Fantasy Football Touch, Target & Coverage Leaders Through Week 3

See who is getting a lot of offensive exposure to help with your Fantasy Football needs.

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Fantasy Football Touch, Target & Coverage Leaders Through Week 3


By: Matt Bishop

@Bishphat on Twitter




Ezekiel Elliot is not known for having great hands or receiving skills. In 2016, Ezekiel Elliot ran 265 routes as a receiver (17.6 Routes per Game) and was targeted 2.6 times per game. In 2017, Elliot ran 267 routes in 10 total games (26.7 Routes per Game) and was targeted 3.8 times per game. In 2018, Elliot has run 76 routes (25.3 Routes per Game) and has been targeted 6.0 times per game. He is also currently 9th in the NFL in total touches.


Why am I telling you this? Because people are starting to fade Elliot due to the recent struggles of the Cowboys offense. Because he might be more attainable in a trade. Because if you thought he was elite as a fantasy running back, imagine what added receiving volume could do for his stock. Try to get him now if you can.




Jordan Howard was only targeted 32 times last season (2.0 targets per game), but already has 11 targets in 3 games (3.6 targets per game) this season.  Matt Nagy has been vocal about getting Howard more involved in the passing game, which has resulted in him staying on the field in 3rd down situations.  He is also getting a heavy workload in the run game with 53 carries (17.6 attempts per game), which is 5TH most in the league.  While he only has 10 receptions this season, his career high was 29 receptions in 2016.  He is currently on pace to shatter that mark with 53 projected catches.  Jordan Howard is already a pretty solid fantasy running back.  Added production in the passing game can only raise his stock and make him more valuable.  You may be able to acquire him relatively cheap, so make some trade offers now.





James Connor fired right out of the gate Week 1 with a 36 touch effort (42 Fantasy Points), but has since come back down to earth with a 13 touch effort in Week 2 (19 Fantasy Points) and a 20 touches in Week 3 (16 Fantasy Points).


While the volume will continue to be there for Connor in this explosive Steelers offense, he is not going to be the player we want him to be and those 30 carry efforts will be few and far between. His sell-high window is disappearing by the week, so try to get something for him now.




Golden Tate is used to seeing screen passes and dump offs from Matthew Stafford right at the line of scrimmage. His Average Depth of Target (ADOT) is 6.8 yards, which is 6th lowest in the NFL. However, his current catch percentage in 2018 is 55.6% (as per Pro Football Reference), which doesn’t crack the Top 50 among WR in the NFL. Last season he had a 76.7% catch percentage and finished as the 12th best WR in Fantasy.


He may never turn into an elite caliber Wide Receiver, but he has a high floor with the amount of targets he sees every week.  He could be a consistent point source if he can catch more passes, which his track record suggests will happen. Tate can be acquired in a trade for next to nothing and may be a good player to target.




Juju Smith-Schuster is now the solidified slot receiver in Pittsburgh, running 87% of his routes in this slot through Week 3.  He is being targeted on 22.8% of his snaps when he lines up in the slot, which ranks 5th in the NFL among WR.  The opportunity to buy-low has passed, but you might want to sell high on him.  Antonio Brown has voiced his frustration with the Steelers offense and you know they are going to feed him the ball going forward.  Also, when Le’Veon Bell does decide to come back and join this team, there will be too many mouths to feed and Juju’s production may suffer the most.  He can be a solid WR 2 for the rest of the season, but you may be able to get a better return now if you sell.  Think about it. 





This graphic shows defensive backs who have lined up to cover opposing Wide Receivers on 50% or more of their defensive snaps.  This graphic also shows defensive backs who are getting absolutely destroyed in coverage and is a great resource when setting your lineups.  The New Orleans Saints have allowed the most fantasy points in the NFL this season to opposing quarterbacks (32.2 per game) and they will face off against the Giants this week.  The Saints secondary has 2 defensive backs that currently rank in the Top 5 highest QB rating allowed in the NFL.  Ken Crawley (158.3 QB Rating Allowed) will line up across from Cody Latimer, while Marshon Lattimore (146.5 QB Rating Allowed) will face off against Odell Beckham, Jr.  While I don’t expect Latimer to be a factory in this contest, he could be.  I think both Beckham and Sterling Shepard are great plays in DFS this week, as is Eli Manning.  I currently have all 3 in my lineup. 




The above graphic shows defensive backs who have lined up to cover opposing Wide Receivers on 50% or more of their defensive snaps.  It also shows who the best shutdown and cover corners are in the NFL through Week 3.  This is also another great reference to use when deciding which WR to sit on your roster.  


Richard Sherman is currently allowing a 39.6 Passer Rating to opposing Quarterbacks this season.  He has been targeted 6 times and only allowed 1 reception for 18 yards.  That’s 1 catch.  Not a typo.  He’s still an elite cover corner. 


Don’t look now, but the Miami Dolphins have a pretty solid secondary.  They are currently allowing 10.5 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, which is 3rdbest in the NFL.  They are currently allowing 18.6 fantasy points per game to opposing Wide Receivers, which is 8th best in the league.  In 2017, they allowed the 4th fewest fantasy points per game (16.8 point per game) to opposing Wide Receivers.  Xavien Howard is allowing a 32.2 passer rating to opposing QBs, which is 1st in the NFL among defensive backs lining up in coverage on 80% of their defensive snaps.  Bobby McClain is currently allowing an 87.8 Passer Rating to opposing QBs, which is 7th best in the NFL among defensive backs lining up in coverage on 80% of their defensive snaps.  This week, the Dolphins will face the New England Patriots in Foxboro.  With the Patriots offense currently struggling, I would not recommend starting Brady or any Patriot Wide Receivers this week against this stout Miami secondary.  “But what about Josh Gordon?”  I wouldn’t start him either.  He is still learning the offense and may struggle to get on the same page with Brady for a few weeks.  The Patriots offense will turn it around, but I don’t see it happening this week.  But what do I know?