Counting down the fantasy numbers of note from the opening weekend of the NFL season:
309 – Rushing yards for the Saints’ Mark Ingram in his last five games, including a pair of postseason contests. His latest effort was a 60-yard, two-touchdown outing on 13 carries Sunday in a 37-34 overtime loss in Atlanta. The 2011 first-round pick hasn’t exactly lived up to expectations so far, totaling 1,605 yards from scrimmage and 13 TDs over his first three seasons, but there are some signs that the fourth year might be charm for the former Alabama back – even in the Saints’ crowded backfield.
143 – Combined rushing yards for wide receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Percy Harvin in Week 1. Patterson led the Vikings with 102 yards and a touchdown on three carries Sunday in a 34-6 win over the Rams, while Harvin had 41 yards on four carries three days earlier in the Seahawks’ 36-16 victory over the Packers. Not surprisingly, Patterson leads all NFL wideouts with 260 rushing yards and four TDs on 15 attempts since the start of last season, while Harvin has done likewise with his 724 yards and four scores on 111 rushes since he entered the league in 2009. All in all, quite a nice boost to the fantasy receiving numbers Patterson and Harvin also put up.
111.4 – Passer rating Sunday for Titans’ QB Jake Locker in a 26-10 win in Arrowhead Stadium. The fourth-year QB completed 22-of-33 attempts for 266 yards and a pair of scoring strikes to post 23 fantasy points – sixth among all QBs heading into Monday night’s doubleheader. Locker has missed 14 starts over the last two seasons, but when he has played of late, he’s played well, averaging 19 fantasy per outing over his last seven full games. Now with noted QB guru Ken Whisenhunt running the show in Nashville, Locker could sneak into the fantasy QB top 10 if, of course, he stays healthy.
61.5 – Percent of the Panthers’ wide-receiver targets which went to rookie Kelvin Benjamin in Sunday’s 20-14 road win over the Bucs. The first-round pick was targeted eight times by backup prime opportunity for the -foot-5, 240-pound Benjamin, who caught the game-winning pass in January’s BCS Championship Game. As you’re likely well aware, the Panthers completely overhauled their WR corps this offseason, adding veteran free agents Jason Avant and Jerricho Cotchery, but Benjamin had eight of the Panthers’ 13 WR targets directed his way Sunday and looks to have established himself as the team’s No. 1 receiver from the get-go.
30 – Sacks endured by Patriots’ QB Tom Brady in 13 career road games in Miami. Four of them – two resulting in lost fumbles – came Sunday in a 33-20 loss to the Dolphins, dropping him below .500 (6-7) in his 13 South Beach starts. In those contests, Brady only has averaged 258 passing yards and two TDs per outing while turning the ball over a combined 20 times – 13 interceptions and seven fumbles. Needless to say, the annual visit to South Beach is now in the rear-view mirror, and Brady has typically fared a little better outside of the Sunshine State so fantasy panic isn’t in order.
26.5 – More fantasy points Colts’ TE Dwayne Allen has scored than tight end teammate Coby Fleener in the 14 games they have played in together since both entered the league in 2012. That differential grew a little wider Sunday night in Denver as Allen hauled in four passes for 64 yards and a score, while Fleener had three receptions for 21 yards. Overall, Allen has 50 receptions for 605 yards and five TDs in only 18 career games, and should be the Indy TE you’re targeting on the waiver wire this week.
16 – Team-high touches for RB Justin Forsett who turned them into 84 total yards and a TD in the Ravens’ 23-16 home loss to the Bengals. On a team where the backfield has become a nationwide focus following Ray Rice’s deserved and overdue release from the roster Monday, Forsett, could be the new starter when the Ravens host the Steelers on Thursday night. Forsett, a journeyman who is with his fifth team in seven seasons, took over in the second quarter Sunday after starter Bernard Pierce (6 touches-14 yards) lost a fumble – his first in 293 career touches – deep in Cincy territory. Meanwhile, rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro, who led the league in rushing with 243 yards this preseason, did not get a carry in the game and was targeted only once in the passing game.
10 – Career rushing touchdowns for Indy QB Andrew Luck. His latest came on a 9-yard second-quarter scamper that ignited the Colts’ climb back into the Sunday night game that the host Broncos were leading 24-0 at the time. Believe it or not, Luck’s 10 rushing scores since the start of the 2012 season trail only Cam Newton’s 14. Among QBs, Luck also ranks fifth in rushes (130) and rushing yards (651) during that span.
6 – Times in seven career games against the Browns in which Steelers’ WR Antonio Brown has scored at least eight fantasy points after Sunday’s five-catch, 116-yard, one-TD performance at Heinz Field. Now this may have been lost in all the YouTube hubbub over the karate kick Brown delivered to the head of punter Spencer Lanning, who was attempting to bring him down on a punt return, but Brown’s continued excellence against well-regarded CB Joe Haden and the Cleveland secondary extends far beyond social-media meme fodder. In the seven contests vs. the Browns, the Steel City standout has hauled in 37 passes for 610 yards and four scores and remains a must-start WR1 – especially when facing Cleveland.
2.6 – Average yards gained per rush Sunday for the Jaguars in their 34-17 road loss in Philadelphia. This ground inefficiency has become all-too common for the franchise, which ranks dead last in the league in total rushing yards (2,693), rushing TDs (12) and, yes, average yards per carry (3.54) since the start of the 2012 season. The Jags also have the third fewest rushing attempts (761) in the league during that span, and these running-game issues are going to be a high hurdle to clear for new starting RB Toby Gerhart, who opened his Jacksonville career with a lackluster 18-42 showing Sunday.