96 Stats


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96 Stats

You know the deal: 32 teams. 3 stats each. 96 of my most absolutely unfettered and dankest stats possible.

As always, shoutout to the great Matthew Berry for letting me rip him off.

Word of Caution: Every statistic referenced in this article is true. But in several instances I may have simply chosen the most interesting or most compelling statistic I could find. And so, in some cases it may seem as though I’m especially high on a player, when in actuality he’s buried in my rankings. And so, the only way to know for sure whether or not one of the statistics listed below is deliberate misinformation is to subscribe to FantasyPoints and read this article here: My Guys, which includes my 2022 draft plan plus rankings.

Arizona Cardinals

1A. Kyler Murray is currently being drafted as the QB6 on Yahoo! even though he’s finished top-4 in FPG in each of the last two seasons.

1B. In 2021: Before suffering an ankle injury in Week 8 against the Packers, Murray was averaging 24.8 FPG (~QB1), hitting at least 19.5 fantasy points in 6 of 7 games.

1C. In 2020: Murray suffered a shoulder injury in Week 9 that (per his own admission) didn’t start affecting him until Week 11. Up until that point, Murray was averaging 30.1 FPG (~QB1) through nine games with a low of just 23.1 fantasy points.

1D. So, if looking only at games before an injury occurred, then Murray averages 27.8 FPG over the last two seasons (16 games).

1E. For perspective, last season Josh Allen led all QBs, scoring the 4th-most fantasy points by any QB in any season ever. And this is +3.2 FPG (+13%) better than that.

2A. Kyler Murray has the best supporting cast of his career and feels easy to stack, because it seems like you almost can’t go wrong with any receiver.

2B. Prior to a Week 11 thigh injury, WR Marquise Brown ranked 7th in FPG (17.8) last year. At Oklahoma in 2018, Brown was Murray’s favorite and most-productive receiver (109.8 YPG), ahead of future Round 1 draft pick CeeDee Lamb (82.7 YPG). He ranks 21st at the position in ADP.

2C. DeAndre Hopkins will miss the first six games of the season, but he’s finished top-5 in FPG in 4 of his last 5 seasons. He ranks 38th at the position in ADP, after finishing 20th in FPG last year (14.7). (That said, his YPG average dropped by 54% last season. And that’s typically been a death knell for WRs approaching the age cliff.)

2D. Over Zach Ertz’s last 10 games (all with Arizona), he led all TEs in XFP/G (16.5) and route share (87%), while ranking as the overall TE5. Hopefully, he will continue to follow the Jason Witten PPR-cheat-code career trajectory in his age 32 season, and possibly catch the 100 balls he was promised by an Arizona coach. He currently ranks 10th at the position in ADP.

2E. Rondale Moore underwhelmed in his rookie season, but may also possess massive PPR-cheat-code upside. He averaged 8.90 career receptions per game at Purdue. That ranks 2nd-best by any FBS WR since at least 2000, behind only Davante Adams (8.96). He currently ranks as the WR52 by ADP.

3A. Since HC Kliff Kingsbury entered the league, he’s only ever deployed a bell cow RB when one of his top-2 RBs has suffered an injury. In those 10 games, his top RB averages 18.6 carries, 5.4 targets, and 24.3 FPG. (FYI – those are Christian McCaffrey-type numbers.)

3B. The rest of the time, Kingsbury’s RB1 and RB2 were returning ~14.8 FPG and ~9.5 FPG (respectively).

3C. Fantasy drafters are expecting James Conner (ADP: RB15) to return to the bell cow role he inhabited last season when Chase Edmonds was out. But I’m skeptical.

3D. Last season James Conner ranked 22nd in YFS per game (75.2), sandwiched in between Edmonds (75.3) and Duke Johnson (74.2). Among all RBs with at least 200 carries, Conner ranked dead-last in YPC (3.72).

