Todd Gurley has room to improve

George Fitopoulos takes a look at the top performers in Opportunity Index through Week 7 of the 2015 NFL season.

| 12 months ago
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Todd Gurley has room to improve

Todd Gurley is great at playing football. The Rams are not.

Over the last three games, Gurley has been performing marvelously on the field and the Rams have been feeding him the ball like a true bell-cow back. In his three starts, Gurley has seen 21, 30,and 24 opportunities, which you’d expect to put him in the top 3 among running backs in Opportunity Index (OI).

Instead, in those three games Gurley has put up a 49.4 percent OI, which would rank him 10th overall this season. That is by no means a bad rank, but given how he’s being used it could be a lot better. Right now, Gurley’s dominance on the field is far exceeding his expected production — his +/- sits at 20.5 fantasy points above expected and that’s without much production coming via the passing game.

Well after Week 7 we might finally be trending in the right direction as Gurley scored not one, but two touchdowns (his first of the season) and they came from inside the red zone. Prior to last week, Gurley saw one red zone carry and four goal line carries for a total of two rushing yards and zero touchdowns. In Week 7 alone, Gurley saw two red zone carries and one goal line carry for a total of 14 yards and two touchdowns.

Being on a bad offense is not doing Gurley any favors in regards to his opportunity and we haven’t really noticed so far because he’s been able to make due on carries outside the red zone (the least valuable play in fantasy football). While 88 percent of his carries have come outside the red zone, those plays have accounted for 75 percent of his fantasy production.

If Gurley could start getting more consistent looks in the red zone then I’d feel better about his fantasy value being sustainable over the course of a 16-game season.

Opportunity Index (OI) is a metric that measures the quality of a player’s opportunity (QB completions plus rushes, RB/WR/TE pass targets plus rushes) versus the quantity of opportunity. Each opportunity is weighted by likelihood to score fantasy points and then adjusted to the position average to get one, clean number where 0 percent is league average and anything greater is above league average and vice versa.

The “+/-” category shows the movement in OI from the prior week and “FPTS-xFPTS” calculates how much above or below the expected level a player has scored fantasy points this season. As a reminder, all calculations are based off a half-point per reception scoring system.

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George Fitopoulos is a writer for PFF Fantasy and can be reached on Twitter @PigskinProf.

  • Mike S.

    Nice job George. I enjoy this article each week. But my question is if someone has a high OI% and a very high xFPTS-FPTS, should we expect them to be a primed for regression or it an indicator they’re just having a great year?