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Congratulations to all team owners whose tireless dedication toward winning a league championship culminated in the achievement of your goal. However, those of you who were unsuccessful in fulfilling your championship aspirations should also be commended. Because even though your teams may have been negatively impacted by injuries, unexpected developments, and disappointing performances, this does not change the fact that you remained persistent in your attempts to secure a fantasy championship.

Regardless of your team’s final record, wide receivers remained essential components within your lineups throughout the season, and most of you maintained an extensive level of knowledge regarding the number of opportunities that they were provided - both in terms of their snap counts and how frequently they were being targeted by their quarterbacks.

We now are in possession of target and snap count information from an entire season of game action, and it is time to examine these specific categories one final time during this season-long review. 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. Here is a final breakdown of the usage and opportunities that were allocated to wide receivers in 2018 which can help you identify which players to pursue during your 2019 draft process.

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Overall Targets

Wide Receiver Week 14 Targets Week 15 Targets Week 16 Targets Week 17 Targets Total Targets Targets Per Game   
Julio Jones 11 8 5 13 170 10.6
Davante Adams 11 13 18 INJ 169 11.3
Antonio Brown 7 7 19 INACTIVE 168 11.2
JuJu Smith-Schuster 12 10 15 10 166 10.4
DeAndre Hopkins 10 11 12 16 163 10.2
Adam Thielen 7 2 6 4 153 9.6
Stefon Diggs 6 7 6 10 149 9.9
Jarvis Landry 4 8 8 9 149 9.3
Michael Thomas 13 9 13 7 147 9.2
Mike Evans 6 9 10 9 139 8.7
Tyreek Hill 14 7 9 7 137 8.6
Keenan Allen 9 INJ 8 7 136 8.5
Robert Woods 13 9 7 3 130 8.1
Odell Beckham Jr. INJ INJ INJ INJ 124 10.3
T.Y. Hilton 12 8 8 6 120 8.6
Kenny Golladay 4 8 15 INJ 119 7.9
Brandin Cooks 8 7 3 9 117 7.3
Golden Tate 3 5 3 6 113 7.5
Larry Fitzgerald 9 8 9 9 112 7
Corey Davis 3 6 5 7 112 7
Tyler Boyd 6 5   INJ INJ 108 7.7
Julian Edelman 12 11 10 6 108 9
Amari Cooper 13 7 5 11 107 7.1
Sterling Shepard 6 9 7 9 107 6.5
Adam Humphries 8 6 12 6 105 6.6
Zay Jones 9 6 9 9 102 6.4
Dede Westbrook 10 5 8 7 101 6.3
Michael Crabtree 4 1 4 2 100 6.3
Emmanuel Sanders IR IR IR IR 98 8.2
Nelson Agholor 3 2 7 6 97 6.1
John Brown 6 3 6 3 97 6.1
Chris Godwin 10 3 6 9 95 5.9
Willie Snead 7 6 0 2 95 5.9
Allen Robinson 8 7 8 INJ 94 7.2
Mohamed Sanu 8 6 8 10 94 5.9
Robby Anderson 7 11 13 8 94 7.2
Taylor Gabriel 7 3 3 4 93 5.8
Calvin Ridley 4 7 5 5 92 5.8
Alshon Jeffery 9 8 5 5 92 7.1
Demaryius Thomas 6 8 5 IR 89 5.9
Donte Moncrief 10 2 4 3 89 5.6
Jordy Nelson 7 8 10 12 88 5.9
Cole Beasley 4 7 5 6 87 5.4
Courtland Sutton 6 6 10 3 84 5.3
D.J. Moore 8 3 7 8 82 5.1
Devin Funchess 3 1 4 INACTIVE 79 5.6
Antonio Callaway 1 7 1 7 79 4.9
Danny Amendola 1 8 3 5 79 5.3
Josh Doctson 5 2 6 4 78 5.2

Julio Jones collected double-digit targets in nine different contests, which allowed him to accumulate more targets than any other wide receiver throughout the season (170). However, he was followed closely by Davante Adams (169), Antonio Brown (168), and JuJu Smith-Schuster (166). DeAndre Hopkins was next with (163), followed by Adam Thielen (153), Thielen's teammate Stefon Diggs (149), Jarvis Landry (149), and Michael Thomas (147). Mike Evans (139), led a cluster of four receivers who surpassed 130 - Tyreek Hill (137), Keenan Allen (136), and Robert Woods (130), while Odell Beckham Jr. (124), T.Y. Hilton (120), Kenny Golladay (119), Brandin Cooks (117), Golden Tate (113), Larry Fitzgerald (112), and Corey Davis (112) completed the top 20. Julian Edelman (108) led a group of eight other receivers that surpassed 100 targets during the season.

