Target Leaders to target at trade deadline

By Jen Ryan
Jen Ryan
It is hard to imagine that Week 11 of the 2017 football season is underway, but here we are. There are just five weeks left until you (hopefully) or someone in your league will be crowned champion in the Week 16 fantasy football Super Bowl. Majority of leagues have their trade deadline approaching this week. Those who have not been mathematically eliminated from their leagues need to be aggressive at the deadline and acquire those pieces that will bolster their team for a championship run.

Volume correlates most strongly to fantasy points, and common sense tells you that. For receivers that volume comes in the form of targets and team target share. Our target stats tools on Football Diehards provide all the target-related relevant data available. You can find our tool here:

Our statistics page will tell you that there are ten wide receivers who account for at least 25% of their teams’ targets. Using that piece of data as well as Ease of Schedule tool ( ) here are those ten receivers and their matchups from Week 12 until the fantasy Super Bowl. Matchups reflect the team’s passing defense rank.

1. DeAndre Hopkins – 36.1%
- @ Baltimore: 3rd
- @ Tennessee: 19th
- Vs. San Francisco: 28th
- @ Jacksonville: 1st
- Vs. Pittsburgh: 2nd
Hopkins target share is incredible and the volume is undeniable, but he is a hard pass as a trade target. In fact, if I am a Hopkins owner, I am trying to unload him in every league I own him in. If you own a fringe team, he can certainly help you sneak into the playoffs in Week 13 against the 19th-ranked Tennessee Titans and has a fantastic home match up the following week. Hopkins has a legitimate and likely chance of getting shut down by the top-ranked Jaguars secondary in a game where you will need him to produce in order to get to the championship, where he will be up against the Steelers’ secondary, who rank just behind the Jaguars.

2. Antonio Brown – 33%
- Vs. Green Bay: 15th
- @ Cincinnati: 5th
- Vs. Baltimore: 3rd
- Vs. New England: 31st
- @ Houston: 25th
As I write this, I just watched Brown score his third touchdown of the night on the eve of Week 11. His price has just skyrocketed. You will have to overpay for Brown if you want him, and when you look at those final two games in Week 15 and 16, you want Brown. If your team is solid enough to get through a tough road game in Cincinnati and a home matchup against Baltimore, then I recommend overpaying for Brown. Whatever it takes for that home New England game, where he could flirt with one of his highest-scoring fantasy performances of the season.

3. Jarvis Landry – 30%
- @ New England: 31st
- Vs. Denver: 17th
- Vs. New England: 31st
- @ Buffalo: 8th
- @ Kansas: 21st
Landry is very quietly the WR7 on the season and his schedule over the next five weeks could potentially see him finish as a top five wide receiver. He leads all receivers with 61 receptions yet there are 32 receivers who have more yards than the 472 he has on the season. Of the top 100 receivers in PPR scoring, his 7.7 yards per reception rank 82nd. He is producing WR7 numbers on volume in the short passing game and those points add up. Unlike Antonio Brown, Landry is a player to target at a reasonable price, possibly even at a cost less than what he is worth.

4. Dez Bryant – 24%
- Vs. Los Angeles (Chargers): 10th
- Vs. Washington: 18th
- @ New York (Giants): 30th
- @ Oakland: 22nd
- Vs. Seattle : 11th
On paper, Bryant has a three week stretch of favorable match ups. Let’s not kid ourselves here. Despite the New York Giants’ struggles, Janoris Jenkins remains one of the top corners in football, and Bryant’s struggles against top corners are well documented. Factor in the absence of Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith being less than 100% and we can project both Bryant and Prescott to see a dip in production. Bryant is likely attainable at a low cost but he is a player I am avoiding at the trade deadline.

5. Adam Thielen – 28.9%
- @ Detroit: 14th
- @ Atlanta: 12th
- @ Carolina: 13th
- Vs. Cincinnati: 5th
- @ Green Bay: 15th
Despite what the Minnesota Vikings’ depth chart says, Theilen is the WR1 on that team. He is the WR3 on the season and has been on a tear. With four out of his five final games on the road against decent opponents, now is the time to capitalize on Theilen’s WR3 status and sell him. In return you could get two solid pieces to make up for his missing production, which could take a hit during that stretch of road games.

