5 Interesting Tidbits for Week 1
After months of waiting, we finally head into Week 1 of the 2016 NFL season. Now is the time we find out whether all of our pre-season research and predictions have paid off. Heading into Week 1, we offer some interesting tidbits which can hopefully help you maximize your seasonal fantasy league or daily fantasy roster output. These tidbits typically shed light on historic performance, as well as statistical and player trends. Hopefully, this information will enable owners to make up their minds on a start/sit dilemma they may be having, or resolve an early-season waiver claim question.
Derek Carr had 53 touchdown passes in his first two NFL seasons, which is the second most by a QB in NFL history.
Only Dan Marino had more with 68 in his first two seasons. In Week 1, the Raiders travel to New Orleans in what should be a shootout. Per Pro Football Focus, Las Vegas has this game as the week’s highest over/under at 51. Carr, who sits in very good company with Marino after two seasons, should have ample opportunity to build on his touchdown total against a weak secondary in New Orleans. Carr is a solid QB1 play this week in seasonal and DFS formats. In addition, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, and Clive Walford all should get in on the action down in the Big Easy. In particular, Walford makes for a great DFS play at TE and a great streaming option in seasonal leagues for Tyler Eifert owners.
Theo Riddick led the NFL with 36 broken tackles after a catch in 2015
We touched on this in our end-of-the-season tidbits article in 2015. Last season, Riddick tallied an 80-697-3 line in the passing game (and was targeted 99 times), largely due to his uncanny ability to break tackles after the catch. Riddick’s 80 receptions led all NFL running backs. Riddick is a viable PPR breakout candidate in 2016 as an RB2 and, at only 25-years old, he has huge upside in fantasy leagues. In Week 1, Riddick has a solid matchup against the Colts in Indianapolis who were 19th against the run in 2015. In deeper leagues, he makes for a solid RB2/Flex play, particularly in PPR leagues.
Jarvis Landry had 166 targets in 2015 (good enough for third-most all-time for a second-year WR) to go with 28 missed tackles which ranked as the second most since 2008.
Jarvis Landry’s target total was also the sixth most in the NFL last season, despite the fact that the Dolphins finished 27th in offensive plays per game. With Adam Gase taking over the reins in Miami, it’s not unreasonable to think that Landry will see even more targets turning him into a PPR monster in 2016. Of course, Landry is not without risk. Coming into 2016, Landry has 278 career targets with just nine TDs and 9.9 YPC, despite his very high missed tackle rate last season. This is, of course, a by-product of a QB who throws short routes and who can’t really throw down-field. Accordingly, Landry’s inherent value is in PPR formats and in volume. In Week 1, the Dolphins have a brutal matchup against the Seahawks. The smart money says to sit Landry for his Week 1 matchup. However, this difficult matchup shouldn’t minimize the number of times he is targeted in the short passing game and/or slot route, particularly if the Dolphins cannot establish the run and/or if they are playing from behind. While he will unlikely score a TD, Landry still makes for a solid PPR play this week based on anticipated volume alone, irrespective of the Seahawks’ stifling defense. In standard leagues, of course, Landry should be benched until Week 2.
According to Pro Football Focus, in 2015, Bengals QBs recorded an NFL passer rating of 121.2 on throws to A.J. Green
This constituted the second-best passer rating in the NFL in 2015. A.J. Green holds an overall FantasyPros ECR of seventh in standard leagues (sixth in PPR formats) heading into the season. With the departure of Marvin Jones to Detroit, and Tyler Eifert on the shelf for the first few weeks of the season with an injury, Andy Dalton will be looking to Green, Gio Bernard and Tyler Boyd often in the early part of 2016 in order to move the ball downfield through the air. Whether this high passer rating is due to Green’s ability to get open or simply his ability to haul in catchable targets, this statistic confirms that Green will remain one of the most prolific and consistent fantasy WRs in 2016. In Week 1, he matches up against the Jets and Darrell Revis. While expectations regarding Green’s production in Week 1 may have to be tempered slightly, he should still see a large number of targets against the Jets for no other reason than because of the limited number of bona fide weapons available to Dalton. For this reason, Green also serves as a great contrarian play in DFS.
Kirk Cousins’ 74.7% completion percentage at Fed Ex Field in 2015 was the highest home completion percentage ever in an NFL season
We also made mention of this tidbit in our end-of-the-season article in 2015. In 2015, Cousins’ 74.7% home completion percentage beat Drew Brees’ 73.6% home completion percentage from 2013. In Week 1, Cousins opens the season at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a middle-tier defense per FantasyPros’ ECR of 14 coming into the 2016 campaign. In what should be a high-scoring affair in Washington on Monday night, with the Redskins likely playing from behind, and with a healthy DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed to work with, Cousins could be in store for a big game. He holds a current ECR of 13 for Week 1 at the QB position, but he could easily outperform this ranking given likely game flow and his historic ability to perform at home. He also makes for a solid cheaper play in DFS formats this week.