Fantasy Football Stats
It’s so unbelievably good to have football back. Even though Week 1 was a bizarre week for fantasy and real football, the NFL only knows how to be chaotic. There are about a million stats that you could be from any given football game. This weekly article will pick off 15 that caught my eye for the week.
Of course, it’s not going to be every single thing that happened this past week. The most important thing to take from these stats is how to spin it forward. For better or worse, this is the way things happened in Week 1. Now it’s time to make your fantasy team better for Week 2!
1. Tom Brady goes 16-of-36 for just 267 yards
This was the first time Brady has been under 50% completion in a regular season game since October 20th, 2013 versus the Jets. The majority of fantasy leagues don’t get points for completions, but this was still a very bad performance nonetheless. This seems to signal that the Patriots do miss WR Julian Edelman more than we thought they would. As much as I don’t want to predict injury, I just can’t get behind Danny Amendola staying healthy, even if he gets cleared for Week 2.
It’s probably wise to balance the bad with the understanding that TE Rob Gronkowski was held in check by Chiefs safety Eric Berry. Brady and newly acquired WR Brandin Cooks weren’t quite on the same page yet. Even with that, Cooks drew pass interference on two plays that would have made Brady looked a LOT better. Coach Bill Belichick is the best at adjusting game plans and player usage. It would make a lot of sense to see Cooks catching some quick slants or screens this week. I don’t believe many fantasy players are panicking and that’s the best course. Brady and the New England offense will get back on track, most likely this week when they play New Orleans.
2. Leonard Fournette hits 100 yards rushing in his debut and scores a touchdown
I’ve been down on Fournette through a lot of the off-season process. My issue wasn’t a question about talent. It was how would Fournette be effective in the offense? QB Blake Bortles had regressed into one of the worst starters in the league and there was noise about T.J. Yeldon taking the passing down work. I felt that defense would load the box on Fournette and force Bortles to make plays. The Texans defense did load the box on Sunday-
Leonard Fournette faced 8+ defenders in the box on 58% of his carries today which led the NFL, per #NextGenStats
Still posted 100 yds/1 TD pic.twitter.com/hqNFpyr4OO
— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) September 11, 2017
It didn’t matter as Fournette ground it out and got the job done. He even added 3 receptions for 24 yards with Yeldon being inactive. The Jacksonville offense did take a hit in the passing game as they lost Allen Robinson to a torn ACL. At least for one game, it didn’t matter. Robinson was lost within 2 minutes of kickoff and Fournette still smashed. There will be some games where Fournette will disappoint, but he seems like a solid RB2 with big upside. I may have whiffed on him in season long formats.
3. Titans WR Corey Davis sees 10 targets and posts a line of 6 receptions for 69 yards
QB Marcus Mariota let owners down some on Sunday. He didn’t throw for a touchdown in what was expected to be a high scoring affair. Mariota attempted 41 passes and rookie Corey Davis saw the team lead with 10 targets. The distribution was fairly even, as Rishard Matthews and Delanie Walker saw 9 and Eric Decker saw 8. Davis fell down fantasy draft boards since he was injured through most of training camp and preseason. Owners who took the discount might have a massive bargain on their hands. The stat line doesn’t jump out at you, but the Davis and Mariota connection will only get better with more game experience.
4. WR Randall Cobb leads the Green Bay Packers in targets
There is potential this stat is just a product of facing the Seattle Seahawks defense in Week 1. QB Aaron Rodgers is one of the best at picking on the opposition’s worst defensive back. I believe this trend will (sort of) continue. Most weeks, Cobb isn’t going to lead the Packers in targets. He also is in line for a very nice season now that he’s healthy. I really feel like the 2016 version of Davante Adams was just a matter of Rodgers needed someone to be the #2 wide receiver. CObb most likely doesn’t have the same ceiling he did a few seasons back when both he and Jordy Nelson were top 12 WR options. Judging from one week, Cobb should be a very solid back end WR2 with a couple big games mixed in.
#Packers targets: Randall Cob 13, Jordy Nelson 8, Davante Adams 7, Martellus Bennett 6, Ty Montgomery 4, Lance Kendricks 4.
— Chris Raybon (@ChrisRaybon) September 11, 2017
5. Ty Montgomery sets a career high in carries with 19
Staying in Green Bay for a moment, Coach Mike McCarthy appears to not have been blowing smoke when he said Montgomery is the starting back and his development is over. Not only did he handle 19 carries, he added 4 receptions and was on the field constantly.
Packers RB snaps: Ty Montgomery 74 (!), Jamaal Williams 6. Falcons next.
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) September 11, 2017
If this is the usage for Montgomery in this high powered of an offense, he could be a top 10-12 RB for fantasy. I really didn’t know what to make of Montgomery coming into the season. I wasn’t sure if he could make the full transition to the running back position and now I wish I had been a bit more invested. Montgomery is primed for a big season.
6. Paul Perkins records 25 total yards on 9 touches
Perkins was a popular Zero RB strategy pick seeing as how he was going at a reasonable draft price and he should have most of the work to himself. About all that…
Giants final HB snap count: Shane Vereen 31, Paul Perkins 18, Orleans Darkwa 8
— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) September 11, 2017
I’m not going to go too crazy because the Giants were trailing for a significant portion of this game. Part of that is the Giants offense looked flat and unable to move the ball. Sure, Odell Beckham missed the game but even he shouldn’t be this important to an offense. Shane Vereen is clearly the passing down back and the Giants want to be a pass heavy team. QB Eli Manning really struggled Sunday night and if he’s unable to rebound, any Perkins share will go up in flames. I still want to see the offense at full strength, but the early returns were not good at all.
7. Todd Gurley rushes for 40 yards
Gurley wasn’t too bad for fantasy this week with 96 total yards and a touchdown. It’s hard to complain about the raw numbers but if I could move Gurley today, there’s a good chance I would. It was great to see him so involved in the passing game. Six targets and five receptions would translate to 80 receptions. Gurley almost certainly doesn’t have that kind of ceiling even though he was productive in that facet. New Coach Sean McVay wants Gurley to be a workhorse back. Even in the best game script possible, Gurley only averaged 2.1 YPC. The Rams were up huge from almost the moment the game kicked off. QB Jared Goff had his best game as a pro. Yet, Gurley still fell flat on the ground. It’s high time to realize his four monster games as a rookie appears to be the exception, not the rule.
Todd Gurley has 280 carries for 878 yards over his last 16 games. If over a full season, would be 3rd worst all-time in terms of YPC (3.14).
— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) September 11, 2017
8. Jared Goff throws for over 300 yards for the first time
As I said, Goff had his best game as a pro. He only attempted 29 passes but completed 21 of them for 306 yards and a touchdown. It’s a little coincidental that this stat popped up considering Sean McVay coordinated for Washington last year.
Jared Goff attempted 5 deep balls and completed 4 (112 yd, 1 TD, perfect 158.3 rating)
Kirk Cousins attempted 5 deep balls and completed 0.
— Pat Thorman (@Pat_Thorman) September 11, 2017
I’m totally on board with Goff, McVay and the passing offense at this point. I’m not saying that Goff is an every week starter but he’s going to be a solid fantasy contributor this year. The difference between the 2016 Rams offense and 2017 version is about as far apart as you can get. McVay knows how to make an offense succeed and WRs Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp will be fantasy mainstays this year.
9. DeAndre Hopkins sees 16 targets
This is a case of not always chasing raw target numbers. Yes, they’re important and it’s one thing I want in my WR. There’s some pretty massive context to understanding why Hopkins saw this amount of targets. Firstly, rookie QB DeShaun Watson needed a security blanket when he took over after halftime.
DeAndre Hopkins was targeted on 11 of Deshaun Watson's 23 attempts (47.8%) and had another 3 targets negated by penalty.
— Jared Smola (@SmolaDS) September 11, 2017
It’s probably not the best idea to assume Hopkins will see near 50% of the target share in games moving forward. In addition, Houston was down 19-0 when Watson took the reigns. That’s simply not the way games will unfold for Houston very often. Their defense is much better than they showed on Sunday and I don’t think opposing defenses will dominate the way Jacksonville did on Sunday. I’m still not counting on Hopkins as much more than a flex option moving forward.
10. Chris Carson leads the Seattle backfield in snaps
Seahawks final HB snap count: Chris Carson 27, CJ Prosise 15, Eddie Lacy 7. Out of 49
— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) September 10, 2017
We still need to factor in Thomas Rawls when he’s healthy but Carson appeared to seize the reins. It remains to be seen just how effective any back can be on the ground with the offensive line playing as poorly as it did in Green Bay. Still, Carson has flashed any time he gets an opportunity. Coach Pete Carroll has a history of ignoring what type of money or draft capital has been spent on a player. He generally puts his best squad on the field and Carson may leap frog Eddie Lacy and Rawls for the early down work in Seattle. Prosise will likely have a role no matter what. Carson is still very much worth getting on your fantasy team now.
