When it comes to fantasy football, a healthy dose of targets tends to lead to success, especially WRs. Volume is king and in the right situation, a mediocre player can end up a solid fantasy starter. This rings even truer in any type of PPR format, like The Ballers’ Preferred league, which is 0.5 PPR. (It should be noted that with the 2019 Ultimate Draft Kit you can set up custom scoring to tailor the rankings to your league.)
There could any number of reasons for a wideout to lose targets; their team may have added other options, changed offensive schemes, or they may have changed teams altogether. No matter the reason, temper your expectations for these 5 wide receivers in 2019.
Adam Thielen (2018 Targets: 153)
Thielen seems to be a victim of a new offense and unsustainable target rate. He will again be competing with Stefon Diggs for looks and if the end of 2018 is any indication, Diggs may win that competition. It is well known that Thielen started 2018 on a blistering pace. Thru the first eight games, he was over 100 yards om every game and had seven TDs. Tantamount to that success was the 96 targets he racked up. Those that love math can quickly see the issue. That means that Thielen only had 57 targets in the second half of the season. Even worse, in the three games played after the firing of John DeFilippo, the ball was only thrown his way 12 times, four per game. Thielen is insanely talented, but this Vikings offense is about running and protecting the ball. Diggs’ role fits that scheme better, as evidenced by his 23 targets in the three games after DiFilippo’s dismissal. The larger indictment is the simple lack of targets to go around. As head coach Mike Zimmer fought to get his offense back in those last eight games, the Vikings threw the ball 76 fewer times than they did to start the year. The picture painted here is one that seems impossible for Thielen to cross 150 targets again in 2019.
Projected 2019 Targets: 120-130
Jarvis Landry (2018 Targets: 149)
This is the 4th installment of this series for The Fantasy Footballers, and the 3rd time Landry has appeared…but I think we may be right this year. During his time in Miami, it seemed that his target share was completely unsustainable. When he ended up in Cleveland, the change of scenery to a more “run-first” team seemed sure to take him down. But now Landry faces his biggest hurdle– his far more talented college teammate Odell Beckham Jr. This story is much easier to tell than Thielen’s. Never in his career has Landry been 2nd fiddle to anyone. That changes in 2019. The #2 in targets for the Browns last season was David Njoku with 88 and WR Antonio Callaway was 3rd with 77. Landry is far more talented than both of them and will also be facing the worst corners of his career, with most of the focus going to OBJ. This means that while target regression is almost guaranteed, we could see improvements in almost every other category for Landry, still making him an interesting fantasy prospect.
Projected 2019 Targets: 100-110
Adam Humphries (2018 Targets: 105)
Typically when a player changes teams, it increases their fantasy prospects. For a slot WR that needs volume to be successful, Humphries may have gone the wrong direction. The biggest red-flag for Adam Humphries is the completely different focus in Tennessee than what he had in Tampa Bay. Namely, he goes from the 2018’s #1 passing offense in the league to the 29th ranked Titans. Humphries is no stranger to competition for targets from his time in Tampa Bay, but being the 4th option, behind Corey Davis, Delanie Walker, and Dion Lewis, plus competing with rookie WR AJ Brown for pieces of a much smaller pie means a big drop off for Humphries.
Projected 2019 Targets: 70-80
Zay Jones (2018 Targets: 102)
Zay Jones benefited greatly from being, essentially, the only show in town for the Bills last season. While Jones had 102 targets, no other player on the team had more than 46. Josh Allen knew he had no one else to throw to, so he threw it to Jones. Buffalo immediately rectified that in free agency by adding John Brown and Cole Beasley. Jones is neither as good a deep threat as John Brown nor as reliable a slot guy as Beasley. He will be the 3rd option at WR on a team that would prefer to give the ball to their RBs and there will be plenty of RBs to give it to. As of this writing, it appears that the Bills will start the season with LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, TJ Yeldon, and rookie Devin Singletary as their RB stable. All four of these guys have shown talent as pass-catching RBs and that spells disaster for Jones.
Projected 2019 Targets: 75-80
Nelson Agholor (2018 Targets: 97)
For the epitome of too many mouths to feed, I give you the Philadelphia Eagles. In 2018, despite being considered by most to be the WR2 in the Eagles offense, Agholor had five more targets than Alshon Jeffrey. Both were far behind Zach Ertz, and no one expects that to change in 2019. What will change is the talent of the other WRs on the roster. The Eagles brought back DeSean Jackson in free agency and added talented rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside in the 2nd Round of the NFL draft. Agholor may be the 4th most talented WR on his own team, not to mention Ertz and Dallas Goedert at TE. All signs point to a massive cliff dive for Nelson Agholor’s 2019 target share.
Projected 2019 Targets: 50-60