Counting down the fantasy numbers of note entering the 15th week of the NFL season.
311 – Average yards passing for Drew Brees in seven home games this season. That’s the second highest home average in the league this season – trailing only Ben Roethlisberger’s 373.5 – and compares favorably to Brees’ own average of 305.1 yards per home contest from 2006-13. Brees’ average of 2.14 TD passes per Superdome date is also not too far off his 2.55 average from the previous eight seasons. But the team around the QB – particularly the defense, which is allowing 27.4 points per home game – has eroded much more noticeably, and New Orleans is only 3-4 in the Big Easy after posting a 44-20 mark from 2006-13. Those struggles have led many to blindly downgrade Brees’ fantasy stock, but don’t be so quick to do so as he actually still ranked third among QBs in total fantasy points (328) – trailing only Andrew Luck (402) and Peyton Manning (338) – coming out of Sunday’s action. Sure Brees’ numbers are down a tad from recent seasons, but if you’ve been rolling with the veteran this season, you’ve had a QB edge in most of your fantasy matchups.
275 – Total targets for Patriots’ WR Julian Edelman since the start of the 2013 season. That ranks sixth in the league over that span and includes 124 in 13 games this year. Edelman has 190 catches – which trails only Antonio Brown (215) – among those 275 targets for a 69.1 catch percentage, which is tops among all WRs who have garnered 150 or more targets during that 29-game span, ranking just ahead of former teammate Wes Welker (68.7 percent) and Brown (68.0). Of those 275 targets, 43 have come in the red zone, trailing only Brown (51), Demaryius Thomas (49) and Jordy Nelson (45 prior to Monday night) among wideouts, and he’s converted 27 of those into catches, with only Thomas (31) and Brown (29) owning more.
99 – Rushing yards and no TDs on 35 attempts for the Jaguars’ Denard Robinson over the last three games. He’s added 57 yards on seven receptions for a total 15.6 fantasy points. Contrast that with the 65.9 points he racked up in his previous four games from Weeks 7-10 – his first four contests as a starter – when he rushed for 369 yards on 72 carries and added 30 yards on five catches, and it’s clear the once-productive J’ville back should no longer be considered a solid starting option now that the fantasy postseason is off and rolling.
75.10 – Point-per-reception league fantasy points over the last month for Lions’ RB Joique Bell, who has rushed for 307 yards and three TDs while hauling in 11 passes for 94 yards and another score. Bell’s bottom line received a big boost Sunday with his 83 rushing yards, 50 receiving yards on five receptions and two TDs against the Bucs. That aforementioned four-game fantasy-point total ranks sixth – through Sunday’s contests – among RBs during that span, trailing only fantasy heavyweights Le’Veon Bell (117.1 points), C.J. Anderson (99.3), Jamaal Charles (95), Matt Forte (89.5) and DeMarco Murray (77.4). Bottom line: Bell is a must-start, especially when you consider his less-than-imposing schedule (Vikings, Bears & Packers) to close out the regular season.
48.4 – Reception percentage this season for Buccaneers’ wideout Vincent Jackson, who has caught 60 of his 124 targets for 861 yards and two touchdowns. That catch percentage ranks dead last and is the only figure south of 50 percent among the league’s 29 players who have been targeted 100 or more times this season. Jackson actually boosted his ratio with a season-high 10 grabs for 159 yards among his 17 targets Sunday in Detroit, but as has been the trend, the team’s two TD passes were hauled in by rookie Mike Evans who has 10 scoring catches among his 57 receptions and 101 targets on the year. Jackson is also averaging a career-low 14.4 yards per catch which, if it holds, will be a full three yards below the 17.4 career average he carried into the season.
30 – Targets over the last four games for Vikings’ WR Charles Johnson, who has caught 15 of those for 283 yards and two TDs. All those figures are tops on the team during that span, and he was inches away from another TD reception Sunday had he not coughed up the ball inches from the goalline. The fumble was recovered by teammate Jerome Felton for a touchdown, but it does little to dispel the fact that Johnson has supplanted Cordarrelle Patterson in starting lineup and has emerged as rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater’s top target. Not bad for the 2013 seventh-round pick of the Packers who has found a home with his third team in two seasons.
28 – Total fumbles for Colts’ QB Andrew Luck since he came into the league in 2012. That total, which represents those fumbles lost (13) and those still retained by Indy (15), is the highest in the league over that span – one more than Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III. Combined with Luck’s 40 interceptions during that time frame, Luck has lost control of the ball 68 times – a total which trails only Eli Manning (74) and Matthew Stafford (71). This season, Luck has thrown 13 picks and lost six fumbles, and only Jay Cutler with 21 has turned the ball over more. Luck and Cutler are tied for the league lead with six fumbles lost. Luck still leads all QBs with 402 fantasy points but his turnover issues – he has five more than any other QB in the fantasy top six – have cost him a full 38 points in most leagues.
20 – More rushes than passing attempts for the Broncos over the last three weeks. During that span, Peyton Manning has thrown 89 passes and completed 59 for 609 yards, six TDs and two interceptions. On Sunday, Manning attempted only 20 passes – his fewest in 45 games with the Broncos and completed 14 for 173 yards and no scores, ending his TD-pass streak at 51 games. Now, sure, TE Julius Thomas has missed those three games with ankle injury, and WR Demaryius Thomas (2-11 on 5 targets) wasn’t at full strength Sunday due his own ankle issue. And, no, you aren’t about to bench any healthy mainstay of this passing attack, but you can no longer expect the automatic big fantasy figures from Manning and Co. as the Broncos are making a concerted effort to bring some balance to their once-aerial-oriented offense with another run at the Super Bowl in mind.