Metrics that Matter: Doug Baldwin in a surprise shootout

The Seattle receiver had his second straight year of overperforming expectations, including a huge Week 16 that no one saw coming.

| 1 month ago
(Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

(Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Metrics that Matter: Doug Baldwin in a surprise shootout

We’re fully into our second week of Metrics That Matter. This week we’re counting down the top-five Actual Opportunity weeks of the 2016 season.

If you’re unfamiliar with Actual Opportunity, I highly recommend reading the introduction here. Essentially, with Actual Opportunity we’re building out a player’s expected fantasy points based on the opportunity they saw in any given week or over the course of a full season. Each week during the regular season I’ll look at players by their Actual Opportunity numbers in an attempt to identify players who may be undervalued or overvalued relative to their expectation and their DFS salary.

Continuing our countdown of the top-five Actual Opportunity weeks of the 2016 season, today our focus is on the player-week ranking No. 2 – Doug Baldwin, in his Week 16 campaign against the Arizona Cardinals. This week, he totaled 37.5 Actual Opportunity points, which nearly matched his PPR total of 37.3.

Here’s the top five so far:

5. Le’Veon Bell (Week 10) – 33.7 AO/34.3 PPR
4. Odell Beckham Jr. (Week 16) – 35.8 AO/26.0 PPR
3. Antonio Brown (Week 10) – 37.0 AO/34.4 PPR
2. Doug Baldwin (Week 16) – 37.5 AO/37.3 PPR
1. ???

Shout-out to readers Matt Gajewski (@BiasedTuna) and Alec O. (@Alec_FF) for guessing this one correctly. See if you can guess who comes in at No. 1 before tomorrow’s article.

Now, let’s dig a little deeper into Baldwin’s Week 16.

Receiving (21 targets)

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Rushing (two carries)

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Baldwin totaled 21 targets in Week 16, which would have been the most of any player in the 2016 season. However, two of these targets were considered throwaways, so in reality, he saw 19 targets, which was the second-most this season. In an unexpected shootout, Seattle was forced to throw early and often in a game they were defeated 34-31. Tyler Lockett left the game early with a broken fibula and Jimmy Graham was a non-factor against a defense that allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, so it wasn’t too surprising Baldwin saw a career-high in targets this week. What is surprising is that the second-most targets he’s ever seen in a regular-season game was only 11.

Baldwin saw two end-zone targets (worth 6.2 actual opportunity points), but did not catch either of them. He also saw four deep targets (balls travelling 20 or more yards through the air), which was worth 8.6 Actual Opportunity points. He caught two of these for 62 yards (worth 8.2 PPR points.) The bulk of his production came on the back of a target from the 42-yard line thrown 11 yards through the air that he turned into a 42-yard touchdown (worth 11.2 PPR points.) This made up for his lack of efficiency in the end zone.

In terms of total Actual Opportunity, Baldwin far exceeded his expectations for the second consecutive season. In 2015, he ranked 41st in Actual Opportunity per game, but finished 16th in fantasy points per game. Last season, he ranked 28th in Actual Opportunity per game, but finished 10th in fantasy points per game. This is even more impressive when noting this was by far the least-efficient season of Russell Wilson’s career. Wilson ranked first, ninth, fifth, and fourth in PFF’s version of passer rating in his first four seasons in the league, but ranked 15th last year while dealing with a multitude of injuries.

It’s likely Baldwin is a player, much like a Rob Gronkowski, where we need to bake high levels of efficiency into our projections for him. Here was Baldwin’s weekly Actual Opportunity vs. his raw PPR totals last season:

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Scott Barrett is our Senior Fantasy Analyst and one of the main hosts of our Fantasy Slant podcast.

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