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.
Christian McCaffrey did it all for the 49ers this week, earning 34.9 fantasy points on 26.1 OPPO. I mentioned last week in my George Kittle highlight that they were slow to incorporate McCaffrey into the offense, and now it’s looking like he IS their offense. McCaffrey paced the team in both carries (18) and targets (9). His workload usually translates to 6.9 catches, 114.6 yards, and 1.3 touchdowns. This doesn’t even include him throwing a touchdown pass. It took a week to get up to speed, but it’s full steam ahead for McCaffrey in San Francisco.
Our Week 6 wide receiver highlight returns! Tyreek Hill put up another monster week, with 31.5 fantasy points on 27.1 OPPO. He did it in his typical fashion: getting open down the field for tons of targets (14) and a monstrous amount of air yards (222). Deep targets have distinct pros and cons: the pro is that they typically go for big gains (2nd-most expected yards this season, with 155.2), while the cons are that they have a lower catch rate (8.8 expected catches on 14 targets) and don’t typically result in touchdowns (0.4 expected touchdowns from those targets).
Tyler Conklin popped off this week, with 25.9 fantasy points on 20.6 OPPO. He was a focal point of the Jets in scoring position this week, earning 10 targets which were expected to result in 5.2 catches, 80.8 yards, and 1.2 touchdowns (2nd-most in the NFL this week, behind only… checks notes Terrace Marshall who had 1.9 expected touchdowns?!). Conklin had a monopoly on New York’s scoring looks, as the rest of the team combined for only 1.1 expected touchdowns (both rushing & receiving).
Now that we’re around the halfway point of the season, I’m going to look at OPPO over the last 4 weeks for over- & underperformers, instead of across the whole season. Both timeframes are still available on the Google Sheet. This should keep the information more relevant, by focusing more on recent player performances and opportunities.
Despite being in a committee, Melvin Gordon is still getting a fair share of opportunities. It’s a coin flip between who is the “lead back” on this offense over the last 4 weeks, with him earning 10.1 OPPO per game and Latavius Murray earning 10.2. Gordon has room to improve to get up to his double-digit OPPO, but I think he can do it. With his experience on the team and his more valuable opportunities in Week 8 (14.7 OPPO vs Murray’s 11.2), Gordon looks to have the momentum and the trust of the coaching staff. He should also have a bit of time to further establish himself before new acquisition Chase Edmonds gets up to speed.
Chris Godwin is the kind of player that I like having OPPO for. He very consistently puts up WR2/FLEX points, so it’s easy to just expect that going forward and lock him into that valuation. If you peek under the hood, though, you see that he’s getting a lot of valuable opportunities which usually result in more catches, yards, and touchdowns. He’s WR8 overall by OPPO over the last 4 weeks, with 17.1 per game, which outpaces his points per game by 3.9. Mike Evans is similarly underperforming, so there may be an underlying problem (QB play, scheme, etc), but I’d look for Godwin (and Evans) to find another level if Tampa Bay keeps utilizing him as they have.
On a team decimated by injuries, Gerald Everett has done his best to step into the target vacuum. He’s averaged ~5 targets a week but hasn’t quite capitalized on the opportunities he’s been given. I expect some positive regression in all categories (catches, yards, and touchdowns) if he can keep up this usage. With how frequently Chargers wide receivers are visiting the medical staff, I think Everett can be a startable tight end and put up closer to his 10.5 OPPO per week.
Rookie sensation Kenneth Walker just keeps scoring touchdowns. He’s had 5 touchdowns on the ground in his last 4 weeks. I wish I could see over a touchdown a game for him going forward, but his carries over the last 4 weeks typically result in just over 1 touchdown total (1.3). That’s some pretty major overperformance on touchdowns, which can be linked to his rush yardage overperformance (403 actual yards vs 289.5 expected). Based on his 10.8 OPPO per game, he’s still startable as a low-end RB2/FLEX option, but I’d be wary of expecting anything close to the 18.7 points per game he’s been putting up.
The curious case of Justin Jefferson, as I can see both positive and negative regression for him. Good news: he somehow hasn’t caught a touchdown in 4 weeks, despite seeing 29 targets that should have yielded 1 touchdown (and probably more, given his talent). Bad news: he is massively overperforming in yardage (and slightly overperforming in catches). He’s averaged ~90 yards per game, while I’d expect his looks to return closer to 60 yards per game. The net result of this regression gives him (still elite) 16.8 OPPO per game, which would be a step back from his current 20 points per game.
After celebrating him last week, it’s time to pump the brakes a bit on George Kittle. He’s a beast and deserves a good share of San Francisco’s passing attack, but there are a lot of talented mouths to feed there. In addition to a potential usage decline, Kittle has also been overperforming the opportunities he has received. He’s been very impressive at chewing up yardage, averaging ~15 more yards than expected, while also catching a higher-than-expected amount of his targets. If he’s utilized the same amount going forward, I’d expect him to be closer to his 12.5 OPPO per game (and that may be on the more optimistic side, based on his 9.2 OPPO in Week 8 with all of the 49ers’ weapons active and healthy).
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: Rhamondre Stevenson (19.6 OPPO per game; RB4 overall!), James Conner (based on Eno Benjamin‘s usage: 13.4; RB14), Raheem Mostert (12.0; RB18), Antonio Gibson (11.1; RB24).
WR: Diontae Johnson (18.0; WR6), D.J. Moore (16.8; WR9), Davante Adams (12.8; WR29), Jakobi Meyers (11.4; WR44).
TE: Evan Engram (12.8; TE3!), Pat Freiermuth (9.5; TE14), Taysom Hill (5.3; TE33)
Don’t agree? Think someone else has been even luckier/unluckier this season? Let me know at @blandalytics!
(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire)