Hello, and welcome to the Week 17 Usage Report, formerly known as the XFP Report, but for you long-time readers it’s the exact same article with a different name. If you’re unfamiliar with XFP, I’ll get to that in a little bit.
What is this article?
Every week we’re going to be telling you which players are seeing the best volume for fantasy, typically measured by Expected Fantasy Points (XFP). We’ll be telling you who the best buy-low and sell-high candidates are, typically 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?
You can access our full XFP database (which includes 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 16 weeks of action, here are the top 30 players in expected fantasy points (XFP) per game:
The Top 30
Click here to see the full list.
T.J. Hockenson, TE, Minnesota Vikings
[FPG: 13.1, XFP: 13.5, Diff: -0.4]
Since T.J. Hockenson joined the Vikings in Week 9, he averages 9.1 targets (would lead the position), 15.9 XFP (would rank 2nd-most), and 14.2 FPG (would rank 2nd-most).
Last week, Hockenson turned 143 air yards, 16 targets, and 25.0 XFP into 35.9 fantasy points. Among all TE weeks this season, those numbers rank 7th-, 2nd-, 2nd-, and 3rd-most. And 35.9 fantasy points ranks as the 39th-most by any TE in NFL history.
And yet, somehow, I had zero DFS exposure to this monstrous slate-wrecking performance.
I knew that Hockenson offers slate-wrecking upside – he now sports the highest (39.9) and 3rd-highest (35.9) scoring games by any TE this season. I knew that he had been seeing elite fringe-WR1 levels of volume ever since he first put on a Vikings uniform. And I knew that all this meant he was probably mispriced in DFS. But after playing him for a number of weeks – and continually enduring his underwhelming returns relative to high-end volume (-3.6 PAR) – I finally gave up and faded him in DFS.
I said to myself, “Sure, volume always tends to regress to the mean. But the chemistry with Kirk Cousins clearly hasn’t been there. So, he’s probably not quite as strong of a DFS value as he appears.”
Unfortunately, I was forced to learn the same lesson Joe Mixon tried to teach me in Week 9 (when he recorded a +28.5 PAR) – for players we know are talented, the regression almost always comes, and sometimes those players capture all of their impending regression in just one game rather than spread out through multiple weeks. And if that happens, they probably posted a “had-to-have-it” score in DFS, and probably at a depressed price tag (as the DFS pricing algorithm emphasizes production over volume). So, lesson learned – don’t be as impatient as I was.
Week 16 XFP Leaders
Justin Jefferson has been the most valuable player in fantasy this season, as evident by his league-high 3.7 wins above replacement (WAR). And he’s never been better than he’s been in recent weeks – he's exceeded 30 fantasy points in 3 straight games, and he averages 25.5 FPG over his last 8 games. If this hot streak extends for at least one more game (your fantasy championship), this could go down in history as one of the most dominant seasons in fantasy history… Jefferson is just 208 receiving yards away from tying Calvin Johnson’s record for most receiving yards in a single season (1,964). And there’s a legitimate chance he breaks it this week; if Green Bay makes the same mistake they made in Week 1, when they denied Jaire Alexander’s request to shadow and Jefferson exploded for 184 yards.
Adam Thielen is looking pretty dusty at this stage of his career, and he hasn’t flashed any semblance of a ceiling. But if Alexander does end up shadowing Jefferson, I think there’s a chance he surprises us this week… He told us this offseason he always looks forward to playing at Lambeau Field, and that it always seems to bring out the best in him. And, well, the numbers certainly seem to bear this out – he averages 19.7 FPG across his last five games in Lambeau and 18.4 FPG across his last 11 games against the Packers (averaging 29.0 FPG in his top-50% of games).
Due to injury, Jahan Dotson has played on over two-thirds of the team's snaps in only 6 games this season. But he's exceeded 16.0 fantasy points in 5 of those 6 games, averaging 15.9 FPG (~WR12) in these games. Since Week 13, he ranks 13th in XFP/G (16.3) and 11th in FPG (18.8). And yet he’s priced as just the WR39 on DraftKings ($4,600), up against a Browns defense that ranks 5th-worst in schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to opposing outside WRs (+2.1).