3E. In games both Edmonds and Conner played more than 1 snap, Conner was the clear RB2 to Edmonds’ RB1, whether by FPG (11.2 vs. 11.5) or snap share (42% vs. 57%).

3C. Yes, Conner was a hyper-productive bell cow when Edmonds was out. But Edmonds was also a hyper-productive bell cow when Conner was out (20.0 FPG). And when Edmonds returned from injury in the playoffs, he immediately returned to his RB1 role, out-snapping Conner 52% to 25%.

3D. So, given the likelihood of a committee backfield in Arizona. And the league-winning upside for the RB2, should Conner – the most injury-prone RB in football – suffer another injury. Shouldn’t we be fading Conner and instead drafting Darrel Williams (ADP: RB58) or Eno Benjamin (ADP: RB62)? I think so.

Atlanta Falcons

1A. Marcus Mariota finished 2nd in FPG in 2020 (26.8).

1B. And he didn’t even start a single game that entire year!

1C. Now keep in mind, Joe Burrow has never finished better than 10th in FPG.

1D. On just 15 dropbacks this preseason, Mariota completed 8 of 12 pass attempts for 168 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing 3 times for 23 yards and a score. That was good for 19.0 fantasy points, or 1.27 fantasy points per dropback (over double the 2021 regular season leader).

1E. Based on Matt Ryan’s 36.3 dropbacks per game last year, this would come out to ~46.1 FPG for Mariota if he remains just as efficient in the regular season as he was this preseason.

1F. Burrow, meanwhile, scored zero fantasy points this preseason.

1G. And yet, somehow, Joe Burrow is being drafted in Round 7, nearly 12 full rounds ahead of Marcus Mariota.

1H. (Obviously, I’m being intentionally ridiculous here. Mariota isn’t a player I’m ever drafting in typical start/sit leagues. But I do think Mariota has underrated Konami Code-upside, and that he’s been an underrated best ball and superflex value all offseason.)

2. Cordarrelle Patterson hurt his ankle in Week 10, and sat out the next game. Prior to that injury, Patterson averaged 19.2 FPG, which ranked 6th-best among all RBs. He’s currently being drafted as the RB38.

3A. Who was the best outside WR in the NFL last year? Technically, it’s Kyle Pitts.

3B. All of my other stats on Kyle Pitts are too dank not to paywall. But paid subscribers can find those here and here.

Baltimore Ravens

1A. Over the past three seasons Mark Andrews has finished 5th (13.9), 4th (12.2), and then last year 1st in FPG (17.5). What was the catalyst behind this 43% jump in FPG?

1B. It’s simple. Over the last three seasons Baltimore has finished 1st (+249), 1st (+165), and then 19th (-5) in point differential. Add to that the Ravens’ RB1, RB2, and RB3 all suffering season-ending injuries in training camp, and Baltimore clearly had no other choice but to lean atypically pass-heavy (57%, up from 45%).

1C. Andrews wasn’t any more efficient than he’s been throughout his career, and he didn’t see a significant increase in route share. The main catalyst behind the increase in production was a massive jump in routes run per game: 23.3 to 38.9, a 67% increase.

1D. That’s not at all sustainable, and does hint at a looming regression to the mean. But offsetting this somewhat, Marquise Brown leaves behind 146 targets in his wake.

2. Despite being a lowly Day 3 pick, I feel like I could do 96 stats on TE Isaiah Likely alone.

3A. Last season Lamar Jackson had two games with multiple passing touchdowns, and four games with multiple interceptions.

3B. Over the last three seasons, Lamar Jackson leads all QBs in FPG (24.2). Over the last two seasons, Jackson ranks 9th (22.0).

Buffalo Bills

1A. Last season Gabriel Davis exceeded a 50% snap share only 8 times (postseason included). In those 8 games, he averaged 6.6 targets, 74.3 YPG, and 18.1 FPG (~WR6). With Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley off the roster, Davis is now staring at a full-time role.

