekly total since Week 2 (9).

Heading into Week 13, Jermaine Kearse had captured double-digit targets in three of his last six games. He had also collected 36 targets during his last four contests, including a season-high 12 in Week 12. But he failed to register any targets in Week 13, and the precipitous drop of -12 easily represented the largest regression for the week.

The collective decline of -8 for Tyreek Hill, Calvin Ridley, and Smith-Schuster should not be concerning for owners, as the results were largely the byproduct of highly favorable Week 12 totals for all three receivers - Hill (14), Ridley (13), Smith-Schuster (17).

 

Red Zone Targets

Wide Receiver Week 11 Red Zone Targets Week 12 Red Zone Targets Week 13 Red Zone Targets Total Red Zone Targets Largest  Changes
Davante Adams 0 2 2 25 -1
JuJu Smith-Schuster 1 2 0 23 -2
Michael Thomas 0 0 1 21 1
Odell Beckham Jr. 1 1 1 20 0
DeAndre Hopkins 2 0 0 17 0
Adam Thielen 0 1 1 17 0
Jarvis Landry BYE 0 0 16 0
Antonio Brown 1 2 0 16 -2
Sterling Shepard 0 1 0 15 -1
Corey Davis 0 0 1 14 1
T.Y. Hilton 1 0 1 14 1
Julian Edelman BYE 1 2 14 1
Brandin Cooks 1 BYE 0 13 -1
Stefon Diggs 2 2 1 13 -1
Kenny Golladay 3 1 3 13 2
Tyreek Hill 0 BYE 1 12 1
Keenan Allen 2 2 1 12 -1
Zay Jones BYE 0 1 12 1
Chris Godwin 0 0 2 12 2
Amari Cooper 1 0 0 11 0
Larry Fitzgerald 2 0 0 11 0
John Brown 0 2 0 11 -2
Emmanuel Sanders 1 5 0 11 -5
Demaryius Thomas 0 2 1 11 -1
Devin Funchess 1 INJ 1 11 0
Alshon Jeffery 0 0 1 11 1
Sammy Watkins 0 BYE INJ 10 0
Mike Evans 0 0 0 10 0
Robert Woods 4 BYE 1 10 -3
Anthony Miller 1 0 2 10 2
Golden Tate 1 1 1 10 0
Dede Westbrook 0 1 0 9 -1
Michael Crabtree 0 2 0 9 -2
Julio Jones 0 3 0 9 -2
Allen Robinson 0 0 1 9 1
Doug Baldwin 3 1 1 9 0
Kendrick Bourne BYE 1 1 9 0
Tajae Sharpe 0 0 2 9 2
Nelson Agholor 0 0 1 9 1
Adam Humphries 1 0 2 9 2

Adams now leads all receivers with 25 red zone targets for the season. Smith-Schuster is next with 23 followed by Michael Thomas (21), Beckham (20), Hopkins (17), Thielen (17), Brown (16) Landry (16), Shepherd (15), and four receivers who have attained 14 - Corey Davis, Edelman, Hilton, and A.J. Green.

Allen has now received 12 after being targeted seven times during the Chargers' last five games. Adams has collected four targets during his last two games, including two in Week 13. Golladay has also assembled four during that span, while Diggs, Edelman, Demaryius Thomas, and John Ross have garnered three.

Four of the eight targets that have been designated for Ross have been collected since Week 10. Beckham has accrued seven of his 19 targets since Week 10, including one in each of his last three games. Hopkins had been targeted at least once in the red zone during nine of Houston’s first 10 matchups but has now failed to register a target inside the 20 in two consecutive games.

However, Hopkins continues to lead all receivers with 13 targets inside the 10, followed by Michael Thomas with 11. Hilton, Smith-Schuster and Chris Godwin are next (9), while Beckham, Davis, Edelman, and Woods have all captured eight.

 

Largest Increases And Decreases

The Week 12 results did not contain as many notable variations as we have observed during many other weeks of the season. Golladay tied his season high by collecting three red zone targets for the second time in three weeks, which provided his owners with an improvement of +2.

The list of receivers that garnered two targets included Tajae Sharpe, and Devante Parker, whose names have not been mainstays in this category. They were joined by Tampa Bay teammates Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries, who have combined for 21 red zone targets to this point of the season.

The unfortunate Achilles injury that was suffered by Sanders will be discussed in the 5 Things That I Noticed section. That diminished the importance of his -5, which was the largest decline for the week. Julio Jones failed to receive a target after accruing three in Week 1, which resulted in a weekly decline of -3. Woods did not obtain a red zone target in seven consecutive games before collecting four in Week 11. He also captured one target in Week 13 after the Rams returned from their bye. But the decline of -3 tied him with Jones.

