10 Interesting Fantasy Football Stats

10 Interesting Fantasy Football Stats Heading into Week 14We’re back again to discuss some of the more interesting aspects of last weeks games. There’s a receiver screaming regression, a tight end replacement for owners who need it, and an elite fantasy player that I may not touch in any draft next season. It’s finally fantasy playoffs, one of the best times of the season. Let’s get into how to help the owners still needing it for the postseason.

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1. Ben McAdoo deserved to be fired

That’s not exactly a bold statement as the New York Giants have absolutely disintegrated in 2017 after making the postseason last year. McAdoo then completely botched the benching of quarterback Eli Manning. There’s never an easy way to transition away from a player that has meant that much to a franchise. McAdoo made it much more drama filled than it needed to be. If you watched the Giants offense, it always seemed uncreative even when it was healthy. The numbers point to exactly that:

Some of these numbers are skewed slightly because of injuries this year. This is still incredibly bad for a coach that was supposed to have a strength in offensive football. The Giants will need to go through a reload, but they have some pieces ready to roll for their next coach.

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2. Drew Brees is mediocre for fantasy

I’ve used this space to gush about rookie running back Alvin Kamara before. He and Mark Ingram form a lethal duo for the Saints and are the main reason they’re in a position to win the NFC South. The flip side of that is that quarterback Drew Brees has seen his numbers dip. The yardage mark especially has taken a big hit.

4,400 yards would be fantastic for a lot of fantasy options. The problem is owners had to take Brees early in fantasy drafts and haven’t exactly gotten the production they thought. Brees is barely inside the top 10 at the QB position and is a scant five points from being outside the top 12. This will be vastly important to remember for next season. If the Saints offense stays basically the same, it’s a solid bet that Brees will be majorly overdrafted.

3. Jimmy Garoppolo could be fantasy gold

The newly minted quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers could have a huge effect on the fantasy playoffs. Not only is he a dramatic upgrade over rookie C.J. Beathard, but he could also help pieces of the 49er offense be fantasy relevant over the next two weeks. He’s only been there a short time but already helped out the top two receiving options in the offense.

San Francisco gets Houston this week and Tennessee next week. Granted, you can’t play anyone in this offense in championship week as they play Jacksonville. These three players are still attractive targets, depending on how deep the league is. Coach Kyle Shanahan is one of the best offensive minds in football. Garoppolo has shown accuracy and poise and could help owners get to the promised land. He could also be a great play in daily fantasy this week as the Texans do not have a good defense.

4. Great receivers just need consistent targets

When he’s been healthy, Los Angeles Chargers receiver Keenan Allen is one of the best in the NFL. Before the last three weeks, he was a bit disappointing for fantasy. Sure, he was a low-end WR2 but that wasn’t what owners were hoping for on draft day. For some unknown reason, the Chargers just weren’t throwing him the ball. That’s changed in a major way the past three weeks and Allen’s production has gone through the roof.

He went from just about nine targets a game to just over 13. That may not sound like a lot, but that’s a big spike. That’s especially true for a receiver like Allen who makes his money on the short to intermediate routes. He has single-handedly been carrying fantasy squads these past three weeks and the Chargers have no reason to stop feeding him.

5. Larry Fitzgerald is transcendent

Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has been so good for so long that some have more or less gone numb to it. It’s kind of the same thing with a player like quarterback Tom Brady. You see the high level of play for so long and it becomes the routine. Fitzgerald is one of the quietest and least flashy wideouts in the league, letting others get the headlines while he just flips the ball to the official and moves on. Take a look at these numbers from Pro Football Focus.

Since Fitzgerald has come into the league, his quarterback play has been…below average for the vast majority. The full list is

  • Josh McCown
  • Shaun King
  • John Navarre
  • Kurt Warner
  • Matt Leinart
  • Derek Anderson
  • John Skelton
  • Max Hall
  • Kevin Kolb
  • Ryan Lindley
  • Brian Hoyer
  • Carson Palmer
  • Drew Stanton
  • Blaine Gabbert

It’s truly a shame we didn’t see Fitgerald with a great QB for very long. It’s possible the record books could look a lot different had he had an elite option for most of his career.

