Week 2 fantasy breakout candidates

Efficiency is key in football. The guys who are efficient on few touches will see their touches increase. The guys who aren't efficient? Look out.

| 9 months ago
(Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

(Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Week 2 fantasy breakout candidates

Welcome to the first edition of the 2016 fantasy points per opportunity column, which will examine PPO data to find players who make the most of their opportunities — and use that data to find potential breakout candidates for the upcoming week or weeks.

PPO is a simple concept. An opportunity is defined as a rush attempt or a pass route run, so PPO is calculated by dividing total fantasy points scored by carries plus routes run. This stat can help you uncover which players are too reliant on volume, and which players could become fantasy studs if they get more opportunities.

Here’s a prime example of this stat’s usefulness: Through two weeks last season, David Johnson was tops among all running backs in PPO. If you read the tea leaves, you probably scooped Johnson off the waivers early in the season and reaped the rewards later — once his opportunities increased.

So with one week in the books on the 2016 season, what can we take away from the PPO data? Note that over the next few weeks, the data here will become more representative — right now, we only have one set of games to go from. In any event, some interesting tidbits have already risen to the surface. Let’s take a look at the good and the bad.

Wide receivers

Willie Snead, New Orleans Saints

Snead ranked fourth with 0.64 PPO this week. He saw more targets than teammate Brandin Cooks (9 to 8) and caught all nine of them for 172 yards and a score. Snead is absolutely a WR3 for the rest of the season. His Week 2 opponent, the New York Giants, actually gave up the third-fewest fantasy PPO to wideouts in Week 1, but they were playing against a rookie quarterback in his first-ever start — not Drew Brees. Snead is a safe start in Week 2.

Chris Hogan, New England Patriots

New England’s new addition at wideout, Hogan, finished 11th at the position with 0.41 PPO last week. He outsnapped Danny Amendola 56 to 20. He’ll need to do more to warrant a spot in your starting lineup — and we should probably wait to see how he does with Tom Brady in the lineup — but it appears Hogan is the New England receiver not named Julian Edelman you want on your squad. And if he keeps making the most of his opportunities, he could have flex appeal. Hogan is still on the “monitor” list, but his dot on the radar just got bigger.

Tyrell Williams, San Diego Chargers

Williams won’t put up Keenan Allen-like numbers, but his 0.29 PPO in Week 1 ranked 24th overall, and it was tied for third among all wideouts who didn’t score a touchdown (tied with Stefon Diggs and Alshon Jeffery but behind Amari Cooper and Allen himself). This is an encouraging statistic, and should make you more confident in scooping Williams up off the waivers.

Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It has only been one week, but it’s fair to be a bit worried about Jackson already. He scored just 0.04 PPO after catching two of six targets for 14 yards. And this came despite the fact Jameis Winston threw for four touchdowns.

Running backs

C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos

Okay, C.J. We see you. Anderson scored 0.62 PPO last week, 10th among running backs. He gained 139 yards on 24 touches while scoring twice. He was more than twice as efficient in Week 1 of 2016 as he was in all of 2015, when he scored 0.30 PPO. Anderson should be in for a huge Week 2 as well, as he takes on the Indianapolis Colts, who gave up the most PPO to opposing running backs in Week 1.

And seriously, it wasn’t even close. See that huge bar in the middle of this graph? That’s the Colts. (click to enlarge)


Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

While he scored in his rookie debut, Elliott was somewhat inefficient with his opportunities in Week 1, generating only 51 yards on 20 carries. The touchdown salvaged his fantasy day, but even with those six extra points, he still scored only 0.28 PPO — 34th among running backs. Elliott should have a much better game in Week 2 against the Washington Redskins, who were just torched by DeAngelo Williams, a player who had made six Pro Bowls before Elliott was even born. (Okay, not quite, but seriously, how is Williams still this good?)

Lamar Miller, Houston Texans

Miller had a career-high 32 touches and gained 118 total yards, but he scored only 0.22 PPO, tied for 44th. Nobody is complaining about his strong debut (although a touchdown would have been nice), but when you consider that Miller scored 0.37 PPO in both 2014 and 2015, it’s clear that Week 1 only just scraped the surface of what he can do. If Miller’s insane volume keeps up, he’ll have a monstrous fantasy game soon. It’s not a question of if, but when. It could come in Week 2 against the Chiefs, who gave up the fourth-most PPO to opposing running backs in Week 1.

