Opportunity Index: Week 8
Recapping Results from Week 7
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.
Last week we had our first run of the new OI defensive matchup metrics, and I’d say they were a pretty good success. It helped me identify good spots for LeGarrette Blount, Spencer Ware, Devonta Freeman, Mike Evans, and the Bengals and Redskins passing games. It also helped us avoid the Bills running game and Jimmy Graham landmines.
I’m feeling good about my calls this week so let’s get to the best plays according to my OI metrics.
Spencer Ware is the ultimate Week 8 play
I can’t think of a running back who is in a better spot than Ware this week. With Jamaal Charles experiencing swelling in his knee we can feel confident in another full workload for Ware against a Colts defense that is dreadful against opposing running backs. They rank 30th in adjusted +/- (0.73) against the run game and 31st in adjusted +/- (0.59) against running backs in the passing game. Ware is coming into this game with the 12th-highest OI market share (29.2%) so he’ll be plenty involved.
Buy high on Devontae Booker
The only thing I like better than hitting on a buy-low player is hitting on a buy-high player. Booker’s stock is high now, but it’s only going to get higher once he starts playing in his new role, especially in a great spot vs. the Chargers. Over the last two weeks, he and C.J. Anderson were in a strict timeshare over the last two weeks, but before that, we saw a huge workload for Anderson where he ranked fifth with a 33.7 percent OI market share. Don’t be surprised to see Booker crack the top 10 in usage and while I’m not a professional scout all the metrics point to Booker being a more talented running back prospect than Anderson as well.
Ezekiel Elliott as a contrarian DFS play[the_ad id=”63198″]It feels like Elliott, despite putting up a huge start to the season, gets overlooked in DFS usually because of his price point. Most people would rather pay up to get David Johnson and this week I can see them saving some cash to play Spencer Ware or Devonta Freeman. That said, Elliott ranks tied for fifth in OI market share with 35.5 percent, and he’s seen 47.2 percent of the Cowboys’ goal line market share. While the Eagles defense is off to a hot start, they have let up an adjusted +/- of 0.14, which ranks 20th in the league. We know the Cowboys are going to ride Elliott and it’s not as hard of a matchup as people may perceive.
Note: I slight change this week to this section is I’ll be talking about wide receivers and quarterbacks in tandem since the matchup analysis on them will be very similar, and they correlate very well in fantasy.
Attack the Lions secondary
You’ve probably deduced from the title that I’m low on the Lions defense, but it should be noted that their wide receivers are in a great spot as well, which makes Brock Osweiler a great streaming option. With Darrius Slay, the Lions defense has allowed a 2.07 adjusted +/- to opposing wide receivers and Slay looks like he will be out this weekend. Both DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller should do very well this week. I like Hopkins better since he’s putting up a healthy 18.0 percent OI market share, which is 12th in the league.
Terrelle Pryor is a must-start[the_ad id=”58837″]It’s hard to call any Browns offensive player a must start, but with the opportunity that Pryor is seeing (19.6% OI market share; ranks fourth) paired with his matchup is too good to ignore. The Jets have a serious funnel defense, which means that they are great at stopping the run (-0.52 adjusted +/-; ranks seventh) and terrible vs. the pass (1.72 adjusted +/-; ranks 29th) so obviously the Browns will be airing it out on Sunday.
Target the Packers passing game
It’s crazy to me that I’m all over the Packers pass game and my least favorite player is Jordy Nelson, but this is where we are. The Packers pass game is made up of four players primarily – Nelson, Randall Cobb, Ty Montgomery, and Davante Adams. Of the four, only Nelson has seen a decrease in workload over the last two weeks. Nothing demonstrates that better than the next sentence. Prior to week six, the market share hierarchy among the four players was Nelson (21.5%), Cobb (15.3%), Adams (12.1%), and Montgomery (0.5%), but over the last two weeks it has been Montgomery (27.6%), Cobb (23.9%), Adams (15.5%), and Nelson (8.1%). Whoa.
Give me all the C.J. Fiedorowicz[the_ad id=”66786″]One of my primary goals this week was to learn how to spell Fiedorowicz because I’ll be touting him EVERYWHERE. Over the last three weeks, he’s put up the eighth-best OI market share (13.0%) and on a per-snap basis, he’s a top-five player at the position with a 156.1 percent OI Rating. For those worried about Ryan Griffin eating into his playing time we’ve seen a shift where Fiedorowicz is playing 65-70 percent of snaps and Griffin is stuck at 30 percent. The icing on the cake is that the Texans are facing off a Lions defense that has allowed a league-worst 4.51 adjusted +/- to the tight end position.
Start Gronk & Bennett this week
Maybe I’m a sucker for narratives, but I don’t see how the Patriots don’t try to absolutely embarrass the trash-talking Bills in Buffalo this Sunday. The Bills defense is giving up fantasy points at an above average pace at every single position so the Patriots could have success in multiple ways. Obviously, you’re starting Gronkowski in season-long leagues, but I’d feel confident in throwing him in my DFS lineups as well even at his high price. The Bills rank 21st overall in adjusted +/- allowed to tight ends so I’m comfortable firing up Martellus Bennett in a week I think he sees more snaps than he has the last two weeks.
Avoid Jason Witten vs. Philly
The Eagles defense has been one of the big story lines early this season, and they’ve been especially stout against tight ends. Their adjusted OI allowed (-38.0%) ranks fourth, and their adjusted +/- allowed (-1.71) ranks eighth, so I’d look elsewhere.
Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 8!
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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.