OPPO Highlights: 2023 Week 12

Kyle Bland (@blandalytics) analyzes the best fantasy football opportunities from Week 12 and identifies noteworthy performances from the week.

Each week, I’ll use my OPPO metric (OPportunity POints) to analyze player performances and identify players who had the most valuable looks the week, those who scored less than their opportunities would suggest, and others who overperformed with the opportunities they were given. This season’s data can be found here.


Highest OPPO


This should come as a surprise to no one, but Christian McCaffrey led all running backs again in OPPO. It’s his fourth week at the top this season (including last week, even though I highlighted Brian Robinson Jr.).  McCaffrey should have been one of the top picks in any draft, and he’s been rewarding that decision all season. He saw 19 carries and 6 targets this week, which were good for 30.9 (!) points on 24.3 OPPO. Those opportunities were expected to earn 4.6 catches, 114.6 yards, and 1.3 touchdowns. McCaffrey is as bankable for fantasy production as it gets, and he checks all the boxes: he’s an all-world talent, with innovative playcalling, a talented surrounding cast, and a gamescript-proof workload. Enjoy the ride if he’s on your team.

Keenan Allen is turning it on at the end of the season. With back-to-back finishes at the top of the OPPO leaderboard, he has established himself in the WR1 overall conversation. Another week, another 16 targets, as he turned these into 26.0 points and 25.7 OPPO. After going nuclear with his opportunities last week, he came back to Earth and is “only” leading the league this week, rather than crushing it by 10 points. Those targets were expected to earn 12.1 catches, 126.7 yards, and 0.2 touchdowns. Allen is crushing this mid/late season window, and he’s primed to lead your teams deep into the playoffs.

Pat Freiermuth (and the rest of Pittsburgh) have to be singing South Park’s Blame Canada song this week. In the first week in years without Matt Canada as OC, Freiermuth and the rest of the Steelers’ offense finally showed up. He saw 11 targets this week, good for 7.3 expected catches, 90.9 expected yards, and 0.4 expected touchdowns. His 18.8 OPPO were the third-most by any Steelers player this season, and that’s hopefully an indicator that Freiermuth will be a core component of the offense in this post-Canada era.


OPPO Underperformers


Travis Etienne has proven to be a fairly boom-or-bust running back this year. In Weeks 5-8, Etienne averaged 26.1 points per game, while managing only 9.3 per game over the last month. It may not be a hot take, but the truth is that Etienne is neither that good nor that bad. He’s obviously a talented player in an offense with high expectations despite only middling results of late. He’s a well-rounded contributor, averaging 10+ carries and 4+ targets per week. His biggest issue has been an inability to score: he has 1.9 expected touchdowns in the last month, but nothing to show for it. With some regression there (and slightly better catch/yardage performance on his targets and carries), Etienne should get back to scoring in the mid-teens points and be a solid RB1.

After being featured here in Week 6, Garrett Wilson again finds himself in the underperformers section. A highly regarded and explosive player, Wilson has struggled to make the most out of the targets he’s seen. Some of this may not be his fault, as Zach Wilson was benched in Week 12 because of poor performance, and Tim Boyle hasn’t exactly been awe-inspiring in relief. Nevertheless, Garrett Wilson still draws a bountiful load of targets. He’s seen over 11 per game over the last four weeks, which is the third-most in the NFL. The sheer volume of passes he sees will eventually result in better performances. He should have roughly five more catches over the last month, and should have nearly 200 more yards (only 0.5 more touchdowns, though). Wilson is a highly skilled player who is seeing an elite amount of targets. The numbers should eventually even out to consistently valuable production, and I think he’ll be putting up point totals in the high teens for the rest of the season (19.5 OPPO per game over the last four weeks).

Even though he theoretically has tight end competition on his own team, Juwan Johnson should be a decent option, especially as an injury replacement/bye-week filler. Due to the unique nature of their skill sets, the Saints appear to be able to support multiple fantasy-viable tight ends, especially this week with several wide receivers out with (or hampered by) injuries, including Michael Thomas, Chris Olave, and Rashid Shaheed. Taysom Hill does a lot of his damage on the ground, which frees Johnson up to be the main pass-catching option at the position. Johnson has averaged 5 targets per week over the last month, but he’s really underperformed his yardage expectation (76 vs. 126.0 expected). Johnson should be good for just under 10 points per game going forward, which should help anyone trying to find a usable tight end late in the season.


OPPO Overperformers


Keaton Mitchell has been a revelation in his small sample of opportunities over the last month. He’s averaged over 9 yards on 29 carries, which is difficult to sustain going forward (as I noted for Jaylen Warren last week, and this week he “only” had 3.8 yards per carry). Those carries were expected to return a still impressive 4.8 yards per carry, but that translates to half of the yards he earned from them (269 vs 138.8 expected). It feels almost rinse and repeat from Warren’s blurb last week: Mitchell’s overperformance in yardage has resulted in overperformance in touchdown scoring (2 touchdowns vs. 0.1 expected). I won’t rule out that there may be a systematic reason the Ravens running backs perform better than expected (Gus Edwards was featured here in Week 9), especially with Lamar Jackson sharing that backfield. Even if you assume that there will be some overperformance, that YPC will have to come back to Earth, and his scoring rate will drop with it. He’s a boom-or-bust option, and I would be very hesitant to start his 6.0 OPPO unless you really need the upside.

Brandon Aiyuk has averaged more than four points per target over the last month. For context, the consensus top fantasy receiver this season, Tyreek Hill, is a renowned big-play threat; he’s averaging 2.35 fantasy points per target. Aiyuk is seeing just over four targets per game (fewer than our underperforming tight end, Juwan Johnson), which is a tiny number for a fantasy receiver. He has absolutely capitalized on all of his targets, turning 13 of them into 10 catches, 261 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Even in an offense as high-powered as San Francisco’s, that’s unsustainable.  Similar to Keaton Mitchell above, Aiyuk is a high-risk/high-reward option, though his floor is a little higher (8.9 OPPO per game).

Maybe I’m just biased against the 49ers, but I think George Kittle has been overperforming recently (stop me if you’ve heard that before). He is (and has been) an elite player, and those guys generally have a little room to overperform. However, Kittle has been over 50% better than his expectations (16.1 points per game vs. 9.6 OPPO). The usual suspects are to blame (3.2 catches more than expected, 82.1 more yards, and 1.3 more touchdowns), and there’s likely some regression in any/all of those categories coming. Hopefully, it doesn’t hit as hard as it did in Week 6 (1 catch for 1 yard) after a three-touchdown performance in Week 5, but I would still look for his numbers to come down. His OPPO of 9.7 is certainly playable for a tight end, and I’d expect that to be closer to his floor for actual point production.


Quick Hits


Here’s where I call out players who didn’t earn a write-up but are still worth mentioning because of notable OPPO over the last four weeks:

RB: Jahmyr Gibbs (19.0 OPPO per game; RB3), Rachaad White (16.2; RB4), Jerome Ford (15.4; RB7), Saquon Barkley (13.4; RB18), Derrick Henry (11.1; RB29)

WR: Nathaniel “Tank” Dell (21.9; WR3), Michael Pittman (17.2; WR8), Stefon Diggs (12.0; WR30), Ja’Marr Chase (12.0; WR31), Zay Flowers (9.0; WR49)

TE: Trey McBride (12.6; TE3), Taysom Hill (11.4; TE6), Cole Kmet (10.8; TE9), Logan Thomas (9.3; TE18)


Don’t agree? Think someone else has been even luckier/unluckier this season? Let me know at @blandalytics!


(Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire)

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