Week one is always tough to navigate because we don’t have fresh data to work off of. Things can change dramatically in the NFL week to week, let alone year to year. Taking what we know from the previous season and applying it to the things we gained knowledge of in the offseason and preseason is the best we can do to make educated plays in the opening week of action. I will be doing a weekly worksheet for the games each week with updated 2014 information. Since we don’t have any info, I’ll be placing the 2013 data as a placeholder for week one.
- Seattle only allowed two top 12 weekly scoring quarterbacks in all of 2013 and they were both on the road and indoors to Matt Schaub and Andrew Luck.
- Last time Aaron Rodgers played in Seattle was week four of 2012. He threw 39 times but only for 223 yards with no touchdowns.
- At home, Seattle allowed 14.2 points per game and have held 22 of their past 23 opponents under 24 points at CenturyLink Field.
- Power backs gave Seattle trouble last season and they have lost Red Bryant on rushing downs. Zac Stacy, Frank Gore, Arian Foster and DeAngelo Williams all ran for 85 yards or more facing Seattle, but all of that damage was done while those backs were at home.
- Green Bay added Julius Peppers, but they also lost B.J. Raji inside. The Packers allowed seven 100-yard rushers in 2013 and on the road they allowed two or more passing touchdowns in six of their eight games.
- In the five games at home outside of divisional play, Russell Wilson averaged 21.6 fantasy points per game and threw 11 touchdowns to three interceptions.
Trust: Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Percy Harvin
Bust: Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson
Reasonable Return: Randall Cobb, Doug Baldwin
- Teams ran 30.2 times per game versus Chicago in 2013, which was the third most in the league. Buffalo ran 34.1 times per game, which led the entire NFL.
- Buffalo (19) and Chicago (18) allowed the most and second most rushing plays of 20 plus yards in 2013.
- After playing only 27 percent of the passing snaps in 2013, C.J. Spiller was targeted just four times this preseason while Fred Jackson was targeted 15 times. Spiller played 64 total snaps while Jackson played 63.
- Fred Jackson had 18 carries inside the five-yard line in 2013 while Spiller had only one.
- Jay Cutler threw two or more touchdowns in seven of his ten games while Buffalo allowed two or more passing scores nine times.
- Per Pro Football Focus, Leodis McKelvin and Stephon Gilmore only allowed three combined touchdowns in coverage, but combined they only covered the slot receiver 4.9 times per game. 39 of Brandon Marshall’s receptions came from the slot and five of his touchdowns. Alshon Jeffery also scored five of his seven touchdowns from the slot in 2013.
Trust: Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson
Bust: E.J Manuel, Sammy Watkins
Reasonable Return: Mike Williams, Martellus Bennett
- Torrey Smith has scored in only two of six games versus the Bengals and has topped 60 receiving yards (2011) only once. He totaled 73 yards in 2013 facing Cincinnati.
- The Bengals only allowed two individual running backs to rush for 70 or more yards in 2013 and allowed only 132 total rushing yards to Baltimore over their two meetings.
- Baltimore allowed only one 100-yard rusher, but allowed six backs to reach 30 receiving yards. Gio Bernard had five-plus receptions in each meeting with the Ravens. His 15 targets versus the Ravens last year where the second most for any Bengals player.
- A.J. Green scored in each meeting versus Baltimore in 2013 (one on a hail mary), but has been held to five or fewer receptions and 70 or fewer yards in four of his past five games against the Ravens.
- Andy Dalton completed only 51.7 percent of his passes and threw seven interceptions in his two games against the Ravens in 2013 and his career 62.4 quarterback rating in six games facing Baltimore is his worst versus any opponent he’s faced three or more times.
Trust: Dennis Pitta
Bust: Andy Dalton, Bernard Pierce, Tyler Eifert, Steve Smith, Torrey Smith
Reasonable Return: Gio Bernard, A.J. Green, Joe Flacco
- Antonio Brown had a stellar game week 12 facing Joe Haden with five receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown when the two locked up, so no need to run away. Haden did not play in the week 17 matchup.
- Cleveland allowed 13 touchdowns to secondary wide receivers and Markus Wheaton will draw rookie Justin Gilbert and Buster Skrine who is returning from thumb surgery.
- Cleveland was the sixth best defense in terms of yards per carry allowed at 3.9 while Pittsburgh was 29th as an offense in yards per carry at 3.5.
- Cleveland allowed only six backs to reach 80 yards rushing in 2013, but two were Le’Veon Bell who had 20 plus carries in each game.
- Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t thrown for 250 yards against Cleveland since 2011 but has 20 or more fantasy points and two or more passing touchdowns in five of those seven games.
Trust: Jordan Cameron, Markus Wheaton
Bust: Andrew Hawkins, Heath Miller
Reasonable Return: Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Ben Tate, Antonio Brown, Miles Austin
- Philadelphia allowed the most plays per game in the NFL in 2013.
- The Jaguars held six of the final eight opponents under 100 total yards rushing while the Eagles hit the century mark in 13 games in 2013.
- The Eagles were legitimately good versus the run, allowing 3.9 yards per carry which was the 9th best mark in the league. Teams ran 28.1 times per game versus them, which was the 11th most in the league. As a result, Philly allowed only four top 12 PPR backs all of 2013.
- Only Atlanta had fewer rushing plays than Jacksonville that went for five or more yards (6.1 per game) while Philadelphia averaged 12.6 such plays per game.
- Philadelphia allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers last season and allowed 18 top 24 PPR weekly scoring receivers and 10 top 10 weekly scorers.
- Jacksonville allowed 4.1 red zone attempts per game to opponents, most in the league while Philadelphia averaged 3.6 red zone trips per contest, 7th overall.
Trust: Jeremy Maclin, Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy, Marqise Lee
Bust: Marcedes Lewis, Cecil Shorts, Jordan Matthews
Reasonable Return: Toby Gerhart, Riley Cooper, Zach Ertz, Chad Henne, Allen Hurns
- Washington ranked third in offensive plays run while already trailing by double digits, while Houston ranked fourth.
- Andre Johnson has led the NFL in games with at least eight receptions over each of the past two seasons. His 16 games with eight or more grabs are five more than the next player, Brandon Marshall.
- DeAngelo Hall allowed 50 or more receiving yards in his coverage eight times in 2013.
- Washington allowed 10 passing touchdown to WR1’s and 10 to tight ends.
- Washington allowed only three 100-yard rushers all season, but led the entire league in rushing touchdowns allowed at 22.
- Alfred Morris led the entire NFL in 2013 with ten runs that went for at least 20 yards.
- Robert Griffin has one rushing touchdown in his past 22 games played.
Trust: Arian Foster, Garrett Graham, Andre Johnson, DeSean Jackson
Bust: Robert Griffin, Pierre Garcon, Jordan Reed
Reasonable Return: Ryan Fitzpatrick, DeAndre Hopkins, Alfred Morris
- Jamaal Charles averaged 21.9 touches per game and had 18 or more in 14 games in 2013, including 27 touches for 145 total yards against Tennessee.
- Tennessee allowed 17 running backs to catch three or more passes, including five to Charles in 2013.
- The Titans allowed two passing touchdowns in only three games in 2013 and only two 100-yard receivers.
- Tennessee allowed seven top 12 weekly scoring tight ends, mostly of the athletic variety. Vernon Davis, Coby Fleener, Jared Cook and Julius Thomas all were among the group.
- 39 percent of Justin Hunter’s targets in 2013 were on throws 20 or more yards downfield, the third highest percentage in the league. Kansas City allowed 63 pass plays of over 20 yards, third most in the league and 32 pass plays of over 30 yards, most in the NFL.
Trust: Justin Hunter, Kendall Wright, Shonn Greene, Jamaal Charles
Bust: Alex Smith, Bishop Sankey, Delanie Walker, Dexter McCluster
Reasonable Return: Jake Locker, Travis Kelce
- The Rams allowed only three tight ends to reach 50 receiving yards in 2013 and only one (Jason Witten) to reach five receptions in a game.
- Minnesota surrendered 13 touchdowns to tight ends and ILB Jasper Brinkley has never received a positive coverage grade in any season Per Pro Football Focus.
- Shaun Hill has thrown 16 passes since 2010. His last NFL start actually came versus Minnesota in which he went 28/39 for 258 yards and one touchdown and an interception.
- The Rams allowed only two rushers to reach 50 rushing yards in a game after week nine in 2013. Their 2.9 yards per carry allowed from week 10 on led the entire NFL.
- St. Louis was second in the NFL in sack percentage of drop backs (9.2 percent) behind only Carolina.
Trust: Zac Stacy, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jared Cook
Bust: Kyle Rudolph, Shaun Hill, Greg Jennings, Tavon Austin
Reasonable Return: Adrian Peterson, Kenny Britt
- Geno Smith averaged 20 fantasy points per week over the final four weeks on 2012, rushing for 40 yards or more in each game. That included a 50-yard rushing week versus Oakland week 14. He rushed for 47 yards on eight carries this preseason.
