The Strength of Schedule Streaming app allows you to see which players have the easiest or most difficult upcoming schedules, a potentially league-winning edge that gives you the opportunity to buy players right before they explode in plus matchups.
Welcome back to the Buy Low Report. As usual, we will combine insight from the SoS Streaming App and the RotoViz Screener to identify players who are buy-low candidates. The SoS Streaming App reveals matchup data for each fantasy position. The Screener reports expected fantasy points (EP) — which measures the value of a player’s opportunities — and fantasy points over expectation (FPOE) — which measures a player’s efficiency. You can also check out Shawn Siegele‘s Sell High companion piece when it comes out later this week.
Wide Receivers – Weeks 15 through 17
Tyreek Hill has returned to Earth (somewhat). After back-to-back seasons above 10 yards per target, the Kansas City speedster is averaging “just” 9.2 YPT this season. After finishing in the top-two in FPOE in 2017 and 2018, Hill sits at No. 20 in that category this year.
Can I let you in on a secret?
His volume has skyrocketed. After ranking 12th among wide receivers in expected points per game in 2018 and 26th in 2017, Hill ranks fourth this year if you only include games he has started and finished. Last year, Hill averaged 8.6 targets and 118.6 air yards per game. This year, he is averaging 9.7 targets and 127.6 air yards per contest. Last year, he had a 23% target share and a 37% air yards share. This year, he has a 27% target share and a 47% air yards share. He’s missed two games, so his overall numbers don’t look that special, but he leads all wide receivers in weighted opportunity rating (WOPR) when fully healthy. The Chiefs have a difficult schedule over the next few weeks – including a matchup against the Bears in Week 16 — but he is still worth buying. Hill getting league-leading volume is a scary idea for anyone going up against him.
Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald
Arizona faces the seventh-easiest schedule for wide receivers over the next three weeks — including a matchup against a pretty soft Seahawks’ defense in Week 16 when most leagues have their championship — and both Kirk and Fitzgerald are getting the volume necessary to take advantage.
Kirk is quietly averaging 8.8 targets per game, and his 0.57 WOPR places him firmly in the WR2 conversation. Fitzgerald has been less involved, but he can still start for you at flex if you are scrambling for starting-caliber players after all the injuries in Week 14. I would heavily target Kirk this week and at least make an inquiry about Fitzgerald.
You know the drill. Julio Jones is on pace for 145 targets, 92 receptions, 1,355 yards, and five touchdowns.
While Julio has never scored that many touchdowns, you’d still expect him to score more than he has based on his volume. Furthermore, after ranking in the top-12 among wide receivers in total FPOE three times in the last four years, he sits at No. 42 this year with three weeks to go.
Now that Calvin Ridley is done for the year with an abdominal injury, Jones could be in line for even more targets than usual. The Falcons do go up against a brutal 49ers’ secondary this week, but Michael Thomas just demolished them to the tune of an 11/134/1 line. Buy Jones if his owner is selling cheap.
Odell Beckham, Jr.
Ah, yes, time for one of my favorite weekly traditions — writing about why Beckham is getting fringe WR1 volume but producing like a WR3. Beckham ranks seventh at the position in WOPR and 14th in expected points, but his woeful inefficiency — 22 fantasy points below expectation, 219th among wide receivers — has made him hard to trust on a weekly basis. I can’t blame you if you have already sworn off OBJ for the rest of the year, but the volume is there and Cleveland has two positive matchups for wideouts in the last three games. The Beckham owner in your league is probably frustrated with his lack of production, so I would still reach out and see if you can get him for cheap.
Running Backs – Weeks 15 through 17
Kamara is quickly becoming the OBJ of running backs. The third-year back ranks fourth at the position in expected points per game, but he is barely inside the top-12 in actual fantasy points.
Week 14 was a perfect example. In a shootout loss to the 49ers, the Saints put up 46 points and nearly 500 yards of total offense. Their star running back saw 17 touches, including multiple carries inside the five-yard line. He finished with 8.3 PPR fantasy points.
The Saints have the easiest schedule in the league for running backs over the next three weeks, although a large part of that is because they play the Panthers in Week 17 when most leagues will be over.
He hasn’t been producing like an RB1 recently, but the volume is still there. I’m buying.
Fournette’s involvement in the Jaguars’ passing game has been one of the most underappreciated developments of the season. The former LSU star is on pace for 107 targets and ranks third among running backs in receptions. Although he is averaging just 5.3 yards per target and hasn’t scored a touchdown through the air this season, that type of receiving volume is incredibly valuable in PPR formats. Fournette is second at the position in touches and expected fantasy points, but he sits at RB7 on the season.
While the Jaguars’ offense (or lack thereof) isn’t doing any favors for his efficiency, it’s still startling to see that level of underperformance from a top-tier RB1. Jacksonville has a difficult schedule for running backs over the next three weeks, but Fournette isn’t being valued like the elite RB1 he is. Take advantage.
Is Drew Lock for real? Through his first two starts, the second-round rookie has thrown a touchdown on 9.1% of his throws and is averaging 8.1 yards per attempt. It’s almost guaranteed that those numbers will come down a bit over the next few weeks, but it is nonetheless encouraging for Lindsay that the Broncos have been able to move the ball. The second-year running back out of Colorado has had negative FPOE for four consecutive weeks, so his price is lower than it should be right now. Denver has the fifth-easiest schedule for running backs over the next three weeks – including back-to-back positive matchups against the Chiefs and Lions in Week 15 and Week 16, respectively — so Lindsay will have a good chance to flip the script this week and get back to his usual efficient self.
Rashaad Penny is out for the year with an ACL injury, so Carson will have the Seahawks’ backfield to himself once again. Carson has averaged 20.5 carries and 3.5 targets per game when Penny has not played this year, numbers that put him right up there with the best fantasy running backs in the league. The Seahawks have the seventh-easiest schedule for running backs over the next three games, starting with a Week 15 matchup against a Carolina defense that has been a sieve to opposing running backs all year long. Carson could be about to put up league-winning numbers over the next few weeks.
Thanks for reading the Week 15 edition of the Buy Low Report. Check back next week for the Week 16 article.