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Fantasy Football: 16 Facts You Should Know

With seven weeks in the books, Rich Hribar lists 16 fascinating NFL facts you need to know.

Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles
Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles

Oct 20, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) is run out of bounds during the first half of the game against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium. Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

With seven weeks already etched in stone, we are officially past the halfway point of the fantasy regular season. We wait so long for the season to arrive, and then it just flies by. Hopefully your 2013 fantasy light hasn’t burned out already, because here are 16 facts you need to know.

Since the Chiefs are the last remaining unbeaten team in the league at 7-0, I’ll open with a four pack of Kansas City related numbers that are important to know.

Four – the number of wins the Chiefs have without a touchdown pass this season. That number is three away from the NFL record shared by three teams (’71 Vikings, ’86 Bears and ’07 Titans) and tied for the most since 2008. An Alex Smith  led team has won eight games since 2011 without throwing a single touchdown; tied with Joe Flacco and the Ravens for the most over that stretch (no other team/quarterback combo has more than three such games).  Since entering the league in 2005, a Smith led team has 14 such wins, the second most of any quarterback, trailing only the Ravens and Flacco (16 wins).

12.6 percent – the percentage of opposing drop backs in which the Chiefs record a sack. The last two teams that even had a percentage over ten were the 2008 Cowboys (10.4 percent) and the 2006 Ravens (10.2). The Ravens finished with 60 sacks that season and the highest scoring fantasy defense (238 points) of the past 12 seasons. The Chiefs are currently on pace for 277 points in 2013, which would shatter that mark. Kansas City is currently on pace for 80 sacks, eight more than the record of 72 by the ’84 Bears. Even reaching 70 would be a feat that only three teams have since the sack was instituted as a stat.

11.6 – the number of points per game the Chiefs are allowing. Maintaining that number would put them at 186 points allowed on the season, which would the second lowest total (2000 Ravens allowed 165 points) since the NFL moved to a 16 game schedule. Since 1978, only seven teams have allowed fewer than 200 points on the season. The last team to accomplish that feat was the 2002 Buccaneers. Two games left with Denver will test that mark, but there’s plenty of favorable games left on the schedule to give them a shot to become team number eight.

86.1 percent – the percentage of offensive snaps that Jamaal Charles is playing. After averaging only 47.8 percent over his previous four seasons plus (he played in only two games in 2011) and having a career high of only 54.8 percent in 2012, it’s a contributing factor in why he’s the best fantasy option so far. At this current pace he will surpass his career high in snaps played (634 in 2009) in week 12.

65.7 percent – the percentage of snaps that Ryan Mathews has touched the football  when  he’s on field, by far tops in the league for any running back, and up from his 45.7 percentage in 2012. Not only has Mike McCoy seemed to have slipped Philip Rivers a career rejuvenating elixir, he also may have found a way to use Mathews effectively (think of an effective Mark Ingram in the Sean Payton offense). He has back to back 100 yard rushing games the past two weeks after having only four games of hitting the century mark over his previous 43 games. It was also only the third time in his career he’s received 20 or more carries in consecutive weeks (and he came out healthy). With San Diego’s remaining schedule of cupcake defenses, Mathews could become a solid option in games with a neutral or positive game script.

1,360 – the number of yards from scrimmage that Fred Jackson is pacing towards. If he makes it there, he would become only the fifth player in NFL history to reach 1,300 total yards or more after turning 32 years old. The last to do it was Ricky Williams in ’09 (1,385 yards). The others were Walter Payton (1,715 yards at 32), John Riggins (1,376 yards at 34) and John Henry Johnson of the Steelers in 1962 (1,367 yards at age 33). It’s probable that Jackson could regress and fall off that pace, especially if C.J.Spiller recovers, but what Jackson has done thus far deserves acknowledgement.

121.8 – the number of yards from scrimmage per game averaged by Reggie Bush. That total is nearly 30 yards per game better than his best season as a pro (92.1 yards from scrimmage per game) in 2011. In that season, Bush finished with 1,382 yards from scrimmage, 445 yards fewer than the clip he’s on. His 3.8 receptions per game are his highest total since 2010 (4.3) as he’s on pace for his first 50 catch season since 2008. Finally in an offense that is utilizing his strengths, Bush is having his best season ever by a long shot.

28 percent – the percentage of targets that Vernon Davis has seen in games he’s been active. In the seven regular season games that Colin Kaepernick started to finish 2012, Davis only received 10.4 percent of the Niners receiving looks. He accumulated just 12 total receptions to finish last season for 144 yards and one score with Kap at the helm. Since returning from his hamstring injury, that target percentage is up to 33 percent as well. Over the past three weeks, Davis is third in the NFL with 330 receiving yards and is second in standard scoring tight end points per game (13.8) for the season.

