Opportunity Report: Week 7

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 6: RB Volume Leaders

 

Week 6 Highlighted Players (PPR Points): Joe Mixon (14.9), Justin Jackson (BYE), Chase Edmonds (3.9)

Above Average PPR Performance Week 6 Hit Rate: 50% scored above 7.7 PPR points, the average for the position in Week 6.

 

  • David Johnson has been lackluster in the fantasy department this season. He’s turned in just one RB1 performance and that was way back in Week 1. His peripheral numbers show that he is getting solid opportunities so far this season, despite his pedestrian output. He ranks 11th in attempts and 19th in targets this season. Week 6 was an especially good week for Johnson in the opportunity department. He ranked above average for running backs in implied touches and touches. He also had an elite ranking for his green zone work, with five attempts within the five-yard line. Johnson has a lock on the goalline work in the Houston offense this season. He has all eight on the attempts from the running back position and these are the most valuable touches on the field. Despite this, David Johnson may be stuck in RB2 purgatory unless his 10% target share increases. However, with the talk (more talk) of Duke Johnson getting more involved in the offense, that may just be wishful thinking.

 

  • Fantasy managers rejoice! D’Andre Swift was sighted making plays in the Detroit Lions offense. By all accounts, this looked like a breakout game for Swift. He has had three RB3 and one RB2 showing so far this season. His usage has been puzzling considering Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson haven’t been setting the fantasy world aflame.  Swift’s efficiency numbers are superior to Peterson’s, however, AP is still one of the best backs at creating yards after what is blocked for him. He is 13th in the league in yards created per attempt according to fantasydata.com. Swift ranks 37th in the same metric but offers the ability for the offense to be more dynamic with his ability to run and catch. He’s also leading the Lions with six carries within the 10-yard line. Swift is the back to own in Detroit.

 

  • A week with no Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay turns in his best volume performance of the year. It’s clear that this will be his backfield if Gordon misses any time in the future from injury or suspension. Lindsay had a 62.5% snap share in Week 6 against the Patriots. He also saw all the goal-line work, with two attempts within the 5-yard line. The discouraging piece of his Week 6 profile was his 0 targets. While his counterpart, Royce Freeman, only saw one target of his own, it doesn’t seem that throwing the ball to Lindsay is a part of their gameplan going forward. That will cap his ceiling tremendously and keep him in RB3 with RB2 upside territory going forwards.

 

Other Week 6 Standouts: David Montgomery, Ronald Jones, Joe Mixon, Alexander Mattison, Ezekiel Elliot

 

Wide Receiver

 

Week 6: WR Volume Leaders

 

Week 6 Highlighted Players (PPR Points): Robby Anderson (11.7), Darius Slayton (11.8), Jeff Smith (1.8)

Above Average PPR Performance Week 6 Hit Rate: 66% scored above 8.2 PPR points, the average for the position in Week 6.

 

  • Can Amari Cooper matter without Dak Prescott at the helm of the Cowboys offense? In Week 6 the Cowboys ran 87 plays in 60 minutes, the most plays they have run all season, with Andy Dalton at quarterback. they threw the ball at the third-highest rate all season. Throwing the ball on 68% of their plays according to the Rotoviz Pace Tool. If the passing game maintains, Cooper’s volume should have the ability to hold as well. He is currently second at the position in targets and receptions. He also ranks sixth in receiving yards. Cooper’s biggest problem this year has been the endzone. He ranks 24th in receiving touchdowns. He only has two so far this year. Using his receiving yardage, which correlates strongly to touchdowns, he should have at least three touchdowns so far this year. In fact, the two weeks he had touchdowns, Weeks 4 and 6, he was a WR1 in fantasy. Cooper in a bona fide WR1 going forward and one that looks to be showing a bit more consistency so far in 2020. (We will chalk up the Week 5 blunder to the Dak injury.)

