The XFP Report: Week 6

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The XFP Report: Week 6

Hello, and welcome to the Week 6 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 5 weeks of action, here are the top-25 players in expected fantasy points (XFP) per game:

The Top 25

Kadarius Toney, WR, New York Giants
[FPG: 9.8, XFP: 10.2, Diff: -0.4]

Over the last two weeks, Toney ranks 7th among all WRs in total fantasy points scored, averaging 21.8 FPG. And his volume has been excellent, averaging 1.0 carry, 11.5 targets, 106.5 air yards, and 1.5 deep targets per game. That equates to 21.7 XFP per game, which ranks 4th-best among all WRs over this stretch.

And, of course, he’s looked amazing in these two games — leading all players in yards after contact (140) and missed tackles forced as a receiver (8).

Even more impressively, all of these numbers can be adjusted due to the fact that he basically only played two full quarters of football last week (54% of the team’s snaps). (He missed some time due to injury, continued to play through that injury, and then was later ejected from the game for punching an opponent.) Further, 8 of his 13 targets came with human giraffe / backup QB Mike Glennon under center.

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Toney very well could be a league-winner. That would not surprise me at all. But I do have two (relatively minor) concerns:

1) Toney is dealing with an ankle injury; the same injury that cost him some snaps last week. It is not season-ending, but it “might affect his short-term availability.”

2) Toney’s breakout has come, uncoincidentally, with Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton both out. Their absence has surely helped Toney in terms of volume, though that’s probably not as significant as the fact that Toney (as a rookie) was still capable of commanding WR1-levels of volume and producing like a WR1. But also, Toney has been used similarly to Sterling Shepard over these last two weeks, running 48% of his routes from the slot versus Shepard’s 74% (Weeks 1-3). Remember, prior to injury (Week 3), Shepard averaged 8.5 targets per game over his previous 12 games, and had scored at least 17.5 fantasy points in each of his previous four games. So, maybe that’s just an extremely valuable role in the offense. Or maybe, Toney will be miscast and kicked outside once Shepard is fully healthy. (This would be a mistake.) It’s possible, but, ultimately, not a very serious concern. And I’m far more optimistic that Toney is a potential every-week starter than that he turns back into a pumpkin after these two impressive breakout performances.

Devontae Booker, RB, New York Giants
[FPG: 6.9, XFP: 8.9, Diff: -2.0]

Last week Saquon Barkley played on just 6 snaps (9%) before suffering a low ankle sprain which will cause him to miss the team’s next 2-4 games.

In his absence, Booker was a full-on bell cow, earning 56 of 58 snaps (97%), 16 of 17 carries, and 4 of 4 targets out of the backfield. RB Elijhaa Penny played on just 6 snaps, earning 1 carry and 0 targets. Although Booker wasn’t very efficient (3.05 yards per touch), his volume (25.9 XFP) was best of any RB on the week, and he found the end zone twice, scoring 20.8 fantasy points.

Anyway, Booker is basically the latest incarnation of Chuba Hubbard. Which is to say Booker is maybe an RB3-level talent who is likely to see fringe-RB1 levels of volume. And as such, should be viewed as a mid-range RB2 for fantasy.

Christian McCaffrey is probably back this week, but Hubbard scored 20.0 fantasy points on a 20.3-point expectation (8th-best) last week. And he’s handled 71% of the team’s backfield XFP over the last two weeks.

Damien Williams doesn’t quite qualify, as he only handled 58% of Chicago’s backfield last week, with Khalil Herbert taking the other 42%.

Though Darrel Williams might, with Clyde Edwards-Helaire now on injured reserve (MCL). Minus CEH, he handled 80% of the team’s backfield XFP last week, with Jerick McKinnon getting the other 20%. Again, minus CEH, he played on 56% of the snaps, earning 5 of 6 carries and 6 of 8 targets out of the backfield. Though he only ran 2 more routes than McKinnon (22 of 24), and that’s a concern, though maybe not a major one, as the extreme-negative gamescript Kansas City saw last week should be a rarity for them throughout the remainder of the year.

And, of course, Alexander Mattison is at the highest end of the handcuff-spectrum. He averages 24.7 XFP (RB1) and 25.2 FPG (RB2) across the two games Dalvin Cook has missed.

Myles Gaskin, RB, Miami Dolphins
[FPG: 12.8, XFP: 12.4, Diff: +0.4]

In Week 4, Gaskin was inexplicably (seemingly) benched, earning just 1.0 XFP on the day, and playing on only 23% of the team’s snaps.