1B. Despite ranking just 64th in targets over the last two seasons, Davis ranks 16th in end zone targets, with 5 more than Cooper Kupp and only 7 less than Davante Adams over the same span.

1C. During this stretch, Davis ranks 1st of 135-qualifying WRs in XTD per target (0.11), 1st in XFP per target (2.00), and 3rd in fantasy points per target (2.34). All of this implies that any uptick in targets could go a massively long way for fantasy.

1D. Last season, Davis scored 51.1 fantasy points in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. That was the most for any player at any position in any postseason game all-time.

1E. So this begs a question – perhaps only answered by my paywalled rankings – is Davis just 2019 Chris Godwin reincarnated?

1F. Or, perhaps… is Isaiah McKenzie simply the arbitrage play of the decade?

2. Over Buffalo’s final 7 games (including the playoffs), Devin Singletary played on 84% of the team’s snaps, averaging 19.7 FPG. For perspective, those numbers would have ranked best and 4th-best (respectively) if over the full season. He’s currently being drafted as the RB36.

3. Last season, Dawson Knox (ADP: TE9) saw his route share jump from 70% to 88% over his final 10 games. He averaged 16.6 FPG in the five games he saw a route share of at least 90%. For perspective, Travis Kelce averaged 16.6 FPG last season.

Carolina Panthers

1A. Over the past two seasons, Aaron Jones has finished as a top-6 RB in just 10% of his games. Okay, so keep that in mind…

1B. Over his last 21 healthy games, Christian McCaffrey has finished top-2 43% of the time, top-4 71% of the time, top-6 86% of the time, and top-8 95% of the time. So, just once he failed to finish top-8 (when he finished 14th).

2. The downside to Christian McCaffrey is that he appears injury-prone. The upside to Christian McCaffrey is that he’s the closest thing we’ve ever seen to a fantasy football “Exodia” or “Meta Knight”, where he’s worth more than any two other fantasy players combined. That was at least literally the case in 2019 by VORP (Value Over Replacement Player), when McCaffrey was worth more (+15.4 FPG) than the RB2 (Dalvin Cook, +6.8) and RB3 (Aaron Jones, +5.6) combined.

3A. D.J. Moore has 4,313 career receiving yards, all before his 25th birthday. Only five WRs had more receiving yards before turning 25 – Randy Moss, Mike Evans, Larry Fitzgerald, DeAndre Hopkins, and Odell Beckham Jr.

3B. Moore accomplished this feat, despite Cam Newton (26%), Kyle Allen (23%), Sam Darnold (22%), Teddy Bridgewater (20%), and P.J. Walker (6%) combining to throw 97% of his career targets.

3C. I don’t care how bad you think Baker Mayfield is. And he’s certainly no Gardner Minshew. But he’s significantly better than any of those names.

Chicago Bears

1A. If you squint so hard it hurts, Justin Fields looks quite a bit like Josh Allen.

1B. Fields hit at least 6 rushing attempts (averaging 8.0) and 35 rushing yards (averaging 56.3) over his final six full games. And he averaged 266.7 passing YPG over his final three full games.

1C. For perspective that’s 0.8 more rushing attempts per game, 11.4 more rushing YPG, and 7.5 more passing YPG than what Josh Allen gave us last year.

1D. I understand the comparison to Allen seems a little preposterous. But I’m confident that if you read my full argument here (no paywall), it will seem a little less absurd. And that you may even agree with me, that Fields is far and away the best current ADP value (QB25) at the position. (And, keep in mind this piece was written before the preseason, when Fields completed 23 of 30 passes for 243 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions.)

2A. Darnell Mooney ranked 11th among all WRs in targets last season (140), despite playing alongside Allen Robinson (now in Los Angeles, replaced by no one of importance).

2B. Mooney had four games with at least 120 receiving yards last year. Only Cooper Kupp and Davante Adams had more.