Last week Carson Wentz took 44% of Washington’s dropbacks, and Curtis Samuel scored 77% of his fantasy points on those dropbacks. And, I definitely don’t think this is just a one-week outlier. Because, with Wentz under center (as opposed to Taylor Heinicke), Samuel’s target share jumps from 13.9% (~WR68) to 21.4% (~WR32). Conversely, Terry McLaurin drops from 27.4% (~WR11) to 15.3% (~WR59)… Prior to a Week 6 game in which Wentz broke his ring finger on his throwing hand, Curtis Samuel averaged 9.4 targets, 1.6 carries, 16.0 XFP (~WR13), and 15.2 FPG (~WR14)… We’ll get word by Wednesday morning on which QB will start. If Wentz is announced as the starter, Samuel will be a clear top value on DraftKings ($4,400, WR44) in spite of his worst-possible matchup against the Browns (-5.0 schedule-adjusted FPG allowed to slot WRs). (UPDATE: Wentz will start.)
Deebo Samuel has sat out or played under 35% of the team’s snaps in 7 of George Kittle’s 28 games over the past 3 seasons. With Samuel, Kittle averages 12.4 FPG, which is a little less than what Dallas Goedert has provided you this season (12.5 FPG, TE4). Without Samuel, that jumps to 21.7 FPG, which would break Travis Kelce’s record for most FPG by a TE in any season all-time (20.9).
I think A.J. Brown is clearly Philadelphia WR1. But I also think it’s a lot closer than anyone else seems to realize. For instance, DeVonta Smith has seen at least 8 targets in 7 straight games, and he averages 17.7 FPG (~WR8) over this span. Brown, meanwhile, has seen 8 or more targets only 3 times over his last 8 games, and he averages just 16.4 FPG (~WR11) over this 8-game stretch… Smith has also cleared the 100-yardage mark in 3 of his last 4 games, and has exceeded 17.0 fantasy points in all 4 of these games.
Over the past two seasons, Miles Sanders averages 24.5 touches per game and 4.5 red zone carries per game with Gardner Minshew under center. With Jalen Hurts, that drops to just 14.8 touches per game and 2.0 red zone carries per game.
I full-faded CeeDee Lamb last week, in part because of his difficult matchup against Avonte Maddox in the slot. But Maddox left the game early with a toe injury, and Lamb proceeded to score 34.0 fantasy points and ruin my week. Maddox is now out indefinitely… Maddox has played on at least 50% of the team’s snaps only 7 times this season. In those games, Philadelphia is giving up just 13.2 FPG to opposing slot WRs (would rank 5th-best). In all other games, they’re giving up 25.5 FPG (would rank worst by 19%)… Maddox’s absence could be good news for Chris Olave if he returns this week; he ran 41% of his routes from the slot the last time we saw him on the field. Or, more likely, for Richie James in Week 18.
Tyler Allgeier this season:— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) December 28, 2022
-PFF rushing grade: 86.8 (No. 7 among 40 running backs with 100-plus carries)
-Yards per carry: 4.9 (tied for No. 7)
-Yards after contact per carry: 3.5 (tied for No. 6)
-Missed tackles forced per carry: 0.25 (tied for No. 5)
Tyler Allgeier has exceeded 100 YFS in back-to-back games, averaging 17.5 carries, 3.0 targets, 16.3 XFP (10th-most), and 18.2 FPG (9th-most) over this span. Granted, he’s only seen 52% of the team’s backfield XFP over this stretch, but that’s also up from 39% across the first 14 weeks of the season. Conversely, Cordarrelle Patterson has fallen from 52% to just 35%… I think there’s a chance he goes overlooked in DFS this week, despite his very-palatable price tag ($5,300, RB29) and his top-5 matchup (Arizona has given up the 4th-most FPG to opposing RBs) which also includes near-ideal projected gamescript (favored by 4.0-points).
if this play at 2:40 was Tua's concussion, here are his stats:— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) December 26, 2022
pre-concussion: 9/12, 229 yds, 19.1 YPA, 1 TD, 0 INT
post-concussion: 7/13, 81 yds, 6.2 YPA, 0 TD, 3 INTspic.twitter.com/0FvirTtxnR
Excluding incomplete games and games in which he suffered a concussion (Weeks 3, 4, and 16)… Tua Tagovailoa averages 21.1 FPG, which ranks 5th-best among all QBs.
In case Tagovailoa sits out this week, Teddy Bridgewater is priced as just the QB25 on DraftKings ($5,000). In Week 6, he scored 23.2 DK fantasy points despite missing the entirety of the 1st quarter. Bridgewater’s favorite receiver has been Tyreek Hill, whom he has targeted on 33% of his throws (would lead all WRs if over the full season). And the connection has been strong – Hill averages 156.7 receiving yards per 34.2 pass attempts (what Miami is averaging this season) with Bridgewater under center.
