Opportunity Index Week 13: Fantasy Football Crunch Time

Opportunity Index: Week 13

Recapping Results from Week 12

After each week this season I will dive into my Opportunity Index data and use it to analyze which committee running back you want to own, which wide receiver is due for positive (or negative) regression, which tight ends are in the best positions to succeed, etc. But first, if you don’t know what Opportunity Index you can read more about it here. Get familiar with it because I think it’s one of the most comprehensive, and useful, stats in the industry.

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It was a mixed bag of results last week as I recommended some big land mine-type plays. That’s to say that if you too most of my advice you likely didn’t make it out alive on the other end. Some of the failed calls were Benny Cunningham, Jordan Howard, Melcvin Gordon, and Spencer Ware. However, I was on Colin Kaepernick, who ended up being on last week’s millionaire winning lineup. Let’s get to our Week 13 picks.

Running Backs

Mark Ingram vs. Tim Hightower this week

tim-hightowerOne of the toughest spots this week is deciding between Ingram and Hightower. On the one hand, Ingram has outscored Hightower on a per-game basis over the last six games (15.4 points vs. 12.2 points). However, Hightower has a higher Team OI Share (25.1% vs. 16.2%) and a higher goal line share (35.4% vs. 14.5%). Ingram is battling a toe injury this week, but if they both suit up you’ll have to decide between the guy who’s been making it work through efficiency (Ingram) or quality of opportunities (Hightower). It’s a true 50/50 timeshare, but give me Ingram all day.

Theo Riddick in his best spot of the season
On the other sideline, Riddick has his best matchup of the season as the Saints rank 29th in adjusted +/- vs. the run (+0.87) and 28th in adjusted +/- vs. running backs in the pass game (+0.31). Over the last six weeks, Riddick has a healthy 25.9 percent Team OI Share and a 39.0 percent goal line share as well. Despite the Lions’ best efforts, they have been unable to make Dwayne Washington a “thing” so it’s all Riddick in this plus matchup.

Jeremy Hill, receiving back?

When Giovani Bernard went down, there were questions as to whether Hill would take on some of that passing role or if the Bengals would turn elsewhere on the roster for that. Well, Hill saw six targets and made six receptions for 61 yards in his first game, which dramatically increases his ceiling on a weekly basis. Over his last six weeks (five of which include a healthy Bernard), Hill already had a 23.9 percent Team OI Share with a 41.4 percent goal line share. That should only increase going forward, and for those who play DFS he’s a great value play at $4,300 on DraftKings this weekend.

Devontae Booker an underrated bell cow

There’s a lot of negativity surrounding Booker recently since he hasn’t done much since his first start back in Week 8. Since then, Booker has averaged just 10.2 fantasy points per game, but has seen a 32.8 percent Team OI Share as well as 43.8 percent goal line share. The issue with Booker is that he’s been very inefficient with a +/- of -0.27 on the ground and -0.28 through the air. If Booker can start regressing toward the mean on some of these carries — especially on his goal line carries where he has a +/- of -1.00 — he could be in for a big game against a Jaguars defense that has been gashed by running backs this season (ranked 22nd with a +0.47 adjusted +/- vs. the run).

Quarterbacks/Wide Receivers

Dare to trust the Texans passing game?
There’s no doubt that the Texans passing game has been hot garbage this season. That said, over the last six weeks, no team has been worse at defending wide receivers than the Green Bay Packers defense (+4.08 adjusted +/-). It’s been a while since we’ve seen Will Fuller put up a monster game and an even longer while since we’ve seen vintage DeAndre Hopkins, but there’s some good news heading into Week 13. Over the last six weeks, Hopkins has the ninth-highest Team OI Share (18.1%), but is averaging just 6.4 fantasy points per game. That has to change. On the other hand, Fuller finally returned to his punt return duties last weekend, which suggests that he’s fully recovered and could be in line for an increased workload this week. Fuller has a 7.8 percent Team OI Share over the last six weeks, but through Week 6 his share was almost double that (12.8%).

T.Y. Hilton set to torch the Jets on Monday night
You attack the Jets secondary, it’s just what you do. They rank 28th in both adjusted OI (3.6%) and adjusted +/- (+1.06) vs. opposing wide receivers, and Hilton will get Andrew Luck back on Monday night. Hilton’s 14.3 percent Team OI Share isn’t quite where you’d like it to be (ranks 28th), but he’s a receiver that can make the most of his opportunity with a +/- of +0.24 (ranks 23rd). Don’t be surprised if Hilton gets behind the Jets corners for one or two big plays on Monday night.

Tyrod Taylor should smash vs. Oakland

If you’re looking for some salary relief in DFS or just a sneaky QB play to get you into your season-long playoffs, look for further than Taylor. I love attacking the Raiders secondary with speedy wide receivers, and the Bills have one in Marquise Goodwin and potentially another in Sammy Watkins if he plays. In addition to those weapons, Taylor has averaged 8.6 fantasy points with his legs over his last six games. Oakland defense isn’t very good, and they’ve allowed the 28th-worst adjusted OI (7.4%) and 19th-worst adjusted +/- (+0.09) to opposing quarterbacks over the last six weeks.

Tight Ends

Hot Travis Kelce in another great spot

Travis KelceKelce has hit the 100-yard mark in three of his last five and in two consecutive games, and he gets a plus matchup this week vs. a Falcons defense that ranks 24th in adjusted +/- (+1.41) vs. opposing tight ends. Not only that but the Falcons rank 26th in adjusted OI (-5.2%) allowed. Even if Jeremy Maclin were to come back for this game, I think Kelce is in a great spot for another big game given that the Chiefs will have to keep up with the high-octane Falcons offense.

Jermaine Gresham desperation play

If you’re in a pinch this week at the tight end position, you can do worse than Gresham, who has scored a touchdown in two straight games and saw a whopping 10 targets last week. He faces off against a Redskins defense that has allowed the 29th-ranked adjusted OI (-0.9%) and 22nd-ranked adjusted +/- (+1.29) to opposing tight ends. Obviously, you’re playing David Johnson from this game, but Gresham may just be the second-best option from this offense.

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About the author

George Fitopoulos

​George has been playing fantasy baseball since ​he​ was a kid, filling out every Sporting News salary league card, but never sending one in due to ​his lack of a checking account. ​He still remembers the time he spot-started Storm Johnson and got a rushing TD out of it. Never forget.

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