Articles

NFL

Where Coaching Matters – AFC Edition

by RotoUnderworld, May 18, 2021

Ben Roethlisberger missed the entire 2019 season, which necessitated a totally different gameplan, but he’s basically the offensive coordinator when on the field. The Steelers went right back to running 65 plays per game in 2020 while passing the ball 64-percent of the time, the league’s second-highest rate. However, Pittsburgh had the league’s lowest Play Action Rate, ranking No. 27 in Average Target Depth and limiting the ceiling on an extremely voluminous passing offense.

The 2021 Patriots still figure to be extremely run heavy, however we should expect a higher Pass Rate in 2021 with a revamped passing group including the free agent signings of tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. Last season, New England ran two back sets 43-percent of the time, a top five rate in the league that would be expected to flip to two tight ends sets, or seeing Smith in the backfield attempting to remind everyone of the Gronk/Hernandez days.

READ MORE

Meet the Metric – Opportunity Share

by RotoUnderworld, May 17, 2021

Last season, both Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette saw roughly the same amount of snaps in the Buccaneers offense. However, Jones was the preferred fantasy option, averaging over two points more per game. His production was largely driven by seeing more than 15-percent more opportunities than Fournette. This Opportunity Share was the reason to be “on him” in 2020.

What many seem to be overlooking about Joe Mixon is his opportunity monopoly on an ascending Bengals offense. Last season, he saw an 81.5-percent (No. 2 among qualified running backs) Opportunity Share during his six active games. Additionally, when he last played a full season in 2019, he saw a 77.1-percent (No. 6) Opportunity Share.

READ MORE

Where Coaching Matters – NFC Edition

by RotoUnderworld, May 16, 2021

Now heading into 2021, Atlanta hired Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith as head coach. Smith’s offenses in Tennessee were run-heavy, but have ranked in the top five in both Play Action and Pre-Snap Motion Rates, while Koetter’s Falcons have been in the bottom half of the league. Even if he dials back the sheer volume of the passing game, an efficiency boost can make up the difference.

The Rams have actually been below league average in Pass Rate in three of Sean McVay’s four seasons, but the Rams run so many plays that they still have averaged 577 attempts per season. In addition, they rank top ten in Neutral Game Script Pass Rate, top five in Pre-Snap Motion Rate, and No. 3 in Play Action Rate.

READ MORE

Meet the Metric – Production Premium

by RotoUnderworld, May 10, 2021

Production Premium is particularly helpful when assessing players after they change teams in free agency or are traded. Two players, both making their way to new teams in 2021, featured among the top seven last season while on their old teams. Nelson Agholor posted a +26.3 (No. 6 among qualified wide receivers) Production Premium, while Corey Davis delivered a +24.3 (No. 7) mark.

At the other end of the scale, the Arizona Cardinals may have bid against themselves in signing former star A.J. Green. His 2020 campaign showed a player a long way past his best. He was neither productive, nor efficient, and finished with a -37.0 (No. 89) Production Premium.

READ MORE

Veteran Players Who Won the 2021 NFL Draft

by RotoUnderworld, May 7, 2021

Simply put, Justin Fields is the best QB Allen Robinson has ever played with. When Chicago drafted Fields as the No. 11 overall selection of the NFL Draft, Robinson’s value in dynasty and redraft leagues skyrocketed. With back-to-back seasons of 150-plus targets, he’s the unquestioned alpha in an ascending offense. He was already a top 12 WR in redraft, but is now safely in the top 6, with WR1 overall potential.]

Entering his third season, A.J. Brown should see one of the highest Target Shares of any WR in football. One of the most explosive and talented WRs in the game, he averaged 17.2 (No. 7 among qualified wide receivers) Fantasy Points per Game last season. This year, expect him to command double-digit targets every game. He is a locked-in second round pick in redraft and a first-rounder in dynasty startups.

