Don’t Sleep on Jeremy Maclin, Breshad Perriman, and Mike Wallace
Week 1 was one of the strangest week’s of fantasy football I’ve ever witnessed. I was in Boston for DraftKing’s opening week party, and the scene at the sports bar we were sent to watch the games at was both sad and hilarious. The energy was low. DFSers, who had brought their laptops to the bar, sat their refreshing their lineups and sullenly looking up at the TV screens hoping for something to change. Audible groans as David Johnson walks off the field injured. By the end of the day, it was clear no one had gotten anything right, even the most savvy pros.
But week 2 will be different, right!? With the benefits of snap counts, targets, and hindsight we can make changes for the better and make the right plays this week! While we are going to be able to make more informed decisions this week, I think the stats most players will look at are going to sway them towards particular guys (i.e. Ty Montgomery and Julio Jones), and the chalk will probably be pretty high owned once again.
But as we all know, the chalk doesn’t win you million dollar GPPs. When GPPs are top heavy, finding a great contrarian play can pay off big. And I have a play that will likely receive fractional ownership, and I believe this play is a fantastic angle for the Millionaire Maker on DraftKings and the Sunday Million on FanDuel.
The Ravens Pass Game
Joe Flacco $5,200
Jeremy Maclin $5,000
Mike Wallace $3,900
Breshad Perriman $3,100
Joe Flacco $7,000
Jeremy Maclin $6,300
Mike Wallace $5,500
Breshad Perriman $4,900
One website I really, really love for fantasy football articles is PredictiveFootball.com. This article specifically (https://predictivefootball.com/2017/09/12/using-air-yards-to-calculate-expected-fantasy-points/) is incredibly useful for evaluating performances in week 1. Using air yards and targets, and the expectation of receiving yard given the depth of target, the writer created a stat called Expected FP. Essentially, it’s a theoretical fantasy point number based on a receivers opportunity. Read the article if you’d like to understand it more (or just read the article anyway, it’s very good).
There are a couple of issues with Expected FP, the main one for fantasy purposes is that it doesn’t take into account how many passes were thrown by the offense as a whole. Why does this matter? Because a team that throws the ball, lets say, 60 times, is going to generate a lot more offense in the passing game than one that throws, lets say, 20 times. And if a WR has a very high expected FP, but it’s due to a massive amount of opportunity, that number likely is not going to carry over to next week. So to deal with this issue, I adjusted everyone’s expected FP up or down proportionally to the team passing attempts above or below the mean passing attempts from last year (36 to be exact).
Phew! That was a long explanation. But here’s the point: The Ravens passed 17 times last week. Because of this, none of their receivers put up very good numbers on paper. But, according to my adjusted FP stat, both Breshad Perriman and Jeremy Maclin rank in the top 15 of the entire NFL last week. The entire NFL. If you think about it, the Ravens have no Danny Woodhead, no Kyle Juszczyk, and they have weak players at TE who got only 2 targets last week. They don’t have any good options to throw to other than Maclin, Wallace, and Perriman. If the Ravens choose to pass it a lot, these 3 could be in for some big games.
“But the Ravens ran it 70% of the time last week. They are a running team! Joe Flacco is banged up. You are crazy, Max.”
Let’s start with Flacco. Yes, he missed the entire preseason with a back issue. Yes, that’s likely part of the reason they ran it so often. But, according to Flacco himself, he has no limitations after his back “felt great” after week 1, and could throw the ball 40 times if the situation called for it. I’m not going to say that I’m not slightly worried about some rust issues, but at fractional ownership I’m happy to take a little risk.
Now, on to the Ravens being a running team. They have the same offensive coordinator as last year, and last year the Ravens threw the ball 66% of the time, most in the NFL by a significant margin. Do I expect to do that again this year? No. But I don’t expect them to flip completely in the other direction? No. There could be a game script tomorrow that calls for Flacco to throw, or the Ravens could fall behind in the game. It’s not out of the question that Flacco throws the ball 35+ times, and if he does, these WRs are going to eat. If you want to bet that a team with no history of running the balls a ridiculous percentage of the time, will continue to run the ball a ridiculous percentage of the time, your in for some disappointment, I will take the other side every day.
So there it is, sprinkle some Ravens WRs into your lineups this week. Hopefully I’ll see your lineups right up there with mine.
Questions or comments? Tweet me @maxjsteinberg or post on the Daily Fantasy Winners Forums.View all posts by Max J Steinberg