Breakout Receiver Model: Week 14

Dec 09, 2021
Breakout Receiver Model: Week 14

The Breakout Receiver Model returns for Week 14. There are a ton of intriguing breakout recommendations to dig into this week.

About the Breakout Receiver Model

The 4for4 data science team, in conjunction with our award-winning projections expert John Paulsen, have recalibrated and reconfigured the receiver "buy-low" model from years past in order to better identify under-performing wide receivers and tight ends who might be on the verge of a breakout performance. For the uninitiated, the breakout receiver model utilizes historical data and recent player performance to help determine players who have received opportunity that is typically more valuable than their recent production would indicate. This particular model's features include air yards and routes-run data as a means of determining opportunity. It also utilizes a proprietary efficiency metric that looks back at the past 10 weeks of individual player performance, all to better help predict the likelihood of a bounce-back in a player's future production. The model most heavily-weights the last three weeks of data.

Last Week's Results

Hits

Week 13 Breakout Receiver Model, Hits
Player Team Position XFP - Last 3 Week 13 XFP-Diff.
Tyler Lockett SEA WR 13.9 16.3 2.4
Michael Pittman IND WR 10.1 14 3.9
Odell Beckham LA WR 10 9.8 -0.2
Ja'Marr Chase CIN WR 8.7 7.7 -1
Mike Gesicki MIA TE 7.8 8.1 0.3
Cameron Brate TB TE 6.1 6.8 0.7

Tyler Lockett and Michael Pittman are the standout performances of the bunch from last week. Lockett just barely made last week’s list after a quality Week 12 against Washington and followed it up with seven catches for 68 yards and a score, good for his best fantasy output in four weeks. Pittman caught six of his eight looks, and even earned 33 rush yards on two carries. Odell Beckham didn’t have the most productive day, earning fewer than 30 yards through the air, but saved his day with a touchdown catch, helping him come within 0.2 fantasy points of expectation.

Misses

Week 13 Breakout Receiver Model, Misses
Player Team Position XFP - Last 3 Week 13 XFP-Diff.
Chase Claypool PIT WR 16 6.4 -9.6
DK Metcalf SEA WR 12 8.5 -3.5
Corey Davis NYJ WR 11.8 2.5 -9.3
Marvin Jones JAX WR 11.6 2.1 -9.5
Marquise Brown BAL WR 11 8 -3
Kyle Pitts ATL TE 9.5 6.8 -2.7
Zay Jones LV WR 9.4 3.6 -5.8
A.J. Green ARI WR 8.9 1.9 -7
Tre'Quan Smith WR 8.9 2.5 -6.4
Marquez Callaway NO WR 8.7 1.8 -6.9
Tyler Higbee LA TE 8.5 7.3 -1.2
Darius Slayton NYG WR 8 2.3 -5.7
Noah Fant DEN TE 6.4 5.3 -1.1

Chase Claypool was a massive disappointment compared to expectations in Week 13. Claypool was blanketed by Ravens’ cornerback Anthony Averett and earned just three targets, a season-low. Marvin Jones tied at his season-low with three targets as well, and is the only other receiver besides the injured Corey Davis who is 9.0 or more points below their rolling three-week expectations. After a 100-yard game in Week 6, Jones has failed to reach 50 yards receiving in all but one game, and hasn’t scored in six weeks. A hand injury may have had something to do with it, but Taysom Hill’s insertion into the New Orleans offense didn’t help Marquez Callaway or Tre’Quan Smith, as Deonte Harris gobbled up the majority of the limited passing volume in the Saints’ loss to Dallas last Thursday night.

