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Going Deep

2019 Fantasy Usage and 2020 Buy Lows

by Hayden Winks
Updated On: June 24, 2020, 1:03 am ET

If you’ve been reading Rotoworld for the last few seasons, you’re used to seeing a weekly in-season column called “Targets and Touches”. It was Jesse Pantuosco’s baby every Tuesday and I’ll be taking it on in 2020, although I’m putting my own spin on it.

Opportunity is king in fantasy football and building a usage model, in my opinion, is the best way to measure just how much each player is being used. If we only look at target totals each week, we are missing out on a lot of predictive variables like air yards, relation of the receiver to the sideline, the yard line of each target, whether the quarterback was in shotgun or under center, and more. That’s where modeling comes into play.

The plan for 2020 is for me to post my Expected Fantasy Points (xFP) model for each position every single week, likely on Tuesday evening after John Daigle publishes his must-read Waiver Wire column. In addition to the raw results of the xFP model, I’ll share the “buy lows” and maybe the “sell highs” of the week, which are basically players who I expect to positively or negatively regress the upcoming week. While the model alone is more predictive than actual fantasy points on a weekly basis, we are best off combining the results of the model with context. That’s why you’ll see a short paragraph on the buy low players. Make sure to read them.

As always, if you have any questions, hit me up on Twitter @HaydenWinks.

 

WRs - Expected Fantasy Points

The “xFP” model is projecting for PPR scoring. Remember that it's simply converting usage into expected fantasy points, so minor adjustments for talent and team are needed. Actual PPR scoring is listed under “FP”. The season-long and week-by-week results can be found in this Google Sheets spreadsheet.

 

