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Your wide receivers remain essential components toward accomplishing your unwavering goal of securing a league championship. As the season unfolds, it is crucial for you to utilize the tools that you have available, in order to 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.

Each week, 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 determine which wide receivers should be in your lineups, and which are worthy of remaining on your rosters. Pro Football Reference and NFL Savant were 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 nine 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 9.

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Overall Targets  

Wide Receiver Week 7 Targets Week 8 Targets Week 9 Targets Total Targets Targets Per Game   
Adam Thielen 10 7 7 103 11.4
Jarvis Landry 15 12 7 101 11.2
Odell Beckham Jr. 11 11 BYE 91 11.3
Antonio Brown BYE 8 11 91 11.3
Julio Jones 12 BYE 10 91 11.4
DeAndre Hopkins 8 7 12 90 10
Davante Adams BYE 7 9 87 10.9
Stefon Diggs 14 11 INJ 85 10.6
Michael Thomas 9 6 15 79 9.9
Mike Evans 11 13 10 78 9.75
JuJu Smith-Schuster BYE 6 9 78 9.75
A.J. Green 14 7 BYE/INJ 76 9.5
Michael Crabtree 9 5 7 76 8.4
Robert Woods 7 7 9 74 8.2
Emmanuel Sanders 7 4 9 74 8.2
Tyreek Hill 10 4 5 70 7.8
Golden Tate 6 12 BYE 69 9.9
Willie Snead 7 11 8 69 7.6
John Brown 7 7 6 67 7.4
Tyler Boyd 4 10 BYE 66 8.3
Keenan Allen 5 BYE 10 66 8.3
Corey Davis 7 BYE 10 66 8
Nelson Agholor 7 6 BYE 61 7.6
Brandin Cooks 5 8 8 60 7.5
Sterling Shepard 8 8 BYE 59 7.3
Demaryius Thomas 6 7 3 59 6.5
Donte Moncrief 10 7 BYE 57 7.1
Marvin Jones 4 10 8 55 6.8
Devin Funchess 11 3 5 55 6.9
Sammy Watkins 7 9 5 54 6
Larry Fitzgerald 8 12 BYE 53 5.3
Kelvin Benjamin 5 7 9 53 5.9
Antonio Callaway 2 6 5 53 5.8
Danny Amendola 7 6 7 51 5.6
Adam Humphries 9 10 8 50 6.25
Keelan Cole 7 3 BYE 49 6.1
Dede Westbrook 4 6 BYE 48 6
Jermaine Kearse 2 10 9 48 6
Cooper Kupp INJ INJ 6 48 6.9
Zay Jones 5 8 6 48 5.3
Kenny Golladay 2 1 4 48 6
T.Y. Hilton 4 5 BYE 47 7.8
Chester Rogers 4 1 BYE 47 5.9
Chris Godwin 6 7 4 47 5.9
Quincy Enunwa INJ INJ 4 47 6.7
DeSean Jackson 4 8 4 47 5.9
Cole Beasley 8 BYE 4 47 5.9

Once again, Adam Thielen retained his overall lead with 103 targets for the season, while Jarvis Landry remains a close second with 101. That tandem is followed by Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones, and Antonio Brown with 91, while DeAndre Hopkins is the only other receiver who has reached 90. That grouping is followed by Davante Adams (87) and Stefon Diggs (85), who managed to remain among the eight receivers that have collected 80+ targets, even though he was sidelined in Week 9 game with a rib issue.  

Michael Thomas (79) heads a collection of eight more receivers that have captured 70+ targets (JuJu Smith-SchusterMike EvansA.J. GreenMichael CrabtreeRobert WoodsEmmanuel SandersTyreek Hill), while eight additional players have been targeted at least 60 times (Golden TateWillie SneadJohn BrownTyler BoydKeenan AllenCorey DavisNelson AgholorBrandin Cooks).  

