Fantasy Football: The Report, Week 13
What is The Report? It's a comprehensive, statistical look at how teams and players are functioning offensively, with notes as to what it all means for the fantasy football future. Each week, The Report will feature charts on team play-calling tendencies, player usage close to the end zone, deep ball rates, and so much more. With added commentary, the purpose is to not only hand you information, but provide actionable information to crush both season-long and daily fantasy football.
Let's dig into Week 13's report.
|Team||Pass Att||Rush Att||Ratio||+/- 6 Ratio||RZ Plays||RZ Ratio||GL Plays||GL Ratio|
During the 2016 and 2017 seasons, no team ran fewer plays at the goal line than Miami. In 2018, that trend is continuing, as they've run just seven goal-line plays, the fewest in the league. If you've been frustrated with Frank Gore's lack of touchdowns (you'll find his name on the touchdown regression list later), there's you're reason. Through 12 weeks, Miami has the fewest rushing touchdowns in the league. They're not doing a whole lot of scoring, and they're definitely not doing a lot of their scoring close to their opponent's end zone.
Cleveland's now had Freddie Kitchens as offensive coordinator for three games, and in those games, the Browns have had a neutral game script pass-to-rush ratio of 1.17. Under Todd Haley, that ratio was 1.41. So the Browns have taken a more run-friendly approach under their new regime, which has benefited Nick Chubb, who's carried the ball an average of 23.3 times per game during this Kitchens era. For comparison, Carlos Hyde hit 20 carries in just three of his six contests with the Browns.
The team with the biggest difference between their neutral script ratio and overall ratio is the New York Giants. When games are close, they've got a 1.53 pass-to-rush attempt ratio, which is slightly above average. But in sum, they're the fifth-most pass-heavy team in the NFL. In other words, they'd probably like to run the ball more, but they just haven't been able to given game flow.
Schedule-Adjusted Net Expected Points
To learn more about numberFire's Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, check out the glossary. (Note: Negative figures for defense are good.)
|Team||Adj NEP||Adj Pass NEP||Adj Rush NEP||Adj D NEP||Adj D Pass NEP||Adj D Rush NEP|
Here's your weekly "bad secondary" update: Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Detroit, and Oakland are in their own tier of bad, per NEP. You should be using quarterbacks and pass-catchers who are facing those units each and every week in fantasy football.
The bottom-three teams in schedule-adjusted passing offense are each starting -- or have started for a lot of the year -- rookie quarterbacks. Buffalo is last with a -68.3 total, while Arizona is about 11 points better, and New York (Jets) roughly 37 points better. Unsurprisingly, those teams are in the bottom three in yards per drive this year, and have struggled to produce fantasy-relevant players.
This isn't really fantasy-related, but there's been some talk on social media this week saying that Andrew Luck deserves to be in the MVP conversation. Net Expected Points disagrees. Really disagrees. According to the metric, the Colts have the ninth-best passing offense in the league when adjusted for strength of opponent.
Team Pass Defense Splits
The chart below displays the raw number of yards and the percentage of yards allowed by pass defense to wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs.
Now Tampa Bay's top tight end, Cameron Brate finished Week 12 with four targets and a touchdown while running the eight-most routes at the tight end position. This week, he's going up against Carolina, who's allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends this season. He's a good play, but do note that nine other teams have allowed a higher percentage of receiving yards to the tight end position this year. A big reason the Panthers are bad against the position from a fantasy points against standpoint is because they've allowed a league-high nine touchdowns to tight ends this year.
Baltimore is a team I keep bringing up in this section each week, because they're giving up a large portion of their yards to tight ends. And this week, they'll face Austin Hooper, who's thrived in plus matchups this season. He has three games with double-digit targets, and those games came against Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, and Cleveland. The Steelers and Bucs rank in the top-five in percentage of yards allowed to tight ends, while Cleveland's surrendered top half numbers to the position. Hooper's a strong play this week.
The Colts continue to be a low-key strong team against wide receivers. Just 51.5% of their passing yards allowed have gone to wideouts, the lowest mark in football. They haven't allowed a WR1 performance in fantasy since facing DeAndre Hopkins in Week 4. Considering Jacksonville may be without Leonard Fournette, they don't have a reliable tight end option, and they've got a new quarterback under center, the Colts' D is a strong streaming choice in Week 13.
Corey Davis should be usable once again this week. The Jets have surrendered the fourth-most yards and the third-highest percentage of yards to wide receivers this season, and despite a lower target share than usual over the last two weeks, Davis still has a season-long target share north of 27%. He's a good play in Week 13.
And Marcus Mariota is a streaming option if you need one, too. New York has been a team that's allowed a pretty high floor to fantasy quarterbacks this year -- eight passers against the Jets have finished with 17-plus fantasy points. But the ceiling isn't always there, partially because the Jets' offense is so inept. So Mariota should have a safe-ish floor, but if you're looking for ceiling, it's hard to imagine this game shoots out with a 40.5-point over/under.
