Fantasy Football Week 1: By The Numbers (2019)
Numbers are at the core of life, sports, and fantasy football. Whether evaluating something as simple as who scored more points to win a football game or something as complex as evaluating game theory to optimize daily fantasy lineups, numbers paint a picture of quality, progress, and expectation.
Part of evaluating fantasy football performances is restricted to the eye test: I can confidently say that David Montgomery is still good despite only posting a stat line of six carries for 18 yards. A glance at his stat line may tell you otherwise. The eye test is important; don’t forget that.
There are, however, plenty of stories that can be told by the numbers, plenty of which you can find below. Let’s take a look at some notable figures from Week 1.
The number of carries that Tarik Cohen (RB – CHI) recorded plus the number of balls that Anthony Miller (WR – CHI) caught for the Bears on Thursday night. Cohen did add eight receptions for 48 yards, but Miller simply gave you a nice goose egg to start the season. I expect both of their usage to increase as we move forward, but both are concerning enough that you should pay close attention.
The number of snaps that Dante Pettis (WR – SF) played. I’m not really sure why. That is all. No bueno.
The number of receivers on the Cardinals that logged 10 or more targets against the Lions. The Cardinals receiving corps is one that I was absolutely avoiding, but it’s a positive sign that Larry Fitzgerald (13 targets), Christian Kirk (12), and KeeSean Johnson (10) were all well-integrated. Yes, I am as disappointed in the spelling of KeeSean Johnson as you are.
The difference in yards per carry between Chiefs running backs LeSean McCoy (8.1) and Damien Williams (2.0). I was never convinced that Williams was anything but an average back in a good situation, and Week 1 supported that. Williams did score a rushing TD and was much more involved in the passing game, but I bet we see more and more McCoy.
Rookie Devin Singletary’s (RB – BUF) average yards per touch against the Jets. Singletary had nine total touches for 98 yards, and, while Frank Gore (RB – BUF) (somehow) out-touched and out-carried Singletary, the rookie should become the bell cow back in Buffalo sooner rather than later. Singletary needs to be owned in all leagues.
The number of snaps that Marquise “Hollywood” Brown (WR – BAL) played on Sunday for the Ravens, recording four receptions for 147 yards and two touchdowns, becoming the third player in NFL history to score touchdowns on his first two receptions in the league. I imagine his involvement will increase immensely especially after that performance, but don’t expect him to catch one pass for every three snaps moving forward; that efficiency is completely off the charts.
The amount of yards that Sony Michel (RB – NE) gained on 15 (!!) carries. This game was absolutely perfect for Michel’s game script, and it ended up being wildly disappointing. I’d still roll him out there as the touchdown-scorer on arguably the best offense, but the inefficiency is cause for concern.
The number of targets that Jamison Crowder (WR – NYJ) logged in Week 1, hauling in 14 of them for 99 yards. I praised Crowder every year and he disappointed me every year, and I’ve personally banished myself from acknowledging his existence, but you should make sure he’s owned. You can’t ignore 17 targets.
The snap percentages for both Devonta Freeman (RB – ATL) and Ito Smith (RB – ATL), which should concern Freeman owners. Freeman is one of my favorite buy-low targets after Week 1, but he should have a 70% snap share at an absolute minimum. If this trend continues, he wouldn’t be a buy-low candidate anymore.
Corey Davis’s (WR – TEN) snap percentage, which he used to efficiently catch exactly zero balls. Davis had the highest snap count by a fairly large margin, but the lack of involvement is concerning. I think this is an anomaly but definitely something to watch.
Austin Hooper’s (TE – ATL) catch rate in Week 1. Hooper hauled in all nine targets for 77 yards, rewarding some fantasy owners that played the late-round tight end game.