21 Aug The Opportunity Analysis: 2021 Studs
The Opportunity Analysis: 2021 Studs
|Projected +/- |
|New England Patriots||501||171||589||88||259|
|New Orleans Saints||573||174||651||78||252|
|Los Angeles Rams||639||190||642||3||193|
|San Francisco 49ers||617||193||603||-15||179|
|New York Jets||572||118||612||40||158|
|New York Giants||594||134||600||6||140|
|Las Vegas Raiders||607||120||596||-11||109|
|Green Bay Packers||570||63||605||35||98|
|Los Angeles Chargers||689||136||647||-42||94|
|Kansas City Chiefs||697||87||655||-42||45|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||655||29||650||-5||24|
Before you go any further, if you haven’t read The 2021 Opportunity Analysis, click here. In this article we are going to break down The Opportunity Analysis Studs. A stud for this article will be categorized as a player going in the first 5 rounds that are on teams that have the most “new available targets” according to The Opportunity Analysis in 2021. The players identified in the main section are the studs we like the most at their current ADP.
Meet The OA Studs
Player: T.J. Hockenson
Team: Detroit Lions
New Available targets: 309
Opportunity Analysis Team rank: #1
The Lions top the list with a whopping 309 new available targets. This huge number includes a projected 51 less drop-backs for the upcoming season. The key to unlocking Hockenson’s upside comes from the fact all these available targets don’t include his 101 from 2020.
Insert new Offensive Coordinator Anthony Lynn, who has featured the tight end position from his days in LA. In his last three healthy seasons, Hunter Henry averaged 9.0 PPG in .5 PPR. That production is nearly identical to Hockenson’s 8.9 PPG in 2020. Henry was able to produce that output on only a 16-game pace of 92.4 target per year. That was already 9 fewer than what Hockenson had last season.
Finally, Jared Goff has shown the willingness to lean on his tight ends. In the last two seasons, the Rams as a team were 7th and 11th in tight end fantasy points. This was significantly better than the Lions who were 24th and 14th over that same span. This Rams production includes a 5-game period where Tyler Higbee averaged 17 points per game down the stretch of 2019.
Player: Cooper Kupp
Team: Los Angeles Rams
New Available targets: 193
Opportunity Analysis Team rank: #7
Cooper Kupp’s 2020 season could be simply defined as an outlier. In his first three seasons, Kupp averaged 9.4 yards per target and had a touchdown rate of 7.4%. In 2020, those numbers dropped to 7.9 yards per target and 2.4% touchdown rate.
The biggest factor for Kupp becoming a stud is the change at quarterback. According to Football Outsiders DVOA Slot vs. Wide analysis, no quarterback has targeted the slot more over the past two seasons than Goff at 75%. Now you might be wondering why that change is a good thing. Matthew Stafford over that same time frame is still a solid 64.2%. However, when it comes to efficiency when targeting the slot, that’s where Stafford can provide a boost to Kupp. Goff has ranked on average 21st in Football Outsiders DVOA when targeting the slot, while Stafford has ranked 7th . This boost in quality can help Kupp bounce back in a big way in 2021.
Player: A.J. Brown
Team: Tennessee Titans
New Available targets: 281
Opportunity Analysis Team rank: #2
A.J. Brown’s rising stock took a major hit once Julio Jones came on board. However, the OA is here to tell you why you shouldn’t worry. The Titans landed second on the Opportunity Analysis New Available Targets metric with 281. That is way more than enough to feed new teammate Julio Jones and get some more for himself in the process. Once Brown returned from his brief injuries in Weeks 2 and 3, he was the WR4 in fantasy averaging 15.5 PPG from Week 4 on. Even with Julio in the fold, Brown’s targets should be solidified as Julio has 281 new available opportunities to take from before impacting him in 2021.
The shift in play-calling should help Brown as well. New Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing in his lone season as a play-caller for the Raiders featured two wide receivers (Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree). In that season, both wide receivers averaged 7.8 targets per game in the games they started and finished. That is slightly higher than the 7.5 Brown had in 2020. Now with all the new available targets as discussed earlier, Brown should see enough volume to return to his 15.5 PPG from 2020. Currently going as the WR8, draft Brown ahead of players like DeAndre Hopkins, D.K. Metcalf and Justin Jefferson in the 2nd round.
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