11. Kenny Golladay explodes for 2 touchdowns
The off-season hype train for Golladay arrived in a big way on Sunday. With Arizona CB Patrick Peterson covering Marvin Jones most of the day, Golladay got loose for four receptions, 69 yards and found paydirt twice. He is officially on the fantasy map and could be a nice flex option moving forward. The Lions run a no-huddle offense a ton and per Matt Harmon, they also led the NFL with plays in 11 personnel. For anyone unfamiliar, 11 personnel means that there are 1 RB, 1 TE and 3 WR on the field.
Important for Kenny Golladay:
– #Lions ran 11 personnel on 54 plays in Week 1 (led the NFL)
– Led team in % of air yards 37.7%#NextGenStats pic.twitter.com/LYiFIyJPA4
— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) September 11, 2017
12. Tarik Cohen totals 113 yards and 1 touchdownThe Bears said Cohen would have a role in the offense. I’m not sure anyone expected him to fly out of the gates like this. He was explosive and dangerous every time he touched the ball. I’m definitely interested in picking him up off the waiver wire. Just be sure to temper expectations a little bit. He’s not going to average almost 10 yards a touch.He’s a very small back, listed at just 5’6″ and 176 pounds. Cohen will be interesting especially in PPR leagues since the Bears lost WR Kevin White to a collarbone injury. Jordan Howard owners will be upset, but it is possible that Howard and Cohen form a very effective combo in the Chicago backfield.
13. The Saints backfield is a mess
Okay, technically that’s not a stat, but there’s just no other way to explain the usage we saw on Monday Night Football. The Saints went and signed Adrian Peterson which didn’t make a lot of sense when it happened. They already had Mark Ingram who went over 1,000 yards rushing last season. Then they drafted rookie Alvin Kamara who is a good fit for New Orleans but wasn’t totally needed. The first game proved it will be almost impossible to predict who’s going to get the work and who you should play moving forward.
— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) September 12, 2017
Kamara got most of the snaps. We don’t know is if this was a product of the Saints trailing or if Kamara is going to be the back to own. What had to be troubling for Peterson owners was he was lifted when New Orleans had a goal-to-go situation. If you can’t rely on AP in that spot, there’s almost no way he returns draft day value. Barring an injury, you can’t trust any of these three backs.
14. Hunter Henry is held without a reception
The popular breakout pick at TE let owners down Monday night. You can forgive a pass catcher for an off night when they play against the Denver Broncos defense. What is extremely troubling for any owner is Henry ran routes on single digit plays.
Chargers Tight Ends
Antonio Gates: 25 routes
Hunter Henry: 7 routes
Sean Culkin: 3 routes
— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) September 12, 2017
Everyone assumed Gates would still be involved in the gameplan. Even as he gets up there in age, he can still be a mismatch in the red zone. I had no idea Henry would be this far in the backseat.Henry owners are hoping it’s an anomaly. He should be deployed more in the coming weeks. Henry can create an issue for opposing defenses anywhere he lines up. He had a very good rookie year and he still should be able to build on it in 2017. It’s not the worst idea to float a low ball offer out there if you’re weak at the TE position.
15. Stefon Diggs shines for 93 yards and 2 touchdowns
During draft season, I was often faced with the choice of taking Washington WR Jamison Crowder or Diggs. I kind of want to punch myself in the face every time I took Crowder. It’s less of this week when Crowder was almost totally shutout as coming to realize that Diggs is a star in the NFL. QB Sam Bradford is highly underrated and Diggs is the clear alpha in a super efficient passing game. I wish I had taken Diggs in literally every draft.
Be sure to reach out on Twitter to let me know some of the stats that caught your eye!
I’m a sports fanatic who wears it on my sleeve (seriously, I have a Pittsburgh sports tattoo). I’m just a big scruffy looking nerf-herder who somehow managed to marry an incredible and supportive woman, have a wonderful family and a sweetheart dog. When I’m not at work, odds are I’m watching sports or the latest comic book movie. Life is good, it’s just much better with fantasy football in it. The sarcastic and above it all fantasy analysis is overdone, I’m here to bring it back to what you need to know with a terrible sense of humor. Let’s win some fantasy titles!