It's time to update my True Fantasy Points (TFP) math given what's happened in the first six weeks of the 2017 NFL season. If you're unfamiliar with how my TFP system works, here are the links to my preseason articles:
As succinctly as I can describe my system, I calculate TFP by multiplying players' "true" efficiency stats by their opportunity, and then applying Footballguys' standard scoring system to the result:
- For quarterbacks, my opportunity measure is pass attempts, and the efficiency stats I turn into "true" stats are Yards per Attempt (YPA), Touchdowns per Attempt (TDPA), and Interceptions per Attempt (INTPA).
- For running backs, my opportunity measures are carries (in the running game) and routes run (in the passing game), and the efficiency stats I turn into "true" stats are Yards per Carry (YPC), Touchdowns per Carry (TDPC), Receptions per Route Run (RPRR), Yards per Route Run (YPRR), and Touchdowns per Route Run (TDPRR).
- For wide receivers and tight ends, my opportunity measure is routes run, and the efficiency stats I turn into "true" stats are RPRR, YPRR, and TDPRR.
As an example, in Rob Gronkowski's tenure with the Patriots, he has a True RPRR of 16.04%, a YPRR of 2.36, and a TDPRR of 2.39%. Given that he's run 162 routes thus far in 2017, that means Gronkowski should be expected to have 26.0 receptions for 382 yards and 3.87 touchdowns, which translates to 61.5 standard points. In comparison, Gronkowski's actually scored 64.1 standard points, which means he's currently at 2.6 points above his "true" fantasy scoring skill.
With that quick explainer out of the way, what follows is my offering of statistical evidence and advice so as to help you identify players to sell high and players to buy low as we head into the second half of the fantasy football season.
Because I want to focus on said buy-low and sell-high targets, players' "true" stats aren't as worthy of discussion as is their under- or over-achievement according to TFP. Therefore, I've created a Google Doc you can access if you really want to know said "true" stats (and rankings):
And from there, let's proceed to TFPs. Here are actual standard fantasy points (i.e., "FBG"), TFP, and the difference between the two values for players that have a value greater than 1.0 in our Top 200 Forward rankings (sorted by the "DIFF" column for each position):
|QUARTERBACKS||RUNNING BACKS||WIDE RECEIVERS||TIGHT ENDS|
|Alex Smith||KC||148.0||116.5||+31.4||Kareem Hunt||KC||124.5||90.6||+33.9||Will Fuller V||HOU||46.3||17.9||+28.4||Cameron Brate||TB||52.1||39.9||+12.2|
|Carson Wentz||PHI||141.5||112.9||+28.6||Chris Thompson||WAS||75.5||42.6||+32.9||Stefon Diggs||MIN||63.3||38.5||+24.8||Zach Ertz||PHI||64.5||52.7||+11.8|
|Deshaun Watson||HOU||152.1||126.9||+25.1||Todd Gurley||LAR||118.6||99.9||+18.7||Michael Crabtree||OAK||60.4||42.7||+17.7||Charles Clay||BUF||37.8||30.6||+7.2|
