Targets, touches and touchdowns: Week 11

Targets, touches and touchdowns: Week 11

Statistical Analysis

Targets, touches and touchdowns: Week 11

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We are on to Week 11, and Thanksgiving – and the fantasy playoffs – are both coming up fast.

No better time than the present to take stock what’s gone down in the fantasy season so far, and we’ll do it today through the lens of 10 surprising statistics.

Let’s dig right in, starting with …

1. Through play Sunday, Packers’ Aaron Rodgers ranked sixth among fantasy quarterbacks with 220.8 total fantasy points (Huddle Performance scoring) but only has finished among the top 12 QBs in three weeks out of 10 on the season.

And one of those weeks wasn’t Week 10 as Rodgers totaled 12.3 fantasy points in a 24-16 win over the visiting Panthers on the snowy Lambeau Field tundra. That means Rodgers has had his second- and third-worst fantasy weeks of the season the last two games and they’ve come right after a three-week tear in which he averaged 33.7 points while throwing for 1,017 yards and accounting for 11 total touchdowns in Weeks 6-8. The bottom line is that Rodgers’ consistency is far from reliable with as many sub-13-point fantasy games as 30-point plus outings and a full 61.1 percent of his total fantasy points coming in just four of his 10 contests.

2. Since his first start in Week 3 Giants rookie Daniel Jones ranks fourth among all quarterbacks with 190.6 fantasy points.

Jones’ Giants came up short in the crosstown (East Rutherford, N.J.) battle against the Jets on Sunday, but he won the fantasy QB battle outscoring counterpart Sam Darnold 33.4-24.0. Jones’ point total was only topped Sunday by studs Lamar Jackson (35.6) and Patrick Mahomes (34.3) and gave the first-round Duke rookie three games of 33.4 points or more among his eight starts. In his other five starts, though, he hasn’t topped 19.9 points while averaging 16.9. In those three big games, Jones accounted for four TDs in each one with nary an interception. In his other five contests, he has five total TDs and eight interceptions, making Rodgers’ aforementioned swings seem almost normal by comparison. With the right matchup, though, Jones can deliver, making him a prime choice – as we detailed in this space a week ago – if you’re streaming QBs and shooting for elite upside

3. Baker Mayfield came out of Sunday tied for 24th among quarterbacks with nine touchdown passes in as many games played.

As most should remember, Mayfield tossed a rookie single-season record 27 scoring passes in 13 starts a season ago. Those fantasy general managers who selected Mayfield among the first five QBs in fantasy drafts this summer certainly do, but the Browns’ QB only delivered two startable (top 12) weekly QB finishes on the season while throwing three more interceptions (12) than scoring passes.  Sunday’s two scoring tosses marked his first multiple-TD-pass game of the season, but it resulted in 20 fantasy points, ranking him 13th among QBs in Week 10 and upping his season average to 17.7 per game (27th overall).

4. Sticking with the confounding and underperforming Browns, wide receiver Jarvis Landry owns more fantasy points in both standard (78.2-70.2) and point-per-reception (123.2-114.2) formats than fellow wideout Odell Beckham Jr. through nine games.

Many thought the Browns would straighten things out during their Week 7 bye, but Landry has outscored OBJ in each of the three games since then, scoring two TDs in back-to-back weeks, while Beckham remains stuck on one scoring grab, which came all the way back when the calendar still said it was summer (Week 2). In hitting a season-high, Beckham was targeted two more times than Landry (12-10) on Sunday and subsequently has two more on the season (79-77), but Landry has one more catch (45-44), 20 more receiving yards (652-632) and one more score – all to the continuing consternation of those who spent a top-two-round draft pick on OBJ this summer.

5. Packers wide receiver Davante Adams has totaled the second-most targets (57) in the league among players who have yet to notch a receiving TD.

