Welcome to Statistically (in)Significant, the place to find great stats that probably only matter at the water cooler (or bar). Each week I'll dig through the stats of the week gone by and deliver you some choice conversation starters.
Lamar Miller, Houston's new featured back, ran for 106 yards on Sunday and is, thus far, the only back in week 1 to even break 100 yards. This is the lowest total in Week 1 going back at least 20 years (I suspect of all time). The only year with a total close to being this low was 1999, but in that season, 4 people had between 109 and 112 yards. To be fair, there are several backs that can pass this tonight, but overall this is still a historically low rushing total to start the season. The NFL is truly shifting into a passing league. (Editor's note: DeAngelo Williams ran for 144 yards, however only 2 players over 100 rushing yards is still remarkable for any week.)
So far in Week 1, 11 kickers have reached the double-digit promised land. Four of them are owned in less than 10% of Yahoo leagues, so it just goes to show that streaming kickers is always an option, and drafting them before the last round is (almost) always a waste.
Thus far the two highest scoring QB's of Week 1 both lost their game. Both Luck and Brees found themselves on the losing sides of a shoot out, which usually produces the best fantasy games. It lends credence to the old saying, "the best fantasy offense is a weak real-life defense".
Dak Prescott's debut showed that he's Mr. Checkdown, sending 14 targets to Jason Witten and 12 to Cole Beasley. While it didn't translate into a ton of production for either player, they will serve as a temporary replacement for Keenan Allen, at least until Tony Romo comes back. As efficient as Prescott looks, if he can't throw it deep, he won't play one week longer than necessary.
Carson Wentz was the first rookie to start in Week 1 for the Eagles since 1939, and it's something they might want to considering trying more often. Wentz looked good, throwing for 278 yards, 2 TD (including the very first of the day Sunday) and had zero turnovers.
Week 6 will kick off with a west coast matchup between the Broncos and Chargers. Philip Rivers is going to have a rough day against Denver’s third-ranked pass defense. Flip offenses and Trevor Siemian is expected to return against a San Diego defense giving up almost 300 pass yards per game this season. Thursday night football can be weird and frustrating with a short week of preparation. So we are all here to help you make those roster moves that could save your week. Here are this weeks recommended starts amongst the trending and borderline players. Feel free to reach out with specific start sit advice!
Brian Hoyer vs. Jac: It’s no secret that Jay Cutler’s career in Chicago is coming to a close. The Bears continue to be vague with their quarterback decisions and why shouldn’t they be. Brian Hoyer is playing well enough to keep the job and now reports from CBS Sports’ Brian La Canfora state that Cutler has “fallen out of favor” with Bears coaches. All rumors and guesses aside, Brian Hoyer looks to start at least one more week. The Jaguars matchup doesn’t lend itself to anything especially positive or negative. Brian Hoyer’s 300+ pass yards and 2 touchdown average per game over that last 3 weeks is a trend to ride in week 6.
Dak Prescott @ GB: Sure, he has yet to throw for over 300 yards, but he also had yet to throw an interception. Dak Prescott has led the Cowboys to a 4-1 start but will face his toughest test in week 6. Ezekiel Elliot is also going to face a tough test against the top rated Green Bay run defense and Dak will be called upon to do more than he has all season. I like that this one could turn into a shootout and that is always a good thing for fantasy owners. I even have a bold prediction that Dak will outscore Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck in week 6.
Cole Beasley @ GB: I made a bold claim just above that includes Dak Prescott beating out some pretty big names in fantasy heading into a matchup against Green Bay. That only happens if his supporting cast helps. Cole Beasley has been a reliable target for Dak in Dez Bryant’s absence. Reports, for now, seem to lean towards Dez missing the week 6 match up and if that is the case I think you roll with Cole in a favorable matchup. Again, this game is setting up to be won through the air for Dallas.
Willie Snead vs. CAR: A divisional matchup with the Saints coming off a bye week and Carolina reeling from a disappointing loss to Tampa Bay. One way or the other Willie Snead should be back to 100% after a toe injury. The Saints spread the ball around more than frat boys passing the discount vodka, but Willie was one of Drew Brees’ early favorites. Look for that to be renewed in a game setting up to be big for the Saints.
