The XFP Report: Week 9

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The XFP Report: Week 9

Hello, and welcome to the Week 9 XFP Report. If you’re unfamiliar with XFP, I’ll get to that in a little bit.

But basically, every week we’re going to be telling you which players are seeing the best volume for fantasy, as measured by Expected Fantasy Points (XFP). We’ll be telling you who the best buy-low and sell-high candidates are, as measured by Points Above Replacement (PAR), or the differential between actual- and expected fantasy points. This is an especially effective approach in DFS, where players are typically priced by production rather than volume, though PAR will regress to the mean. And (at the end of the article) we’re going to be telling you who the best volume-per-dollar DFS plays are.

What is XFP?

Premium subscribers can access XFP (and other advanced stats like air yards, deep targets, end zone targets) here.

Expected fantasy points (XFP) is flat-out the best and most comprehensive way of measuring a player’s volume. It’s telling you – based on a player’s unique usage – how many fantasy points that player should have scored. It’s telling you how many fantasy points a perfectly league-average RB, WR, or TE would have scored with that same exact volume. It looks at every individual carry by down and distance and distance from the end zone and every individual target by depth of target and distance from the end zone, and then cross-references each carry and target to each carry and target with those specific qualifiers over a multi-year sample to tell you what exactly those carries and targets are worth (historically).

Expected touchdowns (XTD), same thing. RBs score from the one-yard line on 54% of their attempts. RBs score from the 17-yard line only 3.6% of the time. So why ever use “red zone carries,” which treats both carries the same, as a fantasy stat? I have no idea.

Why doesn’t everyone point to XFP in their fantasy research? I have no idea. Once you have XFP and XTD you can contrast that with a player’s actual fantasy points or actual touchdown total to tell you how efficient a player has been (PAR). This is especially useful in highlighting regression candidates, buy-low targets, and mispriced players for DFS.

Through three weeks of action, here are the top-25 players in expected fantasy points (XFP) per game:

The Top-25

Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

PPR: 27.0, XFP: 22.0, PAR: +5.1

Adams has scored 41.6, 6.6 (hurt), 12.1 (Carlton Davis shadow), 47.6, and 30.3 fantasy points through 5 games this season.

And, in just 5 games, Adams already owns three of this season’s top-10 highest-scoring games by XFP. If we throw out Week 2 due to injury, he’s averaging an absurd 26.4 XFP and 32.2 FPG. Both numbers would lead all players at all positions (by +4.4, +4.1).

Over this span (with Week 2 excluded), he’s averaging 13.5 targets, 123.8 air yards, 1.5 end zone targets, 1.5 deep targets, and 1.3 targets inside the 5-yard-line per game. His production has been equally as absurd – 10 catches, 116.5 yards, and 1.8 touchdowns per game.

Adams was almost never drafted before Thomas in redraft leagues this offseason, but that might have been a big mistake. And especially with Aaron Rodgers looking the best we’ve seen him since maybe 2016. Since 2018, Thomas averages 21.1 FPG, hitting 16.0 fantasy points in 70% of his games. Adams, meanwhile, averages 21.4 FPG, hitting 16.0 fantasy points in 81% of his games.

Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

PPR: 28.1, XFP: 22.0, PAR: +6.1

Ezekiel Elliott was averaging a league-high 24.6 XFP per game through the first six weeks of the season, but saw just 8.9 XFP in Week 7 and 14.2 in Week 8. So, now, we have a new XFP leader in Aaron Jones (22.02).

Still, Alvin Kamara is the more valuable fantasy asset. He only barely trails in XFP (21.97), and laps the field in FPG (28.1, +5.1 more than Jones). I would typically argue a PAR of +6.1 is unsustainable, but Kamara has long posted unsustainably great PAR numbers throughout his career, so I’m not too worried. The bigger concern is the looming return of Michael Thomas. When Thomas is out, Kamara sees Christian McCaffrey-esque usage and produces at a rate which only Christian McCaffrey can compare. With Thomas on the field, Kamara does tend to see a dropoff in passing game volume. Still, he’s an easy bet to finish top-3 at the position.