Now, sure, Adams was sidelined with a toe injury and has missed four of the Pack’s 10 games, but this is a player who is coming off a three-year span where he ranked only behind Antonio Brown (36) with 35 touchdown grabs in 45 games – averaging .78 TDs per contest and a score every 11.6 targets. By those metrics, Adams should have around five scoring receptions right now but, instead, his lack of TDs has him ranked 31st among wideouts in terms of (standard) fantasy points per game. That said, Adams is a prime buy-low candidate if your league trade deadline has yet to arrive.

6. Chargers wideout Mike Williams is only one target behind Adams with 56 on the list of the league’s most-targeted players without a receiving score.

Yeah, we had Williams pegged for some serious TD regression after last season when 10 of his 66 targets and 43 receptions resulted in TDs – the only player in 2018 with eight or more receiving TDs and fewer than 57 receptions. But zero TDs on 56 targets and 31 receptions, including only catches on 10 red-zone targets to stand the only player with no scores among the 32 who came out of Sunday with nine or more targets inside the red zone? That’s a shocker for a still-imposing 6-foot-4, 220-pound target who has seen 12 of QB Philip Rivers’ 14 touchdown tosses go to RB Austin Ekeler (six), WR Keenan Allen (three) and TE Hunter Henry (three). We’re now expecting a Williams regression to the mean in the other direction.

7. Through Week 10, the Jaguars own the league’s most lopsided passing-to-rushing TD ratio at 14:1.

We don’t know if Gardner Minshew Mania (his 13 TD passes rank third among the league’s rookie/second-year QBs) or the second-year rise of WR D.J. Chark (six TD catches, tied for fourth among all players) are the culprits. But you can’t blame the Jags’ offensive philosophy (13th run-heaviest team at 41.9 percent) or the usage/effectiveness of RB Leonard Fournette who came out of Sunday tied for seventh in the league with 174 carries while his 4.78 yards-per-carry average ranks fifth among backs with at least 150 attempts. Fournette also was tied for seventh with 17 rushing attempts inside the opposition’s 10-yard line, but those carries shockingly have netted only four yards and his (and the team’s) one TD. It’s also why Fournette, who ranks fifth in rushing (831) and third in yards from scrimmage (1,126), ranks 11th among RBs in total standard-scoring fantasy points (118.6).

8. The Texans’ Duke Johnson leads all running backs with an average of 6.78 yards per touch.

That figure ranks 10th overall among all players, and despite averaging 5.31 yards per attempt on 54 rushes and 10.36 yards per catch on 22 receptions, Johnson ranked only 34th among running backs through Sunday with 91.5 total PPR points. Teammate Carlos Hyde is out-touching Johnson by more than a 2:1 ratio with 155 on the season, but the latter is averaging 2.10 more yards per touch and has the same number of TDs (three) while fumbling four fewer times (4-0) on 79 fewer touches. Perhaps Bill O’Brien and the Texans’ offensive brain trust took note of these very numbers during their Week 10 bye, and Johnson will at last start garnering a deservedly larger share of the team’s backfield workload down the stretch.

9. The Chiefs rank among the top four teams in scoring (28.4 points per game) and total offense (404.7 yards per game) but don’t have any running backs ranking among the league’s top 35 in terms of fantasy points per contest.

Yep, gone are the days of Priest Holmes, Larry Johnson, Jamaal Charles, Kareem Hunt and Damien Williams – at least 2018 Week 14 through the postseason Damien Williams – when rostering the lead K.C. running back had fantasy owners in near-automatic league-winning contention. Now we’re in a situation when Williams’ ho-hum 8.9-fantasy-point (standard) day led the way in Week 10 and ranked as the seventh-best fantasy outing by any Chiefs back on the season so far. It also upped Williams’ season average to 7.9 points per contest which ranks 36th among all RBs.

10. Through play Sunday, the Falcons’ Austin Hooper and the Texans’ Darren Fells are tied for the league tight end lead with six scoring receptions apiece.