In Week 5, he was a borderline bell cow. He played on a season-high 67% of the team’s snaps, earning 5 of 7 carries and 10 of 13 targets out of the backfield, including 3 of 3 opportunities inside the 10-yard-line. In total, he scored 31.9 fantasy points (2nd-most on the week) on a 22.7-point expectation (3rd-most on the week).

Of course, 92% of his fantasy production came through the air. And Tampa Bay is far and away the league’s best run defense. So maybe they intentionally (smartly) abandoned the run, and featured Gaskin as their best pass-catching RB? Maybe. I’m not really sure. Because why didn’t they also do that in Week 4 ( instead of benching him) in a 27-17 beatdown against Indianapolis’ similarly tough run defense? And Gaskin is also probably the team’s best runner anyway. Just about every advanced metric also backs that up. So, why not just make him their bell cow?

Again, I have no idea. Gaskin should be used as the team’s bell cow. Miami should stop wasting snaps and touches on Malcolm Brown and Salvon Ahmed.

But, what a team should do is not always what they will do. So, who knows. But Gaskin’s Week 5 usage, at least, was an encouraging sign. And we do know, if this sort of usage continues, Gaskin will produce for fantasy -- over the past two seasons, Gaskin averages 17.4 FPG (RB9) when he’s played on at least 60% of the team’s snaps.

Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders
[FPG: 15.0, XFP: 15.6, Diff: -0.7]

Josh Jacobs is looking sort of bell cow-ish. Or, at least definitely by his standards.

Over the last two weeks, he's seen 29 of 33 carries and 10 of 13 targets out of the backfield (86% of the XFP), good for 18.0 XFP per game (5th-most over this span).

He played on 69% of the team’s snaps last week (4th-most of his career). And what’s most surprising about that, is this game was a 9-20 blowout loss that was only competitive in the first quarter. And the Raiders lost by two scores the week before too. So, in back-to-back losses, Jacobs has seen 5 targets and at least 12 carries in both games.

Coming into this season, Jacobs was one of the most gamescript-sensitive players in fantasy, averaging 21.3 FPG in wins but only 10.3 FPG in losses. But if he keeps this sort of usage up, he could be an every week gamescript-proof RB1.

Leonard Fournette, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
[FPG: 13.4, XFP: 13.9, Diff: -0.5]

In Week 5, Fournette played on 63% of the snaps, earning 12 of 21 carries and 5 of 8 targets out of the backfield, including 2 of 2 opportunities inside the 10-yard-line. In total this was good for a 15.4-point expectation, which ranked 17th-best on the week. And his 21.0 fantasy points scored ranked 13th-best.

Fournette isn’t quite the bell cow he was in the postseason last year, but he is the clear RB1 on what’s arguably the most potent offense in football.

Across the full season, he ranks 20th in both XFP per game (13.9) and FPG (13.4). And I think that’s a good baseline for his every-week expectation. If the team finally moves away from Ronald Jones, which they should, we could consider him as a fringe RB1. Jones averages 4.3 XFP per game, and if all of that went to Fournette, he’d jump from 20th to 5th among RBs in XFP per game.

Bernard, however, won’t be going anywhere. He’ll keep Fournette gamescript-sensitive, seeing an expanded role in games Tampa Bay is trailing, but taking a backseat to Fournette when leading. For instance, Bernard averages 4.3 XFP per game in wins, but 16.3 in their one loss. Luckily for Fournette, Tampa Bay isn’t likely to spend much time trailing this season.

Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons
[FPG: 12.2, XFP: 15.0, Diff: -2.8]

Last week we talked about how Pitts was the No. 1 positive regression candidate at the TE position, and, well, he regressed in a big way.

He earned a team-high 10 targets (or, 12 if we include targets negated due to penalty), catching 9 for 119 yards and a score. On a 23.0-point expectation (3rd-most by any TE this season), he scored 26.9 fantasy points, which was the 9th-most by any rookie TE all-time.

He now ranks 5th in route share (80%), 3rd in XFP per game (15.0), 3rd in targets per game (8.0), 5th in air yards per game (69.6), 2nd in XTD per game (0.61), and 6th in FPG (12.2). Not bad for a rookie.

Other / Quick Hits

For the third straight week (two wins, one loss), Kareem Hunt has seen better usage than Nick Chubb. Over this span, Hunt ranks 4th in XFP per game (19.2) and 5th in FPG (23.3). Chubb ranks 15th (14.7) and 20th (14.6)… Yeah, so, I’d be panicking at least a little bit if I was a Chubb owner. This was my big concern last year, and this year as well, which I explained in more detail here. Chubb is seeing near-zero usage in the passing game, and that’s a massive handicap in PPR leagues. In the meantime, Hunt should be ranked as a high-end RB2, and he's a good bet to out-score Chubb again this week, in a close script game (-2.5) against the Cardinals. And he remains an excellent DFS value, priced $1,000 cheaper than Chubb on DraftKings this week.

