Targets Per Route Run Report: Week 15 (Fantasy Football)

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As we begin, I’d like to give a big thank you to Kurt Mullen for covering this series these last two weeks. He’s an excellent writer and part of the Fantasy Footballers rookie class along with me this season. Do yourself a favor and give his other articles a read. Your fantasy team will thank you.

Note: Targets per Route Run (TPRR) is an efficiency metric (expressed as a percentage) used to highlight the correlation between performance and opportunity. With TPRR, we can look deeper than raw target totals to find players poised for breakouts or breakdowns. To learn more about TPRR and why it’s a useful tool, check out Kyle Borgognoni’s primer and my 2022 season preview

Week 14 Recap

Here’s a look at Week 14’s top 15 in Targets Per Route Run (minimum 15 routes run):

*Route and Target data via PFF.com

Key Observations

  • Chris Moore tops the list after an insane 40.7% TPRR in Week 14 that saw Houston give the Cowboys a proper scare. In this writer’s opinion, I’m watching to see if Week 14 TPRR hero Nico Collins is available for the Texans’ Week 15 matchup against Kansas City. Brandin Cooks might not play again this season, and Collins should have another solid week if he’s good to go. If Collins is out, Moore is a risky but smart bet as a flex play for managers looking to pull off the upset.
  • I love players who run a lot of routes because it indicates a high upside. In addition to the ever-present studs, a couple of names stick out this week:
    • Keenan Allen is officially back after seeing 14 targets in consecutive weeks, and he should be locked into lineups for the fantasy playoffs.
    • Donovan Peoples-Jones and DeVonta Smith are two players that have been hit or miss this season, but I’m officially willing to trust both of them with my playoff destiny in Week 15. Smith has seen eight or more targets in five straight games, and DPJ should thrive while Amari Cooper (hip) is less than 100%.

Season Leaders

To eliminate irrelevant data, I’ve set the season minimum to 40 targets. With byes over and done with, all teams have played 13 games. The right-hand column shows the change in rankings from the previous week. Here are the season leaders in TPRR among qualified receivers through Week 14:

*Route and Target data via PFF.com

Positives

  • Correlation update: the relationship between fantasy rankings and TPRR continues to strengthen as we near a complete season, with a 65% correlation through Week 14. When you look at fantasy points per game (to take out the impact of injuries), the correlation is now B-A-N-A-N-A-S at 76.3%.
  • It’s no surprise to see Ja’Marr Chase back in the top 20 after his second game back, especially with Tee Higgins missing Week 14. Even if Higgins plays, Chase’s volume should be secure now that he’s healthy.
  • Christian Watson sneaks onto this list with the bare minimum of 40 targets. We know the touchdown upside, but he should be even more involved in the offensive game plan coming off Green Bay’s Week 14 bye.

Negatives

  • Brandon Aiyuk reeled in a 32-yard touchdown after Deebo Samuel left the game injured, and Deebo has been diagnosed with an MCL sprain and is out for the foreseeable future. However, the 49ers have found a system that works, and it does not involve a lot of passing. Brock Purdy attempted a mere 21 passes in Week 14, and Aiyuk only saw three targets. He presents a dangerously-low floor in a low-volume attack on a team that includes Christian McCaffrey and George Kittle.
  • Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr. are back after Indy’s Week 14 bye, but it’s hard to trust either player in Round 1 of your fantasy playoffs. In Week 13 Pittman finished with a downright frightening 7.5% TPRR, and Campbell’s wasn’t much better at 12.5% TPRR. The Vikings are allowing the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers, so the matchup has some serious upside. I don’t know if the Colts are up to the challenge of taking advantage of it. If they are, it’s anyone’s guess which receiver comes through.

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