Welcome back to the Data Viz DFS NFL Preview utilizing data science & data visualizations. Today we will be previewing the WR & TE position by analyzing receptions per game, yards after catch, red zone TDs & red zone targets. Let’s jump right into it.
The purpose of today’s viz is to identify which WRs / TEs has high volume of catches, big play ability, high red zone targets, & the ability to convert red zone targets into TDs. The bar length is receptions per game, the bar width is yards after catch, the bar color is red zone targets (blue>8 & orange <8) & the grey circle is red zone TDs.
Take a look at the chart below & analyze the WRs for yourself – continue reading for my key takeaways & the TE preview.
Michael Thomas is a machine. Thomas not only leads the NFL in receptions per game with 9.5 – showing he has the volume to be truly elite, but is also 2nd in yards after catch with 359 – showing he can turn pedestrian plays into explosive ones, he is also 3rd in red zone targets with 13 – showing he is heavily targeted in the red zone, but the cherry on top of it all is he is also 3rd in red zone TDs with 4 – showing he can convert those targets into TDs. If we were to write a program to create the most well rounded WR we could – it would be Michael Thomas. Oh by the way he is playing the Bucs this week – one of the worst passing defenses in the NFL. The Bucs are 3rd in passing yards allowed, 3rd in passing TDs allowed, & 4th in passing 1st downs. Expect Thomas to feast – pay the money for him this week.
DeAndre Hopkins & Julian Edelman are basically the same fantasy player. Hopkins (17.8) has the slightest of leads over Edelman (17.2) in fantasy pts per game (PPR). Hopkins averages .5 more rec per game, Edelman has a whole 11 more YAC than Hopkins, & both have scored 4 TDs. So remember when i said basically the same player – here is where it differs slightly. Edelman receives a ridiculous amount of red zone targets compared to Hopkins (17 to 9) – but as we can see they both have the same amount of red zone TDs. So for this week – who is the better pick? Both players are playing pretty average defenses – so I’m going to go out on a limb and say they will have basically the same amount of points this week. They are both a safe bet to put up around 15 – 20 pts each week.
Chris Godwin & Mike Evans are by far the best WR duo in the league. I think we all know this by now, but I want to hammer the point home with this one last point that no one else has made. Mike Evans & Chris Godwin are 2nd & 3rd in fantasy pts per game (PPR) with this guy throwing to them:
Cooper Kupp is the most well rounded WR in the NFL (outside of the machine Michael Thomas). Kupp is 5th in rec/game (6.4), 1st in YAC (404), 5th in red zone targets, & 4th in red zone TDs. Kupp has proven he can stay healthy and produce as a true WR1. The Rams have the Bears this week. The Bears are pretty tough against opposing WRs – only allowing 9 TDs on the season. For this reason I don’t see Kupp finding the end zone – meaning there are better value picks out there than Cupp for this week.
Poor Tyler Boyd – his bar is as orange as Andy Dalton’s hair. Take a look at Tyler Boyd’s line in the viz above – notice how his bar is orange & his grey circle has a big fat 0 in it? That means that Andy Dalton stinks. Boyd is not being targeted in the red zone & with such low targets – he obviously won’t score TDs. Boyd has a 6′ 2″ frame but yet he only has 4 red zone targets. The Bengals QB situation STINKS – stay away from Boyd.
Marvin Jones is a red zone monster, but is not startable. Jones is the leader in red zone TDs with 6 – proving he is Stafford’s go to guy in the red zone. Well bad news for Jones because his fantasy value is directly tied to Matt Stafford’s health. I am going to wait and see how Stafford looks going forward before I start Jones.
Jarvis Landry is the best WR on the Browns. Landry performs better in almost all statistical categories than Beckham. Let’s start with fantasy pts per game – Landry (13.7) & Beckham (12.6). Now let’s dive into some deeper stats from our viz. Landry averages more receptions (5 to 4.8), YAC (290 to 239), red zone targets (13 to 5), & red zone TDs (2 to 0). Landry is the better WR – so if you are planning on starting a Brows WR go with Landry. As we know the Browns played this past Thursday (s/o Myles Garrett) & Landry out performed Beckham by 4 pts.
Mohamed Sanu is going to be a real threat in NE. The rich get richer – Sanu is a legit red zone threat & paired up with Tom Brady gives the Patriots a legit threat they did not have before. I expect Sanu to step up in a big way the rest of the season. This week NE is playing the Eagles – who are middle of the pack in passing defense. Coming off a bye week – Sanu is ready to step into this offense. Wouldn’t surprise me if Brady intentionally targets him in the red zone this week to get him comfortable. I predict Sanu will score a TD in week 11.
Injuries are the worst. Austin Hooper was the #1 TE in the NFL with George Kittle having an argument, but unfortunately both are injured. Hooper leads all TEs in receptions per game (6.2), red zone TDs (6), 2nd in red zone targets (11) & 3rd in YAC (264). Showing he is easily the most well rounded tight end in the league. It really sucks that Hooper is injured because he was having one hell of a season. With Hooper out Luke Stocker steps into the starting role but facing a tough Panthers D against TEs – I will be passing on Stocker. George Kittle has not scored a single red zone TD. This was probably the number one thing in this viz that stuck out to me most. Kittle is easily one of the best TEs in the league (2nd in rec/game & 2nd in YAC) – but has an aversion to the end zone. This week the 49ers are facing the Cardinals – who are the worst defense in the league against opposing TEs. Unfortunately Kittle does not appear to be playing this week. So if you are looking for a cheap streaming option with upside look at backup TE Ross Dwelley.
Darren Waller leads all TEs in YAC (295). I did not expect this. I knew Waller was having a great season but did not expect him to be a leader in such a key category. Waller faces the lowly Cincinnati Bengals this week. The Bengals are middle of the pack against TEs & I think Waller is an elite TE so I say start Waller this week. I expect him to get in the end zone and put up around 18 pts.
Travis Kelce is the best TE in the league by default, but not this week. With Hooper & Kittle both out – Kelce takes back his place as top TE. Let’s take a look at his match up to see if he is worth the high price of admission. The Chiefs are facing off against a division rival in the LA Chargers. The Chargers have only given up 3 TDs to opposing TEs & have held them to less than 6 pts per game. Pass on Kelce this week for a better value play.
Hunter Henry is my favorite TE for week 10. Although Henry is not heavily targeted in the red zone is very highly targeted overall. Ken Wisenhunt has taken over the offense and has made a conscience decision to get Henry more involved in the offence (17 targets in the last 2 games). Henry is currently 5th in receptions per game & has scored 3 red zone TDs despite not being targeted very heavily in the red zone. The Chargers are facing the Chiefs this week & I am expecting an old fashion shoot out with Henry being heavily involved. Buy Henry for week 11.
Mark Andrews benefits greatly from the Ravens rushing attack. Obviously the Ravens rushing attack is unbelievable and a very big beneficiary of this is Mark Andrews. He has been able to score 4 red zone TDs due to defense keying in on the Lamar Jackson / Mark Ingram combo. The Texans are one of the best defense against the TEs – but I will still trust Andrews this week. The Ravens are rolling & I do not see that stopping any time soon – play Andrews in week 11.
Darren Fells – red zone monster. Fells leads all TEs with 6 red zone TDs (2 more than 2nd place). Fells does not receive the volume of receptions per game that a top tight end normally receives but he makes that up with his high TD rate. Fells is a hit or miss TE week in and week out. This week he is facing the Ravens who have only allowed 2 TDs to opposing TEs. Pass on Fells this week but look for him in the future.
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