🧐 Looking Back At Offseason Hype

If only we’d known this stuff a month ago…

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I don’t know what Boy Math is, and at this point, I’m too afraid to ask.

In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Webex:

  • Revisiting Offseason Hype Narratives: What do we know now?

  • Rankings Roundtable: Who we like for Week 4

  • QUICK HITTER: Injury updates for Sunday

  • A Cooper Kupp update. Music to our ears

  • Week 4 DFS Stacks: Buffalo Boys Ballin’

  • It’s 9/30. Take it away, Chris Allen.

We’re through three weeks and getting to know some of these teams.

We don't have all the answers, but enough to help us make decisions with the byes starting next week. But, most importantly, we can start to let go of our offseason priors.

And, it’s not like challenging our assumptions from August isn't a bad thing.

We used the info we had at the time to build our rosters. However, if we want to turn our drafted teams into championship squads, here are a couple takes from the summer worth reconsidering as we head into Week 4.

🐆 Wheels Up for Calvin Ridley in 2023

All it took was a few training camp clips for us to buy into Calvin Ridley’s impact on the Jaguars. Trevor Lawrence was last year’s QB8, and the addition of Ridley made the duo an early-round staple in drafts. And fantasy managers got much-needed confirmation bias right away in Week 1.

But our confidence in Jacksonville’s offense, and Ridley as a no-doubt fantasy starter, has taken a quick downturn since their win over the Colts.

By NFFC ADP, the former Falcon had a WR16 ADP. However, he’s currently the WR37 with fewer points than late-round options like Kendrick Bourne, Tutu Atwell, and Tank Dell. And after bizarre (almost Chargers-esque) back-to-back losses, the team that had the best odds to win the AFC South sits behind the Texans in the rankings after three weeks.

But I’m not worried. Yet.

Verdict: Give it time

Of the Top 30 plays to generate the least amount of EPA, the Jaguars have three of them.

And it’s felt that way.

Turnovers during critical drives and having a fullback return a kickoff for a touchdown will make any situation look worse than it is. But at least for Ridley, he’s still the WR1 for Jacksonville.

Jaguars UR

Ridley leads the Jags WRs in every metric except for play-action targets. So, as long as he can hang onto the ball (a mind-numbing four drops already), we can get back to business. Plus, Lawrence hasn’t been as bad as the box score indicates, either.

  • PFF passing grade: 2nd

  • Adjusted completion percentage: 15th

  • Pressure-to-sack ratio: 12th

Better days are ahead for Ridley and Lawrence, and I’d test the trade market for either. Plus, with a matchup against the Falcons, who just let Amon-Ra St. Brown cook them for 102 yards, Week 4 might be the bounceback game we needed from Jacksonville’s offense.

🐬 Hill and Waddle Are the Key to Miami's Success

Miami’s passing game was easy to figure out in ’22. If the ball was in the air, it was likely going to Tyreek Hill or Jaylen Waddle.

When Tua Tagovailoa was under center, the Blur Brothers accounted for 70.7% of Miami’s air yards. The duo finished in the Top 10 together three different times (Weeks 2, 8, and 15).

So, it made sense to target both in the early rounds of drafts. All Miami did was add De’Von Achane on Day 2 of the draft. So with a healthy Tua, ADP for the Miami skill players looked reasonable.

Miami ADP

We expected a condensed offense. Not schemed-up, red-zone darts to River Cracraft. Or Durham Smythe creating explosives downfield. And as a result, there’s only been one constant in the most explosive passing game in the league.

Verdict: It’s Hill, and then everyone else

Hill is in the Top 3 amongst all WRs in target share, air yards, and targets per route run.

He’s not just Miami’s WR1. Hill is THE WR1 with 90.2 PPR points, per TruMedia.

Consequently, the opportunity gap between the 29-year-old vet and third-year receiver hasn’t shrunk as some expected. It’s grown.

  • Target share (from 2022-2023): (Hill) +0.4%, (Waddle) - 7.1%

  • Air yard share: +4.9%, -11.2%

  • Targets per route run: +8.5%, - 25.3%

Waddle (12.1) is averaging fewer PPR PPG than Nelson Agholor (12.6) with the same number of games played. And with Braxton Berrios (10 targets), Raheem Mostert (10) and Cracraft (8) all getting involved, it’s hard to see Waddle getting back to being the (semi)consistent contributor alongside Hill.

But I’m trusting him for this week with the hope a big outing gets him back on track. Buffalo will be without their starting safety, and we’ve seen outside receivers slide past their perimeter corners. And the Bills are one of five teams yet to allow a rushing score, so a pass-first approach from Miami fits. Given Waddle’s downfield usage (second in targets on deep passes), his best chance to reward fantasy managers will be on Sunday.

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Rankings Roundtable

Debating between two guys on your roster? Need someone to break the tie for you? Matthew Freedman, Dwain McFarland, and Ian Hartitiz dove deep into their rankings to find a few players they’re willing to push into their starting lineup for Week 4.

It’s Week 4, and it’s time to compare what we know to what we thought we knew. Some of the offensive behavior matches our offseason assumptions. Like, the Bills still employ a pass-first approach.

But others challenge what we thought in August. Nico Collins AND Tank Dell being fantasy-relevant wasn’t on my ‘23 bingo card.

Regardless, we’re adjusting as more data becomes available. And now, you might just need the right analytical nudge to start or sit a player.

So, as we head into another slate of games, our rankings squad got together again to find a few players they’re higher or lower on relative to consensus.

So if you’re having questions about setting your lineup for Week 4, check out their notes before kickoff.

💪 James Conner (Cardinals) at 49ers

Conner has now peeled off seven consecutive RB2-level finishes since Kyler Murray (knee, IR) went down at the end of 2022.

  • Week 14, 2022: 15-85-1 rushing, 6-29-0 receiving, PPR RB5 (95% snaps)

  • Week 15, 2022: 16-63-1, 3-28-0, RB12 (91%)

  • Week 16, 2022: 15-79-1, 7-41-0, RB4 (97%)

  • Week 17, 2022: 16-79-0, 3-31-0, RB15 (55% - left early with a shin injury)

  • Week 1, 2023: 14-62-0, 5-8-0, RB20 (84%)

  • Week 2, 2023: 23-106-1, 0-0-0, RB15 (72%)

  • Week 3, 2023: 14-98-1, 2-18-0, RB6 (64%)

It might not always be pretty, but Conner is the true engine of this offense and the favorite to account for whatever points they manage to put up on a weekly basis.

Shoutout to the Cardinals’ league-best offensive line in rushing yards before contact per carry; they might just have the recipe to make life SOMEWHAT bearable this Sunday against a 49ers front-seven that has been good, not great, against the run on a per-carry basis this season.

The 49ers haven’t made ANYTHING easy on opposing offenses this season; just realize it’s awfully tough to bench any RB poised to rack up 20-plus touches during any given week. Conner remains a top-20 play for me this week at the position, while the rest of the Fantasy Life rankers have him as the week’s RB24 or worse.

- Ian

🐬 De’Von Achane (Dolphins) at Bills

Achane exploded for 51 points last weekend against a porous Denver defense. While he won’t come close to that total in Week 4, the genie is out of the bottle. The rookie RB is a big play waiting to happen and was Miami’s preferred option in the run game in Week 3.

Dolphins UR

Before the fourth quarter, when Brooks entered the game for mop-up duty, Achane accounted for 52% of the Dolphins' rushing attempts. There is a risk that Salvon Ahmed (questionable with a groin injury) reclaims more work, but Ahmed never came close to demanding the workload Achane unlocked in Week 3. I am betting on Ahmed being a 10%-snap player or less.

The matchup against the Bills is more challenging, but they aren’t an impenetrable unit, giving up 111 yards per game on the ground as PFF’s 20th-graded run defense. They shut down Josh Jacobs and the predictable Raiders game plan in Week 3, but the Dolphins present a much more diverse puzzle to solve. In Week 1, we saw the explosive Breece Hall exploit large chunk plays with 10 attempts for 127 yards.

The Dolphins carry the fifth-highest team total on the slate in a game that could be a shootout, which pushes me further toward Achane. This rank is as much about not liking the options below Achane, where Joe Mixon, Miles Sanders, Alexander Mattison and Brian Robinson all face their own challenges.

I have Achane as my RB17 and 38th player overall – nine spots ahead of Fantasy Life consensus.

Rankings Roundtable

🐅 Joe Mixon (Bengals) at Titans

The Titans give up the fifth-fewest rushing yards per game (69) and the third-most yards per game through the air. Expect the strength of the Bengals offense – the passing attack – to dominate yardage in Week 4.

We can’t dismiss Joe Burrow’s calf injury completely, but he practiced fully this week, and last Monday night, Cincinnati had no issues channeling their offense through the air. In a game where Burrow was considered very questionable, their dropback rate over expected (DBOE) was +13%.

Bengals Team Style

Whether that was the plan or coaching negligence, I can’t say, but it does appear like they are willing to play pass-heavy football, and this matchup will invite the same approach.

Mixon has been admirably efficient so far in 2023 after back-to-back miserable seasons. He should have big days ahead, but this isn’t the week to get overly excited about plugging him into lineups. He could come through with a short-yardage plunge to save your day. However, imagining a blowup scenario requires some imagination.

Mixon is my No. 40 player in Week 4 – well below our consensus of 30.

Quick Hitter Injury Report
Watercooler

📺 Everything you need ahead of Week 4. Kendall has ALL the info.

💔 Packers fans were upset after TNF. But don't worry, Amon-Ra St. Brown tried to make amends.

Need analysis on some of the Paramount+ matchups on Sunday? We got ya covered.

👑 HC Sean McVay provides an update on Cooper Kupp. The return of the king.

🤝 Rams strike a deal with Tyler Higbee. When you can pay a TE averaging 500 yards a season, ya gotta do it.

🤕 Deshaun Watson's shoulder is still a problem, but he’s expected to play. Jerome Ford...it's your time.

👊 THIS is how you combine fantasy content with the actual games. This guy is a legend.

🚂 Time to hop on the Chuba train. Friday injury reports are never a good sign.

Week 4 Stacks

Finding the right player stacks can be the key to building a profitable roster in DFS. If you want to get the jump on this weekend, James McCool from Paydirt DFS has the data to guide you for Week 4.

🥇 Popular option: Buffalo Bills

📜 Facts:

  • Stefon Diggs is currently averaging some of the strongest marks of his career, with 10.7 targets per game and 8.33 catches, along with an expected fantasy points per game of 17.50 (actual average of 19.63).

  • The Bills have a strong Dropback Over Expectation (DBOE) sitting at 8% on the season with one game at 15% (week one against the Jets) but their plays per minute is below league average, so they are prone to let down spots if the opponent push the score.

  • There is currently no discernible difference between Dalton Kincaid and Dawson Knox in terms of snaps, TPRR, or target share, but it’s worth saying that Knox is getting more endzone targets and has a higher aDOT by a notable amount (7.28 vs. Kincaid’s baseline of 2.83)

📊 Stack info (DraftKings)

Stack Info

💰 Salary and projections:

  • Combo 1 (Josh Allen/Stefon Diggs/Gabe Davis): This combination has a Median score of 60.37 and comes with a Salary of $22,200.

  • Combo 2 (Josh Allen/Stefon Diggs/Dalton Kincaid): The Median score here is 56.03, with a Salary of $19,500.

  • Combo 3 (Josh Allen/Gabe Davis/Dalton Kincaid): The least expensive, this combination yields a Median score of 48.05 for a Salary of $17,300.

When you look at the Median score per unit of salary, the first combo provides approximately 60.37 / $22,200 = 2.72 points per dollar.

The second combo offers 2.87 points per dollar, making it the most cost-efficient, while the third combo checks in at 2.78 points per dollar.

The second combo is marginally more "efficient" from a cost-to-median-score perspective.

Week 4 Stacks

🧮 Finish percentiles

  • Combo 1 (Josh Allen/Stefon Diggs/Gabe Davis): High chances for top finishes - 22.08% Top Finish and 51.60% Top 5 Finish.

  • Combo 2 (Josh Allen/Stefon Diggs/Dalton Kincaid): Moderate chances with 11.60% Top Finish and 40.80% Top 5 Finish.

  • Combo 3 (Josh Allen/Gabe Davis/Dalton Kincaid): Lower probabilities - 2.64% Top Finish and 16.92% Top 5 Finish.

🔥 High salary, high reward

With the highest salary and Median score, Combo 1 stands out for those looking to invest more for a significant shot at high finishes. The high top finish percentages illustrate its potential for high rewards.

🤷‍♂️ Moderate salary, moderate reward

Combo 2 offers a balance with a slightly lower salary and Median score compared to Combo 1. It remains a strong contender with decent probabilities for top finishes, representing a middle ground in the risk vs reward spectrum.

📉 Low salary, lowest reward

While Combo 3 is the most budget-friendly and efficient in terms of points per dollar, it comes with lower expectations for top finishes. This is a calculated option for those prioritizing efficiency and cost over potential high rewards.

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