Frank Gore @ HOU: I don’t know what the coaching staff in Indianapolis is doing, as they seem to completely change schemes every week. That being said, Frank Gore put up a solid performance last week. The only thing holding him back from a better fantasy day was his lack of involvement in the passing game; something he saw a lot more of the previous week in London. The matchup with Houston should force the Colts to utilize Gore more in week 6. I also fully expect him to be moderately involved in the passing game, at least more than we saw in week 5.
Hunter Henry vs DEN: There is plenty to be wary about with Hunter Henry in week 6. The matchup, Thursday Night Football and the return of Antonio Gates are some pretty scary factors for Henry owners heading into week 6. Honestly, I like him for all the same reasons. First of all, the matchup with the Denver defense means Philip Rivers and the Chargers will have to utilize mismatches to move the ball through the air. While Antonio Gates will eat away at some of those targets and yards, he is also the perfect decoy in two tight end sets. I mean which one do you cover!? The kid has put up some big numbers and that wasn’t affected by Gates’ return. He just found more room to run on fewer targets.
Welcome to Statistically (in)Significant, the place to find great stats that probably only matter at the water cooler (or bar). Each week I'll dig through the stats of the week gone by and deliver you some choice conversation starters.
176 Pass Attempts
Dak Prescott's interception-free pass attempt streak ended on his 177th attempt on Sunday in Green Bay. Earlier in the game, he broke the previous record of 162, which was held by Tom Brady. The streak was impressive, but the 30-16 victory on the road could be the thing that keeps Tony Romo off the field, once he's back to 100% health. Prescott has 10 TDs total this season, and had only 1 turnover going into Week 6. As long as he and Zeke keep winning, I don't see why you change things.
Andy Reid's teams are now 16-2 when coming off of a bye week. This is a remarkable stat, and one that leaves me regretful that I didn't change my picks after being reminded of it on Sunday morning. The Chiefs thoroughly dominated the Raiders, particularly in the 2nd half when they gave up zero points. The return of Jamaal Charles was marked by an early touchdown, but then gave way again to Spencer Ware. Ware is averaging 129 yards from scrimmage per game and was given 24 carries in the game where Charles was supposed to have the training wheels taken off. It'll be interesting to see what happens going forward.
Up until Week 6, only guys named Jones were putting up games over 200 yards. This week, we add two more to that list. Jay Ajayi and Odell Beckham Jr. both went over 200 yards, putting up over 30 points each while helping their teams to big wins. Ajayi is a surprise, but a welcome one - it's nice to see some fantasy life in Miami after all. Look for him to be the hottest waiver pickup this week. Odell, on the other hand, is having fun again. Hopefully things stay fun for him, and the future Mrs. Kicking Net Beckham.
130+ Rush Yards
Ezekiel Elliott has 130+ yards in 4 straight weeks, the first rookie to ever reach that mark. Elliott is living up to the high expectations he had in Dallas, behind a very strong offensive line and fellow rookie Dak Prescott (see above). Elliott leads the league in rushing yards with 703, a wide margin over second place. At 5.13 yards per carry, he's incredibly efficient. He's got the second-most fantasy points in standard leagues - it's nice to see something live up to the hype.
Including playoffs, the Colts went 61 straight games between having a 100-yard rusher. On Sunday night in Houston, Frank Gore broke that streak...then lost his 100 yards. Then, the Colts gave up the lead, assuring that the game would go to OT and give Gore a chance to go back over 100 yards. A seven-yard run took care of this, but the Colts punted on that drive and the Texans kicked a field goal to steal the game from the Colts, who had led since the first quarter. This morning, I suspect that Chuck Pagano will find himself on the hot seat.
Welcome back to the Rookie Report! If you're like me, you're going to need fantasy football to distract you from the nightmare our country brought down on us on election night. We're getting close to the final playoff push, so if you're not mathematically eliminated from contention yet, keep grinding. You might just wind up fighting your way back in. There are a few more byes to get through this week, so fill-ins might be necessary again, and as usual there are a few rookies who may be able to help. Let's dig into this week's matchups:
Rookies to Start:
QB Dak Prescott, DAL (Wk. 10: @Pit.): Dak is fresh off his best career fantasy game last week against Cleveland. The Steelers certainly boast a better defense than the Browns, but they will still struggle to slow down the Cowboys’ rushing attack, which will open things up for Dak to be able to throw the ball once again. Prescott has scored at least 17 fantasy points (all point totals from ESPN standard scoring) in every game after week 1, and he should again be a top-12 option this week, especially with Stafford, Carr, Luck and Tyrod all on bye.
