Trending and NoteWorthy: The Latest Fantasy Football Trends and Statistical Insights
Touches and Targets
* New England Patriots
The Patriots have run the fifth-fewest offensive plays from scrimmage (180) and are tied for seventh-lowest in total points (57). Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel are tied for 38th in rushing attempts, James White is tied for 44th in Targets, while Rob Gronkowski is eighth at tight end in total targets. If that wasn’t bad enough for Patriots fans and Fantasy owners alike, Tom Brady ranks 25th behind Sam Darnold, Ryan Tannehill and Blake Bortles in passing yards (644 yards) and Josh Allen in overall Fantasy Points (45.2) With the addition of Josh Gordon, plus Julian Edelman set to return in Week Five, it would seem like the touches and target numbers could be even more dispersed. Does that make the Patriots a buy low? Gordon’s value couldn’t rise much more, making him a Sell High, while Chris Hogan’s value can’t drop any lower, making him a risky Buy Low that I can’t endorse (Phillip Dorsett has outscored him 29 to 27.4). Does that mean Gronk is in the perfect zone to be a Buy Low? I stutter, drool, shrug my shoulders and… Ummmm… Yes…?
* Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles
214 Plays From Scrimmage (Ranks Fourth)
The Vikings and Eagles both rank in the top six in plays from scrimmage and the bottom 10 in points scored. For the Vikings, this is a fluke. But for the Eagles, it’s a sign of bad things to come. Adam Thielen leads the league in targets (44) while Nelson Agholor is 19th with 27. With the return of Carson Wentz, Agholor was targeted less than both tight ends, Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert (10 and seven, respectively), and the same amount as Wendell Smallwood (five). Agholor was living on touches and targets through the first two weeks. With Alshon Jeffery getting healthy and Carson Wentz behind center it is looking more and more like it’s going to be a poor living going forward for Agholor. Sell.
* Cleveland Browns
The Browns rank second in total plays from scrimmage (219) while ranking a pedestrian 17th in time of possession. The beneficiaries have been Jarvis Landry, who ranks fifth in targets (37) and is tied for seventh in receptions and Carlos Hyde, who is second in rushing attempts and tied for first in touchdowns. Large amounts of opportunities are a good way to find value in Daily Fantasy sports, trades in yearly leagues and when making Start Em’ Sit Em’ decisions.
* Javorius Allen, RB Baltimore Ravens
Allen is a running back that is averaging a disgraceful two yards per carry, but he has 13 receptions on 17 targets for 70 yards and four touchdowns. Allen may be having the ugliest productive Fantasy season I have ever seen, but it’s been good enough to be a Top 40 Fantasy scorer after three weeks. The Ravens lead football in plays from scrimmage (225), rank 10th in time of possession (31:12) and fifth in total points (97). I can’t bring myself to endorse Allen, but the three week trend suggests he is a viable Flex play due to what he is doing when he receives the opportunity.
* Tyreek Hill, WR Kansas City Chiefs
Hill is seventh in Fantasy points (69.9) in spite of the fact that he has only been targeted 19 times in the passing game, plus another four rushing attempts. How can anyone believe that he can finish as a top 20 Fantasy player with so few touches and targets? He has been targeted half as often as JuJu Smith-Schuster and has almost half as many receptions (27 to 14). He is one of only four players with a “miscellaneous” touchdown in standard ESPN leagues. Sell. Sell. Sell.
* Chris Godwin, WR Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This week, I have been asked about Will Fuller V more than almost any player in Fantasy, and with 13 receptions, 214 receiving yards and two touchdowns in two games, it’s deserved. Godwin has the same number of receptions in the same number of targets with only 43 fewer receiving yards and one more touchdown. Trades can be difficult to make in Fantasy football, but Godwin is an emerging star that should be obtainable.
* Adrian Peterson, RB Washington Redskins
56 Rushing Attempts – 236 Rushing Yards – Three TDs
Six Targets – Five Receptions – 100 Receiving Yards
The Redskins are seventh in lays from scrimmage (201) and lead the league in rushing attempts per game with 33. Peterson is averaging over four yards per carry, ranks third in rushing attempts behind only Todd Gurley and Carlos Hyde, and has even contributed in the passing game.
