Fantasy Football: Five WRs That Could Lose Targets in 2018

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This series has included five RBs and five TEs that could lose targets in 2018. Now we’re looking at WRs. Keep in mind this isn’t an indication of skill or value. This is just a look at some WRs whose 2018 may look different than 2017 because of one or more of the following factors:

1. Emergence/Health of Teammate(s)
2. Unsustainable Target Rate
3. Quarterback Situation
4. Offensive Coordinator Mindset
5. The Cliff

Prime Wide Receiver Candidates for Regression
DeAndre Hopkins (2017 Targets: 174)

Fellow writer Nate Hamilton was all over Nuk before last year and was he ever right, but let’s temper expectations a little for this year. Like Landry, it’s not an issue of talent-Nuk is right up there with Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., and Julio Jones. The issue is some of the outlier numbers Nuk posted last year. His 174 targets led the league by a large margin with Brown a full 12 targets behind. Nuke also set a career high and led the league in target share with an insane 33.1% as pointed out in ‘Why DeAndre Hopkins Won’t Repeat in 2018.‘ The other thing to consider is how poor Houston’s defense was. There were only three teams that allowed over 400 points last year and Houston led to them giving up an astounding 436 points in J.J. Watt’s absence. Good offenses and bad defenses are fantasy gold, which is exactly what launched DeAndre Hopkins into the stratosphere last year. I wouldn’t snicker at a team that features their best player, but Nuk shouldn’t be relied on as a crux like he was last year. Houston’s offense should be more balanced while the defense will vastly improve with Watt back. Projected 2018 Targets: 162

Jarvis Landry (2017 Targets: 161)

Landry has racked up 458 targets over his past three seasons with Miami, but now he’s in Cleveland. This isn’t a knock on his talent and I think he’ll be a great addition in Cleveland, but he’s got quite a few things working against him. He’s on a new team that’s stocked with great receiving options including Josh Gordon, David Njoku, Corey Coleman, and Duke Johnson. Even Carlos Hyde proved a capable pass catcher with San Francisco last year. Landry will also be working with Tyrod Taylor whose career high pass attempts is 436. Even IF Tyrod Taylor/Baker Mayfield have 500 pass attempts and IF Landry is able to secure a 23% target share, you’re still looking at 115 targets. He’s still solid, but it’s going to take a few things to break in his favor to approach last years 161 targets. Projected 2018 Targets: 105

Larry Fitzgerald (2018 Targets: 161)

As I’m writing this I can’t help but think ‘this won’t be a popular pick.’ I love Fitz and I think Arizona will do what they need to get him the 92 receptions required to pass Tony Gonzalez for second on the all-time NFL receptions list, but I can’t see where he hits 161 targets again. Fitz’s 161 targets was the 4th most of his 14 year career. David Johnson is back and his will to hit 1,000 yards rushing and receiving is well documented. The receiving options behind Fitz were inconsistent last year, but rookie Christian Kirk is projected to start with Ricky Seals-Jones and Chad Williams in the mix as second-year breakout candidates. I still think Fitz is a huge value pick in drafts and 150 targets is well within range, but I don’t think we’re going to see anymore 160+ target years from Fitz as he enters his 15th season at age 34. I hate being wrong, but I’m secretly hoping he does surpass 160 targets again. Projected 2018 Targets: 150

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Adam Thielen (2017 Targets: 143)

Adam ThielenStefon Diggs, Stefon Diggs-Adam Thielen. The fantasy community is going back and forth on these two and for good reason. Both of these receivers are capable of winning you weeks in fantasy football and wildly talented. The problem is they eat into each others’ production. They only had three weeks where they both had 8 or more targets. This year may also shakeout a little differently with the arrival of Kirk Cousins and hopefully a healthy Dalvin Cook. I think we’ll see Thielen and Diggs each finish with 100-125 targets. Flip a coin for who gets more (#analysis). Projected 2018 Targets: 112

Brandon LaFell (2017 Targets: 89)

Believe it or not, LaFell’s 89 targets were sandwiched between DeSean Jackson and Jordy Nelson. I won’t go in depth, but if I were Marvin Lewis I would be screaming ‘Tyler Eifert, John Ross, Josh Malone, Tyler Boyd-anybody!’ on a daily basis until most, if not all of those 89 targets were distributed away from LaFell. Cincinnati is in trouble if their young playmakers can’t work LaFell off the field opposite A.J. GreenProjected 2017 Targets: 35

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