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Top 10 Takeaways from Week 5: The WR Opportunity Report

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This is the fifth of a weekly series examining the actual fantasy production of wide receivers compared to what they would have been expected to do given the targets that they saw. Got it? We determine that second part using line of scrimmage data. For a more detailed explanation, here’s the first iteration of this article from last season.

Here are the main terms you need to know:

  • FP- This is the raw total number of receiving fantasy points a WR scored. Scoring is .5 PPR.
  • reEP- This the total number of receiving fantasy points you would have expected a WR to produce given his targets.
  • reFPOE- This stands for receiving Fantasy Points Over Epectation. This is the difference between FP and reEP. As an example, Calvin Johnson scored 31.9 FP in Week 1. His reEP was 14.56. That means he scored 17.34 reFPOE. If you started Johnson in Week 1 you got 17.34 points more than would have been expected given NFL averages.
  • reFPOEPT- The PT stands for per target. So this is just reFPOE divided by the number of targets a player had. Johnson had 11 targets, so 17.34 divided by 11 equals 1.58. That’s his reFPOEPT for Week 1.

All of this information comes from the wonderful Fantasy Efficiency App. Here are my observations from the Week 5 data.

  • Demaryius Thomas led the league in both reEP and reFPOE this week, which is a good way to have a monster day. I know, Thomas is really good. Groundbreaking stuff. But I imagine there are probably people out there who think he got most of his points on a few big plays and that he necessarily didn’t see more opportunity than usual. In reality, prior to this week he only had 27 targets on the season. This week he had 16. When early-round WRs disappoint at the beginning of the year it’s often just prudent to wait for variance to swing back to your favor.
  • I suggested last week that we should probably just be focusing on Vincent Jackson’s usage and hope that his efficiency improves. That’s exactly what happened this week. His 0.50 reFPOEPT on 12 targets got the job done on Sunday. I would start him consistently to make sure I get his good weeks.
  • I don’t think I’ve written about T.Y. Hilton yet this year. He has 50 targets this year for a little less than a quarter of the Colts’ total targets. His reFPOEPT is a completely average -0.02. Last year it was a 0.18. That’s still not great, but it’s possible he’s due for some positive regression. He’s a super safe starter no matter how you slice it.
  • Jeremy Maclin has the second-highest reEP of the season, behind only Jordy Nelson. I imagine that due to the nature of the Philadelphia offense some people view him as a big-play, or boom-or-bust type guy, which isn’t true based off of his usage. You might be able to package an actual boom-or-bust WR with something else to acquire Maclin.
  • Did someone say DeSean Jackson? Jackson’s coming off a huge game. He had 11 targets for a reEP of 11.62 and a reFPOEPT of 1.14. However, on the season he only has a reEP of 39.31. That’s less than eight points a game. He’s been efficient with a reFPOEPT of 0.52, but that’s coming off of a huge game. Prior to this week it was only 0.25. Basically, he’s a sell high in general and if you can package him for Maclin that would be a great move.
  • After a strong Week 1, Brandin Cooks is only receiving 19 percent of New Orleans’ targets and is only managing a reFPOEPT of -0.02. That’s actually about expected. As much as we loved Cooks as a long-term prospect, the truth is rookie WRs typically don’t produce much. To further my point of tempered expectations for rookies, Cooks, Allen Robinson, Kelvin Benjamin, and Allen Hurns all had 11 targets this week. Their respective reFPOEPTs were -0.30, -0.42, -0.69, and -0.74. I like Benjamin. He actually has the 11th-highest reEP in the league and his reFPOEPT for the season is 0.31. He’s the only rookie WR I’m looking to own at this point. I would probably sell Cooks if I owned him.
  • Speaking of guys with really high reEPs, Rueben Randle has the 10th-highest reEP of the season at over 10 points per game. I think people may have been a little too quick to write him off and he’s likely still being undervalued by his owners. Last season, when Randle was infamously “bad” he had a reFPOEPT of 0.42. This year that number is -0.29. So this is a guy with really good usage who is likely due for positive regression. Go get him.
  • Justin Hunter is a bit of a head-scratcher for me. He’s obviously talented and he can take over games. He had a reFPOEPT of 2.45 on Sunday. He’s also only getting 19.6 percent of the team’s targets and his reEP for the season averages out to less than seven points per game. He only got five targets on Sunday. Reportedly, he’s going to completely overtake Nate Washington soon. I agree that he’s a buy low, but I can also see things not improving at all.
  • Travis Benjamin had a big day for the Browns, which is always interesting for a team with limited receiving options. I probably wouldn’t read too much into it. His reEP was only 5.79. He’ll probably be a boom-bust option at best.
  • It sounds like Calvin Johnson is likely to miss at least one game. Golden Tate has certainly capitalized on Johnson’s injuries the last two weeks. He’s averaging a reEP of over 10 points a week, while managing a reFPOEPT of 0.94, and commanding just under 30 percent of the targets. I don’t think things will be dramatically different if Johnson doesn’t play. He’ll clearly be the best WR on the team and get plenty of opportunity. You can start him with confidence. As much as it pains me to say it, there’s also the possibility that Johnson never gets right this season, making Tate the de facto WR1. If that’s the case, he’s probably a solid buy.

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By Justin Winn | @TheHumanHuman | Archive

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