David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears

PPR: 12.9, XFP: 16.4, PAR: -3.5

On paper, Montgomery is a glaring buy-low candidate, but maybe only on paper. Since Week 5, Montgomery is averaging 19.8 XFP per game (4th-most) along with 98% of the backfield XFP (most). However, he’s been massively inefficient on that good volume, averaging just 14.3 FPG over that span (21st). This includes just 13.7 fantasy points against Carolina (4th-worst in FPG allowed to RBs) in Week 6.

He’s had a neutral to slightly-above-average strength of schedule thus far, but he has the position’s 2nd-softest schedule throughout the remainder of the season – 6 of his remaining 8 games come against teams ranking bottom-10 in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing RBs. Is he a glaring regression candidate or is he a regression trap? Good question! I think he’s going to regress positively, but I’m not convinced he’ll be able to consistently return the production his RB1-esque volume implies.

Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

PPR: 18.1, XFP: 16.9, PAR: +1.2

Adjusting for the fact that Allen played in only one quarter in Week 5, Allen is averaging 20.2 XFP, 22.7 FPG, 102.7 air yards, and 13.0 targets per four quarters since Justin Herbert took over in Week 2. Even more ludicrously, he’s been targeted on 34% of Herbert’s throws over this span. That’s elite high-end WR1 volume and production. Look for another big game this week against a Raiders slot funnel defense that is allowing the 7th-most FPG to slot WRs but the 4th-fewest FPG to outside WRs.

DeeJay Dallas, RB, Seattle Seahawks

PPR: 6.2, XFP: 6.7, PAR: -0.5

In Week 8, with Chris Carson (out), Carlos Hyde (out), and Travis Homer (limited) all banged up, Dallas played on 53 of 67 snaps (79%), earning 18 of 20 carries and 5 of 6 targets. In total, he scored 22.8 fantasy points (3rd-most) on 25.3 XFP (3rd-most), earning 99% of the backfield XFP (2nd-most) and 28% of the team’s XFP (5th-most). We’ve seen this before – depleted backfields creating massive opportunities for 2nd-, 3rd-, and even 4th-string RBs. RB is the most volume-dependent position in fantasy, and also perhaps the most easily replaceable from a real-NFL standpoint.

So, similarly, if Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, and A.J. Dillon all sit out this week, don’t be surprised if Tyler Ervin or Dexter Williams posts a big game. Over the last two weeks, with Jones out, Williams averaged 19.5 XFP (2nd-most), commanding 80% of his team’s backfield XFP.

Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders

PPR: 16.0, XFP: 18.6, PAR: -2.6

The concern with Jacobs was always related to game script. He was one of the most game script-sensitive RBs last year, and has been one of the most game script-sensitive RBs this year. In victories, he’s averaging 22.5 XFP and 21.2 fantasy points per game. In losses, he’s averaging 13.4 XFP and 8.9 fantasy points per game. Basically, that’s the difference between a top-3 RB and a low-end RB3.

But what I didn’t expect was poor efficiency (-2.6 PAR). Especially after Jacobs put together an all-time great rookie season by a number of metrics I’ve found to be most meaningful (missed tackles forced per touch, Elusive Rating, etc.). Jacobs has fallen 18.5 fantasy points shy of his expectation, after out-scoring his expectation by 21.5 fantasy points last year. Look for that number to positively regress as the season progresses.

Jerry Jeudy, WR, Denver Broncos

PPR: 9.3, XFP: 11.4, PAR: -2.1

We were enamored with Jeudy during the draft process, but he’s been pretty disappointing to own in fantasy this year. In April, Greg Cosell called Jeudy the “top wide receiver prospect in the class” comparing him to both Odell Beckham Jr. and Antonio Brown. I talked to two tape experts off the record over the past 5 days. Here’s what they had to say (paraphrased) about Jeudy:

Expert 1: “Bro, this is the same Jerry Jeudy from college. He’s getting open on every single play. He looks amazing. But I have no idea why he’s not getting the ball.”

Expert 2: “Once he gets a good QB, he'll tear it up, because all he does is get open.”

Well, lo and behold, Drew Lock finally decided to look Jeudy’s way in Week 8. He totaled 17.1 XFP (10th-most), on 10 targets, 154 air yards, and 4 deep targets. He only scored 11.3 fantasy points, but, again, this sort of volume is encouraging – he averaged just 7.3 across his previous three games. I’m optimistic he turns things around in the second-half.