Highest RB snap % in a single week— Chris Wecht (@ChrisWechtFF) December 27, 2022
1. Week 13 - R. Stevenson
2. Week 16 - J. Conner
3. Week 12 - J. Conner
4. Week 14 - J. Conner
5. Week 10 - J. Conner
14. Week 15 - J. Conner
Conner is leading the NFL in Pass Snap % & RZ Snap % since Week 12
James Conner is seeing easy top-5 levels of raw volume. But his usage is 2019 Christian McCaffrey-levels of elite… Since Week 10, he is averaging 19.3 carries, 5.3 targets, 18.4 XFP/G (4th-most), and 20.9 FPG (2nd-most). Over this span, Conner has played on 92.3% of the team’s snaps (most by any RB over this span) while handling 90.2% of the backfield XFP (also most). By both stats the next-closest RB doesn’t really come all that close – Dalvin Cook (80.7% snap share), Derrick Henry (80.2% backfield XFP%).
James Conner [2021-2022]— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) December 27, 2022
w/ Kyler Murray: 13.9 FPG (~RB18)
w/out Kyler Murray: 22.5 FPG* (~RB1)
Mike White is slated to start this week, and Garrett Wilson is priced as just the WR26 on DraftKings ($5,500). Seattle is a bottom-3 matchup on paper, but I’m probably still going to have close to 100% exposure this week.
Garrett Wilson w/out Zach Wilson— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) December 27, 2022
10.3 targets per game
9.2 first read targets per game
111.0 air yards per game
If over the full season, those numbers would rank:
Deshaun Watson has clearly been crushing the Browns offense from a fantasy perspective, and I’ll be the first one to admit that this is the exact opposite of what I expected to happen. Since he took over as starter, RB production (measured by FPG) is down 88% (28.5 vs. 15.2 FPG), WR production is down 30% (31.3 vs. 24.1 FPG), and TE production is down 51% (9.2 vs. 13.9 FPG).
Minus a neutral-field game against Buffalo, Amari Cooper’s 7 highest-scoring games have all come at home. His 5 worst games have come on the road. Unfortunately, the Browns will be on the road in each of their last 2 games to close out the season.
Drake London has an absurd 54% receiving yardage market share over his last 3 games. For perspective, across the full season, Justin Jefferson is the only WR with a yardage share over 38%. London averages 10.7 targets, 6.7 receptions, and 87.0 YPG over this stretch, and leads all receivers in target share (39.5%) and first-read target share (42.6%). Across the full season, he ranks 5th in target share (29.1%)… Unfortunately for him, 1) The Falcons run a sloth-paced offense – Atlanta ranks 4th-worst in plays per game (61.1). 2) Their offense is WW2-era levels of run-heavy – Atlanta ranks 2nd-worst in pass rate over expectation (-11.8%). 3) Their QB situation is terrible – Marcus Mariota ranks worst of 33-qualifying QBs by off-target throw rate (20.3%). And Desmond Ridder has been even worse (30.5%)… London would probably be a league-winner on just about any other team, unfortunately, it seems he’s landed in the least-ideal landing spot. But in the meantime, he’s still very playable in DFS, priced as just the WR34 ($4,900) on this week’s slate.
Over the last two seasons, D.J. Moore averages 14.6 FPG (~WR18) on a 26.9% target share (~WR14) with Sam Darnold, as opposed to only 8.1 FPG (~WR72) on a 22.3% target share (~WR28) with Baker Mayfield under center… Since Darnold returned in Week 12, Moore has exceeded 18.0 fantasy points in 3 of 4 games. He’s a strong GPP play this week, priced as just the WR24 on DraftKings ($5,700) up against a Buccaneers defense down their top CB in Jamel Dean.
Jerry Jeudy has exceeded 50 receiving yards in 10 games this season, even though he’s only cleared a 60% snap share (due to health) 9 times. In those 9 full games, Jeudy averages 8.0 targets per game (~WR20), 76.3 YPG (~WR11), and 17.0 FPG (~WR10). Jeudy is priced as the WR15 on DraftKings ($6,400), up against a Chiefs defense he scored 33.3 fantasy points against in Week 14.
Over the Indianapolis’ last 4 games, Jelani Woods has run a route on 69%, 28%, 19%, and then (last week) 58% of the team's dropbacks. Kylen Granson sat out in the first and last games within this sample, and in those games, Woods averaged 7.0 targets and 70.5 YPG. He’d be a smash play at only $2,800 if Granson sits out again this week.