3A. Over his final six games last season, David Montgomery ranked 3rd in carries, 1st in targets, 1st in XFP, and 2nd in fantasy points scored (averaging 18.5 FPG).

3B. Over his last 19 games, Montgomery averaged 18.2 carries, 4.4 targets, 17.7 XFP, and 18.6 FPG, on a 76% snap-share. If over the full season, those numbers would have ranked 8th-, 9th-, 8th-, 4th-, and 2nd-best last year.

3C. To emphasize this point, only Derrick Henry, Jonathan Taylor, and Austin Ekeler averaged more than 18.6 FPG last year.

3D. This preseason, David Montgomery played on 20 of the team’s 22 snaps with the first-team offense (91%).

3E. Basically, either Montgomery’s preseason usage is irrelevant and current drafters are right – Montgomery’s best days in a Bears uniform are behind him, and he’ll be spending the 2022 season stuck in a low-upside committee alongside sophomore Khalil Herbert. Or, they’re wrong, Montgomery will be a bell cow again in 2022, and you can draft an easy fantasy RB1 at a fringe-RB2 price tag (ADP: RB22).

Cincinnati Bengals

1A. This Cincinnati Bengals offense is going to be a problem for a really long time.

1B. In just his second season in the NFL, Joe Burrow led the league in YPA (8.9), AY/A (9.0), and completion percentage (70.4%). He closed out the year, with 445-plus passing yards, 4.0 passing touchdowns, and 0.0 interceptions in back-to-back games.

1C. Justin Jefferson has the most receiving yards of any player through their first two NFL seasons all time. And well, it’s not crazy to think that Ja’Marr Chase is probably better than him. Chase’s rookie season was better than Jefferson’s rookie year (+5% better by FPG). And Chase was also better in 2019 when they played together at LSU (+10% better by FPG).

1D. Tee Higgins is one of only 15 WRs all-time with at least 900 receiving yards and 6 receiving touchdowns in his first two NFL seasons.

1E. Two years ago, HC Bill Belichick said Joe Mixon was “probably the best back in the league.” He’s only 19 months older than Najee Harris.

2A. Despite breaking the modern record for receiving yards by a rookie, it’s hard to call Ja’Marr Chase’s rookie season anything other than a disappointment when he fell 73 yards shy of my expectation for him.

2B. Funny enough, after a full offseason of beat writers overreacting to, and then fantasy analysts overthinking Ja’Marr Chase because of drops… If Chase had perfect hands in 2021, he would have exceeded my lofty expectations for him, and would have averaged at least 3.2 more FPG, putting him on par with Davante Adams and Deebo Samuel. (Luckily, drop rate is something that almost always regresses to the mean.)

3. So much of whether or not Joe Mixon, Tee Higgins, or Joe Burrow will meet their ADP expectations (ADP: RB7 / WR11 / QB8) hinges upon whether HC Zac Taylor goes as pass-heavy as he did over the team’s final 10 games, or as run-heavy as he did over team’s first 11 games.

Cleveland Browns

1A. Through four NFL seasons, Deshaun Watson has finished 6th (23.1), 2nd (21.4), 5th (20.7), and 1st in FPG (24.1) through four NFL seasons.

1B. Watson isn’t a player I’m often drafting (outside of superflex and tournament-style leagues). But due to that easy mid-range QB1 upside, he’s a player I want on 100% of my teams by Week 10 at the latest.

2A. Amari Cooper seems like an ADP value. He ranks as a high-end WR4 by ADP (WR37). But – adjusting for injury – Cooper has finished as a WR2 or better (by FPG) in 5 of his last 6 seasons, with the lowest ranking of just WR26.

2B. Indeed, he feels sort of like the 2022 version of 2021 Brandin Cooks. QB play is a concern, but his target competition is so impotent that it feels impossible for him not to beat his ADP.

2C. But in addition to that, he also has league-winning upside for the playoffs, should Watson look anything like his former self.

