It’s crunch time. The final week of the regular fantasy season is here in most leagues, and if yours are like mine, only a few teams have secured their playoff tickets. What’s more, these must-win games come as the final six teams take their bye weeks. Thanks, NFL!
Before we look ahead, let’s take a quick rewind back to Week 13. Once the final whistle blew, we saw some new names atop the weekly target leaderboard. Garrett Wilson led all players with 15 targets, followed closely behind by Keenan Allen and Tyreek Hill with 14. Hill has received relatively consistent targets throughout the season, despite a brief dip in the last few weeks, so this is no surprise. Allen, on the other hand, hadn’t received more than eight targets in any game so far. Surely, the increased target share is directly proportional to his health. Fantasy managers are rejoicing everywhere. Can you hear them?
Scrolling down the target list, only one RB and one TE finished with 10 or more targets. The RB, Christian McCaffrey (10 targets), is no surprise but the TE, Cade Otton (10 targets), certainly is. Since TEs are so important to Tom Brady and the Bucs’ offense, I’ll take a deeper dive into Otton below to see if this points to a trend we can trust. There are a number of newcomers to the target list as well, including Drake London, Corey Davis, Brandon Aiyuk, Jahan Dotson and Mack Hollins, so we won’t see as many established trends. At this time of the fantasy season, though, we’d much prefer to be at the beginning of an upward trend, not the middle or end. Will any of these receivers give us that in the fantasy playoffs?
All in all, it was once again a good week to be a wide receiver as 28 received at least eight targets. Only 4 of those 28 receivers are on bye this week (Drake London, Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Alec Pierce), so it gives up plenty of names to build on. Let’s see who is trending the right way for us.
Week 13 Target Monsters/Week 14 Outlook:
DK Metcalf, Seahawks: DK Metcalf followed up his list-topping performance in Week 12 with eight targets in Week 13. Although a substantial decline from the 15 targets the previous week, this target share is more in line with his weekly average. The reduced target share didn’t affect his fantasy scoring at all. The opposite was true actually, as he managed to secure all 8 for 127 yards and a score. There’s no question he’s trending the right way at the right time. However, don’t be surprised if the upcoming defenses (CAR and SF) put more effort into tightening up on Metcalf, especially with the backfield injuries we’re seeing now. He’s a must-start WR right now in every season-long format but may not be a great DFS play until Week 16 (@ KC).
Cade Otton, Buccaneers: Cade Otton came out of nowhere to lead all TEs in targets. While the 10 targets are nice, his six receptions only amounted to 28 yards. Facing off against one of the top TE defenses, the low number of yards isn’t much of a surprise. Coming off a goose egg the previous week, most fantasy owners likely stayed away from Otton versus the Saints. For those who have the foresight to start the rookie, a late TD secured a nice fantasy outing. However, proceed with caution here. Cameron Brate is due back this week, and a matchup against a stout SF defense means this is not likely to develop into a trend worth investing in.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, Lions: Ok, this is getting almost ridiculous. Last week I simply updated my previous week’s analysis of Amon-Ra St. Brown, and what the hell, I might as well do it again (in fact, he gets to stay here until he does something worthy of being removed). “What can I say about Amon-Ra St. Brown that hasn’t been said already? The dude is a star. Another 10 12 targets resulted in 27+ 34+ PPR fantasy points. Sure, our expectations are high for 20+ point games, and some owners may be getting a little nervous, but I say to take a breath and relax. Those games are coming soon. I’m circling the Week 13 game against the Jaguars for sure, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him holding a turkey leg after a Lions upset of the Bills either.” This dude is absolutely sick! How much fun is the Lions’ offense to watch right now? If they can somehow secure a playoff berth, they’ll be a tough out for anyone.
