Counting down the fantasy numbers of note entering the 16th week of the NFL season.
682 – League-leading rushing yards for the Bengals’ Jeremy Hill since his first start Week 9 in place of the injured Giovanni Bernard. The rookie’s total is 31 yards more than second-place Marshawn Lynch and 49 more than current league leader DeMarco Murray over that span. Hill had his third 100-yard rushing game of the season Sunday, slicing through the defenseless Browns for 148 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. His five rushing scores over the last seven weeks is tied for third in the league while his 105.6 fantasy points is the sixth most among RBs.
225.7 – Point-per-reception league fantasy points for the Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. since his season debut in Week 5. Boosted by his 12 catch, 143-yard, three-TD performance Sunday, the first-round pick out of LSU has reeled in 71 of his 97 targets for 972 yards and nine scores over the last 11 games. By comparison all the other N.Y. wideouts have combined for 141 targets, 79 receptions, 907 yards and four TDs over that same span with Rueben Randle – the second-year player many thought would become the team’s top target following Victor Cruz’s season-ending knee injury – accounting for the majority of those numbers (78 targets, 40 catches, 492 yards and only one score). Just a hunch, but Beckham is going to be a part of a few fantasy championship teams this month.
38 – NFL-most touchdown receptions since the start of the 2012 season for the Cowboys’ Dez Bryant, who caught six passes for 114 yards and three scores in the huge Sunday-night win over the Eagles. Those 38 scoring grabs are three more than second-place Demaryius Thomas, four more than TE Jimmy Graham and seven more than Brandon Marshall during that 44-game timeframe. Bryant’s 13 TD catches are tops in the league this season as part of his 79 receptions for 1,148 yards. Since 2012, Bryant ranks sixth in the league with 264 receptions and fourth with 3,763 receiving yards, but no player has found his way into the end zone more times via the pass.
34.3 – Passer rating Sunday for the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers who finished 17-of-42 for 185 yards, no TDs and two interceptions in a 21-13 upset loss to the host Bills. It was Rodgers’ lowest rating of the 116 games, including the postseason, he has played in his career. Looking at the larger picture, though, a distinct home-road split seems to be developing for Rodgers. Since the start of last season, the G.B. QB is 224-of-328 (68.3 percent) for 3,149 yards, 31 TDs, no interceptions and a sparkling 130.4 rating in 11 home games. The Pack, not coincidentally, are 10-1 in those contests. Meanwhile, in the 12 road games over that span, Rodgers is 262-of-420 (62.4 percent) for 3,224 yards, 21 TDs, 11 picks and a 91.8 rating. Green Bay is 6-6 in those games.
24 – Receptions this season for Eagles’ RB LeSean McCoy, who has turned the two-dozen catches into 112 yards and no scores. Those figures, in addition to his 32 targets, all rank seventh on the team. In short, it’s been a stark drop-off from the previous five seasons of McCoy’s career in which he averaged 69.2 targets, 54.4 receptions and 425.4 receiving yards per campaign. McCoy, in fact, ranked fourth among all RBs with 346 targets, 272 receptions and 2,127 receiving yards and tied for third with 10 scoring receptions from his rookie year of 2009 through last season. Even more puzzling, McCoy started quickly with 11 targets, 10 receptions and 64 yards in the first two games of this season, but he’s had only 21 targets and 14 catches for 48 yards in the 12 games since.
11 – Rushing scores for RB LeGarrette Blount in his last eight games with the Patriots, including a pair of playoff contests last season. Over that span, the bulldozing Blount has carried 119 times for 656 yards, a 5.5 average and the 11 TDs. Blount has 50 rushing attempts for 219 yards, three TDs and 41.7 standard-scoring fantasy points since re-joining the Pats in Week 12. For comparison, the rest of the New England backs have combined for 35 carries, 116 yards, two scores and 35.9 fantasy points over that span, easily making Blount the most fantasy trust-worthy of the notoriously unreliable N.E. RB bunch.
8 – Field goals, four touchdowns and one fumble in 13 red-zone possessions for the Broncos over the last three games. Contrast those figures with the Mile High crew’s red-zone numbers from the first 11 games: 29 touchdowns, seven field goals, one missed field goal and one drive halted on downs. That TD/field goal flip-flop explains much of the fantasy struggles – not to mention the overall team scoring drops – for Peyton Manning and Co. of late. Need more evidence? Manning is 9-of-20 for 55 yards and one TD in the red zone over the last three games. In the first 11, he was 56-of-73 for 384 yards and 22 TDs. Demaryius Thomas? Nine targets, one catch for five yards and no TDs over the last three games; 23 targets-17 receptions, 132 yards and six scores over the first 11 contests. Quite a turnaround – and not one for the fantasy better.
4 – Targets Sunday for Browns’ WR Josh Gordon in the team’s 30-0 home embarrassment against the Bengals. Gordon caught three of those four targets for 48 yards, but he’s still looking for his first scoring catch of the season. In all, his targets have decreased in each of the four games he’s played since returning from suspension in Week 12, going from 16 to 13 to seven to four. He had eight receptions for 120 yards in a Week 12 win in Atlanta and seven grabs for 75 yards the next week in Buffalo but has only a combined five receptions for 63 yards over the last two weeks. These certainly aren’t the numbers fantasy GMs were expecting from a wideout who caught 87 of his 159 targets for a league-high 1,646 yards and nine TDs a season ago. Some of it can be explained away by Gordon’s reported lack of tip-top conditioning and still-partial unfamiliarity with the team’s offense. Still, save much of the blame for the team’s QB mess as Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel have combined to go 70-of-127 for 797 yards, no TDs and nine interceptions over the four-game span.