Breakout Receiver Model Recommendations

Breakout Receiver Top Candidates

Insights and Takeaways

  • With the exception of the CowboysCedrick Wilson, who didn’t play in Week 13, every single player with 10.0 or more expected fantasy points who appears on this week’s list is a repeat-underperformer. Of that group, three appear for just the second time: Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Michael Gallup, and Tre’Quan Smith
  • Tyreek Hill is averaging just 7.8 expected fantasy points per game over his last two games, which is “borderline-starter” level volume in most fantasy leagues. Hill may be the WR4 in fantasy points per game, but his limited expected production is a direct reflection of the Chiefs’ overall offensive woes during this season’s second half.
  • The Washington Football Team hasn’t had many players represented on this year’s breakout model, as their five total listed players are the fourth-lowest of any team this year. That’s why it’s so exciting to see Terry McLaurin on the list, especially in a potential shootout against the Cowboys in Week 14. There’s simply no excuse for a player of McLaurin’s ability to only see five targets, as he did in Week 13, especially within the depleted Washington passing attack.
  • Baltimore nearly stole a victory at the end of Week 14, with quarterback Lamar Jackson just missing Mark Andrews to complete what would have been a game-winning two-point conversion. But that missed opportunity is indicative of Baltimore’s entire offensive season, as they’ve been relatively productive, but left a significant amount of fantasy scoring on the field. Their 20 players on the underperformers list in 2021 are the most of any team.
  • Courtland Sutton still seems like he’s fading into the background of the Broncos’ below-average passing attack, but it was at least encouraging to see him earn six targets and 100 air yards in Week 13 against the Chiefs, his most opportunity since his 14-target Week 6. Sutton still ranks seventh in the NFL in total air yards but has earned 60 or fewer air yards in five of his last six games.

Breakout Receiver Model: Week 14

We split the breakout candidates into two categories. The first is the primary model results, also visualized in the graph above, which highlight players who are under-performing their expected fantasy point value by more than five percent. Next, we'll offer some dart-throw plays for DFS players and for season-long teams struggling with injuries who need a last-minute replacement. Use this in conjunction with John Paulsen's sneaky starts column each week.

Key:

  • `XFP` is expected fantasy points, the model's projected average half-PPR fantasy points per game.

  • `Diff` is the difference between a player's actual half-PPR fantasy points per game and their expected fantasy points per game

  • `Efficiency Score` uses a proprietary blend of individual efficiency metrics to create one singular efficiency value. Higher numbers indicate more efficient past performance.

Breakout Receiver Model: Week 14
Player Team Position XFP - Last 3 Diff. Efficiency Score
Marquez Valdes-Scantling GB WR 16.7 -3
Mark Andrews BAL TE 16.6 -5.6 104.2
Michael Gallup DAL WR 14.5 -3.8
Darnell Mooney CHI WR 14.4 -0.9 100.8
DK Metcalf SEA WR 12.7 -7.6 148.7
Chase Claypool PIT WR 12.7 -3.5 81.7
Jarvis Landry CLE WR 11.5 -2.2
Dalton Schultz DAL TE 11.4 -2.3 122.5
Terry McLaurin WAS WR 11.2 -1.4 90.6
Darren Waller LV TE 11.1 -1.4 65.9
Cedrick Wilson DAL WR 11 -1.3 139.9
Zay Jones LV WR 10.5 -5.7 131.8
Travis Kelce KC TE 10 -3 105.7
Kyle Pitts ATL TE 9.9 -5 77.8
Tre'Quan Smith NO WR 9.8 -4.3
Ja'Marr Chase CIN WR 9.8 -1.9 141.2
Darius Slayton NYG WR 9.7 -5.2
Marquise Brown BAL WR 9.6 -1.1 115.3
Tyler Higbee LA TE 9.2 -5.1 116.8
Marvin Jones JAX WR 9.1 -3.9 75.4
Courtland Sutton DEN WR 8.9 -6.3 64.7
Cole Kmet CHI TE 8.9 -3 69.5
Jared Cook LAC TE 8.5 -2.4 77.2
Damiere Byrd CHI WR 8.1 -4.1 24.4
Tyreek Hill KC WR 8 -0.3 130.4
James O'Shaughnessy JAX TE 7.9 -4.5
Austin Hooper CLE TE 7.6 -3.9 88
Foster Moreau LV TE 7.2 -2.8 101.7

Dart Throws

While the players listed below likely belong on the waiver wire for most, these are the players who are underperforming their already-low expected fantasy points. For DFS players focused on large-field GPP tournaments, this table can serve as a starting point for finding low-salary contrarian plays.