Among all TEs, Evan Engram has finished 1st, 1st, and 3rd in targets over the last 3 weeks. And by receiving yards, he’s finished 1st, 5th, and 2nd. Over this span, he averages an obscene 10.7 targets, 16.9 XFP, 3.50 YPRR, 112.3 receiving yards, and 23.9 FPG. Among all wide receivers over this stretch, those numbers rank: 5th-best, 7th-best, 3rd-best, 3rd-best, and 2nd-best. For further perspective, he has 9 more targets than the next-closest Jacksonville receiver over this stretch, and also 3X as many receiving yards as Davante Adams (38.0 YPG)… Somehow, Engram is priced as just the TE7 on DraftKings this week ($4,400).
I don’t really have an explanation for this… But J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards have combined for 20-plus carries, 150-plus rushing yards, and 6.5-plus YPC in 3 straight games. Over this stretch, they combine to average 23.7 carries, 174.7 rushing yards, and 7.38 YPC. Although that seems very enticing, there still isn’t a ton of upside here because this remains an evenly-split committee backfield (51% of the backfield XFP for Dobbins, to Edwards’ 34%) and because this offense still isn’t very good (averaging just 0.7 touchdowns per game over this span).
Cam Akers ranks as the RB5 by FPG (19.3) over the last 4 weeks, averaging 16.0 carries and 1.8 targets per game. But over the same stretch, he ranks only 20th in XFP/G (13.6) and 17th in snap share (66%). So, I have a hard time buying into the notion that Akers is finally who he was drafted (ADP: RB19) to be. But he does get a top matchup this week – the Chargers rank worst in YPC allowed (5.48) and 5th-worst in rushing FPG allowed to opposing RBs (17.2).
Joe Mixon led all RBs in XFP in Week 16 (26.0), but Cincinnati also ran an absurd 82 plays in this game. But even once that’s accounted for, he still finished the week 3rd in XFP per play (0.32) and 7th in backfield XFP% (77%).
We saw vintage (2021-like) usage for Najee Harris in Week 16. He earned 17 carries and 9 targets, yielding 21.6 XFP (5th-most on the week). But, he still handled only 74% of the backfield XFP, down from 88% in 2021.
Over his last 3 games, Aaron Jones has played on just 38%, 56%, and then (last week) 38% of the team’s snaps. And his 56% snap share is inflated by A.J. Dillon missing all of the 4th quarter due to a possible concussion… We were told last year Dillon was specifically drafted for these late-season cold-weather games. Since Week 12, Dillon ranks only 26th in XFP/G (12.3), but also 6th in FPG (18.4).
D'Andre Swift flopped last week, but he hit a season-high 56% snap share. And Jamaal Williams could be limited or sit out this week. Swift is no doubt hard to trust, but he does rank 11th in XFP/G (15.2) since Week 12, in contrast to his RB29 salary on DraftKings this week ($5,300).
Over his last 16 healthy games, Amon-Ra St. Brown averages 10.8 targets per game and 22.7 FPG. For perspective, those numbers would rank 4th- and 2nd-best among all WRs this season. If only counting home games over this span, St. Brown averages 24.4 FPG (would lead all players at all positions).
Last week Leonard Fournette turned 20 carries into 72 rushing yards and 10 targets into 90 receiving yards. He finished the week 2nd in XFP (24.6) and 3rd in fantasy points scored (25.2)… Fournette has handled at least 60% of the team’s backfield XFP over the last 2 weeks, up from just 46% over his prior 3 games. Over this span, he averages 16.0 carries, 6.5 targets, 19.0 XFP/G (~RB2), and 18.3 FPG (~RB5). That’s pretty good for a 27-year-old RB playing through a Lisfranc injury… He’s priced as just the RB19 ($5,600) on DraftKings this week, in a perfectly neutral matchup against the Panthers.
Tyler Higbee scored 30.4 fantasy points on 11 targets last week, after averaging just 5.5 FPG over his prior 5 games. He still feels tough to trust, given his volatile usage (measured by route share) in recent weeks: 37%, 63%, 71%, 52%, and then (last week) 79%.
Brandin Cooks turned 10 targets and 205 air yards (18th-most by any WR in any week this season) into 19.6 XFP (9th-most among WRs on the week). Although he scored only 13.4 fantasy points (-6.2 PAR), he had a whopping 10.3 fantasy points negated due to penalty (a 33-yard touchdown negated due to holding). Priced as just the WR36 on DraftKings ($4,800), he’s a strong value and an obvious regression candidate..
