With the ever-changing NFL landscape, new trends develop each week. Using advanced stats, metrics and analytics to identify these trends can lead fantasy grinders toward the next breakout player. Week 15 presented a few player breakouts likely to influence gameplay going forward. With that said, here are three notable trends to think about as we enter Week 16.
Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Mixon
After a frustrating timeshare to start the season, Joe Mixon has become Cincinnati’s unquestioned bell-cow running back. While he still cedes a few snaps to Giovani Bernard, he out-snapped the aging veteran 63.5-percent to 33.3-percent in Week 15. More importantly, he out-touched Bernard 28-7. Digging deeper, Mixon has at least 23 touches in each of his last three games, including at least three targets in each.
Looking at efficiency metrics, it makes sense for the Bengals to feature Mixon. His elusiveness is evident in his 32.7-percent (No. 3 among qualified running backs) Juke Rate and 1.65 (No. 10) Yards Created per Carry. This week, Mixon’s efficiency should continue against the Miami Dolphins. Among the worst run defenses in football, the Dolphins allowed Saquon Barkley to hit 112 rushing yards after he hadn’t reached triple digits since Week 2.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Breshad Perriman
With Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and Scott Miller all on the shelf, Breshad Perriman is Tampa Bay’s top wideout. In Week 15 alone, Perriman turned six targets into five catches, 113 yards and three touchdowns. While the Bucs increased their 12-personnel usage to 27-percent, Perriman still recorded a 93-percent Snap Share. Unlike Justin Watson and Tampa Bay’s other secondary receivers, Perriman looks likely to retain his every-down role despite the increase in 12-personnel.
Check out Breshad Perriman on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:
Perriman has taken strides as a player in 2019, with a 103.2 (No. 29) QB Rating when Targeted and +12.5 (No. 20) Production Premium. His 4.30 (100th-percentile) 40-yard dash and 125.7 (99th-percentile) Speed Score give him the ability to create big plays in this offense. While missing Godwin and Evans will surely hinder this offense, Perriman can deliver big games down the stretch with Jameis Winston airing it out.
Carolina Panthers – Will Grier
Set to make his debut with the Carolina Panthers, Will Grier remains a projection at the NFL level. Coming out of West Virginia as a second-round pick, Grier finished his 2018 season among college football’s most prolific passers. Unlike Kyle Allen, Grier showed a willingness to attack deep in college. His 9.7 college yards per attempt ranked in the 92nd-percentile. Allen, on the other hand, owns a 21.2-percent (No. 35) Deep Ball Completion Percentage.
While Grier’s production and efficiency remain a mystery, his play is a theoretical boost to players such as Curtis Samuel and D.J. Moore. Samuel, in particular, has suffered the most under Allen. At first glance, his 22 Deep Targets rank 16th in the NFL. However, receiving a 4.3 (No. 97) Target Quality Rating has tanked any fantasy value associated with those targets. While Grier may struggle in his first game action, his unknown upside remains an upgrade over Allen to the entire Panthers offense.