Welcome back! It is week 17 so hardly anyone cares, except us dynasty nuts.
So for this week’s column, I am converting a lot of the stats back into season long numbers. That’s what we will be looking at all off-season to get an idea of who to target in trades after all. I’ll also take another look at the top 12 rookies in opportunity this season.
So, let’s dig in, and see what we can find.
Data and Links
I’m writing my opinion on data. You can, and should disagree at will. I hope these are links that can help you do that.
You can see the complete data with extra stats and metrics I’m collecting, including snap and touch %, here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/11M2V-gYlAlrK74eN688NMTrZ9vAPsOanzfAzLVSFLgE/edit?usp=sharing
Sources: Airyards.com, ffstatistics.com, and 4for4.com
The Top 12
Here are the players who have led in receiving opportunity over the last three weeks.
- Kenny Golladay is once again looking like an opportunity star. He has been all season to be honest. He’s made some recovery in his PPG but if you are looking for a regression candidate this week, for some reason, I think he should be on the list to beat his 13.8 points per game season-long average in week 17.
- Robby Anderson had a monster game last week, as we all know. His production has been slightly above expected based on his opportunity over the last three weeks. However, he and Sam Darnold seem to be enjoying the dog days of the season together and it could well continue.
- George Kittle has been an incredible breakout story in 2018. He’s overproducing over the last three weeks partly due to his yards after catch numbers. Remember my expected points model is geared towards wide receivers, so it’s hard to judge. I don’t see any reason not to lock him into the top-four players at the position for dynasty.
- The loss of Josh Gordon may have contributed to Julian Edelman’s rising numbers, however he has been a steady mainstay of the New England offense since his return, so that might just be coincidence. He doesn’t seem to be fading at all when he’s healthy.
- Allen Robinson has come back to dominate opportunity over the last three weeks, pushing Taylor Gabriel and Anthony Miller into the background. However their legitimate split continued throughout the majority of the season and that’ll have to be reckoned with this off-season for dynasty owners.
- Jordy Nelson should probably have been on this list sooner. I don’t truly understand most of Oakland’s usage patterns this season. Amari Cooper has been freed now, but the team still seems to have hampered what could have been a very solid veteran season from Nelson and fantasy players.
Here are the top 12 players to gain the most opportunity in the last three weeks.
- Taywan Taylor continued his rise in usage in week 16. I think Titan skill position players will be interesting trade targets this off-season and Taylor should be on that list.
- Unsurprising to anyone who’s been reading this column, DaeSean Hamilton and Tim Patrick continue to pick up usage and crowd rookie ADP sensation Courtland Sutton. Since the team has no motivation to give them targets outside of their play, I think it’s encouraging. Both seem like less likely dynasty assets but I’m interesting in holding if I can’t trade them for decent return.
- Jamison Crowder has once again made it back into the top 36 wide receivers. He’s yet to finish in the top 24 in his career but his late-season surge in 2018 again reminds us of the potential we keep hoping will sustain.
- Josh Reynolds is in a rare situation where he can be rostered “in case of injury” as a wide receiver. It’s also positive to know he can produce when opportunity, though it has been less impressive than I would like if I was going to target him in trades.
- I think 2018 is likely going to be Robert Foster‘s best season.
- Evan Engram would come back just at the end of the season to increase his trade price, wouldn’t he?
Here are the players who have lost the most opportunity over the last three weeks. To make it as relevant as possible, I’ve also restricted it to players who have had at least 10% of their team’s targets over the last three weeks.
- I sure hope people downgrade Adam Thielen in dynasty because of his – and his team’s – drop in receiving opportunity.
- No one on this list has dropped below an 18% target share except for Jermain Kearse and Nelson Agholor. What’s most striking about that might be the fact Tarik Cohen and James White are both running backs and still get a larger share of their team’s receiving game than most wide receivers.
Rookie Wide Receivers
Here the top 12 rookie wide receivers in opportunity in 2018 from weeks one to 16.
