Opportunity Report: Week 5

Kenny Hyttenhove looks at which players are getting the most opportunities to score fantasy points. Who should you fade, and who is of interest based on usage?

Why Volume?

 

Having a pulse on the distribution of volume in the NFL plays a huge role in winning your fantasy leagues. The Opportunity Report is designed so you can see the players getting the best opportunities to produce on the field. After all, you can’t score fantasy points if your fantasy players are not getting opportunities to touch the ball on the field.

 

Reading the Opportunity Report

 

The only players included in my data set each week are players that received at least 20% of the most targets or implied touches at the position. For example, the running backs included in the data set are players that amassed at least 20% of the implied touches (rushing attempts + targets)  of the top running back performer in that category. This is to eliminate the players at each position that are not fantasy-relevant and dial in the true top performers.

The statistics analyzed in each skill position table are the volume statistics that correlate most closely to PPR fantasy points over the last three years. To read more about these stats and what others you should be focusing on to help you score more fantasy points check out my Fantasy 101:What Stats Matter article.

Players in the “Getting Louder” section are players that are showing positive volume statistics but did not get a write-up. They are worth a look based on their volume peripherals included in the charts.

 

Running Back

 

Week 4: RB Volume Leaders

 

Week 4 Highlighted Players (PPR Points): Myles Gaskin (9.2), Rex Burkhead (6), Devin Singletary (18.6)

Above Average PPR Performance Week 4 Hit Rate: 66% scored above 8.9 PPR points, the average for the position in Week 4.

  • Antonio Gibson had a big week in Week 4. We knew coming into the season that Washington was going to try to utilize him all over the field and we saw that reflected in their gameplan. Gibson saw touches on the ground, through the air, and the coveted touches in the green zone. Gibson was out-targeted by backfield-mate J.D. McKissic 8 to 5, but Gibson received the most goal line carries in the offense. He was able to capitalize and score another touchdown. Gibson is currently RB18 in PPR leagues and with continued usage like this, he could rise to fringe RB1 levels.

 

  • CMC who? Not exactly, but managers that handcuffed Christian McCaffrey with backup Mike Davis have not felt the loss of McCaffrey that they may have expected. Since filling in for McCaffrey in Week 2 Davis has averaged 22.6 points per game according to FantasyData.com. That is good enough production to be RB6 over those weeks. What has kept Davis’ floor so high has been his usage in the passing game. He has seen the third-most targets by a running back since Week 2 with 15. That’s behind only Ezekiel Elliot and Alvin Kamara. Davis may have proven himself enough to be a change of pace back for McCaffrey when he returns from injury and contribute value later in the season.

 

  • After essentially being benched in Week 2 after a botched handoff that resulted in a turnover, Ronald Jones has emerged as the lead back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With Leonard Fournette getting only nine touches in Week 3 because of injury, Jones led the team out of the backfield over the last two weeks. Despite catching the ball at an inefficient 62% rate, he is fourth over the last two weeks in running back targets. However, the true test of whether Jones can return RB2 or FLEX value is if he gets more looks in the green zone, even when Fournette returns. He currently has three implied touches (2 attempts and a target) to Fournette’s two. If he can keep an edge in this area, he will be more valuable than Fournette going forward.

 

  • Speaking of green zone touches, the only thing keeping Todd Gurley‘s fantasy value alive is his usage within the 5-yard line. Last week he turned in an Elite volume performance with three green zone attempts. Gurley is now ranked third in the NFL in rushing attempts from the green zone with 7. Those attempts have converted into touchdowns over 40% of the time over the last three years. Currently, Gurley is right on track converting 3 of his 7 attempts for touchdowns or 43%. If you are a Gurley owner, this is your lifeline to fantasy points. If you start to see a decline in green zone attempts, he is not worth rostering. Gurley ranks 30th in yards created and 26th in breakaway rate (percentage of carries 15 yards or greater) according to FantasyData.com. He has lost all big-play ability but his nose for the end zone is still good.

 

Wide Receiver

 

Week 4: WR Volume Leaders

 

 

Week 4 Highlighted Players (PPR Points): Greg Ward (7.9), Michael Gallup (4.9), James Washington (DNP), Chris Conley (7.4)

Above Average PPR Performance Week 2 Hit Rate: 66% scored above 7.1 PPR points, the average for the position in Week 4.

