Each week of the NFL season, we will be highlighting some players who have seen an increase in targets and/or touches. We will be diving deep to find players whose offensive roles are trending upward in order to find high floor and high upside plays for your DFS lineups each week.
Corey Coleman, Cleveland Browns
AVG Targets/Game: 8
AVG Receptions/Game: 4
Targets in Week 10: 11
Catches in Week 10: 6
Despite playing in the league’s worst offense (15 PPG), Coleman has plenty of upside as a former #1 in his time at Baylor, where he racked up nearly 2,500 yards and 31 (yes, THIRTY-ONE) touchdowns in his final two seasons with the Bears.
He has had plenty of injury issues already in his short time in the NFL, missing nearly all of 14 games already in less than two seasons. However, when he has been on the field, he has been effective, averaging over seven targets per game since the beginning of 2016.
In his three (full) games this season, Coleman has seen 24 targets, and while his catch rate will likely never be high due to the fact that DeShone Kizer (and company) have been nothing but erratic under center for the Browns (and will likely remain that way until the end of time).
Due to the fact that the Browns are nearly always trailing, they have the fifth-highest rate of passing plays this season at 63.33%, which bodes well for Coleman’s floor and upside moving forward. Only the Cardinals, 49ers, Patriots, and Buccaneers have thrown the ball more times than the Browns, and it’s only a matter of time before Coleman builds a solid rapport with Kizer (or whoever remains under center for the Browns).
Eleven targets is a high number, and was tied for the second-most in the NFL in Week 11 behind Keenan Allen’s 13, but that number doesn’t seem unsustainable for Coleman in this sad excuse for an offense. This team is in desperate need of a playmaker, and Coleman certainly fits the bill.
Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars
AVG Targets/Game: 6
AVG Receptions/Game: 3
Targets in Week 10: 6
Catches in Week 10: 3
DraftKings Salary: $3,600
FanDuel Salary: $4,900
Another wideout who is finally returning from injury, Westbrook was the darling of the NFL during the preseason, leading all players with 288 yards receiving. Only one year removed from winning the Fred Biletnikoff award for the nation’s top wide receiver (just four years after his Jaguar teammate, Marquise Lee), Westbrook is primed to have a breakout finish to 2017.
The Jaguars are the most run-heavy offense in the NFL, and are the only team with a higher percentage of running plays than passing plays (51.1% to 49.9%), but that won’t prevent Westbrook from finding a huge ceiling for a team that is battling for playoff positioning at 7-3. Blake Bortles somehow hasn’t been horrible this season, and without top wideout Allen Robinson (and now without Allen Hurns), he has been lacking a go-to receiver.
Enter Westbrook, who was hyped as a high draft pick, ended up falling to the fourth round due to questions about his maturity as a result of multiple domestic violence arrests in 2012. With that said, off-the-field issues play no part in a player’s talent, and that is an area where Westbrook is second to none on this (healthy) roster.
Westbrook was on the field for 35 snaps in Week 11, and in a game script that didn’t necessitate a heavy volume of passes (Bortles attempted 30 passes), he still saw a 20% share of the total targets, and second-most among the WR to Lee’s 9. The Jags amazingly had just one RZ target (which was from the 20), and that went to Mercedes Lewis, who punched it into the end zone.
Expect Westbrook’s target share, receptions, and stock to rise in the coming weeks as the Jaguars integrate their newest weapon into an offense that is already capable of dominating time of possession (32:28 average is 3rd-best in the NFL). Westbrook is barely above the minimum across the industry.
Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers
AVG Targets/Game: 3
AVG Receptions/Game: 1.8
Targets in Week 10: 8
Catches in Week 10: 5
DraftKings Salary: $3,100
FanDuel Salary: $4,700
The #7 pick in this year’s NFL draft, Williams has yet to make a big impact on the Chargers offense in their first season in L.A., but his time may be coming sooner than you think. Since his “debut” in Week 6, his snap counts have been the following: 11, 14, 22, 27, and then 41 in Week 11. Week 11 also highlighted the first time he saw more than two targets. Although his 5-38 line was less than extraordinary, it seems clear that the Chargers are ready for him to take on a bigger role.
