Guide to Fantasy Football’s True No. 1 WRs, Committees Entering Week 3

Sep 18, 2018 2:51 PM EDT
  • With two weeks in the books, Ian Hartitz sorts fantasy football wide receivers by the No. 1s and committees.
  • Odell Beckham Jr. is still the heartbeat of the Giants offense and is on pace for a career-high 192 targets.
  • Other No. 1 WRs like T.Y. Hilton find themselves in crowded offenses, while Amari Cooper's workload looks like a committee receiver's.

Opportunity is more important than talent when it comes to fantasy football. Luckily for fantasy investors, it’s easier to predict future workloads than it is to gauge a player’s talent level.

Not every No. 1 wide receiver is created equally. The heightened presence of running backs, tight ends, as well as role-specific receivers has muddled which teams truly funnel their passing game to a single wide receiver. Obviously a two-week sample size should be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s all we’ve got right now people.

Let’s start with a look at wide receivers who have earned at least 30% of their team’s target share after 120 minutes of football. The following charts are sorted by each player’s respective target share in their offense, which is noted in parenthesis.

True No. 1 WRs (> 30% or more target share)

  • Julio Jones (42%) is the only player in the league with a target share greater than 40%. Unfortunately, Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has dialed up as many red-zone targets for tight end Austin Hooper (3) as he has for Jones (3). The good news: Jones leads the league with eight deep-ball targets (passes thrown at least 20 yards downfield).
  • Nobody can guard Michael Thomas (38%), and Drew Brees knows it. Thomas is the 11th receiver over the past 25 years to command at least 30 targets after the first two weeks of the season … along with Antonio Brown (33%). AB currently leads the league with 33 targets, although his average of 4.9 yards per target is easily this group’s worst mark.
  • The two biggest surprises on the list are Corey Davis (34%) and Quincy Enunwa (34%). Davis has benefited from injuries to incumbent starters Rishard Matthews (7%) and Delanie Walker (ankle, Injured Reserve). Enunwa has quickly emerged as Sam Darnold’s favorite target, as no other Jets receiver has a target share above even 18%.
  • The return of Deshaun Watson has predictably been good for the business of DeAndre Hopkins (34%). The league’s premier contested-catch artist is one of only six receivers with at least six deep-ball targets, and both of his red-zone targets have come inside the 10-yard line. “Nuk” could see plenty of burn-victim Janoris Jenkins in Week 3.
  • Jarvis Landry (32%) and Adam Thielen (30%) join Enunwa as the only primary slot receivers to crack this group. The Browns’ decision to trade Josh Gordon (4%) to the Patriots cements Landry’s status as the offense’s undisputed No. 1 receiver, while Thielen will certainly bequeath lead duties to Stefon Diggs (23%) in Minnesota from time to time.
  • The Buccaneers’ surprising 2-0 start has been fueled by plenty of FitzMagic, but Mike Evans (31%) has also played a huge role by reaffirming his status as one of the league’s premier talents at receiver. Evans’ average of 12.1 yards per target is both the highest rate in this group, as well as the highest rate of his career.
  • Allen Robinson (31%) is currently one of only 13 receivers with a contract paying at least $14 million per season. The Bears have utilized A-Rob accordingly through two weeks, although his single red-zone opportunity is somewhat concerning considering Mitchell Trubisky has fed four other Bears multiple targets inside the 20-yard line.
  • The addition of Saquon Barkley has done nothing to Odell Beckham Jr.’s (30%) status as the heartbeat of the offense: OBJ is currently on pace to rack up a career-high 192 targets. The Giants have lined Beckham up in the slot on 26 percent of his snaps through two weeks, well above his 2014-17 average of 16 percent.

No. 1 WRs in a Crowded Offense (20% to 29% of snaps)

