NFL Interesting Stats & Takeaways
As injuries and bye weeks continue to take their toll on fantasy owners, it really becomes important to try and spin these stats forward. Owners that have lost Aaron Rodgers or Odell Beckham are probably fairly desperate at the moment. Now’s the time to be a shark and go in for a big trade or popular waiver add. Take advantage of a team that is riddled with injuries or has some serious bye week problems. Let’s dive into the Week 6 stats!
1. The Green Bay Packers are likely done for the year
The injuries to star players continued in Week 6 when the Packers lost QB Aaron Rodgers to a broken collarbone, likely for the season. What’s really incredible is this stat for the Packer organization-
Since 1992, the #Packers have only played NINE games without Rodgers or Favre!
— Matt Williamson (@WilliamsonNFL) October 16, 2017
While Green Bay has seen the best run of quarterback play in the past 25 years, we’re concerned about how this effects the Green Bay offense the rest of the way. It’s unwise to count on Rodgers getting back in action this year. It’s also unclear what to expect of QB Brett Hundley. He’s been in the system for two full seasons now, so he should at least be comfortable with the terminology and everything else. I also wouldn’t put a ton of stock into how he looked in Minnesota. The Packers were on the road and the Vikings are a really good defense. The wisest course might be to view WRs Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams as WR2 options and Randall Cobb as a matchup-based flex until we see a better picture of the new Packers offense.
2. Kirk Cousins is fantasy elite
The Washington offense faced a lot of changes coming into this season. They lost coordinator Sean McVay, and both Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. There were plenty of questions about how the offense would function. The one player who hasn’t seen any negative effects is QB Kirk Cousins.
Since Week 1, Kirk Cousins has the third highest completion percentage, and leads the NFL in yards per attempt and passer rating.
— Pat Thorman (@Pat_Thorman) October 17, 2017
Cousins is inside the top 10 at QB and every other one still has their bye week to go except for Dak Prescott. What makes this all the more interesting is there is not one receiving option for Washington that is a playable asset for fantasy. You can’t trust Terrelle Pryor, Jamison Crowder, or Jordan Reed. RB Chris Thompson is the team’s leading receiver with 340 yards. The next closest player? Vernon Davis at 225. It was surprising to see these stats and make me wonder if players realize just how well Cousins is playing. Trading for QB can generally be a little difficult, but it wouldn’t hurt to make a run at Cousins, especially if you just lost Rodgers.
3. The Atlanta offense is close to hitting the panic button
If you read this article every week, I advocated trading for Matt Ryan during his bye week. His strength of schedule got easier and I just didn’t believe the Falcons would take a dramatic step back from 2016. Was Ryan a regression candidate? Absolutely. Even his worst critics probably didn’t see this big of a drop off coming.
Matt Ryan's statistical splits by offensive coordinator from 2015-17: pic.twitter.com/iLW4ZGThSV
— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) October 16, 2017
Ryan is seeing nearly the same volume as last season but has seen significant decrease across the board. It’s completely baffling to me why the Falcons have not gotten Julio Jones more involved to this point. He’s averaging 5 receptions for about 73.4 yards a game and is still searching for his first touchdown of the year. That yards per game average would be the lowest of his career. In the same vein, giving Devonta Freeman only 9 carries is stunning. The Falcons had the bye week and still haven’t figured things out. The NFL can be very complex. Other times, it’s just about getting the ball into the hands of your best players. If the Falcons don’t crush this week against a terrible New England defense, it’ll be time to hit that button.
4. The 49ers provide fantasy value for both teams
Maybe the headline is a bit obvious. The 49er squad isn’t very good on the defensive side of the ball and are forced into negative game scripts more often than not. San Francisco has kept scores close so far and fantasy players can take advantage of this across the board. One of the reasons that San Francisco provides value is the pace their offense plays at.
#49ers allow a league-high 70.8 plays/gm.
Since Week 2 they also run league-high 73.3 plays/gm & increased no-huddle rate 4 straight weeks.
— Pat Thorman (@Pat_Thorman) October 16, 2017
That amount of plays almost guarantees a nice floor for fantasy. Now factor in the San Francisco defense having some issues and you’ve got a good recipe for fantasy points. I wouldn’t be overly concerned that the 49ers might start rookie QB C.J. Bethard. He now will have a full week to prep and there’s no real reason to think Coach Kyle Shanahan will totally abandon his offense. He and the new regime picked Bethard and they may as well see what they have. The pace of play could have a big effect on daily if you play that style as well.
5. The Raiders offense has just one startable player right now
That’s something that I did not think I would type this season. Coming into this year, the consensus was the Raiders would have plenty of fantasy goodness. QB Derek Carr, an excellent WR combo in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, and they added RB Marshawn Lynch behind a very good offensive line. Now, Carr did miss a game with a back injury so that skews things just a little. Even still, the Raiders rank 30th in yards per game, 13th in total points and 18th in points per game. This is startling for an offense that was supposed to be one of the better ones in the league.
— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) October 16, 2017
Truthfully, I can’t sit here and explain what has gone wrong. Lynch doesn’t look very good but Oakland seems reluctant to push him aside. A lot of the blame has to fall on the passing game. The Raiders are in the bottom five in pass yards and while Carr should take his share, Amari Cooper might be the biggest head-scratcher in the NFL this season.