After seven consecutive weeks of being targeted at least 10 times, Thielen has now received seven in each of Minnesota's last two games. Landry had attained double-digit targets in six straight games before his total dropped to seven in Week 9. Beckham now has the longest streak of games with 10+ targets (6), while Evans is next with three.

On a target-per-game basis - Thielen, Jones, Beckham, Brown, and Landry are the only five receivers that are averaging over 11 per game, although Adams remains on the threshold with 10.9. Diggs and Hopkins are both averaging at least 10 per game, while Thomas, Tate, Smith-Schuster, Evans, and Green have all collected at least nine per game. Other notable averages include Alshon Jeffery and Julian Edelman, who are each capturing 8.8 targets per game, and Tyler Boyd, who is tied with Keenan Allen at 8.3. Boyd is primed to become Cincinnati’s WR1 while Green is encumbered by his toe issue.

Antonio Callaway leads all rookies with 53 targets, followed by Christian Kirk (46), Calvin Ridley (44), Courtland Sutton (42), Anthony Miller (35), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (32) and Keke Coutee (30) who all have 30+ targets. Michael Gallup (28), D.J. Moore (26), D.J. Chark (23), and Tre'Quan Smith (20) have all attained at least 20. However, total targets have not necessarily equated to production, and that will be examined in greater detail when we reach the 5 Things That I Noticed section below.

 

Largest Increases And Decreases

Wide Receiver Week 7 Targets Week 8 Targets Week 9 Targets Total Targets Targets Per Game    Largest Weekly  Changes
Maurice Harris 3 2 12 29 4.8 10
Michael Thomas 9 6 15 79 9.9 9
Amari Cooper BYE BYE 8 40 5.3 8
DeAndre Hopkins 8 7 12 90 10 5
Emmanuel Sanders 7 4 9 74 8.2 5
Keenan Allen 5 BYE 10 66 8.3 5
Pierre Garcon 1 INJ 5 45 5.6 4
Josh Gordon 7 6 10 41 5.9 4
Corey Davis 7 BYE 10 66 8.25 3
Antonio Brown BYE 8 11 91 11.3 3
JuJu Smith-Schuster BYE 6 9 78 9.75 3
Kelvin Benjamin 5 7 9 53 5.9 3
Adam Humphries 9 10 8 50 6.25 3
Kenny Golladay 2 1 4 48 6 3
Calvin Ridley 6 BYE 9 44 5.5 3
Mohamed Sanu 2 BYE 5 40 5 3
Davante Adams BYE 7 9 87 10.9 2
Michael Crabtree 9 5 7 76 8.4 2
Robert Woods 7 7 9 74 8.2 2
Devin Funchess 11 3 5 55 6.9 2
Kelvin Benjamin 5 7 9 53 5.9 2
Tyreek Hill 10 4 5 70 7.8 1
Cooper Kupp INJ INJ 6 48 6.9 1
Courtland Sutton 3 4 5 42 4.7 1
Randall Cobb BYE 5 6 38 7.6 1
Doug Baldwin BYE 3 4 24 4 1
John Brown 7 7 6 67 7.4 -1
Antonio Callaway 2 6 5 53 5.8 -1
Jermaine Kearse 2 10 9 48 6 -1
Taylor Gabriel 4 6 5 44 5.5 -1
Julio Jones 12 BYE 10 91 11.4 -2
Marvin Jones 4 10 8 55 6.8 -2
Zay Jones 5 8 6 48 5.3 -2
Mike Evans 11 13 10 78 9.75 -3
Willie Snead 7 11 8 69 7.6 -3
Chris Godwin 6 7 4 47 5.9 -3
Cole Beasley 8 BYE 4 47 5.9 -4
Demaryius Thomas 6 7 3 59 6.5 -4
Sammy Watkins 7 9 5 54 6 -4
DeSean Jackson 4 8 4 47 5.9 -4
Jarvis Landry 15 12 7 101 11.2 -5
Devante Parker 1 9 2 15 4.8 -7

Thomas collected the most targets of all wide receivers in Week 9 (15). He was followed by Hopkins (12), Maurice Harris (12), Brown (11), and a collection of six receivers that accrued 10 - Julio Jones, Evans, Keenan Allen, Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, and Corey Davis. No other receivers reached double-digit targets during the week.

