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.
Joe Mixon appeared in every section of this series last year, so it’s fitting that he recorded the highest OPPO of the week while significantly underperforming. In Week 5 he saw 25 carries and 4 targets, which were good for 30.2 OPPO but only 13.4 fantasy points. That OPPO number is second most by a running back this season, which makes it that much harder to take the middling results. His opportunities were expected to return 3.4 catches, 115.0 yards, and 2.6 touchdowns (vs. zero actual touchdowns). Cincinnati’s offense finally looks to be getting on track (see below), so this is hopefully the first of many high-value OPPO games for Mixon.
Ja’Marr Chase was the happy recipient of the touchdowns that Mixon couldn’t score. Chase put up an elite week, with 19 targets that earned him 52.2 points (!!!) and 38.0 OPPO. He looks like he’s back to being the primary feature of a potent passing attack, with 12.8 expected catches (fourth most of any player this season), 132.4 expected receiving yards (fifth most), and 2.0 expected receiving touchdowns (tied for the most). Chase made the most of those targets, earning the most fantasy points in a week for any player this season. He’s not putting up 50+ each week, but he looks ready to challenge for the overall WR1 spot for the rest of the season.
Logan Thomas makes a surprise appearance as the tight end with the most valuable opportunities in Week 5 (which was a big week for tight ends!). In a game where Washington had to throw early and often due to game script, Thomas paced the Commanders with 22.7 points on 21.5 OPPO, stemming from 11 targets which were expected to earn 7.5 catches, 65.2 yards, and 1.2 touchdowns. This game was the highest OPPO of any tight end this season, narrowly beating the higher-profile names of Travis Kelce and Kyle Pitts (who also had monster weeks this week).
I mentioned it when he led running backs in OPPO in Week 2: Tony Pollard is really struggling to make the most of his opportunities. He’s RB5 by OPPO over the last four weeks but is RB18 by actual fantasy points. He’s seen an impressive mix of carries and targets each week (~17 and ~5 per week, respectively), but he NEEDS to start scoring touchdowns. His opportunities in the last month were expected to return 3.3 total touchdowns, but Pollard has zero since he went off in Week 1. I’d expect this to correct itself, as Pollard is a talented back and doesn’t have any notable competition in the Dallas backfield. I’d look for him to have weeks scoring closer to his 18.1 OPPO per game than his actual pace of 13.1.
After (almost) leading wide receivers in OPPO last week, Romeo Doubs now finds himself in the underperformer section. He’s missed a bit of everything, as he’s underperformed his catches, yards, and touchdowns over the last month. If he can’t better capitalize on these looks, his viability as a rosterable player may be in jeopardy, between his inefficiency and Christian Watson‘s return to form. His 15.0 OPPO per game seems hopeful, but he still may be able to put up points per game totals in the low teens going forward.
I think the ship has sailed for Dawson Knox. Between splitting tight end targets with Dalton Kincaid and not converting the looks he does see, I can’t see a path toward fantasy relevance for him. His 7.6 OPPO per week is close to Kincaid’s 5.7, and it’s been fairly stable at that high single-digit rate. Even with positive regression coming, I’m not sure the juice is worth the squeeze for Knox.
Jaleel McLaughlin has been a flash of hope in an otherwise disappointing Denver Broncos season. After Javonte Williams was injured, McLaughlin took those opportunities and ran with them (literally and figuratively). He’s averaged over 7 yards per carry this season, and chipped in another ~8 yards per target. Those opportunities usually return nearly half of that yardage total (4.2 expected yards per rush and 4.4 per target). That impressive yardage efficiency also inflates his touchdown-scoring ability (3 total touchdowns vs. 0.9 expected). Between this regression and Williams’ return, McLaughlin should settle into a backup, change-of-pace role going forward.
D.J. Moore has been the face of a resurgent Bears passing attack. He’s caught 5 touchdowns in the last four weeks, which is the envy of every other receiver in football, and is a pace that will absolutely come down (1.8 expected touchdowns over that same time). He sees a solid 8 targets per game, which is useful but won’t return 20+ points per week. I’d look for him to settle in closer to the mid-teens, with the occasional game script-aided big game.
Scoring three touchdowns in a week is rarely expected, so it should be no surprise to see George Kittle here. The man caught 3 touchdowns on 4 targets in Week 5. That is outrageous efficiency, especially considering that those targets weren’t all red-zone looks, so Week 5 looks to be a blip that is otherwise making up for a shockingly underwhelming season from Kittle. Now is the time to shop him, as he is struggling to find opportunities in that wildly deep 49ers offense, and I don’t expect him to average even double-digit points the rest of the season.
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 over the last 4 weeks.
RB: Alvin Kamara (22.3 OPPO per game; RB1 overall), David Montgomery (20.8; RB3), Zack Moss (16.9; RB8), Rhamondre Stevenson (11.0; RB25), Antonio Gibson (6.2; RB47)
WR: Adam Thielen (19.7; WR5), Marquise Brown (17.0; WR9), Tyreek Hill (15.3; WR16), CeeDee Lamb (14.4; WR23), Calvin Ridley (10.9; WR51)
TE: Jonnu Smith (11.9; TE6), Jake Ferguson (8.9; TE15), George Kittle (7.8; TE19), Hayden Hurst (4.7; TE35)
Don’t agree? Think someone else has been even luckier/unluckier this season? Let me know at @blandalytics!
(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)