Week 5 is behind us, and with it fantasy owners considering all of their options. In dynasty leagues, many teams have already begun looking towards the draft, selling off older veterans they no longer have a use for. On the other hand, owners that are above .500 are thinking this might just be their year to win it all. In the first four editions of this article, we focused our attention on players with a greater than 25% market share on a weekly and cumulative basis. We will continue to look closely at these specific players, but there isn’t much weekly change to the list at this point in the season. Instead, let’s be superior fantasy analysts and delve deeper into target statistics to see what we can learn.
|Player||Week 5||Average Target Market Share/Game||Standard Dev||Target Score|
Breaking it down
Listed in the above table are the top 36 receivers in regards to average target market share per game this NFL Season to date. In many fantasy leagues, about 36 wide receivers start on any given week. So, let’s go through our analysis with the mindset that the #36 wide receiver is the “baseline”, so to speak, for a starting caliber wide receiver in terms of average target market share per game. In the table, you can see five columns: Player, Week 5, Average Target Market Share per Game, Standard Deviation, and Target Score. The first three are consistent with what we’ve been discussing this season, so refer to any previous report if you have questions about these! Standard Deviation, for those who might be unaware, refers to how much on a per game basis the actual target share differed from the average target share. The lower the standard deviation, the more predictable the player is on a weekly basis.
The column you likely aren’t familiar with is Target Score, and that’s because I devised the formula myself! For those of you familiar with the Sharpe Equation in finance, this statistic works very similarly. Essentially, the goal of the Target Score is to compare players who have different averages and standard deviations. Ideally, you’d want a player with a very high target share and very low standard deviation – he would be the best, most predictable player (Antonio Brown, for example). Here’s the formula and an example: (Avg – #36 Rank Average)^2 / Standard Deviation. Example- Mike Evans: (26.38 – 18.93)^2 / 5.99 = 9.18.
Conclusions we can draw
Target Score can be a helpful tool for your “portfolio” (your fantasy team) in that the ideal team will have a blend of high upside players and consistent producers. If your team is doing well and you have players that have been producing but have a low Target Score, it could benefit your team to diversify and grab higher Target Score (lower standard deviation/more predictable) players. An example of a trade one could likely make is Golden Tate for Davante Adams in a redraft league. Both players have similar target share numbers, but one (Tate) produces a target share more consistently than the other (Adams). If your team needs a high upside play, Adams might be the better player for you. But, if your team needs weekly consistency, Tate has shown better in that area. My hope is for this tool to help your decision making when trying to formulate trades and improve your team each and every week.
Michael Thomas – The good Michael Thomas from the 2015 draft class has been a sensation since his breakout last year. This year with the departure of Brandin Cooks this season, Thomas has continued to be one of the most consistent receivers in the league this year. Though he just had his bye week, in the 4 weeks prior he has hovered around a 25% target market share in every game. He is the WR5 in PPR scoring per game on the season, and I fully expect him to continue that trend. He’s a bonafide WR1 for the rest of this season.
Amari Cooper – Cooper has been one of the talking points at wide receiver this season and for good reason. His production in recent weeks has warranted dropping him from your rosters, but do not do that. Cooper is talented; the production will come. I say that though on the basis that Cooper’s average target share per game in the 2017 Season is larger than his more productive teammate, Michael Crabtree. Purely from an opportunity standpoint, Cooper will be able to bounce back from this slump. He will remain a main part of that Raider offense that hopefully will get Derek Carr back soon. I’m buying from disgruntled owners wherever I can. Though I recommend sitting him on your bench until he proves otherwise, Cooper could be the buy low in week five that wins you a championship.
Demaryius Thomas – DT and Emmanuel Sanders are without a doubt the dynamic duo of the Broncos offense, combining for more than 50% of the overall targets on average each week. Thomas, even though having a lower average target share per game than Sanders, has the higher Target Score of the two. This is due to his consistent, predictable target shares every week this season. DT has often been the recipient of offseason regression talk due to age, but he is absolutely still a major focal point of what looks like a great Denver offense this season. On ESPN PPR scoring, he currently ranks as WR35 on a per game basis. He looks like a great buy low that could have a huge role on your fantasy team moving forward.
Analyzing targets via market share is essential to understanding the complete picture, but when it comes down to it, gross target numbers are key to fantasy success as well. Player X having 5 targets, but a higher market share, is less likely to outperform Player Y who had 8 targets but a lower overall market share. In the long run, market share will indicate performance during the ups and downs of the fantasy season. Gross targets, however, indicate the chances for success in any given week. More targets are always better than fewer targets for possible fantasy production, as opportunity is a key indicator for success. With that in mind, here are the top 36 WRs* with the most targets-to-date in 2017.
*Note – There are actually 38 receivers listed; there was a drop off after 29 targets, so I’ve included all players who have at least 29 targets on the season.
*All data courtesy of Pro Football Reference*