Every year, there are a handful of players who break out and have incredible seasons that could win you your fantasy league–if you are lucky enough to pick them up off waivers or have drafted them in late rounds. Each time it happens, you scold yourself for not realizing what was happening sooner, and wish you could’ve known before it ever happened.

No longer! Well, hopefully…We can now look at player ‘potentials’ in order to gauge how they are being used by their offense, to determine the possibility of them breaking out. What is player potential? This is a metric that can be loosely defined as ‘potential fantasy points’, but in more concrete terminology, is a metric calculated using a player’s pass targets, carries, air yards, EPA, and what region of the field they occurred in (red-zone, inside the 10, etc.). What makes this valuable is that it focuses on players who were given a chance to make plays and rack up fantasy points, but didn’t do so in excess amounts for whatever reason.

Before we jump into our potential breakouts, it is important to note that there are many players who could potentially break out each season. I chose to create a metric that highlights a large number of players rather than focusing on a more refined group in order to give readers more information and have a better chance of picking one of the players who ends up breaking out. While it isn’t clear cut which one of the following will turn into a star, you should have a stronger probability of pinpointing them with the given info.

Backtesting this method, the formula was able to identify 2015 Devonta Freeman, 2018 James Conner, and 2019 Kareem Hunt and Marlon Mack, to name a few.

Now, let’s take a look at our potential breakout WRs (keep in mind some of these players may have changed teams).

Some important stat explanations:

  • Total Potential: think of this as maximum potential fantasy points from 2021
  • Avg. Adjusted Potential: Avg. Potential – Avg. Team Position Potential (helps see how large of an opportunity they are getting relative to their teammates). The higher the better!
  • Potential Trend: Sparkling showing week-to-week potential numbers throughout the 2021 season (to show consistency)

My top picks:

  • Devonta Smith: With the highest potential score of the pack, and a high adjusted potential, Smith is getting the targets and looks he needs to have a major breakout season, even next to A.J. Brown
  • Elijah Moore: Moore’s impressive rookie campaign left him with a 1.31 avg. adjusted potential, which means he had 1.31 more potential points on average than the average receiver on the Jets last season. Look for him to make a splash in 2022
  • Marquez Callaway: With somewhat of a broken receiving core last season, Callaway managed to stand out for the Saints picking up 331 potential points. He seems to be a deep threat for the team, and a jump in his execution next season could certainly send waves through the fantasy world

Now, let’s take a look at our potential RBs (expect these potential numbers to be lower than receivers, as it is difficult to know how much potential run attempts hold without the help of air yards).

My top picks:

  • Javonte Williams: This may be an easy choice, but for good reason. Williams arguably outperformed Melvin Gordon in his rookie season and his high adjusted potential shows exactly that
  • Rashad Penny: With Carson on and off the injury train, it might finally be Penny’s year to take over the Seahawks backfield, a team who will likely be reliant the run game this season
  • Boston Scott: Scott is a (very) late-round sleeper pick. He may be lower on the depth chart, but his performances last season showed strong potential. If there are any injuries ahead of him or if he plays well in camp, he certainly has the potential for a breakout season

That’s all for this article! Good luck to all in striking gold and finding your breakout fantasy players! Reach out to me on Twitter @analytacist if you have any questions or want to see some potential QB breakouts!