  • Case Keenum has zeroed in on Emmanuel Sanders (29.7%) as his No. 1 target over incumbent target-hog Demaryius Thomas (18%). Sanders has made up for his zero red-zone targets with six deep-ball looks.
  • The Rams have managed to equally involve Robert Woods (28%), Brandin Cooks (26%) and Cooper Kupp (23%). Kupp leads the league with 29 red-zone targets since the beginning of last season.
  • Golden Tate (27%) and Kenny Golladay (20%) have worked ahead of Marvin Jones (16%) through two weeks. Still, their respective average target depths of 7.3, 11.3 and 19.1 yards indicate Jones still has plenty of upside.
  • The Eagles are so banged up at receiver that Carson Wentz’s return shouldn’t change the pecking order in the passing game much. Nelson Agholor (27%) and Zach Ertz are locked in as Wentz’s top-two targets against the Colts.
  • “No. 2” wide receivers who are balling include JuJu Smith-Schuster (27%) and Will Fuller (14%; missed Week 1). The former has a league-high eight red-zone targets while the latter has eight touchdowns in five career games with Watson at quarterback.
  • T.Y. Hilton (27%), Tyreek Hill (26%), Keenan Allen (25%), A.J. Green (25%) and Larry Fitzgerald (25%) are clear No. 1 receivers, but their offenses boast additional competent weapons in the backfield and/or at tight end.
  • Randall Cobb (21%) was reportedly on the trading block in August, but he’s worked behind only Davante Adams (26%), the league’s leader in touchdowns since 2016. Geronimo Allison (18%) has also been plenty involved.
  • Jakeem Grant (22%) and Sammy Watkins (23%) have been a bit more than just field-stretchers through two weeks. The former will likely lose snaps to DeVante Parker (finger/questionable) eventually, but both are always big-play threats.
  • Electric former No. 9 overall pick John Ross (9%) received more offseason hype, but Tyler Boyd (20%) has played 81% of the offense’s snaps compared to 62% for Ross. Boyd is only $3,700 on DraftKings against the Panthers.
  • Cole Beasley (21%) is the lead option in the Cowboys’ anemic passing attack that has totaled fewer than 250 passing yards in 11 of its last 12 games. He’s the team’s only receiver who has played more than 60% of the offense’s snaps.
  • The Panthers predictably got Devin Funchess (20%) more involved in Week 2 without the services of Greg Olsen (foot/out). Funchess has averaged an additional 7.2 PPR points and 3.5 targets per game in 10 career games with Olsen sidelined.

Committee WRs (15% to 19% of snaps)

  • Kenny Stills (16%) has played 94% of the Dolphins’ offensive snaps, but Grant (22%), Danny Amendola (19.6%) and Albert Wilson (18%) have surprisingly received more targets through two weeks.
  • Chris Hogan (14%) and Phillip Dorsett’s (19%) somewhat secure roles are suddenly in jeopardy thanks to the Gordon acquisition and looming Week 5 return of Julian Edelman (suspended).
  • Jon Gruden hasn’t exactly lived up to his promise of running the Raiders offense through Amari Cooper (18%), but Cooper’s 10 targets in Week 2 are probably a better baseline than his three looks in Week 1.
  • The potential extended absence of Doug Baldwin (knee/questionable) should continue to result in enhanced roles for 34-year-old Brandon Marshall (18%) and Tyler Lockett (17%).
  • Fantasy’s overall QB7, Blake Bortles, appears more than content to spread the love to his plethora of weapons including Donte Moncrief (18%), Keelan Cole (15%) and Dede Westbrook (14%).
  • Weapons at running back and tight end aren’t helping Michael Crabtree (18%), John Brown (16%) and Willie Snead (16%) in Baltimore. Same goes for Paul Richardson (16%), Josh Doctson (14%) and Jamison Crowder (11%) in Washington.
  • Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t featured Pierre Garcon (18%) during Marquise Goodwin‘s (quad/questionable) absence, instead feeding tight end George Kittle a team-high 13 targets.
  • DeSean Jackson’s (14.8%) hot start is probably unsustainable unless he continues to catch literally every target thrown his way. Chris Godwin (16%) and Adam Humphries (12%) have each played more snaps than D-Jax this season.
  • The Bills’ uninspiring offense (to be nice) has fed eight different players at least five targets. Kelvin Benjamin (15%) at least has been the recipient of two of the team’s three total red-zone pass attempts.
  • OBJ’s return, plus hefty receiving workloads for running back Saquon Barkley and tight end Evan Engram, have rendered Sterling Shepard (15%) as the de facto No. 4 pass-game option in an ineffective Giants offense.

Other Notable receivers with fewer than 15% of their team’s target share include: Courtland Sutton (14.9%), Trent Taylor (14%), Zay Jones (14%), Torrey Smith (13%), Ryan Grant (13%), Jordy Nelson (11%), Mike Williams (10%), Tyrell Williams (10%), Robby Anderson (10%), Tavon Austin (4%), DJ Moore (3%) and Tre’Quan Smith (3%).

Credit:

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Odell Beckham Jr.

Follow Ian Hartitz on Twitter
@IHartitz

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OPEN
CURR
# BETS
HOU
WAS
43
+3
42.5
+3
CIN
BAL
43.5
-4.5
43.5
-4
PIT
JAC
47.5
+6
47
+5.5
CAR
DET
50.5
+3
49.5
+4.5
DAL
ATL
47.5
-4.5
50
-3
TEN
IND
48
-3
50.5
-1
TB
NYG
52
PK
52.5
-2.5
OAK
ARI
41
-4
41
-5.5
DEN
LAC
47
-7.5
45.5
-7
PHI
NO
54.5
-9
56
-7.5
MIN
CHI
45.5
-2.5
44.5
-2.5
KC
LA
63.5
-1
63
-3.5