Nearly all of the players in this group are among the overall leaders for the season, with both Patriot receivers progressing toward that distinction after missing a combined six games earlier this season. But the obvious exception is Harris. He entered 2018 with just 18 career targets, but is now in the process of seizing an ongoing role in Washington’s passing attack. His latest total represented a rise of 10 from the previous week, which was the greatest weekly increase of any receiver.

The 15 targets that were obtained by Michael Thomas was an improvement of nine over his Week 8 total (6), and it resulted in the second largest increase of the week. Cooper’s eight targets were the most since Week 4, his first target since Week 6, and easily resulted in the week’s third-biggest surge. Hopkins, Allen, and Sanders were next with weekly totals that improved by +5. The +3 increase for Davis gives him a total of 17 during the Tennessee’s last two contests, although usage has been less of a concern than the degree to which he is receiving accurate throws.

Devante Parker’s brief flirtation with fantasy relevance in Week 8 included nine targets, after he entered the week with just four through the entire season. Unfortunately, his opportunities plummeted just as quickly, as Parker was targeted just twice in Week 9. That made Parker the recipient of this week's largest regression (-7), which was followed by Landry's -5. However, their remaining outlook is dramatically different since only one receiver has exceeded Landry's overall total. DeSean Jackson, Sammy Watkins, Cole Beasley and Demaryius Thomas all experienced a decline of four, as Thomas only collected three targets in his debut with the Texans.

 

Red Zone Targets  

Wide Receiver Week 6 Red Zone Targets Week 7 Red Zone Targets Week 8 Red Zone Targets Week 9 Red Zone Targets Total Red Zone Targets Largest  Changes
JuJu Smith-Schuster 1 BYE 1 2 19 1
Davante Adams 5 BYE 0 2 17 2
Jarvis Landry 2 4 2 0 15 -2
Michael Thomas BYE 2 0 1 15 1
DeAndre Hopkins 1 2 2 1 15 -1
Adam Thielen 2 2 2 2 15 0
A.J. Green 1 1 1 BYE/INJ 14 BYE/INJ
Sterling Shepard 3 3 1 BYE 13 BYE
Odell Beckham Jr. 2 4 1 BYE 13 BYE
Antonio Brown 0 BYE 1 3 13 2
Cooper Kupp INJ INJ INJ 0 11 0
T.Y. Hilton INJ 2 3 BYE 11 BYE
Marvin Jones BYE 1 1 1 11 0
Corey Davis 0 3 BYE 2 11 -1
Sammy Watkins 1 1 2 0 10 -2
Brandin Cooks 0 2 0 1 10 1
Chris Godwin 2 0 1 1 10 0
Julian Edelman 3 3 1 2 10 1
Alshon Jeffery 3 2 0 BYE 9 BYE
Tyreek Hill 2 2 0 0 9 0
Devin Funchess 1 2 1 1 9 0
John Brown 0 2 1 1 9 0
Tyler Boyd 2 0 1 BYE 8 BYE
Demaryius Thomas 2 0 2 0 8 -2
Stefon Diggs 0 2 2 INJ 8 INJ
Larry Fitzgerald 1 2 3 BYE 8 BYE
Mike Evans 1 BYE 4 0 8 -4
Amari Cooper 0 BYE BYE 4 8 4
Allen Robinson 1 1 INJ INJ 7 INJ
Nelson Agholor 0 0 1 BYE 7 BYE
Golden Tate BYE 2 3 BYE 7 BYE
Michael Crabtree 1 0 0 1 7 1
Zay Jones 3 1 0 1 7 1
Cole Beasley 3 1 BYE 1 7 0
Emmanuel Sanders 1 1 0 1 7 0
Quincy Enunwa 0 INJ INJ 0 7 0
Mike Williams 0 2 BYE 3 6 1
Keelan Cole 0 2 0 BYE 6 BYE
Donte Moncrief 0 0 1 BYE 6 BYE
Keenan Allen 0 0 0 1 6 1

