The XFP Report: Week 11

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The XFP Report: Week 11

Hello, and welcome to the Week 11 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 10 weeks of action, here are the top-25 players in expected fantasy points (XFP) per game:

The Top-25

J.D. McKissic, RB, Washington Football Team

PPR: 10.4, XFP: 12.9, PAR: -2.6

Here’s something I didn’t see coming: J.D. McKissic leads all players in XFP over the last two weeks (51.8), earning +12.1 more than the next-closest RB (Dalvin Cook).

From Weeks 1-8, McKissic averaged only 9.2 XFP per game, with a season-high of just 13.5 in Week 6. In Week 9, McKissic totaled 22.0 XFP, which ranked 2nd-most among RBs, scoring 17.2 fantasy points on 3 carries and 14 targets. In Week 10, McKissic led all players in XFP, totaling 29.8. He scored 17.9 fantasy points on 8 carries and 15 targets. Over the last two weeks, he’s seen a whopping 47 snaps lined up at WR, which is absurd for a RB. And he is seeing phenomenal target-quality (for a RB), with one of his targets last week traveling 23 yards through the air.

Again, this was something I didn’t see coming, but maybe I should have. Alex Smith has played in only three games this year. In Week 5, he targeted McKissic on 5 of his 17 attempts (29.4%). In Week 9, that jumped to 13 of Smith’s 32 attempts (40.6%). In Week 10, McKissic was targeted on 15 of Smith’s 55 attempts (27.2%). That’s obscene usage – a 31.7% target share and an average of 12.0 targets per four quarters with Smith under center.

This is no doubt troubling for Antonio Gibson owners, though he was productive in Week 10. He scored 22.5 fantasy points, but on just a lowly 14.8-point expectation, earning 13 carries and 4 targets. McKissic more than doubled Gibson’s XFP average over the last two weeks (25.9 to 12.4), while also out-snapping him 99 to 55. On third downs, McKissic out-snaps Gibson 104 to 11.

Smith is under center again in Week 11, but expected game script is more in Gibson’s favor. Washington is favored this week (-2.0), and for just the second time all year. This time against a Bengals defense that ranks 2nd-worst in YPC allowed (5.21). Still, based on the volume McKissic has been getting (granted, in mostly negative game script) it’s not obvious to me that Gibson is the better play this week. And in fact, both are likely strong DFS values, with Gibson priced at $5,800 and McKissic at $5,200 on DraftKings.

Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

PPR: 13.9, XFP: 13.3, PAR: +0.6

Evans led all WRs and ranked behind only McKissic in XFP in Week 10. He scored 19.7 fantasy points on a 24.7-point expectation, stemming from 11 targets, 90 air yards, 3 end zone targets, and 4 targets inside the 10-yard-line. That was a season-high in targets for Evans, but as usual, target-quality was exceptional. Evans ranks just 54th in air yards per game (68.4) and 45th in targets per game (6.3), but ranks 25th in XFP per game (13.3). Here’s why – Evans ranks 1st in XTD (7.7), 1st in targets inside the 5-yard-line (7), 1st in targets inside the 10-yard-line (12), 1st in end zone targets (11), 1st in XTD per target (0.12), and 1st in XFP per target (2.12).

Antonio Brown totaled 19.0 XFP in Week 10, which ranked 20th among WRs. He scored 13.6 fantasy points on 8 targets, but could have scored an additional 12.2-points, had Tom Brady not missed him (overthrow) on this play. Chris Godwin totaled just 9.8 XFP on 6 targets but ended his day with 15.2 fantasy points.

Chase Claypool / Diontae Johnson, WRs, Pittsburgh Steelers

Diontae Johnson only does 1 of 2 things: either he gets hurt in the 1st Quarter, or he sees double-digit targets and goes off.

What did Johnson do in Week 11? He didn’t get hurt in the 1st Quarter, and, well, you know the rules…

Excluding Weeks 3, 5, and 8 (the games he suffered an injury in the 1st Quarter), Johnson is averaging an absurd 12.0 targets (28% target share), 19.1 XFP, and 20.3 fantasy points per game. If over a full season, those numbers would rank 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-best among WRs.

But we shouldn’t sleep on Claypool either. In Week 10, Claypool ranked 3rd among all WRs in XFP (23.7), JuJu Smith-Schuster ranked 7th (20.4), and Johnson ranked 8th (17.3). In Week 9, Claypool ranked 7th among all WRs (21.3), again ahead of Johnson (15.0) and Smith-Schuster (10.0). Claypool leads all WRs in XFP over the last 2 weeks, and his 30 targets over the last 3 weeks ranks behind only Davante Adams (34).

