10 WR/TE Regression Candidates
1. Baker Mayfield said he was going to force passes to Odell Beckham this week, and that’s exactly what happened. Odell finished with season highs in targets (12) and air yards (168). OBJ is a positive regression candidate because he only had 5-57-0 this week. Bigger weeks are coming soon. The Browns have the Steelers and Dolphins at home for the next two weeks.
2. John Brown finished with 12.7 PPR points, but he could’ve had a bigger game based on his 11 targets and 155 air yards. Brown’s weekly floor and potential upside make him a strong WR2/3 in most matchups.
3. A.J. Brown disappointed without Corey Davis and Delanie Walker, finishing with just 2.7 PPR points. He did, however, have 89 air yards, so he’s a bounce-back candidate next game. Davis missing another game would be helpful.
4. Allen Lazard had 8 targets and 97 air yards, but only had 4-36-0 to show for it. Lazard is the favorite to be the second receiver behind Davante Adams down the stretch, although he's not an every-down player.
5. Zach Pascal was limited by Brian Hoyer, who was awful, but Pascal did have seven targets and 85 yards. It was a good process to stream Pascal. It’s not clear if T.Y. Hilton will miss another game, but he did seem to be progressing last week. Pascal would be a useable flex option if Hilton is out.
6. Eric Ebron also benefited from T.Y.’s absence, seeing 12 targets and 134 air yards. Ebron’s 10.6 PPR points are decent for the position, but it could’ve been a much bigger game. Ebron and Jack Doyle are on the TE1/2 borderline with Ebron offering more upside.
7. DeVante Parker had 10 targets and 120 air yards in his first game without Preston Williams (IR). He’s a candidate for more than 11.9 PPR points next game as a WR3. Parker should have WR2-level usage down the stretch.
8. Chris Godwin had 12 targets and 103 air yards against the Cardinals, but he only had 13.4 PPR points. He’s an every-week WR1. Nothing to worry about with his recent production.
9. Mecole Hardman was only targeted once, but he took it for a 63-yard touchdown. Some of that is luck, although #SpeedKills. He’s a WR4/5 dart throw with Mahomes back.
10. Jamison Crowder only had six targets and 60 air yards, but he popped for 19.1 PPR points. That’s WR4 usage and WR2 production. I’m not buying high on Crowder. He remains a weak flex play in PPR leagues.
11 (Bonus). Larry Fitzgerald caught all eight of his targets and had more receiving yards (71) than he had air yards (54). Fitzgerald is a WR3/4 option, while Christian Kirk is an every-week WR2/3 with upside.
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Updated Monday Night Football Preview
49ers (26.5 projected points, -6 point spread) vs. SEA
Jimmy Garoppolo has been efficient (8.0 YPA, 5.8 TD%, 70% completions), but he’s only averaging 225 yards and 1.3 touchdowns with San Francisco dead last in pass attempts per game (28.75). The Seahawks and Niners are likely to slow the game down with rushing attacks, so projected volume is, once again, a concern. Garoppolo can still provide high-end QB2 value, however, with the Niners projected for a healthy 26.5 points. The Seahawks Defense is pretty bad right now. … Last week, Matt Breida had more opportunities than Tevin Coleman (17 to 16) for the first time since Coleman returned in Week 5. This backfield will continue to be a two-back committee, but the usage split should start favoring Breida because, well, Breida is better. Coleman is still the favorite for high-value touches (red zone and receptions) but I’m projecting Breida for more carries between the 20s. With Seattle in the bottom 32nd percentile in run defense DVOA, I like Breida as a flex and Coleman as a higher-upside, low-end RB2 with more touchdown equity.
Emmanuel Sanders has a 24% target share in his two games with San Francisco, which extrapolates to approximately seven targets per game if Jimmy G continues to average 28.25 pass attempts. I’ve been (wrongly) betting against the 32-year-old coming off an Achilles tear, but all of his efficiency metrics have been on par with his career numbers. The Seahawks are in the bottom 35th percentile in pass defense DVOA, making Sanders a WR2. … Air yards and targets for non-Emmanuel and non-Kittle pass-catchers have been desolate, but here are routes run from last week: Deebo Samuel (25 of 40), Kendrick Bourne (16), Dante Pettis (14), Richie James (6), and Marquise Goodwin (healthy scratch). With George Kittle likely out, these secondary receivers should see a little more opportunity. Samuel is by far my favorite play of these receivers. … Ross Dwelley and Levine Toilolo will fill in for Kittle this week, with Dwelley operating more as the pass-catcher and Toilolo as the run-blocker. Dwelley was very productive at the University of San Diego, posting back-to-back seasons with at least 50 receptions, 600 yards, and 10 touchdowns. His 4.9 speed leaves some to be desired, but there are worse backup tight ends.
Seahawks (20.5, +6) @ SF
The 49ers defense is pretty good, but I think most are overrating this unit. San Francisco hasn’t played a single top-15 quarterback (Kyler Murray, Kyle Allen, Case Keenum, Jared Goff, Baker Mayfield, Mason Rudolph, Andy Dalton, and Jameis Winston) in The Athletic’s Ben Baldwin’s predictive EPA+CPOE composite metric, and defensive efficiency statistics largely depend on the offenses they’ve faced. I’d much rather bet on MVP candidate Russell Wilson than a defense that’s faced nobody. Wilson is the No. 2 fantasy quarterback and gets to incorporate Josh Gordon into the lineup as his No. 3 receiver. If the Hawks fall behind like Vegas projects, we should actually see Russ throw the ball with some volume. I’m keeping Wilson in the top eight at the position despite the perceived terrible matchup. … The Niners’ defensive line has a lot of talent, which has led them to be first in adjusted sack rate. But they aren’t nearly as awesome against the run; PFF has them as the No. 29 run defense and DVOA has them as a below-average run defense as well. I’m not very concerned with Chris Carson's run efficiently in this matchup (he’s leading the NFL in yards after contact), but I am slightly concerned about volume. The 49ers are 27th in rush attempts allowed (22 on average) because they have a clock-draining offense and are often leading (SF is a 6-point favorite here). Carson should still see 15-20 touches, but I’m viewing him as more of a low-end RB1 than a stud RB1 for this week. … Rashaad Penny is basically just a handcuff to Carson.
For the reasons I laid out above, I like Tyler Lockett as an underrated play. Lockett is seeing lots of volume when the Seahawks are trailing (Week 3 vs. NO, Week 9 vs. TB) and Vegas projects that to happen this week. Lockett should see 6-10 targets, and he’s averaging 10.7 yards per target this season. Lockett remains in the upside WR1/2 conversation despite the 49ers checking in as PFF’s No. 2 pass coverage defense. … DK Metcalf also sees extra usage while trailing, and he gets the softest WR/CB matchup against Emmanuel Moseley, who is four inches shorter, 44 pounds lighter, and 0.14 slower (forty) than Metcalf. Metcalf remains an upside WR3. … Josh Gordon is more likely to be on a snap count than be a full-time player. Gordon isn’t a recommended play this week -- I think he’ll face CB Richard Sherman on most snaps -- and should be a low-volume dart throw when fully acclimated to the offense. … Jacob Hollister, not Luke Willson, is the tight end to know for fantasy on the Hawks. Hollister has six targets in 2-of-3 games and even scored two touchdowns last week. There are worse tight end dart throws than Hollister, who is at least tied to Russ Wilson.