Kenyan Drake was a sell in this week's 15 Transactions column due to his inconsistency, but there's some intrigue this week. Buffalo has been above-average against the run according to numberFire's expected points model, but 22.7% of their passing yards allowed have gone to running backs. Drake benefited from a similar matchup last week against Indy. The difference in this one, of course, is that the game projects to be much lower scoring.
There really aren't obvious quarterback streamers this week given the way ownership percentages look, so Case Keenum is sort of in play. Hopefully you're fine at the position (and who isn't these days?), but if you're desperate, Keenum is facing a Cincinnati D that's now allowed the most points to quarterbacks in fantasy football. They're really bad against every position -- just take a look at the chart.
And Derek Carr could be considered a deeper streamer as well. Kansas City has given up a lot of yards through the air this year, but a large percentage of those have gone to tight ends and running backs. They rank 12th in percentage of yards allowed to tight ends, and fifth within that same category, but to backs. Considering Oakland's wide receivers are so mediocre anyway, the matchup could be a lot worse for this particular offense. Now, don't get me wrong, that Raiders' offense is not good. But Carr should be forced to throw quite a bit in this game, and if things roll his way a bit, he could find the end zone a couple of times.
Team Directional Rushing
All numbers below reflect yards per play.
On the season, Atlanta has surrendered the second-highest Success Rate -- or percentage of positive expected points plays -- through the air to running backs. They've been notoriously bad against pass-catching backs in recent history. Gus Edwards, who's seen 40 carries for the Ravens over the team's last two games, hasn't been targeted once during this time. So that passing game matchup could either mean we see more looks to Edwards, or maybe the Ravens opt to utilize someone like Ty Montgomery more. The good news is that Edwards should still be fine from a floor perspective (especially if Alex Collins is out again), as Atlanta ranks fifth-worst in Success Rate allowed to runners on the ground this year.
Could this be a week for LeSean McCoy? He's carried the ball 43 times over Buffalo's last two games, and he'll face Miami, a team that's given up the sixth-most fantasy points per game to running backs this year. As you can see in the chart, they're below average at stopping the run to every area of the field. Buffalo's on the road, but McCoy at least has some flex appeal, when he usually has no appeal.
Damon Harrison was traded from New York to Detroit after Week 7. Through the first seven weeks of the season, the Giants were allowing 3.9 yards per carry to opposing running backs. In the four games post-trade, New York's allowing 5.1 yards per tote. They're also giving up one rushing touchdown per game to opposing backs without Harrison. That makes both Chicago running backs interesting this week, especially Tarik Cohen, who's just a straight-up better fantasy back.
Kareem Hunt gets Oakland this week. Yes, please.
Running Back Usage
|Player||Att||Rush %||Targets||Target %||Snap %||Last Wk Rate||RZ Att||RZ Targets||GL Att|
The Broncos backfield has been annoying at times this year, but it looks like Denver is starting to see the light. Phillip Lindsay played 63.2% of the Broncos' snaps on Sunday, which was a season high. That's not as large of a snap share as we see from elite backs, but it's good to see Lindsay, the team's best runner, getting the love he (and fantasy managers) deserves.
Jalen Richard saw four targets and had just one rush in a negative game script last week, but he still played about 45% of Oakland's snaps. That's not far off from what we're used to seeing from him. He's an interesting flex option in PPR formats this week with the Raiders as 15-point underdogs. Kansas City has also surrendered the most receiving yards to backs this year, helping Richard's pass-catching cause.
Over the last three games, Christian McCaffrey is second in the NFL in red-zone attempts behind Saquon Barkley but, more importantly, he's second in goal-line rushes, trailing only Leonard Fournette. His usage is elite, and he's playing more snaps than any other back in football.
Alfred Blue has had the quietest 115 rush attempt season in NFL history. Can you believe he has that many touches this year? Just though it was worthwhile to mention it.
It'll be interesting to see how New England utilizes Rex Burkhead, who's eligible to return in Week 13. Sony Michel has been the goal-line back for this offense when healthy this year, having carried the ball 10 times within the opponent's 5-yard line despite playing just 8 games. There are only seven running backs with more goal-line looks (one of them is Mark Ingram, which is nuts). If Burkhead steals snaps in the red zone, it could hurt Michel's value moving forward.
We've now seen this Mike McCoy-less Arizona Cardinals offense for four games and, to be honest, there really hasn't been much improvement. With McCoy, the Cardinals averaged 19.5 yards per drive. That was second-worst in the NFL through Week 7, the week before he got fired. Since then -- so during this Byron Leftwich era -- that yards per drive rate has jumped to 22.0, but that mark is still the second-worst in the league. With Leftwich, Arizona has averaged just 15.8 points per game, and they haven't faced tough defenses, going up against San Francisco, Kansas City, and Oakland in this four-game stretch.