Amari Cooper WR81 on the season behind DeAnthony Thomas. Not sure what to do with that. Will he hit wires? Clearly he’s better than WR81.
— Josh Moore (@4for4_Josh) October 16, 2017
6. Jerick McKinnon could be a league winning waiver add
After Vikings rookie RB Dalvin Cook was lost to an ACL tear, fantasy players were left to decide whether they wanted to chase Latavius Murray or Jerick McKinnon. It seemed like McKinnon would be heavily involved in the passing game but we didn’t know if Murray would vulture him at the goal line. If you picked McKinnon, it looks like you picked right.
Dalvin Cook’s last 2 games – 243 total yards. Jerick McKinnon’s last 2 games – 245 total yards. Don’t kill the messenger. #Vikings
— Adam Spinks (@TheRBScout) October 16, 2017
The Minnesota offense really deserves a lot of credit so far this season. They haven’t had QB Sam Bradford basically at all. They lost Cook. WR Stefon Diggs has missed one full game and a good chunk of another. Still, they’re finding a way to get the job done. It gives me confidence that McKinnon can keep up this type of production. His floor in the passing game and ability to break a big play anytime he touches the ball is a good mix. There has always been a faction of fantasy analysts that love McKinnon because of his SPARQ score. He’s a freak athlete and it’s paying off on the field.
7. Dion Lewis could be back
It might seem like forever ago, but in early 2015 Patriots running back Dion Lewis was a fantasy darling. He was the main back in New England and was catching everything thrown to him. Then he suffered an ACL tear and never really found his footing in 2016. He entered 2017 buried on the depth chart behind James White, Mike Gillislee, and possibly even Rex Burkhead. The Patriots backfield might be undergoing a shift(big shocker there).
Dion Lewis snaps/touches last 3 games:
Wk 4: 20%, 5
Wk 5: 24%, 9
Wk 6: 43%, 11
Rush TDs inside 10: 2
Mike Gillislee rush TDs inside 10: 0
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) October 16, 2017
There’s really no way around the fact that Gillislee has been a disappointment. He’s under 4 yards per carry, isn’t getting any type of reliable volume, and is still waiting for his first target. In comparison, Lewis is at 5 yards per carry and has 7 receptions. It’s a small sample size to be sure but we know Lewis to be an accomplished receiver. If he starts taking over snaps from Gillislee and sharing near equal with James White, Lewis could be a very useful player the rest of the season.
8. We can continue to attack the Cardinals defense
The Cardinals defense has a reputation that they’re an excellent unit. Arizona is still tough against opposing running backs, giving up only 90 yards per game. Also, I’d still want no part of a receiver that had to deal with CB Patrick Peterson. Past that, I have no problem playing secondary wideouts against the Cardinals.
#Cardinals Justin Bethel allowed two more touchdowns while in coverage yesterday. That's now a league-leading six on the season.
— Adam Pfeifer (@APfeifer24) October 16, 2017
Arizona ranks 26th in passing yards given up and 28th in points given up per game. The Cards are a mediocre football team but they can score points. When they put up points, it’s going to force their opponents to throw quite often. When they do, there’s a good chance the offense can put up yards and points on the Cardinals defense. The Rams are an interesting team this week against Arizona, although I expect WR Sammy Watkins to see Peterson.
9. What happened in Denver Sunday night?
I still can’t possibly figure out how the Giants went into Denver Sunday and dominated the way they did. New York was down Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard. One of the main reasons they won was the play of RB Orleans Darkwa.
Melvin Gordon/Zeke/Shady/Beast Mode combined vs Broncos this season: 50 carries, 95 yards
Orleans Darkwa last night: 21 carries, 117 yards
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 16, 2017
Darkwa is certainly worth putting on your bench and seeing where it goes. However, this performance just screams fluke to me. The Broncos had been the best team against the run by a wide margin. It should have been fairly easy for Denver to focus on the run and make QB Eli Manning beat them with their great secondary. Darkwa has pushed Paul Perkins to the side and it would seem Wayne Gallman is nothing more than a change of pace back. I’ll buy in a little more if Darkwa can be productive against Seattle this week. Just be cautious with expectations.
10. Any Ezekiel Elliott replacement is not plug and play
As the legal process continues to crawl along with the Ezekiel Elliott case, fantasy players are left trying to guess if a suspension is coming and who can replace him if he is. Not only is it a total guess as to the roles of Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris, one of the best-kept secrets in football is the Dallas offensive line isn’t as good as it was last year.
— Pat Thorman (@Pat_Thorman) October 18, 2017
#Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott 2016 vs 2017
Yards after contact
2.9 vs 2.9
Yards before contact
2.2 vs 0.8
Touches per missed tackle
7.9 vs 7.6
— Pat Thorman (@Pat_Thorman) October 18, 2017
Some of these stats can be laid at the feet of Elliott himself. It’s entirely possible the stress of the off-field issues is having some effect on his play. I’m not trying to pick sides here or defend Elliott of any possible domestic abuse. I’m just pointing out it’s difficult to focus with everything happening. If Zeke still gets suspended this year, we likely see both McFadden and Morris get touches. However, with the offensive line being worse than last year, owners shouldn’t expect to have Zeke-light between either guy. I’m not against adding McFadden or Morris. It’s just important to realize what you’re getting: a time-share back with a questionable line.