The idea of these reports is to leverage the fantastic Fantasy Efficiency App to give us some sense as to which players are producing more (or fewer) fantasy points than expected based on their usage. Here’s a brief primer:
Using the line of scrimmage it’s possible to estimate what an average player would do with a target based on the field position, and we can measure every target versus that average. reFPOE is the number of fantasy points a player had above the expected average. reFPOEPT is reFPOE on a per target basis.
Here the top ten takeaways from Week 13’s action:
*Note: Thanks to my brother Pat for filling in for me for last week. He did a fantastic job. It doesn’t make up for the time he convinced me to spend $10 on Michael Floyd in an important auction, but it’s a start.
– We’re in the heart of playoffs, so I’m not going to be talking about things like “Heath Miller led all TEs in targets this week but scored below expectation.”1 Because I doubt very many of you that are still alive are starting Heath Miller. And if you are, then you have a lot more working for you then I can provide.
– What I WILL be doing, is trying to diagnose who you should/shouldn’t feel good about in the playoffs, and also cast an eye towards the future for those of you (like me) who are in dynasty leagues but are eliminated or are just plain thinking about 2015. Here’s an example of the former: Coby Fleener had a fantastic week, which I kind of predicted.2 But if you’re starting him in the playoffs and expecting a repeat performance, be prepared to be disappointed. Not just because Dwayne Allen is back, in fact Fleener didn’t have an exorbitant amount of targets this week (7). It’s also that his reFPOEPT from this week, 2.79, is wildly unsustainable, even for him. I say even for him because Fleener actually has a very impressive reFPOEPT of 0.58 on the season, plus he’s got Andrew Luck which definitely helps and increases the chances that I look like a buffoon for saying all of this. But I’m just saying: if you’re in a must-win week you should at least be considering your other options.
– An example of the latter: Through 13 weeks, Levine Toilolo has 41 targets, 51.81 expected points, a target market share of 9.5 percent, and a reFPOEPT of -0.19. Through 13 weeks last season, Tony Gonzalez had 92 targets, 113.03 expected points, a target market share of 18.8 percent and a reFPOEPT of 0.13. I don’t know about you, but I smell a draft pick coming.
– I’m not sure what to make of Jordan Reed as a playoff starter. It’s hard to ignore what he did last week, recording double digit targets and leading all TEs in expected points, all while another Redskins TE, Logan Paulson, caught a touchdown on one of the wackiest plays of the season. In Colt McCoy’s three starts, Reed is averaging a slightly inspiring 7.66 targets, a very uninspiring reFPOEPT of 0.05, but a rock solid expected points number of 10.36. While the same size is admittedly small, it’s still quite notable as the list of TEs who have averaged over 10 expected points per game is exactly two players long: Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham. What that probably means is that Reed’s numbers with Colt are due to regress, and I really don’t like his matchup this week against the Rams, who’ve allowed the fourth least fantasy points to TEs this season. It’s certainly encouraging to see what Reed is doing with McCoy, but my gut says this won’t continue, at least at the level it has.
– There are 18 players in the NFL with over 100 targets at this point. Only one is a TE: Rob Gronkowski. Among those 18 players, Gronk has the sixth highest reFPOEPT at 0.53. Only one other TE has over 70 targets and an reFPOEPT above 0.35.3 Given Gronk’s raw production and the clear advantage he presents relative to the other players at his position, he has to be back to a borderline first rounder in redrafts next year.4
– It will be very interesting to see what the Giants do at TE in the off-season. Right now Larry Donnell is 6th in targets on the season, although he’s closer in targets to the player who’s 17th (Owen Daniels) than the player who’s fourth (Graham). And his efficiency has been solid but not spectacular; among the 19 TEs with at least 50 targets his reFPOEPT of 0.22 ranks 11th. Heading into last April’s draft it was heavily rumored that the Giants were hot after Eric Ebron. The question is: would you want them to draft a TE? Donnell is fifth in expected points so I suppose you could make the case that he’s not capitalizing fully on his opportunity. Nonetheless, I’m having a hard time answering that question.
– Speaking of Eric Ebron…oh boy, I just heard the soul-crushed sighs of a thousand dynasty players. I kid, most savvy owners knew the risks of counting on rookie TEs, and besides, if the players in my league are any indication, dynasty players don’t have souls. Pre-draft, I remember a lot of people comparing Ebron to Vernon Davis, who prior to Ebron was the last TE to be taken in the top ten of the NFL draft. I thought it would be fun to compare Davis’ rookie year to Ebron’s just to see how they shake out. In seven games as a rookie, Davis had 42 targets, 48.21 expected points, an an reFPOEPT of 0.15. In nine games as a rookie, Ebron has 35 targets, 39.72 expected points, and an reFPOEPT of -0.02. So worse across the board, but call me crazy: I am not totally discouraged by this.5 Targets and expected points are largely an indication of role, which can shift year to year. And while Ebron’s efficiency is bad, its not terrible. I wouldn’t say it’s that significantly worse than Davis’ 0.15, and for his career Davis now has a very respectable reFPOEPT of 0.41, which includes the -0.04 he’s put on the board this year. Chin up, Ebron owners. There’s hope yet.
– You can go back to not really caring about Mychal Rivera. After his big breakout, Rivera has posted a reFPOEPT of -0.4 in his last three games, while averaging less than six targets and six expected points per game. Personally, I think the Raiders will stick with Rivera for at least another season, but I’d still add them to the list of teams to monitor in the off-season. You know, if you can stomach the general sadness involved in doing that.
– Heading into Week 13, Luke Willson’s target market share was 12.3 percent, which at the time wouldn’t have even placed him in the top 25. On Sunday, it was a whopping 27.3 percent, the third highest of the week behind Gronk and Fleener. I’m not sure what to make of that, other than Russell Wilson really needs a better stable of pass-catchers, but I’m keeping an eye on this.
– Congrats to Anthony Fasano, who posted the highest reFPOEPT of the week at 7.01, an absurd figure. In a related note, I know most of Travis Kelce’s owners aren’t reading this because they’re currently undergoing electroshock therapy, but to the few that are, let me say: you need to consider your other options in the playoffs. Your boy had three targets last week.
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