By The Numbers: Week 4 (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 to understand how productive certain players can truly 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 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 quarterback and the running back position.
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE QB POSITION?
Kirk Cousins: 6th career game with 350 Pass Yds & 3 Pass TD, 2 more than the next-closest QB in franchise history, HOFer Sonny Jurgensen. pic.twitter.com/KkxmnK0j4U
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 25, 2017
Russell Wilson led all QBs with 49 pass attempts while Kirk Cousins completed 83 percent of his 30 attempts. Tom Brady led with 378 passing yards, but 10 QBs threw for 300 or more passing yards. Cousins led with 12 yards per pass attempt, and Brady threw the highest number of touchdowns with five.
10 quarterbacks threw more than one interception with Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Jameis Winston, DeShone Kizer, and Cam Newton throwing three. Cousins had a QBR of 151 while Kizer led in rushing yards with 44 and scored a rushing touchdown.
It is easy to weave a narrative in your mind around which quarterback to insert into your starting lineup every week. Passing attempts and passing yards per game can help simplify your decision when you look at things from a different perspective. The eight quarterbacks below finished within the top-14 at the position in Week 3.
|Player||Start||End||Pass Attempts||Pass Yards||Games|
If you view a quarterback’s production through this type of lens, it eliminates any bias you may have.
WHICH DEFENSES ARE GIVING UP THE MOST FANTASY POINTS TO QBs?
Fantasy points allowed is an excellent metric. It indicates how good or bad each NFL defense is at limiting fantasy production to opposing quarterbacks. Here is a line of sight regarding the top-four defenses that are giving up a high number of fantasy points to quarterbacks on a per game basis.
|1||New England Patriots||3||24.5|
|2||New Orleans Saints||3||21.8|
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE RB POSITION?
Todd Gurley is the first to do this since Megatron. pic.twitter.com/IM1MTxQsgU
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 22, 2017
Todd Gurley, Dalvin Cook, Devonta Freeman, Carlos Hyde, Frank Gore, Jordan Howard, and Ezekiel Elliott were the only RBs with 20 or more carries. Kareem Hunt (172), Howard (138), DeMarco Murray (115), Gurley (113), and Freeman (106) were the only RBs with 100 or more rushing yards. Gurley, Howard, and Hyde all scored two rushing touchdowns. Christian McCaffrey led all RBs with nine receptions, but Chris Thompson led in receiving yards with 150.
VOLUME AND OFFENSIVE SNAPS MATTERS
This is a visualization of the top-20 RBs in the order of total rushing attempts so far this season. I have also incorporated total receptions, touches per games, and the percentage of snaps played.
|Player||Games||Rushing Attempts||Receptions||Touches Per Game||Snap %|
What observations do you have after looking at this chart? Leonard Fournette is being given a heavy workload for only playing 57 percent of the offensive snaps. Hyde’s use as a receiver out of the backfield and snaps played are encouraging considering the news flow surrounding him heading into the season.
Ameer Abdullah is being given consistent touches each week but is not being used heavily in the red zone. He only has five touches so far this season inside the 20-yard line. Lamer Miller is being given a hefty workload so far this season and is currently averaging 4.0 yards per carry.
D’Onta Foreman continues to eat into his workload seeing double-digit touches in the last two times. It is only a matter of time before this morphs into a fairly even RB by committee.
USING DVOA AND DYAR TO MEASURE EFFICIENCY
An excellent way to measure efficiency at the RB position is to use the Football Outsiders metrics DYAR (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) and DVOA (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement). DYAR means an RB with more total value. DVOA means an RB with more value per play. Here is a visual of these advanced metrics through Week 3.
Hunt’s epic fantasy performances so far this season have helped win matchups. I will take a brief moment to share some other observations. Carlos Hyde has essentially become the RB1 you never knew you wanted to have on your roster.
We have not a vintage Le’Veon Bell performance so far this season. He is an excellent RB to buy low on if Bell’s fantasy owner is becoming impatient. Marshawn Lynch has not been effective with the touches he has been given so far this season.
His numbers of snaps played, and touches have declined with each game. I anticipate Chris Carson’s efficiency to trend up in coming weeks now that the Seahawks defense appears to be on track.
WHICH DEFENSES ARE GIVING UP THE MOST FANTASY POINTS TO RBs?
|1||New England Patriots||3||26.9|
|2||Los Angeles Rams||3||26.6|
|3||New Orleans Saints||3||24.3|
|6||San Francisco 49ers||3||22.1|
|7||New York Jets||3||21|
|8||Green Bay Packers||3||20.6|
This will give you an idea of what defenses to target when attempting to make a start or sit in your fantasy football league. These teams are currently giving up the highest number of fantasy points to RBs on a per game basis.
— Moody (@EricNMoody) September 26, 2017
TD reception no. 7⃣0⃣ for no. 8⃣7⃣!
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) September 24, 2017
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!