6. A.J. Green – 28.7%
- Vs. Cleveland: 26th
- Vs. Pittsburgh: 2nd
- Vs. Chicago: 4th
- @ Minnesota: 9th
- Vs. Detroit: 14th
Green is a stud and you could argue he belongs in the same conversation as the Antonio Brown’s of the world. In terms of value and cost, you can definitely put him in the same conversation as Brown. He is not a trade target before the deadline, but it would also take a mind-blowing offer for me to give him up. The WR5 on the season, Green is someone to hold and ride to your championship.

7. Michael Thomas – 28.1%
- @ Los Angeles (Chargers): 10th
- Vs. Carolina: 13th
- @ Atlanta: 12th
- Vs New York (Jets): 27th
- Vs Atlanta: 12th
There isn’t a player I am targeting more aggressively before the deadline than Thomas. The Saints are on their own Super Bowl run and I want to ride those coat tails to my fantasy Super Bowl. Three of their last five games are in the Super Dome. Over the past six seasons, the Saints score an average of over 30 points at home, a full touchdown more than they do on the road. Thomas struggles in the end zone, but his usage makes up for it. He has double-digit targets in half of his games this season and at least 82 yards in half of his games. If those touchdowns regress over the next five games, he could be the fantasy playoffs MVP.

8. Julio Jones – 26%
- Vs. Tampa Bay: 29th
- Vs. Minnesota: 9th
- Vs. New Orleans: 6th
- @ Tampa Bay: 29th
- @ New Orleans: 6th
Jones, a perennial stud, is a WR2 in fantasy football. He has one touchdown on the season and has largely disappointed at his first round ADP. Jones owners are frustrated with him but his name still holds a ton of weight. For those reasons, as well as four of the Falcons final five games being against divisional opponents, I am out on Jones for my championship run. The lack of touchdowns is an absolute killer.

9. Keenan Allen – 25.6%
- @ Dallas: 24th
- Vs. Cleveland: 26th
- Vs. Washington: 18th
- @ Kansas City: 21st
- @ New York (Jets): 27th
Allen’s production has him as a high-end WR3 right now as the WR26 on the season. The difference between Allen and JuJu Smith-Schuster is one fantasy point. JuJu would more than likely cost you way more than Allen in a trade. Allen has at least seven targets in all but one game this season. Having not cracked 70 yards in his past five games, his discount window is as wide open as his upcoming schedule. Acquiring Allen this week could translate to a league-winning acquisition.

10. Alshon Jeffery – 25.3%
- Vs. Chicago: 4th
- @ Seattle: 11th
- @ Los Angeles (Rams): 7th
- @ New York Giants: 30th
- Vs. Oakland: 22nd
The high-flying Eagles acquired Jeffery in the offseason to bolster their receiver corps and, while he has, he hasn’t lived up to fantasy owners’ expectations. He’s a low-end WR2 in the same territory as Dez Bryant. Both are athletic freaks who are dangerous threats in the red zone, but they just aren’t putting up those WR1 numbers we expect with their highly-touted sophomore quarterbacks. Jeffery, like Bryant, is still chasing a 100-yard game. Three tough road games could test the team that currently has the best record in football, leaving Jeffery as a player to avoid for me. His cost in trade talks will be inflated by his team rather than his play, and you will be forced to overpay for Jeffery if you want him.

Of the target share leaders there are some that you will want to trade, trade for, or hold tight on. Looking ahead is crucial before the trade deadline, and you should consider similar factors when targeting tight ends and running backs as well. If you are in playoff contention your team is already solid. Making a move before the deadline to secure the piece or pieces to solidify your dominance over the next five weeks is how champions are made. Good luck, and as always, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @FFdeJENerate, where I will be waiting to hear about all of your deadline moves.