People like to tell me that numbers don’t tell an entire story. And while I wholeheartedly agree, I still see a huge importance in looking at numbers, especially from a football and fantasy football perspective.
The whole concept of The Late Round Quarterback is based on the fact that, while quarterback fantasy play is trending upward, the value of the position is still not greater than running back or receiver. And we see this by the use of numbers and data analysis.
At the end of the day, looking at data will never tell the whole story. If that were the case, then Pierre Garcon had an Alshon Jeffrey-type Week 1. Clearly that’s not true, because Garcon left the game in the first half. Jeffrey played the whole way through.
Numbers will never be the end all. But they help support a claim. They help guide us in a favorable direction. Numbers, if you will, are the facts that help bring the entire story together.
Here are some of the facts from Week 1’s story:
Darren McFadden more than doubled the reception total of Chris Johnson and Reggie Bush, the running backs listed second in receptions.
If you own McFadden in a PPR league, consider yourself a contender. McFadden hauled in 13 passes en route to a 118 total yard performance. While his rushing yards were down, expect McFadden’s numbers to only get better when the Raiders can open up the offense a little with Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford.
Kevin Smith and Darren Sproles were the only running backs with receiving touchdowns.
Do we even call Sproles a running back anymore? After all, he had zero carries on Sunday. Both of these backs snagged touchdowns late in their games, and it’s very interesting that they were the only two to get in the end zone through the air at the position.
Last season, 7 quarterbacks finished with 24 or more fantasy points (standard scoring) during Week 1. This year, only 2 quarterbacks scored 24 or more points.
Not only is the quarterback position deep, but don’t be surprised if numbers are down after last season’s outlier. While I see the number of passes remaining consistent, I think we’ll see better tackling due to full preparation in camps. It sounds crazy, but the biggest factor of last year’s jump was the almost-lockout. Be prepared for lower numbers, and less variation from quarterback to quarterback.
Robert Griffin III had the highest yards per pass attempt.
In fantasy football, you love to see this. Imagine if the Redskins were actually playing without a lead against the Saints this week?
Vincent Jackson had the second highest percentage of team targets.
And he only caught 4 balls. A lot of this has to do with how that game was played, but I expect Vincent Jackson to be a big part of that Tampa Bay offense. Keep an eye out.
Over 45% of Jay Cutler’s pass attempts were 15 yards or greater.
Another fantastic stat for Cutler owners. The quarterback in second, Joe Flacco, threw the ball downfield just 31% of the time. It was a favorable matchup for Cutler, but look to favor quarterbacks against the Colts in the future. Big, big plays.
Kevin Ogletree, Julio Jones and Stephen Hill were the only receivers with multiple touchdowns.
There for four receivers with multiple touchdowns during Week 1 last year, but those receivers were Calvin Johnson, Steve Smith, Kenny Britt and Wes Welker. How many of you started Kevin Ogletree and Stephen Hill?
Wes Welker was targeted just 5 times.
This is slightly alarming for Welker fans, but I expect one Patriot receiver to see a game like this per week (counting Gronkowski and Hernandez). There are too many mouths to feed. Welker was unfortunately this week’s target, losing some playing time to Julian Edleman as well.
Aside from Pierre Garcon, the highest yardage per target rate at wide receiver came from Devin Aromashodu.
Do you smell the Aromashodu? He’s not necessarily a pickup in your fantasy league, but I think we’ll see some more shots down the field from Christian Ponder this year.
Emmanuel Sanders received the same number of targets as Antonio Brown did, and more than Mike Wallace.
I still wouldn’t snag Sanders in anything but a deep league. A lot of these targets had to do with the stellar play by the Broncos’ cornerbacks, not the fact that Roethlisberger is in love with Sanders.
Matthew Stafford targeted his tight ends 18 times.
Brandon Pettigrew had 10, and Tony Scheffler had 8. I think Pettigrew will continue to get looks, but some of these targets to these tight ends could be due to the benching of Titus Young.
Dexter McCluster was targeted 10 times. Jonathan Baldwin wasn’t targeted at all.
If Baldwin isn’t part of the offense this week, look to dump the guy. Dexter McCluster is now a big waiver wire add this week. He’s going to play a role in this offense moving forward.
Alfred Morris led the league in rushing attempts.
I’ve mentioned this on Twitter, but Alfie is in the perfect sell-high situation. He’ll get the starting nod again this week I’m sure, but there’s no telling what happens to the Redskins if and when they’re not leading nearly the entire game.
Cedric Benson was the only Packer running back to receive a carry.
The good news for Benson owners is that, with James Starks sidelined, Ceddy Bear was the only viable Green Bay running back. The bad part? He played the vicious 49ers defense. I think Benson will still have a solid, not stellar, season.
Dennis Pitta received over 28% of the Ravens’ targets.
If you need tight end help, look for Pitta. Flacco spread the ball out around a lot, so for Pitta to have that high of a team target percentage is saying something.
Alex Smith had the highest completion percentage of all NFL quarterbacks.
Does this matter from a fantasy perspective? A little. If the 49ers fall behind in any games, forcing Smith to throw the ball more, Michael Crabtree could turn into something more than a WR3.
Reggie Wayne was targeted 18 times.
A lot of this had to do with the Colts playing from behind and the fact that Austin Collie was out, but Reggie Wayne is a possible Steve Smith of 2011 candidate for 2012. Rookie quarterback, veteran receiver…it just makes sense.
CJ Spiller had nearly 40 more yards than the second leading rusher, DeMarco Murray.
With the injury to Fred Jackson, CJ Spiller is now a weekly must start. He was outstanding without Jackson last year, and is a PPR threat in the Bills’ passing game.