News & Analysis

Week 14 Fantasy football analysis: Expected production so far

By Scott Barrett
Dec 5, 2018

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Sep 9, 2018; New Orleans, LA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (12) celebrates with center Ryan Jensen (66) after a touchdown during the second quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, and welcome to the Week 14 Actual Opportunity report. This is our weekly look at the players with the most fantasy potential based on volume, and how effective they’ve been with it. If you’re unfamiliar with Actual Opportunity, you can read the in-depth explanation here.

Essentially, we’re using an 11-season sample of play-by-play data to calculate expected fantasy points from a player’s seasonal or weekly usage. We look at each target (by distance from the end zone and depth of target) and each carry (by distance from the end zone and down and distance) and add this up to determine how valuable a player’s role was for fantasy purposes. We can contrast this with fantasy production to measure efficiency.

In layman’s terms, Actual Opportunity is “how many points a player should have scored” given his workload, based on what the average player would have scored. “Expected fantasy points” will be used interchangeably with “Actual Opportunity” throughout this article.

After 13 weeks of action, here are the top 30 players in expected fantasy points per game:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receivers

With DeSean Jackson likely out for the remainder of the season, we have to speculate what his absence means for Tampa Bay’s other receivers:

Over Jackson’s three missed games over the past two seasons, Mike Evans has averaged 18.1 expected and 12.0 actual fantasy points per game. That’s a 1.6-point bump in volume, but a 3.2-point loss in production against his full average over this span. Perhaps the lack of production can be explained by a greater focus from opposing defenses, or, perhaps it’s just variance from a small sample size, but 18.1 expected fantasy points per game would rank fourth-best at the position this year.

In the four games Jackson or Evans has missed over the past two years, Chris Godwin averages 16.6 expected and 17.5 actual fantasy points per game. Across these four games, he’s also averaged 120.8 air yards, 8.5 targets, 1.3 end-zone targets, and 2.0 deep targets per game. Essentially, that’s good for low-end WR1 numbers.

Adam Humphries ranks seventh among wide receivers in fantasy points since Week 8, averaging 17.1 fantasy points per game. However, volume has not been as good, ranking 18th, and averaging 11.9 expected fantasy points per game. This implies a looming regression, and when forced to choose, I’m ranking Godwin (our 12th-highest-graded wide receiver) higher this week.

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