Week 4 Target Forecast: What can we expect this week in fantasy football from some of the game’s top-pass catchers?
Sterling Shepard (NYG) vs. NO – SUN 1:25 PM PT
Sterling Shepard has held a very consistent target share with Eli Manning, seeing 7, 5, and 7 targets through three weeks. As a result, Shepard has subtly yielded nice fantasy potential so far.
Evan Engram went down with an MCL sprain last week against the Texans and will sit out this week. With Engram out, Shepard is now Manning’s clear No. 2 passing option. Functioning as such, Shepard stands to see a few extra targets in this game. With an extremely favorable matchup against the New Orleans Saints, Shepard looks to be well utilized in a positive game script. With the Saints surrendering 346 passing yards and 34.3 points per game, the Giants are in good position to throw with success and position themselves for many scoring opportunities. Shepard should see plenty of targets as a result.
Tyler Lockett (SEA) at ARI – SUN 1:05 PM PT
Tyler Lockett has played a complementary role filling the void left by Doug Baldwin (Grade 2 MCL tear). Lockett has compiled 7 and 6 targets in Baldwin’s two-game absence and produced a respectable 9/137/2 stat line in the process. But last week, Lockett produced the vast majority of his production on a 52-yard TD catch. His other 5 targets resulted in incomplete catches and short gains.
Right now, Lockett seems like a great play given Seattle’s deficiency at WR, but fair warning, his stats are highly-skewed. Lockett’s targets have been of fairly low quality and resulted in little (minus a few plays). The Seahawks face that Cardinals this week in what projects to be a very low scoring game (38.5 Points). After a week in which Seattle ran the ball 32 times with Chris Carson, it’s tough to trust Lockett’s volume. Arizona boasts a notoriously bad run defense. With the Seahawks making an obvious choice to run the ball, little should be left over for Lockett.
DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) at IND – SUN 10:00 AM PT
Hopkins finds himself in newfound territory. With an elite, multi-functional quarterback, he is finally seeing high-caliber targets. However, Hopkins is now sharing looks with Fuller, who has boasted 9 and 11 targets through two weeks of play. He has always held a sizable stat line while playing alongside Watson and unfortunately for Hopkins’ production, these numbers likely won’t subside over the course of the season. As it stands, Hopkins has seen 11 and 10 targets with Fuller around. While both are averaging roughly 10 targets per game, it seems that Hopkins has settled into the weekly expectation of 9-13 targets. The days of him seeing 15-20 look somewhat distant, as the Texans offense is stronger and has another premiere passing option. On the contrary, the days of Hopkins being thrown to while in double-coverage seem distant as well with Fuller’s ability to spread the other half of the field.
Amari Cooper (OAK) vs CLE – SUN 1:05 PM PT
Failing to locate his primary target, Derek Carr has made Amari Cooper a frustrating fantasy option. Beginning the season with a mere 3 targets against the Rams, Cooper took the mold of an early bust. Against all odds, he climbed back and saw a team-high 10 targets the following week against the Broncos. Unfortunately, Cooper reverted right back to his disappointing self with a 5 target outing against the Dolphins. With little stability in the Raiders’ week-to-week execution, Cooper is someone who simply needs to be benched until further notice. It’s nearly impossible to predict target totals for Cooper from game-to-game. Last week, Jordy Nelson (of all people) saw a team-high 8 targets. On a day where Derek Carr threw for 345 yards, Cooper had 2 receptions for 17 yards. Bench Cooper till clarity reigns in on his situation.
Calvin Ridley (ATL) vs. CIN – SUN 10:00 AM PT
Last week was a decent week for Calvin Ridley (7/146/3). All jokes aside, Ridley has now seen an increase in targets for the third straight week. He’s gone from 2, to 5, and now to 8. The most encouraging part of Ridley’s Week 3 performance was his ability to be showcased in several ways. Ridley utilized his speed by burning the Saints on the outside for a 75-yard touchdown. He caught a couple of balls over the middle of the field. He also ran the ball on an end around play. When pass protection broke down for Matt Ryan in the red zone, Ridley scrambled and was found in the back of the end zone for his third TD of the game. Matt Ryan has found comfort in targeting Ridley towards the red zone, which opens up many opportunities for Ridley to be utilized going forward. Julio Jones will always be a large factor in the Falcons passing game, but Ridley looks to claim true WR2 form and further establish his weekly looks.