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Opportunity Is (Almost) Everything: Part I

By Matt Morrison (@dynastyjerk)

Welcome all. I’m Matt TheJerk here with Dynasty Owner for another mid-week article. Today I am going to write about one of my favorite topics. Opportunity compared with production. Last year I did a two part series titled Opportunity Is (Almost) Everything. I figured I would repeat that theme this year. So, what are the goals from this article series? Here is what I wrote last year, and it still holds true.

“A few years ago, I came across a few underutilized metrics that, I think, can help bridge the gap between opportunity and fantasy production.  So often we compare Player x to Player y without having the full context of their seasons.  I am guilty of comparing players that I know haven’t had the same opportunity.  These metrics are also a great way to see which players are on the field, but aren’t receiving the opportunity you would expect.  This article will be limited to players in my Top 100 updated rankings.”

Today we will be talking about quarterbacks. In addition to recapping some of the highlights from my article last year, I’m going to be presenting some of the leaders in each of these categories…

  • Total Opportunities
  • Opportunities per Snap
  • Fantasy Points per Opportunity
  • Salary Compared to Opportunity

So often we talk about how much a player’s opportunity means to fantasy production (especially for running backs). Well over the next month, I’m going to show you that while it is very important, opportunity isn’t quite everything.

Quarterbacks

Total Opportunities

First, let’s talk about total quarterback opportunities. For our purposes, an opportunity will be defined as a pass attempt or a rushing attempt. Therefore, a quarterback’s total opportunities will be their passing attempts plus their rushing attempts.  Of the quarterbacks in Dynasty Owner’s Top 20, these are the five that lead in total opportunities…

Player, TeamSalaryOpportunitiesDOFP
Patrick Mahomes, KC$45,000,000360225.1
Tom Brady, TB$25,000,000357280.1
Jalen Hurts, PHI$1,506,292329213.0
Josh Allen, BUF$5,295,760323235.3
Daniel Jones, NYG$6,416,014319163.0

There were a few surprises here, specifically Hurts (329) and Jones (319). I suppose it’s not too surprising though. Both quarterbacks are on teams that have found themselves behind in games more often than not. They both rush more than the average quarterback as well.

The main takeaway from this chart is that the opportunity leaders for quarterbacks are not necessarily the highest fantasy producers. Yes, Brady is the QB1 on the season and Josh Allen is the QB3, but the other quarterbacks start to fall down the list, especially Jones.

Opportunities Per Snap

Another way we can look at opportunities is to see how often the player is getting a chance (opportunity) when they are actually on the field (snaps). Once again, this won’t tell us everything, but it should show us which players are getting the ball more than others, when available. This may seem like a useless exercise because quarterbacks handle the ball more than any other position, but it’s setting the stage for the other three main positions. Here are the Top 5 for opportunities per snap…

Player, TeamSalaryOpportunitiesDOFPSnapsOpp/Snap
Tom Brady, TB$25,000,000357280.15390.66
Josh Allen, BUF$5,295,760323235.34890.66
Jalen Hurts, PHI$1,506,292329213.05000.66
Patrick Mahomes, KC$45,000,000360225.15650.64
Lamar Jackson, BAL$2,367,912301210.94740.64

Josh Allen leads all quarterbacks in opportunities per snap. He is receiving an opportunity on 66% of his snaps. That is an absolutely unreal pace. For reference, the league leader at this time last year was Dak Prescott at 67%. Remember how good of a season Dak was having prior to his injury? Also, at this time last year Allen’s Opp/Snap was 0.64. So, he is receiving more opportunities per snap this year than he did last year. Let’s hope the trend can continue.

Not many surprises on this list. All five of these quarterbacks are in the Dynasty Owner Top 10.  Now let’s compare a player’s fantasy points to their opportunities.

Fantasy Points Per Opportunity

Player, TeamSalaryOpportunitiesDOFPSnapsOpp/SnapDOFP/Opp
Matthew Stafford, LA$27,000,000293252.04900.600.86
Joe Burrow, CIN$9,047,534265213.84670.570.81
Jameis Winston, NO$5,500,000193152.03710.520.79
Tom Brady, TB$25,000,000357280.15390.660.78
Dak Prescott, DAL$40,000,000238181.54470.530.76

You can think of this as an efficiency rating. The players at the top of this list are ones who are making the most of their opportunity, fantasy wise at least. So far this season, Matthew Stafford is the leader in fantasy points per opportunity. He is compiling almost 0.9 fantasy points for every opportunity (pass or rush) that he has. For reference, Russell Wilson led this list at about this time last year. His DOFP/Opp were much more impressive though. He was at 0.97 or almost 1 fantasy point per opportunity.

Other notable names on this list are Tom Brady and Joe Burrow. Brady (despite the large amount of volume) is still in the Top 5 for this efficiency metric. He has had over 50 more opportunities than the next closest player on this list. On the other hand, Burrow had the most opportunities of any quarterback at this time last year. Well, it seems like he has traded some of that volume for efficiency. Burrow is 17th of the Top 20 quarterbacks in terms of opportunities, but he currently ranks 2nd in fantasy points per opportunity. In my opinion, this is a critical sign that Burrow has taken a big step forward in his career. It doesn’t hurt that Ja’Marr Chase has been about as efficient as it gets when it comes to wide receivers, but that’s a different story for a different article.

Salary Compared To Opportunity

Let’s expand this and look at the Top 10 in terms of fantasy points per opportunity.  We can also look at some of the biggest values in terms of Dynasty Dollars…

Player, TeamSalaryOpportunitiesDOFPSnapsOpp/SnapDOFP/Opp
Matthew Stafford, LA$27,000,000293252.04900.600.86
Joe Burrow, CIN$9,047,534265213.84670.570.81
Jameis Winston, NO$5,500,000193152.03710.520.79
Tom Brady, TB$25,000,000357280.15390.660.78
Dak Prescott, DAL$40,000,000238181.54470.530.76
Aaron Rodgers, GB$33,500,000276205.84910.560.75
Kyler Murray, ARI$8,914,504305225.35270.580.74
Josh Allen, BUF$5,295,760323235.34890.660.73
Lamar Jackson, BAL$2,367,912301210.94740.640.70

It’s easy to see that there are five quarterbacks in this Top 10 that are not only both efficient in terms of DOFP/Opp but also salary.  These five players are:

  • Joe Burrow
  • Jameis Winston
  • Kyler Murray
  • Josh Allen
  • Lamar Jackson

Winston’s case is unfortunately a moot point as he will miss the remainder of the season. The other four are rock solid value plays, and they should continue to be for the rest of the season.

Thank you for reading. Next week I will continue my series and talk about some running backs and their opportunities. Message me on Twitter (@dynastyjerk) and let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I would appreciate it if you followed @Dynasty_Owner on Twitter as well as subscribed to Dynasty Owner on YouTube. Take care everyone and be safe.

TheJerk

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