Welcome, everyone! Let’s start off hot, shall we?
Dating back to 1990, only 2.5% of NFL teams that have started 0-3 have made the playoffs.
For every 40 teams that start 0-3, statistically speaking ONE makes the NFL postseason.
Now, I cant speak to how that holds up in the fantasy sense. I don’t know the percentage of teams that can or do turn things around, go on a run, and are in serious contention come year-end. What I do know is that you as a fantasy manager likely have more avenues by which to make such improvements a reality.
This week holds that ideal as much as any. Maybe you were one of the leagues where Khalil Herbert or Jamaal Williams were available on waivers. Maybe handcuffs in Alexander Mattison or Samaje Perine suddenly hold tangible value vs last week where it was strictly locked up in handcuff status and potential.
Our status as fantasy managers and the ability to turn over our lineups give us an inherent advantage that NFL teams could only dream of. If you’ve started in a hole, don’t fret. Hit up the Discord channel with questions, listen to The Fantasy Playbook podcast, and/or as the selfish writer looking for your engagement…keep reading below – better days are ahead.
But seriously, welcome to Stats You Should Know: Week Three edition!
1. Mike McDaniel Might Just be a Mad Genius After All.
There were reasonable concerns coming into the 2022 season that Dolphins’ First-Year Head Coach Mike McDaniel would be able to create enough opportunities to satisfy the fantasy aspirations of both Tyreek Hill AND Jaylen Waddle. After all, rare were the times in San Francisco that any combination of Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk were all “firing” at the same time. Turns out… he might just be making it work with both Hill and Waddle.
Of all Wide Receivers and Tight Ends with 15+ targets, Waddle and Hill are BOTH in the top5 in terms of targets per snap played. Both of these players are seeing a considerable number of snaps, and yet still maintain an absolutely elite opportunity share on those targets. In simple terms, when these players are on the field, there’s a VERY real chance that the ball is going to one of them.
Now, this isn’t without consequence, as the rest of the receiving game has seen a considerable decline in this same metric. Filtering the visuals to just that of the Miami Dolphins Wide Receivers and Tight Ends, we see that the third most utilized player (on a per-snap basis) isn’t free-agent acquisition Cedrick Wilson, nor is it starting Tight End Mike Gesicki, but rather…River Cracraft? No player is over a 10% share at all after the top 2.
The Miami offense starts and functionally ends at Hill and Waddle. And that’s honestly fine. Certainly there could come a day in which these figures normalize slightly and other players become more involved, but in the short term, the target funnel for this team is exactly two players, and to chase otherwise is playing with fire.
2. Chris Olave is being used downfield…a lot.
Jameis Winston has a big arm. Michael Thomas has a nickname online of being called “slant boy.” Jarvis Landry has always been a player who has excelled in a role closer to the line of scrimmage. So where does that leave first-round rookie Chris Olave? Well….the Saints certainly seem to think that his primary deployment is downfield. And by the production that he’s put forth through three weeks, it’s hard to disagree.
Olave currently leads the NFL in total targeted air yards, meaning the depth on the field in which the ball arrives at him, completed or not, and only DeVante Parker has a higher average depth of target among players with 15+ targets.
The shocking thing is that 11 of his 29 targets have travelled 15 or more air yards. For context, the aforementioned Tyreek Hill – you know, literally @cheetah and having tremendous deep speed to stretch the field – has 6 of his 29 targets that far downfield. Yeah, Olave is almost double even him.
3. Joe Mixon Still Leads the league in Opportunities…and yet he doesn’t lead his own team on third down.
I know, I know, I gave an opportunities stat related to Joe Mixon last week. I get it. But while Joe Mixon still leads all Running Backs in total opportunities in 2022, he only has one on third down all season.
That’s not even the most on his own team. Samaje Perine actually has four opportunities on third down to Mixon’s one.
When we filter the data strictly by third down, we get the following tables:
Now, its worth recognizing that neither of those are eye-popping numbers and does speak to the fundamental ideas of not utilizing the running game on third down, but its certainly worth noting as we move forward in the season.
4. The Baltimore Backfield has officially gotten hard to predict.
I am in the J.K. Dobbins fan club. I have a membership card, its great. I was over the moon to have him back this week. That said, this weekend was…conflicting. We knew that coming into the week, Dobbins was set to get some run. He was active for the first time all season.
On top of that, Kenyan Drake was a surprise inactive. We were poised for the Dobbins game…until he got out-snapped by Justice Hill? Even Mike Davis only saw one snap all game.
Hill has gotten an increase in snaps each week this season, and no Ravens running back tallied an opportunity (carry or target) on third down this week, shown by the visual below:
Now, this isn’t me sounding alarm bells for Dobbins. I fully expect his usage to ramp up as the season progresses and he gets healthier. He did receive both red zone opportunities for the team. Rather, I simply believe that if you have shares of Dobbins waiting to be activated for your squad, it might be prudent to practice a little more patience and ensure that he’s fully back to the clearly defined leader in his own backfield before trusting him. That day should come sooner than not, but I’m exercising patience in week 4.
And We. Are. Done.
Stats You Should Know week 3 is officially in the books! Every chart you see above was pulled directly from the website here at The Fantasy Playbook. If you’re ever curious as to how your favorite teams or players stack in the above measures, it’s honestly just a filter away. I’d LOVE to see you check it out here: (https://theffplaybook.com/advanced-report/team-running-back/?report=2022)!
Additionally, The Fantasy Playbook has a discord channel where I make a point to stay active and answer start/sit questions or drop new reports upon request. I have a channel dedicated to these reports, or you can just yell at me directly for start/sit inquiries. It’s an incredible community that is growing by the day.
Until next week, go be a positive influence in the world.