Targets, touches and touchdowns: Week 9

Targets, touches and touchdowns: Week 9

Statistical Analysis

Targets, touches and touchdowns: Week 9

In a Week 8 where we had six teams still failing to score more than one offensive touchdown, the Texans-Seahawks pointapolooza in Seattle was a true fantasy football godsend:

  • The 79 combined points scored in the Seahawks’ 41-38 win were a full 27 more than any other Week 8 contest
  • Quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson were a combined 45-for-71 for 854 yards and eight touchdowns through the air and also were their respective team’s leading rushers with a combined 97 yards on 12 carries.
  • Five of the 10 highest-scoring fantasy point producers of the week played in the game, including, of course, the top two quarterbacks and three of the top four wide receivers
  • The game even produced 54 more points/runs and four more lead changes than Sunday night’s electrifying Game 5 of the Home Run Der … er, World Series.

So now as we attempt to encapsulate the CentryLink Field Shootout and the rest of Week 8, let’s delve deeper into the significant stats, notable numbers and illuminating integers of the weekend. Here goes …

Wilson’s resurgence starting early

Thanks to his career-best 452 passing yards and four TDs, Wilson suddenly is fantasy’s No. 2-ranked QB at 26.54 points per game (trailing only Watson’s 28.55 average, of course).

It also signifies that he and the Seahawks have gotten a month’s head start or so on their annual November surge, going 4-0 in October after a 1-2 start. Wilson elicited the usual early-season fantasy angst by throwing for a combined 356 yards and one TD in his first two games, but his last five have produced a whopping 1,652 aerial yards (330.4 per outing), 15 total TDs (including 14 through the air) and 120 rushing yards.

Doug Baldwin is still leading the ’Hawks in targets (61), catches (42) and yards (374), but it’s been tight end Jimmy Graham (four TD grabs over the last three games) and rapidly-emerging wideout Paul Richardson (four TD catches in his last five games) who largely have helped fuel Wilson’s recent tour de force.

Northwest ground woes

Of course, Seattle has been airing it out more or less by necessity as the running game continues to flounder and falter.

On Sunday, the Seahawks’ top three running backs – Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls and J.D. McKissic – combined for a grand total of five yards on 16 carries. And for the season, Seattle RBs not named Chris Carson have combined to rush for 243 yards and one TD on 93 totes. Yes, your calculator is correct: That’s a whopping 2.59 yards per carry.

At 208 yards, Carson still ranks as the team’s leading rusher – and he hasn’t played the last three games after sustaining a season-ending broken leg in the team’s Week 4 game, which will have taken place a month ago Wednesday. Wilson is second on the team with 194 rushing yards – 86 more than Lacy at No. 3.

There’s still hope that C.J. Prosise ultimately is the answer, but the second-year back missed Sunday’s game with a chronic ankle issue and only has played in nine career contests since entering the league as a third-round pick in 2016 and has reached double-digit touches once in those nine games.

Obviously, there remains a whole lot to prove.

The bottom line: Wilson’s attempts, completions and passing-yardage totals have increased in each of his five seasons so far, and with the distressingly repressed state of the Seahawks’ ground game he’s well on his way to making it six-for-six. Keep riding the QB to year-end fantasy glory.

Doyle on quite a roll

Not much has gone right for the 2-6 and still Andrew Luck-less Colts this season, but TE Jack Doyle has been a definite bright spot. In Sunday’s 24-23 loss in Cincinnati, Doyle hit career highs in targets (14), receptions (12) and yards (121) while hauling a 13-yard TD catch.

Since returning from a missed Week 5 game due to a concussion, Doyle has led all players – not just tight ends – with 25 receptions and has paced his position in targets (32), receiving yards (215) and point-per-reception fantasy points (56.5).

Overall, this season, Doyle stands fifth in the tight-end PPR ranks with 92 points – trailing only Zach Ertz, Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce and Cameron Brate – after finishing 13th in his breakout season of a year ago.