2D. Watson’s WR1 averages 19.3 FPG (~WR5) throughout his career, and has never averaged less than 17.2 FPG (~WR10) in any season of his career.

3A. Nick Chubb is being drafted as a fringe RB1 (ADP: RB13) and Kareem Hunt is being drafted as a mid-range RB3 (RB31). Chubb is being drafted in early Round 3 (3.02), while Hunt goes late Round 8 (8.11).

3B. And so, I’d like to ask you – why? Emphatically, why?

3C. Last season Chubb missed Weeks 6-7 due to injury. Hunt got hurt in Week 6 and then was never again fully healthy (12 total touches the rest of the season). Prior to those injuries (Weeks 1-5), Hunt was fantasy's RB4 (18.7 FPG) and Chubb was fantasy's RB9 (16.6).

3D. In 2019, Kareem Hunt out-scored Chubb in 6 of the 8 games the two played together. Over the next two seasons, Chubb and Hunt were active and fully healthy in only 16 full games the two played together. In those 16 games, Chubb out-carried Hunt 274 to 177, while Hunt out-targeted Chubb 60 to 24. In other words, the value of their respective roles was nearly identical if measured by weighted opportunity points per game (12.9 to Hunt’s 12.8). And even by FPG, Chubb wasn’t that much better (at least not as much better as ADP implies), averaging 17.9 FPG (~RB8) to Hunt’s 14.9 (~RB17).

3E. Chubb is not a bell cow. He’s not at all involved in the passing game, which means he’s heavily gamescript-dependent – he averages 3.5 more FPG in wins (17.0, ~RB10) than losses (13.5, ~RB22) throughout his career. But Hunt averages slightly more FPG in losses (13.5, ~RB22) than wins (13.4, ~RB22) since joining the Browns. This means that Chubb and Hunt should have an identical expectation in games Cleveland is expected to lose. And, well, Cleveland isn’t expected to win very many of their games without Watson (11).

3F. Hunt also has infinitely more injury-upside than Chubb. When Chubb has missed time over the past two seasons, Hunt’s snap-share jumps from 48% to 82%. But when Hunt has missed time, Chubb’s snap-share jumps from just 50% to 51%.

Dallas Cowboys

1A. Maybe Ezekiel Elliott is “cooked” and Tony Pollard is the vastly superior talent at this stage in their careers. But then again…

1B. Since entering the league, Elliott has finished 3rd (20.6), 3rd (19.0), 8th (19.4), 5th (17.8), 14th (13.2), and (last season) 15th in FPG (13.4). Obviously, the last two seasons have been rough, but in his defense…

1C. These numbers imply he’s still priced beneath his absolute floor (ADP: RB17), and…

1C. The Cowboys were missing Dak Prescott for over two-thirds of the 2020 season, and then Elliott played through a partially torn posterior cruciate (PCL) ligament in his right knee for over 75% of the 2021 season.

1D. In spite of that injury, Elliott ranked 2nd among all RBs in total snaps, and Pollard still couldn’t crack a dozen touches per game.

1E. Over the last two seasons – with a fully-intact PCL and with Prescott in the lineup – Elliott averages 18.5 FPG on an 80% snap-share (through nine games), which would have been good enough for a top-4 finish (by either stat) in either of the past two seasons.

2A. Dak Prescott has finished as a QB1 by either total fantasy points or FPG in every season of his six-year career. He’s currently priced as just the QB11, even though he ranks 6th by MVP odds.

2B. Over the past three seasons, Prescott averages just 0.75 FPG less than Josh Allen, and 0.65 FPG less than Patrick Mahomes. On average, he’s being drafted 4 rounds behind either QB.

2C. Last season Prescott ranked 4th in passing FPG (19.7). Had he averaged 4.0 rushing FPG – like he did throughout his first five NFL seasons – he would have finished behind only Josh Allen in FPG.

