Using Vacated Targets to Identify Opportunity (2021)

Apr 12, 2021
Using Vacated Targets to Identify Opportunity (2021)

Opportunity is one of the biggest factors I consider as I evaluate free agent signings and trades, and attempt to identify impact rookies in any given season. For years, I gauged this opportunity holistically—e.g. Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones left Detroit, so there’s major opportunity there—but a couple of years ago I thought I’d go through the process of actually calculating vacated targets to see if it would identify opportunity that wasn’t readily apparent. I found that a few surprise teams would pop up.

Be sure to check out the other part of John's series: Using Vacated Touches to Identify Opportunity

Below is a list of the teams ranked by the number of their vacated targets per game. The Lions and Titans have a ton of targets up for grabs while Washington and the Browns do not. I also included the percentage of vacated targets and the team’s implied fantasy points—calculated by multiplying the team’s vacated targets per game by the quarterback’s half-PPR fantasy points per pass attempt over the last two seasons—since not all targets are created equal. For teams who will likely start a rookie quarterback—at this point, I'm assuming the Jaguars, Jets and 49ers—I used 1.21 fantasy points per pass attempt since that’s what the last 19 first-round quarterbacks (who started at least 12 games) averaged as rookies.

Vacated Targets (2021)
Team Vacated Tgts/G Vacated Tgts % Key Additions Implied FP (Half-PPR)
DET 21.9 58.5% Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman, Jamaal Williams, Kalif Raymond 27.8
TEN 18.7 60.0% Josh Reynolds 30.4
JAX 16.0 41.0% Marvin Jones, Phillip Dorsett, Carlos Hyde 19.4
SF 14.5 39.2% Mohamed Sanu 17.5
CAR 12.8 36.4% David Moore, Dan Arnold 14.9
LAR 11.7 31.3% DeSean Jackson 17.1
HOU 11.0 31.4% Andre Roberts, Chris Conley, Phillip Lindsay, Mark Ingram, Chris Moore 16.7
NO 10.8 31.9% 15.4
ARI 10.4 28.6% A.J. Green, James Conner 13.3
CIN 9.0 23.9% 10.7
LAC 8.4 20.6% Jared Cook 11.5
ATL 7.9 19.7% Mike Davis 10.4
NYG 7.5 22.6% Kenny Golladay, Devontae Booker, Kyle Rudolph, John Ross 9.0
NE 7.3 26.2% Nelson Agholor, Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith, Kendrick Bourne 8.3
SEA 7.1 19.9% Gerald Everett 10.8
LVR 6.9 19.7% John Brown, Kenyan Drake, Willie Snead 9.7
NYJ 6.3 20.3% Corey Davis, Keelan Cole, Tevin Coleman, Tyler Kroft 7.6
KC 5.7 14.1% 8.6
TB 5.5 13.7% Giovani Bernard 7.4
BUF 5.1 13.5% Emmanuel Sanders, Jacob Hollister, Matt Breida 7.1
PHI 4.5 11.9% 5.5
BAL 4.5 17.1% Sammy Watkins, Brandon Powell 7.0
MIA 4.2 11.5% Will Fuller, Robert Foster, Malcolm Brown 4.9
GB 3.7 11.0% 5.5
IND 3.1 8.8% 3.7
PIT 2.9 6.6% Kalen Ballage 3.6
MIN 2.6 8.0% 4.0
DEN 2.6 7.3% Mike Boone 3.1
CHI 2.6 6.5% Damien Williams 3.1
DAL 1.0 2.4% 1.4
WAS 0.6 1.6% Curtis Samuel, Adam Humphries, DeAndre Carter 0.8
CLE 0.2 0.6% 0.3

Here is the same data, presented visually, courtesy of Sam Hoppen (@SamHoppen):

Players/Situations to Consider

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