By The Numbers: Week 2 (Fantasy Football)
Fantasy football is a game of numbers. The goal is to outscore your opponent every week. The game film tells one story, but innovative statistics and analytics tell another. Have you ever wondered what stats you should review in order to truly understand how productive certain players can be? What impact would that have on your fantasy football team? In essence that is the goal of this column. This article will provide you a line of sight regarding noteworthy stats and trends you should be aware of in order to dominate your league. Past performance is not indicative of future production in fantasy football, but it can provide you a line of sight of what stats to pay attention to. This week we will focus on the running back and wide receiver position.
Did you know that 30 RBs had 10 or more carries in Week 1 while six had 20 carries or more? Kareem Hunt (148), Dalvin Cook (127), LeSean McCoy (110), Ezekiel Elliott (104), and Leonard Fournette (100) were the only RBs with 100 or more rushing yards. Tarik Cohen (12) and Shane Vereen (10) were the only RBs to have double-digits targets. Vereen (51), Chris Thompson (52), Mark Ingram (54), Todd Gurley (56), David Johnson (68), and Kareem Hunt (98) were the only RBs with over 50 receiving yards.
KAREEM HUNT MADE HISTORY
Kareem Hunt – 246 scrimmage yards
Most Scrimmage Yards in 1st Career Game – NFL History
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 8, 2017
Hunt played 58 percent of the Chiefs offensive snaps and touched the football or was targeted on 55 percent of them. He is currently ranked number one in DVOA or Defense-adjusted Value Over Average and DYAR or Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement according to Football Outsiders. DYAR means an RB with more overall value. DVOA means an RB with more value per play. Hunt is an RB1 this week against the Eagles.
CHRIS THOMPSON CONTINUES TO BE CRIMINALLY UNDERRATED
Most underrated player: Chris Thompson.
— John Keim (@john_keim) September 10, 2017
Thompson only played 48 percent of the Redskins offensive snaps, but touched the football or was targeted on 27 percent of them. He is an excellent addition to your fantasy team in PPR formats as you attack the waiver wire this week. Thompson’s role as the team receiving back is secure, and he is very efficient when you analyze his receiving DVOA and DYAR which ranks second among all RBs. He can be viewed as an RB3 with upside in PPR formats.
COULD TARIK COHEN BE A SEASON CHANGER?
Player I can't wait to watch today? Bears RB Tarik Cohen
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) September 10, 2017
Cohen played 42 percent of the Bears offensive snaps and touched the football or was targeted on 61 percent of them. His momentum continues from the preseason into the regular season. Has Cohen done enough to force an even time share between him and Jordan Howard? I believe he has and as a result will be the top waiver wire pickup of the week.
TODD GURLEY’S INEFFICIENT WEEK 1
According to NFL NextGenStats, the top the most inefficient Week 1 RBs: 1) Ameer Abdullah, 2) Todd Gurley, 3) David Johnson.
— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) September 12, 2017
Gurley had 19 carries, but only produced 2.10 yards per carry and as a result, is ranked 32nd in DYAR. He was productive as a receiver out of the backfield with six targets, five receptions, 56 receiving yards, and a receiving touchdown. Gurley did not deliver against a Colts defense that is susceptible to the run and in a situation where the Rams had positive game flow. Over the last 29 games, he has averaged 68.7 rushing per game and 3.9 yards per carry. Success or failure for Gurley in 2017 will be defined by volume. Are you holding or selling high?
CAN LESEAN MCCOY SHOULDER THIS TYPE OF WORKLOAD?
— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) September 11, 2017
McCoy played 70 percent of the Bills offensive snaps and touched the football or was targeted on 52 percent of them. Can he make it through the entire season without missing games due to an injury? Sports Injury Predictor considers him a high risk and their algorithm tells us that McCoy has a 92.3 percent chance of injury (missing two or more quarters) this season. He is also projected to miss 5.3 games but has a high durability rating. This means that McCoy can still be very effective for fantasy owners when playing through minor ailments. He has averaged 16.4 rushing attempts per game, 81.1 rushing yards per game, 3.1 receptions per game, and 4.9 yards per carry over the last 28 games. McCoy continues to be an elite RB1.
LEONARD FOURNETTE IS THE ENGINE OF THE JAGUARS OFFENSE
Leonard Fournette's 20th touch of the half results in his 1st career TD. pic.twitter.com/KEipBnZnYD
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) September 10, 2017
It is easy to overlook Fournette’s NFL debut after what Hunt did in primetime last Thursday night. Fournette averaged 4.27 yards per touch on 29 touches. He played 61 percent of the Jaguars offensive snaps and touched the football or was targeted on 74 percent of them. The Jaguars had 39 rushing attempts against the Texans and have finally found a winning framework. Fournette is firmly on the RB1 radar.
DeAndre Hopkins led all WRs with 16 targets, but 12 saw double-digit targets in Week 1. Antonio Brown (11) and Golden Tate (10) were the only WRs with double digit receptions. Brown had 182 receiving yards and caught all of his 11 targets and joined Adam Thielen (157), Tyreek Hill (133), Tate (107), and Danny Amendola as the only WRs to have 100 or more receiving yards. Stefon Diggs, Kenny Golladay, and Bennie Fowler each scored two touchdowns.
THE TOP SIX IN WR DYAR MAY SURPRISE YOU
Which names on this list surprise you? Diggs played 89 percent of the Vikings offensive snaps and was targeted on 16 percent of them. The team has moved him to the outside this season to give him an opportunity to create more explosive plays. Diggs produced fireworks on Monday night even though a high percentage of his production came in the first half. He provides weekly WR1 upside in the Vikings offense.
Stefon Diggs spent all offseason telling us he wanted to elevate to one of the best in the league. Not taking very long to show it
— Matthew Coller (@MatthewColler) September 12, 2017
Most Receiving Yards in Season Opener – Vikings History
1980 Ahmad Rashad 160
2017 Adam Thielen 157 pic.twitter.com/v55gX5N0Uo
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 12, 2017
Adam Thielen played 100 percent of the Vikings offensive snaps and ran a high percentage of his routes lined up in the slot. He averaged 4.3 receptions per game and 60.4 receiving yards per game last year and is an excellent WR3, especially in PPR formats.
An impressive debut from Cooper Kupp pic.twitter.com/SCelB7Czw1
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 11, 2017
Cooper Kupp only played 60 percent of the Rams offensive snaps but was very productive in his NFL debut. He played 26 snaps lined up in the slot and 16 on the outside with 68.4 coming from the slot and produced 3.71 yards per route run according to Pro Football Focus. Kupp can be viewed as a high-end WR4, especially in PPR formats.
WHAT COMES NEXT?
The purpose of this column is to make you a more informed fantasy player and put you in the best possible position to harness this intellectual capital into a league-winning team.
What statistics stood out to you? Please leave a comment below or reach out to me on Twitter. You can find me @EricNMoody and I am always open to answering questions or discussing football. Please be on the lookout for this column every Wednesday during the regular season. Until next time!