Targets Per Route Run Report: Week 9 (Fantasy Football)

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Each week, we’re taking a look at Targets Per Route Run (TPRR) across the league and the season. With six teams on bye in Week 9, it’s more important than ever to dig into the data to find hidden gems and players poised to exceed expectations in the second half of the season.

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 8 Recap

Here’s a look at the Week 8 leaderboard (min. 10 routes run):

*Route and Target Data via PFF.com

Five Takeaways From Week 8

  • Trust the Process: This week saw several high-TPRR finishes from players who barely ran the minimum number of routes. It can feel hit or miss when we see, say, Laviska Shenault at the top of this list, but the correlation between TPRR and fantasy finish remained strong at 0.69. To put it in terms of wide receiver rankings, 18 of the top 24 wide receivers in Week 8 had a TPRR of 20% or better.
  • Speaking of Shenault, his teammate D.J. Moore is living his best life with P.J. Walker at quarterback. We “initial guys” have to stick together. As the Fantasy Footballers mentioned in their Halloween episode, it’s the first time in his career that Moore has finished as a top-8 receiver in back-to-back weeks. In the same two-week span, Moore has averaged 34% TPRR. Walker isn’t throwing enough to support multiple receivers yet, but he’s doing his best Kylo Ren impersonation in his progressions:
  • A.J. Brown had a big fantasy week, scoring three touchdowns. Behind the stat lines are back-to-back weeks at over 30% TPRR, catapulting him up the season leader list. No one is trading Brown, but I’m targeting DeVonta Smith (27.6% TPRR) with Houston, Washington, and Indianapolis on tap. The final scoresheet this week didn’t show it, but Smith is seeing targets and is an explosion waiting to happen.
  • I’ve been pretty hard on Gabe Davis this season, and for good reason, but I have to acknowledge his appearance on this week’s leaderboard with a solid 26.9% TPRR. The routes run were season lows for most of the Bills’ receivers, and Josh Allen only attempted 25 passes in a ho-hum performance. It wasn’t a great fantasy finish, but only Davis and Stefon Diggs saw more than three targets from Allen.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers are throwing a lot, but it’s hard to trust the receivers from week to week. In Week 8, nine offensive players were targeted by Kenny Pickett with little success. Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and George Pickens each ran 40+ routes but had sub-20% TPRRs to show for it. With a Week 9 bye and New Orleans the week after, I don’t see any of these receivers separating themselves in the near future.

Season Leaders

To eliminate irrelevant data, I’ve raised the season minimum to 25 targets following Week 8. The right-hand column shows the change in rankings from the previous week.  Here are the current season leaders in TPRR among qualified receivers:

*Route and Target Data via PFF.com

Leaders

  • Well hello, DeAndre Hopkins! It only took two games for Hopkins to reach the minimum target threshold and jump to the top tier of the leaderboard. What’s especially encouraging is the amount of routes Arizona receivers are running. If the Cardinals keep passing, Hopkins should have no problem piling up the stats as a locked-in WR1.
  • D.J. Moore– See above, young padawan.
  • We’re halfway through the fantasy season, and Amari Cooper (24.8% TPRR) demands you put some respect on his name. With Cleveland’s bye coming in Week 9, I love Cooper as a trade target for managers looking ahead to the final stretch of the season.
  • Jakobi Meyers is a target machine in New England, and he’s still someone you could nab in a trade if you’re looking for some stability in your starting roster.
  • Dak Prescott looked great, and CeeDee Lamb is poised for some late-season dominance after the Cowboys’ Week 9 bye.

Red Flags

  • Drake London‘s stock continues to fall. The passing volume in Atlanta is a nightmare for fantasy receivers, and the Falcons somehow sit atop the NFC South standings. With Arthur Smith churning out ugly wins with Marcus Mariota in what should’ve been a lost season, I don’t see London’s situation improving.
  • There’s a chance the New York Jets go back to their high-volume passing attack with Breece Hall done for the year, but I’m waiting another week before buying Garrett Wilson‘s (22% TPRR) reemergence. Wilson had a solid day in Week 8 (WR22 overall), but a 17% TPRR is concerning. I don’t trust Zach Wilson to air it out, and Tyler Conklin seems like the most likely beneficiary of more pass attempts.
  • Tyler Boyd managed to score in Week 8, but his 13.5% TPRR on the season ranks 67th out of 74 eligible receivers. The Bengals’ running backs and tight ends accounted for 53% of Joe Burrow‘s targets in the first game without Ja’Marr Chase. If it were me, I’d try to trade Boyd now while Chase is out.
  • Justin Fields is having his breakout, but it’s because he’s running the ball. The Bears still have the lowest passing volume in the NFL, and Darnell Mooney‘s season TPRR sits at 19%. The arrow seems to be pointing up for Chicago’s offense, but it’s not enough for me to trust Mooney as more than a desperation start.

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