82 Interesting Facts from the 2017 Fantasy Football Season
We’re about to enter what we used to call the NFL’s “offseason,” though you all know by now that there is no such thing. Not only have we been doing articles reflecting on what happened in 2017 and how we can change our approach to drafts, but we’ve been compiling statistics from the past season, trying to find those that would be of interest to you.
Going through endless amounts of information, we found 82 facts that you’ll appreciate. Why 82, you ask? Well, it was the year I was born. Really, there’s no other reason we’d use some oddball number like that. None at all. While sifting through the endless data we have available, I’ve come across some really unique ones thanks to Pro Football Focus’ Signature Stats, as well as other various sources. If you’re like me, this is a goldmine of statistics to reference when talking about your favorite players as we head into the 2018 season. Once you read them all, come on over to Twitter (@MikeTagliereNFL) and let me know which is your favorite.
1. Russell Wilson was pressured on 41.4 percent of his dropbacks, the highest number in the NFL. Drew Brees was pressured on just 22.6 percent of his dropbacks, the lowest in the NFL (closest was Joe Flacco at 26.9 percent).
2. Kenyan Drake led the NFL with 4.3 yards after contact, while the next closest was Alvin Kamara at 3.8 yards.
3. Alvin Kamara broke a tackle once every 3.5 touches, the best in the NFL. Theo Riddick was closest at 3.8 touches.
4. Doug Martin broke a tackle once every 16.3 touches, the worst in the NFL. Nobody else averaged more than 10.5 touches.
5. Jamaal Williams had just one run of more than 15 yards (25 yards) on 153 carries, the worst big-play rate in the NFL.
6. Kareem Hunt had an NFL-high 19 runs of more than 15 yards. They accounted for 521 yards, or 39.3 percent of his season total.
7. Drew Brees set the record for completion percentage, completing 72.0 percent of his passes, breaking Sam Bradford‘s record of 71.6 percent last season.
8. Dating back to 2014, there have been 69 running backs who have totaled at least 200 carries. Just three of them failed to finish inside the top-24 fantasy running backs. Isaiah Crowell (2017), Jay Ajayi (2017), and Alfred Morris (2015).
9. There’ve been 223 running backs who have carried the ball at least 100 times over the last five years. Alvin Kamara‘s 6.1 YPC was the best, with the closest being Mike Gillislee‘s 5.7 YPC in 2016.
10. Todd Gurley‘s 21.3 standard points per game in 2017 was the most by a running back since Chris Johnson‘s magical 2009 season.
11. Despite touching the ball 63 fewer times than Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley scored 62.7 more fantasy points.
12. Of the 265 running backs who totaled at least 100 touches over the last five years, Alvin Kamara‘s 1.16 fantasy points per touch is the most (closest was 1.09 – Chris Thompson 2017). In PPR formats, Kamara averaged 1.56 points per touch, while the next closest with 100 touches was Chris Thompson‘s 1.47 points.
13. Adrian Peterson‘s 0.41 fantasy points per touch in 2017 was the worst in the NFL, while Samaje Perine was second worst with 0.44 points per touch. In PPR formats, he averaged just 0.47 points per touch, the third-worst number in the last five years among RBs with 100-plus touches.
14. There were just three wide receivers who finished inside the top-24 with less than 100 targets: Stefon Diggs, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Nelson Agholor.
15. DeAndre Hopkins led the NFL with 13 receiving touchdowns. That’s the lowest number for a league-leader since 2009.
16. Will Fuller caught a touchdown every 7.1 targets in 2017. That’s the smallest number since James Jones caught one every 7.0 targets in 2012 (min. 30 targets).
17. Of the 438 wide receivers who’ve seen at least 50 targets in the last five years, Corey Davis‘ 0.55 fantasy points per target ranked dead last.
18. Eli Manning‘s pass-catchers dropped 43 passes, the most in the NFL. No other QB had more than 35 drops.
19. Of QBs who played the majority of the season, Drew Brees‘ pass-catchers had the fewest drops in the NFL (16).
20. A league-high 65.1 percent of Jameis Winston‘s yards came in the air. Next closest was Carson Wentz at 63.9 percent.
21. Just 45.5 percent of Drew Brees‘ yardage came before the catch, the lowest number of QBs with at least 400 attempts.
22. Nobody in the NFL took more deep shots (20+) than Russell Wilson (91 attempts). On those attempts, he threw 12 touchdowns with 5 INTs.