RB Ezekiel Elliott, DAL (Wk. 10: @Pit.): As mentioned above, the Cowboys should be able to run the ball on Pittsburgh. You know what to do with Zeke. The Steelers have allowed the 4th-most RB fantasy points per game despite allowing just 3 points to the Ravens’ backs last weekend. Zeke should be a no-brainer RB1 this week.
RB Jordan Howard, CHI (Wk. 10: @TB): Howard regained his stranglehold on the Bears’ lead back role after shredding the Vikings on Monday Night Football before the bye week. Ka’Deem Carey and Jeremy Langford will probably see a little bit of work, but Howard should see the bulk of it. Tampa Bay has allowed at least 14 fantasy points to opposing RBs in every single game this season. Howard should be a locked-and-loaded RB2 in this plus matchup.
RB Devontae Booker, DEN (Wk. 10: @NO): Booker was less than impressive in a good matchup with the Raiders last weekend, and his backup Kapri Bibbs shined in a limited role. While Bibbs may have earned more work, Booker should still be the lead back and see 60%+ of the RB work. That should be plenty to do damage with against New Orleans. The Saints just got done making DuJuan Harris the RB7 last week, and for the season have allowed the 2nd-most RB fantasy points per game and rank 25th in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA stat, which measures defensive efficiency. Booker should be well worth a start as a low-end RB2 or high-end flex.
QB Carson Wentz, PHI (Wk. 10: vs. Atl.): Wentz has struggled mightily of late with just 2 TDs and 5 turnovers in his past 4 starts, but the Falcons just might cure what ails him. The Falcons have allowed the most QB fantasy points per game, and have allowed 24 points or more to the opposing signal-caller in 6 of their 9 games this season. Wentz hasn’t scored more than 12 in any of the past 4 games, but he has a great shot to break out of that funk this week. He should be a high-end QB2.
RB Rob Kelley, WAS (Wk. 10: vs. Min.): Kelley has been named the Washington starting RB for week 10 against Minnesota. He stole Matt Jones’s job ahead of the team’s bye week with a strong performance against the Bengals while Jones sat with an injury. The Vikings have shown some vulnerability vs. the run lately, being shredded by Jordan Howard on Monday Night Football in week 8 and then allowing Theo Riddick to put up 70 yards on 14 carries last week. Despite those two down weeks, the Vikings still rank 9th in run defense DVOA, and I don’t expect Matt Jones to completely disappear from the rotation. I like the Minnesota run defense to get back on track, but Kelley’s expected volume in a tough matchup will make him a decent flex play option this week. I’d be less excited to run him out as my RB2.
RB Peyton Barber, TB (Wk. 10: vs. Chi.): This outlook hinges on Doug Martin’s status for week 10. Martin feels optimistic that he’ll be able to go, but it’s certainly not definitive. The team is already without Charles Sims, Jacquizz Rodgers and Antone Smith, so there isn’t much else there if Martin is out again. The matchup isn’t a good one this week, as the Bears surprisingly have allowed the 3rd-fewest RB fantasy points per game, and have held opposing backs to single-digit points in 4 of their past 5. Because of the tough matchup, I’d lean toward avoiding Barber, but you could do worse if you are in a tight spot this week and Martin does in fact sit again.
WR Corey Coleman, CLE (Wk. 10: @Bal.): Coleman’s return to action was less than stellar, but he did see 7 targets as he shook off the rust of a lengthy layoff. He stepped right back into a big role in the offense, and coach Hue Jackson talked about wanting Kessler to throw deep more often and Coleman has averaged 21.4 yards per catch so far. While the Ravens have been solid against the deep ball (they rank 2nd in pass defense DVOA on deep throws), they’ve still allowed the 3rd-most WR points per game in the league. Coleman is an upside WR3 option this week.
WR Sterling Shepard, NYG (Wk. 10: vs. Cin.): Shepard finally returned to the end zone last week, and his target share has remained consistent (6-8 targets every game since week 1). The Bengals’ defense has limited WR points this year, but they rank just 24th in pass defense DVOA. Shep remains a viable WR3 option this week, and is actually a pretty good one if Victor Cruz misses this game with an ankle sprain.
