Looking to 2017: 100 Fantasy Football Facts

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 7: Running back Isaiah Crowell #34 of the Cleveland Browns scores on a 15-yard run as teammate Gary Barnidge #82 signals touchdown during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on September 7, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Browns 30-27. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

Now that the NFL season has ended, it’s time to look into next year’s Fantasy Football notebook. The draft targets for the 2017 season will be determined using a combination of data and gut instinct. In that vein, and with a bit of a twist, here is the first installment of “100 Fantasy Football Facts.”

Here are 100 completely true fantasy statistics that will surprise and confuse fantasy football fanatics. The facts may or may not lead to the obvious conclusion, but the goal is to keep the fantasy football mind racing.

It’s one thing to have a grasp of analytics, but it’s another thing entirely to use those numbers as building blocks to some higher truth.

The debate will remain: does the data lead to the proper conclusion?

Here are 100 facts to give the dedicated fantasy football junkies something to chew over in the off-season.

(All statistical information was taken from PlayerProfiler.com.)

Looking to 2017: 100 Fantasy Football Facts

WR Red Zone Thieves

  1. Oakland wide receiver Seth Roberts received 21 red zone targets last season. That was more than Larry Fitzgerald (20), Mike Evans (19), and Antonio Brown (15).
  2. Roberts had 397 receiving yards which ranked 88th among all NFL wide receivers.
  3. Oakland quarterback Derek Carr ranked fifth among all quarterbacks in Red Zone pass attempts despite missing one game.
  4. Michael Crabtree is considered the top red zone target for Carr. He ranked seventh among all wide receivers in red zone receptions with 12. This was more than Doug Baldwin (11) and Odell Beckham Jr. (11).
  5. Crabtree, however, had less red zone receptions than Detroit’s Anquan Boldin, who ranked second among all wide receivers with 15.
  6. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford has averaged 631 pass attempts in each of the last seven years.
  7. Anquan Boldin‘s ADP (Average Draft Position) was 174.6 last season, and Seth Roberts went undrafted in most leagues.

Name that Running Back

8. There are only two NFL running backs to average over 50 red zone carries over the last two seasons. Both played in the Super Bowl LI.

9.  Player A had 103 red zone carries over the last two seasons, Player B had 102 red zone carries over the last two seasons.

10.  Player A averaged 4.0 yards per carry against Base Front defenses. Player B averaged 4.9 yards per carry against Base Front defenses.

11. Player A had 220 total fantasy points, but only seven receptions. Player B had 218 fantasy points with 54 receptions.

12.  Player A tied for seventh with 11 runs of 15 yards or more. Player B was fifth with 14 runs of 15 yards or more.

13.  Player A will be 31 years old next year. Player B will be 25 years old.

14.  Player A had an ADP of 113.7.  Player B had an ADP of 19.2. Both are being underdrafted.

15. Player A is LeGarrette Blount. Player B is Devonta Freeman.

Zero RB:  Myth or Reality?

16.  Production Premium compares the outcome of all pass attempts, carries, and targets to league-average outcomes in those same game situations by yard line, down, and distance. (PlayerProfiler.com).  In 2015, the top rated qualified running backs in Production Premium were: Dion Lewis, James White, David Johnson, and Theo Riddick.

17.  Last season, the top rated qualified running backs in Production Premium were:  Tevin Coleman, James White, Jalen Richard, and LeSean McCoy.

18.  The respective average draft position of each of those running backs in 2016:  122.9, 119.4, undrafted, and 29.0.

19.  Out of the top 20 running backs by ADP, exactly ten finished outside the top 20 in terms of season long fantasy points.

20.  LeGarrette Blount finished sixth (ADP 113.7), Melvin Gordon finished eighth (71.4), Jordan Howard finished ninth (193.5), Jay Ajayi was 11th (115.3), Frank Gore was 12th (77.0), Isaiah Crowell was 15th (114.9), Spencer Ware was 16th (148.2), and Tevin Coleman was 18th (122.9).

21.  Unless you can get David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliott, or Le’Veon Bell in redraft leagues next season, it is best to wait to draft fantasy football running backs.

Who Would’ve Thought?

22.  Le’Veon Bell (8.4), David Johnson (6.2), Ezekiel Elliott (5.9), and Carlos Hyde (5.5) were the top three running backs in Evaded Tackles Per Game. Number five?  Eddie Lacy (5.4).  He was higher than LeSean McCoy (5.3).

23.  Before his injury in Week Two, Ameer Abdullah was averaging 6.9 yards per carry against base defensive fronts.

24. Despite Jacksonville only ranking 22nd in the NFL in rushing yards per game (101.9), Chris Ivory averaged 6.2 yards per carry against base defensive fronts. Right behind him at 6.1 yards per carry? Again, Eddie Lacy.