|Kirk Cousins||WAS||117.0||102.8||+14.2||Leonard Fournette||JAX||115.2||97.0||+18.2||Nelson Agholor||PHI||56.1||38.8||+17.3||Tyler Kroft||CIN||25.9||22.5||+3.4|
|Jared Goff||LAR||106.7||94.2||+12.4||Duke Johnson Jr||CLE||56.6||40.1||+16.5||Davante Adams||GB||63.9||52.2||+11.7||Rob Gronkowski||NE||64.1||61.5||+2.6|
|Tom Brady||NE||150.1||140.1||+10.0||Melvin Gordon III||LAC||99.8||87.7||+12.1||Jordy Nelson||GB||65.0||54.5||+10.5||Hunter Henry||LAC||34.8||33.0||+1.8|
|Derek Carr||OAK||74.9||69.6||+5.3||Devonta Freeman||ATL||73.4||62.4||+11.0||Brandon Coleman||NO||28.0||19.2||+8.8||Zach Miller||CHI||32.7||31.0||+1.7|
|Jameis Winston||TB||91.0||88.7||+2.3||Doug Martin||TB||26.6||17.8||+8.8||Kenny Golladay||DET||22.2||14.1||+8.1||Evan Engram||NYG||40.2||40.1||+0.1|
|Dak Prescott||DAL||124.2||122.2||+2.0||Marlon Mack||IND||28.4||19.9||+8.5||Paul Richardson Jr||SEA||32.8||25.1||+7.7||Austin Hooper||ATL||30.2||31.6||-1.4|
|Matthew Stafford||DET||121.1||119.4||+1.7||Jerick McKinnon||MIN||49.1||40.8||+8.3||Brandin Cooks||NE||60.2||52.8||+7.4||Kyle Rudolph||MIN||32.1||34.3||-2.2|
|Trevor Siemian||DEN||100.7||100.1||+0.6||LeGarrette Blount||PHI||53.1||45.6||+7.5||Chris Hogan||NE||62.4||55.8||+6.6||Travis Kelce||KC||51.7||54.6||-2.9|
|Andy Dalton||CIN||86.6||86.5||+0.1||Alvin Kamara||NO||43.7||37.0||+6.7||DeSean Jackson||TB||40.7||35.0||+5.7||Jason Witten||DAL||34.9||38.7||-3.8|
|Drew Brees||NO||104.5||106.1||-1.6||Tevin Coleman||ATL||49.2||42.7||+6.5||DeAndre Hopkins||HOU||74.2||68.8||+5.4||Jack Doyle||IND||27.3||33.4||-6.1|
|Cam Newton||CAR||135.9||138.3||-2.4||Rex Burkhead||NE||12.7||7.3||+5.4||Sammy Watkins||LAR||34.2||29.2||+5.0||Austin Seferian-Jenkins||NYJ||27.2||33.3||-6.1|
|Tyrod Taylor||BUF||79.6||83.4||-3.8||Derrick Henry||TEN||46.2||41.0||+5.2||John Brown||ARI||29.8||25.0||+4.8||Jared Cook||OAK||26.9||33.3||-6.4|
|Matt Ryan||ATL||88.5||93.7||-5.2||Aaron Jones||GB||34.5||30.0||+4.5||Tyreek Hill||KC||52.5||47.8||+4.7||Delanie Walker||TEN||31.9||40.6||-8.7|
|Eli Manning||NYG||112.4||122.1||-9.7||Mike Gillislee||NE||53.0||48.9||+4.1||Ted Ginn Jr||NO||36.4||32.3||+4.1||Jimmy Graham||SEA||23.9||35.7||-11.8|
|Marcus Mariota||TEN||96.5||106.7||-10.2||Alex Collins||BAL||33.5||31.2||+2.3||T.Y. Hilton||IND||54.5||50.9||+3.6||Jordan Reed||WAS||14.2||26.6||-12.4|
|Carson Palmer||ARI||124.1||136.4||-12.3||Orleans Darkwa||NYG||32.8||31.3||+1.5||A.J. Green||CIN||68.4||64.9||+3.5|
|Russell Wilson||SEA||111.5||124.0||-12.5||Bilal Powell||NYJ||43.2||41.7||+1.5||Cooper Kupp||LAR||38.5||35.9||+2.6|
|Philip Rivers||LAC||116.8||130.5||-13.8||Jamaal Charles||DEN||27.7||27.3||+0.4||Marvin Jones Jr||DET||46.0||43.5||+2.5|
|Ben Roethlisberger||PIT||95.5||121.6||-26.1||Danny Woodhead||BAL||3.7||3.7||0.0||Jordan Matthews||BUF||22.2||20.0||+2.2|
|Darren McFadden||DAL||0.0||0.0||0.0||JuJu Smith-Schuster||PIT||31.2||29.4||+1.8|
|Carlos Hyde||SF||74.2||75.2||-1.0||Mike Wallace||BAL||30.3||28.6||+1.7|