- Only three players on the list have averaged ten PPG this season: Christian Kirk, Calvin Ridley and Keke Coutee.
- Michel Gallup has had the same usage on the season as in his three-week split. Calvin Ridley and D.J. Moore have been about the same as well. That’s promising in my opinion.
- James Washington, Robert Foster and Dante Pettis have shown big gains in the last three weeks in opportunity. Foster seems more like necessity, Pettis seems to be a product of injury and Washington may just be getting some snaps as the team tries to take a look at him. However, it could also be that Washington has finally earned some work, which – considering his target competition – would be a very impressive sign.
- Courtland Sutton has lead the group over the entire season. However, he’s the one I’m most worried about. According to December ADP, these players are valued: Moore, Ridley and then Sutton from WR20 to 22 respectively. That places their value at about the same. Sutton has had the least amount of competition this season and the most volume and yet has continued to struggle with efficiency (see RACR column – 0.8 is average). While all three have been great rookie seasons, I wouldn’t draft any but Moore inside the top 24 right now. They are, in effect, creating value for players like Kirk who has earned just as much opportunity but also demonstrated efficiency. Or Gallup who, even with the addition of Amari Cooper, continued to equal all three of the top valued rookies in opportunity on his team.
- I think the injury problems with Keke Coutee and Tre’Quan Smith should be noted since both demonstrated an ability to produce at different times this season as well.
- It’s hard to judge Equanimeous St. Brown and James Washington on the volume they received this season. I’m going to try and trade for Washington on the basis of Jurassic Park’s “life finds a way” mantra. “Talent finds a way”. But ESB is a target (less interesting, but same principal) based on their college profiles.
- Antonio Callaway walks away with the “I don’t know what to do with him” award for 2018. His college off-field concerns didn’t seem to follow him to the NFL this year. But he repeatedly disappeared after high-volume weeks. He has a talented quarterback who has shown the tendency in 2018 to spread opportunity around. That could suggest that Callaway’s numbers might have been because he was available rather than he was showing separation from the pack.
- Dante Pettis lives on volume. While the team has paid the draft price to give him that volume, and he has been a steady top 24 wide receiver when on the field, I’m staying away on principal. His college profile, to me, looked average and I still think the team could be force feeding him to justify their investment. As that incentive dulls, Pettis’ volume could become a mirage – though I admit I can’t fault anyone for liking how his rookie season has gone overall, and it was a very solid value return on a second round pick.
Okay, folks, I’m outta here again. Good luck to you all, may your trade block be overflowing and active.
Good luck out there.
Zeno James, from ffstatistics.com, has been invaluable in collecting this data on a weekly basis. Give him a follow at @theDude_Z on Twitter
I’m using a mix of data from 4for4.com and Airyards.com
CoV = The Coefficient of Variation, it measures the variance in a sample (i.e. how much change there is week to week)
Airyards = the total distance before the player caught his targets (essentially receiving yards minus yards after the catch)
Regression = a rate should return closer to “normal” or average when it is greatly over or under that average over a long sample size
WOPR = Weighted Opportunity Rating. It weights target share by the player’s share of air yards. It is one of the most stable (week to week and year to year) opportunity metrics and has extra utility because it describes some of the value in opportunity. It’s also useful because it can highlight potential regression when compared with fantasy points.
RACR = Receiver Airyards Conversion Ratio. Essential a players receiving yards divided by their airyards. It describes how well they have converted airyards into yards. It’s one of if not the most stable efficiency metrics (not a high bar) for the wide receiver position. It’s’ also very description of how well a player has performed on their targets. Higher numbers are better, numbers over 1.5 are general nose based on erratic or small samples. League average of WR’s is 0.8.
It should be noted that the WOPR calculation is my own and imperfect when compared Airyards.com. It has a slightly different player order at times, however, it is ranking them in ranges appropriately.
UDFA's matter | British ex-pat | Writer of things
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