23. On 62 passes that went over 20 yards, Alex Smith threw 12 touchdowns and just one interception.
24. Alex Smith had a league-high 1,344 yards on deep balls (20+), while the next closest was Matthew Stafford‘s 1,136 yards. Smith’s QB Rating on deep throws was 131.4, highest in the NFL (next was Stafford at 111.6).
25. Just 8.4 percent of Joe Flacco‘s passes went over 20 yards, the lowest mark in the NFL. Next closest was Eli Manning at 10.5 percent.
26. Philip Rivers was sacked on just 3.0 percent of his dropbacks, the lowest mark in the NFL (nobody else under 3.5 percent).
27. Jared Goff completed just 41.4 percent of his passes while under pressure, the fourth lowest mark behind DeShone Kizer, Brett Hundley, and Trevor Siemian.
28. Ben Roethlisberger ran play action just 9.5 percent of the time, the lowest in the league (next was McCown at 13.0 percent).
29. Jared Goff ran play action an NFL-high 29.1 percent of the time.
30. Marcus Mariota had a 122.8 QB Rating while running play action, highest in the NFL. He had just a 66.9 QB Rating with no play action, second-lowest in the NFL. His gap of 55.9 points was easily the most in the NFL, next closest was Jay Cutler at 32.5 points.
31. Mariota averaged 11.2 YPA when going play action, just 6.0 YPA without.
32. Joe Flacco was a league-high 22.9 points worse when running play-action (63.0 to 85.9). Nobody else was more than a 11.6-point drop.
33. A league-high 628 of Tyreek Hill‘s 1,183 yards came on deep targets (20+).
34. 39.0 percent (2nd highest percentage) of Josh Gordon‘s targets were over 20 yards, though just 5-of-16 were catchable.
35. Just 7.5 percent of Keenan Allen‘s targets went over 20 yards (league-low of full-time players).
36. Despite all the injuries on the team, Sterling Shepard played 83.8 percent of snaps in the slot (6th highest mark in NFL).
37. Michael Thomas averaged 3.63 yards per route run (YPRR) in the slot, easily the highest in the NFL. Next closest was 2.26 YPRR – Robert Woods.
38. Nelson Agholor led the league with 8 TDs out of the slot. Nobody else had more than 6.
39. Julio Jones led the NFL in YPRR with 3.08, while Antonio Brown was next with 2.87. Nobody else was over 2.55.
40. Jordy Nelson averaged just 0.95 YPRR, the sixth-lowest mark in the NFL of those who saw at least 40 targets.
41. Chris Ivory averaged just 1.9 yards after contact, the lowest in the NFL of those with at least 80 carries.
42. More than half of Tarik Cohen‘s 370 rushing yards came on seven runs of 15 yards or more (186 yards).
43. Mike Gillislee had just one run of more than 15 yards (it was 16 yards).
44. Jordan Howard averaged just 0.65 YPRR, the lowest of all running backs (closest was Marshawn Lynch at 0.83 YPRR).
45. Alvin Kamara averaged a league-high 2.81 YPRR, while no other RB was over 2.35 YPRR.
46. Alvin Kamara‘s 826 receiving yards and five touchdowns accounted for more fantasy points than Amari Cooper, Sammy Watkins, and Jordy Nelson had on the season.
47. Carlos Hyde dropped a league-high 9 passes at the RB position. Next closest was Jordan Howard and Matt Breida at 6 apiece.
48. Christian McCaffrey ranked as the worst RB in pass-protection, allowing two sacks, and 10 pressures.
49. Marshawn Lynch ranked as the best RB in pass-protection. Didn’t allow a single sack or pressure.
50. Evan Engram led all tight ends with 11 drops. Nobody else had over 7 drops.
51. Travis Kelce saw a league-high 17 deep targets (20+), and also recorded a league-high 9 receptions, 266 yards and 3 TDs on them.