It was the second time that Jones has paced the NFL in targets, as he collected a league-best 203 in 2015. It was also the third time that he has finished among the top five since his 2011 rookie season. It is the first time that Adams has finished higher than 16th in this category, but Brown has now remained among the top five for six consecutive years while accumulating over 1,000 targets (1,026) and averaging 171 per-season during that span.

Smith-Schuster increased his 2017 total by +87, while 2017 target leader Hopkins has now finished seventh or higher in each of this last four seasons. Diggs joins Adams and Smith-Schuster as the only receivers who finished inside the top 10 for the first time, while Hill, Golladay, and Davis reside in the top 20 for the first time in their careers.

Adams led all receivers with an 11.3 targets-per-game average, which barely edged Brown's average of 11.2. No other receivers were able to surpass 11-per-game, although Jones (10.6), Smith-Schuster (10.4), Odell Beckham Jr. (10.3), and Hopkins (10.2) all eclipsed 10+. Diggs (9.9), Thielen (9.6), Landry (9.3), Michael Thomas (9.2), and Julian Edelman (9) all exceeded 9-per-game, while seven additional receivers averaged at least 7-per-game.

 

Largest Increases And Decreases 

The majority of owners did not have fantasy matchups in Week 17, which spared them having to contend with the usual quirkiness that exists with players being rested or having their status remain uncertain until their opening kickoffs. Since these factors resulted in uncharacteristic usage of personnel by many teams, that provides the incentive to avoid wasting your time by examining weekly increases and decreases for Week 17 targets. Instead, those results been included in the target tables since these numbers have contributed to the season-long totals for each receiver.

The focus of this section will shift to noteworthy target results that occurred during the season, and the fact that Hopkins attained a double-digit total in a league-best 11 different contests is among the most significant accomplishments in this category. Smith-Schuster is the only other receiver who attained at least 10 targets in 10 contests, while Brown, Diggs, Julio Jones, and Thielen all achieved it in nine different games. However, anyone who owned Thielen could not be satisfied with his usage beyond Week 11, and that topic will be discussed further in the 5 Things That I Noticed section.

Hopkins was also the only receiver who collected 10+ targets in five consecutive games from Weeks 13-17, although Smith-Schuster and Adams achieved it four times during that span. Edelman obtained 10+ targets in three of his five matchups, while eight other receivers accomplished it twice. That includes Amari Cooper, who also registered a double-digit target total in three of his nine games as a Cowboy while averaging 8.4 targets-per-game after his trade from Oakland.

 

Red Zone Targets

Wide Receiver Week 14 Red Zone Targets Week 15 Red Zone Targets Week 16 Red Zone Targets Week 17 Red Zone Targets Total Red Zone Targets
Davante Adams 1 2 3 INJ 31
JuJu Smith-Schuster 4 0 1 1 29
Michael Thomas 3 1 3 1 29
DeAndre Hopkins 4 2 1 1 25
Antonio Brown 3 1 4 INACTIVE 24
Odell Beckham Jr. INJ INJ INJ INJ 20
Adam Thielen 2 0 1 0 20
Julian Edelman 3 2 0 1 20
Sterling Shepard 3 0 0 1 19
Jarvis Landry 0 1 1 1 19
Stefon Diggs 0 2 1 2 18
T.Y. Hilton 0 1 1 1 17
Brandin Cooks 1 0 1 2 17
Zay Jones 3 0 1 2 17
Julio Jones 2 1 2 3 17
Tyreek Hill 2 2 0 0 16
Chris Godwin 1 1 1 1 16
Corey Davis 1 0 0 0 15
Keenan Allen 3 INJ 0 0 15
Kenny Golladay 0 0 2 0 15
John Brown 2 0 1 1 15
Adam Humphries 2 1 2 0 14
Mike Williams 1 4 0 1 14
Alshon Jeffery 1 0 1 1 14
Larry Fitzgerald 1 0 0 2 14
Josh Reynolds 0 4 0 1 14
Mike Evans 0 0 2 2 14
Amari Cooper 1 0 1 0 13
Dede Westbrook 2 0 2 1 13
Doug Baldwin INJ 2 2 0 13
Devin Funchess 0 1 0 INACTIVE 12
Demaryius Thomas 0 0 1 INJ 12
Allen Robinson 2 0 1 INJ 12
Robert Woods 0 1 1 0 12
Golden Tate 0 1 0 1 12
Kendrick Bourne 0 1 1 1 12
Nelson Agholor 0 0 1 2 12
Anthony Miller 0 0 1 0 11
John Ross 1 1 1 0 11
Michael Crabtree 0 0 2 0 11
Sammy Watkins INJ INJ INJ INJ 10
Tajae Sharpe 1 0 0 0 10
Tyler Boyd 0 2 INJ INJ 10
Cole Beasley 1 0 1 0 10
Chris Conley 2 1 0 1 10
Tre'Quan Smith 0 1 0 2 10

