Fantasy experts make pre-season bold predictions based off of high potential and opportunity.
It’s why so many liked Matt Ryan coming into 2012, or unproven running backs Doug Martin and Trent Richardson. And it’s the reason fake footballers selected new Chiefs’ running back Peyton Hillis as early as Round 5. (Eek.)
The first game of the season is not the only time a player will break out. The guys you took late-round fliers on – like Alfred Morris – killed it early, sure, but others – like Josh Gordon – didn’t start producing until Week 5 or 6. And then there are players like Robert Meachem who just never produced.
While we know that these breakout games come at random times, we saw this weekend that there is a “worst time” for your bold prediction to break loose.
If you drafted David Wilson thinking he was the rookie back to own, you may be in the playoffs. After all, he wasn’t necessarily a pick before the eighth or ninth round. But you probably dropped him. He’s probably on another team’s bench right now, ready to be used in the semi-finals against you.
“Why?” you ask yourself. “Why does this have to happen now?”
David Wilson wasn’t the only one with a monster Week 14. Just take a look:
Week 14 Numbers
Nick Foles had more passing yards (381) than everyone.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s column, the Buccaneers’ pass defense is atrocious.
He also was sacked more than anyone.
Foles was sacked 6 times, while Brady Quinn, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Andy Dalton were taken to the ground behind the line of scrimmage 5 times.
John Skelton was the only quarterback who threw more than 2 interceptions.
The Cardinals have the worst quarterback controversy in the history of the league.
Josh Freeman had the worst completion percentage in Week 14.
He completed just 14 of 34 passes (41.2%), which was about 6 percentage points worse than the second worst completion percentage by Andrew Luck (47.1%). It was a disappointing day for Freeman considering the matchup against Philly.
Cam Newton had more than double the number of rushing yards than any other quarterback.
We can credit that to his massive 72-yard touchdown run, but he was far and away the best runner at the quarterback position this week. Kaepernick ranked second, rushing for 53 yards on the ground.
Nick Foles had more pass attempts than Aaron Rodgers and Robert Griffin III combined.
While RGIII didn’t play in overtime (or the final minute or so of regulation), it’s still surprising to see that Aaron Rodgers only threw the ball 24 times against Detroit, albeit in the snow.
Teammates Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin ranked in the top-8 in rushing yards.
That’s what happens when you completely humiliate the Arizona Cardinals.
Pierre Thomas led all running backs with 7 receptions.
Darren Sproles, Thomas’ teammate and go-to guy out of the backfield, caught four balls. One of those did go for a touchdown.
Knowshon Moreno led all running backs in Week 14 with 32 rushing attempts.
When you start Knowshon, you play him for this exact reason: quantity.
Bilal Powell had just one less carry than Shonn Greene.
This is a trend we’re going to see with the Jets as they keep fresh legs on the field. Powell had 19 while Greene had 20.
Brandon Marshall had 6 more targets than any other NFL wide receiver.
Megatron and Jeremy Maclin ended with 13, while Marshall snagged 19. Plenty of Marshall’s action this week came because the Bears struggled against Minnesota early. That’s not to say that this was any out of the ordinary performance.
Kenny Britt and Jason Avant finished with the second and third most receiving yards among wideouts.
I was high on Britt coming into the week, but the Avant finish surprised me, even against the poor Bucs secondary. I do expect things to settle down for the Eagles passing game as they face Cincinnati on Thursday.
12 receivers finished with rushing yards in Week 14. In Week 13, only 3 receivers had rushing yards.
It’s kind of a worthless stat, but interesting nonetheless.
Anthony McCoy was the only tight end with over 100 yards receiving.
For those unfamiliar, McCoy is an athletic tight end but isn’t a focal point in the Seahawks offense. I wouldn’t go picking him up, but it’s interesting to see that he was the only go getting over the century mark in Week 14, especially with just 3 targets.
Aaron Hernandez led all tight ends in targets and was the only tight end with multiple touchdowns.
He’s back, and if you’ve got him in the playoffs, you’re in great shape.
The Seahawks defense, according to ESPN standard scoring, posted more fantasy points than the Cowboys, Buccaneers, Jaguars, Bengals, Patriots, Bills, Lions, Raiders, Panthers, Bears, Dolphins, Eagles, Redskins, Ravens, Saints, Chiefs, Falcons, Steelers, Texans and Cardinals combined.
That’s 20 teams, and that’s a lot of fantasy points.
Some Year to Date Statistics
Drew Brees and Andrew Luck have totaled to throw more interceptions than Robert Griffin III, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Josh Freeman, and Joe Flacco combined.
Brees and Luck have each thrown 18 interceptions this season. Tom Brady and RGIII have both thrown just 4 picks of their own.
Mathew Stafford has thrown more passes than anyone in the NFL and ranks 19th in passing touchdowns.
Now that’s not a very good ratio. What would happen to Stafford if he didn’t have Megatron?
Nick Foles and Cam Newton are the only starting quarterbacks who haven’t thrown an interception over the last three weeks.
Cam is playing out of this world, and Foles has been game managing quite nicely.
Over the last 5 games, Matt Ryan is second behind only Matthew Stafford in pass attempts.
I found this surprising considering his fantasy output. Over these five games, Ryan has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns (7 to 8), and ranks 12th in terms of fantasy production. Not good.
Adrian Peterson has rushed for 278 more yards in his last four games than Arian Foster has in his last five.
This stat has two important ideas associated with it. First and foremost, there’s little stopping Adrian Peterson. Second, Arian Foster has seen a significant dip in production as of late. He’s rushed for just two 100-plus yard games over his last five, and went for just 102 in each of those games.
CJ Spiller has nearly 80 more rushing yards than Trent Richardson with over 100 less carries.
Spiller has been spectacular when actually fed the ball, and many don’t realize that Trent Richardson has not. Richardson will still have plenty of fantasy relevancy because of the quantity of carries he’s receiving, but it’s alarming that his yards per carry is a measly 3.5.
Larry Fitzgerald ranks 5th among wide receivers in targets, but 43rd in terms of fantasy points.
Guys, Larry Fitzgerald is officially a worse fantasy play than Brandon Lloyd.
Randall Cobb, once again, has the best catch rate in the NFL.
Mario Manningham was the guy who Cobb recently surpassed. What’s crazy about Cobb having the highest catch rate is that he’s also in the top-50 (almost 40) in targets at the receiver position.
Brandon Pettigrew has just as many targets as Jimmy Graham.
They’re both just a target away from 100. The difference between the two, however, is about 150 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Rob Gronkowski has the most fantasy points of any tight end and he hasn’t played since Week 11.
He wasn’t on pace to do what he did last season, but Gronkowski sure made an argument for himself to be a top pick in next year’s draft.