Counting down the significant stats, notable numbers and illuminating integers emerging from the first 11 weeks of the 2016 fantasy-football season:
375 – League-most 375 passing yards (so far) in Week 11 for Washington’s Kirk Cousins, who also had a trio of touchdown passes Sunday night in torching the Packers’ reeling defense. After the performance, Cousins ranks seventh among fantasy quarterbacks this season with 233 points, meaning its past time to stop dismissing Cousins as a 2015 stretch-run fluke and start recognizing him as an elite fantasy quarterback. The numbers wholly back that up. Since the start of the 2015 season when Cousins became the full-time starter in D.C., he ranks fifth among all quarterbacks with 7,257 yards and is tied for fifth with 52 combined passing/rushing TDs. In that span, Cousins has thrown for more yards than Aaron Rodgers, thrown for more TDs than Ben Reothlisberger, has more fantasy points than Matthew Stafford and has rushed for as many scores as Marcus Mariota and Russell Wilson – combined. And in the 27 games, including one postseason contest, Cousins has started over the last season and a half, he’s thrown for at least 300 yards or has scored multiple TDs in 19 of them, including nine of 10 this season.
241 – Receiving yards over the last three games for Lions tight end Eric Ebron, who had 70 on three receptions Sunday in a win over the visiting Jaguars. Since Week 8, only the Chiefs’ Travis Kelce (298), the Titans’ Delanie Walker (277) and the Cowboys’ Jason Witten (246) have had more receiving yards among tight ends than Ebron’s 241 total, and each of those other three have played four games to Ebron’s three during that span with Detroit’s bye week thrown in. Overall, Ebron has had 17 catches on 23 targets in those three games. Ebron also has missed three contests this season with ankle and knee issues and has 35 grabs for 451 yards and a TD on the year. Ebron did have a 1-yard rushing score Sunday, and a few more receiving TDs down the stretch is all that’s needed to boost Ebron up into elite fantasy-tight end range if his recent target and reception pace even hold somewhat steady.
121 – Total yards Sunday for Colts running back Frank Gore, who rushed for 50 yards on 18 carries and added 71 more on four receptions in Indy’s 24-17 home win over the Titans. Many fantasy general managers dismissed and/or overlooked the 33-year-old Gore in drafts this past summer, but the old war horse ranks eighth among fantasy backs with 126 points coming out of Sunday’s action and he’s tied for 12th in the league with seven total TDs, including three receiving. And while Gore hasn’t produced eye-catching fantasy matchup-deciding numbers on a regular basis this season, he has been a remarkable model of productive consistency with at least 75 total yards or a TD in all 10 of his games this year.
53 – Total touches over the last three games for Jaguars RB Chris Ivory, who hit season highs with 23 touches and 114 total yards in Sunday’s loss to the Lions. Ivory, a fantasy stud last season for the Jets, has been slow in coming around with his new team, missing Jacksonville’s first two games with an undisclosed “illness” and reaching double-digit touches only twice in his first five outings after returning to the field. In the meantime, second-year back T.J. Yeldon was shouldering the bulk of the team’s RB workload. But over the Jags’ last three contests, Ivory has had 24 more rushes (44-20) and 23 more touches (53-30) than Yeldon while producing 96 more total yards (252-156). That alone puts Ivory firmly in flex RB territory, and an increase in touchdowns – he only has one on the season after career-high eight a year ago – would even further boost his fantasy stretch-run stock.
16 – Team-most targets for the Ravens’ Steve Smith Sr. over the last two weeks. The veteran wideout has reeled in 13 of those targets for 156 yards and two TDs, including a 9-8-99-1 stat line Sunday in Baltimore’s 27-17 road loss to the Cowboys. The 37-year-old Smith has played remarkably well coming off his mid-season 2015 Achilles tear, missing only two due to a mid-year ankle injury. In the eight games he has played, Triple-S has attracted seven or more targets in six of them and has five-plus catches in five of the eight contests while hauling in three scoring passes total. Overall, Smith is second on the squad with his average of 7.8 targets per game, making him a usable fantasy commodity on a team which has struggled to run with any consistency all year.
13 – Consecutive games with at least 50 receiving yards for Buccaneers WR Mike Evans. That’s easily the longest such current streak in the league with the Panthers’ Kelvin Benjamin and the Ravens’ Mike Wallace tied for the next longest run at six straight games. Here are some other relevant active position-player streaks through play Sunday, according to the informative folks at Pro Football Reference:
- Seven-or-more targets: 18 straight games – Odell Beckham Jr., Giants. Next longest: Nine games
- Five-plus receptions: Nine straight games – Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals. Next longest: Nine
- 15-or-more touches: 15 games – Devonta Freeman, Falcons. Next longest: 13
- 80-or-more rushing yards: Nine games – Ezekiel Elliott , Cowboys. Next longest: Four
- 100-plus total yards: 10 games – David Johnson, Cardinals. Next longest: Four
- Games with a TD: Six games – DeMarco Murray, Titans. Next longest: Four
- At least 12 fantasy points (standard scoring): 11 games – Murray, Titans/Eagles. Next longest: Nine.
11 – Passing touchdowns so far for the Panthers’ Cam Newton – a total which was tied for 20th in the league coming out of play Sunday. A year ago, Newton threw a career-high 35 TD passes in his MVP season and ranked behind only Tom Brady (36) in that category. Throw in his 10 rushing scores, and Newton easily led the NFL with 45 and paced all fantasy QBs with 455 points. Ten games into 2016, Netwon has only 204 fantasy points to rank 14th at the position, and with his 268 rushing yards – currently second among QBs – he’s on pace for 18 passing scores and 446 rushing yards, which would both mark or match career lows. Newton has rushed for four TDs – tied with the Bills’ Tyrod Taylor and Cowboys rookie Dak Prescott for the most at the position – but his drop in aerial TDs has been the most glaring of his numbers. To that point, Newton accounted for multiple TDs (passing or rushing) in 13 of 16 games in 2015 but only has done so in four of nine games this season. The bottom line, believe it or not is that Cam is no longer a must or automatic start in 10- and 12-team leagues.