 

Snap Counts

Wide Receiver Week 11 Snap Counts Week 12 Snap Counts Week 13  Snap Counts Total Snaps Total Snap Count %  Snap Count % Change
DeAndre Hopkins 63/100% 64/98%  75/99% 821 99% 1%
Antonio Brown 64/98% 72/92% 67/99% 806 95% 7%
Robert Woods 79/99% BYE 66/96% 791 97% -3%
Adam Thielen 67/100% 68/97% 61/100% 782 97% 3%
Davante Adams 46/94% 53/100% 72/95% 747 94% -5%
Jarvis Landry BYE 39/61% 46/81% 744 88% 20%
Kenny Golladay 61/94% 65/98% 70/97% 744 92% -1%
Brandin Cooks 70/88% BYE 66/96% 738 90% 8%
Nelson Agholor 44/86% 47/72% 65/87% 735 89% 15%
Mike Evans 65/92% 58/79% 57/88% 717 84% 9%
JuJu Smith-Schuster 61/94% 66/85% 60/88% 716 84% 3%
Odell Beckham Jr. 46/87% 59/85% 67/93% 716 94% 12%
Sterling Shepard 46/87% 56/92% 57/79% 704 92% -13%
Michael Thomas 57/81% 52/91% 51/98% 698 88% 7%
Tyreek Hill 69/96% BYE 63/89% 693 88% -7%
Zay Jones BYE 55/95% 60/92% 687 87% -3%
Corey Davis 58/92% 53/96% 65/96% 671 89% 0%
Tyler Boyd 52/95% 72/97% 66/97% 670 89% 0%
Tyler Lockett 53/76% 56/90% 40/69% 663 85% -21%
Stefon Diggs 62/93% 66/94% 47/77% 661 82% -17%
Emmanuel Sanders 50/89% 44/77% 40/68% 658 84% -9%
Julio Jones 51/91% 62/89% 41/77% 648 81% -8%
Taylor Gabriel 55/74% 47/81% 76/92% 648 80% 11%
Josh Doctson 64/85% 59/94% 43/96% 639 82% 2%
Donte Moncrief 51/74% 53/76% 45/78% 629 78% 2%
Larry Fitzgerald 50/93% 43/91% 60/97% 622 91% 6%
Mohamed Sanu 51/91% 57/81% 44/83% 619 78% 2%
Keenan Allen 69/90% 52/75% 58/92% 619 83% 17%
Jordy Nelson INJ 52/90% 69/91% 617 78% 1%
Allen Robinson 67/91% 51/88% 70/84% 614 76% -18%
Michael Crabtree 53/67% 47/67% 36/44% 611 68% -23%
Willie Snead 53/67% 49/70% 66/81% 607 67% 11%
Chris Hogan BYE 28/40% 32/43% 605 73% 3%
Dede Westbrook 49/71% 50/71% 51/88% 601 75% 17
John Brown 51/65% 45/64% 43/53% 589 65% -9
Antonio Callaway BYE 38/59% 41/72% 585 69% 13%
Adam Humphries 49/69% 38/52% 41/63% 582 68% 9%
Chris Conley 64/89% BYE 65/92% 567 72% 3%
Courtland Sutton 50/89% 42/74% 41/69% 565 72% -5%

Two receivers have now eclipsed 800 offensive snaps for the season, as Hopkins continues to lead all receivers in this category with 821, followed by Brown with 806. Woods is next with 791, followed by Thielen (782), Adams (747), Golladay (744), Landry (744), Cooks (738), and Agholor (735). Evans (717), Beckham (716), Smith- Schuster (716), and Shepard (704) have all attained 700+ while Michael Thomas (698) leads a collection of 21 other receivers who have reached 600+. 

In season-long snap count percentage, Hopkins remains cemented atop the list 99.3, followed by Thielen (97%), Woods (96.5%), Brown (95%), and Adams 94% who comprise the top five. Beckham (94%), Shepherd (93%), Golladay (92%), Fitzgerald (91%), and Cooks (90%) complete the list of 10 receivers that have performed on at least 90% of the team's offensive snaps throughout the year.

While Thielen owners were understandably disappointed with his 28-yard performance in Week 13, it certainly didn't occur due to lack of opportunity as he played on 100% of Minnesota's offensive snaps. That led all receivers in Week 13, although Hopkins and Brown performed on 99% of their snaps. Michael Thomas was involved on 98% of New Orleans' snaps, while Golladay, Boyd, Fitzgerald, and Josh Reynolds all finished with a 97% count.

 

Largest Increases And Decreases

Anyone who seized Reynolds after Cooper Kupp's season-ending injury (ACL) should not overreact to the diminished usage (5 targets) and production of Week 13. He has performed on 97.5% of Los Angeles’ offensive snaps during the team's last two contests, and an excellent matchup awaits him when the Rams host Philadelphia in Week 15.

In addition to the lofty snap count results for Reynolds in Week 13, it is noteworthy that Dante Pettis performed on 93% of San Francisco's offensive snaps. The favorable forecast for Pettis moving forward stands in contrast to the Raven receivers, after Michael Crabtree (44.4%) and John Brown (53.1%) both registered new season lows in snap count percentage.