With Colts receivers T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief struggling – they’ve combined for all of 12 receptions for  158 yards and no scores over that same three-game span – Doyle has emerged as the top offensive weapon in Indy and a sound bet to finish as a strong TE1.

The surprise of fantasy QB surprises

The current top-10 list of fantasy QBs contains more than a few surprises in Watson, Carson Wentz and Alex Smith but Josh McCown’s presence at No. 9 (158 points) may be the biggest of them all.

In a rain-soaked 25-20 loss to the visiting Falcons on Sunday, McCown completed 26-of-33 passes for 257 yards and two TDs – his fourth straight game with multiple TD tosses. Over that span, McCown quietly ranks as fantasy’s third-best QB – trailing only Wentz and Watson – with 76.46 points in throwing for 1,014 yards and nine TDs and adding another score on the ground.

His top target of late has been WR Robby Anderson, who caught all six of his targets for a career-best 104 yards and a TD. Anderson has garnered at least five targets in seven of eight games this season and over his last three contests, he has reeled in 13-of-24 targets for 215 yards and two scores.

nd with the Jets’ defense ranking in the league’s bottom quarter in just about every major measurable category, look for the McCown-Anderson combo to remain very fantasy usable in all formats.

Extra points

  • Texans WR teammates DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V share the league lead with seven TD receptions apiece, with Fuller having done so in only four games. Ertz and WRs Jordy Nelson and Michael Crabtree were knotted at third with six scoring grabs apiece.
  • RBs Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon are tied for the overall TD lead with eight apiece and have combined for nine receiving scores.
  • According to research done at Pro Football Reference.com, Matthew Stafford on Sunday night had only the seventh passing game since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger with at least 400 aerial yards and no passing TDs. And in throwing for 423 yards in a 20-15 loss to the Steelers, Stafford became the first QB to accomplish that feat since, well, himself in a Week 16 game against the Falcons. Before that, the last QB to throw for 400 yards and no scores in a contest was the Jags’ Mark Brunell in 1996.
  • In eight games this season, 49ers RB Carlos Hyde already has established career single-season highs in targets (46), receptions (31) and receiving yards (184). He’s had at least three catches in seven of eight games this season.
  • The Cowboys won big (33-19) in Washington on Sunday, but with Elliott, the defense and even the Dallas special teams doing most of the heavy lifting, QB Dak Prescott threw for only 143 yards with no TDs and rushed for 16 yards – marking only his second non-Week 17 game without any kind of TD since his 2016 Week 1 NFL debut against the N.Y. Giants.
  • Since the Saints traded Adrian Peterson to the Cardinals following their Week 5 bye, Mark Ingram has been the top PPR back in fantasy with 68.9 points. Ingram, however, has lost three fumbles during that span, including two in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 20-12 win over the Bears and may have earned a spot in coach Sean Payton’s doghouse. That may mean additional touches ahead for rookie Alvin Kamara, who’s averaged 13 per contest over that same three-game span.
  • Outside of his 67-yard reception Sunday – a day in which accounted for 14 of the Bengals’ 20 RB touches – Cincy RB Joe Mixon hasn’t exactly been an example of efficiency in his rookie campaign, averaging only 3.71 yards per touch on his remaining 101 combined rushes and receptions with only one TD so far.
  • Chargers WR Keenan Allen currently ranks 13th among wideouts in PPR formats with 101 points, but he hasn’t had a TD catch since Week 1 and has only topped 67 receiving yards in two of eight games this season. Over his last four outings, Allen has caught 16-of-33 targets for 214 yards for a ho-hum 9.35 PPR per-game average.
  • It’s been a feast-or-famine season for the Panthers’ defense which on Sunday (a 17-3 win in Tampa) didn’t allow an offensive TD for the fourth time in eight games this season. In its other four contests, Carolina has surrendered at least 24 points with an average of 29.
  • Speaking of defenses, the once-maligned Patriots have allowed no more than 17 points and an average of 12.8 in each of their last four games after allowing an average of 32 over their first four outings. None of New England’s six remaining foes (the Pats play the Dolphins and Bills twice each) – currently ranks among the league’s top-15 scoring offenses.

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