|Adrian Peterson||ARI||33.9||35.0||-1.1||Jermaine Kearse||NYJ||47.9||46.9||+1.0|
|Wendell Smallwood||PHI||22.9||25.0||-2.1||Corey Coleman||CLE||12.2||11.7||+0.5|
|Tarik Cohen||CHI||50.0||52.4||-2.4||Robby Anderson||NYJ||35.6||35.1||+0.5|
|Mark Ingram II||NO||56.5||59.8||-3.3||Jaron Brown||ARI||33.4||32.9||+0.5|
|DeMarco Murray||TEN||51.9||55.6||-3.7||J.J. Nelson||ARI||42.7||42.4||+0.3|
|Ty Montgomery||GB||49.2||53.0||-3.8||Cole Beasley||DAL||22.9||22.8||+0.1|
|Rob Kelley||WAS||13.1||17.7||-4.6||John Ross||CIN||1.2||1.2||0.0|
|Wayne Gallman||NYG||22.4||27.3||-4.9||Donte Moncrief||IND||30.1||30.3||-0.2|
|Marshawn Lynch||OAK||41.5||46.9||-5.4||Jeremy Maclin||BAL||27.9||28.1||-0.2|
|Jordan Howard||CHI||79.2||84.9||-5.7||Mike Williams||LAC||1.5||1.8||-0.3|
|D'Onta Foreman||HOU||27.5||33.2||-5.7||Willie Snead IV||NO||1.1||1.7||-0.6|
|Lamar Miller||HOU||66.7||73.0||-6.3||Mike Evans||TB||55.1||55.7||-0.6|
|David Johnson||ARI||9.1||15.5||-6.4||Roger Lewis||NYG||17.7||18.8||-1.1|
|Theo Riddick||DET||27.9||34.9||-7.0||Danny Amendola||NE||36.7||38.2||-1.5|
|Christian McCaffrey||CAR||51.7||59.3||-7.6||Alshon Jeffery||PHI||43.7||45.3||-1.6|
|Eddie Lacy||SEA||8.3||16.1||-7.8||Torrey Smith||PHI||26.7||28.5||-1.8|
|Frank Gore||IND||50.8||59.3||-8.5||Dez Bryant||DAL||44.4||46.3||-1.9|
|C.J. Anderson||DEN||53.4||62.5||-9.1||Antonio Brown||PIT||82.0||84.2||-2.2|
|Matt Breida||SF||20.5||30.5||-10.0||Keenan Allen||LAC||50.6||53.4||-2.8|
|Matt Forte||NYJ||23.3||34.7||-11.4||Terrelle Pryor||WAS||26.9||30.1||-3.2|
|Javorius Allen||BAL||51.5||64.2||-12.7||Michael Thomas||NO||44.1||47.7||-3.6|
|Ameer Abdullah||DET||47.0||62.5||-15.5||Mohamed Sanu||ATL||22.7||26.5||-3.8|
|James White||NE||35.1||50.7||-15.6||Zay Jones||BUF||6.6||10.7||-4.1|
|Ezekiel Elliott||DAL||70.7||87.5||-16.8||Marqise Lee||JAX||30.8||35.4||-4.6|
|Le'Veon Bell||PIT||94.6||111.5||-16.9||Kendall Wright||CHI||29.6||34.3||-4.7|
|Latavius Murray||MIN||12.6||29.5||-16.9||Taylor Gabriel||ATL||23.5||28.3||-4.8|
|Joe Mixon||CIN||32.5||51.0||-18.5||Albert Wilson||KC||22.4||27.4||-5.0|
|Isaiah Crowell||CLE||32.4||54.8||-22.4||Corey Davis||TEN||7.3||12.3||-5.0|
|Jonathan Stewart||CAR||35.1||58.1||-23.0||Marquise Goodwin||SF||27.5||32.5||-5.0|
|Jay Ajayi||MIA||41.4||67.6||-26.2||Kenny Stills||MIA||28.3||33.5||-5.2|
|LeSean McCoy||BUF||46.8||79.9||-33.1||Golden Tate||DET||49.2||54.7||-5.5|
Just in case it's unclear how to read this table, here is an example for each position:
- Andy Dalton has actually scored 86.6 standard points this season. Based on his "true" stats, he should have 86.5 points. Therefore, he's scored 0.1 points more than what his "true" stats would suggest.
- Carlos Hyde has actually scored 74.2 standard points this season. Based on his "true" stats, he should have 75.2 points. Therefore, he's scored 1.0 points less than what his "true" stats would suggest.