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers

PPR: 14.5, XFP: 13.0, PAR: +1.5

Aiyuk ranked first (tied with Mike Evans) among WRs in XFP in Week 10, totaling 24.7 XFP. He turned 14 targets, 1 carry, and 86 air yards into 19.7 fantasy points. No other 49ers pass-catcher saw more than 6 targets on the day. In his last game, Aiyuk scored 23.1 fantasy points on 10 targets. And the week before that, he caught 6 of 7 targets for 115 yards.

Since Week 3, Aiyuk ranks 19th in XFP per game (14.2) and 20th in FPG (15.9). Since Week 7, he ranks 5th in XFP per game (17.9) and 10th in FPG (16.8). Deebo Samuel is likely back after the team’s Week 11 bye, but, still, this sort of usage is highly encouraging. And, keep in mind, rookie WRs due tend to be far more productive in the 2nd-half of a season. With George Kittle likely out for the rest of the year, it wouldn’t shock me if Aiyuk was productive enough to be considered an easy every-week starter down the stretch.

Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

PPR: 14.1, XFP: 12.1, PAR: +2.0

Higgins has seen 8 or more targets in 4 of his last 5 games, and has hit at least 70 yards in 5 of his last 6 games. Since Week 3, Higgins ranks 11th in FPG (17.2). Since Week 6, he ranks 8th in FPG (19.1) and 22nd in XFP per game (13.7). Over the same span, Tyler Boyd ranks 12th (17.5) and 13th (15.4).

D’Andre Swift, RB, Detroit Lions

PPR: 14.2, XFP: 12.3, PAR: +1.9

(On if the way RB D’Andre Swift was utilized on Sunday, was how he envisioned using him when Swift was drafted):

Darrell Bevell (11/17/2020): “Yeah, I think it’s kind of been a process for him. Coming in – he wasn’t able to get as many reps as we hoped that he would have at the start of training camp with some of the things that he was working through. So, I feel like we’ve got him up to speed. He’s in a good spot and then showed up in the game. He did a great job with the run game. We were able to get him involved in the pass game as well. As you watched the games prior, I think you can kind of see some of the things that were coming and how we were using him. He stepped up.”

Since Detroit’s Week 5 bye, D’Andre Swift ranks 5th in FPG (17.2) and 8th in XFP per game (14.9). He totaled 16.3 XFP in Week 10, slightly above his Week 9 total of 15.6, but below his season-high of 19.9 in Week 6. However, more importantly, that 16.3 XFP represented a season-high 81.9% share of the team’s backfield XFP. From Weeks 1-9, he earned just 46% of the backfield XFP. If he handled a 81.9% share of the backfield XFP all season, he’d be averaging 20.3 XFP per game, which would rank 4th-most among RBs.

Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks

PPR: 18.7, XFP: 16.3, PAR: +2.4

Lockett was DFS chalk in Week 10. He flopped, scoring just 11.6 fantasy points, but the volume was good. He ranked 10th in XFP (16.1), 13th in targets (9), and 2nd in air yards (149). What went wrong? He might have been hurt. Apparently, he came out of the game with “a bit of a knee sprain” and was dealing with a bit of discomfort and swelling on Monday. Lockett played through a “severe” lower leg injury last year and his production suffered considerably for a number of weeks.

Other / Notes

- Kalen Ballage totaled 21.0 XFP in Week 10, which ranked 3rd-most among RBs. That represented 80% of Los Angeles’ backfield XFP, with Joshua Kelley getting the other 4.7. Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson, and Troymaine Pope will be back sooner rather than later, but, yeah… Wild. Kelley can safely be dropped in all formats.

- Over the last 3 weeks, Jerry Jeudy ranks 1st in air yards (465), 2nd in air yards (32), 3rd in XFP (57.8), and 11th in fantasy points (47.6).

- In 6 healthy games, Davante Adams has finished 1st, 31st, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, and 10th in fantasy points among WRs. He’s finished 1st, 19th, 2nd, 2nd, 5th, and 5th in XFP. That’s uhhh… uh… pretty crazy.