The touches have been there and the efficiency has been better than anyone could have expected. Peterson has earned his position as a solid Flex starter and in this offense, owners can expect it to continue.
* Kareem Hunt, RB Kansas City Chiefs
52 Rushing Attempts – 168 Rushing Yards – Two TDs
Three Targets – One Reception – Five Receiving Yards – One TD
In Weeks Eight through 13 of the 2017 season, Hunt didn’t have a single game in which he had 100 total yards from scrimmage and in Weeks Four through 13, he didn’t score a single touchdown. In 2018, he has been non-existent in the passing game and has averaged just over three yards per carry.
There was pre-season speculation about what the impact of Sammy Watkins and Patrick Mahomes might have on the Chiefs’ touches and targets. In the early going, it looks like it’s resulted in Hunt’s absence from the game plan in the passing attack. Hunt was targeted 63 times in 2017 and has only been targeted three times in three games this season. His rushing attempts rank sixth, which is good, but to be an elite running back and justify his first round ADP, he needs to produce more in the passing game. It may not be a bad time to Sell while the Kansas City offense has Fantasy owners drooling. NoteWorthy.
* Christian McCaffrey, RB Carolina Panthers
46 Rushing Attempts – 271 Rushing Yards – No TDs
26 Targets – 22 Receptions – 157 Receiving Yards – No TDs
McCaffrey is tied for ninth in rushing attempts and third in targets amongst running backs. The Panthers insisted in the offseason that they were going to provide him with a full-time workload in the rushing game, and it looks like they meant it. This would be a good thing if I believed he could hold up, which I don’t. It would also be a good thing if he was a red zone weapon, which he is not (Cam Newton has three rushing touchdowns).
McCaffrey scored seven touchdowns in 2017 and it is looking more and more like he could finish with fewer than that in 2018. The carries are a strong selling point. Use them and do it. Sell.
Week Three NoteWorthy
Jordy Nelson, WR Oakland Raiders
Stats: Eight Targets – Six Receptions – 173 Receiving Yards – One TD
Nelson had more targets, receptions and more than three times as many receiving yards in Week Three than in the previous two games combined, and most of it was done in one quarter. The Raiders are fifth-lowest in total points, while being ninth-highest in plays from scrimmage and third in time of possession. This isn’t an offense to buy into and Nelson isn’t a guy on the rise. Don’t Be Fantasy Fooled.
Calvin Ridley., WR Atlanta Falcons
Stats: Eight Targets – Seven Receptions – 146 Receiving Yards – Three TDs
Ridley’s targets, receptions and yards are on the rise, and with Julio Jones opposite him and both Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman in the backfield demanding defenses’ attention, there are plenty of reasons to believe that Ridley is here to stay. Buy into him as a viable Flex play going forward.
Tyler Boyd, WR Cincinnati Bengals
Stats: Seven Targets – Six Receptions – 132 Receiving Yards – One TD
Boyd has had back-to-back games with six receptions and 91 and 146 yards receiving yards, respectively. Boyd has one fewer reception, two fewer touchdowns and 30 more receiving yards than go-to star A.J. Green. The Bengals offense ranks sixth in total points (89) and is tied for third in passing touchdowns (8).
Green is still the Bengals’ best receiver, but in Dynasty leagues, Boyd is the Bengal you want to own. His early season emergence is for real. Buy.
Mike Williams, WR Los Angeles Chargers
Stats: Seven Targets – Four Receptions – 81 Receiving Yards – Two TDs
Williams is averaging 17.2 yards per reception and leads the Chargers in receiving touchdowns (3), while having only 30 fewer receiving yards than star wideout Keenan Allen. Like A.J. Green in Cincinnati, the veteran (Allen) is still the best wideout on the roster, but like Tyler Boyd, Williams is the guy you want to own in Dynasty leagues. Williams is an early season target in trades and his emergence is