3. Over the last eight weeks of the season (Week 11 on), CeeDee Lamb (10.6 FPG) was out-scored by all of TE1 Dalton Schultz (13.6), WR2 Amari Cooper (11.7), RB1 Ezekiel Elliott (11.6), RB2 Tony Pollard (11.5), WR4 Cedrick Wilson (11.3), and WR3 Michael Gallup (11.0). He ranks as the WR6 by ADP.

Denver Broncos

1A. Crucially, will Russell Wilson finally be allowed to cook? If so (and I think it’s likely), there could be a number of league-winners on this team.

1B. Wilson has ranked top-5 in completion percentage over expectation in all of his 10 NFL seasons.

1C. Wilson has finished top-7 in either overall PFF grade or PFF pass grade in 5 of his last 7 seasons.

1D. Over the last 9 seasons, Wilson has finished top-3 in fantasy points per dropback 5 times, and top-8 8 times.

1E. And yet, he’s ranked top-12 in dropbacks per game only twice, with 5 seasons outside of the top-16.

1F. Over this span, he averages 36.3 dropbacks per game (would have ranked 17th last year), 0.56 fantasy points per dropback (would have ranked 5th), and 20.1 FPG (would have ranked 8th).

1G. If taking Wilson’s 0.56 fantasy points per dropback, and giving him the same amount of dropbacks per game as Justin Herbert last year (43.5), we should expect 24.4 FPG – or, what would have been just 0.2 off of Josh Allen for the position-high.

2. Is Javonte Williams a perfect reincarnation of Marshawn Lynch? It’s very possible.

3. Over the past two seasons, Courtland Sutton averages just 4.5 FPG in games Jerry Jeudy has played. He’s hit double-digit fantasy points in zero of those 11 games. In the 7 games Jeudy has missed, Sutton averages 15.8 FPG.

Detroit Lions

1A. Over the final six weeks of the season, St. Brown ranked behind only Cooper Kupp in fantasy points scored. He averaged 25.2 FPG over this span, which ranks 3rd-most by any rookie all-time, on a list crowded by many of the NFL’s all-time best WRs.

1B. Sure, D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson were hurt for much of this stretch. (So was Jared Goff, with Tim Boyle starting in 33% of these games!) But the bottom line is this: 25.2 FPG over a rookie WR’s final six games is just utterly absurd in any context.

1C. If St. Brown was drafted by the Lions in Round 1 – Wes Huber told us (pre-draft) this should have been the case – instead of Round 4, he’d be going 4-6 rounds higher in 2022 fantasy drafts.

2A. D’Andre Swift suffered a shoulder injury in Week 12, causing him to miss the next four games. Prior to that injury, Swift averaged 14.1 carries, 7.1 targets, 18.9 XFP/G, and 18.6 FPG. If over a full season, those numbers would have ranked 15th-, 1st-, 4th-, and 4th-best.

2B. In comparison to McCaffrey’s all-time great 2019 season, he was only 3.8 carries per game and 0.2 targets behind.

3. T.J. Hockenson saw at least 8 targets in 67% of his games last year, more than Travis Kelce or Mark Andrews.

Intermission 1

Reading stat after stat can be tedious, I know, but just think of the edge you’ll have over your opponents after reading all 96 of these. In an effort to save you from stat overload, this is your first of two scheduled intermissions.

How are you doing? Is your mind blown? Feel free to take a breather, bookmark this page, and come back later. Or, are you someone like me who just can’t ever seem to get enough fantasy stat goodness? In that case, grab a notebook, grab some popcorn, and trek on.

Green Bay Packers

1A. Over the last three seasons…

1B. Aaron Rodgers averages 20.4 FPG in games with Davante Adams, and 24.2 FPG in games without.

1C. Aaron Jones averages 16.4 FPG in games with Davante Adams, and 25.7 FPG in games without.

