Entering Week 14 means most leagues are in their final week or two, and some large contests have already moved on to their form of playoffs. As the season concludes, this column will start to include a look at interesting players for next year, and even some of the 2022 rookies to watch when the bowl games are playing.
For this week, a quick look at stats. Not the fantasy points or yardage totals that we’re all familiar with, but instead one stat for each fantasy position as a way to look at the players a bit differently.
1.) Wide Receivers – Yards Per Catch (YPC)
This Top-10 only considers wideouts with at least 30 receptions – oddly, there were exactly 64 receivers within the metric. Or about two per team.
Deebo Samuel just gets more impressive. He leads the NFL with an 18-yard average and that doesn’t even consider he’s a good runner as well. Normally, you would expect a lower number of catches from players who are just deep threats. Justin Jefferson shines even in this measurement. Ja’Marr Chase is hardly just a deep threat, but his career looks even brighter since he does so much with every catch. Those with lower reception totals like A.G. Green and Deonte Harris don’t get the volume to offer much fantasy benefit.
2.) Quarterbacks – Passes per Touchdown
For QBs that passed at least 200 times, this is how many of their completions are touchdowns. This is all about passing efficiency and how successful a quarterback is.
Matt Stafford’s move to Los Angeles was a positive. Both he and Tom Brady already tossed 30 touchdowns, so there’s no surprise they rate well. Carson Wentz and Joe Burrow look better under this metric. The most impressive are Kyler Murray and Josh Allen. Both also add rushing production while the others are the pocket passers. Throwing fewer passes to score a touchdown is also a measurement of the offensive effectiveness.
3.) Running Backs – Total pass targets and rushes per game
This considers running backs that have at least 100 plays a year – the number of times that they either get a handoff or are the target of a pass.
It is a bit amazing that Najee Harris rates so well as a rookie running behind a below-average offensive line. Elijah Mitchell also impressed on a 49er offense that has always been predicated on a committee backfield. Mitchell may not have been the first rusher that they drafted this year, but he’s already gained the confidence of the coaching staff to handle over 20 plays on average. Antonio Gibson fares well in this as well, despite fewer passes thrown to him than most of the others. Harris and Mitchell have truly impressed for rookies.
4.) Tight Ends – Yards Per Catch
Considering a minimum of 40 catches, here’s the average yardage per catch for a position that doesn’t often catch deep passes.
The only real surprise was Dallas Goedert. He plays with a running quarterback (or at least he did) and yet he turns in the highest average yardage per catch of the position. Kyle Pitts isn’t a surprise for his yardage gains, but his lack of scoring and volume of catches are disappointing. At least he shows that he’s a difference-maker when he has the ball, and that he’s mostly limited by the offense around him.
5. ) Placekickers – Success rate for field goals and extra points.
Considering a minimum of 40 kicks (field goals + extra points), these are the top kickers regardless of opportunity. And the least likely to be replaced during the season.
These are the most accurate kickers. Michael Badgley and Robbie Gould are short on points from missing several games, but interesting too how many kick inside domes.
6.) Defenses – Plays per game that are either sack, fumble recovery, or interception.
The impact of scoring touchdowns or getting the rare safety boosts defenses’ fantasy values, but this metric just looks at how many times per game does a defense end up with a sack, fumble or interception? Considering that “defense wins championships,” the Buccaneers and Cardinals seem on a collision course for the NFC Championship and the Patriots are looking very much back to form this year.