Earlier this week, I published my Week 1 Snap Report, highlighting some running backs who saw encouraging snap shares in their season-openers. This expected points column will work somewhat in conjunction with my weekly snap reports.
For those unfamiliar, expected points apply point values to players' opportunities based on a number of factors such as down, distance, and where they were on the field when they received said opportunities. Players can then score above or below their expected points based on what they do with their opportunities — which we know as fantasy points over expected.
In hopes of pinpointing some deeper plays to make on a week-to-week basis, I'll be looking to utilize what we've seen in expected points to highlight some players who could be slept on heading into upcoming weeks.
Under each position, I will also provide tables of expected fantasy points from the previous week, sorted by the most to the fewest expected fantasy points.
Week 1 Expected Points
Kyren Williams (LAR)
By the time Week 2 arrives, there will have been more than 69,420 articles written about Kyren Williams, his Week 1 performance, and what we can expect going forward.
I'm happy to contribute to the discourse.
As I mentioned in my Week 1 snaps article, Williams out-snapped Cam Akers 53-28 against the Seahawks, with most of Akers' snaps coming late in the game. Williams also dominated in expected fantasy points (15.4), ranking 11th among all running backs thanks partly to his rush attempts near the end zone. Williams converted two of his three carries inside the green zone (touches occurring inside the opponent's 10-yard line) into touchdowns and looked like the clear lead back for the Rams last week.
At this point in the week, touting Williams isn't telling fantasy managers anything new. His Week 1 usage was a total surprise to fantasy managers, but those needing a reliable RB2 or FLEX play can look to him in Week 2 against the 49ers. It's worth noting he was underutilized as a pass-catcher last week, but Williams ran the second-most routes (26) of any running back in the league last week, giving him a potential out if he and the Rams struggle on the ground this week.
Jaylen Warren (PIT)
Take a close look at the 36 running backs listed above. You'll notice Najee Harris is nowhere to be found, while Jaylen Warren finished last week ranked 25th with 12.3 expected fantasy points. For those curious, Harris ranked 50th with 5.3 expected fantasy points last week.
So, why the disparity between the Steelers' RB1 and RB2?
Harris led the Steelers in rushing with a dismal six carries for 31 yards, while Warren rushed just three times for six yards. However, Warren hauled in five passes to Harris' two and also handled one green zone touch. Harris saw no such opportunities in that area of the field last week.
These high-value touches raised the floor of Warren's expected point total. While the green zone touches could look much different when the Steelers aren't losing 30-7, Warren's receiving work aligned with what we heard all offseason. As expected, Harris handled the majority of early-down snaps (26-of-43), but Warren was tasked with the receiving work, earning six of the Steelers' eight running back targets on the day. Assuming these targets are sustained, Warren should continue to track for double-digit fantasy points on a weekly basis. Any touches in the green zone will only raise his expected points floor, simultaneously increasing his chances of scoring meaningful points for us weekly.
James Cook (BUF)
Any fantasy managers concerned about James Cook's usage heading into the season can rest easy — at least for now. The Bills' second-year running back handled 41-of-68 backfield snaps and saw 18 opportunities to the combined seven that Damien Harris and Latavius Murray received.
Cook's 13.4 expected fantasy points were good for the 19th-most among running backs last week, but his 10.3 PPR points (RB27) left much to be desired. Fortunately for Cook and his fantasy managers, more points could be in store soon.
Having already touched on how Cook fared relative to his teammates, he also found himself in potentially elite company in his one-game sample size.
In addition to his 60.3-percent snap rate in Week 1, Cook also ran the third-most routes (24) of any running back last week. Only five running backs finished last season with a 60-percent snap share or better while also averaging 20-plus route run per game. That select group averaged 17.3 fantasy points per game, with the two highest scorers (Austin Ekeler and Christian McCaffrey) averaging more than 20 fantasy points per game. In 2021, another five running backs fell within this distinguished group, averaging 17.7 fantasy points per game.
It's still early, and things could change at any time, but Cook's early start and usage suggest an elite season could be in store for him if he and the Bills start putting things together. We'll assume the Week 1 debacle against the Jets won't be too often repeated.
Week 1 Expected Points
Kendrick Bourne (NE)
It's always hard to know what to make of anything we see from the Patriots offensively. A strong performance in a given week hasn't always signaled future strong performances, but it's hard to ignore what Kendrick Bourne did in Week 1.
Bourne led all Patriots receivers with 73 snaps, 54 routes run, and 11 targets, finishing the day with a line of 6-64-2 and a whopping 24.4 fantasy points. Even more surprising was the pace at which the Patriots operated under new offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien.
Last week, the Patriots ranked first in neutral pace at 20.2 seconds per snap. The next closest team was the Colts at 24.3 seconds. Additionally, the Pats also ran 25 percent of their plays from no-huddle, a steep increase from the seven percent no-huddle rate they saw last season. Comparing what we saw on Sunday to the Patriots' previous two seasons shows an entirely different offensive outlook and approach. Here's a look at their rates in neutral game script over the last two seasons compared to what we saw in Week 1.
