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By The Numbers: Week 4 (Fantasy Football)

by Eric Moody | @EricNMoody | Featured Writer
Sep 27, 2017

Despite receiving consistent touches, Ameer Abdullah’s lack of red zone touches caps his weekly upside

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.

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WHAT HAPPENED AT THE QB POSITION?

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.

CONSISTENCY MATTERS

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
Drew Brees 2015 2017 41.5 322.1 34
Eli Manning 2015 2017 38.14 264.9 35
Blake Bortles 2015 2017 37.71 254.5 35
Tom Brady 2015 2017 37.58 303.5 31
Carson Palmer 2015 2017 37.32 289.1 34
Kirk Cousins 2015 2017 35.6 281.9 35
Russell Wilson 2015 2017 32.74 258.7 35
Case Keenum 2015 2017 30.41 209.7 17

 
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.

Rank Team Games QB Pts
1 New England Patriots 3 24.5
2 New Orleans Saints 3 21.8
3 Tennessee Titans 3 20.7
4 Oakland Raiders 3 20.5

 
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE RB POSITION?

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 %
Todd Gurley 3 63 13 25.3 85
Dalvin Cook 3 61 10 23.6 69
Leonard Fournette 3 57 8 21.6 57
Ezekiel Elliott 3 55 12 22.3 87
C.J. Anderson 3 53 6 19.7 71
Devonta Freeman 3 52 7 19.7 62
Le’Veon Bell 3 52 13 21.6 87
Carlos Hyde 3 49 12 20.3 78
Frank Gore 3 49 2 17 49
Lamar Miller 3 49 6 18.3 76
LeSean McCoy 3 48 18 22 70
Kareem Hunt 3 47 9 18.7 66
Ameer Abdullah 3 46 6 17.3 46
Jordan Howard 3 45 8 17.7 56
Mike Gillislee 3 45 0 15 34
Jonathan Stewart 3 45 3 16 41
Melvin Gordon 3 44 12 18.7 66
Javorius Allen 3 43 10 17.7 57
Ty Montgomery 3 41 18 19.7 90
Samaje Perine 3 40 2 14 27.2

 
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.

Player Team DYAR Rank DVOA Rank
K. Hunt KC 138 1 62.70% 1
D. Freeman ATL 76 2 24.20% 3
D. Henry TEN 74 3 45.00% 2
D. Cook MIN 45 4 9.80% 8
J. Howard CHI 42 5 14.50% 6
J. Charles DEN 36 6 20.80% 4
T. West BAL 33 7 16.40% 5
M. Gillislee NE 28 8 4.30% 12
C. Carson SEA 25 9 7.60% 10
C. Hyde SF 25 10 2.30% 18
C.J. Anderson DEN 25 11 2.70% 15
D. Murray TEN 25 12 8.30% 9
J. Stewart CAR 24 13 3.10% 13
L. Blount PHI 23 14 11.20% 7
L. Fournette JAC 22 15 0.40% 19
M. Lynch OAK 17 16 2.60% 16
L. Bell PIT 16 17 -1.20% 20
M. Ingram NO 16 18 6.00% 11
J. Rodgers TB 12 19 3.00% 14
J. Ajayi MIA 9 20 -2.30% 21
L. Miller HOU 9 21 -4.20% 23
T. Cohen CHI 9 22 2.40% 17
T. Montgomery GB 9 23 -3.90% 22
E. Elliott DAL 2 24 -7.90% 24

 
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?

Rank Team Games RB Pts
1 New England Patriots 3 26.9
2 Los Angeles Rams 3 26.6
3 New Orleans Saints 3 24.3
4 Atlanta Falcons 3 22.6
5 Pittsburgh Steelers 3 22.2
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.

QUICK HITS

Larry Fitzgerald, Doug Baldwin, and Emmanuel Sanders tied for the most targets in Week 3 with 15. This was a week that saw 20 wide receivers have double-digit targets.

Jimmy Graham (11), Rob Gronkowski (10), and Zach Ertz (10) led all tight ends in targets in Week 3.

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!


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Eric Moody is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Eric, check out his archive and follow him @EricNMoody.