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.
Despite getting only 14 carries, Leonard Fournette earned 35.9 fantasy points on a league-leading 26.9 OPPO. He more than made up for his lack of groundwork by seeing 11 targets, which was 2nd among RB. Due to his passing game involvement, he was expected to earn 8.6 catches, 108.9 total yards, and 1.2 touchdowns.
Thanks to a high-scoring Browns-Chargers game, Amari Cooper paced all WR with 24.9 OPPO, while returning 20.6 fantasy points. He made up for the middling volume with elite value: those targets were expected to earn 1.6 touchdowns, in addition to 6.7 catches and 86.1 yards.
Travis Kelce showed his dominance this week, turning 22.1 OPPO into 33.5 fantasy points. Kelce had some of the highest-value looks in the NFL this season: he only needed 8 targets to rack up an expectation of 5.1 catches, 32.7 yards, and 2.3 (!) touchdowns. That is the most expected touchdowns in a week this season, and he did it on only 8 targets (2nd-highest xTD this season needed 16 targets).
This is the season that nobody hoped for from Najee Harris. His 17 carries & targets per game are still good usage, but that’s down from his insane 23+ per-game last year. That previous usage couldn’t have been expected to continue, but improving his efficiency could make him the RB1 that he was believed to be. Unfortunately, he also seems to have taken a step back there: he’s expected to have earned over 1 more yard per rush than what he’s done (4.25 vs 3.22). I wonder if that preseason Lisfranc injury has been slowing him down, and may help explain the discrepancy between his 13.5 OPPO per game and his 10.8 fantasy points per game.
There’s a pretty easy explanation for Diontae Johnson’s underperforming so far: he has 0 touchdowns. He’s expected to have caught 2, based on the targets he’s seen, which gets him most of the way to his 17 OPPO per game. Finding those missing 150+ expected receiving yards would also be a boon to his value. Hopefully Kenny Pickett can establish a rapport with Johnson and start getting him some of those precious touchdowns.
Zach Ertz is yet another touchdown-hungry receiving option. He’s almost bang-on with his reception total (28 vs 27.6 expected), but his targets haven’t resulted in the yards (229 vs 270.1 expected) and touchdowns (2 vs 3.6 expected) that they typically yield. His 15.3 OPPO is good for 3rd among tight ends, but he still has room to improve if he keeps being utilized like he has (which may be tricky with DeAndre Hopkins returning soon).
It seems like all Austin Ekeler does is break off big gains. He’s performing above expectations across every category: more rushing yards, more rushing touchdowns, more catches, more receiving yards, AND more receiving touchdowns. His biggest regression target is his 31 catches on 33 targets. Even after considering he’s receiving easier looks as a running back, that 94% catch rate is crazy high. Fewer catches lead to fewer receiving yards and fewer receiving touchdowns. He may not get all the way down to his 15.5 OPPO per game, but I think he’ll definitely trend down from his current 22.7 points per game
It was his teammate last week, but this week we focus on Gabe Davis and his overperformance. An absolutely massive Week 5 point total (32.1 points) masks how unlikely that production was (12.7 OPPO). Big-play Gabe is doing his best Aaron Judge impression with how many home run plays he has. This boom-or-bust style will lead to a ton of volatility (like his 2.3 points just last week), and the point of OPPO is to try to cut through this volatility. The Bills have the talent and scheme to uncork huge plays on a seemingly regular basis, but my weekly expectation for Davis is closer to his 9.5 OPPO per game than to his 15 fantasy points per game.
Oh boy. This is the blurb I’ve been waiting for: analyzing the overperformance of Taysom Hill. Across 21 carries, TD Taysom has averaged 10 yards per carry and has scored ~25% of the time. For context, all-world running back Nick Chubb has averaged only 6 yards per carry and scored on 7% of his carries. This is a truly mind-boggling performance by Hill. I wish it was talent or the brilliance of New Orleans’ scheme, but I can’t see him continuing anywhere NEAR this level. His 3.6 OPPO per game is un-rosterable, even with the occasional touchdown pass (which I also wouldn’t expect a lot of). The only thing that actually makes sense about this “tight end” is that he has 1 catch on 0.8 expected catches.
Don’t agree? Think someone else has been even luckier/unluckier this season? Let me know at @blandalytics!
(Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire)