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The 3 and Out: Game Script and Average Margin Per Play

The 3 and Out uses several RotoViz Apps to uncover significant workload changes; league, team, and player-specific trends; and hidden but powerful statistics.

Welcome back to The 3 and Out! In this week’s edition, we’ll be reviewing “receiving average margin” from per the RotoViz Screener. The data we’ll be reviewing might not be directly relatable to your fantasy endeavors but is still worth looking at. At the very least, it should be interesting.

If you’re interested in learning more about other information that the Screener can provide or looking for definitions of its variables, this post has you covered.

Average Margin Per Receiving Target

RotoViz has spent a great deal of time considering game script because of its impact on fantasy players. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, “game script” refers to the ebb and flow of a game and fluctuations in its score. A running back that sees increased usage when his team needs to pass — think Tarik Cohen — will probably benefit from game scripts in which his team is trailing. In contrast, a team’s wide receivers can be hindered when it captures an early lead and can milk the clock with a conservative, run-based, approach.

One way that we can approximate, in a very loose fashion, a team’s typical game script is by considering its “average margin per offensive play.” Average margins per play can be calculated for both rushing and passing plays. Receiving average margin refers to the average difference between a team’s score and that of its opponent on plays in which a receiving target is generated. Receiving average margin can also be calculated at the player level. For example, the Patriots have led their opponent by an average of eight and a half points when targeting Julian Edelman this season. On an average target, aimed at any Patriots player, New England has been ahead of their opponent by approximately eight points.

Remember, the averages presented below differ from average scoring margins that only consider the end of game scores and are inclusive of rushing, passing, and defensive plays. For example, the Patriots have scored 270 points and their opposition has scored 98. Across nine games, this averages to 19 points — meaning that the Patriots are beating their opponents by an average of 19 points. This distinction is important as it highlights why the methodology employed by the Screener provides a more useful context for fantasy purposes. It is not impacted by defensive scores and draws a more accurate picture of a typical play.

Here are the averages through Week 9.

OFF AVG Margin
NE 7.7
SF 4.9
BAL 2.1
KC 1.9
NO 1
DET 0.3
GB 0.1
MIN -0.1
BUF -1.3
CHI -1.6
LAR -1.7
HOU -1.9
IND -1.9
DAL -2
CAR -2.3
DEN -2.8
TB -2.8
SEA -3.1
CLE -3.2
PHI -3.4
LAC -3.7
OAK -3.7
JAC -4
PIT -4.2
ARI -4.5
TEN -5
WAS -7.7
NYG -7.9
NYJ -8.4
CIN -8.6
ATL -10.7
MIA -10.7


Player Specific Average Margins – Receiving Targets

As you probably expected, New England’s wide receivers recorded some of the most positive values, among WRs with 15 or more targets, in Weeks 1 through 9. However, players on the same team are not always targeted in the same situations. For example, the Browns trailed by an average of 1.6 points when targeting Odell Beckham Jr. and trailed by 4.4 points when targeting Jarvis Landry.

When reviewing the results remember that missed games can cloud the picture.1 Naturally, if a player was sidelined in all games that his team won, it is less likely that be’s been targeted when his team is ahead.

Wide Receiver

WRs with less than 15 targets have not been included.

NameTeamPlayer AVG DifferentialTeam AVGDifference
Jakobi MeyersNE11.47.73.7
Josh GordonNE10.37.72.6
Julian EdelmanNE8.57.70.8
Phillip DorsettNE7.77.70
Deebo SamuelSF7.54.92.6
Marquise GoodwinSF6.84.91.9
Kendrick BourneSF5.14.90.2
Dante PettisSF54.90.1
Marquez Valdes-ScantlingGB3.10.13
Sammy WatkinsKC2.71.90.8
Willie SneadBAL2.62.10.5
Josh ReynoldsLAR2.5-1.74.2
Geronimo AllisonGB1.70.11.6
Danny AmendolaDET1.50.31.2
Ted GinnNO1.510.5
Taylor GabrielCHI1.4-1.63
Demarcus RobinsonKC1.21.9-0.7
T.Y. HiltonIND1.2-1.93.1
Kenny GolladayDET1.10.30.8
Adam ThielenMIN0.9-0.11
Mecole HardmanKC0.81.9-1.1
Marquise BrownBAL0.82.1-1.3
Tyreek HillKC0.61.9-1.3
Stefon DiggsMIN0.5-0.10.6
Michael ThomasNO0.21-0.8
Tyrell WilliamsOAK-0.3-3.73.4
Marvin JonesDET-0.60.3-0.9
Will FullerHOU-0.7-1.91.2
Brandin CooksLAR-0.8-1.70.9
David MooreSEA-1.1-3.12
Jarius WrightCAR-1.1-2.31.2
Allen RobinsonCHI-1.2-1.60.4
Amari CooperDAL-1.3-20.7
Davante AdamsGB-1.40.1-1.5
Cooper KuppLAR-1.5-1.70.2
Randall CobbDAL-1.5-20.5
Seth RobertsBAL-1.52.1-3.6
Breshad PerrimanTB-1.5-2.81.3
DeAndre HopkinsHOU-1.5-1.90.4
John BrownBUF-1.5-1.3-0.2
Odell Beckham Jr.CLE-1.6-3.21.6
Zay JonesBUF-1.6-1.3-0.3
Robert WoodsLAR-1.7-1.70
Alshon JefferyPHI-1.8-3.41.6
Keenan AllenLAC-2-3.71.7
Zach PascalIND-2-1.9-0.1
Olabisi JohnsonMIN-2.1-0.1-2
D.K. MetcalfSEA-2.1-3.11
Mike EvansTB-2.2-2.80.6
Hunter RenfrowOAK-2.3-3.71.4
Courtland SuttonDEN-2.3-2.80.5
Curtis SamuelCAR-2.3-2.30
Chris GodwinTB-2.4-2.80.4
D.J. MooreCAR-2.5-2.3-0.2
Dede WestbrookJAC-2.6-41.4
Emmanuel SandersDEN-2.6-2.80.2
D.J. CharkJAC-2.7-41.3
Chester RogersIND-2.8-1.9-0.9
Cole BeasleyBUF-2.9-1.3-1.6
Damion RatleyCLE-3.1-3.20.1
KeeSean JohnsonARI-3.2-4.51.3
Kenny StillsHOU-3.2-1.9-1.3
Diontae JohnsonPIT-3.5-4.20.7
Tyler LockettSEA-3.6-3.1-0.5
Keke CouteeHOU-3.6-1.9-1.7
Nelson AgholorPHI-3.7-3.4-0.3
Chris ConleyJAC-4.1-4-0.1
Corey DavisTEN-4.1-50.9
Jarvis LandryCLE-4.4-3.2-1.2
Juju Smith-SchusterPIT-4.4-4.2-0.2
Larry FitzgeraldARI-4.9-4.5-0.4
Jamison CrowderNYJ-5.1-8.43.3
Sterling ShepardNYG-5.2-7.92.7
Michael GallupDAL-5.2-2-3.2
Tajae SharpeTEN-5.4-5-0.4
A.J. BrownTEN-5.4-5-0.4
Anthony MillerCHI-6-1.6-4.4
Adam HumphriesTEN-6.1-5-1.1
Travis BenjaminLAC-6.3-3.7-2.6
DaeSean HamiltonDEN-6.3-2.8-3.5
Jaron BrownSEA-6.4-3.1-3.3
Mike WilliamsLAC-6.5-3.7-2.8
Trey QuinnWAS-6.6-7.71.1
Damiere ByrdARI-6.7-4.5-2.2
Alex EricksonCIN-6.8-8.61.8
Darius SlaytonNYG-6.8-7.91.1
Christian KirkARI-7.1-4.5-2.6
Terry McLaurinWAS-7.2-7.70.5
James WashingtonPIT-7.4-4.2-3.2
Paul RichardsonWAS-7.5-7.70.2
Mack HollinsPHI-7.6-3.4-4.2
Cody LatimerNYG-8.1-7.9-0.2
John RossCIN-8.3-8.60.3
Tyler BoydCIN-8.3-8.60.3
Calvin RidleyATL-8.5-10.72.2
Robby AndersonNYJ-8.6-8.4-0.2
Golden TateNYG-8.8-7.9-0.9
Preston WilliamsMIA-8.8-10.71.9
Julio JonesATL-8.9-10.71.8
Mohamed SanuATL-9-10.71.7
Auden TateCIN-9.2-8.6-0.6
Bennie FowlerNYG-9.5-7.9-1.6
Donte MoncriefPIT-11.9-4.2-7.7
DeVante ParkerMIA-12-10.7-1.3
Demaryius ThomasNYJ-12.5-8.4-4.1
Russell GageATL-12.7-10.7-2
Jakeem GrantMIA-13.4-10.7-2.7
  • Most of Mike Williams’ targets have come when the Chargers are trailing by nearly a touchdown. In contrast, Keenan Allen’s usage has come in more favorable situations, with his average margin at each target equating to trailing by less than a field goal. Of course, Williams did miss the team’s Week 4 20-point win against the Dolphins.
    • The Chargers will face the Raiders twice before the end of the fantasy season as well as the Chiefs, Vikings, Broncos, and Jaguars.
      • Allen scored 29 points per game in Weeks 1 through 3 but has averaged just eight since. He’ll need to be more efficient to once again post WR2 weeks.

Running Back

RBs with less than six targets have not been included.

NameTeamPlayer AVG DifferentialTeam AVGDifference
Rex BurkheadNE13.37.76.8
Brandon BoldenNE9.97.70.6
James WhiteNE7.37.7-0.9
Tevin ColemanSF6.94.9-1.8
Sony MichelNE5.47.7-1.2
Damien WilliamsKC5.11.92.9
Raheem MostertSF4.24.9-3.3
Justin JacksonLAC3.8-3.74.4
Latavius MurrayNO3.611.5
Darrel WilliamsKC3.61.90.8
Kyle JuszczykSF34.9-4.5
Zach LineNO2.310.2
Darrell HendersonLAR2-1.71.4
Mark IngramBAL1.82.1-4.2
James ConnerPIT1.6-4.23.2
Marlon MackIND1.4-1.92.8
Matt BreidaSF1.24.9-6.1
David MontgomeryCHI0.9-1.62.8
Alvin KamaraNO0.91-1.2
Kerryon JohnsonDET0.80.3-0.3
Dan VitaleGB0.60.1-1.5
Darren SprolesPHI0.5-3.4-0.6
T.J. YeldonBUF0.4-1.30.3
Frank GoreBUF0.2-1.30.2
Aaron JonesGB-0.20.1-1.5
Dalvin CookMIN-0.3-0.1-2.9
Chase EdmondsARI-0.4-4.53.5
Ezekiel ElliottDAL-0.9-2-1.4
LeSean McCoyKC-0.91.9-3.8
Chris CarsonSEA-1.2-3.10.4
Ty JohnsonDET-1.40.3-2
Josh JacobsOAK-1.5-3.7-0.3
Peyton BarberTB-1.6-2.80.2
Phillip LindsayDEN-1.6-2.8-0.2
Wayne GallmanNYG-1.7-7.95.7
Christian McCaffreyCAR-1.9-2.3-1.9
Nick ChubbCLE-2-3.22.4
D'Ernest JohnsonCLE-2-3.21.3
Jordan HowardPHI-2.1-3.4-0.7
Leonard FournetteJAC-2.2-41.4
DeAndre WashingtonOAK-2.3-3.7-0.2
C.J. HamMIN-2.3-0.1-6.6
Royce FreemanDEN-2.4-2.8-1.1
Duke JohnsonHOU-2.6-1.9-2.7
Jamaal WilliamsGB-2.70.1-0.6
Nyheim HinesIND-2.8-1.9-1.6
Jaylen SamuelsPIT-2.9-4.2-1.3
Carlos HydeHOU-2.9-1.9-1.9
Miles SandersPHI-3.7-3.4-2.7
Tarik CohenCHI-4.1-1.6-3
Devin SingletaryBUF-4.1-1.3-8.4
Dion LewisTEN-4.2-51.5
Austin EkelerLAC-4.2-3.7-3.2
Ronald JonesTB-4.4-2.8-2.8
David JohnsonARI-4.5-4.5-0.6
Jalen RichardOAK-4.7-3.7-4.2
Mike DavisCHI-5.1-1.6-4.7
Derrick HenryTEN-5.2-50.3
Dontrell HilliardCLE-5.3-3.2-1.2
Todd GurleyLAR-5.8-1.7-6.4
Adrian PetersonWAS-6.4-7.70.6
C.J. ProsiseSEA-7-3.1-5.5
Justice HillBAL-72.1-13.2
Mark WaltonMIA-7.1-10.7-0.7
Dare OgunbowaleTB-7.2-2.8-5.5
Melvin GordonLAC-7.4-3.7-9
Joe MixonCIN-8.4-8.6-0.4
Wendell SmallwoodWAS-8.6-7.7-1.1
Ito SmithATL-9.2-10.70.9
Saquon BarkleyNYG-9.2-7.9-3.6
Chris ThompsonWAS-9.3-7.7-3.1
Le'Veon BellNYJ-9.5-8.4-1.3
Ty MontgomeryNYJ-10-8.4-1.2
Kenyan DrakeMIA-10.9-10.7-2.4
Giovani BernardCIN-11.6-8.6-3.6
Devonta FreemanATL-12.7-10.7-2.6
Kalen BallageMIA-13.7-10.7-5.5
Jamize OlawaleDAL7
Nick BelloreSEA-7
  • Denver’s usage of Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay has been surprising, with Lindsay being used more often as a rusher and Freeman seeing higher leverage as a receiver.
    • As of Week 9, Lindsay has recorded 118 rushing attempts with 32 targets. Freeman has rushed 93 times and been targeted 34 times.
      • Interestingly, Freeman’s usage has come when the Broncos find themselves in less favorable situations.
        • Denver faces the Vikings, Bills, Chargers, Texans, Chiefs, and Lions between Week 10 and Week 16.