 

Five Things That I Noticed

1. Since news of the Emmanuel Sanders injury emerged as this column was being written, it seems pertinent to discuss options for Sanders owners. I had him locked in as a starter on multiple teams that have qualified for the postseason, and a number of you also own him on more than one team. There is nothing that can completely eliminate the mammoth disappointment that you initially feel when a player that you have been depending on throughout the season is suddenly out for the year. While this becomes particularly brutal when it occurs during the postseason, you cannot allow yourself to remain frustrated for any length of time, and must instead focus on locating your best available options. You can strongly consider using Pettis who will be discussed further very shortly. Other receivers that may be available in your leagues include Zay Jones, whose snap count is 16th among all receivers as he begins functioning as Buffalo’s WR1. Curtis Samuel just attained a season-high 11 targets and has averaged an 87.5% snap count since Week 12. Bruce Ellington has captured 26 targets in three games with the Lions, while clearly operating as the team’s WR2. Michael Gallup's recent 6-target per-game average and his exceptional Week 14 matchup were mentioned previously. They may be other alternatives that are available in your leagues, and if you are a Sanders owner, stay positive, and monitor the latest developments with all receivers as the week continues.

2. A collection of rookies continue to accumulate respectable numbers, and several of these newcomers are being targeted with enough frequency to provide the potential for favorable output during their remaining matchups. Calvin Ridley now leads all first-year receivers with 71 targets even though his weekly totals since Week 9 have been among the most sporadic (9/5/4/13/5). His overall total is just one more than Christian Kirk (70), whose season-ending foot injury is clearly unfortunate. Kirk had garnered 6+ targets in six of his last seven games. Antonio Callaway is next with 66, after averaging 4.5 targets-per- game with Freddie Kitchens as Cleveland's offensive coordinator. However, D.J. Moore has now collected more targets than any other rookie since Week 10 (30), including 25 during his last three games. This has enabled him to assemble 19 receptions, 292 yards, and a touchdown during that span. Michael Gallup has averaged 6-targets per-game since Week 11, and he can function as a WR3 during this week's outstanding matchup with division rival Philadelphia.

3. Entering Week 11, Michael Crabtree had collected 76 targets and was averaging 8.4 targets per game. Teammate Willie Snead had been targeted 69 times and was averaging 7.7 targets per game, while John Brown had captured 67 targets and was averaging 7.4 targets per game. At that point, Lamar Jackson became the Ravens' starting signal-caller, which has virtually demolished the value for all three receivers. Crabtree has received a grand total of just 13 targets while averaging 4.3 targets-per-game since Jackson begin spearheading the offense. Snead has accumulated 11 targets, with an average that has dropped to 3.7 per game, while Brown has been targeted 12 times, with an average that has plummeted to 4.0 per game. The numbers for Snead and Brown are even less favorable when you consider that eight of Snead's 11 targets occurred in Week 11, followed by a regression to zero in Week 12. Brown’s wildly erratic target totals have also fluctuated (1/7/4), and anyone who had originally entrusted any Baltimore wide receiver simply cannot use them in their lineups moving forward.

4. The integration of Golden Tate into Philadelphia's offense has placed constraints on the targets and production of both Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor. But his departure from Detroit has created a cavernous path for Kenny Golladay to accumulate snaps, and absorb increased targeting. The second-year receiver has accumulated 44 targets since Week 10 (15/13/8/8), and his total during that four-game sequence is the third highest behind only Antonio Brown, and Keenan Allen. Golladay has also accumulated eight targets in the red zone, after receiving a total of five targets inside the 20 during the first eight games combined. Golladay’s snap count has remained at an appealing level (96.5%), which has propelled him into eighth among all receivers with a 92% count for the season. While he will likely contend with Patrick Peterson this week, he has earned must-start status for Detroit's remaining matchups.

5. Last week I recommended Josh Doctson as a roster stash who could easily elevate into a WR3 streaming option. My belief was that Colt McCoy would display more willingness to launch the congested throws that reside beyond Alex Smith's comfort zone.  Unfortunately, the plan of utilizing Doctson during the fantasy playoffs has been blown to smithereens by McCoy's broken leg, as Washington’s offense will now be completely stagnant under Mark Sanchez. Of course, we all must keep our head on a swivel throughout the fantasy season and adjust rapidly to all unexpected developments. As a result, I have shifted nearly every bit of the stock that had previously been invested in Doctson toward Dante Pettis. The rookie has collected 20 targets during San Francisco's last three contests while exhibiting the capability to be a dynamic weapon for Kyle Shanahan's offense during these final weeks. Pettis has captured 13 of those targets while assembling 218 yards and three touchdowns. It would be reasonable for Shanahan to continue dialing up plays for his hand-picked receiver, who should be a viable WR3 moving forward.

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