Breakout Receiver Model: Week 14, Dart Throws
Player Team Position XFP - Last 3 Diff. Efficiency Score
DeVonta Smith PHI WR 7.4 -2.8 89.1
Marquez Callaway NO WR 7.4 -2.7 122.3
Jalen Reagor PHI WR 7.3 -5.4 61.7
Corey Davis NYJ WR 7.3 -3.5 119.2
Kenny Golladay NYG WR 7.3 -2.8
Chester Rogers TEN WR 7.1 -3.7 71
Emmanuel Sanders BUF WR 7.1 -3 78.6
Dez Fitzpatrick TEN WR 7 -0.5
A.J. Green ARI WR 6.9 -1.1 89.9
Jakobi Meyers NE WR 6.7 -0.7 79.8
Breshad Perriman TB WR 6.6 -4.6
Tim Patrick DEN WR 6.6 -4.1 114.5
Robby Anderson CAR WR 6.5 -2.8 52.8
Deebo Samuel SF WR 6.2 -4.4 161.4
Tajae Sharpe ATL WR 6.1 -3.2 104.1
Noah Brown DAL WR 5.7 -2.1 94.9
Noah Fant DEN TE 5.7 -1.7 107
C.J. Uzomah CIN TE 5.6 -3 206.3
Anthony Firkser TEN TE 5.6 -2.4 42.1
Byron Pringle KC WR 5.3 -2.2 152.3
Cole Beasley BUF WR 5.2 -0.8 105.2
Zach Pascal IND WR 5.1 -4 87.4
Bryan Edwards LV WR 5.1 -3.1 97.7

Top Breakout Candidates for Week 14:

  • The Chiefs are nearly 10-point favorites at home against the Las Vegas Raiders, the one team that the Chiefs were able to look like their old selves against, in Week 10. That’s great news for Travis Kelce, who has seen at least eight targets in four straight games. Kelce, still the unquestioned top-option at the tight end position, ranks first in targets and fourth in air yards, and has turned that into the most receptions, receiving yards and yards-after-catch of any tight end this season. The Raiders rank third-worst in the NFL in aFPA to opposing offenses.

  • In that same game, the Raiders should expect Darren Waller to return from injury and immediately walk into eight or more looks against the Chiefs this Sunday. While teammates Hunter Renfrow and Zay Jones, also on the breakout list, have seen an influx in opportunity, with Jones even earning a team-high 27.9% air yards share since Week 10, Waller still remains the leader of the Las Vegas receiving corps, and should be able to find openings within Kansas City’s middle-of-the-road secondary this Sunday.

  • The Bengals may be without Tee Higgins this weekend, who was injured near the end of last week’s contest against the Chargers, which means Joe Burrow will be relying even more on rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase than he already has this season. Since Week 8, Chase is tied with Higgins with 39 targets, but has seen over 100 fewer air yards than Higgins during that same span. Where he’s made up for that volume, however, is near the goal line, where Chase continues to be the most highly-utilized weapon in the offense. Over Cincinnati's last five games, Chase has seen seven red zone targets, while no other Bengals player has seen more than three.

  • Marquise Brown is no stranger to this list, having appeared on the under-performers list in seven different weeks this season, but against the 49ers, who rank 18th in defensive EPA per play, Brown should be able to find room to operate. Since Week 8, Brown leads the team in targets, but has a surprisingly low 7.8 ADOT during that span, which has allowed teammate Mark Andrews to take the lead in air yards share over the team’s last five games. The duo should easily combine for 50% of the Ravens’ targets and 60% or more of the team’s air yards in a must-win game this weekend.

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