Tight End

TEs with less than 15 targets have not been included.

NameTeamPlayer AVG DifferentialTeam AVGDifference
Nick BoyleBAL5.62.10.8
Mark AndrewsBAL4.22.1-0.5
George KittleSF3.84.9-3.1
Josh HillNO2.110
Irv Smith Jr.MIN1.5-0.10
Hayden HurstBAL12.1-3.9
Dawson KnoxBUF0.3-1.3-0.6
Kyle RudolphMIN0-0.1-2.4
Jared CookNO-0.11-2.2
Greg OlsenCAR-0.2-2.3-0.1
Jimmy GrahamGB-0.90.1-1.5
Jason WittenDAL-1.2-2-2
Darren FellsHOU-1.5-1.9-1.1
Blake JarwinDAL-1.8-2-1.8
Foster MoreauOAK-1.8-3.7-0.1
Will DisslySEA-2.2-3.1-0.7
Jordan AkinsHOU-2.3-1.9-1.9
Gerald EverettLAR-2.4-1.7-3
Eric EbronIND-2.4-1.9-1.3
Jack DoyleIND-2.8-1.9-1.8
Noah FantDEN-2.8-2.8-2.3
Dallas GoedertPHI-3.4-3.4-3.5
Jonnu SmithTEN-3.7-51.3
Cameron BrateTB-3.8-2.8-2
Hunter HenryLAC-3.9-3.7-5.5
Delanie WalkerTEN-5.4-5-2.2
Geoff SwaimJAC-6.1-4-3.4
James O'ShaughnessyJAC-6.2-4-3.6
Jeremy SprinkleWAS-6.7-7.70
Darren WallerOAK-6.9-3.7-5.2
Evan EngramNYG-8-7.9-2.4
Mike GesickiMIA-11.6-10.7-6.2
Austin HooperATL-12.2-10.7-2.1
  • The Raiders have relied heavily on Darren Waller in 2019 and especially when trailing. Waller has finished as a TE1 in 62% of games.
    • In the three weeks that Waller was a TE2, the Raiders averaged a scoring margin — based on net points at the end of games — of approximately +2.5 points, as opposed to an average of -7.0 in Waller’s TE1 performances. This coincides with the margins calculated by the Screener.
      • Oakland faces the Chargers twice, Bengals, Jets, Chiefs, Titans, and Jaguars before the fantasy season ends.
Image Credit: Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Darren Waller.

  1. The team listed for players that have been traded or cut are those that the player played for in the majority of their 2019 games.  (back)

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