To put that in proper perspective, that duo has as many total receiving scores this season as Travis Kelce, Evan Engram, Zach Ertz, George Kittle, O.J. Howard, David Njoku, Trey Burton, Ben Watson and Chris Herndon – combined. They also each lead their respective teams in scoring grabs by at least two – and no one needs to be reminded that these are teams, which feature WRs Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, Calvin Ridley and Kenny Stills. Hooper entered the season with 10 career TDs in three years and is on pace to match that total this year if his knee injury sustained Sunday in New Orleans doesn’t prove serious. The 6-7 Fells also came into 2019 with 10 career receiving scores – doing so in five seasons – but has definitely taken his game up a notch or three with QB Deshaun Watson distributing the rock in MVP-esque fashion.

EXTRA POINTS

  • Drew Brees and Jameis Winston each threw for at least 287 yards Sunday but combined for only one total TD on 106 total dropbacks at home against two of the worst passing defenses in the visiting Falcons and Cardinals. Go figure, on a day that featured plenty of duds from highly ranked players.
  • Since taking the reins in Tennessee in Week 7, the Titans’ Ryan Tannehill ranks third among QBs with 88.58 total fantasy points while rolling up 1,096 yards of total offense and accounting for nine total TDs and four turnovers.
  • It was too late for many of the fantasy GMs who drafted him this summer, but the Bucs’ Howard had 14.7 PPR points Sunday as he recorded his first TD catch of the season in the 30-27 shootout win over the Cardinals. In Tampa’s first eight games, including two Howard missed with a hamstring injury, he had totaled 30.6 fantasy points.
  • In making his 2019 debut with the Browns on Sunday after serving an eight-game personal-conduct suspension, Hunt had 11 touches, including seen receptions on nine targets, for 74 scoreless yards in a 19-16 win over the Bills. Starter Nick Chubb, meanwhile, had 21 yards on 22 touches, including two catches for five yards on four targets. Chubb played 57 of the team’s 70 offensive snaps (81 percent) while Hunt played 38 (54 percent), but it was the latter who finished with more fantasy points (14.7-14.1 in PPR formats.
  • If Raiders pass-catchers Tyrell Williams and Darren Waller seem like they’ve cooled off in recent weeks after hot starts, it’s because they have. After catching a TD pass in each of the first five games with his new team, Williams has been kept out the end zone the last two contests while catching 6-of-9 targets for 73 yards. Waller, meanwhile, was averaged 16.3 PPR points over his first seven games, reeling in 46-of-58 targets for 496 yards and three TDs but has totaled only 14.2 over his last two outings, catching 5-of-7 targets for 92 scoreless yards. Stay the course, though, as Williams and Waller remain the Raiders’ top aerial targets.
  • Ravens CB Marcus Peters leads all defensive players with three TDs and is one of five players – the Steelers’ Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Jets’ Jamal Adams, the Raiders’ Erik Harris and the Ravens’ Marlon Humphrey – with multiple non-offensive TDs through play Sunday. By comparison, OBJ, Fournette, Howard, Brandin Cooks, J. Moore, Adrian Peterson, Robert Woods and Dede Westbrook have each scored one TD apiece while Adams, Mike Williams, Ty Johnson, Dion Lewis, Jalen Richard, Giovani Bernard and Mark Walton are among the contingent still seeking their first foray into the end zone in 2019.
  • As much hype as the Patriots’ fantasy defense/special teams has received, the Steelers have closed the gap in recent weeks after putting forth another dominant game Sunday against the visiting Rams behind continued outstanding play from Defensive Player of the Year candidates T.J. Watt (9.5 sacks, four forced fumbles) and Fitzpatrick (tied for the league lead with five interceptions). Through Sunday, only the Panthers (with 36), had more sacks on the season than the Steelers’ 33, only the Pats (27) had more total takeaways than the Pittsburgh’s 26 and only the Ravens (five), Pats (four) and Jets (four) owned more defensive TDs than the Steelers’ three. Favorable matchups await the Pittsburgh D down the stretch as well, with games against the Browns (twice), Bengals, Bills and Jets among the team’s final seven contests. Swoop up the Steelers D/ST ASAP if they’re available on your league waiver wire.

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