Counting down the fantasy numbers of note entering the seventh week of the NFL season.
460 – Yards from scrimmage gained this season by the Colts’ Ahmad Bradshaw, fantasy’s seventh highest-scoring RB this season. That’s 47 more yards than Indy starter Trent Richardson has on 21 fewer touches. Bradshaw, who’s carried the ball 60 times for 284 rushing yards and caught 21 passes for 176 yards, is averaging 5.68 yards per offensive touch, while T-Rich is averaging 4.05 with 281 rushing yards on 87 attempts and 132 receiving yards on 15 receptions. It’s a new season, same story for Richardson who’s averaging a paltry 3.23 yards per rush. In fact, of the 35 RBs in the league who have 50 or more carries, only Donald Brown (2.14) and Montee Ball (3.13) have averaged fewer yards per rushing attempt. Bradshaw also has found his way into the end zone five times this season – all on receptions – while Richardson has a pair of rushing scores. Richardson has logged more touches than Bradshaw in five of the Colts’ six games, while outgaining him only once, but this might be the perfect scenario for Bradshaw and his fantasy owners: Limiting the oft-injured back’s workload while feeding him enough to maintain his steady fantasy-starter production.
180 – League-leading offensive touches in six games for the Cowboys’ DeMarco Murray, who has 159 rushing attempts for 785 yards and 21 receptions for 155 more. After play Sunday, Murray easily is leading the league in most every rushing/yards-from-scrimmage category with 43 more rushes than LeSean McCoy, 243 more rushing yards than Le’Veon Bell, 35 more touches than Matt Forte and 147 more total yards than Bell. Murray, who’s had a career-high 37 and 35 touches in the Cowboys’ last two games, respectively, is on pace for a whopping 480 touches, which – believe it or not – would still fall 12 shy of James Wilder’s 1984 single-season record but would still be 200 more than he had in any of his three previous seasons. He’s also on pace for 424 rushing attempts, which would better Larry Johnson’s mark of 416 set in 2006, but we might be getting a little too far ahead of ourselves considering Murray has missed a combined 11 games over his first three years. So can he really maintain this break-neck pace? The Cowboys’ bye is still five weeks and four games – including a trip to London – away so there’s certainly going to be no assistance on that front. Definitely a situation that bears watching.
46 – Receptions for the Bears’ Matt Forte this season, a figure which leads all RBs – and all league players overall, for that matter. Forte, fantasy’s second-ranked PPR and standard-scoring fantasy back, is coming off 12- and 10-catch games the past two weeks – the only two double-digit reception games of his seven NFL regular seasons – and also leads all NFL backs with 55 targets and 376 receiving yards. Fred Jackson, with 30 catches among 39 targets, is a distant second in those categories, while RB receiving yards runner-up Roy Helu trails Forte by 118. Saying Player X is on pace for “X” number of “Xs” is always a little tricky, even six games into a 16-game season, but Forte is on pace for 123 catches, which would easily shatter Larry Centers’ 1995 record of 101 receptions for a RB. Forte is also on track for 147 targets, which would be the most for a RB in the 15 years the stat has been tracked. LaDainian Tomlinson, who was targeted 137 times in 2003, currently owns the standard. Moreover, Forte’s pass-catching accomplishments are particularly impressive given the number of other quality pass-catching weapons in the Bears’ offense, but his career highs of 95 targets and 74 receptions for 594 yards were established last season in year one of the Marc Trestman regime, and that – it seems – was only the baseline for Forte’s utilization as a prolific out-of-the-backfield pass catcher.
26 – Total fantasy points so far for the Seahawks’ defense/special teams, which ranks the defending champs 26th out of the 32 league units. Seattle has only snared two interceptions and notched seven sacks – both figures tied for 25th in the league – in five games and are one of 13 teams still looking for its first defensive touchdown. By comparison, the 2013 ‘Hawks led the league with 28 picks, ranked eighth with 44 sacks and had four defensive scores. The Legion of Boom and Co. also surrendered a league-low 14.4 points per game in 2013 – a figure that’s jumped to 22.6 so far this season. Tight ends, it should be noted, have been particularly effective vs. the Seahawks so far, accounting for seven of the 10 aerial TDs allowed by the team.
14.5 – League-best yards-per-target average for Chargers WR Malcom Floyd, who has caught 17 of his 25 targets for 362 yards and a trio of scores this season. To clarify, that’s among pass-catchers with 20 or more targets. Floyd, who missed all but two games last season due to a neck injury, has come back strong in his big-play role and leads the Bolts in receiving yards despite ranking fourth on the squad in receptions. The Bengals’ A.J. Green (12.6 ypt) is the only other 20-plus target player with averaging more than 12 yards per target.
14.21 – Average PPR-league fantasy points per game for Washington TE Jordan Reed in the nine contests he has started and finished in his two seasons in the league. In those nine contests – the latest of which came Sunday when Reed returned from a four-game absence to catch eight passes for 92 yards on 11 targets in Arizona – he’s had 52 receptions for 579 yards and three TDs. Now that nine game total is wholly indicative of just how much trouble the 2013 third-round pick has had staying healthy, but when he has played, he’s most certainly produced at a TE1 level.
6.38 – Yards-per-carry average for the Ravens’ Justin Forsett, who has rushed for a team-leading 408 yards and three TDs on 64 carries so far. That average is tops among all 35 league RBs who have carried the ball 50 or more times this season. Forsett also ranks fourth in the league in rushing yards, 15th in offensive touches (87) and ninth among RBs with 526 yards from scrimmage. So in case anyone was still wondering, the journeyman isn’t just the pick of the Ravens’ RB litter, he’s also a very viable fantasy starter as well.
0 – Career games with 300 or more passing yards out of the nine Matthew Stafford has played with Calvin Johnson either sidelined or ineffective (graded here as two or fewer catches). In the four games Stafford has started without Megatron – the latest of which came Sunday in Minneapolis – he’s a combined 80-of-139 for 832 yards, three TDs and an interception. And in the five contests Stafford has started where Johnson has struggled and/or been limited health-wise, the 2009 No. 1 overall pick is 104-of-186 for 1,180 yards, eight TDs and 10 picks. Combined, that’s average QB stat line of 20-of-36 for 226 yards, 1.2 TDs and 1.2 interceptions. Just something to bear in mind when weighing whether to start Stafford sans his trusty All-Pro sidekick.