It’s hard to believe that we are basically one-third of the way through the NFL season already. We have a great slate of NFL games on tap this weekend and with it comes some exploitable matchups for fantasy purposes. Here are my favorite wide receiver and tight end targets on FanDuel for the week, broken down into cash game and tournament picks.
Cash Game Targets
DeAndre Hopkins: $8,500 (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars)
Snap Count Percentage: 98.1%
Touch/Target Percentage (All Plays): 18.1%
DeAndre Hopkins is on pace to break the single-season NFL record for targets. Through the first five weeks of the season, he has caught 42 of his 74 targets for 542 yards and three touchdowns. His lowest target total this season has been 11. Even though he doesn’t have an elite quarterback throwing him the ball, he is seeing a nice mix of both short and deep routes, which gives him both a high floor and a high ceiling for fantasy purposes. Many will point to the return of Arian Foster as being hurtful to Hopkins’ production, but there is enough to go around for both players to eat in this offense. The Texans lead the NFL in plays per game this season (77.2).
Julian Edelman: $7,900 (vs. Indianapolis Colts)
Snap Count Percentage: 80.5%
Touch/Target Percentage (All Plays): 16.2%
Edelman had a bad fantasy week turn into an above-average one in a single play, as he hooked up with Tom Brady on a 59-yard touchdown in Week 5’s win over the Cowboys. Edelman saw only five targets last week, but he had previously seen 11 or more in each of the Patriots first three games of the season. When it comes to cash games, Edelman is as safe of a play as you are going to find. Not only does he see a heavy dose of targets each week, but also most of them are of the short, high success rate, variety. The Colts have not covered slot receivers well this season and the Patriots have a little added motivation in this matchup after Deflate-Gate.
Allen Robinson: $6,700 (vs. Houston Texans)
Snap Count Percentage: 92.6%
Touch/Target Percentage (All Plays): 14.2%
Robinson was a feature in this column last week and he did not disappoint, finishing with seven catches for 74 yards and two touchdowns. His slow start to the season was more about the matchups than it was about his involvement in the offense. He is still the number one wideout in this offense and with Blake Bortles at the helm; Robinson is a top-15 wide receiver moving forward. He draws a decent matchup against the Texans, who have a mediocre secondary. The Jaguars’ offense sees a nice boost as a whole thanks to the fact that the Texans average the most plays per game of any team in the NFL this season.
Calvin Johnson: $8,200 (vs. Chicago Bears)
Snap Count Percentage: 92.1%
Touch/Target Percentage (All Plays): 14.7%
The masses have written off Calvin Johnson. You will hear that he is old and that Matthew Stafford is no longer the same quarterback that he once was. I chalk his slow start up to a string of bad matchups. In tournaments, we are always looking for that low-owned player that has the potential to score 30 fantasy points. Johnson has that type of upside this week against the Bears, who have two very beatable corners in Kyle Fuller and Allen Ball. According to ProFootballFocus, both corners are ranked 116th or worse among all graded cornerbacks this season.
Jordan Matthews: $6,600 (vs. New York Giants)
Snap Count Percentage: 81.1%
Touch/Target Percentage (All Plays): 12.9%
Many experts projected Matthews to have a breakout season for the Eagles. After the first five weeks, most have given up on him. Even though he has had some costly drops, he has 45 targets on the season and he plays in an offense that is just starting to get into a rhythm. Sam Bradford has passed for over 600 yards over the last two weeks and we can expect another heavy passing attack against the Giants, who boast an elite run defense. Matthews will be overlooked by most this week, but he makes a great tournament play, especially if Nelson Agholor (questionable) has to sit out with his ankle injury.
Donte Moncrief: $6,200 (vs. New England Patriots)
Snap Count Percentage: 75.7%
Touch/Target Percentage (All Plays): 10.3%
There are a few times during the season when we can rely on expected game script more than others. When the Patriots are playing in a revenge game, we shouldn’t be surprised to see them run up the score. The Colts are ten-point underdogs on the NFL odds board at home this week, and if all goes as expected, they will be forced to air it out. With Andrew Luck expected to be back in the lineup, look for Donte Moncrief to step back into that WR2 role. He has out-snapped and out-produced Andre Johnson this season, and the Colts will likely be playing from behind.
Cash Game Targets
Antonio Gates: $5,500 (vs. Green Bay Packers)
Snap Count Percentage: 76.0%
Total Touch or Target Percentage: 19.3%
Antonio Gates is going to be a popular pick this week. He played on Monday night, so the salaries for Week 6 on FanDuel were already released. This means that his monster fantasy outing had no impact on his salary. Gates played on 76.0% of the Chargers’ snaps, catching nine of his 11 targets for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Take advantage of the cheap price tag in a game in which the Chargers may be forced to air it out. They are ten-point underdogs against the Packers in Green Bay.
Greg Olsen: $6,300 (vs. Seattle Seahawks)
Snap Count Percentage: 100.0%
Touch/Target Percentage (All Plays): 12.5%
I have my eye on three tight ends this week: Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Gates, and Greg Olsen. Of the three, Olsen should have the lower ownership percentage, making him my favorite tournament play of the bunch. Olsen has been inconsistent this season, but this appears to be a matchup that he can exploit. The Seahawks are ranked 27th in Defense vs. Position and 30th in FootballOutsiders’ DVOA against tight ends this season. Game script is also in Olsen’s favor, as the Panthers are large underdogs against the Seahawks.