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Gratitude for Chris Godwin, Jarvis Landry, and D.J. Moore as We Embark on a Week of Thanks Giving

Shawn Siegele looks at all of the top wide receiver performances from Week 12, including big games from Chris Godwin, Jarvis Landry, and D.J. Moore.

In this week of giving thanks, I find myself grateful for the blessing of being involved with such a great team here at RotoViz and among such a wonderful community that stretches to our subscribers, our slack members, our podcast listeners, and more. 2019 has been an exciting year for the site, and we couldn’t have done it without all of you.

As a fantasy owner, I find myself thankful for Christian McCaffrey and big time wide receivers. I’ll dive into those results as we look at the top WRs in fantasy points over expectation (FPOE).

Week 12 Fantasy Points Over Expectation Leaderboard

Chris Godwin

Godwin entered Week 12 as the overall WR3, just behind teammate Mike Evans. The pair had already combined for five games of 30-plus points as defenses pick their poison.

Ben Gretch and I entered the week focused on this Falcons-Buccaneers matchup above all else. In a must-win situation for our co-owned Main Event, we were facing the owner of Christian McCaffrey, world destroyer. Our only pick in the top three rounds who wasn’t on the bye happened to be Evans. And our opponent’s other star was Godwin.

The first half went like this.

If anything, the final tally could have been much bigger if not for Atlanta’s inability to keep up. Godwin caught all six of his first-half targets for 151 yards, 2 TDs, and 33.1 points. He got open deep, he shredded tacklers on intermediate routes, and he made an insane touchdown grab where he stole a ball pinned against the defender’s body. On the day he was targeted an average of more than 15 yards down field but also added 67 yards after the catch.

After each of his big games this season he’s appeared ready to take over the WR1 mantle on his team, if not the entire NFL. It’s especially hard to believe that he could have been “held down,” if you can call it that, over the past month.

Our opponent got 71.7 points from the dynamic duo of McCaffrey and Godwin, but the afternoon wasn’t developing as poorly as we might have guessed.

We had several players to thank for that, but the first was facing a former employer.

Jarvis Landry

I’ve been a Landry enthusiast since he burst onto the season as a rookie, immediately vacuuming up receptions at a record-setting pace. So it may have been through rose-colored lenses that I penned this piece after Week 3: Landry Has Been Crippled by the Browns Offense but Is a Gutsy Fantasy Buy.

At that juncture, Landry was averaging almost 2.0 fewer AYA when targeted by Baker Mayfield than he’d averaged in his career with Matt Moore. He was also catching far fewer passes during his Browns tenure, the per game rate dropping from 6.3 to 4.8.

As an underneath threat in bad offenses, Landry had never been an efficiency standout, but his time with Cleveland was especially disturbing.

Those are numbers that would embarrass Zay Jones and Donte Moncrief.

You can use the Weekly Explorer to break down all of our advanced stats by time period. Jones and Moncrief are among the least efficient receivers since the beginning of 2018, but they do have competition.

There were signs that everything might be about to turn. Despite some hiccups, Landry has taken control of the Browns receiver group since that time.

He’s led Odell Beckham in targets, receptions, yards, and TDs. Even though Beckham is usually targeted much further down the field, Landry owns a sizable edge in yards per target because he dominates in both catch rate and yards after the catch.1

Then there are the days when it all comes together. You earn a 38% target share against your former team and turn it into a 10-148-2 line. On the back of his big Week 12, Landry has just generated one of the most efficient stretches of his career.

Only Michael Thomas, the two Bucs stars, and DeAndre Hopkins have scored more points in this span.

Landry matched Godwin almost point for point, keeping Ben and me alive. Those heroics made it all the more exciting when another of our receivers was simultaneously having the best game of his career.

D.J. Moore

Last week I looked at Moore’s second-year breakout through the lens of best ball win rates and mentioned Jack Miller’s excellent breakdown, D.J. Moore May Never Score a TD Again.

Moore’s consistency had been especially impressive in the light of poor quarterback play and a single TD scored back in Week 3. He was still averaging 14.8 points and had been held below 13 only twice. Everything was set up for an eruption if he could only find the end zone. On Sunday we found out what that looks like.

Hasan Rahim will tell you the Panthers should stop throwing so many balls to Curtis Samuel. Last night, on the Fantasy Football Report, I spoke with Hasan and Blair Andrews about Moore’s 51-yard TD and his second, show-stopping, one-handed TD on fourth down to pull Carolina back into the game.

A.J. Brown

The Fantasy Football Report also focused on Brown, a favorite prospect for all three of us. If you pull up the Box Score Scout, you’ll see some negative comps to players like Laquon Treadwell and Cody Latimer, but I’m very intrigued by the similarities to a couple of dynasty stars.

Player DraftPos CarRecYdsMS CarRecTDMS FinalRecYdsMS Forty Weight
A.J. Brown 51 0.26 0.26 0.32 4.49 226
JuJu Smith-Schuster 62 0.28 0.25 0.25 4.54 215
Mike Evans 7 0.29 0.25 0.30 4.53 231

After the pendulum had swung in favor of rookie running backs for several seasons, 2019 is the second straight year with a rookie WR class that appears to have been undervalued. Compared to his peers, Brown ranks only ninth in targets (50) but places second in reFPOE (34.5) and fourth in fantasy points (112.9).

DeAndre Hopkins

That Hopkins’ 2019 has been disappointing underlines just how big a star he is. With his first double-digit reFPOE game of the season, he slides in at WR4 overall. His 31% target share trails only Michael Thomas. Would he be having an even better season with fewer targets and his running mate healthy? That’s the question that naturally arises when his best game corresponds with Will Fuller’s return.

The answer over the past three years may surprise you.

When Fuller has been healthy, Hopkins loses a target per game, but his fantasy scoring spikes thanks to vastly improved efficiency. Over the last 24 such games, Hopkins is sitting on a 104-1471-15 pace.

Giving Thanks

We can all be thankful for Fuller’s health during those fleeting moments when we have it. His 21 points on 7-140-0 combined with those epic performances from Moore and Landry to help Ben and me hold off a late rally from George Kittle and spring the 177-162 upset. Games like this are what make this whole fantasy football experience such a fun community endeavor, even as we are sometimes on the other side of them.

Good luck to everyone tonight as Lamar Jackson, Cooper Kupp, and the rest of our Ravens and Rams try to deliver victories. Enjoy this week of football and family, and from our RotoViz family to yours, we wish you a safe and joyous beginning to the holiday season.

I’m constantly impressed at the depth and breadth of the information in tools built by Mike Beers, Dave Caban, and Anthony Shook. If you enjoyed some of the visualizations used in this piece, make sure to check out the NFL Stat Explorer, the NFL Pace app, the Best Ball Win Rates tool, the Game Splits app, the RotoViz ScreenerGame Level Similarity Projections, the Strength of Schedule Streamer, and the Weekly Stats tool.

Image Credit: Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Jarvis Landry.

  1. In fact, much of Landry’s success probably stems from a return to his strengths. From Week 1 in 2018 to Week 3 in 2019, Landry’s averaged 11.4 air yards per target. Over the last two months he’s dropped back down to 7.9. Of course, during his big Week 12 performance, Landry’s AY/T jumped back up to 12.2.  (back)

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