25.  Ty Montgomery‘s yards per carry against base defenses? 0.8 yards per carry.

26.  Ty Montgomery‘s yards per carry against light front defenses? 6.6 yards per carry.  Lacy averaged 4.2 yards per carry in the same situations.

27.  Against a stacked defensive front, both DeAndre Washington (6.3) and Jalen Richard (6.0) averaged over 6.0 yards per carry.

28.  Latavius Murray averaged 4.2 yards per carry against stacked defensive fronts and 3.7 yards per carry against base defensive fronts.

29.  Washington (5.6) and Richard (5.8) both averaged over 5.0 yards per carry against base defensive fronts.

30.  Latavius Murray is a free agent.  Why should the Oakland Raiders resign him?

31.  Last year’s top nine running backs in Yards After Contact are not surprises:  Bell, Johnson, Ajayi, Elliott, Howard, McCoy, Hyde, Freeman, and Murray. Ranked tenth, however? Isaiah Crowell of the Cleveland Browns.

35. Crowell ran behind the 17th best offensive line per run blocking efficiency and is only 24 years old.

36. There is a starting NFL running back that ranked 65th in Yards Per Carry against stacked defensive fronts, 44th in Yards Per Carry against a base front, and 64th in Yards Per Carry against light defensive fronts.

37. This same running back ranked sixth among all running backs in total carries with 268.

38.  In addition, that same running back has a 96th percentile 40 yard dash time (4.40), a 97th percentile Speed Score (116.3), and an 84th percentile Agility Score (11.02).

39. Yet this same running back ranked 57th among all running backs with only 4.3 Yards Per Touch, and 25th with only six total touchdowns.

40. Despite all of these negative statistics, this running back had a 2016 ADP of 11.5. Does this make any sense?

41.  That running back is Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller.

The Great Seattle Debate

42.  Seattle Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls averaged 3.6 Yards Per Touch last season (78th among all running backs.)

43.  Seattle Seahawks running back C.J. Prosise averaged 8.1 Yards Per Touch last season (1st among all running backs).

44.  Juke Rate measures a running back’s evaded tackles per touch. Thomas Rawls‘ Juke Rate was 19.7 percent (50th among RBs).  C.J. Prosise‘s Juke Rate was 29.8 percent (12th among RBs).

45. Thomas Rawls‘ Production Premium was -16.2 (66th among RBs).

46. C.J. Prosise‘s Production Premium? +37.1 (4th among RBs).

47. Thomas Rawls had 13 receptions on 17 targets for 96 receiving yards.

48. C.J. Prosise had 17 receptions on 19 targets for 208 receiving yards.

49.  Thomas Rawls averaged 8.4 fantasy points per game in PPR formats.

50. C.J. Prosise averaged 10.2 fantasy points per game in PPR formats.

51.  Thomas Rawls ADP last season was 47.3.  C.J. Prosise’s ADP last season was 180.1. What will their ADP’s be in 2017?

Just Say No to Eli

52. The best offensive lines according to pass blocking efficiency were: Oakland (137.3), Pittsburgh (120.6), New York Giants (112.0), New Orleans (111.6), and Washington (100).

53. Their respective starting quarterbacks rankings in fantasy points per game were: 14th (Derek Carr), 7th (Ben Roethlisberger), 25th (Eli Manning), 2nd (Drew Brees), and 6th (Kirk Cousins).

54. The Deep Ball Completion Percentage of those quarterbacks were: 41 percent (Carr), 39.3 percent (Roethlisberger),  28.2 percent (Manning), 51.4 percent (Brees), and 45.7 percent (Cousins).

55. Eli Manning averaged 0.41 Fantasy Points per Pass Attempt. That ranks 25th among NFL starting quarterbacks. It was less than Sam Bradford (0.42), Carson Palmer (0.43), and Blake Bortles (0.46).

56. All of this while Manning was seventh among all starting quarterbacks in Pass Attempts (599).

57.  In short, nobody did less with more at the fantasy quarterback position than Eli Manning.

Quarterbacks:  Patience is a Virtue

58.  The sixth best Deep Ball Completion Percentage belongs to?  Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford (44.4 percent).

59.  Bradford played behind the 20th ranked offensive line for Pass Blocking Efficiency (57.8 rating)

60.  Red Zone Completion Percentage leaders:  Tom Brady 69.2 percent, 68.8 percent, Sam Bradford 67.5 percent. This was ahead of Andrew Luck (66.2 percent), Matt Ryan (65.6 percent), and Aaron Rodgers (63.5 percent).

61.  Sam Bradford had the highest completion percentage of any starting NFL quarterback (71.6 percent).

62.  Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith had seven games of 18 or more fantasy points in 2015. He had six such games last season.

63.  Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill had five games of 18 or more fantasy points in 2015 and 2016.

