Fantasy Football Stats: Week 15
Since the season is almost over, the format in this article is changing just a bit. Typically, I’ve tried to identify trends or stats and spin them forward to help the rest of the season. While some of these takeaways are still useful for the next couple weeks, some of them will be just for fun. It’s been a long season and if you’re still alive in the playoffs, best of luck in your semi-final!
1. Antonio Brown Continues to be the Gold Standard in Fantasy Football
I recently made the case in this article that Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown should be the consensus number one pick in any 2018 fantasy draft. He doesn’t miss games, as evidenced by his performance in Cincinnati. He had a pretty bad toe injury that left him hobbled in his pre-game warmup. Then he went out and caught eight passes for 101 yards and a touchdown. Brown has been white hot the last four weeks. He’s been so good, he’s actually out-scored other players for the entire season in just one month.
You could make the case he’s the MVP of the NFL. He actually only needs 456 yards in his next three games to break the single-season record for receiving yards. This is very much within the realm of possibilities and it could be fun seeing him try to track it down. As long as his quarterback is stable next year, draft Antonio Brown and rest easy.
2. What in the World is Going on With Mike Evans?
It’s been a tough season in Tampa Bay. This team had playoff aspirations in the pre-season but now sit dead last in the NFC South. One of the reasons they have been so poor is because receiver Mike Evans is having a terrible year. He only has four touchdowns on the season and has only exceeded 80 yards in a game on four occasions. There was thought that this past week his lack of involvement was because of Detriot Lions cornerback Darius Slay, but that wasn’t the case.
Evans should be a premier weapon in the NFL. His size alone makes him difficult to guard and he’s performed well before. The fact that he’s had such a poor season makes him a little scary going into 2018. His track record has been volatile so far in his career.
3. I Hate Mike Mularkey
Honestly, the Tennessee Titans offense has been awful so far. Quarterback Marcus Mariota has regressed and it seems defenses are better prepared for Mularkey and his “exotic smashmouth”. The receivers brought in through free agency and the draft hasn’t worked out at all and there’s a stark refusal to play one of their best players.
This isn’t even a situation where a player is inherited by a coaching staff. This regime drafted Henry with a relatively high pick and just don’t put him on the field. It’s baffling.
4. The Panthers Still Seem Unsure with Christian McCaffrey
Rookie running back Christian McCaffrey continues to be a little bit of an enigma. He’s been perfectly fine for fantasy but hasn’t really produced any eye-popping results to this point. One of the reasons for that is the Panthers waffle back and forth on his involvement in the offense. A few weeks ago, he was seeing his usage rise. That has changed recently.
McCaffrey still gets valuable targets in the red-zone, but this seasons probably isn’t what some fantasy owners were hoping for. It’s also a little odd that Carolina took him with a top 10 pick but can’t seem to settle on how to use him. It will be interesting to see how h develops in this offense moving forward.
5. Alabama is Ridiculous
This isn’t a huge takeaway for fantasy football, but take look at the running backs Alabama had on their roster at one point.
Oh, and they also had Eddie Lacy the season before that. That depth chart is just unfair and it’s a testament to the success of the Alabama program.
6. New England’s Offense Achieved a Rare Feat Monday Night
The Miami Dolphins rose up out of nowhere to beat the New England Patriots pretty handily Monday night. In the aftermath, one of the reasons for the loss was pretty clear: the Patriot offense couldn’t stay on the field.
It had been 28 years since the Patriots went without converting a third down and that’s a startling stat for a Tom Brady-led offense. It’s funny to see what happens when Brady gets pressured and doesn’t have Rob Gronkowski to help move the chains. Surely this is a bump in the road for the Patriots offense, but Brady has seen his end of the season stats drop these past few years.
7. These are the Red Zone Target Leaders at Each Position
8. Give Jay Ajayi the Ball
The Philadelphia Eagles are now without quarterback Carson Wentz for the rest of the season after he tore his ACL this past Sunday. He seemed like he might have escaped injury for a minute because he stayed in the game after he took a monster hit and threw a touchdown pass. However, now Philly will have to try and win without him. One of the best ways to do that is going to be turning running back Jay Ajayi into the workhorse.
This isn’t to say that LeGarrette Blount shouldn’t still see some work. He’s been better than most will want to recognize this season. However, Philly’s best bet moving forward might be to turn into the North version of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Rely on your defense, run a smashmouth offense and rely on Nick Foles just to manage the game. They still have a talented enough roster to retain the number one seed in the NFC. They just need to utilize their personnel.
9. The Rams are Fun to Watch
This is mostly because I like piling on Jeff Fisher and recognizing just how well Sean McVay has done his first season as coach.
Granted, the offensive side of the ball is very different as far as personnel. Let’s be honest, would Jeff Fisher know what to do with that offense anyways? The answer is no, no he wouldn’t.
10. The Rookie Yards Leaders are Very Interesting
While a lot of fantasy players were chasing John Ross and Corey Davis in dynasty or late round fliers(I’m guilty on the Corey Davis account), the rookies who actually produced on the field weren’t very highly sought after.
The running backs can be sort of thrown out on this one, but the receiving options didn’t have the buzz in the offseason. Sure, Kupp got some late love after we saw the Rams produce in the pre-season. If you had Keelan Cole gaining more yards than Davis or Ross, I’m probably going to say you’re a liar. It just goes to show how some fantasy players overrate draft stock in real life football. A team like the Bengals took John Ross in the top 10, didn’t let him on the field, and reportedly toyed with giving him reps at cornerback. Some teams just don’t know what they’re doing and even though draft stock can be important, it’s never the be all, end all.
Thanks for reading!