The home stretch to the fantasy football playoffs has begun. It’s important to know if there are any new names popping up, getting some fresh target volume. Your waiver wire adds at this point of the season could help win you a championship. Pay attention to target numbers and not just the bottom line stats. Targets equal opportunity and opportunity can often turn into fantasy production. Of course, some obvious names will be mentioned as well as they deserve some praise or criticism every once in a while.
Michael Thomas: 15 targets, 12 rec
Michael Thomas led all WRs in Week 9 in targets (15), receptions (12), receiving yards (211), and fantasy points (33.1). Yes, Thomas is an obvious target for this article but what he accomplished in Week 9 deserves recognition. Thomas leads all WRs (with more than 10 targets on the season) in catch percentage with 88.6%. He is as close to automatic as you can get as a pass catcher. Amazingly, there are 8 other WRs with more targets than Michael Thomas on the season.
Maurice Harris: 12 targets, 10 rec
Who? He’s a wide receiver for the Washington Redskins. 12 targets is a number you’d expect to see out of stud players. The truth is, before this Week 9, you’ve probably never heard of Maurice Harris. Before you get too excited and run out to grab him, you should know a couple of things. Prior to Week 9, Harris totaled just 17 targets and 11 receptions on the season. He basically doubled his season-long numbers in one game. Typically, this is a sign of an outlier game. If you are desperate or have space to burn on your bench, grab him for cheap and stash him for a week. If he has another game with target volume, he could be a weapon for Alex Smith for the rest of the season.
Amari Cooper: 8 targets, 5 rec
Cooper did not disappoint fantasy owners in his first game as a Cowboy. He drew 8 targets, catching 5 for 58 yards and 1 TD. Unfortunately, for Amari Cooper, his debut in Dallas was overshadowed by an awful home loss to the Titans. The Cowboys Offense is in disarray and most offensive pieces are hindered from a fantasy football perspective because of it. If you are an Amari Cooper owner, you should feel better about him moving forward but your expectations of consistent fantasy production should remain about the same as it was when he was in Oakland.
Josh Gordon: 10 targets, 5 rec
Josh Gordon finally had a game where he had 100+ receiving yards and a touchdown. The last time he did this was in Week 14, 2013. It is exciting for fantasy owners that we can compare anything he did with his magical WR1 season five years ago. This was by far Josh Gordon’s best game of 2018. He earned his most targets in a game and tied for his season-best 5 receptions. As long as Rob Gronkowski is out and/or limited, Josh Gordon will continue to benefit from his absence. Julian Edelman is still Brady’s go-to receiver but the gap in target share is closing in between him and Gordon. It will be interesting to see how involved Gordon will be once (if) Gronk is back at 100%.
Adam Humphries: 8 targets, 8 rec
Adam Humphries targets began trending up in Week 7 (9) and again in Week 8 (10). Humphries target volume did not slow down in Week 9. He caught all 8 of his targets for 82 yards and 2 touchdowns (his first touchdowns of the season). Humphries did something similar last year when he put together a small stretch of productive games. If it very possible you have missed your window for fantasy production out of Adam Humphries. He just can’t be trusted.
Courtland Sutton: 5 targets, 3 rec
With Demaryius Thomas shipped out, most expected Courtland Sutton to have himself a coming out party. Unfortunately for Sutton owners, most targets and then some went to the tight end position. There is no doubt that Sutton is lined up as the future WR for the Broncos, there just may be some growing pains in 2018.
Doug Baldwin: 4 targets, 4 rec
We are just not seeing the volume we are used to for Doug Baldwin. He did warn us that he would not be 100% healthy this season. Maybe we should have taken him more seriously. Baldwin has just 6 receptions on 7 targets in the past 2 weeks. Sure, Baldwin could turn things around and earn more targets from Russell Wilson but the truth is, this team is running the ball so much that Baldwin may not see the volume come his way, healthy or not. At this point of the season, he is a sell candidate but don’t expect too much in return for him.
Kenny Golladay: 4 targets, 3 rec
Similar to the Courtland Sutton situation, Kenny Golladay was expected to see a ton of volume in the Lions first game without target monster, Golden Tate. He ended the day with just 3 receptions on 4 targets. It was just an off game for the Lions offense so expect to see Golladay’s opportunities to rise moving forward.
Duke Johnson: 9 targets, 9 rec
New interim head coach, new look on offense. Gregg Williams utilized Duke Johnson they way he should be, in the passing game. Johnson ended Week 9 with his most targets, receptions, receiving yards, and scored his first 2 touchdowns of the season. Typically, when a coach gets an opportunity to step up as a head coach, they tend to give the ball to their playmakers and that is exactly what Duke Johnson is. Can we expect 9 receptions every week, no, but expect Johnson to be utilized a lot more than he has been so far this season.
Tevin Coleman: 7 targets, 5 rec
Tevin Coleman finally had a Tevin Coleman type game. This type of game is what got you excited when you knew Devonta Freeman would miss significant time. The problem is, this hasn’t been the case with Coleman all season. Approach with caution in the weeks ahead but keep an eye on his usage in the passing game. If his target volume continues, he’s a lock on your rosters.
Jeff Heuerman: 11 targets, 10 rec
If you were disappointed with Courtland Sutton’s targets, you can blame this guy. Jeff Heuerman had his best game of the season. This most certainly could have been a fluke game for Heuerman but it is worth noting that this was the first game without WR, Demaryius Thomas. Given the lack of production out of the tight end position, Jeff Heuerman could end up being a decent addition to your rosters if, in fact, he continues to draw targets with DT gone.