Opportunity Index: Week 7
Recapping Results from Week 6
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.
Get Opportunity Index Data HERE
New Matchup-Oriented OI Metrics
Due to some scheduling issues I took a break from the OI column last week, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t hard at work. This week I brought in a new metric to the dashboard that I’m really excited to share with you. It’s a matchup-oriented metric and what it does is tells us two things:
- Adjusted OI Allowed: On average, how much a defense “boosts” or “knocks down” the opposing position’s OI Rating.
- Adjusted +/- Allowed: Per opportunity, how many fantasy points is a defense allowing to each position vs. the expected output.
I think these two metrics can be very powerful in explaining just how great of a spot a player is in on any given week. Before I get into my favorite matchups by position let me quickly explain how I interpret each of these metrics. You can find the defensive metrics in the “DEF Dashboard” tab.
Adjusted OI Allowed doesn’t tell us how good a defense is at defending a certain position, but it will tell us how past opponents have decided to attack that defense. For example, we know Cleveland has been horrendous vs. the pass this year, but they’ve actually knocked down opposing quarterbacks’ OI Rating by 8.5 percent through six weeks which ranks eighth in the league. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are a great defense against quarterbacks, but what it’s telling us is that opposing quarterbacks aren’t getting a boost in opportunity in this matchup, for whatever reason.
This is where adjusted +/- allowed comes in because this stat tells us how many fantasy points per opportunity a defense is allowing vs. the expected output. Going back to my Cleveland vs. quarterbacks example, the Browns rank dead last with an adjusted +/- allowed of 1.14. So despite the Browns rankings well in OI allowed, quarterbacks are still performing well above their expected value so it’s a great matchup.
One final thing I’ll point out is that both of these metrics are schedule-adjusted, which means I’m accounting for who the defense has been facing. This is important because you don’t want to give extra credit to a pass defense that has shut down Blaine Gabbert, Cody Kessler, Ryan Tannehill, and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Let’s get to the Week 7 data!
Another Theo Riddick RB1 week?
The best RB matchup that jumps off the page initially is the Redskins defense. Not only do they give the biggest boost in OI (19.4%; ranks 32nd), but they also rate horrible in +/- allowed on running plays (0.82; 31st). That’s the perfect storm of a matchup and given Riddick’s healthy 25.3 percent OI market share I’d be confident in rolling him out this week as an RB1.
Sneaky LeGarrette Blount game this week
It’s typically not advised to play Blount on the road and since Tom Brady has come back Blount has lost almost 10 snaps per game. That being said, his OI market share has only decreased 2.9 percent and if the Patriots are going to win big we should see more Blount in the second half against a Steelers defense that boosts opposing running back’s OI by 12.4 percent (ranks 31st) and has a +/- allowed of 0.14 on running plays (ranks 21st).
Keep an eye on his leg injury, but don’t be afraid to fire him up if he’s a full go on Sunday.
All-in on Devonta Freeman and Spencer Ware for DFS
Both Freeman and Ware are in time shares, but they have the better piece of the pie and both have great matchups this week. First, Freeman comes in with a healthy 28.4 percent OI market share compared to Tevin Coleman’s 19.8 percent and the matchup against San Diego is juicy to say the least. The Chargers defense ranks 21st in OI allowed (1.5%), 26th in +/- allowed on run plays (0.28), and 32nd in +/- allowed on pass plays to running backs (0.66).
On the other hand, Ware may be in a perceived time share with Jamaal Charles back, but he’s actually dominated the OI market share with a whopping 31.3 percent over the last two weeks. Charles sits at 13.6 percent for comparison purposes. This week, the Chiefs get to face the Saints defense and while everyone will be on Alex Smith and the passing game, I’d rather attack their run defense which allows a +/- of 0.69 (ranks 30th) on run plays.
Avoid the Bills running game, play Arian Foster
Before LeSean McCoy got hurt, I was planning on writing up why you should fade him this week, but I’m still not on any of his replacements. Miami’s defense has been rather stout against the run this year with an adjusted +/- of -0.48 (ranks fourth) vs. the run and -0.87 (ranks third) vs. running backs in the passing game. On the flip side, if Arian Foster continues to practice in full and is good to go on Sunday he’s a sneaky play against a Bills defense that rates almost the opposite of the Dolphins. The Bills rank 22nd in adjusted +/- allowed (0.16) vs. the run game and 31st in adjusted +/- allowed (0.61) vs. running backs in the passing game.
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Mike Evans in a blow-up spot
The stars have aligned for Evans to put up a monster week and it’s on him to deliver the results. He’s coming into his matchup vs. the 49ers with the second highest OI market share in the league (20.9%) and the Buccaneers have no Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin, or Charles Sims. The 49ers defense allows the second-lowest adjusted OI to opposing wide receivers (-14.6%), but I don’t think we really need to worry about Evans’ opportunity in this spot. The 49ers defense does rank 25th in adjusted +/- allowed to wide receivers (0.72), which is why I’m very optimistic Evans can put together a huge week.
Brandon Marshall with great matchup, bad quarterback
Marshall has seen his OI market share steadily rise to an 11th-best 19.0 percent and despite Geno Smith’s shortcomings at the quarterback position he should lock on Marshall plenty enough to maintain his value. Marshall has an amazing matchup against a Ravens defense that ranks 26th in adjusted OI (1.9%) and 29th in adjusted +/- (1.76) allowed to opposing wide receivers. To add good news to his matchup, it looks as if top corner Jimmy Smith will not play on Sunday.
Load up on the Bengals and Redskins passing games
Two pass offenses I’m targeting in DFS this week for some contrarian plays are Cincinnati and Washington. The Bengals face a Browns defense that has allowed an adjusted +/- of 1.99 (ranks 31st) to opposing wide receivers, which makes A.J. Green a great play, but also Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd viable as well. LaFell has taken on a valuable role near the goal line as he’s seen a 19.8 percent goal line market share while Boyd has seen nine more snaps per game over the last two weeks.
On the Redskins side, I love Pierre Garcon if Jordan Reed is out. He’s taking most of the goal line market share this season (17.9%), but he also has the highest overall market share among all wide receivers at 14.5 percent. While that’s not a huge number, it has grown 4.4 percent just over the last two weeks and the Redskins get a cushy matchup vs. Detroit which ranks 30th in adjusted +/- allowed to opposing wide receivers (1.87).
Fire up Hunter Henry everywhere
Probably my favorite tight end play in DFS this week is Henry as he not only gets a great matchup vs. Atlanta, but the Chargers are hurting for pass catchers with Travis Benjamin showing up on the injury report this week. Over the last two weeks, Henry’s 14.6 percent OI market share ranks third at the position and the Falcons defense has the 27th-worst adjusted OI (4.5%) and 24th-worst adjusted +/- (1.60) allowed to opposing tight ends.
Tough matchup for Jimmy Graham
It’s hard to sit Graham in season-long leagues because chances are you don’t have a better alternative, however, I’d fade him in DFS. The Cardinals allow the fourth-lowest adjusted OI (-37.6%) and the second-lowest adjusted +/- (-3.38) to opposing tight ends.
Thanks for reading!
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.