Over the last two weeks, I have been looking into my xFP metric for pass catchers looking into the conclusions that can be drawn from it. Briefly, I will be evaluating the week prior and will take a deeper look at some bounceback options for the week to come.
Actual Week 9 Leaders
Tyler Lockett and Mike Evans had massive games for their owners and their numbers were backed up by elite usage patterns. Marvin Jones’s big game was also supported by great usage and with the Kerryon Johnson injury, it appears he will be a massive part of the offense going forward. A positive development for his owners is the higher usage numbers for Zach Ertz who has been a massive disappointment to this point in the season.
xFP Week 9 Leaders
Many of the names from the list above appear on the xFP leaders list. One of the biggest misses was Davante Adams who showed fantastic usage patters in his first game back. Owners who may be concerned about his down game should be happy by the results of the model. Mohammed Sanu appears to have stepped into a big role in the Patriots offense but it is important to remember that the Patriots did lose their first game of the season.
As I did last week I’ll take a look at some of the biggest misses from the week before among fantasy viable options.
Marcus Valdes-Scantling (Actual Rank 195, xFP Rank 36)
It was a miserable game for MVS and all Packers pass catchers but the targets are there for him. with the return of Adams, he should see an easier path to value and could be a great stretch run buy.
Danny Amendola (Actual Rank 106, xFP Rank 26)
With their run game struggling, the Lions seem to be using their slot receiver as a run game extension. For this reason, he should continue to see a high volume of low-value targets. In PPR leagues he makes for a fantastic bye week fill in. He could also be a valuable DFS play.
Unfortunately several of the other biggest misses from last week go on bye this week including a pair of Eagles pass catchers (Nelson Agholar and Alshon Jeffery) as well as DJ Chark and Chris Conley.
Looking at the full-season numbers we can try to identify a few more players who have not been seeing the same results as the expected model shows. I looked at the difference in rank for all players with at least 30 targets between their actual and expected per target results.
Robby Anderson (Actual Rank 75, Expected Rank 39)
Anderson has suffered through some miserable QB play season and his results have clearly shown that. He is still getting high-value targets and could potentially be a great buy if Darnold can figure things out. He gets a terrible Giants defense this week. This could be a smash spot for him.
Larry Fitzgerald (Actual Rank 52, Expected Rank 25)
Fitz started the season hot and it seemed like the Cardinals’ new-look offense was going to revive his career. However, the last few weeks have been down ones for Fitz and his owners. The target value is there and he is facing a miserable Buccaneers passing defense who has been especially victimized in the slot.
Brandon Cooks (Actual Rank 50, Expected Rank 8)
The issue here is that Cooks is likely out for this week due to another concussion but his usage has been elite. While he has been bad this season likely due to the poor play of Jared Goff but when he does return he is a fantastic buy back option.
Defenses to Target
|Team||Diff Rank||Rank T/G||Combined|
The above chart shows team rankings in two metrics. The first rank column shows the difference in FP/Target and xFP/Target for each defense. so what this shows is essentially a measure of how good or bad a defense is. For example, Atlanta is allowing .4 points more than expected per target. Their defense is really propping up opposing offenses.
The second column shows the number of targets or pass attempts per game against. This is important to look at because no matter how high value the targets may be, if there are not enough then it’ll be hard for players to stand out on a weekly basis.
The final column is an average of the two ranks and this is what the table is sorted by. This shows the defenses you will want to attack in your fantasy lineups. The Texans have a poor secondary and a good offense which is forcing teams to throw the ball against them a ton. You will also see pass funnel defenses such as the Buccaneers high on the list as well as the Jets who despite an average ranking by difference, rank high on this list due to their rush defense. This list will be extremely helpful when trying to make decisions for your lineups.
It is important to not only consider, the value of a defense but to also project the number of pass attempts against. For example, the Falcons are a terrible defense but if the target volume is poor then you will not see the same level of success as we would expect.
The Giants’ defense is poor on a per-target basis but due to their offensive struggles, they have not been seeing a commiserate level of volume. This week they are three-point favorites against the Jets. If they can get out to a lead and force the Jets to throw this could be a smash spot for Sam Darnold. Once again the Falcons are massive underdogs and despite their terrible defense, the pass volume against should be low.
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