READ MORE

Meet the Metric – Explaining Run Blocking Efficiency

by RotoUnderworld, May 3, 2021

J.K. Dobbins’ high marks in Run Blocking Efficiency and Yards Created Per Touch tell us he took advantage of running lanes and created yards on his own. He and Gus Edwards will likely share touches in 2021, and hopefully, Dobbins earns more opportunities in the receiving game to add to his fantasy production. The Ravens running backs, particularly Dobbins, seem like a rare case where a player creates yards while also benefitting from their offensive line. 

In PPR leagues, Myles Gaskins’ receiving production boosted him to RB1 status, helping him average 16.4 (No. 10 among qualified running backs) Fantasy Points per Game. But unless there’s a major improvement in performance across their offensive line, he and the other Miami running backs may need to create yards on their own to remain productive. 

READ MORE

Transaction Implication: Dynasty Impact of Allen Robinson’s and Chris Godwin’s Franchise Tags

by RotoUnderworld, May 2, 2021

It’s lazy analysis to say that a quarterback upgrade will improve Allen Robinson’s fantasy performance. Only DeAndre Hopkins (310) has more targets over the past two seasons than Robinson’s 304 looks. Numerous opportunity and productivity metrics of Robinson’s are top-10 at his position. Volume is key in fantasy football, and his situation is not as bad as people make it seem. But what if he leaves Chicago next offseason?

Chris Godwin’s calculated market value for 2022 has him signing a contract with an average annual salary of $17.1 million. Mike Evans already took one pay cut to help the Buccaneers keep the team together. Would he be open to taking another pay cut for the team? Or will 2022 be the year where the Buccaneers have to decide who to keep between him and Godwin?

READ MORE

NFC South Offseason Recap and Power Rankings

by RotoUnderworld, April 29, 2021

The Saints face massive losses across the board heading into the 2021 NFL season. Starters at every major position group and coaches at multiple levels are gone. The retirement of franchise quarterback Drew Brees all but guarantees a significant decrease in total wins. Brees’ retirement is an overall positive for the organization long-term because he physically lost the ability to win in the post-season.

The Carolina Panthers have made minimal improvement to the roster in the offseason. The free agent additions address key weaknesses with players at good value. The team is moving in the right direction, but the players added do not move the needle towards more wins. This offense is loaded with explosive playmakers but lacks a true signal caller. The addition of Sam Darnold is a high risk and low upside approach to the most important position in sports.

READ MORE

Cody Carpentier’s 2021 NFL Mock Draft 3.0

by RotoUnderworld, April 29, 2021

A smart franchise doesn’t draft a wide receiver in the top 10. Miami has multiple first round picks once again in 2021, and takes advantage of Cincinnati’s leaving Sewell available. Here, Miami takes the cornerstone tackle from Oregon and bumps one of Austin Jackson or Robert Hunt inside to guard.

The Giants aren’t far from winning a playoff game. Protecting Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley has to be the key. GM Dave Gettleman misses out on Sewell and Slater, forcing his hand to trade back, but we all know he doesn’t like to do that. Here, Gettleman reaches for Christian Darrisaw out of Virginia Tech.

READ MORE

NFC West Offseason Recap and Power Rankings

by RotoUnderworld, April 28, 2021

The 49ers have strong leaders ship and team building to support a talented roster. This team is expected to be a relevant contributor to the league every season. Our expectations must be realistic dependent on the starting quarterback. The move to trade up for a premium draft pick to select a rookie signals that 2021 is not an all-in year. Jimmy Garoppolo can lead this team to a winning season over 17 games.

Despite some turnover, the Rams fall at No. 5 overall in our pre-draft Power Rankings. Sean McVay stirs the pot in the LA, not Brandon Staley, in the same way that Bill Belichick maintains a strong defense in New England despite losing coordinators every year. Second, Stafford’s arrival is a bigger boost to the offense than the loss of Staley is a blow to the defense; and offense wins in the modern NFL. I think the Rams surprise this year a with a run at the No. 1 seed in the NFC. 

READ MORE