One of the more powerful analytical measures to incorporate into your daily fantasy football strategy is called extra points added per play, or EPA, for short. The theory is that not all plays are of the same value when it comes to a fantasy point of view, although on paper they might at first seem that way. For example, if we are looking at two wide receivers, both of whom have 40 yards receiving on 8 catches, they might be pretty similar at first. But if one of them had 6 catches in the red zone and 3 touchdowns, while the other had 1 red zone catch and 0 touchdowns, even though their catches and yards are identical, one has a higher fantasy value than the other.
Ultimately, what EPA achieves is it takes the random nature out of specific events. Look at Julio Jones, for example. He led the league in yards last season with 1,871, but had just 8 touchdowns. DeAndre Hopkins had far fewer yards with just 1,521, but had 11 touchdowns. In many instances—depending on the scoring of the league that you are in—Hopkins was the better choice for your roster simply because he was more likely to score a touchdown than Jones. A proper use of EPA would have illuminated this fact for you and helped you to not only save money when it came to drafting players (Hopkins was typically cheaper than Jones), and it would have helped you to score more fantasy points, too.
None of the major fantasy sites will provide this data for you, and it is too cumbersome to go through every single game’s box score and determine an EPA for every single player. Instead of doing this, it is far more beneficial to uncover this data for just a handful of players. In all reality, EPA is a measure that should be used per play, but it does apply well to looking at how a team acts in certain situations. Remember that this data will become more and more helpful to you as the season progresses. As quarterbacks get deeper into their season, they will know with better accuracy which players they can count on in tough situations and which players are more likely to convert a play into points.
A very useful variation of this stat, and one that is far easier to figure out on your own, is calculating points per play for a given team. For example, we know that the Carolina Panthers scored 0.167 points per play in 2015. That made them the highest scoring team per play in the NFL last season. Another thing that we know is that at home, they scored 0.267 points per play, but only 0.050 when away. That means several things for our rosters. If we look at which players on the team saw the most carries and receptions, we can know who—besides Cam Newton—had good fantasy value. We can also know that their fantasy value was likely not nearly as good when the team was away. Even if all other things were identical, the likelihood of a great game from a fantasy perspective was far less simply because the Panthers were going into the end zone a lot less when they were on the road. From this simple set of numbers, we can take away a lot of info about fantasy performances, and we haven’t even delved into what kind of performances players were having.
This type of data is a good tool for helping you look at specific players on specific teams, and it is a great way to figure out which player is going to give you the best results on your team. Let’s say you have your final WR position on your roster narrowed down to three players of identical salary, but you’re not sure which player to draft. You can look at EPA and similar metrics to determine who is the most likely to have a good game this particular weekend, and can make a more educated decision from there.