Last week I unleashed a revamped version of my spin on how we should quantify opportunity — it’s called Opportunity Index. Check out the introduction article here.[the_ad id=”58837″]Along with a weekly article, I’ll be maintaining this database and making it available for the public (premium members only) to consume every week during the 2016 season. I believe this data is very useful in identifying which players are on the road to more opportunity and, more importantly, which players will capitalize on it. The game of fantasy football is won by being reactive, but rather proactive and that’s the goal of this weekly article.
Now, before we get into the 2016 season I wanted to show some examples from the 2015 season as to how we can leverage this data to value players in fantasy football.
Definition: This metric tells us which players saw the most (and least) opportunity on a per snap basis. Opportunity is weighted by what yard line the play occurred on and then compared to the league average at the position (100% is league average).
QB — Ben Roethlisberger (PIT), 122.5% OI Rating
Roethlisberger barely edged out both Blake Bortles (120.4%) and Cam Newton (120.0%) thanks to not only a high opportunity rate — he saw an opportunity on 51.5 percent of his snaps (highest rate in the league) — but also a very high share of his opportunities (37.5%) came inside the 10-yard line.
RB — Javorius Allen (BAL), 139.7% OI Rating
While “Buck” Allen played just 24.6 snaps per game, he saw plenty of opportunity when he was on the field. First, he saw an opportunity on half of his snaps and was also helped by a healthy amount (30%) of his opportunities coming inside the red zone and goal line areas.
WR — Jarvis Landry (MIA), 163.6% OI Rating
Landry topped the charts over studly wide out Julio Jones (161.5% OI) despite the fact that Jones saw 19 more opportunities over the course of the season. Landry’s high rating was due to two factors: 1) he saw the highest rate of opportunity per snap (21.2%) and 2) 18.4 percent of his opportunities came inside the opponent’s 10-yard line. Of course, the good news for Landry ends rather abruptly as he scored -0.19 fantasy points per opportunity vs. expected while Jones scored +0.14 vs. expected.
TE — Delanie Walker (TEN), 153.1% OI Rating
Walker crushed the tight end competition as his OI rating came in first by a whopping 19.3 percentage points. His 19.6 percent opportunity per snap rate was comparable to the elite wide receivers, but with so many new mouths to feed in Tennessee it’s hard to see him putting up a similar season in 2016.
Definition: Using each player’s weighted opportunity I am able to get an “expected” fantasy point total. By comparing a player’s actual fantasy point total we can see who performed better than expected (efficient) and lower than expected (inefficient). This stat is on a per-opportunity basis.
QB (min. 400 opps) — Russell Wilson (SEA) and Tyrod Taylor (BUF), +0.07 points per opp
Both Wilson and Taylor scored much better than expected in comparison to their peers. Typically, rushing quarterbacks have a leg up (pun intended) on efficiency, but also
RB (min. 150 opps) — Thomas Rawls (SEA), +0.19 points per opp
Yes, it’s another Seahawks player among our most efficient from last year. Rawls definitely made the most of his opportunity as he not only put up an above average OI rating (118.3%), but he also scored 0.19 points per opportunity above expected. This was likely a very welcome sight for the Seahawks as on the opposite end of the spectrum we have Marshawn Lynch coming in with a league worst 0.16 points per opportunityh below expected.
WR (min. 70 opps) — Doug Baldwin (SEA), +0.86 points per opp
Don’t look now, but it’s another Seahawks player! If you play DFS then you’ll know that QB and WR are highly correlated positions in terms of fantasy production so it shouldn’t be a huge surprise. We all remember that ridiculous streak to close out the season where he averaged 5.9 receptions, 90.5 yards, and a whopping 1.5 touchdowns per game. That will help your efficiency for sure.
TE (min. 50 opps) — Tyler Eifert (CIN), +0.77 points per opp
I’m not sure what it is about the tight end position, but, like Walker with his OI rating, Eifert dominated the position with his efficiency. His 0.77 points per opportunity vs. expected was 0.36 points better than the second place finisher Rob Gronkowski. Of course, Eifert will be missing a good chunk of the first half this season, but with efficiency like this he can make up a lot of ground in very little time.[the_ad id=”63633″]
Goal Line Usage
Definition: Touchdowns are the most valuable play in football and they are scored with higher frequency in the goal line area, which is why they are the most coveted opportunities.
QB — Ben Roethlisberger (PIT), 37.5%/-1.45 points per opportunity
I already talked about how Roethlisberger’s goal line usage helped him post the highest OI rating among all quarterbacks. However, in the goal line area Big Ben struggled to score efficiently as his -1.45 point per opportunity vs. expected would suggest. By comparison, Kirk Cousins had the second highest goal line rate (34.8%) and scored -0.63 points per opportunity vs. expected.
RB — DeAngelo Williams (PIT), 33.2%/+0.30 points per opportunity
Williams saw plenty of opportunity near the end zone, which is what helped propel him to top-10 status in the second half of the season. His +0.30 points per opportunity vs. expected is not an elite efficiency rate, but still above average. For example, Andre Williams saw a whopping 30 percent of his 92 opportunities come within the 5-yard line, but scored -1.49 points per opportunity vs. expected.
WR — Eric Decker (NYJ), 23.2%/+0.73 points per opportunity
Decker is one of the most underrated wide receivers in football and last year he was a touchdown machine. He found pay dirt in all but three games last season and it had to do with his usage near the goal line. His 23.2% rate topped all eligible wide receivers and he made it count with +0.73 points per opportunity vs. expected.
TE — Richard Rodgers (GB), 24.9%/+0.93 points per opportunity
Every year it seems as if we’re waiting for a Packers tight end to break out and every year we’re left disappointed. Well, last season Rodgers put up a solid showing as he tied for 12th with 8.2 fantasy points per game thanks in large part to his massive opportunity (and production) in the goal line area.
So that’s just a taste of what you’ll be able to find this year at Gridiron Experts via our Opportunity Index Dashboards. Have fun looking over the 2015 data and we’ll get to updating it once the 2016 season gets underway![wlm_nonmember][the_ad id=”64677″][/wlm_nonmember]
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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.