Seconds Per Snap
No Huddle %
2021 & 2022
Mac Jones also enjoyed arguably his best game as a pro last week, throwing for 316-3-1 while posting a career-high 29.3 fantasy points.
In addition to his overall targets, Bourne was also utilized in every area of the field. Six of his targets came in the short area of the field, but Jones also aired out three deep targets (20-plus yards) to Bourne. His 12.5 aDOT was the 18th highest among WRs in Week 1 (min. five targets).
Bourne's Week 1 volume was excellent and resulted in 18.8 expected fantasy points on the day. It was buoyed by two end zone targets, which he converted to scores, but the team treated him as their No. 1 target in the passing game. In a Week 2 matchup against a high-flying Dolphins offense, it's possible the Patriots air it out another 40-plus times on Sunday, putting Bourne in line for another productive day. I like him as a WR3/Flex play for teams hurting at receiver.
Nico Collins (HOU)
Collins and the Texans fell 25-9 to the Ravens in Week 1 and spent the fourth quarter playing catch up. Stroud attempted 44 passes on the day, with 15 of those attempts coming in the fourth quarter, but the Texans are a team that will likely find themselves in many negative game scripts.
Last week, Collins benefitted from said negative script, leading the Texans with 11 targets while finishing with six catches for 80 yards. Per the Fantasy Points Data Suite, Collins was the first read on 33.3 percent of the Texans' targets, which also led the team.
The Texans ran just 26 plays in neutral game script last week but aired the ball out at a 64 percent rate in said situations. When trailing by three or more points last week, they threw at a 67 percent rate.
Offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik joined the Texans' staff this offseason and is widely regarded as an up-and-coming coach. Slowik is yet another branch off the Shanahan coaching tree and spent time with both Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay during their time in Washington under Mike Shanahan.
In addition to the targets Collins could see due to game script, I'd expect Slowik to run an aggressive passing attack as Stroud gets more comfortable in the offense. I'd also expect Slowik to find ways to scheme his receivers open, something Shanahan has become famous for doing in his QB-friendly system. Collins is yet another receiver who went late in fantasy drafts but could be in line for heavy volume thanks to his team situation and role in the offense.
Zay Flowers (BAL)
Everything about Zay Flowers' Week 1 outing was unexpected. Flowers led the Ravens in targets (10), was second in snaps (54), and was the first read on 60 percent of the Ravens' targets.
I wouldn't expect the Ravens to pull Flowers off the field any time soon, but it's unlikely he'll see double-digit targets and be the No. 1 guy at a 60 percent rate every week. Still, the Ravens were fine with trusting Flowers as their WR1 last week and deploying him all over the field. Flowers saw 43.8 percent of his snaps in the slot and 56.3 of his snaps out wide and was also gifted several easy looks.
Baltimore targeted Flowers behind the line of scrimmage on six separate occasions and allowed him to use his shiftiness to create after the catch. On those targets alone, Flowers earned fantasy managers a respectable 7.8 fantasy points in PPR leagues and added to that total with a few downfield looks.
Last season, under offensive coordinator Greg Roman, the Ravens targeted their wide receivers just 19 times behind the line of scrimmage. Flowers could surpass that total by October, providing fantasy managers with an easy path to points that won't always require downfield looks.
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Week 1 Expected Points
Kyle Granson (IND)
The tight end position is gross for fantasy. Since the beginning of time, fantasy managers have tried to hack into the fantasy points database and give their big, burly pass catchers more fantasy points, but it has yet to work out.
With Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews both sidelined in Week 1, the position looked far worse than usual.
One potential bright spot in the tight end void was Colts third-year tight end, Kylen Granson. Yes, Granson managed just 8.1 expected points on the day, but his six targets tied for the seventh most at tight end last week, and he was the first read on 23.1 percent of his team's targets, good for sixth-best.
He also ran 33 routes, saw 54.5 percent of his snaps come from the slot, was in on 72.3 percent of passing plays, and led all Colts tight ends with 43 snaps.
Granson managed just four receptions for 39 yards when all was said and done. Still, fantasy managers without a top-five option at the position would be wise to at least track Granson's progress in the coming days to see if the Colts continue to rely on him in the passing game. Week 1 was encouraging.
Hayden Hurst (CAR)
Hurst was touted as one of Bryce Young's preferred targets in the passing game for a significant portion of the offseason.
If his usage in Week 1 against the Falcons was any indication, those rumors could prove very true.
Hurst finished last week as the overall TE2 in fantasy points (15.1) and was fifth in expected fantasy points (12.5). He converted his team-high seven targets into a line of 5-41-1 and was on the field for 64.3 percent of the Panthers' passing plays.
In a Week 2 matchup against the Saints, Hurst is well worth a shot for teams already scrounging for points at the position.