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Kirk Cousins vs Green Bay Packers

The 2022 regular season is rapidly approaching, and rosters are beginning to solidify. Sports bettors and fantasy football players are performing all types of research, trying to find the best edges to make a profit. As a one-stop shop for both, here are some statistically-backed arguments for players that will help you cash your season-long futures and player props and help win your fantasy football league. 

Kirk Cousins

With a new offensive-minded coach from the Sean McVay coaching tree, Kirk Cousins has a real opportunity to become one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. Cousins enters this season after posting the 4th highest On-Target% with 79.3%, 2nd-lowest INT% at 1.2% and was tied for 3rd among QBs with at least 100 attempts with an Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt (ANY/A) of 7.4.

ANY/A is a metric that values touchdowns, turnovers and sacks and factors this in with yards.

Already knocking on the door of being elite, Cousins now has a coach that had plenty of success as the offensive coordinator with the Rams. Last season, Kevin O’Connell helped orchestrate an offense that was top 5 in EPA and positive play percentage.

Additionally, the Rams ran 11 personnel at the highest rate in the NFL, resulting in the 2nd-highest positive play percentage.

On the contrary, the Vikings used 11 personnel at the 4th-lowest rate. With one of the best wide receiver trios in Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn, utilizing more 11 personnel will lead to more success for the Vikings’ offensive attack.

With a history of proven efficiency, a new offensive-minded head coach that can maximize volume and top-end returning talent, Cousins is certainly a buy-on QB in the betting market and in fantasy.

Cousins should have high volume, and he plays the 6th-easiest schedule via the Total Points Team Strength Model from SIS. Those factors add to his high upside this year.

Najee Harris

In 2021, Najee Harris was drafted to correct a Steelers running game that ranked last in the league in rushing yards in 2020 and to supplement Ben Roethlisberger’s final season. Harris reached 1,200 rushing yards, which ranked 4th in the NFL. 

However, this production was the result of volume more so than his efficiency. Harris ranked 2nd in rushing attempts at 307, putting him at 3.9 yards per carry. This was good for only 52nd in the league among running backs with at least 50 attempts. Also, Harris’ inefficiency can be highlighted by his EPA per attempt at -0.07, which ranked 40th.

Harris’ inefficiency was exacerbated by running behind one of the worst run-blocking offensive lines in the league. The Steelers ranked 30th in run blocking Total Points. The Steelers did add center Mason Cole from the Vikings and guard James Daniels from the Bears, via free agency, but they aren’t significant enough to move the needle in their favor.

With Roethlisberger leaving, his replacement will hopefully have an ADoT greater than 6.7 yards (3rd lowest in NFL among QBs with at least 100 attempts). In theory, this could create more opportunities for Harris to work against lighter boxes and have more room to run. However, against defenses that showed six or fewer defenders in the box, Harris averaged only 4.2 Y/A in 2021, which ranked as the 5th worst in the NFL among RBs with 50 or more carries. 

In regards to the potential volume in 2022, the Steelers have made it known they will be reducing Harris’ workload to keep him fresh throughout the season. With the forecast of a lighter workload combined with his inefficiency, Harris could end the year finishing below his expectation.

Gabe Davis

Gabe Davis enters the 2022 season as the clear-cut WR2 on a Bills team that lost Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley, who were targeted a combined 185 times in 2021.

Additionally, with an MVP-caliber quarterback in Josh Allen, the Bills will look to build upon a passing offense that finished 5th in passing attempts the previous season.

With the volume there for the taking, Davis will look to build upon a great finish to his season. Everyone will remember the 8 receptions for 201 yards and 4 touchdowns in the playoffs against the Chiefs, but Davis’ targets increased as the regular season went along last year.

With his 62 targets, Davis posted 549 yards and 6 touchdowns in regular season play. He led the Bills with 8.9 yards per target and posted a 0.29 EPA per target, good for 33rd in the NFL among 140 receivers with at least 50 targets. Davis also ranked 13th in receiving Total Points when targeted in the end zone with 4.2. Surprisingly, Davis had three more Total Points than his counterpart Stefon Diggs in this area, but Diggs led the NFL in end zone targets with 19.

The volume in this offense is there for Davis to take a step forward and become one of the NFL’s top targets.

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