Opportunity Index: Week 9
Recapping Results from Week 8
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.
We had some nice results last week by hitting on recommended plays (Devontae Booker, Ezekiel Elliott, Terrelle Pryor, Packers receivers, C.J. Fiedorowicz, Rob Gronkowski) and recommended sits (Jason Witten). I foolishly believed Brock Osweiler was good enough to take advantage of a good matchup and we hit an injury landmine with the Spencer Ware concussion.
Overall a great week so let’s see what OI has in store for us in Week 9!
Can you Trust Mark Ingram this week?
There’s no denying that Ingram is in the doghouse after fumbling in two straight games. However, all signs point to him getting the rock again this week, but he’ll have a short leash. So why would you want to go through the trouble of starting someone with such a high-risk profile? Well, the 49ers have allowed the second highest adjusted +/- (1.06) vs. the run, and better yet teams are targeting their run defense as they’ve also allowed the second highest adjusted OI +/- (14.9%). You’re betting on Ingram holding onto the ball this week, which is a pretty good bet in my book, and if so he could be in for a big game.
Darren Sproles great DraftKings value play[the_ad id=”58835″]If you’re looking to save some cash on DraftKings this week, look no further that Sproles who comes in at a nice $3,900. He’s coming off a game where he played in 80 percent of the Eagles snaps and saw a whopping 22 opportunities as well. It’s a perfect matchup for Sproles as the Giants struggle in the one area that Sproles excels in — defending the pass. So far this season, the Giants rank 23rd in adjusted +/- vs. the run (0.39) and 29th in adjusted +/- vs. running backs in the pass game (0.58). Sproles’ OI doesn’t rate well on a per-snap basis, but over the last month he sports an almost identical OI share as Mathews and isn’t the one being utilized as a goal line back.
Mike mentioned Sproles in his DFS Player Ownership % Article for week 9.
Jay Ajayi a sneaky start vs. the Jets
Ajayi’s opportunity has sky-rocketed over the last month — 36.5 percent team OI share (ranks sixth), 131.5 percent OI Rating (ranks 12th), and 57.2 percent goal line share (ranks ninth) — and while he has a tough matchup vs. the Jets run defense (-0.63 adjusted +/-) the Jets run defense also has a tough matchup vs. the Miami offensive line. According to Football Outsiders, the Dolphins’ offensive line ranks first in adjusted line yards (4.43 yards) and they rank in the top four in running plays that hit five-plus yards.
Keep plugging in Melvin Gordon in DFS
Over the last month, nine running backs have a team OI share of 36 percent or better. David Johnson (46.0%), Demarco Murray (42.9%), Le’Veon Bell (39.5%), Devonta Freeman (38.0%), Ezekiel Elliott (37.2%), Ajayi (36.5%), Gordon (36.4%), Jacquizz Rodgers (36.4%), and Matt Forte (36.3%). Cross off Johnson, Freeman, and Rodgers as they aren’t on the Sunday slate this week. Gordon is one of three players who doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and while his opponent has been rather stout vs. the run (-0.41 adjusted +/-) but terrible vs. running backs in the passing game (0.64 adjusted +/-). While most think of Gordon as a bruising running back, he’s excelled in the passing game this season. Over the last four weeks, Gordon has a 0.53 +/- in the passing game.
Start Ryan Tannehill, Jarvis Landry with confidence[the_ad id=”66786″]There’s no doubt that the Jets struggle against the pass and it beings with their struggles vs. wide receivers. The Jets secondary is allowing a 6.2% adjusted OI +/-, which means they are boosting opposing wide receivers’ OI by 6.2 percent. That’s second-worst in the league, but it doesn’t end there. The Jets are also allowing 1.51 fantasy points per opportunity more than expected to opposing wide receivers, which is adjusted for the strength of the Jets opponents. That ranks sixth-worst. Landry is coming into this game tied with the third-highest team OI share (20.2%) so he should get fed early and often on Sunday.
Kenny Britt week version 2.0
Targeting the Panthers secondary has been a good move this season when looking for streaming options in season long or quality DFS plays. This week we have the Rams at home vs. that suspect Panthers secondary. Remember, we just saw them give up 23.9 fantasy points to J.J. Nelson. People tend to gravitate towards Tavon Austin, who does have the second-highest team OI share (20.4%) among wide receivers. However, Austin hasn’t done anything with that opportunity as he’s averaging 9.4 fantasy points per game and -0.37 fantasy points per opportunity vs. expected. Instead, you should target Kenny Britt, who may have a more modest OI share (13.7%), but is performing well with them by scoring 0.38 fantasy points per opportunity vs. expected.
Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant a contrarian DFS stack
Everyone will be over Elliott this week because of his juicy matchup, but what about Prescott and Bryant? Among quarterbacks who have started at least four games, Prescott ranks as the eighth-most efficient by scoring -0.05 fantasy points per opportunity vs. expected. He ranks seventh with a 33.2 percent team OI share and a 48.7 percent team OI share at the goal line. Cleveland is bad vs. the run game, but they are dead last in adjusted +/- allowed to opposing quarterbacks (1.63) and the same goes for wide receivers (2.69). No one is talking about this stack, and it could go off on Sunday.
It’s OK to get cute and sit Amari Cooper vs. Denver
If you pose the question, “Should I start or sit Cooper vs. Denver this week?” the majority of fantasy analysts will brush you off and tell you to “not get cute” with your lineups. I’m here to tell you that it’s OK to get cute and bench Cooper. Not only do the Broncos stifle opposing wide receiver opportunity (-18.8% adjusted OI +/- ranks first), but they also stifle efficiency (-3.71 adjusted +/- ranks first). Denver is death to wide receivers and here’s the week-by-week proof:
- Week 1: Kelvin Benjamin — 1.51 FPTS per opportunity
- Week 2: T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Phillip Dorsett — 0.54 FPTS per opportunity
- Week 3: A.J. Green — 1.06 FPTS per opportunity
- Week 4: Mike Evans — 0.76 FPTS per opportunity
- Week 5: Julio Jones — 0.65 FPTS per opportunity
- Week 6: Travis Benjamin, Tyrell Williams — 0.94 FPTS per opportunity
- Week 7: DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller — 0.54 FPTS per opportunity
- Week 8: Travis Benjamin, Tyrell Williams — 0.85 FPTS per opportunity
Kyle Rudolph is the top TE play this week
Last week I was touting C.J. Fiedorowicz not because I think he’s a super-talented football player, but because he was seeing a lot of targets and facing the absolute worst defense at covering the tight end position. Well, this week that honor goes to Rudolph except he’s seeing significantly more volume than Fiedorowicz was going into last week’s game. Rudolph ranks second among tight ends by earning 16.9 percent of his team’s OI share and while that’s been trending down over the last month, we just saw Vikings’ offensive coordinator resign so I’m going to guess that means Rudolph should be OK. The Lions are allowing 4.7 fantasy points above expected per opportunity to opposing tight ends this season.
Travis Kelce with a quarterback upgrade
Through the first seven weeks, Kelce had earned a 12.4 percent share of the team’s OI as well as an 115.4 percent OI Rating — both solid values. Last week with Nick Foles under center for the majority of the game, Kelce saw his first 10-target game and earned a 16.8 percent share of the team OI and a 160.0 percent OI Rating. It’s not that Foles is technically better than Alex Smith, but he’s more favorable to his pass catchers for fantasy football purposes.
Check out all Gridiron Experts OI Data Here
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.