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Leaders in expected fantasy production entering Week 3

Dec 17, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) takes the field to play the New England Patriots at Heinz Field. The Patriots won 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, and welcome to the Week 3 Actual Opportunity report. If you’re unfamiliar with Actual Opportunity, you can read the in-depth explanation here.

Essentially, we’re using an 11-season sample of play-by-play data to calculate expected fantasy points from a player’s seasonal or weekly usage. We look at each target (by distance from the end zone and depth of target) and each carry (by distance from the end zone and down and distance) and add this up to determine how valuable a player’s role was for fantasy purposes. We can contrast this with fantasy production to measure efficiency.

In layman’s terms, Actual Opportunity is “how many points a player should have scored” given his workload, based on what the average player would have scored. “Expected fantasy points” will be used interchangeably with “Actual Opportunity” throughout this article.

After two weeks of action, here are the top-30 players in expected fantasy points per game:

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

(AO: 24.2, PPR: 24.0)

Smith-Schuster saw tremendous volume in Week 2, leading all players in expected fantasy points (37.0), targets (18), red-zone targets (6), end-zone targets (3), and expected touchdowns (2.2). Granted, he benefited from WR Antonio Brown dealing with a calf injury for the majority of the second half, in a game where Ben Roethlisberger attempted 60 passes. He was productive as well, scoring 31.1 fantasy points, despite running 71 percent of his routes against Kendall Fuller – our highest-graded slot cornerback from a season ago. This is a great start to his sophomore season, after a borderline historic rookie year. He’ll be a great play again this week, with Brown likely still banged up, against a Tampa Bay secondary that ranked as our second-worst and recently sent starting slot CB Vernon Hargreaves to IR. Philadelphia slot WR Nelson Agholor scored 22.8 fantasy points on 12 targets against the Buccaneers last week.

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