2A. Allen Lazard is currently being drafted in Round 14 on NFL.com leagues. Hear me out here, maybe, just maybe, the presumptive WR1 for the back-to-back MVP should never have an ADP in Round 14.

2B. For more dank stats on Lazard click here.

3A. A.J. Dillon earned a 74% share of the backfield XTD over Aaron Jones’ final six games.

3B. If Dillon maintains that role, we might expect him to score 14.6 touchdowns to Jones’ 5.1 based on Green Bay’s average of 19.7 RB touchdowns per season over the past three years.

3C. From Week 4-on, Dillon averaged 14.4 touches, 74.1 YFS, and 12.4 FPG.

3D. From Week 4-on, Jones averaged 14.3 touches, 79.8 YFS, and 13.8 FPG.

3E. They’re separated by 6 full rounds of ADP on ESPN.

Houston Texans

1A. The most-predictive efficiency metrics at our disposal for gauging whether or not a RB will successfully transition to the NFL level is missed tackles forced per touch, per carry, or per reception.

1B. Among all Power 5 RBs since at least 2014, Dameon Pierce’s 2021 season ranks 4th-best by missed tackles forced per touch, 3rd-best by missed tackles forced per carry, and 4th-best by missed tackles forced per reception.

1C. He averaged one touchdown every 7.4 touches in 2021, which ranks 2nd-best among all Power 5 RBs with at least 110 touches since at least 2000, behind only fellow Florida “running back” Percy Harvin (6.5).

1D. He also earned a 92.8 rushing grade and a 91.7 overall grade from PFF, numbers ranking 4th- and 7th-best (respectively) since 2014.

1E. Click here for more background on Pierce, the importance of these metrics, and who ranks alongside him on these top-5 lists.

1F. Pierce was also PFF’s highest-graded RB this preseason, running 11 times for 86 yards (7.8 YPC) and a score.

2A. Last season Brandin Cooks saw 22% more targets per game and averaged 32% more FPG in games Davis Mills started.

2B. In games Mills started, Cooks averaged 15.5 FPG (~WR16) while averaging 2.09 YPRR (~WR11).

2C. Over the past seven seasons, and on four different teams, Cooks has finished 14th, 11th, 15th, 13th, 61st, 17th, and (last year) 20th among WRs in total fantasy points. He currently ranks 24th among WRs by Yahoo! ADP.

3A. Revisiting Bill O'Brien's two most notorious trades, replacing the pick acquired with the player actually selected at that spot, he basically traded:

3B: Giving: DeAndre Hopkins, Trey Lance, Jordan Love, Jevon Holland, Rashard Lawrence, Johnson Bademosi, and Julién Davenport.

3C. Getting: Laremy Tunsil, David Johnson, Kenny Stills, Ross Blacklock, Solomon Kindley, Tyler Shelvin, and Chris Evans.

Indianapolis Colts

1A. A Frank Reich-led offense has ranked top-12 in team TE fantasy points in 7 of a potential 8 career seasons, with 5 finishes in the top-5.

1B. Mo Alie-Cox hit 111 receiving yards in one of the only two games the now-retired Jack Doyle has missed over the last three seasons.

1C. Alie-Cox has run a route on 15 of Matt Ryan’s 20 dropbacks this preseason (75%). That number would have ranked 16th-best last year, and represents a marked improvement upon his numbers last year (43%) or Doyle’s (48%).

2A. Matt Ryan has supported a fantasy WR1 (top-12 finish by FPG) in a remarkable 13 of his 14 career seasons.

2B. It’s impossible to understate what the upgrade from Carson Wentz to Matt Ryan means for Michael Pittman. Here’s how these two QBs compared in terms of accuracy last year (per SIS):

3. Everyone seemed to miss it, but HC Frank Reich told us that he wants Nyheim Hines to rank top-3 at the position in catches this year. And he added, “if I was going to be in a fantasy league, I think I’d pick Nyheim this year.”