- James Robinson has finished 2nd (Week 7), 4th (Week 9), and 5th (Week 10) in XFP over his last 3 games. Over this span, Robinson earned 90%, 73%, and 82% of the team’s snaps. He averages 19.2 XFP per game (2nd-most) and 19.7 FPG (3rd-most) over this span. Jacksonville has lost those 3 games by a combined by a combined 16 points. Chris Thompson sat out Week 7 (COVID) and missed part of Week 10 due to a back injury. He’s now on the injured reserve. Robinson gets a bottom-5 matchup this week, but at $6,400 on DraftKings, should still be pretty chalky.

- Joe Mixon should finally be back this week (hopefully). Don’t forget, prior to injury, across Weeks 4-6 (with mixed game script), he averaged 71% of the snaps along with 22.6 XFP, 22.3 carries, and 5.7 targets per game. For clarity, 22.6 XFP per game was good enough to lead all RBs over this span. Don’t sleep on him in DFS this week, priced at just $6,300 at Washington.

- Since the Bill O’Brien firing heading into Week 5, Brandin Cooks has seen better volume (measured by XFP) than Will Fuller in 5 of 5 games. Over this span, he averages 17.0 XFP per game (5th-most) to Fuller’s 13.5 (26th-most). Cooks has seen at least 8 targets in every game, averaging 9.4 per game to Fuller’s 7.6. He ranks 9th in FPG (18.4) over this span, while Fuller ranks 17th (16.5).

- Clyde Edwards-Helaire averaged 66% of the team’s snaps before Le’Veon Bell joined the team. Since then, he averages 49%. He averaged 15.9 XFP per game before Bell joined the team. Since then, he averages 10.6. He maintained a 77% share of the team’s backfield XFP before Bell joined the team. Since then, 63%. Not good.

- Jakobi Meyers totaled 13.1 XFP in Week 10, which might not seem like a lot, but all other New England WRs totaled exactly 0.0 XFP on the week. In Week 9, he totaled 14 targets and 23.2 XFP, which ranked 4th most among WRs on the week. Believe it or not, he ranks 3rd among all WRs in PFF Grade (87.5) and ranks 3rd in YPRR (2.99). For that reason alone, he’s worth adding in deeper leagues.

- David Johnson played just 7 snaps in Week 9 before exiting early due to injury. In his absence, Duke Johnson played on 50 of 55 snaps, earning 16 of 16 carries and 4 of 4 targets. In Week 10, Duke Johnson played on 94% of the snaps, earning 14 of 14 carries and 1 of 2 targets. This is no doubt an elite bell cow workload, but, for whatever reason, it’s not translating into XFP or fantasy points. Over this span, Duke Johnson ranks just 23rd in XFP (12.4) and 27th in FPG (10.9).

- How valuable is Travis Kelce? Excluding George Kittle, who is likely out for the remainder of the season… Kelce out-scores the next-closest TE (Darren Waller) by +5.7 FPG. That’s the same difference between the 2nd-best WR (Tyreek Hill) and the WR ranking 31st in FPG (D.J. Moore). He out-scores the 4th-best TE (Jonnu Smith) by +7.7 FPG. That’s the same difference between Hill and the WR ranking 44th in FPG (Tim Patrick). He out-scores the No. 12 tight end (worst-possible starter) by +9.5 FPG. That’s the same difference between Hill and the WR ranking 54th in FPG (Jakobi Meyers).

Top DFS Values (DraftKings)

1. A.J. Green, WR (3.71X)

2. Denzel Mims, WR (3.20X)

3. Ezekiel Elliott, RB (3.13X)

4. Joe Mixon, RB (3.05X)

5. Logan Thomas, TE (2.94X)

6. Michael Gallup, WR (2.88X)

7. CeeDee Lamb, WR (2.86X)

8. Aaron Jones, RB (2.77X)

9. Amari Cooper, WR (2.77X)

10. Melvin Gordon, RB (2.75X)

11. T.J. Hockenson, TE (2.73X)

12. Chris Conley, WR (2.72X)

Top DFS Values (FanDuel)

1. Joe Mixon, RB (2.56X)

2. Ezekiel Elliott, RB (2.55X)

3. CeeDee Lamb, WR (2.46X)

4. Aaron Jones, RB (2.44X)

5. A.J. Green, WR (2.43X)

6. Jamison Crowder, WR (2.36X)

7. Jerry Jeudy, WR (2.35X)

8. J.D. McKissic, RB (2.31X)

9. Robby Anderson, WR (2.31X)

10. Davante Adams, WR (2.30X)

11. Todd Gurley, RB (2.26X)

12. D.J. Chark Jr., 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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