Smith-Schuster continues to lead all receivers with 19 red zone targets, followed by Adams (17), and four receivers who have accumulated 15 targets - Hopkins, Landry, Thielen and Michael Thomas. Green is next with 14, followed by Beckham (13), Brown (13) and Sterling Shepard (13). Four receivers have been targeted 11 times (T.Y. HiltonMarvin JonesCooper Kupp, Corey Davis), while four others have attained 10 during the year (Brandin Cooks, Edelman, Chris Godwin, Sammy Watkins).

No other receivers have reached double-digits. However, four have collected nine targets (Alshon Jeffery, Tyreek Hill, John Brown, Devin Funchess), while six have reached eight for the season (Tyler Boyd, Demaryius Thomas, Larry Fitzgerald, Stefon Diggs, Evans, Amari Cooper).

While this has been a year of frequent frustration for Davis owners, five of his 11 red zone targets have been collected during Tennessee's last two contests. Meanwhile, Edelman's inclusion among the 18 receivers that have captured double-digit targets is impressive, since his season did not begin until Week 5.

While Hopkins is tied for third in overall red zone targets, he continues to garner the most targets inside the 10. He has now assembled 12 throughout the season, while Michael Thomas is next with 10, followed by Hilton (9), Godwin (9), and both Davis and Kupp with seven. Edelman, Marvin Jones, Green, and Smith-Schuster have all been targeted inside the 10 six times, while 10 receivers have collected five during the year.

 

Largest Increases And Decreases

Cooper’s season total rose significantly as the result of his favorable usage in Week 9. He received four red zone targets during his initial matchup as a Cowboy, which were the first targets that he has collected near the end zone since four passes were launched by Derek Carr back in Week 4. That instantly expanded his season total to eight, which means that all of his targets have transpired in a total of two different games.

Cooper’s weekly increase of +4 was also the largest of the week, followed by Antonio Brown's +3. Thielen has now attained two targets in five consecutive games, while Edelman, Davis, and Smith-Schuster also collected a pair of targets in Week 9.

Replicating the four red zone targets that he obtained in Week 8 provided Evans with a daunting task, and his decline of -4 was the largest of the week. Landry, Watkins, and Demaryius Thomas failed to capture a target in Week 9, which gave the trio their collective weekly result of -2.

Courtland Sutton owners were justified in believing that he would become a preferred red zone option for Case Keenum after he collected four red zone targets in Week 5. But he has yet to receive another since that matchup, which is also the last time that Emmanuel Sanders was targeted. Anyone who owns either Bronco receiver must now hope that they will be prioritized more frequently among Keenum's red zone options.

 

