Each week, I’ll use my OPPO metric (OPportunity POints) 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. This season’s data can be found here.
Christian McCaffrey is a cheat code. On the season, he’s first in carries and fifth in running back targets. Week 4 was an extension of the season for him: 20 carries and 8 targets, earning him 48.7(!) points on 33.9 OPPO. That OPPO number is the largest by any running back this season (though Week 4 was particularly impressive for them: 3 of the position’s top 4 OPPO weeks were this week). Those opportunities were expected to return 6.3 catches, 120.7 yards, and 2.6 touchdowns (most expected touchdowns this season). The San Francisco 49ers are running on all cylinders this season, and McCaffrey is reaping the benefits. Über-talented player + innovative and effective playcalling = fantasy gold.
Davante Adams had the best OPPO week (again), but I want to highlight Romeo Doubs in 2nd, as I was skeptical of his usage with Christian Watson coming back. Doubs silenced those concerns, with 13 targets which were good for 18.5 points and 22.4 OPPO. That volume will play every week, even if the targets don’t come in the red zone (“only” 0.5 expected TDs). Otherwise, the 8.4 expected catches and 109.3 expected yards are easily startable. Watson should be healthier next week and will eat into Doubs’ targets, but Doubs has established himself as a core piece of the Green Bay passing attack with his 15.6 OPPO per game this season.
Cole Kmet showed up for the Chicago Bears in Week 4. In a game where both teams were known for giving up points in bunches, Kmet capitalized for 27.6 points on 18.9 OPPO. He saw 9 targets that were expected to earn 6.1 catches, 66.6 yards, and 1 touchdown. That combination of volume and value reflects his general usefulness this year, and he should be a relief for anyone looking for a tight end on the wire. He’s TE6 by OPPO this season, and the Bears only have D.J. Moore as competition for downfield targets. Chicago will be trailing a lot this season, and Kmet will benefit from it.
Miles Sanders may be running out of time as an underperformer. He’s seen over 14 carries and 5 targets per week, but games like his most recent one (13 carries for 19 yards and 3 targets for 13 yards) will surely cede some of that workload to Chuba Hubbard (though he hasn’t been impressive, either). On the season, Sanders has lost over 100 total yards compared to expected (239 actual vs. 353.0), and he’ll need to resolve that to perform closer to his fairly impressive OPPO going forward (15.8 OPPO per game; good for RB9 overall).
He’s had to deal with a bit of a quarterback carousel, but Chris Olave should have performed better on the targets he’s seen. His 13.4 points per game isn’t hurting a roster, but his opportunities should be returning 17.0 points per game. The biggest culprit is his lack of results in the red zone (0 touchdowns vs. 1.9 expected). That touchdown regression alone would add ~4 points per game, across all scoring formats. To me, it looks like he’s performing at his floor right now, and I’d be buying before the touchdowns start pouring in (especially if he can get some stability at quarterback).
Zach Ertz is another repeat member of the underperforming section. He’s been one of the focal points of Arizona’s offense with 20% of the Cardinals’ OPPO in 3 out of 4 weeks this season, but he hasn’t quite met those expectations. Similarly to Olave above, Ertz has left some touchdowns on the table (0 vs. 1.6 expected). Compounding that problem is that Ertz is also underperforming his yards expectations. He’s seen the second-most targets by a tight end this season, and that shows no signs of stopping with Joshua Dobbs under center. This is a high-volume player, who should have a high floor with a bit of upside (12.7 OPPO per game; TE3).
The huge overperformers this season are who you’d expect (Achane, Mostert, and McCaffrey), but I’m going to focus on Brian Robinson. All he does is score touchdowns, with 5 total (vs. 2.6 expected). He’s been pretty spot-on with his catch and yardage performance, but I wouldn’t be counting on him consistently being a touchdown maven going forward. He’s still easily a startable RB2/Flex player (12.4 OPPO per game), but he won’t quite be the top-10 running back that he’s been so far this season, especially with so many mouths to feed in Washington and Sam Howell looking like he knows how to sling the ball around.
Brandon Aiyuk has had a wildly efficient season so far. He’s leading the league in % of his team’s receiving yards in games he’s played, and that’s even more impressive in an offense that’s as high-octane as San Francisco’s is. He’s done it by catching 17 of his 20 targets (vs 11.1 expected catches), and that catch overperformance leads to overperforming in yards and touchdowns, too (320 yards and 2 touchdowns, vs 206.4 and 1.1 expected). Some of this may have to do with him lapping the field in separation and YAC, but there’s still room for his performance to come back down to Earth while he remains elite in both of those metrics. I’d expect rest-of-season results closer to his 12.7 OPPO per game (maybe slightly higher if you adjust for the 49ers’ playcalling).
Mark Andrews has been earning his position as an elite tight end for years now, and that should be true again with Baltimore leaning more into the passing game than it has in past seasons. Even with the increased passing volume, Andrews has still only averaged 6 targets per week (10th for tight ends). He’s absolutely been making the most of those targets, though, with 3 touchdowns in 3 games this season (vs. 0.9 expected). That performance combined with slightly more catches and yards than expected, leads to him earning 5.4 more points per game than his targets typically return. He’s still a stud, and I’d expect him to perform at a level somewhere between his 16 points and his 10.6 OPPO per game, especially as he gets further away from a Week 1 injury.
I wanted to have a space to call out players who don’t have a write-up but are still worth mentioning because of notable OPPO.
RB: Kyren Williams (19.1 OPPO per game; RB4 overall), David Montgomery (17.3; RB5), Isiah Pacheco (13.8; RB13), Rhamondre Stevenson (13.3; RB19), Najee Harris (8.7; RB37)
WR: Jakobi Meyers (18.3; WR7), Tutu Atwell (15.7; WR12. Might be the floor for Cooper Kupp‘s expectations), Nico Collins (14.8; WR19), Courtland Sutton (12.9; WR28), Calvin Ridley (12.2; WR 40)
TE: Jonnu Smith (12.1; TE4), Jake Ferguson (11.4; TE5), Sam LaPorta (10.2; TE11), Luke Musgrave (6.9; TE22)
Don’t agree? Think someone else has been even luckier/unluckier this season? Let me know at @blandalytics!
(Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire)