Using xGBoosting, I created a model to predict expected points for each play scenario. Using this, we can take the true results and find players’ fantasy points over expected (FPOE), which helps us recognize who is over or underperforming their standards in fantasy.
How can we use FPOE to make better fantasy football decisions? That’s easy. There are two ways where this metric can be incredibly useful.
- Identifying potential breakout candidates
A high average FPOE means that a given player is constantly outperforming expectations (scoring more fantasy points than mathematically expected). This can help us identify under-the-radar fantasy performers, as players who are getting fewer touches but are excelling with each opportunity might see an increase in production in a matter of time.
2. Determining who to start or sit between two seemingly even players
If you have two even players that you are deciding who to start and sit, it could be helpful to see who is scoring more FPOE on average. This will allow you to determine who is more efficient with their touches and who is (mathematically) the best bet to start. While this method isn’t foolproof, it permits you to make the best decision possible, every time (keep in mind the best decision doesn’t always yield the best results, but regardless is still the best decision).
Take James Conner and DeAndre Swift, for example. Two starting RBs who take the bulk of carries each week–With FPOE, it is easy to determine who to start–Conner, who puts up a tenth of a point over expected with each touch, gives you more ‘bang for your buck’–you should start him every time.
With that said, let’s take a look at some rankings. First RBs. Some key takeaways:
- Rashaad Penny is at the top of the leaderboard, again. Huge potential for a breakout season in 2022
- Ezekiel Elliot underperformed last season. Scoring almost 19 points under expected, could this be a cause for concern for fantasy owners? Will Elliot regress further in 2022?
- Saquon Barkley also underperformed by a wide margin of 14 points. He might not be worth the risk for fantasy owners to draft him in early rounds
Now let’s take a look at our WR rankings for FPOE. Keep in mind that this includes targets for receivers, so it hurts players who have high drop rates (a target counts as a touch in these metrics). Some key takeaways:
- WRs record higher FPOE on average than RBs do (evidently because passes cover more yardage than a handoff does). Since there are more WRs who over-perform expectations, we can conclude that RBs are more valuable (as great ones are rarer)
- Tyler Lockett is an efficient, (risky) high pay-off player. Scoring 54 points over expected on only 110 touches, Lockett is a volatile player that could be valuable in best-ball leagues
- Robby Anderson severely underperformed, with a -0.15 FPOE per touch last season. Can he bounce back in 2022?
Last, but not least, let’s take a look at the QB FPOE rankings. Some key takeaways:
- Finding an efficient QB is fickle. There are a small number of QBs who over-perform expectations–only 4 QBs with at or below 0 FPOEs were reliable starters last season (Brady, Herbert, Jackson, and Prescott)
- Jameis Winston is a fantasy king! Every 10 plays, Winston will get you more than one point over expected, leading the pack by a good margin
- Tom Brady underperforming in fantasy is a surprise…does it mean you shouldn’t draft him? Absolutely not! Despite his underperformance, he still puts out incredible volume!
That’s all for this article, be sure to check back for more in the coming weeks! I will be dropping an MFANS fantasy draft kit soon!