Welcome to Week 10, fantasy managers! If you are new to this article series, I will be using my Expected Fantasy Points model to determine which players relied on volume or efficiency to produce for fantasy. In short, the two metrics that we will use each week are:
Expected Fantasy Points (or xFP)
Fantasy Points Over Expected (or FPOE = Actual Points - Expected Points)
Why do these metrics matter? In short, fantasy production rooted in volume (or xFP) is much more sustainable week to week. As a result, we want to target players who rank highly in this metric. On the other hand, players who rely on efficiency (or FPOE) are much more volatile on a weekly basis. For a more detailed breakdown of my model, be sure to check out my series primer from Week 1!
Let’s dive in!
Wide Receivers: Fantasy Usage & Efficiency
While the Las Vegas Raiders have struggled to win games this year, Davante Adams has remained mostly unaffected as he continues to average WR1 numbers. Outside of an abysmal performance by the entire Raiders offense in Week 8, Adams has had double-digit fantasy points in all but one game this year. In addition, he has produced three top-two fantasy performances so far. One of those came this past week as Adams totaled 31.6 half-PPR points on an impressive 47.2 percent target share and 54.6 percent air yards share.
Surprisingly, despite receiving 17 total opportunities against the Jaguars, all of his fantasy production came on his first ten targets. In other words, he could have had an even bigger week had he connected on any of his final seven opportunities.
It remains to be seen whether he will be suspended for shoving a cameraman earlier this season. But as long as he remains active, Adams should be considered an elite WR1, currently ranking within the top five in both Expected Fantasy Points (15.5) and Target Share (31.1%) through the first nine weeks.
Allen Lazard has quietly put together a productive season despite a disappointing first half by the Green Bay Packers. Through the first nine weeks, Lazard ranks as the:
WR25 in Expected Fantasy Points (10.9)
WR22 in Fantasy Points Over Expected (+1.61)
WR36 in Target Share (20.6 percent)
WR20 in Air Yards Share (35.3 percent)
WR14 in Half-PPR Points (12.5)
While these numbers are nowhere near Davante Adams’ production from last season, Lazard has still been a top-24 fantasy wide receiver when healthy. In addition, Romeo Doubs is set to miss some time with an ankle injury, which clears the way for Lazard to be the primary target for Aaron Rodgers. And based on his usage and production against Detroit — 16.7 half-PPR points on a 25% target share — you should be able to trust him as a high-end WR2 with Doubs sidelined in the coming weeks.
Running Backs: Fantasy Usage & Efficiency
If you listened to last Friday’s Fantasy Football Forecast, you would have heard Matt, Dalton and I discussing why Joe Mixon was one of the most obvious regression candidates. Entering last week’s game, he was the RB19 in half-PPR points per game. However, from a usage standpoint, my model had him ranked as the RB2 with a 16.3 Expected Fantasy Value (xFP). And considering his highest fantasy finish was only RB9 on the season, it was only a matter of time until Mixon had an explosive game for fantasy managers.
Fast forward to the end of Week 9 and Mixon just had one of the most efficient fantasy performances of the season.
He totaled 53.1 half-PPR points on 27 opportunities while scoring +29.3 Fantasy Points Above Expected. It was truly a historic game as Mixon became one of only eight running backs since 1950 to total over 200 scrimmage yards and five touchdowns in a single game.
Naturally, Mixon will likely come back to earth in Week 11 after their bye. But considering his tremendous weekly usage in Zac Taylor’s offense, he should remain a borderline top- five running back for the second half of the season.
Just when fantasy managers were ready to invite Raheem Mostert into the circle of trust, Jeff Wilson Jr. decides to ruin the party.
In an underrated trade last week, the Miami Dolphins reunited Wilson with his former coach Mike McDaniel. And while the expectation was that he would eventually be involved in this backfield, I’m not sure anyone could have predicted Wilson to be this heavily involved in his first game. In Week 9, he received a higher opportunity share (23.1 percent) and target share (10.3 percent) than Mostert, finishing the week as the RB10 in half-PPR scoring.
This is especially concerning for Mostert’s upside considering he was averaging a 30% opportunity share since Week 4. Unfortunately, this backfield will likely be a committee going forward, lowering the fantasy floor for both Mostert and Wilson as we approach the second half of the season.
Tight Ends: Fantasy Usage & Efficiency
One of the more popular questions I received from last week’s column was about Dallas Goedert’s ranking in my Expected Fantasy Points metric.
Why was he ranked outside of the top 12 in Expected Fantasy Points entering Week 9?
Without boring you with too many details, Goedert has relied heavily on “yards after the catch” to produce this season. In fact, entering last week, he was the TE31 in average depth of target (ADOT), but the TE1 in Yards After the Catch. Historically, we have seen that a higher ADOT (or air yards) usually leads to more fantasy points. Therefore, my usage model prefers tight ends — like Pat Freiermuth or Mark Andrews — who are targeted frequently downfield.
With that in mind, Goedert’s usage has actually improved over the last of couple weeks. After totaling only 63 air yards in his first four games, Goedert set a season-high in that metric this past week with 85. In addition, he received a season-high 36 percent target share, leading all tight ends in fantasy scoring in Week 9.
Assuming these trends continue, Goedert’s fantasy floor and ceiling will only improve, making him one of the most reliable tight ends going forward.
Quarterbacks: Fantasy Usage & Efficiency
It has been a tumultuous season for Lamar Jackson. In addition to J.K. Dobbins and Rashod Bateman landing on injured reserve, Mark Andrews has also dealt with a variety of injuries over the last couple of weeks. As a result, Jackson’s fantasy production has taken a slight decline since his dominant start to the season.
After finishing with back-to-back overall QB1 performances in Weeks 2 and 3, Jackson is only the QB16 in fantasy points per game over the last six weeks. Naturally, his passing game has been heavily impacted, only averaging 5.7 adjusted yards per attempt. That would rank him 32nd among all quarterbacks with a minimum of 50 attempts.
On a positive note, his rushing upside continues to carry his fantasy production, ranking as the QB2 in rushing share (29.7 percent) since Week 4. We once again saw the value of his rushing ability in last week’s matchup in New Orleans as Jackson threw the ball only 22 times, but still finished as the QB10 with 82 rushing yards. Therefore, as long as he continues to run the ball at a high rate, Jackson will remain a weekly QB1.
However, we should probably temper our expectations as the injuries to his receiving weapons will likely limit his ceiling for the rest of the season.