52. Evan Engram lined up in the slot just 25.4 percent of the time, the 2nd lowest mark among TEs.
53. The leaders at YPRR among tight ends: Rob Gronkowski, Hunter Henry, Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, O.J. Howard, and Delanie Walker.
54. There wasn’t a single quarterback who threw more than 581 passes in 2017. There hasn’t been a lower number since way back in 2004 when Trent Green led the league with 556 attempts.
55. Only 13 quarterbacks threw the ball more than 500 times, the lowest number since 2010.
56. DeShone Kizer completed just 54 percent of his passes (476 att). That was the second-lowest mark of the last five years (of QBs with at least 300 attempts). Cam Newton completed just 53 percent in 2016.
57. Tom Brady led the NFL with 4,577 yards, the lowest league-leader since 2006.
58. Of QBs with at least 100 attempts over the last five years, Jimmy Garoppolo‘s 8.8 yards per attempt in 2017 ranks third-best.
59. Of QBs with at least 100 attempts over the last five years, Bryce Petty‘s 4.9 yards per attempt in 2017 was the worst.
60. Russell Wilson led the NFL with 34 touchdown passes, tied for the lowest mark since 2006.
61. DeShone Kizer‘s 22 interceptions were the most in the NFL since Eli Manning threw 27 in 2013.
62. DeShaun Watson’s 9.3 percent touchdown rate is the highest since Peyton Manning’s 9.9 percent in 2004, and the second-highest since 1963.
63. Cam Newton‘s 754 rushing yards were a career-high and the second-most rushing yards for a quarterback in the last five years.
64. Russell Wilson has now rushed for at least 489 yards in 5-of-6 seasons.
65. For the fifth-straight season, Russell Wilson saw an increase in pass attempts.
66. Matt Ryan was the only quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards and not finish in the top-10 fantasy quarterbacks.
67. Over the last two years, there’ve been 37 running backs who’ve totaled at least 200 carries. Isaiah Crowell (30) and Jay Ajayi (33) were the only two who failed to finish as top-24 running backs.
68. Kareem Hunt led the NFL in rushing in 2017 with 1,327 yards. That was the lowest league-leader since 1990.
69. There were just 9 running backs who totaled 1,000 yards on the ground in 2017. Over the previous 15 years, there was just one other year with less than 12 running backs to accomplish that.
70. Christian McCaffrey‘s 113 targets were the third-most by a running back in the last five years.
71. Over the last five years, there’ve been just 8 times where a running back has seen at least 100 targets. Le’Veon Bell is responsible for two of them.
72. There were 5 running backs who totaled at least 650 receiving yards in 2017. No other year has had more than three running backs accomplish that feat.
73. Le’Veon Bell‘s 406 touches were the second-most by a running back in the last five years (D.Murray 450 in 2014).
74. DeAndre Hopkins‘ league-leading 11.6 targets per game in 2017 ranks as the fifth-most in the last five years.
75. Jamison Crowder was the only wide receiver with 100 or more targets who finished outside the top-30. He finished 40th.
76. Golden Tate‘s 76.7 percent catch-rate was the second-highest over the last five years, of wide receivers with at least 50 targets. Oddly enough, Ted Ginn had the second-highest catch-rate in 2017.
77. There were four wide receivers who saw at least 50 targets, but failed to score a single touchdown in 2017: Pierre Garcon, Terrence Williams, Corey Davis, and Ricardo Louis.
78. Of the 178 wide receivers who’ve seen at least 100 targets over the last five years, Tyreek Hill‘s 11.3 yards per target in 2017 is the highest.
79. DeAndre Hopkins led the league with 213.8 fantasy points. That ranks just 14th among wide receivers over the last five years.
80. Will Fuller averaged 1.70 fantasy points per target in 2017. That’s the fifth-highest number over the last five years.
81. In PPR formats, JuJu Smith-Schuster‘s 2.43 fantasy points per target ranks fourth over the last five years, and was No. 1 in 2017.
82. In PPR formats, Zay Jones‘ 0.95 fantasy points per target ranked as the worst over the last five years, of wide receivers with at least 50 targets.