- Smith was in the top seven of all quarterbacks in terms of attempts, completions, and completion percentage on throws 20 or more yards downfield.
- Eric Decker was tied for second out of all receivers with 15 receptions on targets 20 or more yards downfield.
- Oakland blitzed 47.6 percent of their defensive snaps in 2013, second most in the league, but were only 20th in pressure rate.
- The Jets allowed 11 touchdown receptions of over 30 or more yards, the most in the league.
- Both teams only allowed only one 100-yard rusher each in 2013.
Trust: Geno Smith, Eric Decker, James Jones, NYJ DST
Bust: Maurice Jones-Drew, Chris Johnson, Denarius Moore, Derek Carr, Jace Amaro
Reasonable Return: Rod Streeter, Chris Ivory
- From when Sean Lee was injured in week 10 and on, Dallas allowed 147.1 yards rushing per game as opposed to 114.0 before when he was healthy. Here was the weekly damage and PPR points they allowed.
[table id=209 /]
- Dallas allowed 20 different backs to post top 24 scoring weeks, excluding week 17.
- After Lee was injured, Dallas allowed 2.4 passing touchdowns per game as opposed to 1.7 beforehand.
- Dallas allowed the most pass plays of 20 yards or more (71) in the league and were last in sack rate at 5.2 percent.
- Dallas allowed 3.9 red zone trips per game, which was 30th in the league.
- San Francisco ran the ball on 62 percent of their red zone plays, the second highest percentage behind Buffalo.
- These two teams each ranked 31st and 32nd in offensive plays per game in 2013.
- Dallas ran 55 plays or fewer in three of the seven games after Lee was injured.
- San Francisco will have six new defensive starters as opposed to week one of 2013 at minimum, seven if Ray McDonald is disciplined before Sunday.
- San Francisco allowed only three top 12 scoring quarterbacks, but allowed big fantasy weeks to lead receivers. Vincent Jackson, Roddy White, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and Cecil Shorts all posted top 24 scoring weeks versus the Niners.
Trust: Frank Gore, Colin Kaepernick, Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, Dez Bryant, Demarco Murray
Bust: Terrance Williams, Jason Witten, Stevie Johnson
Reasonable Return: Tony Romo, Anquan Boldin
- Indianapolis held only three teams under 100 yards rushing in 2013, two were facing the Jaguars, the other versus Denver.
- Denver ran only 20 times in their week seven meeting a year ago, a season low, aided by trailing 33-14 in the middle of the third quarter.
- The Broncos led the NFL in rushing attempts inside the opponents’ five-yard line in 2013 with 31.
- Per Pro Football Focus, in their last meeting, Eric Decker (8 catches for 150 yards total), Wes Welker (7/96) and Demaryius Thomas (4/82) all caught passes on Darius Butler who allowed six of 10 targets to be completed on him for 117 yards and a score.
- It was the only game in which Welker topped 90 receiving yards all of 2013.
- Andrew Luck ran for 20 or more yards in ten games in 2013, third most out of all quarterbacks.
- Luck had nine games in which he completed 60 percent or fewer of his passes, which was the fourth most, behind Joe Flacco, Eli Manning and Geno Smith.
- Peyton Manning has thrown multiple touchdowns in 27 of his 32 games as a Bronco with 300 yards passing or more in 21.
- Demaryius Thomas has been held under 50 receiving yards only six times in 32 games while playing alongside Manning.
Trust: All Denver skill players, Andrew Luck
Bust: Trent Richardson, T.Y. Hilton, Hakeem Nicks
Reasonable Return: Reggie Wayne, Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener
- AFC East divisional games were the worst divisional games for combined passing yardage at 435.0, only four times did the game feature a quarterback that threw for 300 or more yards.
- Miami allowed only five top 12 scoring quarterbacks, four 300-yard passers and two quarterbacks to pass for multiple touchdowns in 2013.
- Tom Brady did all of those things at Miami in week 15 without Rob Gronkowski.
- Mike Wallace has faced Darrelle Revis only twice in his career, catching a combined three of six targets in his coverage for 12 yards.
- Wallace has had 40 or fewer receiving yards in 14 of his past 31 games played.
- From weeks 7-14, when Rob Gronkowski returned, he led all tight ends in targets (66), receptions (39) and receiving yards (592).
