There are two ways a player can score more fantasy points than what he is projected for by fantasy experts:
- The player’s offense is better than expected, increasing the overall pie of fantasy points available to all players on the team.
- The player has a larger than expected share of his team’s production (e.g., a higher percentage of the team’s receiving market share).
This series of articles focuses on the first category: identifying players who could outperform expectations simply by virtue of the offense they are in making a leap.
Can we predict the offenses most likely to break out?
You might think whether a team over or underperforms touchdown or fantasy expectations is random and impossible to predict. However, we have tracked these breakout offenses' trends and common characteristics for years. Typically, these breakout offenses have at least one or two of the following elements:
- A young quarterback who makes the leap
- An influx of receiving talent
- Coaching and/or schematic change
Last year, we identified the two offenses we felt most likely to outperform offensive expectations significantly:
Looking back, we can compare 2021 statistical projections to actual performance to see which offenses really did exceed expectations by the most. In doing so, the Bengals and Chargers ranked fourth and first, respectively.
|Rank||Team||Fantasy Points Overperformance||Touchdowns Overperformance|
|1||Los Angeles Chargers||227.79||10.0|
|2||New England Patriots||222.25||9.3|
|3||Los Angeles Rams||218.77||10.0|
The consensus of fantasy projectors last year was that the Bengals would score 41.9 offensive touchdowns. The Bengals actually scored 52 touchdowns in 2021. The Bengals skill position players were projected to score 1,282 fantasy points (0.5 PPR) but scored 1,461 fantasy points. As anyone who faced Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase, or Tee Higgins in the fantasy playoffs last year can attest, drafting Bengals was a league-winning strategy last year. The Bengals scored 14% more fantasy points than the consensus projections.
Similarly, the Chargers were projected to score 46.0 offensive touchdowns at this time last year (16th most). The Chargers scored 56 touchdowns, tied for second-most in the NFL. The Chargers scored 17% more fantasy points (as a team) than the consensus projections.
Make an offensive pie 14% or 17% bigger than expected, and you will likely find multiple players who vastly outperform their ADP.
We nailed last year's breakout team predictions. This year, we have identified two teams that we believe can significantly outperform expectations. Targeting players from these teams in your drafts could be the key to winning your fantasy league, the same way drafting Bengals and Chargers was a winning strategy last season.
The Case for the 2022 Detroit Lions offense
A quick summary of the upside case for the Lions offense:
- The offensive line has the potential to be one of the best in the league.
- Jameson Williams and D.J. Chark Jr inject a speed and big-play element to the offense.
- Fear of Williams and Chark should open up the field for the super talented trio of D'Andre Swift, T.J. Hockenson, and Amon-Ra St. Brown.
- Jared Goff has proven he can succeed if all the pieces are in place around him.
The Offensive Line
Detroit’s offensive line features first-round picks at center (Frank Ragnow) and both tackle spots (Taylor Decker and Penei Sewell). Plus, guard Jonah Jackson made the Pro Bowl last year. Offensive line guru Brandon Thorn ranked each of those four players in the Top 15 at their positions and among the Top 75 of all offensive linemen. Sewell is still just 21 years old and could make a big jump forward in his second season if the glowing camp reports are any indication. If this line makes the leap to an elite unit status as many expect, it would make life much easier for the skill position players.
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