21.5 percent – the percentage of snaps that Pierre Garcon is being targeted on, the most in the league. Garcon has ten or more targets in four of the six Washington games, and has five or more receptions in every game this season although only topping 75 yards in only one game. Washington faces seven defenses over their final nine games that are among the bottom seven teams in allowing points to opposing quarterbacks. Garcon should receive a healthy arbitrage of Griffin’s scoring in the second half of the season.

7.8 – the number of receptions per game that Antonio Brown averages, the most in the league. That puts him on pace for 125 receptions, which would be the second highest total ever in league history (Marvin Harrison, 143 catches in 2002).  Even If Brown falls off of the pace he’s racing towards, he still has a chance to become only the second receiver in Steelers history to reach the century mark in receptions (112 by Hines Ward in 2002).

18.2 percent – Wes Welker’s touchdown percentage on receptions this season. Welker has a career touchdown percentage of five percent and his career high in any given season is 8.1 percent in 2010. His eight touchdowns through seven games are only one behind his career high of nine spikes in 2011. His scores are by design, too. Denver is using him near the end zone to create mismatches. There will be slight regression like the last two weeks, but until Demaryius Thomas develops as a polished receiver, Welker will continue to be used in his current fashion. Oh, and all this while he’s still on pace for his sixth 100 catch season in seven years.

11 – The number of players who are currently on pace to qualify for the running quarterback Konami Code. The eleven qualifiers and their standard points per game are: Michael Vick (20.2), Andrew Luck (19.1), Cam Newton (18.5), Jake Locker (18.1), Russell Wilson (16.8), Terrelle Pryor (16.2), Andy Dalton (16.1), Robert Griffin (15.6), Alex Smith (15.7) , Colin Kaepernick (14.4) and Geno Smith (14.2). Pryor and Wilson are on pace to reach the exclusive 100-carry club.

269 – The number rushing yards for Russell Wilson over the past four weeks. Those 269 yards rank as the tenth most rushing yards in all of the league over that stretch, more than Adrian Peterson, Alfred Morris and Knowshon Moreno. Wilson is running on 12.8 percent of his snaps, second behind only Pryor (14.3 percent). His quarterback leading 323 yards rushing on the season are worth eight passing touchdowns in standard fantasy, the same number that Tom Brady, Joe Flacco and Carson Palmer have on the season.

44.3 – The number of passes per game that teams attempt when facing the Eagles. If that continues, Philadelphia will be the first team in league history to have 700 passes attempted versus them in a season and will destroy the mark of 650 passes thrown against the 1995 Falcons. The only quarterback who didn’t exceed his season average of attempts in a game versus the Eagles was Peyton Manning (34 attempts, averaging 42.5 in other games). Four of the quarterbacks they’ve faced have topped their average by ten or more attempts, with five throwing 42 or more times in a game. If you’re looking for a volume play, gunslingers facing Philly are the place to start.

319.9 – the number of yards passing per game allowed by the Broncos. While Philadelphia is on a record-setting pace for attempts allowed, Denver is on a record-setting pace for passing yardage surrendered in a season. Giving up that many yards per game the rest of the way would make Denver the first team ever to allow over 5,000 yards (on pace for 5,118) passing in a season. Even falling short of that mark will put them in dangerous territory of the 4,796 yards allowed through the air by the 2011 Packers. The Broncos offense is constantly working against them as well (much like the ’11 Packers), with teams either forced to match them point for point, or receiving accommodating coverage in blowout game scripts. The Broncos are the only team that has allowed multiple quarterbacks to finish as the number one fantasy quarterback in a given week (Romo week five, Luck in week seven), allowing five quarterbacks to throw for 280 or more yards and three over 350 yards passing.

Three – the number of running backs with 100 or more carries that have had at least 50 percent of their runs go for two yards or fewer. Those three backs are Chris Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew and Trent Richardson. Richardson has had 54 of his 106 attempts (51 percent) get stuffed, and it’s gotten significantly worse since being traded to the Colts. In a small sample with the Browns, he was stuffed on 13 of his 31 carries (42 percent) of his carries. It was assumed that the Colts offense would open things up for him, but he’s had two yards or fewer on 41 of his 75 (55 percent)  attempts in Indy. Johnson had 60 of his 115 (52 percent) carries go no further than six feet, while Jones-Drew has had 56 of 103 (54 percent) turn into a cloud of dust. Regardless of age, player skill or inept offensive line play, these three have had significant volume with little to zero fantasy return for owners. These three runners have combined for 32 consecutive games without any reaching 100 yards rushing (Richardson 13 games, MJD 10, Johnson 9).

*Stats used were provided from ProFootballFocus, Pro-Football-Reference, Teamrankings.com, NFLData.com

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