Chip Kelly and Per Game Volume

| June 11, 2014

chipWhen discussing fantasy players, I believe it is vital to consider per play efficiency. In general, the players you should be targeting are those who will be able to make the most of opportunities when they do get on the field, because playing time is not a guarantee for anyone in today’s ever-evolving NFL.

While I am not suggesting that a stat like fantasy points per play is the end all be all, it is important to be mindful of it. Players whose production is based on volume are inherently risky investments.

Despite this, volume is still a huge part of the fantasy equation. Football players can only score fantasy points on the field, and the amount of time they will be on the field directly affects fantasy production.

Much was made of Oregon’s rapidly paced offense under Chip Kelley, and that praise is validated when looking at how many opportunities Kelly created for his players over his final three years there.  In the chart below, I define opportunities as the sum of pass attempts and carries.  In other words, plays in which an offensive skill position player could potentially score fantasy points. It should not be confused with total snaps.

Attempts Carries Opportunities Games Opportunities Per Game
Oregon 2010 373 685 1058 13 81.38
Oregon 2011 386 629 1015 14 72.50
Oregon 2012 395 629 1024 13 78.77

Note the extremely high amount of opportunities per game.  That is one completion or carry and then some (1.29) every minute of every game on average over that span, even including time when Kelly’s defense was on the field.

Now, let’s take a look at how many opportunities Kelly gave his players in Philadelphia last season.

  Attempts Carries Opportunities Games Opportunities Per Game
Eagles 2013 508 500 1008 16 63.00

Keep in mind that the NCAA and NFL have the exact same game time setup, four 15 minute quarters with a 40 second play clock.  Comparing Kelly’s 2013 63.0 opportunities per game in Philadelphia to his three year average of 77.55 opportunities per game at Oregon shows room for vast improvement in that area.

Kelly has already pledged to run his offense at a fast pace this year, and one beat reporter went so far as to call a recent spring practice a “drag race.” If Kelly gets back to the offensive efficiency he achieved at Oregon, that will give Eagles’ skill position players an extra 15 opportunities per game to gain fantasy points.  Extrapolated over a 16 game season, that is an extra 240 opportunities.

While I don’t think this should affect LeSean McCoy, who already has about as big of a workload as you can get, this should greatly benefit other Eagles offensive players.  Nick Foles, the man who led the NFL in yards per attempt and fantasy points per opportunity (attempts + carries) last year, will get to attempt more throws.  Darren Sproles, brought in to not only spell McCoy in the backfield but make up for the loss of DeSean Jackson in the screen game, should see an increase in looks from what he got in the crowded New Orleans offense. Jordan Mathews, the most statistically dominant SEC receiver of all time who is ticketed for the slot role but is more than capable of playing outside, should eventually surpass the more limited Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin.  Zach Ertz, whose 13.0 yards per catch was good for sixth in the league among tight ends with at least 30 receptions in 2013, should see more targets as a result of more plays.

In both dynasty and redraft, I suggest buying on all the above mentioned players, all of whom have very affordable average draft positions. Given what it appears Kelly is capable of, they should be seeing more opportunities than their opponents to score fantasy points in a given week.  Those are the types of edges that help you win championships.

Follow Joey on Twitter @PFF_Joey

Comments (1)

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  1. @Pattyj38 says:

    The NCAA clock pauses to move the chains for 1st downs. Did you account for that clock stoppage when accounting for the 15+ plays per game at Oregon vs. the NFL?