Each week, I’ll use my OPPO metric (OPportunity POints; data found here) to go through who had the most valuable opportunities of the week, who has been scoring less than their looks would suggest, and who has been overperforming the opportunities they’ve been given.
The Raiders just keep feeding Josh Jacobs. He was involved in every part of the offense and put up 22.6 points on 25.7 OPPO. Jacobs earned 21 carries and 8 targets which typically yield 6.8 catches, 132.5 yards, and 1.0 touchdowns. With Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller out on Injured Reserve, it’s very promising to see him get involved in the passing game (the 8 targets were a season-high for him, and were double his season average). He’s RB7 by OPPO per game this season and has shown a high ceiling (see Week 4 and Week 7) and a solid floor within this Raiders offense.
Justin Jefferson was a beast this week, singlehandedly winning games in reality and in fantasy. He put up 35.3 fantasy points on 33.4 OPPO. That’s a Top-3 OPPO this season and showcases the insane upside he has, especially on a pass-happy team like the Vikings. He was the only Vikings target this week who could consistently get open and/or make contested catches, which they needed plenty of in their back-and-forth game against the Bills. The expected result of his 16 targets were 8.3 catches, 119.9 yards, and 2.2 touchdowns. He slightly overperformed this week and still shows the curious trend I mentioned in Week 8 of overperforming his yardage expectation while underperforming his touchdowns. After this performance, he’s basically WR1-B overall by OPPO (to Davante Adams), so even if he regresses down to his expectations, he’ll still be a dominant weapon at wide receiver.
Dalton Schultz was the clear red-zone option for the Cowboys this week. He put up 17.4 points on 16.4 OPPO, primarily thanks to Dak Prescott looking his way early and often when the Cowboys got into scoring position. Schultz saw 8 targets, with 4 coming in the Red Zone and another just outside of it, at the 24. These targets were expected to yield 5.0 catches for 44.8 yards and 1.2 touchdowns, which is essentially the performance that Schultz had. If he continues to be featured in the high-value parts of the field by Dallas, Schultz looks like a very valuable tight end for the rest of the season.
Now that we’re past the halfway point of the season, I’m going to look at OPPO over the last 4 weeks for over- & under-performers, instead of across the whole season. This should keep the information more relevant by focusing more on recent player performances and opportunities. Both timeframes are still available on the Google Sheet.
David Montgomery is primed for a rebound. Khalil Herbert, his main competition for touches in the backfield, was just placed on IR which frees up 6 ~OPPO per game. In addition to the potential for an increased role, Montgomery also has room to improve his rushing stats. His 53 carries over the last four weeks were expected to result in 224.1 yards and 1.7 touchdowns, compared to his 188 actual yards and 1 touchdown. Some positive regression combined with more opportunities makes me comfortable expecting his 10.5 OPPO per game, at least, going forward.
Allen Robinson is starting to look like the player the Rams expected when they signed him. This is another win-win situation, like Montgomery: Robinson has been underperforming his targets and will benefit from an injury to his target competition. Robinson has seen a respectable 6 targets per game and was expected to put up 1.5 touchdowns from them over the last four weeks. He has 0 touchdowns from those targets, and I’d expect some positive regression there. He also should see more looks, as Cooper Kupp and his ~11 targets per game are potentially out for the rest of the season. Robinson has a prime opportunity to step into a large chunk of those targets, while also returning more touchdowns from the targets he sees. I’d look at his 11.4 OPPO per game, and use that as a starting point for my expectations.
Well, well, well… We meet again, Kyle Pitts. Pitts has been the poster boy of draft busts, but I’m still preaching patience. Pitts has seen over 7 targets per game in the last 4 weeks (3rd most by a tight end), which is even more impressive given the anemic state of the Falcons’ passing game. In addition to the raw volume, these looks had a good amount of value: he’s been expected to see ~240 yards and ~2 touchdowns during that time, a combination which makes him the TE2 overall by OPPO. He looks like a great buy-low this late in the season, and I’d be valuing him close to his 13.4 OPPO per game.
Tony Pollard has been crushing it over these last 4 weeks. He’s seen 16 carries and 3 targets per game, which is easily the highest usage in his career. Unfortunately, I don’t think his production will match what we’ve seen, even if that usage continues (which is doubtful, with Ezekiel Elliott starting to get healthy). He’s rushed for almost 7 yards per carry and has averaged more than a touchdown per game, which are both vastly above expectations. His carries were expected to yield over 100 fewer rush yards and 3 (!) fewer touchdowns than what he’s returned these last four weeks. I’d say his 13.4 OPPO per game is his ceiling going forward, after factoring in some negative regression and a healthy Zeke taking away his carries.
Miami is firing on all cylinders, but Jaylen Waddle is going above and beyond even the high expectations of that offense. He’s seen less than 7 targets per game and has turned that into almost 1 touchdown and over 85 yards per game. Based on the targets he’s seen, I would expect half of his touchdown output and 25 fewer yards per game. He benefits greatly from his speed and from Tyreek Hill taking some coverage away from him, but it is still very hard to perform as well as he has on so few targets. I’d look to see him approach a playable, but more conservative 12.4 OPPO per game, instead of his 18.4 fantasy points per game. It’s worth noting that he does have a sky-high ceiling in this offense, as his Week 2 performance is the most OPPO (34.9) by any player this year.
Juwan Johnson has been making the most of a bad situation in New Orleans. He’s seen 18 targets over the last four weeks and caught 14 of them, including 4 touchdowns. It’s the last number that is hard to expect going forward, as his targets usually result in ~1.2 touchdowns. That nearly 3 touchdown difference is the entirety of his overperformance, and touchdown regression can happen swiftly and without mercy (see fellow tight ends Will Dissly and Taysom Hill). He’ll still be featured in an offense whose 2nd best receiver is a running back, but I’d bank on a weekly output closer to his 8.4 OPPO per game instead of his touchdown-inflated 12.8 points per game.
I wanted to have a space to call out players that don’t have a write-up but are still worth mentioning because of notable OPPO over the last 4 weeks.
RB: Travis Etienne (18.2 OPPO per game; RB7 overall), Antonio Gibson (13.7; RB16), Miles Sanders (8.4; RB39), Isiah Pacheco (5.2; RB52)
WR: Christian Kirk (16.1; WR10), D.J. Moore (16.0; WR11), D.K. Metcalf (12.0; WR28), Amari Cooper (8.1; WR60)
TE: Pat Freiermuth (12.4; TE3), Tyler Conklin (10.9; TE7), George Kittle (9.5; TE10), Taysom Hill (4.1; TE35)
Don’t agree? Think someone else has been even luckier/unluckier this season? Let me know at @blandalytics!
(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire)