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.
Indianapolis doesn’t have a lot going well right now, but Jonathan Taylor looks like he’s back to being the workhorse that they expected (and that many people drafted him as). He saw 85% of the team’s carries, as he put up 18.4 points on 22.5 OPPO. In addition to his ground game dominance, he also added 4 targets. These opportunities were expected to yield 3.5 catches, 106.6 yards, and 1.4 touchdowns. His injuries look to be behind him, as he performed as expected on his yards and catches this week, only coming up short in touchdowns, and is up to RB9 by OPPO over the last 4 weeks.
Davante Adams just keeps putting up monster games. This week (33.1 points on 23.6 OPPO) marks his third WR1 overall finish in OPPO, as he continues to grow his season-long OPPO lead. He is far and away the top dog in Las Vegas’ passing game, with Mack Hollins the only other player who saw more than 5 targets. The expected result of his 13 targets were 7.6 catches, 112.3 yards, and 0.8 touchdowns. Even though he scored 9.5 points over his expectations this week, his season-long performance roughly matches his expectations (20.9 OPPO per game vs 21.6 points per game).
Dallas’ defense made T.J. Hockenson the focal point of Minnesota’s passing game this week. With the Cowboys locking down Justin Jefferson, Hockenson put up 8.4 points on 18.9 OPPO. He saw 9 targets this week, which were expected to yield 6.2 catches for 57.0 yards and 1.2 touchdowns. As Vikings fans can tell you, Hockenson did not meet any of these expectations. This was a week where Minnesota couldn’t get anything going on offense, and I’d expect Hockenson (and Jefferson) to be fine going forward and continue to put up points that match his TE3 overall OPPO.
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.
Somehow, Rhamondre Stevenson has room for improvement. I’ve been frequently featuring him in the Quick Hits section, as he continues to put up absolutely elite opportunity totals. Over the last four weeks, though, he’s been underperforming. Based on the carries and targets he’s seen, Stevenson was expected to have 1 more touchdown than he’s scored, as well as 23.9 more yards. Stevenson has been a stud all season, and I expect him to put up numbers close to his 19.7 OPPO per game (RB3 overall, and 5th best of any position!) in the next few weeks.
His younger teammate has been getting the attention, but Allen Lazard has quietly been seeing the most valuable targets in Green Bay’s passing game. He’s been seeing over 8 targets per game and was expected to put up almost 0.8 touchdowns per game from them over the last four weeks. That is elite Red Zone usage and shows the trust that Aaron Rodgers has in him. Lazard has room to improve in every category (catches, yards, and touchdowns), and I’d look for performances to look more like his 16.3 OPPO per game going forward.
No part of the passing game in Pittsburgh is doing well, but I still expect more from Pat Freiermuth. He’s been lurking around double-digit fantasy points per game, so he hasn’t been a disappointment. Freiermuth has seen almost 9 targets per game in the last 4 weeks (2nd most by a tight end) and should start to convert them into even better point totals. His targets aren’t in the most valuable areas (0.3 expected touchdowns per game), but with the volume he sees, he doesn’t need to rely on touchdowns. I’d be valuing him and his target volume close to his 13.8 OPPO per game, which is currently TE3 overall.
Joe Mixon exploded in Week 9 and has been riding that high since. Obviously, any stretch of time that includes one of the best fantasy performances of all time will be ripe for overperformance, but it’s still worth pointing out what the regression would look like. In this case: it looks pretty good! He was expected to have 4+ catches, nearly 80 yards, and roughly 0.7 touchdowns per game. Mixon should still be a stud this season, and I’d look for him to put up numbers like his 16.8 OPPO per game for the rest of the season.
Amari Cooper has been capitalizing on every target he’s seen. He’s turned 22 targets into 16 catches over the last four weeks, against an expectation of 12.3. Everything trickles down from there: fewer catches means fewer yards and fewer touchdowns. He’s still the main threat for Cleveland’s passing game, but his usage isn’t head-and-shoulders above his teammates (ex: Donovan Peoples-Jones has more expected touchdowns on a similar number of targets). I’d look to see him approach a startable 13.3 OPPO per game, which is much more conservative than his 20.5 fantasy points per game. We’re past the trade deadline in most leagues, but Cooper may not be the guaranteed WR1 he’s recently been.
Cole Kmet has seen his fortunes rise with the star turn from his quarterback. Justin Fields has gone supernova, and Kmet has been the main beneficiary. He’s seen 5 touchdowns over the last four weeks, against an expectation of “just” 1.9. He’s also seen less than 5 targets per game, so it will be hard to maintain that touchdown rate on such low volume. Kmet is still a startable tight end, but I’d bank on a weekly output closer to his 9.6 OPPO per game instead of his current 15.3 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: Najee Harris (15.6 OPPO per game; RB13 overall), James Conner (14.8; RB14), D’Andre Swift (9.9; RB32), Miles Sanders (8.3; RB38)
WR: Josh Palmer (16.3; WR10), Terry McLaurin (15.5; WR14), A.J. Brown (13.9; WR21), Christian Watson (8.4; WR36)
TE: Cade Otton (10.0; TE10), Greg Dulcich (7.9; TE19), George Kittle (7.4; TE21), Taysom Hill (4.5; TE37)
Don’t agree? Think someone else has been even luckier/unluckier this season? Let me know at @blandalytics!
(Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire)