Analyzing Wide Receiver Performances for Week 9 (Fantasy Football)

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We had a full slate of games in Week 8 with no byes…why we had no byes in the middle of the season is a mystery to me, but it was nice to have a full Sunday of games to watch, so I will take it. The games were not all that great and we may have all experienced a game (Giants/Jets) that set football back 30 years, but hey, football is football. Will Levis revived DeAndre Hopkins, Arthur Smith got snippy with the media (what no way), and Puka Nacua finally had a down game. Now that the week has concluded though it is time for us to look back and learn from what happened on the field. We will continue to research the advanced statistics; aDOT, TPRR, and YPRR, and I have updated my PRS (Predictive Receiver Score). Let’s take a look at the stats that matter and try to find actionable nuggets of information!

Average Depth of Target (aDOT)

Overperformer: Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Seattle Seahawks)

aDOT: 0.3 yards
Result: 3 receptions, 36 receiving yards, 1 TD
Receiving Fantasy Points: 11.1 (half-PPR)

Geno Smith and the Seahawks got off to a fast start with 17 points in the first quarter and then found themselves puttering along throughout the rest of the game until the Browns and PJ Walker gave the Hawks a short field at the end of the game for the go-ahead touchdown. Jaxon Smith-Njigba was the recipient of that touchdown on a screen pass to the left that saw D.K. Metcalf throw a great block to open the lane for JSN. That screen pass was indicative of the rest of the game for the young wideout as he saw a measly 0.3 aDOT in the game. The Browns have a ferocious defense so I would not worry much, but the low aDOT does continue to be worrisome for Smith-Njigba managers.

Underperformer: Chris Olave (New Orleans Saints)

aDOT: 17 yards
Result: 5 receptions, 46 receiving yards, 0 TDs
Receiving Fantasy Points: 7.1 (half-PPR)

I hate that I have to keep writing about Chris Olave as an underperformer, but when he is popping off the page it is hard to ignore. Chris Olave plays ball for the New Orleans Saints if you did not know (some may get this), but he was having trouble catching the ball on Sunday. He saw nine targets and was only able to bring in five of them for 46 yards, but he is still seeing volume and it is down the field. Olave has been a conundrum this year with his advanced statistical profile not matching up to his fantasy production, but when the football is smacking you in the helmet instead of your hands that will tend to happen. Look for Olave to start to bounce back as the Saints will face an extremely easy schedule of defenses over the next few games. Let’s hope that Carr and Olave can get it together and start to produce for fantasy managers and the Saints offense.


Targets per Route Run (TPRR)

For a deeper dive into TPRR, check out AJ Passman’s Targets Per Route Run Report for Week 9.

Overperformer: George Pickens (Pittsburgh Steelers)

TPRR: 10.4%
Result: 1 receptions, 22 receiving yards, 1 TD
Receiving Fantasy Points: 8.7 (half-PPR)

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Matt Canada and the Steelers’ offense is hard to watch. That is probably the nicest way I can put it and now that Mitch Trubisky may be the starter this week against the Titans, I do not think it gets any better in the foreseeable future. George Pickens always finds a way to get a big play in before the end of the game, but starting him in fantasy is a scary proposition. Managers will sit there for most of the day cursing the Terrible Towel and hating their choices, but then Pickens will make one play that saves his fantasy day. Pickens ran 48 routes on Sunday and only managed to bring in one reception. That is the kind of stuff that makes fantasy managers queasy when slotting a player into their lineup, but there may not be many other options that a manager has at this point. If Mitch is starting on Thursday I would look elsewhere, but if Kenny Pickett is in, you will probably have to plug your nose and go back to him because the boom potential he possesses will keep you coming back all season.

Underperformer: D.K. Metcalf (Seattle Seahawks)

TPRR: 41.2%
Result: 5 receptions, 67 receiving yards, 0 TDs
Receiving Fantasy Points: 9.2 (half-PPR)

41% of targets per route run is an outstanding number. 9.2 points on the other hand is not. This season for D.K. has been, well, underwhelming, to say the least. D.K. was the 15th wide receiver in ADP but is currently the WR30 in points per game. I would say that underperforming is maybe the best way to describe his season thus far. Geno Smith has regressed, but D.K. is still getting the volume necessary to be an elite option for fantasy managers. The volume is not translating into fantasy production at this point and it is hard to pinpoint one reason for that. The schedule coming down the stretch for the Seahawks is a gauntlet, so that does scare me, but if the Seahawks continue to be in close games, D.K. should continue to see volume. Volume that is funneled to an option like Metcalf will eventually regress to the mean and we should see D.K. have a strong second half. Hold strong and maybe go look to buy on the cheap from a disgruntled manager.

Yards per Route Run (YPRR)

Overperformer: Marquise Brown (Arizona Cardinals)

YPRR: 0.87
Result: 6 receptions, 33 receiving yards, 1 TD
Receiving Fantasy Points: 12.3 (half-PPR)

Marquise Brown continues to provide serviceable fantasy performances to managers and Joshua Dobbs has helped keep the Cardinal pass catchers as viable fantasy options. Today we saw the Cardinals move Dobbs to the Vikings, so we can only hope that this means that Kyler Murray is on his way to starting again for this team. If Murray comes back and looks to be himself, we could see a nice bump for Brown. Marquise has been on the field a ton for the Cardinals and is running a lot of routes. With a QB like Murray, he should see his aDOT increase, and hopefully this means that his production will increase as well. If you can go get Brown for a reasonable price, now might be a good time to try and acquire him.

Underperformer: Amari Cooper (Cleveland Browns)

YPRR: 2.87
Result: 6 receptions, 89 receiving yards, 0 TDs
Receiving Fantasy Points: 11.9 (half-PPR)

Amari Cooper has been a steady wide receiver for so many years now. He is a clean route runner and a safety blanket for any QB who is throwing the pigskin. Cooper saw 11 PJ Walker targets which only translated to six receptions, but he is more than serviceable even with a mediocre quarterback. If the Browns can get Deshaun Watson back (and he looks decent), then Amari should have a nice back half to the year. He is the clear number one on this team and there is not much competition for him at the moment. The one caveat I want to present is the Browns do play in Cleveland twice during the fantasy playoffs and the weather there can really hamper a passing attack for an offense. That is no reason to move off of Cooper, but it is a warning that bad weather could affect his performance when you need him most.

Applying Predictive Receiver Score (PRS) to Predict Fantasy Points Moving Forward

If you would like to see how I came up with my PRS calculation or the correlation numbers behind it, take a look at my first article in this series.

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Top 24 Wide Receivers in PRS Through Week 8

Player PRS Predicted FP/G Actual FP/G Over/Under Predicted
Tyreek Hill 117.9 23.63 22.49 -1.14
A.J. Brown 87.2 17.1 19.24 2.13
Brandon Aiyuk 87 17.07 13.07 -4
Justin Jefferson 81.2 15.83 18.62 2.79
Nico Collins 78.3 15.22 13.17 -2.05
Stefon Diggs 77 14.94 17.85 2.91
Puka Nacua 75.9 14.71 15.25 0.54
CeeDee Lamb 75.7 14.67 14.9 0.23
DeAndre Hopkins 73.2 14.13 11.99 -2.15
Amon-Ra St. Brown 71.9 13.87 16.14 2.28
Mike Evans 71.2 13.71 13.89 0.17
Ja’Marr Chase 70.5 13.56 17.09 3.53
Rashee Rice 70.4 13.54 8.64 -4.91
Keenan Allen 68.5 13.13 16.47 3.34
Jaylen Waddle 67.9 13.03 12.07 -0.96
DJ Moore 67.9 13.01 15.14 2.13
Cooper Kupp 64.7 12.33 12.03 -0.31
Diontae Johnson 64 12.19 9.73 -2.46
Davante Adams 62 11.76 11.93 0.16
Adam Thielen 61.6 11.68 15.8 4.12
Tank Dell 59.8 11.29 9.5 -1.79
D.K. Metcalf 59.3 11.2 10.98 -0.21
Deebo Samuel 58.6 11.04 7.7 -3.34
George Pickens 58 10.91 12.03 1.12

Now that Joe Burrow is looking healthy, we are seeing Ja’Marr Chase start to rise up the PRS rankings! No surprise either that AJ Brown has now claimed his rightful spot behind Tyreek Hill at the number two spot. This stretch run before we hit the fantasy playoffs is going to be riveting and fun to watch. We will see many heartbreaking losses and exhilarating wins, but we are here for it and hope to cash in with as many fantasy points as possible in the interim. Best of luck in Week 9 everyone!

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