WR Will Fuller, HOU (Wk. 10: @Jax.): Fuller has been fighting through a leg injury the past couple weeks, but seems to be on track to play in week 10. He’ll return to boom-or-bust WR3/4 status if he’s a go. The Jaguars have limited big pass plays a little bit. Only 2 teams have allowed fewer passes of 20+ yards than Jacksonville, but the Jags rank a miserable 30th in pass defense DVOA on deep throws. There is upside here, but if you own Fuller you are well aware of the risk he brings as well.
Rookies to Sit:
QB Cody Kessler, CLE (Wk. 10: @Bal.): Kessler is nothing more than a desperation QB2 option this week. He’s topped 13 points just once in 4 full games, and the Ravens have an above-average pass defense, allowing the 12th-fewest QB points per game. There are a couple reasons for optimism for Kessler…his receiving corps is back at full strength, and coach Hue Jackson has said he wants Kessler to take more shots downfield. The question is whether or not those deep shots will be successful. Kessler has connected on just 4 of 16 throws that traveled 20+ yards downfield, and as mentioned earlier, the Ravens rank 2nd in pass defense DVOA on deep throws. I don’t forsee this being the week where he gets the downfield game going.
RB CJ Prosise, SEA (Wk. 10: @NE): There are bright spots to mention for CJ this week. He played more than 50% of the Seahawks’ RB snaps on Monday night, and the Patriots have allowed the 3rd-most receptions to running backs in the league. Coach Pete Carroll also said he’d like to get him more work going forward. In spite of his increasing playing time, however, Prosise has topped 1 fantasy point just once all year. I would expect Christine Michael to get more work this week than he got on Monday night. You’re really just buying into coachspeak to expect a productive game out of Prosise this week.
RB Derrick Henry, TEN (Wk. 10: vs. GB): Henry seems unlikely to play as he battles through a calf injury suffered in pre-game warmups last weekend. The injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for Henry. He had just had his best game of the season the week before, and seemed poised to take a bigger role in the offense. If he is able to play this week, I expect him to have a very limited role, and the Packers allow the 6th fewest RB points per game in the league.
WR Michael Thomas, NO (Wk. 10: vs. Den.): I will probably get some flak for this call, but I wouldn’t feel great starting Thomas this week. I know, he’s been on an absolute tear with 60+ yards and/or a TD in 6 straight games, propelling him to top-15 WR status for the season. I also know that Drew Brees is an animal at home, averaging 382 yards and 3 TDs per game in the Superdome this year. Despite those numbers, the Broncos’ defense is stifling against WRs. They allow the fewest points per game to the position, and allow a full FIVE points per game less than the next best team. Look, you might not have a better option than Thomas, and he does get the best matchup of the Saints’ WRs, expecting to match up most with Bradley Roby. There is a chance that Thomas has an ok game. I’m listing him as a player to sit just to stress how concerning the matchup is this week. If you have other decent options, I’d play them.
WR Tajae Sharpe, TEN (Wk. 10: vs. GB): Even against what has been a crumbling Green Bay secondary, Sharpe just doesn’t have the ceiling to warrant a start. He’s had 2 games in the past 3 weeks with 4 catches and just under 60 yards, but they were his best 2 games since week 1. Rishard Matthews and Kendall Wright are both better options this week. Sharpe’s production has been trending in the right direction, but he’s just not to a point where he’s startable yet.
WRs Robby Anderson & Jalin Marshall, NYJ (Wk. 10: vs. LA): Marshall had a solid outing last weekend with a 3-59-1 output in week 9, but he ran just 11 routes in the entire game. Anderson has been playing far more snaps than Marshall, but he appears to be locked in at about 4-40 each week. Their roles will be clouded further with Devin Smith being activated from the PUP list this week. The matchup is actually decent in week 10, as the Rams have been significantly worse vs. WRs on the road than at home (They allow 31 fantasy points per game to the position on the road and 14 per game at home), but it would be really hard for me to rely on any Jets’ receiver not named Brandon Marshall this week.
WR Tyler Boyd, CIN (Wk. 10: @NYG): Boyd has maintained a role in the offense after the return of Tyler Eifert, but he’s still a guy you shouldn’t be starting. He’s reached 5 fantasy points just twice all year, and the Giants rank 10th in pass defense DVOA.
