Counting down the fantasy numbers of note entering the 14th week of the NFL season.
77.2 – Catch percentage this season for Saints’ wide receiver Kenny Stills, who has reeled in 44 of the 57 passes thrown in his direction. That percentage is tied with K.C. tight end Travis Kelce for tops among all WRs/TEs with 40 or more catches this season and ranks him as one of only two wideouts with a mark greater than 75 percent (injured teammate Brandin Cooks is the other at 76.8 percent). Throw in the fact that Stills ranks sixth out of that 67-man group with a 15.7 yards-per-catch average, and it’s even that more impressive. Since Week 11, when Cooks suffered a season-ending broken thumb, Stills ranks seventh among WRs with 292 yards and two touchdowns on 17 catches and ninth with 41.2 standard-scoring fantasy points. He’s averaging 17.2 yards per reception and yet has caught 17 of his 19 targets (89.5 percent) following his career-best 162-yard effort on five grabs Sunday in Pittsburgh. Definitely a wideout to swoop up if he’s somehow still on your league’s waiver wire.
47.2 – Red-zone completion percentage for the Giants’ Eli Manning since the start of the 2012 season. It’s only one of the many numbers explaining the continued struggles of the two-time Super Bowl-winning QB, but it’s definitely among the most revealing. Of the 26 NFL quarterbacks who have attempted 100 or more passes inside the red zone over the last three seasons, Manning does rank 14th with 45 scoring passes but he’s 23rd in completion percentage, 25th in passer rating at 78.4 (only Chad Henne ranks lower at 72.4) and is tops with eight interceptions. No other QB has more than six red-zone picks. And despite a cast of capable targets in Odell Beckham Jr., Rueben Randle and TE Larry Donnell, Eli’s 2014 red-zone figures are right on par with 35 completions in 70 attempts for 206 yards, 19 TDs and a league-high four interceptions. Until those numbers improve, it’s tough to have any trust in Manning as a fantasy starter.
33 – Receptions over the last seven games for the Bengals’ Jermaine Gresham, which ranks second among TEs over that span. Only Rob Gronkowski has more at 39. Gresham, getting plenty of looks with Tyler Eifert sidelined since the season opener, has been targeted 42 times in those seven games and has caught 78.5 percent of those for 226 yards and a pair of scores. Overall this season, Gresham has caught 47 of his 62 targets for 355 yards and the two TDs. His reception total is tied for seventh among tight ends, and he has more receptions than the more-notable likes of Delanie Walker (44), Jason Witten (44) and Julius Thomas (40). Keep that in mind if you need stretch-run TE help, particularly in PPR leagues.
17 – Combined takeaways for the Rams (10) and Buccaneers (7) over the last three weeks to rank them first and third, respectively, in the league. As a result, St. Louis (64 points using MyFantasyLeague.com scoring) and Tampa Bay (38) rank first and fourth, respectively, among defenses/special teams in total fantasy points over that span – marking them as under-the-radar fantasy postseason plays in the coming weeks. St. Louis’ upcoming slate is especially attractive with games against the Redskins, Cardinals and Giants over the next three weeks. Nedd a little more convincing? Both defenses have notched 11 sacks since Week 11, and have intercepted at least five passes to rank among the league’s top five in both categories. Both also rank in the top six in terms of points allowed with the Rams giving up only 30 points and the Bucs allowing 42.
10.8 – Total standard-scoring fantasy points over the last four games for the Bills’ Sammy Watkins, who has a grand total of 13 catches for 105 yards and no scores on 31 targets over his last four games. That ranks the fourth-overall pick sixth in fantasy scoring among RBs and pass-catchers – on his own team. Three teammates – WRs Robert Woods (256) and Chris Hogan and RB Bryce Brown (122) – have logged more receiving yards over the last month, while the same three have as many or more receptions with Woods leading the way with 21. The rookie WR class has been catching passes and accolades with deserved regularity this season, but the Bills’ top pick has hit a decided slump over the past month, and his numbers during that span pale in comparison to his own totals (12-279-3) from Weeks 7 and 8 alone. Watkins is getting the targets – matching Woods with a team-high 31 over the four contests – but his fantasy owners desperately need him to start doing more with them with the postseason at hand in most leagues.
5 – Rushing touchdowns this season for the Falcons’ Steven Jackson, who has carried 159 times for 602 yards and caught 16 passes for 97 more yards. Adding it up, it sneakily ranks the old man – a relative RB term at age 31 – 19th among RBs with 100 total fantasy points through 12 games. Jackson has tallied three of his five rushing scores over the last five games, and only Marshawn Lynch and Jamaal Charles (6 apiece) and Justin Forsett, Alfred Morris and Jonas Gray (4 apiece) have more ground TDs during that span. The bottom line: Definitely don’t overlook Jackson when weighing your RB2 options in the coming weeks.
3.09 – Average yards per carry for Trent Richardson over the 25 games he’s played since being traded to the Colts prior to Week 3 last season. T-Rich has rushed 292 times for 903 yards and six scores for Indy – hardly worth a first-round draft pick. Now sure, certainly no breaking news here, but it’s simply shocking to see Richardson’s rushing figures side-by-side with the totals of the Colts’ other backs. During the last two seasons, six other RB/FBs – Ahmad Bradshaw, Donald Brown, Dan Herron, Vick Ballard, Tashard Choice and Stanley Havili – have carried the ball for Indy and their combined totals are as follows: 311 attempts for 1,522 yards and 11 TDs. Oh, and that computes to a 4.89 average gain per carry – only a 58.2 percent better performance than Richardson has managed playing in the same scheme and running behind the same offensive line. In a word, yikes!
3 – 300-yard passing games for Colin Kaepernick in 35 career regular-season starts with the Niners. If that sounds scary, consider that in only eight of those 35 contests has he eclipsed even 250 aerial yards. He also has thrown multiple-TD passes in 16 of those 35 games, with only four games with three or more scoring tosses. Combined, Kaepernick has thrown for 250 or more yards and two or more TD passes in only five career regular-season starts. Only one of those five – a 343-yard, 3-TD outing in St. Louis in Week 6 – has come this season in which he ranks a shocking 22nd in average fantasy points per game (19.34) among QBs who have made five or more starts. For quick reference, that’s in Kirk Cousins (21.25 fantasy points per game), Kyle Orton (19.65) and Mike Glennon (19.29) territory. Kaepernick does rank second among all QBs with 353 rushing yards but only 111 of those yards have come over the last six games and he has yet to rush for a TD after racking up nine of them over the last two seasons. In other words, you should have another more viable starting QB option if you’re playing in 10- or 12-team league.