Week 3 fantasy breakout candidates
We’ll be digging through the fantasy points per opportunity data in this column on a weekly basis to find the most efficient fantasy scorers in all of football.
An opportunity is defined as a rush attempt or a pass route run, so PPO is calculated by dividing total 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.
If you checked in on last week’s column, you might have hit on a player like Tyrell Williams or Clive Walford, whose PPO stats and matchup indicated a breakout could be coming.
So which players could be in line for a big Week 3? Let’s check out the PPO data to find out.
Miami Dolphins wideouts DeVante Parker and Jarvis Landry have a great matchup in Week 3. The Dolphins will take on the Cleveland Browns, who have given up the seventh-most fantasy points per opportunity to opposing wideouts so far this season. Parker and Landry also account for 32 total targets so far this season. All other Miami wideouts only have 11. This is the week either Parker or Landry (or both) score a touchdown.
The ever-underappreciated Jeremy Maclin should have had a huge game in Week 2, considering he saw the second-most targets with 14, but he only hauled in six of them. However, he’ll get another shot to cash in this weekend when the Chiefs take on the New York Jets, who have given up the second-most fantasy PPO to wideouts so far this season (0.37). In other words, if Maclin runs about 50 pass routes (his average), he should be looking at 15-plus fantasy points, in standard leagues.
Quincy Enunwa will be on the field for the Jets in that game, and while most of the attention will deservedly be on his teammates Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall, Enunwa is a player to watch. He currently ranks 20th among wideouts with 0.33 fantasy PPO, and he has caught an impressive 13 of 14 balls thrown his way.
Mark Ingram hasn’t had the best start to the 2016 season, but he’ll get things rolling in Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football. The Falcons have given up the fourth-most fantasy PPO to running backs so far this year.
The other key running back in that game, Devonta Freeman, has also had an underwhelming start to the season. But Freeman, like Ingram, should really turn it on in Week 3. The Saints have given up the fifth-most PPO to running backs through two games this year. Don’t give up on Freeman yet.
Melvin Gordon will continue his hot start in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts, who have ceded the most PPO to running backs this year. Not only does Gordon have the best matchup of the week, but he’ll also need to shoulder more of the load in San Diego now that Danny Woodhead and Keenan Allen are out for the season. Gordon, who currently ranks second among running backs (who have seen at least 10 attempts) in PPO, going up against the team that has given up the most PPO so far this year? I’ll take it.
Virgil Green was a popular preseason sleeper pick, and while he’s still mostly asleep, Week 3 could be when he really comes on. The Broncos are squaring off against the Bengals, who have given up the ninth-most fantasy PPO to tight ends so far this year. Green has caught all seven passes thrown his way this season, and he should have scored a touchdown in Week 1. He currently ranks 20th in PPO among tight ends, and he’s one of only six tight ends in the top 20 who haven’t scored yet.
If you’re looking for a fringe TE1 that could put up huge numbers this week, look no further than Detroit’s Eric Ebron. Ebron has hauled in nine of 12 targets for 99 yards and a score so far this season, and he currently ranks 20th among tight ends in PPO. Another score could be coming for Ebron. The Lions will face the Green Bay Packers, who have ceded the fourth-most fantasy PPO to tight ends this year. Julius Thomas lit the Packers up in Week 1, and Kyle Rudolph hauled in a touchdown against them in Week 2. Now it’s Ebron’s turn.
Gary Barnidge is primed for a breakout week against the Miami Dolphins in Week 3, who have given up the fifth-most PPO to tight ends this year. The absence of Josh McCown really hurts Barnidge’s fantasy appeal, but after Corey Coleman broke his hand in practice on Wednesday, Barnidge is virtually Cleveland’s only threat through the air. Rookie quarterback Cody Kessler will lean on Barnidge not just because he’s a “safety blanket,” but because there won’t be many other options. It might not be pretty, but Barnidge should see enough volume this week against a Dolphins defense that was just diced up by a tight end and a backup quarterback in Week 2 (courtesy of the New England Patriots).
Below is a chart showing the top 20 players at each position in terms of fantasy PPO scored so far this season (minimum 25 percent snaps).
|2016 Season PPO Leaders (min. 25% snaps)|
|Danny Amendola||NE||0.81||Mike Gillislee||BUF||1.75||Austin Hooper||ATL||0.77|
|Andre Holmes||OAK||0.78||Jalen Richard||OAK||0.9||Geoff Swaim||DAL||0.71|
|Tyreek Hill||KC||0.67||Dwayne Washington||DET||0.9||Vance McDonald||SF||0.55|
|Kelvin Benjamin||CAR||0.66||Isaiah Crowell||CLV||0.74||Jack Doyle||IND||0.45|
|Greg Salas||BUF||0.56||Melvin Gordon||SD||0.59||Marcedes Lewis||JAX||0.44|
|Jaron Brown||ARZ||0.55||Ryan Mathews||PHI||0.58||Trey Burton||PHI||0.44|
|Stefon Diggs||MIN||0.5||Spencer Ware||KC||0.55||Martellus Bennett||NE||0.38|
|Mike Wallace||BLT||0.5||C.J. Anderson||DEN||0.53||Greg Olsen||CAR||0.37|
|Larry Fitzgerald||ARZ||0.47||Robert Turbin||IND||0.53||Austin Seferian-Jenkins||TB||0.37|
|Willie Snead||NO||0.45||Kenyan Drake||MIA||0.53||Jacob Tamme||ATL||0.35|
|Travis Benjamin||SD||0.45||DeMarco Murray||TEN||0.5||Jermaine Gresham||ARZ||0.31|
|Corey Coleman||CLV||0.44||Ameer Abdullah||DET||0.5||Delanie Walker||TEN||0.29|
|Julio Jones||ATL||0.42||Jamize Olawale||OAK||0.5||Larry Donnell||NYG||0.29|
|Brandin Cooks||NO||0.4||Matt Forte||NYJ||0.49||Vernon Davis||WAS||0.27|
|DeAndre Hopkins||HST||0.4||Andy Janovich||DEN||0.48||Kyle Rudolph||MIN||0.25|
|Will Fuller||HST||0.4||Theo Riddick||DET||0.45||Clive Walford||OAK||0.25|
|Tyrell Williams||SD||0.4||Latavius Murray||OAK||0.45||Julius Thomas||JAX||0.24|
|Eric Decker||NYJ||0.37||DeAngelo Williams||PIT||0.44||Dennis Pitta||BLT||0.23|
|Antonio Brown||PIT||0.36||Tevin Coleman||ATL||0.44||Dwayne Allen||IND||0.22|
|Mike Evans||TB||0.33||Danny Woodhead||SD||0.43||Eric Ebron||DET||0.21|
|Quincy Enunwa||NYJ||0.33||Jordan Cameron||MIA||0.21|