50 Stats to Consider on Fantasy Football Draft Day
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The offseason is chock-full of sound bites and news clips that continually influence our rankings as we prepare for draft day. There have been and will be ongoing adjustments up until the season, but there are some core numbers that have persisted throughout the summer in driving my love or disinterest in certain players. To me, these are the fifty most important nuggets that make my rankings what they are. I hope you enjoy reading them and find them useful in your chase for that championship this season.
There hasn’t been a quarterback in the last decade to repeat as the #1 fantasy QB. Additionally, there has never been a QB with a TD rate over 8.0% who didn’t drop at least 2% the following season. Mahomes is a virtual lock to lose 8 to 15 touchdowns off his 2018 total.
Rodgers has never finished worse than QB #2 in fantasy football when he plays a full season (without a broken leg). In fact, last year with that broken leg, he still had his second-highest yardage season of all-time and only threw 2 picks, so he is far from done.
Only three of his games are outside this year. Ryan has also been the #1 fantasy quarterback over the past three seasons.
Wentz was the QB15 when he was on the field last season as his TD-rate predictably regressed (reminder for Mahomes) from 7.5% to 5.2%.
Speaking of inflated and unsustainable TD-rates, Russell Wilson was barely a QB1 last year despite a whopping 8.2% TD-rate. If it had been his career-average, he would have finished QB15.
Cam has been QB #4 or better in all five healthy seasons of his career including 2017 when he was QB #2. In fact, going into Week 11 last year before his shoulder acted up, Cam was QB #4 once again.
Mike Evans is being drafted as the 8th receiver off the board. Chris Godwin is 19th and O.J. Howard is the 4th tight end yet Winston is just the 15th QB taken on average. The Bucs were fourth in pass attempts last year and between Winston and Fitzpatrick, would have finished QB2 in fantasy if they were combined.
Dak has finished inside the top 11 fantasy QBs all three years of his career. From the moment they traded for Amari Cooper, he was QB #6. The Cowboys also have the easiest strength of schedule through the first three weeks so he makes for an ideal streamer.
Tom Brady has only once had a higher completion percentage for a season than Cousins’ career line. Cousins also average 10 more passing yards per game than Brady and the same 28 touchdowns per 16 games. Cousins has been a top 13 fantasy QB every season he started. He is being drafted as the #19 quarterback.
Fitzmagic played just 28 quarters last season. If you prorate that to a full 16 game season, his numbers come out to 5,408 yards and 39 touchdowns.
In the three years Adam Gase has been a head coach, his teams have averaged 116 fewer plays per season than Le’Veon’s Pittsburgh teams. That essentially caps Bell’s upside at 14 games worth of snaps played, and he’ll do it behind a major downgrade at offensive line.
If Gurley had just 50% of the Rams’ running back fantasy points last season, he still would have finished as a top 12 fantasy back.
Prior to his injury, Cook was given 23.7 touches per game. Once the Vikings changed offensive coordinators last year, Cook returned to 18.1 per game, or 290 per 16 games. Only Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, Todd Gurley and David Johnson had that many touches in 2018.
Williams has never rushed the ball more than 13 times in a game through five NFL seasons. He also had just 290 carries in two college seasons at Oklahoma
Even though he has missed 13 games (and change) of football, Fournette is still top 12 in carries in those two seasons.
Mike Davis is leaving 10 touches per game up for grabs in Seattle’s backfield so even if Rashaad Penny gets an extra 7 or 8 touches per game, Carson could still see an uptick in his already large workload that led to him dropping 1,076 rushing yards and 9 scores in his final 12 games. He was the RB9 in that large sample size.
In 16 games including the playoffs last year, Michel had 1,267 rushing yards and 12 rushing TDs. There wasn’t one other running back who did both of those in 16 or fewer games last year.
Miller has now been a top 24 fantasy back five straight seasons. He is being drafted 28th among running backs.
After finishing RB #3 and RB #6 in 2017, Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram actually finished with more combined fantasy points per game in 2018. The difference was that Ingram was suspended. Even with that suspension, Ingram was drafted 48th overall last year. Murray is somehow going 50 picks later even though he is stepping into the same exact role and not expected to miss any time. Plus, there has been no better goal-line back in the NFL over the past three seasons than Murray.
If White were only a receiver, he would have finished as a WR2. He also had 72 fantasy points just on the ground, finishing as a top 8 fantasy RB in total. He is being drafted 31st among RBs.
Only Darren Sproles has played more than 32% of the Eagles’ backfield snaps in a season since Doug Pederson took over. No matter how talented (the fumble-prone) Sanders may be, he is likely destined for a committee.
The Ravens ran the ball 45.0 times per game once Lamar Jackson took over under center. The Seahawks were second at just 33.7 carries per game. Mark Ingram is also on the wrong side of 30 years old.
