Last week I introduced xFP, my model to determine expected fantasy points (xFP) for pass catchers. The model gives each target an expected fantasy point value which helps to find players who over or underperformed given the quality of their looks. For the remainder of the season, I will be using the model to discuss the week before trying to see who was deserving of a better or worse performance.
Actual Week 8 Leaders
The interesting thing about this list is three players come in at less than ten xFP. Aaron Jones, Daniel Fells, and Ryan Griffin all caught multiple TD passes which led to significantly better days than their targets anticipated. Mike Evans is easily the most inconsistent player in all of fantasy football, the standard deviation of both his xFP and actual weekly FP totals is the largest in my sample. However, he is capable of this kind of game on any given week. If you own him and need that kind of weekly upside to be competitive, keep him. Yet if you have a strong team capable of putting up big point totals I would be looking to sell before heading to the playoffs.
Cooper Kupp had another massive game built strongly on his impressive YAC ability. The only player with more YAC this season than Kupp is Austin Ekeler. While he did significantly outperform his xFP he was 20th on the week in the category.
It is certainly positive to see the solid performance from JuJu Smith-Schuster backed up by the value of his targets. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a massive turnaround for his season.
xFP Week 8 Leaders
It is very rare to see the actual weekly leader matchup with the xFP version. Mike Evans had a truly special week and won many matchups on his own this week. Tate had incredible usage numbers but unfortunately was not able to cash it in for a monster game. He heads into his bye week displaying elite usage patterns but will return with a few questions. A.J. Green is set to return and Andy Dalton has been benched for Ryan Finley. I think that Finley is an upgrade on Dalton but the return of Green could funnel some targets away from Tate. I am a fan of the player but I am no longer buying him.
One of my main concerns for Saquon Barkley coming out of his injury was Daniel Jones. The offense has looked much better with Jones under center and as a result, I feared fewer passes would be sent Saquon’s way. It appears my concerns were unwarranted as his usage was still incredible. The next few names were able to pair top ten value targets into extremely useful fantasy weeks with no one finishing worse than 20 until we get to the last name in my top ten.
Curtis Samuel had one of the week’s biggest differentials between actual and expected. Samual had the 79th best week based on actual points despite his top ten xFP. There are a number of factors at play here. The 49ers defense is elite and Kyle Allen was terrible in this matchup to name just two. Samuel’s owners may be wary of his relative lack of performance but the overall usage is impressive and he is someone I would be actively looking to buy. Cam Newton returns soon and while Cam did not look healthy in the early going, he is still more talented than Allen.
Biggest Weekly Misses
At the end of each week, I will talk about a few of the players who saw the biggest difference between their FP and xFP weekly ranks. These will typically be players I am willing to bet on bouncing back and those who I would like to actively target in trades.
Corey Davis, Actual Rank 161, xFP Rank 24
Corey Davis was talked up all week by pundits saying the move to Ryan Tannehill was huge for Davis’s ROS value. After week 7 that looked like a great call but this past week, it all came crashing back down. The looks were still there but Davis and Tannehill could not connect even against the Buccaneers secondary. I still like the rest of season value on Davis and think the move to Tannehill is a great one for him.
Curtis Samuel, Actual Rank 79, xFP Rank 10
I already discussed Samuel above and the reasons I mentioned are exactly why I will be buying in anywhere I can.
Chris Godwin, Actual Rank 82, xFP Rank 19
Chris Godwin came into the week as the WR1 and while it was Evans who had the big day it is clear that Bruce Arians’ offense can support two WR1/2 types. If Godwin’s owner is pissed off, jump at the opportunity. This is likely one guy you cannot acquire.
Terry McLaurin, Actual Rank 85, xFP Rank 26
Terry McLaurin has been a lone bright spot for an otherwise miserable Redskins offense. He has been getting some of the most valuable targets in all of football and performing at an extremely high level. This past week the performance did not align with the target value. There is reason for concern as Case Keenum left the game with a concussion and was replaced by Dwayne Haskins. Haskins looks lost and it will hurt McLaurin if he takes over the job. Tread lightly here as this is significantly tied to Keenum.
Noah Fant was the fifth largest miss but it only caused him to rank 35th. He could be an interesting player in Dynasty leagues but with Flacco now injured, I am not buying in redraft.
Darren Waller caught a touchdown which was something he has not done much of this season. However, he also did not repeat his elite efficiency and ranked 69th despite top 20 usage.
Auden Tate as discussed above has a number of factors that make me cautious about buying ROS.
Like his teammate Curtis Samuel, D.J. Moore severely underperformed this week. Samuel appears to be the preferred own but Moore is still a WR3.
Taylor Gabriel and Sammy Watkins both missed by over 40 spots but neither are players I am running to acquire. They require some luck in order to have big games.
Allen Robinson did not put up the same numbers he has the last few weeks, but he still is being given WR2 usage. Mitchell Trubisky cannot be this bad and regardless Robinson has shown an ability to perform regardless. Lastly, Tyler Boyd placed 12th in xFP this week. like Tate the return of A.J. Green has clouded things for him but Finley can’t be as bad as Dalton has been. Buy Boyd now.
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