 

  • Terry McLaurin has posted above-average opportunity since Week 1 for the Washington Football Team. It makes sense given that Washington has run the 3rd most plays (177) trailing by 7 or more points. The team needs to throw the ball to be competitive and McLaurin is by far their best receiving threat. Despite all the opportunity, McLaurin only has one touchdown so far this year. This should correct itself as the year plays out, as he should have another touchdown based on the amount of receiving yards he has accrued. His stock may take a hit however now that Kyle Allen has been named the starter in Washington. Allen struggles to throw the deep ball accurately. He completed just 23.2% of his 56 passes 20 yards or more downfield. That was the worst in the league in 2019. Currently, McLaurin’s average depth of target is 10.2 yards and Seven of his 39 targets have been 15 or more yards downfield. This could put a cap on some of McLaurin’s big plays, but he should continue to be a target monster in an offense lacking weapons.

 

  • One of the top buy-low candidates at the receiver position right now is Marquise Brown. Hollywood is currently performing at WR4 levels in PPR scoring, however, that should not last if he cashes in on the opportunity he is receiving. Brown has a 27% target share, ranks seventh in air yards, and fifth in WOPR. His current average depth of target is 17.8 yards which rank third in the league. He is getting targeted with the deep ball, which can be a gamble with boom or bust results. Last season, Lamar Jackson completed just 33% of his deep ball attempts. This season he is completing a similar 31%. Should that number improve, even slightly, and Brown could be a huge boost to your receiving corps for the three-fourths of your season.

 

  • With injuries ravaging the Colts receivers, last season’s target leader, Zach Pascal has come back into play. Pascal was targeted a season-high eight times last week in the Colts win over the Bears. Pascal worked as a deep threat averaging 13.9 air yards per target. As a result, Pascal only brought in three of his eight targets. However, three of his targets were within the red zone and one was in the end zone. Pascal could be a name to watch as the Colts offense looks to find a healthy receiver to jump-start their offense.

 

Tight End

 

Week 4: TE Volume Leaders

 

 

Week 4 Highlighted Players (PPR Points): Noah Fant (8.5)

Above Average PPR Performance Week 4 Hit Rate: 100% scored above 7 PPR points, the average for the position in Week 4.

 

  • After disappearing in Week 3, Darren Waller had another huge week against the Buffalo Bills. With 12 targets, 3 of which in the red zone, Waller was second to only inhuman George Kittle for targets at the position. With Kittle injured, Waller leads the league in targets, receptions, and WOPR. With all the Raiders’ injuries to their receivers, Waller is easily their best option and will be fighting for the rights of the overall TE1 crown going forward.

 

  • Much like Todd Gurley above, Greg Olsen, the big plays have all but disappeared from Olsen’s game. However, also like Gurley, Olsen is getting targeted close to the end zone which means you need to pay attention, especially with Russell Wilson and his 11.7% touchdown rate at quarterback. In Week 4, Olsen saw an Elite Level of opportunity with 3 targets within the red zone. He was only able to catch one and it wasn’t for a score, but regression says one is coming if the targets maintain. Olsen is near the top of the league with six total targets within the red zone, and for a guy that’s rostered in only 24% of Yahoo leagues, he may be worth a stream as bye weeks (scheduled or not) approach.

 

  • A fantasy analyst favorite dart throw at the tight end position was Ian Thomas this summer. He has yet to pan out in the 2020 season, but that happens with dart throws. He did show some signs of life in Week 4, as he had two targets within the red zone and scored a touchdown on one. Thomas was also responsible for 17% of the Panthers air yards in their victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Could this be the beginning of steady TE2 production or a blip on the tight end radar?

 

Did you see something in the numbers that I didn’t mention? Help out your fellow QBL readers by posting about it in the comments or @ me on Twitter @KennyQBL.

Stats provided by fantasydata.com, PFF.com

 

(Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire | Feature Graphic Designed by James Peterson (Follow @jhp_design714 on Instagram & Twitter)

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