The Cardinals were 31st in football with just 56.4 offensive snaps per game last year. New head coach, Kliff Kingsbury says he wants to run 80 plays a game with the air raid offense. Even if they just run 70, that would be an additional 217 plays, or nearly four games worth of additional offensive snaps. Edmonds may get enough touches in this new offense to make him fantasy relevant even without an injury to David Johnson.
Cooks has four consecutive 1,000 yard seasons and four consecutive top 12 fantasy finishes. He is still just 25 years old and is currently being drafted as the 15th receiver off the board.
The 33-year-old Edelman has never once finished as a top 18 fantasy receiver. He is being drafted as the 17th receiver.
In four pro seasons, Lockett has never seen more than 4.4 targets per game. When Doug Baldwin was out, it was Brandon Marshall who led the team in targets last year. Expecting him to jump into that lead-dog role is a leap of faith.
Including last season, if you prorate any of Green’s 8 NFL seasons out to a full 16 games, he would have finished as a top 12 fantasy receiver.
Will Fuller & Keke Coutee
Fuller saw a target on just 12% of his snaps last year. DeAndre Hopkins was at 14% and Coutee was at a whopping 16%. When Fuller and Coutee return to health, Fuller may be the distant third target in an offense that only threw 506 passes last year.
Davis had a 26% target share last year. If game scripts force the Titans jump to just 20th in pass attempts this year, that 26% target share would put Davis at 140 targets. All but one receiver with 140 targets last year finished as a WR1. Davis is a 24-year-old third year receiver and is being drafted as the 36th receiver off the board.
In 2017, Jones was WR #5 in fantasy football then was on pace to finish WR #11 last year before his injury. He is being drafted as the 35th receiver off the board. Golden Tate is now gone too.
Prior to his injury last season, Allison was on pace for 76 receptions, 1,156 yards and 8 touchdowns. That stat line would have ranked 13th among receivers and just ahead of T.Y. Hilton.
Going into last year, Tate had four-straight 90-reception seasons. Prior to the trade, he was again on pace for 101 receptions, 1,182 yards and 7 touchdowns which would have ranked inside the top 10 fantasy wideouts.
In the 32 games Parker has played at least 75% of snaps, he has 60+ yards in 20 of them. The only other receivers who can boast that rate or better since Parker joined the league are all being drafted in the first four rounds. Parker is going undrafted and just got a major upgrade at both the quarterback position and in offensive pace (Gase leaving).
Moore had more fantasy points per target last year than DeAndre Hopkins, Davante Adams, Julio Jones and Michael Thomas. He has been running with the first team and could very well lead Russell Wilson‘s team in targets if gadget receiver, Tyler Lockett, can’t handle an increased target share.
Henry has 115 career targets. Check out these TE’s per 115 targets:
Engram was peppered with targets as a rookie when Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard were all injured. Despite 62 extra targets over Hunter Henry that year, Engram only had 14 more fantasy points. Beckham is now gone, but Saquon Barkley, Golden Tate and a healthy Sterling Shepard should limit Engram’s target share compared to that year.
Besides Cook, the Raiders target leaders last year were Jordy Nelson (88), Jalen Richard (81), Seth Roberts (64) and Marcell Ateman (31). He won’t have that luxury of lousy competition for targets in New Orleans this year with Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara roaming around. Plus, Carr threw the ball 64 more times than Brees last year.
Over the last 20 years, the only rookie tight ends to finish with even 100 fantasy points were Rob Gronkowski, the greatest fantasy tight end of all-time, and Evan Engram who did it because Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard were all injured.
Graham still finished as a top 14 fantasy tight end last year even though he caught just 2 touchdowns in 89 targets. Going into last year, he had a touchdown in every 12.5 targets. Positive touchdown regression is coming. Graham is being drafted as the 18th tight end off the board.
In 12 games started with the Eagles, Nick Foles targeted Zach Ertz 109 times–That’s 9.1 per game or the same as Michael Thomas and ahead of Mike Evans/Keenan Allen last year. In Kansas City, Foles targeted Kelce 8.5 times per start. Heck, in St. Louis, Foles targeted his tight ends a whopping 28% of the time. Swain is the clear-cut starter with Josh Oliver hurt and has limited competition for targets in Jacksonville. Swain also caught 26 of 32 targets last season and has more yards per target than Zach Ertz. He is a tremendous Week 1 streamer against the Chiefs defense that allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends last year.
The previous year’s #1 D/ST has finished #20, #14, #12, #5, #14 and #16 the following season.
The Jags finished as the #16 D/ST last year and are being drafted #3 this season
Over the second half of the season, New Orleans had the #2 fantasy D/ST