Even though Adams was not on the field during Green Bay's Week 17 matchup, he still led all receivers in red zone targets for the season (31). He was followed closely by Smith-Schuster and Michael Thomas, who both collected 29. Hopkins (25), Brown (24), Beckham (20), Edelman (20), and Thielen (20) were the only other receivers who attained at least 20 during the season. Landry and Shepard were next with 19, followed by Diggs (18), along with Julio Jones, Zay Jones, Hilton, and Cooks with 17. Six additional receivers accumulated at least 15 targets, as Godwin and Hill were tied with 16, followed by Allen, Golladay, Davis and John Brown with 15.

A select group of six receivers attained double-digit targets inside the 10-yard line, led by Hopkins with 15. Thomas was next with 14, while Smith-Schuster, Edelman, Godwin were tied with 11. Hilton was the only other wide receiver who attained double-digits (10), while Davis Doug Baldwin and Mike Williams all finished with nine.

 

Largest Increases And Decreases

Even though Smith-Schuster ultimately finished second to Adams in overall red zone targets, he maintained the highest total in this category from Weeks 2-10, then exchanged the lead with Adams several times during the final seven weeks before the results were finalized.

Eight of the nine red zone targets that were collected by Anderson throughout 2018 were accumulated during December. That tied him with Hopkins, Antonio Brown, Julio Jones and Michael Thomas for the highest total during the final four games of the season. Smith-Schuster accrued six during that sequence, while Diggs, Humphries, and Mike Williams collected five.

A torn ACL prematurely ended Cooper Kupp's season in Week 10, after an MCL issue had already sidelined him in Weeks 7-8. Yet, the second-year receiver still accumulated 12 red zone targets during his limited game action, and almost assuredly would have finished among the league leaders if he had sustained his health throughout the year. It is advisable to remember his red zone prowess as you prepare for your 2019 drafts.

 

Snap Counts

Wide Receiver Week 14  Snap Counts Week 15  Snap Counts Week 16   Snap Counts Week 17   Snap Counts Total Snaps Total Snap Count % 
DeAndre Hopkins 72/100% 51/96% 65/100% 75/97% 1084 99%
Robert Woods 63/100% 76/100% 60/88% 51/70% 1041 95%
Adam Thielen 56/87% 63/91% 57/93% 53/93% 1011 96%
Antonio Brown 59/98% 61/95% 72/96% INACTIVE 998 89%
Brandin Cooks 62/98% 76/100% 59/87% 54/74% 989 90%
Nelson Agholor 49/94% 63/98% 74/90% 64/90% 985 90%
JuJu Smith-Schuster 52/87% 60/94% 69/92% 63/93% 960 86%
Jarvis Landry 42/81% 57/85% 58/84% 56/95% 957 88%
Davante Adams 56/86% 64/94% 87/96% INJ 954 89%
Zay Jones 69/91% 66/97% 61/100% 58/94% 941 89%
Mike Evans 61/87% 45/90% 66/82% 51/84% 940 84%
Sterling Shepard 43/67% 65/100% 59/89% 66/93% 936 91%
Michael Thomas 58/91% 69/93% 61/92% 41/79% 927 88%
Tyler Lockett 56/85% 68/91% 69/86% 52/83% 908 85%
Tyreek Hill 65/76% 53/88% 58/95% 36/67% 905 87%
Kenny Golladay 50/83% 52/91% 58/77% INJ 904 84%
Stefon Diggs 50/86% 55/80% 52/85% 56/98% 874 83%
Corey Davis 49/92% 65/93% 49/88% 38/78% 872 88%
Larry Fitzgerald 67/96% 65/96% 52/98% 66/100% 872 93%
Josh Doctson 55/89% 56/82% 55/89% 41/91% 846 83%
Jordy Nelson 63/94% 57/97% 49/79% 59/89% 845 81%
Taylor Gabriel 57/80% 46/77% 51/80% 28/41% 830 77%
Mohamed Sanu 57/80% 61/91% 32/67% 61/79% 830 78%
Willie Snead 51/72% 58/76% 42/68% 63/82% 826 69%
Courtland Sutton 51/69% 63/86% 66/99% 74/94% 819 76%
Julio Jones 63/89% 32/48% 24/50% 51/66% 818 77%
Donte Moncrief 53/75% 40/77% 53/79% 40/85% 815 78%
Dede Westbrook 65/92% 43/83% 52/78% 44/94% 805 77%
Michael Crabtree 51/72% 44/58% 43/69% 56/73% 805 68%
Chris Hogan 33/41% 39/63% 62/83% 64/94% 803 72%
Chris Conley 85/99% 57/95% 57/93% 36/67% 802 77%
Keenan Allen 54/95% INJ 59/94% 45/76% 794 80%
Adam Humphries 57/81% 29/58% 63/79% 50/82% 781 70%
Tyler Boyd 64/96% 39/49% INJ INJ 773 82%
Alshon Jeffery 51/98% 64/100% 61/74% 57/80% 771 71%
Antonio Callaway 38/73% 49/73% 47/68% 47/80% 766 70%
Allen Robinson 61/86% 46/77% 44/69% INJ 765 71%
T.Y. Hilton 54/81% 41/57% 58/87% 63/80% 763 67%
Tyrell Williams 48/84% 65/88% 58/92% 41/69% 761 77%
John Brown 50/70% 47/62% 34/55% 37/48% 757 64%
Julian Edelman 74/91% 58/94% 58/77% 58/85% 747 67%
Kenny Stills 40/83% 51/96% 37/80% 56/92% 745 81%
Michael Gallup 77/78% 55/80% 41/79% 63/81% 739 69%
David Moore 52/79% 58/77% 55/69%  39/62% 732 69%
Chris Godwin 60/86% 41/82% 61/76% 51/84% 717 64%
Odell Beckham Jr. INJ INJ INJ INJ 716 80%
Cole Beasley 65/66% 44/64% 35/67% 60/77% 713 66%
Doug Baldwin INJ 61/81% 65/81% 56/89% 710 66%

Hopkins finished with the most snaps (1,084) and the highest snap count percentage (99%) among all receivers, as the unfailing nature of his lead in both categories was the most consistent aspect of this weekly report throughout the season. Woods (1,041) and Thielen (1,011) were the only other receivers who exceeded 1,000 snaps during the year.

Antonio Brown would easily have surpassed that number if he had been active in Week 17. Instead, his final count (998) was the highest among 13 receivers who exceeded 900 snaps for the year. Cooks was next with 989, followed by Agholor (985), Smith-Schuster (960), Landry (957), Adams (954), Zay Jones (941), and Evans (940). Shepherd (936), Thomas (927), Lockett (908), Hill (905) and Golladay (904).

Hopkins' stranglehold on retaining the highest snap count percentage remained equally strong as only five other receivers were able to achieve a percentage of over 90% - Thielen (96%), Woods (95%), Fitzgerald (93%), Shepard (91%), and Agholor (90.2%).

Among the 16 receivers who attained a percentage of 80%+, six were able to play on at least 88% (Cooks (89.9%), Antonio Brown (89.4%), Zay Jones (88.9%), Adams (88.7%), Davis (88.4%), and Michael Thomas (88.3%). Once you progressed beyond the next 10 receivers who attained at least 80%, Keenan Allen's name resides atop the grouping of 16 receivers who performed on at least 70% of their team's offensive snaps this season.

 

Largest Increases And Decreases

Three rookies were among the receivers that experienced a sizable rise in their snap counts as the year unfolded, although no increase was more impressive than Hamilton's. He entered Week 12 with an average of 17%, but the collective absence of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders propelled his percentage to 92.4% from Weeks 13-17. Dante Pettis had attained a similar average from Weeks 12-15 (92.2%) before he was abruptly sidelined with a sprained MCL. D.J. Moore played on just 32.5% of Carolina's snaps from Weeks 1-7, but that percentage soared to 94% from Weeks 12-16.

Moore's rising snap count coincided with a significant decline in usage for Devin Funchess, after the four-year veteran's 84% count from Weeks 1-11 degenerated to just 32% in Weeks 13-16.  Funchess was inactive in Week 17, and his future as a Panther is uncertain. However, arguably no wide receiver experienced a regression that was more impactful to owners than Golden Tate following his departure from Detroit. He had played on 80% of the offensive snaps as a Lion, but that plummeted to just 38.7% in Weeks 13-16.

