It’s pretty fair to say that I’m by no means an expert when it comes to fantasy sports. I joined my first fantasy football league almost ten years ago and have been a part of at least a couple leagues every season each year since. I’ll normally drop around $50 to join a cash league of fantasy football players but of course, the most important one to win is the “bragging rights” league my buddies and I started several years ago.
I’m normally slightly above average, at best. Like my near-to-my-heart Dolphins for the last decade, a .500 regular-season record and MAYBE squeaking into the playoffs was par for the course for my fantasy teams. In the last almost ten years, I’ve made it into the playoffs maybe two or three times. Each playoff appearance for my fantasy teams saw a fairly quick elimination usually in the first or second round leaving me trying to make the best of it and trudging my way through the consolidation ladder.
Then we find ourselves in the 2019 season. In the least braggy tone possible, I found myself looking like a fantasy football wizard throughout the entire season. I was dominating my matchups each week and quickly becoming the top seed in both of my leagues. I finished my cash league with a 10-3 record and finally getting knocked out in the final championship matchup last weekend (I’m still reeling from Saquon Barkley putting up almost 44 points against me in the final round). I had a little bit of a tougher go of it in my buddies league with an 8-6 record but still managed to make the top seed and am playing for the championship in Week 17.
So what’s different? What changed? How was I able to go from an average-at-best competitor year after year to become the man to beat this year in both of my leagues? Well, this year I had a secret weapon as part of my arsenal when it came to making waiver moves that I haven’t had previously. This year, I had access to the Offensive Share Metrics at Pro Football Network.
All season long, PFN updates their OSM grades weekly based on offensive player’s individual performances. OSM works by honing in on stats that are solely in that particular player’s control such as yards after catch or catch percentage. Because OSM grades a player on just their own performance and doesn’t include stats that require success of a second player, it results in an easy way to see which players are most responsible for a team’s success that week. An offensive player with a higher OSM grade this week means that player did more individually for the team that week than his counterparts.
This data translates tremendously well for fantasy football. As it turns out, many of the same stats that result in big fantasy points also drives up that player’s OSM grade. If a player racked up a hefty amount of fantasy points, he almost always is also going to have a high OSM grade that week as well. This helped me to create a “cheat sheet” of players each and every week. Because OSM is just straight data, no opinions, you’re left with a true, unfiltered list of top offensive players that week. Ignoring the big names like Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, and Christian McCaffrey, OSM helped me identify sleepers early on that hadn’t started putting up big numbers just yet.
Here are some of my favorite players that I picked up this year based on their OSM grades:
DeVante Parker was by far my favorite fantasy pickup this year. I was able to pick up DVP early on in Week 7. This was still during the time in the season when Miami was being considered the “worst team in the history of the NFL”. Miami had some ugly games up until this point so far but Parker has managed to put out a couple of really impressive OSM grades, including a Week 3 performance that was considered very good on the OSM grading scale. By this point, Parker was averaging 9.58 points per game and was getting almost no attention in fantasy rankings but I just couldn’t ignore his OSM grade trends. This turned out to be one of my best moves this season. Since picking up Parker, he has averaged 16.46 points per game and continued to have consistent good-very good OSM grades. He started getting some serious fantasy love from fantasy owners about 3 weeks after I grabbed him from the waiver wires. Wizard.
I picked up Miles Sanders in Week 8 this season. He was averaging just shy of 11 points a game and just came off his highest fantasy point game of the season so far. But what caught my eye was his OSM trends. He was ticking in the right direction with his week-to-week OSM trends and putting up some competitive grades even though he wasn’t the starter for the Eagles (this led to me putting out an article on his OSM a little later on). Sanders started getting a lot more fantasy attention several weeks later with Jordan Howard showing up on the injury report, but by then, he had already been a staple on my fantasy team. Since bringing on Sanders, he has averaged 32.74 points per game. Big-time win.
In Week 9, Deebo Samuel still sat in the waiver wire in both of my leagues. He didn’t have crazy impressive fantasy stats yet; he was only averaging 8.62 points per game. However, once again he had an OSM trend that was too good to pass up. He had an overall OSM grade of 35.74 on the season which is creeping up on “Elite” status according to the OSM grading scale. I grabbed Samuel from the wires based on his OSM trends and it immediately started paying off. Since picking up Samuel, he almost doubled his fantasy production and has averaged 15.72 points per game. Once again, by the time Samuel started getting some serious fantasy attention from fantasy managers, he had already been sitting on my team for weeks.
The Offensive Share Metric was a true game-changer for me this year. It gave me access to a slew of new data that I haven’t previously had in the past. By combining the data and grades of OSM with the research and opinions of the more traditional fantasy news from sources like Yahoo Fantasy, I was able to make waiver moves weeks in advance and find players that hadn’t quite broken out yet. This led to me making the final championship round in both of my leagues for the first time and (hopefully by the time you’re reading this) walking away with my first ever fantasy football championship win.