Trust: Rob Gronkowski
Bust: Mike Wallace, Charles Clay, Ryan Tannehill, Lamar Miller, Aaron Dobson
Reasonable Return: Tom Brady, Shane Vereen, Julian Edelman, Stevan Ridley, Knowshon Moreno
- Jimmy Graham averages 5.2 receptions, 79 yards, and a touchdown per game over his past six games facing Atlanta.
- New Orleans led the league in time of possession (32:40) per game and allowed the fewest opponent snaps per game (58.7) in 2013 despite being 24th in rushing attempts (25.2) per game.
- Drew Brees has a 4/5 TD/INT ratio over his past three on the road in Atlanta and has hit three passing touchdowns in only two of nine games there.
- The Saints allowed only two top 12 scoring quarterbacks all of 2013 and both were on the road outdoors (Cutler, Wilson).
- Matt Ryan has thrown only six touchdowns total in five home starts against New Orleans.
- The Saints allowed only one 100-yard receiver all season (Alshon Jeffery).
- Roddy White hasn’t scored against the Saints since 2010.
- New Orleans was fifth in the NFL in sack rate and sacked Matt Ryan eight times total in their two meetings.
- The home and away splits were pretty jarring for the Saints defense despite rarely allowing high end fantasy performances on the road. Here are the total splits.
[table id=216 /]
Trust: Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham, Mark Ingram, Julio Jones, Roddy White
Bust: Steven Jackson
Reasonable Return: Matt Ryan, Brandin Cooks, Marques Colston, Pierre Thomas
- Cam Newton averages 25.9 fantasy points per game so far in his career facing Tampa Bay and has 18 or more in five of the six meetings while topping 25 or more four times.
- Carolina allowed only two top 12 scoring quarterbacks and only four top 24 receivers while allowing only three running backs to top 70 rushing yards.
- Carolina ranked first in the league in sack percentage and tallied eight versus the Bucs in their two meetings in 2013.
- The Panthers allowed 7.1 receptions per game to opposing backfields in 2013, most in the league.
Trust: Greg Olsen
Bust: Josh McCown, Doug Martin, Kelvin Benjamin, Mike Evans, DeAngelo Williams
Reasonable Return: Vincent Jackson, Cam Newton, Jonathan Stewart
- Detroit held seven opposing teams under 70 rushing yards over the final ten weeks to close 2013, including 41 yards on the ground to the Giants week 16.
- The Lions also allowed the fewest receptions per game to opposing running backs at 3.6.
- Victor Cruz should be peppered with targets week one, drawing Bill Bentley in the slot who allowed a 100.7 QBR in slot coverage per Pro Football Focus and Rashean Mathis outside who was targeted once every six snaps.
- Detroit allowed 10 touchdowns passing for 30 or more yards, second most in the league.
- Joique Bell had only one run of 20-plus yards compared to Reggie Bush’s six, but Bell gained five or more yards on 34.3 percent of his carries compared to 34.1 percent for Bush.
- The Giants allowed 6.5 receptions to backfields per game, including 12 total to Bell and Bush last season. Combined Bell and Bush averaged 6.7 receptions per game.
Trust: Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Victor Cruz
Bust: Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams, Eric Ebron, Eli Manning
Reasonable Return: Reggie Bush, Joique Bell, Golden Tate, Rueben Randle
- San Diego plays keep away, posting the second highest time of possession and the fifth fewest opponent snaps per game in 2013.
- The Chargers posted the second lowest pressure rate when blitzing (30.3 percent) and the second lowest pressure rate in the league when they didn’t blitz (20.7) in 2013.
- Carson Palmer was the sixth highest pressured quarterback in 2013, throwing three touchdowns and 15 interceptions under pressure.
- San Diego allowed 7.4 yards per passing attempt, which was 28th in the league.
- Eight running backs caught five or more passes versus the Chargers in 2013.
- Arizona allowed nine top 12 scoring tight ends and 13 different tight ends to score a touchdown.
- They allowed multiple touchdowns to four tight ends, Zach Ertz, Jimmy Graham, Jared Cook, and Vernon Davis, all in the physical ilk of Ladarius Green.
- Over the final eight weeks, Ryan Mathews averaged 3.1 targets per game while Danny Woodhead averaged 3.8.
- No player touched the ball more per snap than Mathews did in 2013, garnering a touch on 66 percent of his offensive plays.
Trust: Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Ellington, Michael Floyd, Ryan Mathews
Bust: Keenan Allen
Reasonable Return: Danny Woodhead, Malcom Floyd, Carson Palmer, Ladarius Green