 

Five Things That I Noticed

1. While owners understandably embrace targets and the potential for favorable production that these opportunities can deliver at any point during the regular season, this becomes even more essential once your teams have progressed into the fantasy postseason. No receiver collected more opportunities after Week 14 than DeAndre Hopkins, whose 49 targets during the final four weeks was built with an escalating weekly total during the entire sequence (10/11/12/16). Three other receivers joined Hopkins in capturing at least 40 targets during that span - JuJu Smith-Schuster (47), Michael Thomas (42), and Davante Adams (42). It is reasonable to believe that Adams would have exceeded Hopkins' four-game total if he had performed in Week 17. Instead, the three-game target total that Adams achieved in Weeks 14-16 remains impressive (11/13/18). Julian Edelman and Robby Anderson were next with 39 targets, followed by the rapidly emerging Daesean Hamilton with 38. Julio Jones, Tyreek Hill, and Jordy Nelson completed top 10 in targets for that Week 14-17 sequence with 37 each.

2. Calvin Ridley paced the first-year wide receivers with 90 targets, followed by Courtland Sutton (84), D.J. Moore (82), Antonio Callaway (79), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (73), Christian Kirk (68), Michael Gallup (68), Anthony Miller (54), Daesean Hamilton (45), and Dante Pettis (45). Hamilton easily paced the newcomers in targets during the final four games of the season (38), which was also the league’s seventh highest total among all receivers. Keke Coutee garnered the highest target-per-game average among first-year receivers (6.8), but his lingering hamstring issue limited him to just six games. Ridley averaged 5.8 per-game, while Kirk finished just behind Ridley with an average of 5.7, during a season that ended in Week 13 due to his broken foot. Moore (5.2), Sutton (5.1) and Callaway (5) were next among rookies that were involved in their teams’ offenses throughout the balance of the season. However, Hamilton’s 9.5 per-game average from Weeks 14-17 was outstanding and bodes well for his usage in 2019 - pending the various changes that are destined to occur in Denver.

3. Anderson's season-long average of 6.7 targets per-game placed him 32nd among all wide receivers, but his 9.75 average from Weeks 14-17 tied him for sixth overall. However, Anderson’s surge in targets and production actually began in Week 7, as he garnered 68 of his 94 targets during the Jets’ remaining matchups (8.3 per-game). He received at least seven targets during seven of those contests and should remain a vital component for Sam Darnold in 2019.  Robert Foster emerged in Week 14 and proceeded to collect 25 of his 44 targets during those final four games. He will provide owners with another enticing mid-round draft option as he enters his second season. Jordy Nelson will be turning 34 in May and doesn't instill the same level of enthusiasm as several other receivers whose usage increased during Weeks 13-17. But it would be remiss to ignore his numbers, as 48 of his 88 targets were compiled during Oakland's final 5 games (9.6 per game). The Raiders' receiving options will have a different composition in 2019 but Nelson should remain part of the equation and can continue to provide a safety valve within the team's passing attack.

4. After eight weeks of the regular season, Adam Thielen (96) and Jarvis Landry (94) were the top two receivers in total targets. But anyone who owned either receiver is already acutely aware that neither player was utilized as frequently as the weeks progressed. Thielen was averaging a league-best 12 targets per-game entering Week 9 and had attained double-digits in each of his first seven contests (12/13/19/12/10/13/10). However, once teams began expending additional resources on containing him, he only reached double-digits twice during his final nine matchups, while averaging just 4.8 targets-per-game from Weeks 14-17. Landry's 11.8 target-per-game average was second entering Week 9 after he had attained double-digits in seven of his first eight games (15/7/14/10/11/10/15/12). But Landry only averaged 6.9 targets-per-game during his final eight contests and was unable to exceed nine targets in any game after Freddie Kitchens began functioning as Cleveland’s offensive coordinator. While the specifics for each receivers' descent in usage after Week 8 was varied, the effects were discouraging and sometimes devastating for both Thielen and Landry owners.

5. Late season disappointment was not confined to owners of Thielen and Landry, as Odell Beckham entered Week 9 just behind both receivers with 91 targets, while Michael Crabtree and Golden Tate were tied for 10th overall (69). However, none of these players remained among the league leaders in this crucial category as the weeks progressed. Beckham attained at least 10 targets during eight of his first nine games, but his quad issue rendered him unavailable throughout the fantasy playoffs. While that was clearly an inopportune time for his owners, he is fully capable of reemerging among the leaders in every major category next season. Crabtree was averaging 8.6 targets per game entering Week 9 but only averaged 3.4 per-game from that point forward as the emergence of Lamar Jackson under center diminished the importance of Raven wide receivers. Tate's trade to Philadelphia eviscerated his value, as he had been averaging virtually 10 targets per game as a Lion (9.9) but that number plummeted to just 4.25 from Weeks 14-17.

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