Another week with our honorary stat boy, Zach Fein of Fein Sports. A contributor with as much stat muscle as anyone in the business. You may not understand what he's says and use it for your fantasy leagues, but if you're in the mood to be baffled and confused, then boy does he have you covered. Because life is one big spreadsheet.
This week he looks at the percentage of a team's plays that go to specific players.
We fantasy footballers know the difference of real football and, well, fake football.
NFL analysts think of the best players as those who do the most with the least opportunities, such as Marion Barber, prior to this year. But in fantasy, it's about which players do the most, period.
In other sports, too, this holds up well. In basketball, for example, some analysts look at a player's stats prorated to a certain amount of minutes per game (usually 48 minutes). However, all that matters in fantasy is the stats a player puts up in his playing time—no matter if he gets 20 or 40 minutes per game.
Likewise, the same goes for fantasy football. Yes, Jerious Norwood has a 6.3 YPC, but he's only had 45 carries on the year. Ryan Grant has just a 3.4 YPC, but has 137 carries on the year. Norwood has done more with less, but Grant has done less with a whole lot more.
Following this idea, I looked at the percentage of a team's plays is directed at a certain player. (By directed I mean attempts plus rushes plus sacks for quarterbacks; and rushes plus targets for running backs and wide receivers.) I first found each of those stats on a per-game basis, so a player like Anquan Boldin doesn't get punished for missing time and gets counted with zero plays in games in which he didn't play; then I divided a player's "plays" per game by his team's plays per game.
Here are the results, using the starting QBs for each team; the top-50 backs in plays per game; and the top-60 wideouts in plays per game, substituting Marques Colston (outside top 60) for Nate Burleson (out for the year):
Name Team Play/G %Plays Peyton Manning IND 40.7 67.2% David Garrard JAC 40.0 63.3% Jay Cutler DEN 39.9 63.1% Matt Schaub HOU 40.7 62.7% Kurt Warner ARI 40.9 62.6% Donovan McNabb PHI 39.1 62.6% Drew Brees NO 40.3 62.3% J.T. O'Sullivan SF 35.0 61.6% Aaron Rodgers GNB 37.7 61.1% Brett Favre NYJ 37.4 60.6% Derek Anderson CLE 34.3 59.9% Gus Frerotte MIN 40.0 59.7% Tony Romo DAL 36.3 59.3% Ryan Fitzpatrick CIN 34.6 57.8% Philip Rivers SD 31.6 57.5% Marc Bulger STL 32.5 57.4% Dan Orlovsky DET 31.0 57.4% Kyle Orton CHI 36.4 56.2% Matt Cassel NE 36.6 55.9% Matt Hasselbeck SEA 32.3 55.8% Chad Pennington MIA 32.1 54.1% Matt Ryan ATL 33.4 54.0% Eli Manning NYG 34.1 53.6% Ben Roethlisberger PIT 31.1 53.0% JaMarcus Russell OAK 32.0 52.8% Jason Campbell WAS 33.8 52.4% Trent Edwards BUF 31.0 51.8% Jake Delhomme CAR 31.5 51.5% Jeff Garcia TAM 34.2 50.9% Kerry Collins TEN 31.0 50.3% Tyler Thigpen KAN 30.0 49.4% Joe Flacco BAL 32.4 48.7%
- Look at the bottom of the list, from Matt Ryan down. One thing in common for all of them (except Tyler Thigpen)? They have a very nice running back or two. Now, I wouldn't worry too much about Trent Edwards being so low—his game in which he went out with a concussion was included—but I am worrying about Big Ben. He has over 200 yards in just two games and over 30 attempts in just one. In his past five games, he's averaging just over 11 fantasy points per game. Sell high (that's not even the right word...) if you can.
- J.T. O'Sullivan is eighth. He was benched. And now Shaun Hill is their quarterback—get him if you can.
- It's too late to get Matt Schaub, who is averaging 23 fantasy points in his last three games, but I wouldn't be surprised if he finishes as a top-five QB on a per-game basis (only because he missed the Indianapolis game).
- The top two quarterbacks on this list are 10th and 11th, respectively, in fantasy points. That said, Peyton has 16 fantasy points per game and Garrard has almost 20 in their last four games.
- There's less change at the top in this list than for the QBs. The only concern I can think of with the top is that the Bears may be overusing Matt Forte, a la Cadillac Williams.
- The other name that sticks out is Willie Parker. If you can get him while he's injured and just getting back into the groove, do it. It'll pay off when he gets 25 touches a game when he's healthy.
- The highest player in a timeshare is Chris Johnson at No. 12, followed by Julius Jones and Willis McGahee at No. 18 and 19, respectively. Interestingly, LenDale White is only at No. 32 despite his very high fantasy value.
|Ted Ginn Jr.||MIA||5.9||9.9%|
|Antwaan Randle El||WAS||6.1||9.5%|
- I also noted this in my closer look at WR targets, but it needs to be repeated: Roddy White, Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Marshall, and Eddie Royal are hugely involved in their respective offenses when they play. Bowe and Royal, with their low fantasy values, are great buy lows.
- It's a shame that Matt Jones is about the be suspended—he was starting to evolve into a nice fantasy starter. I still think he's a top-25 wideout until he's suspended, however.
- Need a deep sleeper at WR? Check out Greg Camarillo. He's averaging only seven points per game in his past five games, but his schedule is a breeze from here on out.
- Steve Breaston had nine catches for 90 yards last week despite Boldin's being back; in his past four weeks he's averaging eight catches for 100 yards.