Now, it has gotten better for David Johnson. With McCoy, Johnson was averaging 15.1 attempts and 4.3 targets per game, accounting for a 75.8% rushing share and a 13.7% target share. Under Leftwich, his rushing share is up to 78%, and his target share is at 16.1%. He's seeing more raw volume in the offense as well. But let's not overstate what this all means. It's not looking like he's going to have this big turnaround that fantasy managers wanted to see. The offense just isn't good enough. Or, at least, it hasn't been good enough.
Wide Receiver Usage
|Player||Targets||Target %||Snap %||Last Wk Rate||RZ Targets||< 10 Targets||GL Targets|
JuJu Smith-Schuster is tied with Davante Adams for the lead in red-zone targets (23), he ranks fifth at wide receiver in targets within the 10-yard line (8), and he's third in wideout targets from within the 5 (6). Yet, he's scored as many 75-plus yard touchdowns as he has red-zone ones. Freaking Kendrick Bourne has more red-zone scores. He's been a regression candidate for some time, and hopefully the regression hits down the stretch for the fantasy playoffs. The Steelers have some favorable matchups then, after all.
I noted earlier that the Browns have become more run-heavy with Freddie Kitchens as the offensive coordinator, and that's part of the reason for Jarvis Landry's dip in fantasy production of late. With Todd Haley, Landry averaged 11.6 targets per game while seeing 30.6% of Cleveland's targets. His target share has dropped to 19.3% with Kitchens, and since they've been a more run-heavy team, his targets per game rate has been cut in half. He's probably still worthy of being on your roster, but you can't start him until we see a bump.
Alshon Jeffery was once rolling in the Philadelphia offense. Across his first five games played this season, he was averaging 8.8 targets per game and a 23.4% target share. But since Golden Tate was sent to the Eagles, Jeffery's seen his targets per game rate fall to 5.3, and he's seeing just a little over 15% of Philly's receiving looks. He's really hard to trust as we head into the fantasy playoffs.
The Lions lost Marvin Jones in a Week 10 game against Chicago, and since then, Kenny Golladay's seen a huge bump in target share in the offense. If you count that Bears game, Babytron has 36 targets across his last three games, coming in with a target share of 30.8%. He should be in your lineup each week now that Jones is officially on IR.
Tight End Usage
|Player||Targets||Target %||Snap %||Last Wk Rate||RZ Targets||< 10 Targets||GL Targets|
The last time we saw the Rams, Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee combined for 11 targets. Higbee ran more routes in that contest, per Pro Football Focus, but without Cooper Kupp in the lineup, both are intriguing dart-throw streamers at tight end.
We've seen Jonnu Smith find the end zone three times over his last four games, but he's been targeted more than three times in just one of those contests. The hope for Smith is that the team wants to get him more involved given what he's shown, but he's not a lock to produce for your fantasy squads. He's merely a streamer.
With Jack Doyle out, Eric Ebron is back to being a near elite option at tight end. Without Doyle this year, Ebron's target share is north of 22%. Considering his red-zone numbers -- he's tied for the tight end lead -- he should be a plug-and-play option through the rest of the season.
Deep Ball Passing
|Player||15+ Yd Att||15+ Yd Att %||15+ Comp %||15+ % of Tot Yds||15+ Yd TD %|
Nick Mullens saw his deep-ball rate jump quite a bit in Week 12 after tossing it 15-plus air yards six times, more than doubling his season total. He completed three of those passes for 59 yards, no touchdowns and a pick. He can't be trusted in fantasy, even as a deep streamer.
We saw Josh Allen on the field again this past weekend, and he continued being aggressive. He's now thrown it 15 or more yards through the air on 27.2% of his throws, which is the highest rate among all relevant quarterbacks. A ridiculous two-thirds of his touchdowns have come on deep balls. No other player has a rate higher than 50% in that category.
Running Back Touchdown Regression
Regression analysis doesn't always have to be so complicated. As you'd expect, there's a decent correlation between yards gained and touchdowns scored. The regression analysis in The Report looks at running back and wide receiver yards gained, shows how many touchdowns they've scored, and then finds how many touchdowns they should have scored based on trends from the last seven NFL seasons.
|Player||Rush Yds||TD||Should Have||Difference||Rec Yds||TD||Should Have||Difference||Total Difference|
I had talked about Frank Gore at the top, and as you can see, the lack of goal-line plays for Miami has really ruined any fantasy potential he has. He's scored just once this year, when he really should've found the end zone between four and five times based on his yardage totals.
Doug Martin is an interesting positive regression candidate because he's been the main goal-line guy for Oakland with Marshawn Lynch sidelined. Only nine players have more carries than Martin from within their opponent's five since Lynch's season-ending injury.
Wide Receiver Touchdown Regression
|Player||Rec Yds||TD||Should Have||Difference|
|Equanimeous St. Brown||215||0||1.29||-1.29|
Willie Snead had been seeing really good volume in Baltimore's offense before failing to see a target in Week 12. He's close to the bottom of this list because of his one touchdown reception, but he's also seen just five red-zone targets this year and he's yet to be targeted within the 10. I'd like to say he's going to find the end zone more, but with Lamar Jackson under center, Baltimore wideouts aren't as useful.