- Donte Moncrief has actually scored 30.1 standard points this season. Based on his "true" stats, he should have 30.3 points. Therefore, he's scored 0.2 points less than what his "true" stats would suggest.
- Evan Engram has actually scored 40.2 standard points this season. Based on his "true" stats, he should have 40.1 points. Therefore, he's scored 0.1 points more than what his "true" stats would suggest.
Now that we're all (hopefully) on the same page, it's time to discuss TFP-based buy-low and sell-high candidates at each position.
Buy-Low Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger
You don't need me to tell you that Roethlisberger has underachieved expectations thus far this season. You do need me to tell you that he's underachieving in all three of his "true" stat categories: His Actual YPA in 2017 is 0.81 yards below his True YPA, his Actual TDPA is 1.69 percent below his True TDPA, and his Actual INTPA is 1.04 percent below his True INTPA. The likelihood of a rebound that's implied by these "true" stats is buttressed by Pittsburgh having the fifth-easiest quarterback schedule going forward.
Sell-High Quarterback: Tom Brady
Brady's Actual YPA so far this season is nearly a yard better than his True YPA and his Actual INTPA is nearly a percentage point better than his True INTPA. On top of all that, New England has the eighth-worst quarterback schedule going forward.
Buy-Low Running Back: LesEAN mCcOY
McCoy is woefully underperforming both of his "true" rushing stats so far this season. His Actual YPC is 3.21, whereas his True YPC with the Bills is 4.39. And he has yet to score a rushing touchdown on 87 carries despite a True TDPC of 2.98 percent (i.e., not zero). What may help McCoy return to form is the fourth-easiest running back schedule going forward.
Sell-High Running BACK: Todd Gurley
Gurley's rushing performance thus far this season is commensurate with his True YPC (4.25) and his True TDPC (3.04 percent). Where he's overachieving is with respect to receiving performance: 1.74 Actual YPRR versus 1.26 True YPRR and 2.13 percent Actual TDPRR versus 0.06 percent True TDPRR. Given the Rams' change from offensive black hole to offensive supernova, this wouldn't be much of a concern -- except that the Rams have the second-toughest running back schedule going forward.
Buy-Low Wide Receiver: Amari Cooper
If you have Cooper on you fantasy team, you know he's underachieved. I'm guessing, however, that you don't know by just how much. Cooper's True YPRR with the Raiders is 1.78, yet his Actual YPRR this season is a mind-bogglingly low 0.78. Similarly, with 1 touchdown in 188 routes run, his Actual TDPRR is just about half of his 0.97 percent True TDPRR. Cooper's high likelihood of yardage and touchdown regression should be helped by having the seventh-easiest wide receiver schedule going forward.
Sell-High Wide Receiver: Stefon Diggs
Diggs is currently crushing his True YPRR and True TDPRR. The former is 1.96, whereas he's currently at 2.56 through Week 6. Meanwhile, the latter is 1.10 percent, whereas he's currently at 2.60 percent. The likelihood of regression for DIggs is exacerbated by Minnesota wide receivers having the fourth-toughest schedule going forward.
Buy-Low Tight End: Jordan Reed
As Reed's 1.48 YPRR ($) isn't too far off from his True YPRR of 2.00, the main issue through Week 6 is therefore his TDPRR. In 96 routes, Reed's True TDPRR implies he should have 1.37 touchdowns; he actually has none. With the sixth-easiest tight end schedule going forward, this is likely to resolve itself in Reed's favor -- provided he can remain healthy.
Sell-High Tight End: Rob Gronkowski
This recommendation is simply a byproduct of preserving the symmetry of this section. It turns out that Gronkowski's 2.39 YPRR and 2.39 percent TDPRR thus far in 2017 are nearly identical to his "true" stat values (2.36 YPRR and 2.39 percent TDPRR); which is reflected by his small difference between standard fantasy points and TFP. That said, none of the four more-overperforming tight ends -- Cameron Brate, Zach Ertz, Charles Clay, and Tyler Kroft -- have an unfavorable schedule going forward, so I'm kind of forced to go with Gronkowski here.