TE Austin Hooper, ATL (Wk. 10: @Phi.): I liked Hooper last week, and he rewarded you by turning 6 targets into 3-46-1 if you gave him a shot, but I don’t have as rosy an outlook for him this week. As I mentioned last week, Jacob Tamme was leading the league in red zone targets before getting hurt, and Hooper will have a significant role if Tamme is out again. The matchup is much tougher this week though. Philly has given up just 2 TE scores all season, and hasn’t allowed 60 yards to the position in any game this year. There just isn’t a lot of upside for Hooper this week, and you can likely find a better streaming option on the wire.
TE Tyler Higbee, LA (Wk. 10: @NYJ): Don’t get excited about Higbee’s season-high 7 targets or 31 yards last week. He still only caught one of those 7 targets, and has hauled in just 3-of-14 targets on the year. The Jets do allow the 9th-most TE fantasy points per game, but it’ll be Lance Kendricks who benefits from the matchup, not Higbee.
Deep League Sleepers, Stashes, and Cheap DFS Options:
RB Kenneth Dixon, BAL (Wk. 10: vs. Cle.): Dixon’s increased workload didn’t go quite as planned in week 9. He definitely got more work, tallying 9 touches, but he turned them into just 13 yards against the Steelers. Luckily for him, Terrance West wasn’t much better with 27 yards on 16 touches. The matchup gets much juicier this week. The Browns have allowed 101 RB points in the past 3 games. If Dixon again approaches double-digit touches, he could be a usable flex option.
RB Paul Perkins, NYG (Wk. 10: vs. Cin.): Perkins isn’t quite startable yet, but he has reached the point where he is definitely worth a stash. He finally started to see a bigger share of the work last week, and while he got off to a slow start, he played a big part in salting the game away late. He hasn’t quite overtaken Rashad Jennings yet, but the Bengals rank 22nd in run defense DVOA and have allowed 24 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs in their past 4 contests. Perkins will get an opportunity to impress in this one, and it could earn him more work going forward.
WR Tyreek Hill, KC (Wk. 10: @Car.): Although he had a down game last week with Nick Foles starting, Hill has proven to have a consistent role in the Kansas City offense. It looks likely that Jeremy Maclin will miss this week’s game, and that should mean in increase in targets for Hill. The Panthers’ secondary has predictably fallen apart after losing Josh Norman, Bene Benwikere and Charles Tillman and replacing them with a bunch of rookies. Carolina is allowing the 6th-most WR points per game, and ranks just 30th in pass defense DVOA on short throws, which are in Hill’s wheelhouse. Hill ranks just 92nd amongst WRs in air yards per target. He also has been targeted on 20% of the snaps he’s played, and he should certainly play more of them with Maclin out. Hill is a great cheap DFS option this week, and could be a solid flex in deep leagues.
WR Roger Lewis Jr., NYG (Wk. 10: vs. Cin.): Lewis could have some value this week if Victor Cruz does indeed sit out against Cincy. The Giants run more 3-WR sets than anyone, with 3 different WRs playing over 85% of the possible snaps this year. I would expect that to continue even if Cruz sits. Lewis has already scored 2 TDs on just 6 targets this season, and he would be thrust into a nearly every down role if Cruz is out. He’s probably a better option as a cheap DFS tournament play than for season-long leagues, but he’s got upside to have a surprising game this week.
That's all I've got for this week. Hopefully, it helps you with the tough lineup decisions this week. Keep an eye on the injury report and make sure you don't play anybody who's not suiting up. If you have any specific questions or want to yell at me about anything included above, feel free to reach out via twitter and let me know (@Shawn_Foss). As always: Good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It's just a game.
For Fantasy Football team managers, playing in week 15 is all about making the right starts to get to the championship. Whether you fought hard to get into the playoffs from the bottom of the league or coasted into a bye spot early on, everyone is on an even playing field and (in most cases) only has one shot.
We'll be paying special attention to the players that you should and shouldn't start in week 15 and what matchups to keep in mind should you make the championship game in Week 16. We're joined by regular guest and drinkfive.com contributor Mike Mocerino.
Welcome back! We're joined this week by fantasy football veteran Matt Ellis to discuss the best starts moving forward into Week 13. This is the last week of the regular season of most fantasy football leagues, so put your best foot forward!
Peterman completed 6-of-14 passes for 66 yards with five interceptions. Wow, Buffalo. Nice work. In this episode, we'll be touching on the Bills' and NFL fantasy players going forward as well as the other highs and lows of Week 11 and what they mean to your fantasy squad.