64.  Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has seven games of 18 or more fantasy points in 2015. He had seven such games last season.

64.  The respective ADPs from last season:  Alex Smith 177.7, Ryan Tannehill 157.4, Andy Dalton 147.4.

65.  Sam Bradford had five games of 18 or more fantasy points last season. His ADP was 207.8.

66.  If the Minnesota Vikings improve their offensive line, Sam Bradford could be as good if not better than Alex Smith, Ryan Tannehill, or Andy Dalton.

67.  If you choose to wait on drafting a quarterback in redraft leagues, wait until the end of the draft. Don’t waste a mid-round pick on a quarterback.

Tight Ends:  The Later the Better

68.  Rob Gronkowski (13.5) and Jordan Reed (36.1) had the top two ADPs for tight ends last season.

69.  Gronkowski finished 20th in total fantasy points and Reed finished 8th.

70.  Jimmy Graham‘s ADP last season was 140.0 and Kyle Rudolph‘s ADP last season was 185.3.

71.  Graham finished second overall in total fantasy points among tight ends, and Rudolph finished fourth overall.

72.  Tight End Julius Thomas possesses incredible Workout Metrics.  He has an 82nd percentile Agility Score and Catch Radius.

73.  Thomas has produced impressive Hog Rates in consecutive seasons.  Hog Rate measures the percent of targets per snap. Thomas’ Hog Rates the last two season were: 11.3 percent in 2016 and 15.7 percent in 2015.

74.  Thomas has been traded from the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Miami Dolphins.

75.  Last season, Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles ranked 14th among all starting quarterbacks with a 58.3 Red Zone completion percentage.

76.  Last season, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill ranked fourth among all starting quarterbacks with a 67.4 percent Red Zone completion percentage.

77.  Thomas produced a 57.1 percent Red Zone Catch Rate last season. This was higher than Rob Gronkowski (50.0 percent), Delanie Walker (52.9 percent), and Travis Kelce (50.0 percent).

78.  There is no reason to draft a tight end early. Ever.

How Good can Terrelle Pryor Be?

79.  Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor possesses a 90th percentile 40 yard dash time (4.41) and an insane 99th percentile Height-Adjusted Speed Score (128.3).

80.  Pryor ranked 24th among wide receivers in fantasy points per game with 13.2.

81.  He was eighth among all wide receivers in Air Yards at 818 yards (5.58 yards per target).

82.  Pryor ranked ninth among all wide receivers with an amazing 81.8 percent Contested Catch Rate.

83.  He accomplished all of this despite playing the season with a combination of Robert Griffin III and Cody Kessler at quarterback.

84.  Kessler ranked 31st among starting quarterbacks with a putrid 8.7 fantasy points per game. Griffin ranked 27th at 14.4 fantasy points per game.

85.  Terrelle Pryor is an unrestricted free agent this summer.

86.  Pryor caught 77 passes for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns in his first full season as a wide receiver. Imagine if he had a good quarterback throwing him the ball?

Go Deeper for the Bounce Back

87. Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robinson had an ADP of 9.5 last season.  He was one of the biggest busts in fantasy football.

88. Robinson suffered through poor quarterback play from Blake Bortles all season.  Bortles’ Completion Percentage was 58.7 percent, second worst among all NFL starting quarterbacks.

89.  Allen Robinson led all NFL wide receivers with 32 Contested Targets. This was eight more than the Jordy Nelson, who was second with 24 Contested Targets.

90.  With 19 Red Zone targets, Robinson ranked 11th among all wide receivers. This despite the fact the Jaguars scored only 318 points this season (25th in NFL).

91.  Blake Bortles Red Zone Completion Percentage? 58.3 percent.

92.  Allen Robinson’s Target Share, which is the percentage of all team passing targets, was 24.1 percent. This was higher than Alshon Jeffery (22.5 percent), Amari Cooper (22.3 percent), and Golden Tate (23.3 percent).

93.  Jaguars new general manager Tom Coughlin has already stressed the importance of improved quarterback play for next season.

94.  Allen Robinson is a prime bounce back candidate in 2017.

Best Colt to Ride?

95.  Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Donte Moncrief had an injury-plagued 2016 season. He played in roughly seven complete games.

96.  Fellow Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton played in all 16 games. He enjoyed a career year, finishing first in the league in receiving yards with 1,448.

97.  Hilton had eight Red Zone Receptions on 14 targets.  Moncrief had eight receptions on 10 Red Zone Targets.

98.  T.Y. Hilton had six total touchdowns.  Donte Moncrief had seven total touchdowns.

99.  Again, Moncrief played nine less games than Hilton.

100.  T.Y. Hilton’s 2016 ADP? 23.8.  Donte Moncrief’s ADP? 37.0.  If Moncrief was healthy all season, how would Hilton’s stats have been affected?

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