Since Week 13, Rashid Shaheed leads all WRs in YPRR (3.8). And he’s seen an 82% route share over this span, above Chris Olave’s 76%. Granted, he’s only seen 13 targets over this stretch, but – because New Orleans has been so run-heavy – that comes out to a team-high 21.7% target share (would rank 32nd if over the full season). He’s a strong value with big-play upside, priced as just the WR53 ($4,000) this week.
Ezekiel Elliott has scored at least one touchdown in every game since Week 6. Over this span, he ranks 16th in XFP/G (14.3) and 10th in FPG (16.4). And he’s seen at least 15 carries in 7 straight games. That said, he has a high of just 17 carries over the same stretch. And Tony Pollard has clearly seen the better volume over the past two weeks (17.7 XFP/G to Elliott’s 12.8).
Note to self: Even if Miami adds more pass-catchers this offseason, don’t sweat Jaylen Waddle’s target projection. I’m pretty sure 100 targets to him is equivalent to ~135 targets for just about anyone else.
2022 WR Leaders by Depth-Adjusted YPT— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) December 27, 2022
1. Jaylen Waddle, +3.1
2. Tee Higgins, +2.3
3. A.J. Brown, +2.3
4. Greg Dortch, +2.1
5. Justin Jefferson, +2.1 https://t.co/KcnSetD50v
Top Regression Candidates
Bell Cow Tight Ends
Fantasy Points Negated by Penalty
1. Tom Brady, QB (26.0)
2. Brandin Cooks, WR (22.4)
3. D.K. Metcalf, WR (19.8)
4. Travis Kelce, TE (17.9)
5. Stefon Diggs, WR (16.7)
6. A.J. Brown, WR (16.7)
7. Mike Evans, WR (16.4)
8. Patrick Mahomes, QB (16.3)
9. Josh Jacobs, RB (15.9)
10. Chris Godwin, WR (14.2)
Backfield XFP% (The Bell Cow Stat)
1. Saquon Barkley, RB (80%)
2. Alvin Kamara, RB (78%)
3. Derrick Henry, RB (76%)
4. Christian McCaffrey, RB (75%)
5. Dalvin Cook, RB (75%)
6. Josh Jacobs, RB (75%)
7. Joe Mixon, RB (74%)
8. James Conner, RB (72%)
9. Austin Ekeler, RB (70%)
10. Rhamondre Stevenson, RB (68%)
1. Christian McCaffrey, RB (29%)
2. Derrick Henry, RB (29%)
3. Saquon Barkley, RB (27%)
4. Austin Ekeler, RB (26%)
5. Alvin Kamara, RB (25%)
6. Rhamondre Stevenson, RB (25%)
7. Josh Jacobs, RB (25%)
8. Joe Mixon, RB (24%)
9. Javonte Williams, RB (22%)
10. David Montgomery, RB (22%)
XFP per Team Play
1. Tyreek Hill, WR (0.33)
2. Justin Jefferson, WR (0.31)
3. Cooper Kupp, WR (0.31)
4. Christian McCaffrey, RB (0.30)
5. Austin Ekeler, RB (0.30)
6. Davante Adams, WR (0.29)
7. Derrick Henry, RB (0.29)
8. Joe Mixon, RB (0.28)
9. Josh Jacobs, RB (0.28)
10. Ja’Marr Chase, WR (0.28)
DFS Values (DK)
1. Marquise Brown, WR (3.1X)
2. Leonard Fournette, RB (3.0X)
3. Courtland Sutton, WR (2.9X)
4. Brandin Cooks, WR (2.8X)
5. Russell Gage, WR (2.7X)
6. Amari Cooper, WR (2.6X)
7. Tyler Conklin, TE (2.6X)
8. Zay Jones, WR (2.6X)
9. Antonio Gibson, RB (2.6X)
10. Drake London, WR (2.6X)
DFS Values (DK, Last 5 Weeks)
1. Drake London, WR (3.5X)
2. Garrett Wilson, WR (3.1X)
3. Jelani Woods, TE (3.0X)
4. Olamide Zaccheaus, WR (3.0X)
5. Zay Jones, WR (3.0X)
6. Quez Watkins, WR (3.0X)
7. Leonard Fournette, RB (2.9X)
8. Evan Engram, TE (2.9X)
9. David Njoku, TE (2.9X)
10. Brandin Cooks, WR (2.9X)