6. Tackle Duane Brown has made a big impact in Seattle

It’s pretty easy to watch the Seattle offense and just assume that all they can do is bank on Russell Wilson making magic every play. I fall into that trap as well more often than not. However, the deadline deal with the Houston Texans for left tackle Duane Brown has paid off handsomely:

The Seahawks have bee crushed by injuries to key players, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Every little bit of help they can get goes a long way. This is a veteran team who has been there before and typically heats up late in the year. Fresh off a big win against the Eagles, Seattle has a dangerous offense because Wilson is just so hard to defend. If Brown continues to help the offensive line coalesce, they could be a very difficult team to beat.

7. David Njoku is gaining steam

The young Cleveland Browns tight end Davis Njoku has become a bigger part of the offense these past two weeks. It’s a bit of a surprise that it took this long since Cleveland wasn’t a contender this year. They used a first-round pick on a playmaker that they didn’t put on the field. While it’s difficult to rely on the Browns, tight end is an awful spot for fantasy players this year. Rob Gronkowski is suspended and Zach Ertz might miss with a concussion. If you’re in week one of the playoffs and are stuck at the position, keep these numbers in mind:

Cleveland needs to figure out what they have in quarterback Deshone Kizer so they have a plan for the 2018 draft. The best way to do that is to put Njoku, Josh Gordon, and Corey Coleman on the field as much as they can to give him a chance. You’re hoping for a few receptions and a touchdown from Njoku, but what tight end aren’t you playing that game with?

8. The past three first-round receivers have been just terrible to this point

The 2014 NFL Draft class saw an absurd amount of receiving talent in the first round. Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham, Brandin Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin all went in the first 32 picks and all have mostly lived up to their draft position. I say mostly because Watkins and Benjamin have had their injury issues. However, they look like Hall of Fame level players when you see the list of the past three drafts.

The jury is obviously still out on the 2017 class, but the rookie years have been massive failures. The only other three that have shown any amount of promise are Cooper, Fuller, and Agholor. Doctson is still a maybe at best. Everyone else is a massive flop. it’s weird to see things work out like this, but there’s no telling when this string will be reversed.

9. Robby Anderson is breaking out… and could regress next year

One of the brightest spots for the New York Jets this season has been the breakout of receiver Robby Anderson. He’s a young speedster that was thought of as a deep threat only coming into the season. He and quarterback Josh McCown have forged an unreal connection on their way to being reliable fantasy options. Anderson himself is top 10 in standard and top 15 in PPR. However, he could have a difficult time repeating his consistency in 2018.

On top of this, the Jets will likely have a new quarterback next season. McCown has played FAR above his head and he’s pushing 40 years old. It would be very surprising if Anderson didn’t have a new QB throwing him the ball next season. There’s no guarantee that he’ll have the same chemistry and there’s almost no possible way he repeats his deep efficiency. He could be an overdraft candidate next year.

10. Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is incredible…and scares me for 2018

Pittsburgh’s star running back has been a fantasy monster this season and that’s without a ton of touchdowns. With David Johnson being injured and Ezekiel Elliott being suspended, Bell has started to really pull away with the rushing title.

Rams running back Todd Gurley is the closest, but likely will not catch him. Bell will face a lot of questions after this season. First, will he even be a Steeler next season? He’s playing on a franchise tag and will need a new deal from someone. If he stays in Pittsburgh, will the offense stay the same? Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger could possibly retire and there’s always a chance that offensive coordinator Todd Haley could be a candidate for a head coaching job. Even if all these factors work for Bell, there’s going to be a serious workload concern.

If Bell keeps up his pace, he’ll wind up with 448 touches this year. That comes on the heels of 405 touches(including playoffs) in 2016. He’ll also assuredly rack up a heavy workload in this year’s playoffs. There’s a very real chance the Bell will accumulate 900+ touches in two seasons. He’s excellent at avoiding big hits and squirming away from tackles. Still, this will catch up at some point. Owners need to keep this in mind when he’s at the top of the board next season. Just because it’s fun, here’s Bell ruining Dre Kirkpatrick for the second time this season. Like I said, he’s good at not taking big hits.

Thanks for reading and good luck in the fantasy playoffs this week!