Opening up a box score or checking season totals for yards rushed,
thrown and caught can tell you quite a lot, but not everything
you need to know about your fantasy player. You have to delve
deeper into the statistical world if you want to know what really
happened and how it will help, or hurt, your fantasy hopes and
dreams of holding up the trophy at the end of the season.
Listed below are five times when the numbers don’t tell
the whole story and five times when they do.
The Numbers Lie –
1. Itís a myth that Thursday night
football hurts fantasy owners with poorly-played, low-scoring
games because coaches donít have adequate time to prepare. Yes,
in the first two seasons teams combined to average a putrid 35.25
ppg in 2011 and 37.84 ppg in 2012, but coaches have learned their
lessons well. Teams combined for 46.28 ppg in 2013 and 47.93 ppg
last season. Last seasonís total was above the regular season
average points scored per game for the first time in history.
The Steelers and Patriots totaled 49 points in the season opener
and Denver vs. Kansas City in Week 2 should be a decent scoring
game as well. Install players into your lineup for Thursday nightís
game as if it were any other game.
2. The Bearsí defense gave up just
189 yards passing in Week 1, well below the league average of
232.2 ypg. You might think they had a good day defending the leagueís
best passer Ė Aaron
Rodgers. That would be a wrong assumption. Rodgers was 18-of-23
for 189 yards and three touchdowns and posted a 140.5 QB rating.
Thatís without Jordy
Nelson and Randall
Cobb at less than 100 percent due to a sore shoulder. Watch
the Bearsí defensive numbers plummet after Week 2 when Carson
Palmer, who is 6-0 over his last six starts and averaging
276 ypg comes to town.
Hurns led Jacksonville in receiving yards (60) and Allen
Robinson led the Jaguars in yards-per-catch (27.0), but it
was rookie Rashad
Greene who was targeted a team-high 13 times, catching seven
balls for 28 yards, including a touchdown. Anyone who is seeing
double-digit targets on a regular basis will be a factor going
forward. Watch Week 2 against Ndamukong
Suh and the Miami Dolphins to see if this was a one-game fluke
or a growing trend. Heís owned in less than 1% of all Yahoo leagues
and could be worth a flier.
4. Tennessee rookie quarterback
Mariota toasted the Tampa Bay Bucs in his NFL debut by going
13-of-16 for 209 yards, four touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 QB
rating. Come on people Ö it was Tampa Bay. Iím a huge Mariota
fan and on draft day wanted him to end up with my hometown Philadelphia
Eagles, but he and his receivers arenít THAT good. Expect a lot
of rough patches over the next 15 games and donít go wild trying
to trade for him after his impressive start. Hey, even Bishop
Sankey looked good last Sunday. We will find out more about the
rookie quarterback in Week 2 when he faces the Browns who gave
up a league-low 57.1 percent completion rate a season ago and
yielded just 179 passing yards in the 2015 season opener.
5. Atlanta rookie Tevin
Coleman appeared to get the best of Devonta
Freeman in their RBBC situation. Coleman looked very good
running the ball for 80 yards on 20 carries. Beware, the Falcons
were ahead for 57 of 60 minutes and still the split was 44-of-77
plays for Coleman (57 percent) and 29 plays for Freeman (38 percent).
Freeman is the better receiver out of the backfield. This battle
isnít over so donít go crazy if you are trying to trade for the
Falconsí rookie after his nifty Week 1 showing.
Danny Woodhead's snap count numbers in
Week 1 suggest he'll be a viable Flex play on a weekly basis.
The Numbers Tell the Truth -
1. Chargers rookie Melvin
Gordon (ADP 34) saw less playing time than backup Danny
Woodhead. The veteran was on the field for 42 plays to 36 for
Gordon and scored twice in the red zone. Get used to this fantasy
owners because management and quarterback Philip
Rivers trust Woodhead and heís getting the same usage as in
2013 when he backed up Ryan
Mathews. Gordon may be a very good value in dynasty leagues,
but as long as Woodhead is healthy the rookieís role will be limited.
By the way, Woodhead is still available in 50 percent of all Yahoo
leagues and would be an excellent waiver addition for those who
lost a running back due to injury.
2. OK, maybe there IS something wrong
Manning. He threw the ball 40 times and ďamassedĒ just 175 yards
with zero touchdowns and one interception. In 257 games over his
Hall of Fame career, Manning has thrown for less than 180 yards
just 25 times and that includes six games in which he only played
the first quarter to keep his consecutive played streak alive while
his team was getting ready for the playoffs. However, Manning has
thrown for under 180 yards in three of his last six games! Heíll
get a chance to redeem himself with fantasy owners next week against
the Kansas City Chiefs, but if you have a solid backup quarterback
you might want to play him as Manning threw for just 179 yards against
the Chiefs in November of 2014.
3. The Eagles lost to Atlanta Monday
night, but Sam
Bradfordís performance should have won over fantasy owners.
The quarterback took plenty of hits and survived. He and his Eagles
only showed up for the final 30 minutes and still he produced big
yardage numbers (36-of-52 for 336 yards, one TD and two interceptions).
The Eagles used the short pass as a running play and his fantasy
owners have to like that. DeMarco
Murrayís owners may not be quite as happy. Start Bradford as
long as he can still stand up and walk without a severe limp.
Fitzgerald, once a first-round selection and now mired with
a preseason ADP of 79, led the Cardinals in targets (8), receptions
(6) and yards receiving (87). OK, he didnít catch any of Carson
Palmerís three touchdown passes, but heís a much better player than
an eighth-round selection with the veteran Palmer under center.
The Cardinals face a Bears defense that yielded 264.4 ypg a season
ago and 34 touchdowns passes (second worst in the league). The Bears
gave up three more touchdown passes in Week 1 to Rodgers. Fitzgeraldís
fantasy value should be high for Week 2.
5. The Chargers passing game posted
404 yards against Detroit on Sunday. The return to health of Keenan
Allen and Danny Woodhead, the re-energized Steve
Johnson and Ladarius
Green playing the ďAntonio
Gates roleĒ give Rivers all the weapons he needs to succeed.
Now he just needs his offensive line to continue to give him the
time to throw and this could be a regular occurrence. Rivers was
a fast starter last season too (2,213 yards, 20 TDs, 5 INTs in first
eight games) and appears to be repeating that trend in 2015. Make
sure heís in your lineup again in Week 2.
Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.