2019 Weeks 9-16 (Min. 5 Games)

Name

xFP

xFP Rank

FP

FP Rank

Michael Thomas

20.9

1

25.9

1

Julio Jones

20.4

2

19.0

3

Davante Adams

19.2

3

18.2

6

Robert Woods

18.2

4

19.0

2

DeAndre Hopkins

17.0

5

17.8

7

Jarvis Landry

16.9

6

17.6

8

D.J. Moore

16.7

7

17.5

9

Julian Edelman

16.4

8

15.4

13

Allen Robinson

16.2

9

15.3

15

DeVante Parker

15.4

10

18.5

5

Courtland Sutton

14.9

11

13.0

29

Keenan Allen

14.7

12

15.3

14

Mike Evans

14.7

13

15.1

17

Tyreek Hill

14.6

14

16.9

12

Calvin Ridley

14.3

15

18.7

4

Tyler Boyd

14.3

16

15.0

18

Chris Godwin

14.2

17

17.2

10

Odell Beckham

14.0

18

11.9

41

D.J. Chark

14.0

19

12.2

36

Jamison Crowder

13.8

20

13.7

24

Michael Gallup

13.4

21

12.8

32

Marvin Jones

13.4

22

14.8

19

Sterling Shepard

13.3

23

13.8

23

John Brown

13.2

24

14.0

22

Amari Cooper

12.9

25

12.8

31

Christian Kirk

12.8

26

12.1

38

Tyler Lockett

12.5

27

12.5

35

Anthony Miller

12.5

28

11.4

44

Kenny Golladay

12.5

29

15.3

15

Golden Tate

11.9

30

13.1

28

Deebo Samuel

11.8

31

14.0

21

Greg Ward

11.5

32

9.9

49

Terry McLaurin

11.4

33

12.6

33

Curtis Samuel

11.3

34

10.7

47

Chris Conley

11.3

35

10.3

48

Cole Beasley

11.2

36

12.9

30

Russell Gage

10.9

37

9.4

51

Hunter Renfrow

10.9

38

13.4

27

Danny Amendola

10.8

39

7.9

59

Mohamed Sanu

10.8

40

7.1

66

Stefon Diggs

10.7

41

12.1

39

Darius Slayton

10.7

42

14.1

20

Larry Fitzgerald

10.6

43

10.9

45

Dede Westbrook

10.5

44

9.0

54

Zach Pascal

10.2

45

9.2

53

Robby Anderson

10.2

46

12.2

37

James Washington

10.2

47

13.7

25

DK Metcalf

10.0

48

11.9

40

Sammy Watkins

9.9

49

7.1

67

Randall Cobb

9.8

50

11.7

42

A.J. Brown

9.8

51

17.2

11

Steven Sims

9.6

52

8.5

58

Cooper Kupp

9.6

53

11.4

43

Diontae Johnson

9.5

54

9.8

50

Emmanuel Sanders

9.4

55

10.8

46

Breshad Perriman

9.2

56

13.5

26

Mike Williams

9.1

57

12.5

34

Alex Erickson

8.8

58

5.0

88

Albert Wilson

8.7

59

7.1

65

Auden Tate

8.6

60

6.3

73

Kelvin Harmon

8.5

61

6.6

68

Jakobi Meyers

8.3

62

6.1

75

Tim Patrick

8.1

63

5.9

77

DaeSean Hamilton

7.9

64

6.1

76

Javon Wims

7.8

65

3.7

97

Demaryius Thomas

7.7

66

7.8

60

Brandin Cooks

7.6

67

6.4

70

Allen Hurns

7.5

68

7.3

64

Kenny Stills

7.4

69

9.2

52

Tyrell Williams

7.3

70

7.8

61

Marcus Johnson

7.3

71

7.4

63

Allen Lazard

7.1

72

7.6

62

Christian Blake

7.1

73

4.0

95

Marquise Brown

7.1

74

8.9

55

Kendrick Bourne

6.8

75

8.8

56

Corey Davis

6.2

76

6.4

72

N'Keal Harry

6.1

77

6.5

69

Keelan Cole

6.1

78

6.2

74

Isaiah McKenzie

6.0

79

4.6

92

Jarius Wright

5.8

80

3.1

102

 

Note that some players left games early, dragging down their averages. For example, Tyreek Hill left two games early. If I were to remove those games, then Hill would’ve moved from WR14 to WR8. Mike Evans also would’ve moved from WR13 to WR5. Obviously, Adam Thielen would’ve been ranked way higher, too.

 

Buy Low WRs

1. Robert Woods (WR4 in Exp. Fantasy Points Weeks 9-16 vs. WR18 in ADP)

Woods isn’t a sexy pick, but his price tag doesn’t make much sense compared to last season’s volume. Between Weeks 10-17, he was second in receptions (52) and fourth in receiving yards (663) among all receivers. Meanwhile, Cooper Kupp only posted a 36-369-5 receiving line over that same span, and he played one more game than Woods. If Woods lives up to his “positive touchdown regression candidate” title, he’ll smash his ADP and contend for weekly top-10 WR production. Not bad for a 4th or 5th round receiver.

 

2. Tyler Boyd (WR16 in Exp. Fantasy Points Weeks 9-16 vs. WR32 in ADP)

Boyd’s price tag has remained in check with A.J. Green expected to return, but there’s still room for Boyd to beat expectations with Green on the field. That starts with the projected upgrade at quarterback. It’s always sketchy to buy receivers tied to rookies, but Joe Burrow’s record-breaking season at LSU, maturity, and underrated dual-threat ability gives him a better chance of year one success than others in similar positions. Boyd’s catch rate (61%), touchdowns (5), and yards after the catch (348) should climb in 2020 even if he doesn’t see quite as many targets (148) as he did last season.

 

3. Jamison Crowder (WR20 in Exp. Fantasy Points Weeks 9-16 vs. WR44 in ADP)

The Jets imploded under head coach Adam Gase last year, but one thing remained constant for most of the season -- Crowder was the top dog in the passing game (122 targets, 23% target share). That role shouldn’t change much with Robby Anderson (779 yards, 5 TDs) out of the building and a lot of unproven talent (Breshad Perriman/Denzel Mims/Chris Herndon) replacing him. It’s simply hard to find receivers with a path to 110-140 targets at Crowder’s ADP (WR44) and that’s not baking in the potential improvements Sam Darnold takes as he heads into his third NFL season with arguably the best offensive line of his young career. Weekly PPR WR3 production is within Crowder’s range of outcomes. 

 

4. Marvin Jones (WR22 in Exp. Fantasy Points Weeks 9-16 vs. WR38 in ADP)

Jones is being priced near his floor right now, and there’s a lot of room for him to outkick his WR38 price tag. During Matthew Stafford’s eight-game stretch early last season, Jones averaged 16.5 PPR points per game on 7.1 targets. He was fantasy’s WR14 at the time of Stafford’s back injury, and his ceiling would be even higher if Kenny Golladay were to miss time for any reason. Jones’ 16-game pace during his four seasons with the Lions is 62-1,002-8. Not bad for a mid-round pick.

 

5. Anthony Miller (WR28 in Exp. Fantasy Points Weeks 9-16 vs. WR53 in ADP)

Miller began to emerge late in 2019, his second year in the league. It wasn’t a coincidence either. It perfectly lined up with Taylor Gabriel’s injury, and with Gabriel gone and nobody notable brought in to replace him, we can safely project Miller for a bigger role in 2020 behind Allen Robinson. With more than 85 targets very likely coming his way, Miller just needs Nick Foles or Mitchell Trubisky to not play like the worst starting quarterback in football to have weekly flex consideration in redraft leagues. I’ll take on that risk because the price tag is so affordable.