Tight ends

Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins

Reed had a so-so Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers with 0.14 PPO, but he should have a nice outing against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2. The Cowboys gave up the fourth-most fantasy PPO to opposing tight ends last week (0.33). Reed led all tight ends who saw at least 15 targets with 0.41 PPO last season. He could be in for a big week.

Jared Cook, Green Bay Packers

Cook was hyped coming into the season as Aaron Rodgers’ new target, but he was a thorough disappointment in Week 1. Cook ran 18 pass routes, was targeted just twice, and caught only one of those targets for seven yards. He scored 0.07 PPO, ranked 37th out of 43 qualifying tight ends. Unfortunately, this wasn’t really anything out of the ordinary for Cook. He scored only 0.13 PPO last year (57th out of 69). Cook shouldn’t be in starting lineups in Week 2 when the Packers take on the Vikings, who held Delanie Walker to just 0.11 PPO in Week 1.

Clive Walford, Oakland Raiders

Walford is a sneaky option in Week 2. He’s not a must-start by any means, but he’s an interesting prospect if you’re streaming tight ends or if you play DFS tournaments. The Raiders play the Falcons in Week 2, and Atlanta gave up a ton of fantasy points per opportunity to tight ends Week 1 (second-most in the league). However, Walford scored only 0.08 PPO himself last week, which ranked 35th out of 43. So while he didn’t get off to the strongest start of the season, his Week 2 matchup provides a rebound opportunity.

Below is a chart showing the top 20 players at each position in terms of fantasy PPO scored in Week 1 (minimum 25 percent snaps).

Week 1 PPO Leaders (min. 25% snaps)
WR   RB   TE
Player Tm. PPO Player Tm. PPO Player Tm. PPO
A.J. Green CIN 0.67 Dwayne Washington DET 3 Brandon Myers TB 1.5
Brandin Cooks NO 0.66 Jalen Richard OAK 2.29 Jack Doyle IND 0.8
Antonio Brown PIT 0.66 Jamize Olawale OAK 1.5 Larry Donnell NYG 0.57
Willie Snead NO 0.64 Theo Riddick DET 1.1 Jermaine Gresham ARZ 0.5
Mike Wallace BLT 0.52 Andy Janovich DEN 0.82 Dwayne Allen IND 0.41
Kelvin Benjamin CAR 0.52 Damien Williams MIA 0.8 Julius Thomas JAX 0.36
Larry Fitzgerald ARZ 0.51 Spencer Ware KC 0.76 Vance McDonald SF 0.33
Mike Evans TB 0.5 Isaiah Crowell CLV 0.74 Marcedes Lewis JAX 0.33
Will Fuller HST 0.49 Charles Sims TB 0.67 Eric Ebron DET 0.31
Jordan Matthews PHI 0.43 C.J. Anderson DEN 0.62 Hunter Henry SD 0.29
Eddie Royal CHI 0.41 DeAngelo Williams PIT 0.56 C.J. Uzomah CIN 0.26
Chris Hogan NE 0.41 Ameer Abdullah DET 0.55 Greg Olsen CAR 0.21
Keenan Allen SD 0.38 DeMarco Murray TEN 0.51 Kyle Rudolph MIN 0.2
Mohamed Sanu ATL 0.36 Shaun Draughn SF 0.5 Austin Hooper ATL 0.2
Eli Rogers PIT 0.36 Carlos Hyde SF 0.45 Virgil Green DEN 0.19
Doug Baldwin SEA 0.33 Danny Woodhead SD 0.41 Zach Ertz PHI 0.18
Amari Cooper OAK 0.33 Ryan Mathews PHI 0.41 Cameron Brate TB 0.18
Julio Jones ATL 0.33 Travaris Cadet NO 0.4 Jason Witten DAL 0.17
Sterling Shepard NYG 0.33 Fozzy Whittaker CAR 0.4 Jacob Tamme ATL 0.17
Nelson Agholor PHI 0.31 David A. Johnson ARZ 0.39 Charles Clay BUF 0.17
Davante Adams GB 0.31 Latavius Murray OAK 0.39
Quincy Enunwa NYJ 0.31 LeSean McCoy BUF 0.39
Victor Cruz NYG 0.31 Tevin Coleman ATL 0.39

Tyler Loechner is a lead writer at PFF Fantasy. He has played fantasy football since 1999 and has been a part of the PFF Fantasy staff since 2010. Tyler was also previously a fantasy football featured columnist at Bleacher Report.

  • Jason Williams

    Yikes with the typographical errors guys.