20 Stats to Remember on Draft Day (Fantasy Football)
Your draft is right around the corner, and while there is a place and a time for long-form articles, the demand for to-the-point articles is at a premium this time of year. That’s why today I am going to give you 20 quick-hitting stats to remember during your draft. It is worth mentioning that stats are sometimes deceptive and even intentionally misleading. That is not the case here, as these are the stats that most influenced my personal rankings. With that said, let’s get into the stats.
1) Deshaun Watson is a bust
–If you (wisely) regress Watson’s unsustainable touchdown rate back to Tom Brady‘s career average (5.5%), he would have had 11 TDs and 8 INT, finishing as the QB7 over his limited sample size.
4) Evan Engram was inefficient
–Engram was third among TEs in targets without Odell Beckham or Saquon Barkley, but scored just 0.93 fantasy points per target which was less than half of O.J. Howard‘s 1.93.
5) Sony Michel has major upside
Over the last three seasons, New England has run the ball 73 times within the 5-yard line and 150 times within the 10. No other team is even close to those figures with #2 sitting at just 60 and 123 attempts respectively.
6) Keelan Cole can be special
–Cole didn’t start until Week 13, from which point he led the league with 475 receiving yards. Only DeAndre Hopkins, Antonio Brown, Keenan Allen, Tyreek Hill and Julio Jones had a five-week sample size with as many yards at any point in the season.
7) Andrew Luck is historically gifted
–The last time Luck was healthy, he scored 351.7 fantasy points in a season. Here is the list of QBs who have done that in NFL history: Manning, Brees, Rodgers, Brady, Newton, Steve Young, Marino, Culpepper, Luck
8) Todd Gurley is the clear #1
–The difference between Gurley’s 319.3 fantasy points and Le’Veon Bell‘s 256.6 is larger than the difference between Bell’s and RB8 last season. In fact, Gurley’s season was 2nd best this decade behind Chris Johnson in fantasy points per game.
9) Julio Jones doesn’t match the narrative
–Jones has played more games over the past three years than Antonio Brown and has the same number of single-digit fantasy points weeks in that time, finishing 0.5 PPR WR2, WR5 and WR4.
10) George Kittle could be a star
–In the five games Jimmy Garoppolo was the 49ers’ starter, his tight ends scored 59.2 fantasy league points. If extrapolated out to a full 16-game season, that comes to 189.4 points. Only three tight ends have ever scored that many points in a season.
11) Kelvin Benjamin is a safe WR3
–Only 6 receivers in NFL history had as many yards and touchdowns as Benjamin did during his first two seasons: Moss, Beckham, A.J. Green, Colston, Fitzgerald and Isaac Bruce.
12) Duke Johnson is a terrific value
–Mike Tagliere’s spectacular Boom Bust and Everything In Between series pointed out that Duke was an RB1 more often than Devonta Freeman, Jordan Howard and LeSean McCoy and was an RB2 more often than Christian McCaffrey, Freeman and Howard. He is being drafted as the RB38.
13) Alvin Kamara has a limited ceiling
If you regress Kamara’s 6.6% TD-rate to Le’Veon Bell‘s career 2.7% mark, Kamara would have finished as the RB12 in fantasy points per game, just ahead of Chris Thompson, Carlos Hyde and Rex Burkhead.
14) Charles Clay is the last-resort TE
In the 8 games Clay was healthy, he received a 27% target share, topped only by DeAndre Hopkins and Antonio Brown in that time. The number two tight end was all the way down at 24%.
15) Aaron Rodgers is worth the price
Rodgers has played at least 15 games 8 times in his career. In those 8 years, he has finished as a top 20 points above replacement level fantasy player 7 times. In fact, he has been top 12 in 6 of those seasons and top 5 in 3.
16) DST doesn’t matter
Ryan Melosi recently pointed out that of DSTs drafted top-five at the position over the past three seasons, only 20% have returned top-five value. In fact, 48% have finished outside the top 12 at the position while none have finished as the #1 DST.
17) Jamison Crowder will be a reception hog
While we are borrowing from friends who changed my mind, Mike Tagliere pointed out in his NextGenStats piece that Alex Smith threw into tight coverage an NFL-low 12.7% of the time and that Crowder is top-ten in the NFL at average separation with Josh Doctson in the bottom 10 out of over 90 receivers.
18) Alex Smith might be an MVP candidate
Since 1990, only 10 QBs have scored as many fantasy points as Smith with 505 or fewer passes: Rodgers, Brady, Peyton Manning, McNabb, Vick, Steve Young, Rich Gannon, Randall Cunningham and Cam Newton. If Washington lets him air it out finally, we could be looking at another 2002 Rich Gannon type season.
19) Larry Fitzgerald isn’t slowing down
Over the past three seasons, only Antonio Brown, Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins have more fantasy points than Fitzgerlad who now has three consecutive seasons with 107 over more receptions.
20) Dak Prescott is a steal
Going into Week 10, when Ezekiel Elliott began his suspension, Dak Prescott was third in football with 21.5 fantasy points per game. In the 23 games Dak and Zeke have been in the lineup together, no QB has outscored Prescott.