 

  • Brandin Cooks has entered the chat. Over the last three games, Cooks has lived up to the Will Fuller arbitrage some fantasy experts were predicting he’d be during draft season. Cooks looks to be fully healed from his quad injury earlier in the season and has had two WR1 weeks in a row. Cooks did have far fewer air yards than Fuller last week and two fewer targets, but he saw two targets within the five-yard line. Those targets are almost as valuable as a rush is to a running back from the same area of the field. This does not appear to be a trend unless it’s the beginning of one since all the Houston receivers are about even in targets within that area of the field. Cooks big weeks have been boosted by some touchdown help, but his target share still makes him a very valuable option in an offense that, though low-volume passes at the fifth-highest rate in the league.

 

  • While Marcus Johnson was the big play receiver that jumped off the screen in the Colts 21 point comeback in Week 6, Zach Pascal once again should be the receiver piquing interests. This isn’t the first time that Pascal has been covered in this report. Week 6 showed that Pascal is a viable target in this Colts passing attack, especially within the red zone. Of his above-average seven targets, an elite ranking of 3 came within the red zone. One of those also came within the five yard-line. Pascal does need to improve his catch percentage as he ranks 73rd in the league in true catch percentage which takes into account the percentage of catchable balls caught only. He has to hang onto the ball to truly ascend to a strong fantasy option, but the volume is there.

 

Other Week 6 Standouts: Julio Jones, Michael Gallup, D.J. Moore, Cooper Kupp, Tee Higgins, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Randall Cobb, Brandon Aiyuk, Preston Williams, Chris Conley, Trent Taylor

 

Tight End

 

Week 6: TE Volume Leaders

 

Week 6 Highlighted Players (PPR Points): Travis Kelce (21.5), Austin Hooper (10.2)

Above Average PPR Performance Week 6 Hit Rate: 100% scored above 5.6 PPR points, the average for the position in Week 6.

 

  • This should be the year two breakout for Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson. He’s shown flashes with two TE1 finishes this season, but he’s trapped in a perpetual low volume offense in Detroit. Detroit passes on a middling 55% of their passes in neutral game scripts and Hockenson sees 15% of the target share. That’s not a terrible number, but it’s not great and it is forcing Hockenson to be extremely efficient and touchdown dependent to be fantasy relevant. However, over the last three games, Hockenson has seen the second-most targets for tight ends in the red zone to Travis Kelce. Those targets have the strongest correlation to PPR fantasy points at the tight end position. It helps also that he can run. Hockenson is ranks 7th at the tight end position at yards after the catch per reception. That helps him make the most of every opportunity he gets. It’s quite clear that Hockenson is a dangerous weapon in the Lions offense, but unless they shift more targets his way or move to a more pass-heavy offense, Hock will continue to be a touchdown-dependent option at tight end.

 

  • Finally, Irv Smith is showing some signs of life in the Minnesota Vikings offense. Smith was a trendy late-round dart throw at the tight end position in drafts because of his athletic profile. Over the last two games, Smith was top 10 in targets for tight ends in the red zone. He also has been utilized more in the slot. In Weeks 1-4 he didn’t see a single snap from the slot where he was utilized on about 41% of his snaps last year. Over the last two weeks, he has been moved back to the slot and seen some good positional matchups. If Minnesota’s defense continues to struggle, it may spell more opportunity for Smith as well. He may just live up to that late-round sleeper hype after all.
  • Rob Gronkowski, The Artist Formerly Known as Gronk, saw his largest target share of the season in Week 6 and put up Gronk-like numbers for old time’s sake. In just his second TE1 performance this year, Gronk was targeted a season-high eight times with one of those coming within the 5-yard line. He also had two more targets within the red zone, one of which he scored on for his first touchdown of the year. Gronkowski should continue to be a threat within the red zone this season, especially with O.J. Howard hitting season-ending IR. He can be very dangerous still in the red zone as he is 10th in yards after the catch per reception, averaging 6 yards with each catch and run. Look for Gronk to return each week he enters the end zone.

Other Week 6 Standouts: Zach Ertz, Durham Smythe, Darren Fells, Logan Thomas, Adam Shaheen

 

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 Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire | Feature Graphic Designed by James Peterson (Follow @jhp_design714 on Instagram & Twitter)

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