Diontae Johnson, Steelers: We always get a lot of Diontae Johnson questions in the Razzball Start/Sit podcast on Sunday mornings. I suspect that will continue heading into the fantasy playoffs as well. Therefore, it seems like a great time to dive deeper and see if this recent target uptrend may continue. Strictly looking at targets, he’s been on quite a roller coaster ride. Diontae has been targeted 19 times over the past two games, which is about double the prior two games. In fact, he’s had six games with 10+ targets and three games with five or fewer. Regardless of targets, he’s averaging a consistent 4-5 receptions per game. He has yet to surpass the century mark in receiving yards and is still looking for his first TD of the season, which is astonishing to me. Diontae runs about 4 of every five routes from the wideout position. Looking forward, he has some nice fantasy matchups upcoming against top 10 defenses for PPG allowed to wideouts. Because of these matchups and his potential to go off (which we surprisingly haven’t seen yet this season), he’ll likely man a WR or Flex spot on most fantasy squads during the playoffs. He is also dealing with a hip injury, so there is something else to factor into the calculus as we approach game day. Overall, I suspect he’ll finally deliver the goods during this upcoming run of games. However, I still urge caution and play receivers with better matchups instead. If you ever need help determining who that is, come to our Sunday morning Start/Sit show.
That’s the end of my featured players. Like last week’s article, I’ll move on to my version of the two-minute drill and fire off some additional matchups that are trending for me in week 14.
Davante Adams, Raiders: Like Amon-Ra St. Brown above, I can keep regurgitating the prior week’s words here until Davante Adams gives me a reason not to. Here we go, “If the Raiders are going to win, Adams will need to remain highly targeted…blah blah blah…Wash, Rince, Repeat!” Well, the Raiders won (AGAIN!), and Adams led the way (AGAIN!) with 12 targets (8 receptions for 177 yards and 2 TDs). The Raiders take on the other LA team this week. You guessed it…Wash, Rince, Repeat!
Keenan Allen, Chargers: Keenan Allen is officially back. Three weeks into his return, Allen is averaging 10 targets and 17 fantasy points per game. This week’s opponent, Miami, has an explosive offense and a defense that is mid-pack in slot PPG allowed. There’s little to suggest this trend won’t continue.
Mack Hollins, Raiders: Adams’ receiving mate has seen an uptick in targets lately, converting to more fantasy production. He generally splits his time evenly between the slot and wideout, which shouldn’t inhibit his production against the Rams tonight. Start him with confidence. However, the Patriots’ defense is one of the best against slot receivers, so temper expectations in Week 15.
Tyler Lockett, Seahawks: @BobbyLamarco and I did a Slot v Wide playoff preview show last week. In that podcast, I featured Tyler Lockett as my feature slot receiver to target in the fantasy playoffs. Here is some data from the show: Collectively, Seattle’s 3 games during the fantasy playoffs give up an average of 16 PPG to slot receivers (NFL average is 12 PPG). Lockett averages 5-8 targets per week (12 last week). He’s scored TDs in each of the last four games (now 5 in a row). In Week 2 versus SF (Seattle’s Week 15 opponent), Lockett scored 19.7 fantasy points. He has a tough matchup versus Carolina’s strong slot defense this week but expect great things during the fantasy playoffs.
Nico Collins, Texans: I’m going to recycle one more recommendation from last week’s article. I gave Nico Collins a quick shout-out, making him a nice Flex option. He responded in kind with a 10-target game and 12.5 fantasy points. He’s not racking up a ton of receiving yards, but he is the primary target in Houston and has some nice wide receiver matchups during the fantasy playoffs (KC, TN and JAX). He’s currently dealing with a foot injury and may be a game-time decision for the Dallas game, which most fantasy owners would probably avoid anyway. That said, consider stashing him for the following week versus the Chiefs.
Agree/Disagree? Let me know what you think in the comments below. Also, feel free to send any trade questions or roster decisions. I’m always happy to provide some fantasy advice to our loyal followers. Good luck with all your teams…unless you’re competing against me!