The Chargers are on the outside looking in for the AFC playoff picture, but a favorable schedule ahead (DAL, CLE, WAS) should provide Williams with plenty of opportunities to showcase his abilities. The 6’3”, 225-pound wideout hauled in 98 passes for 1,361 yards and 11 scores at Clemson last season, and on an offense that has a passing rate of over 60%, there will be plenty of opportunities for him to post big numbers.
It looked like Tyrell Williams was going to continue his breakout from 2016 earlier this season, but his play has taken a sharp turn in the wrong direction, which has opened the door for Williams. While Tyrell still out-snapped him in Week 11, it was Mike (all these “Williams” are getting confusing) who dominated the looks, as Tyrell saw just one target from Philip Rivers.
The sample size is small for Williams, having played on more than 25 snaps just twice this season, but the volume is trending in the right direction, and with top WR Keenan Allen primarily operating out of the slot, it’s only a matter of time before (Mike) Williams takes over as the top option on the outside (if it hasn’t already happened).
Check out a full list of WR targets here, WR Targets
Austin Traylor, Denver Broncos
AVG Targets/Game: 5
AVG Receptions/Game: 4
Targets in Week 10: 5
Catches in Week 10: 4
DraftKings Salary: $2,500
FanDuel Salary: N/A
With A.J. Derby being waived (then transferred to IR) and seldom-used Jeff Heuerman (11 targets in 2017) dealing with a knee injury, Traylor was activated from the practice squad and made an immediate impact against the Bengals, hauling in four of five targets for 36 yards.
It was also encouraging to see that he out-snapped fellow TE Virgil Green by a count of 53-41, and although Traylor is unlikely to have much upside, he should be on your radar as a cheap option in DFS. He isn’t available on FanDuel, but is the stone minimum at $2,500 on DraftKings.
With the Broncos facing a soft schedule in the coming weeks against Oakland, Miami, and the Jets (as well as being 3-7 and all but eliminated from playoff contention), Traylor makes for a decent fill-in option for TE-desperate lineups for the time being. He did manage to score four times among just 14 receptions for Wisconsin in his final season, which lends some value to the 6’3” target as an option in the Red Zone.
Temper your expectations with this one, as Traylor was an UDFA following the 2016 NFL draft, and the Broncos target the TE on just 17.7% of passing plays, 9th-lowest in the NFL. However, if you’re looking to stack up some big names in your DFS rosters, Traylor may just unlock that potential upside for you this week.
Check out the full list of TE targets here, TE Targets
Danny Woodhead, Baltimore Ravens
AVG Targets/Game: 4.5
AVG Receptions/Game: 4
Targets in Week 10: 6
Catches in Week 10: 5
DraftKings Salary: $4,200
FanDuel Salary: $5,400
One of my favorite players in the NFL, Woodhead is finally back in action, and looks to be well on his way to reclaiming his role as a PPR monster in the Ravens offense. In his last full season (2015), Woodhead averaged 5 catches on 6.6 targets per game, finishing the season with 755 receiving yards and six scores.
After suffering yet another injury in Week 1 this season, Woodhead finally returned in Week 11, and although he wasn’t particularly productive (21 yards), his five catches still provided him with a solid floor in PPR formats. He has been a very effective weapon in the Red Zone throughout his career, and he actually led all RB with 17 RZ targets in 2015.
The Ravens offense hasn’t been a very good one this season (21.3 PPG, 17th in NFL), but Woodhead’s return should provide them with a much-needed spark as they battle for their playoff lives in a weak AFC conference.
Fellow Raven RB Alex Collins actually saw the second-most targets among RB last week (7) as he out-snapped Woodhead 38 to 13. Despite that large discrepancy, the fact that Woodhead saw six targets on just 13 snaps only furthers the narrative that his workload should continue to be massive as we head down the final six-game stretch of the season.
The Ravens seem content to work Javorious “Buck” Allen (10 snaps in Week 11) into a very minor role in this offense as Woodhead becomes more acclimated and increases his role. Woodhead has top-10 PPR upside on any given week due to his ability to make plays in both the running and passing game, especially on an offense that severely lacks in playmakers on the outside (sorry Mike Wallace).
Check out the full list of RB touches here, RB Touches