Ja'Marr Chase totals 98.4 fantasy points, which ranks 7th among all WRs. That's also — behind only Randy Moss (104.7) — the 2nd-most fantasy points by any rookie WR in their first five career games all-time. What’s most impressive about this is Chase isn’t really seeing good volume. He ranks just 32nd among WRs in XFP (61.4). So, he’s producing like a mid-range WR1 on low-end WR3-levels of volume. And, as such, he’s our No. 1 regression candidate at any position (+37.0). Although I do think an efficiency regression is coming, I wouldn’t be surprised if he continues to out-perform his expectation at one of the highest rates in the league. Afterall, is this not the best WR prospect since Julio Jones?

Only three players have hit at least 15.0 XFP in all five of their games: Cooper Kupp, Derrick Henry, and Keenan Allen… Allen ranks 4th in XFP per game (19.9) but just 21st in FPG (15.4). And so, he remains a massive positive regression candidate, and I like him just as much as I did last week, and for all of the same reasons. Although maybe I wouldn’t give up Mike Williams to do it, he’s a phenomenal buy-low target. And so is Calvin Ridley (3rd in XFP per game, 26th in FPG) and Stefon Diggs (11th in XFP per game, 29th in FPG).

Cooper Kupp ranks 1st (23.8), Mike Williams ranks 3rd (22.8), and Deebo Samuel ranks 4th (22.7) among all WRs in FPG. To some, it may feel as though a fall back down to earth is inevitable. Afterall, none of these WRs were drafted as WR1s. I’m more bullish, for a variety of reasons. But first and foremost, they are all seeing WR1 levels of volume. Kupp ranks 2nd (21.3), Williams ranks 6th (19.3), and Samuel ranks 9th (17.9) in XFP per game.

Over the past four weeks, Courtland Sutton’s production has been fairly volatile, but his volume has been rock solid. He totaled 19.8 XFP in Week 5, which ranked 9th-best, and marked the third time in four games he finished top-15. Over this span he ranks 13th in XFP per game (17.4) and 17th in FPG (16.5).

D'Andre Swift put up 22.4 fantasy points last week, but his usage (14.7 XFP) wasn't quite as good as we had anticipated. And especially not with Jamaal Williams entering the game with a hip injury that put him in jeopardy of sitting. Campbell promised more work for Swift in Week 4, and though that was true then, it dipped back down in Week 5. Swift’s market share (by XFP) over the backfield since Week 1: 53%, 58%, 68%, 69%, 63%.

Dalton Schultz continues to see an increase in usage at Blake Jarwin’s expense. Jarwin has seen his route share drop from 63% to 36% to now 22% over the last three weeks. Schultz, meanwhile, ranks 12th in route share (75%) and 1st in target share (27%) over the last two weeks. And over the last three weeks, he ranks 3rd in targets per game (7.7), 5th in XFP per game (13.7), and 1st in FPG (19.2). On the full season, he ranks behind only Mark Andrews (ahead of Travis Kelce) in PFF receiving grade (88.6)… Yeah, Michael Gallup will return at some point, but I’d rather be betting on than against Schultz as an every week mid-range TE1.

Dawson Knox is your top (negative) regression candidate at the TE position. He ranks 21st in targets per game (4.6), 17th in XFP per game (8.9), and 3rd in FPG (14.8). He did see a 90% route share last week, which is highly encouraging, but I’m still betting on a heavy regression to the mean… But, luckily for him, given the barrenness of the TE position, even when the regression does hit he’s still probably an every-week low-end TE1. Basically, he’s this year’s version of Robert Tonyan. High-end TE1 production isn’t really sustainable at this level of volume. But, as a key cog on one of the most-efficient passing attacks in football, low-end TE1 production is probably doable.

Zach Ertz wasn't very productive last week, scoring just 1.7 fantasy points. But he did see 6 targets for the third straight game. Over this span, he averages 9.7 FPG (13th), 13.2 XFP (7th), and 7.3 targets per game (7th). Dallas Goedert is likely out this week due to COVID. And so, it’s worth noting Ertz averages +1.3 more targets per game (8.6 vs. 7.3) in games Goedert has missed over the past three seasons.

As an update to our section on Cordarrelle Patterson from last week: Patterson again saw a true RB/WR hybrid type role. He led the position in air yards for the second straight week, now averaging 49.5 over the last two weeks (up from -6.7). And he ran 14 “0-9 routes” in Week 5, averaging 12.0 per game over the last two weeks (up from 3.5). But most importantly, he was finally a full-time player… Patterson’s prior season-highs: 7 carries, 7 targets, 25 snaps. Last week: 14 carries, 9 targets, 46 snaps (59%)… That’s extremely exciting for a player who just hit 16.0 fantasy points for the fourth week in a row, despite being capped at 25 snaps in three of those games. Though, granted, Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage were both out. And Mike Davis still played on 64% of the team’s snaps. So, I wouldn’t be shocked if his usage dropped in Week 6… But, in any case, you’re still starting him in season-long leagues. Since Week 2, he ranks 8th in XFP per game (16.5) and 3rd in FPG (23.3).

More evidence in support of our theory Tyler Lockett isn’t quite close to 100%: On a whopping 28.0-point expectation, Lockett scored only 10.7 fantasy points. Metcalf, meanwhile, scored 26.8 fantasy points on a measly 11.1-point expectation. And Metcalf accomplished this feat despite running over twice as many routes against Jalen Ramsey. Lockett now averages 8.1 FPG over his last three games. But, I suppose, this doesn’t matter too much now with Geno Smith under center.

I wouldn’t panic at all on Odell Beckham Jr., who scored just 4.0 fantasy points on 3 targets last week. He’s still working his way back towards 100%, coming back from ACL surgery. And he did see good usage in his other two games, averaging 8.0 targets and 1.0 carries. But more than anything, I think this was just a brutal matchup. Against outside WR1s, the Chargers have held Terry McLaurin, Amari Cooper, Tyreek Hill, and now Odell Beckham Jr. to a combined 7.8 FPG.

Top Regression Candidates

Week 5 RB Team Pos XFP% (The Bell Cow Stat)

1. Alvin Kamara (100%)

2. Alexander Mattison (98%)

3. Elijah Mitchell (95%)

4. Austin Ekeler (94%)

5. Devontae Booker (90%)

6. Derrick Henry (87%)

7. Chuba Hubbard (84%)

8. Myles Gaskin (82%)

9. Josh Jacobs (81%)

10. Najee Harris (78%)

11. James Robinson (72%)

12. Zack Moss (69%)

RB Team XFP%

1. Alvin Kamara (31%)

2. Najee Harris (28%)

3. Derrick Henry (27%)

4. Christian McCaffrey (23%)

5. David Montgomery (23%)

6. Joe Mixon (23%)

7. Aaron Jones (22%)

8. D’Andre Swift (22%)

9. Jonathan Taylor (22%)

10. Dalvin Cook (21%)

11. Kareem Hunt (20%)

12. Ezekiel Elliott (20%)

RB Team Pos XFP% (The Bell Cow Stat)

1. Najee Harris (92%)

2. Alvin Kamara (79%)

3. Darrell Henderson (77%)

4. Dalvin Cook (76%)

5. James Robinson (75%)

6. Derrick Henry (74%)

7. Josh Jacobs (74%)

8. Austin Ekeler (70%)

9. David Montgomery (68%)

10. Chris Carson (68%)

11. Aaron Jones (68%)

12. Joe Mixon (67%)

WR / TE Team XFP%

1. Davante Adams (30%)

2. Cooper Kupp (28%)

3. Diontae Johnson (28%)

4. Anthony Miller (26%)

5. Tyler Lockett (25%)

6. Brandin Cooks (25%)

7. Deebo Samuel (24%)

8. Terry McLaurin (24%)

9. Calvin Ridley (24%)

10. DK Metcalf (23%)

11. Keenan Allen (22%)

12. Tyreek Hill (22%)

DFS Values (DK)

1. Anthony Miller, WR (4.2X)

2. Keenan Allen, WR (3.1X)

3. Jared Cook, TE (3.0X)

4. D’Andre Swift, RB (3.0X)

5. Michael Pittman, WR (2.9X)

6. Jonnu Smith, TE (2.8X)

7. Evan Engram, TE (2.8X)

8. Bryan Edwards, WR (2.8X)

9. Brandin Cooks, WR (2.8X)

10. Adam Thielen, WR (2.7X)

11. Sterling Shepard, WR (2.7X)

12. Mark Andrews, TE (2.7X)

13. Darren Waller, TE (2.7X)

14. Cooper Kupp, WR (2.7X)

15. Jonathan Taylor, RB (2.7X)

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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