Travis Fulgham, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

PPR: 19.3, XFP: 15.1, PAR: +4.2

Fulghamania keeps on rolling!

Since Week 4, Fulgham leads all WRs in fantasy points, averaging 19.3 FPG. Since Week 5, Fulgham ranks 3rd among all WRs in XFP, averaging 17.6 per game. Over this span, he’s averaging an obscene 10.3 targets, 112.0 air yards, 1.8 end zone targets, and 1.0 deep targets per game. He’s found the end zone in 4 of 5 games, and has hit 70-plus receiving yards in 4 straight games, averaging 92.0 YPG over this span.

Jamison Crowder, WR, New York Jets

PPR: 19.8, XFP: 18.3, PAR: +1.5

Crowder ranks 2nd in XFP per game (18.3), 5th in FPG (19.8), and 1st in targets per game (11.5). In the 4 games he’s been active, Crowder has finished 2nd, 19th, 16th, and 8th among WRs in XFP, drawing double-digit targets in every game and reaching 100-plus yards in 3 of 4. As we’ve said before – Adam Gase does only one thing well, putting his slot WR in a position to score fantasy points. Even across the 4 games Crowder missed, slot WR Braxton Berrios averaged a respectable (and team-high) 11.0 XFP, 13.0 FPG, and 7.5 targets per game. That’s fringe-WR3 usage and production.

Myles Gaskin, RB, Miami Dolphins

PPR: 14.2, XFP: 16.5, PAR: -2.3

Through the first 4 weeks of the season, Gaskin averaged 14.1 XFP per game, commanding a 53% XFP share of Miami’s backfield. Over the next 4 weeks (with Jordan Howard ruled a health-scratch in each game), Gaskin averaged 19.7 XFP per game with a 77% share of the team’s backfield XFP. For perspective, that’s the difference between ranking 21st-and 6th-best at the position. He wasn’t super-efficient on that good volume (-2.3) but was good enough to be ranked as a fringe RB1 each week. Unfortunately, he’ll be sidelined for the next 3 games with a sprained MCL. Expect Matt Breida to handle most of the work while he sits out.

Jarvis Landry, WR, Cleveland Browns

PPR: 9.4, XFP: 10.9, PAR: -1.5

Landry saw terrific usage in Week 8, earning 21.4 XFP (4th-most) along with a 39% share of the team’s total XFP (2nd-most). Perhaps we should have seen this coming in Cleveland’s first game without Odell Beckham Jr., but he still wasn’t very productive on that good volume (9.2 fantasy points on 11 targets). Nor has he seen good volume in any other game thus far. He averages just 10.9 XFP per game (44th) and 9.4 FPG (62nd), and appears to still be hampered by a lingering hip injury.

Top DFS Values (DraftKings)

1. Ezekiel Elliott, RB (3.22X)

2. Melvin Gordon, RB (3.04X)

3. Albert Okwuegbunam, TE (2.99X)

4. Jimmy Graham, TE (2.98X)

5. Josh Jacobs, RB (2.96X)

6. CeeDee Lamb, WR (2.93X)

7. David Montgomery, RB (2.88X)

8. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB (2.82X)

9. Myles Gaskin, RB (2.80X)

10. Amari Cooper, WR (2.78X)

11. David Johnson, RB (2.78X)

12. Kenyan Drake, RB (2.77X)

Top DFS Values (FanDuel)

1. Myles Gaskin, RB (2.80X)

2. David Montgomery, RB (2.80X)

3. Ezekiel Elliott, RB (2.66X)

4. CeeDee Lamb, WR (2.47X)

5. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB (2.46X)

6. Josh Jacobs, RB (2.42X)

7. Darren Waller, TE (2.36X)

8. Terry McLaurin, WR (2.33X)

9. David Johnson, RB (2.29X)

10. Tyler Lockett (2.27X)

11. Keenan Allen, WR (2.26X)

12. Amari Cooper, WR (2.23X)

XFP Market Share Leaders

Scott Barrett combines a unique background in philosophy and investing alongside a lifelong love of football and spreadsheets to serve as FantasyPoints’ Director of Analytics and Lead DFS Writer.

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