Snap Counts  

Wide Receiver Week 7 Snap Counts Week 8 Snap Counts Week 9 Snap Counts Total Snaps Total Snap Count %  Snap Count % Change
Jarvis Landry 67/99% 52/81% 73/97% 623 93% 16%
DeAndre Hopkins 64/100% 59/97% 61/98% 619 99% 1%
Adam Thielen 66/96% 69/95% 45/92% 586 96% -3%
Robert Woods 50/82% 76/97% 58/97% 582 96% 0%
Antonio Brown BYE 70/99% 81/100% 552 95% 1%
Brandin Cooks 50/82% 75/96% 59/98% 539 89% 2%
Nelson Agholor 59/88% 57/92% BYE 524 92% BYE
Emmanuel Sanders 43/73% 59/81% 61/92% 524 86% 11%
Davante Adams BYE 40/77% 71/96% 523 93% 19%
Tyreek Hill 52/74% 48/83% 61/97% 507 87% 14%
Zay Jones 51/91%  60/94% 79/87% 504 86% -7%
Odell Beckham Jr. 61/95% 67/96% BYE 495 96% BYE
Michael Thomas 65/92% 51/96% 65/92% 492 92% -4%
Chris Hogan 42/66% 45/59% 53/75% 491 79% 16%
Marvin Jones 56/88% 75/97% 63/90% 490 93% -7%
Sterling Shepard 59/92% 67/96% BYE 489 94% BYE
JuJu Smith-Schuster BYE 56//95% 77/95% 487 84% 0
Stefon Diggs 63/91% 64/88% INJ 486 80% INJ
Mike Evans 82/86% 70/80% 60/90% 482 84% 10%
Michael Crabtree 48/71% 45/66% 43/70% 475 71% 4%
Kenny Golladay 49/77% 54/92% 68/97% 473 89% 5%
Antonio Callaway 51/75% 59/92% 39/52% 467 70% -40%
Danny Amendola 55/98% 65/98% 47/82% 457 85% -16%
Tyler Lockett BYE 44/70% 68/84% 454 86% 14%
Sammy Watkins 60/85% 55/95% 48/76% 454 78% -19%
Jordy Nelson BYE 45/90% 43/75% 453 86% -15%
John Brown 50/74% 46/68% 39/64% 450 67% -4
A.J. Green 46/81% 62/94% BYE 440 86% BYE
Tyler Boyd 56/98% 61/92% BYE 439 85% BYE
Willie Snead 44/65% 52/76% 43/70% 439 65% -6
Corey Davis 61/86% BYE 65/93% 436 87% 7%
Courtland Sutton 40/68% 49/67% 56/85% 432 71% 18
Devin Funchess 54/92% 48/74% 45/73% 431 83% -1
Josh Doctson 57/95% 56/82% 68/99% 428 79% 17%
Taylor Gabriel 64/76%  44/67% 44/86% 424 79% 19%
Julio Jones 49/75% BYE 55/81% 421 78% 6%
Donte Moncrief 55/81% 56/88% BYE 419 79% BYE
Kelvin Benjamin 44/79% 49/77% 67/74% 409 69% -3

Landry leads all receivers in total offensive snaps with 623, which are just four more than Hopkins has attained. But Hopkins continues to pace all receivers in offensive snap percentage (99.4%). He is joined by 10 other players who have performed in at least 90% of their team's snaps - Thielen (96%), Woods (96%), Beckham (95.6%), Brown (95.2%), Sterling Shepherd (94.4%), Adams (93.4%), Landry (93%), Marvin Jones (92.6%), Nelson Agholor (92%), and Michael Thomas (91%). However, Kenny Golladay (89.4%), Brandin Cooks (89%), and Larry Fitzgerald (89%) are residing on the threshold of joining that group.

Brown and Kupp were the only two receivers to perform on all 100% of their team's snaps in Week 9, although a total of 19 players attained a count of at least 90%. But while you would expect to see most of the receivers that are included among the snap count leaders for Week 9 (Brown, Hopkins, Cooks, Landry, Adams, Smith-Schuster,  Thielen, Evans, Michael Thomas, Sanders), Josh Doctson and Brandon LaFell are noteworthy additions to this list. 

 

Largest Increases And Decreases

Doctson isn't necessarily a receiver whose name instantly emerges when you contemplate the highest snap counts at this position. But he has actually performed on at least 82% of Washington's snaps in six different contests. However, LaFell did not register a snap from Weeks 3-7 before shockingly averaging  92.5% snaps in Weeks 8-9 - which leads all Raider receivers.

James Washington had played on 50% of Pittsburgh snaps during the season even though he did not register a single snap in Week 8. But he was involved in a season-best 86% in Week 9. Danny Amendola's snap count of 82% was certainly respectable, but it was his lowest since Week 3 - and it occurred after he had averaged 97% from Weeks 6-8.  Callaway had been averaging 72% and had played on at least 90% of Cleveland's snaps in Weeks 3-8. But his 52% count was the lowest since Week 1.

