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Week 2 Recap

Week 2 is in the books and the Buy Low model had a decent start to the season. While it didn’t pick the Milly Maker winning WR, it performed adequately. The model identified 14 main slate WRs, 13 of which were 4.5% owned or less, and 6 that were less than 1% owned. The one WR who ended up chalky was Brandin Cooks at 8% owned, good for the 12th highest ownership rate among wide receivers on the main slate.

To get a sense of performance, if we compare the model with picking randomly from a similar player pool (8% owned or less) we’d expect similar results or better to occur randomly in about 10 out of 100 trials.

And if we omit the chalky Cooks and look at just the population of receivers who were 4.5% owned or less (and omit any players with 0% ownership), we’d expect the model’s results or better just 5.6 times out of 100.

Finally, the top buy low receiver, Christian Kirk, posted a higher score than 8 out of the 10 highest owned receivers in Week 2 while clocking in with an ownership of just 3.6 percent (27th).

Here’s the full list of last week’s buy lows, with players who beat their expected PPR production highlighted in green.

Name Projection Actual
Christian Kirk 11.8 20.4
Cody Latimer 11.5 6
DeVante Parker 11.1 0
Jarvis Landry 11 6.2
Robby Anderson 11 12.1
Greg Olsen 10.9 17
Cole Beasley 10.7 12.3
Davante Adams 10.5 20.6
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 10.4 4.9
KeeSean Johnson 10.4 6.1
James Washington 10.2 4.3
Brandin Cooks 10 16.6
Mike Evans 9.5 10.1
Donte Moncrief 9.3 0
Paul Richardson 9.3 10.6
Damiere Byrd 8.5 10.5
Nelson Agholor 8.5 24.7
Devin Funchess 8.5 IR
Mike Gesicki 8.5 2.1
Zay Jones 8.2 2.4
Breshad Perriman 7.5 0
Curtis Samuel 7.5 14.3
Hayden Hurst 7.5 7.1
O.J. Howard 7.3 0
Corey Davis 7.2 6.8



Week 3

For those who are new, the Buy-Low model uses target share and air yards to estimate a player’s expected production in the passing game, then highlights the players that underperformed relative to expectation. The key insight behind the model is that opportunity is sticky and production (in the form of catches and touchdowns) is not. You want to buy the signal and fade the noise, and the model helps us do just that.

The out of sample r-squared for the model for this week is 0.57 (last week was 0.52, and higher is better).


Editor’s Note: Before using the model, we strongly suggest everyone read Josh’s article introducing the concept here. We also recommend you listen to his interview with Adam Levitan in Episode 4 of the ETR podcast.


In general, pay most attention to the projection column as it reflects the value of the opportunity each player received. The next piece of information you should weigh is the size of the difference between what the model says a normal game from this player should be given his opportunity, and his actual performance in the recent past. The larger this difference, the greater the chance that the public will be fading the player, making him low-owned. And while we might be tempted to infer that larger differences might lead to a stronger “rubber band” regression effect, it’s typically the case that what dominates is the opportunity.


* Projection = The full-PPR projection the model gives for a player for the rest of the season based upon his opportunity in the previous three games. Currently it’s based on just two weeks of data.

* Actual = A player’s average PPR points per game through the first 2 games.

* Difference = The difference between projection and previous week result in full-PPR fantasy points.


Name Projection Actual Diff. DK Salary  Own Min  Own Max
Curtis Samuel 11.2 10.2 -1 4800 2 4
George Kittle 11.1 10.9 -0.2 5600 13 16
Robby Anderson 10.8 8.7 -2.1 4800 0 1
Mike Evans 10.2 7.5 -2.7 6600 9 12
Mack Hollins 10.2 10 -0.2 3200 2 4
Jarvis Landry 10 8.4 -1.5 5300 MNF MNF
Bennie Fowler 9.8 9.6 -0.3 3700 0 1
DeVante Parker 9.6 5.2 -4.3 4000 0 1
Cody Latimer 9.4 8.2 -1.2 3800 0 1
Will Fuller 9.2 8.4 -0.7 4900 5 8
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 8.9 7 -1.9 4300 2 4
Tarik Cohen 8.8 7.8 -1 4400 MNF MNF
KeeSean Johnson 7.9 6.8 -1 3400 0 1
James Washington 7.5 5.7 -1.8 3500 13 16
Jared Cook 7.4 5.1 -2.3 3800 0 1
Hunter Renfrow 7.3 5.2 -2.1 3700 0 1
Jimmy Graham 7.1 6 -1.1 4000 0 1



  • Curtis Samuel returns to the list for a second week despite turning in a decent PPR performance in Week 2. His opportunity is still outpacing his on field production. The demise of what was left of Cam Newton’s accuracy surely had something to do with this lack of efficiency, and it appears Samuel will be catching balls from Kyle Allen if Newton’s injured ankle keeps him from taking the field Week 3. Historically opportunity tends to stay with the receiver even when the QB goes down, so while Samuel’s ceiling might be lower than with a fully healthy Cam – he actually hasn’t seen a fully healthy Cam at all yet this year. My bet is that the targets continue to come his way even with Allen under center.
  • George Kittle leads the suddenly explosive 49ers in Weighted Opportunity Rating and has been efficient with his targets, catching 11 of 13. Still, the model thinks he probably should have added a score to go along with all those targets, making him a slight buy low in Week 3. Where he will likely not give you an edge is in ownership. Kittle continues to be one of the top week-to-week TE plays in the league and he’ll be a part of many people’s lineups.
  • Mike Evans is back for a second week on the Buy Low, and he is ready to explode. With nearly identical opportunity (Evans actually has a slightly higher WOPR), Chris Godwin has put up over 40 PPR points while Evans has just 14.9. While Godwin runs shorter routes that allow for more YAC, Evans has a high aDOT (18) on nearly equal target share. Eventually he’ll come down with those balls and put up a crooked number for those willing to ride or die. This could be the week.
  • Anytime I see Will Fuller on the Buy Low I get excited. He’s a tremendous deep threat and has a ridiculous aDOT of 24.3 on 10 targets through 2 games. He’s scored touchdowns in bunches before, and all he needs is for one of those deep balls to connect to make rostering him worthwhile.