 

Five Things That I Noticed

1. It was mentioned earlier that Antonio Callaway leads all rookies with 53 targets. However, his 24 receptions are just third behind Calvin Ridley (33), and Christian Kirk (31). Callaway has also caught just three more passes than Keke Coutee, even though Coutee’s prolonged hamstring issues have limited him to only three full games. Ridley (463) and Kirk (410) are also pacing the first year receivers in receiving yards, followed by Courtland Sutton (381), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (358) and D.J. Moore (297). Callaway is just sixth with 287 yards. Ridley leads the collection of newcomers in touchdowns by a considerable margin (7), followed by Anthony Miller and Tre'Quan Smith (3). Sutton leads the rookies with 10 receptions of 20+ yards, followed by Ridley and Valdes-Scantling (7). Miller’s six red zone targets are the most among this collection of rookies, while Ridley, Sutton, and Valdes-Scantling are tied with five.

2. In addition to his recent ascension among rookies in multiple receiving categories, Valdes-Scantling has also cemented an integral role with the Packers. He is third behind Adams and Jimmy Graham in both targets and receiving yards, and appeared to have captured ongoing responsibilities as Green Bay's WR2 even before Geronimo Allison was jettisoned to injured reserve. After receiving just three targets in Weeks 1-3, Valdes-Scantling has collected 27 during Green Bay's last four contests (10/6/5/6). That is just under seven per game, and it has propelled his scoring significantly. During that four-game span, he has collected 15 receptions, accumulated 317 yards (79 YPG), and produced two touchdowns. After missing three games due to his hamstring injury, Randall Cobb returned to the Packers in Week 8. The eight-year veteran received 11 targets in Weeks 8-9 and caught nine of those passes. However, he also manufactured just 64 yards and failed to score. Allison's absence further solidifies Valdes-Scantling's status as an every-week WR3 for owners moving forward.

3. Owners who have persevered through Amari Cooper's bizarre and erratic season were presented with several encouraging developments during his first performance with the Cowboys. He arrived in Dallas with a total of 32 targets for the season, including only two throughout the entire month of October. He had also accumulated just four red zone targets, which had all occurred in Week 4 as previously mentioned. But he obtained a team-high eight targets during his debut, which expanded his season total to 40. The fact that Dak Prescott launched four passes in his direction near the end zone is also promising, as it instantly doubled his season total. Anyone who has endured the vacillating events of his fourth professional season can now hope that the increased usage that Cooper received during his initial game action as a Cowboy will continue. Any semblance of consistency in his level of opportunity will result in desirable weekly scoring totals during the weeks that remain.

4.  If we briefly rewind back to Week 4, Cooper Kupp owners had just watched their receiver capture nine of his 11 targets while accumulating a career-best 162 yards and 2 touchdowns. After that game, he was tied for the league lead with four touchdowns and had already collected 10 red zone targets - which was third among all receivers. This was consistent with his 2017 rookie season when his 23 red zone targets tied him for second behind Keenan Allen. Kupp was also performing on 97.5% of the Rams' offensive snaps prior to his health issues, and was one of only two receivers to play on 100% of his team's snaps in Week 9. Jared Goff should resume his penchant for locating Kupp near the end zone this week, and anyone who endured Kupp's absence will soon be rewarded.

5. Maurice Harris has emerged as a viable roster target for owners after he collected 10 of his 12 targets for 124 yards in Week 9. He was originally signed by Washington as a college free agent in 2016, but had only amassed 12 receptions and 128 yards during his first two years with the Redskins. However, Harris has easily eclipsed those numbers in every category this season (29 targets, 21 receptions, 226 yards), primarily as the result of the output that he achieved in Week 9. He has also performed on 74% of Washington’s offensive snaps since Week 5, and that number has improved to 85% during the Redskins’ last two matchups. With Paul Richardson now sidelined for the season (shoulder), Jamison Crowder contending with his ankle injury, and Josh Doctson almost always unreliable - Harris is unquestionably worthy of a roster spot.

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