Jacksonville Jaguars

1. Jaguars are the largest of South America’s big cats and the third largest cats in the world.

2. The name jaguar comes from the Native American word yaguar, which means “he who kills with one leap.”

3. Jaguars have a more powerful bite than any other big cat. Their teeth are strong enough to bite through the thick hides of crocodilians and the hard shells of turtles.

Kansas City Chiefs

1A. Travis Kelce is the textbook definition of a blue chip asset.

1B. Over the past six seasons, Kelce has finished 2nd (last year), 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, and 1st among TEs in fantasy points scored.

1C. Among all WRs, he would have ranked top-10 in fantasy points scored in each of the last five seasons.

1D. By Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) and versus wide receivers only, he’s finished 4th, 1st, 3rd, 3rd, and 3rd. In ESPN leagues, there are currently eight WRs being drafted ahead of him.

1D. Just two years ago he averaged the most FPG by any TE in any season all-time (20.9), and, among wide receivers, would have ranked behind only Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill.

1E. He’s the only player to return a win rate of 45% or better in each of the past five seasons. And Tyreek Hill is the only other player to do this more than three times.

1F. And now Hill is in Miami, leaving behind 159 targets in his wake,

1G. Again, there are currently eight WRs being drafted ahead of him on ESPN.

2A. Two years ago HC Andy Reid told GM Brett Veach that Clyde Edwards-Helaire was “better than Brian Westbrook.”

2B. Granted, he was probably just hugely wrong. But it’s at least interesting to note that Westbrook was similarly underwhelming to start his career.

2C. Edwards-Helaire averages just 12.8 FPG through his first two seasons. Westbrook averaged 8.3 FPG through his first two seasons, until: 21.3 FPG in Year 3, 19.0 FPG in Year 4, 22.0 FPG in Year 5, and then 24.6 FPG in Year 6.

3A. Over the last four seasons, Patrick Mahomes averages 24.0 FPG (with a low of 18.0) and 363.3 passing YPG (with a low of 315) in the four games Tyreek Hill has missed. The rest of the time he averages 23.8 FPG and 297.5 passing YPG.

3B. The best and most-predictive metric we have for WRs in YPRR. Over the last three seasons, and of 50-plus qualifying WRs, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling rank (respectively) 6th- and 11th-worst by YPRR.

3C. From Week 10 on, Mecole Hardman (42% route share) was playing well behind Byron Pringle (72%) and Demarcus Robinson (59%) last year.

3D. Among all WRs invited to this year’s Combine, Skyy Moore ranked 2nd best in career drop-rate, 3rd-best in career missed tackles forced per reception, and 3rd-best in career YPRR.

Las Vegas Raiders

1A. Derek Carr is being drafted outside of the top-12 QBs on ESPN, Yahoo!, CBS, NFL.com, FFPC, and Underdog.

1B. Last season, Darren Waller dealt with multiple injuries, and accounted for only 13.7% of Carr’s total passing yards (down from 25.2% in 2020).

1C. And still, Carr finished 5th in passing yards last year with 4,839.

1D. That was only 35 passing yards off of Patrick Mahomes, and ranks 31st-most all-time.

1E. And now the team has upgraded Bryan Edwards with Davante freaking Adams.

2A. Last season, “Big Game” Hunter Renfrow averaged 17.7 FPG (~WR6) in the seven contests in which Waller played fewer than 30% of the snaps.

2B. In the 11 games Waller played, Hunter “The Slot Machine” Renfrow averaged just 13.7 FPG (~WR27).

2C. Many fantasy players are excited about Hunter “The Accountant” Renfrow’s potential in this offense, given new HC Josh McDaniel’s history with slot WRs; a Patriots slot WR has ranked top-12 in targets per game in seven of the past 10 seasons.

2D. But in McDaniel’s three seasons away from HC Bill Belichick, he’s never had a slot WR rank inside the top-60 WRs by FPG.

3. Only once in 16 seasons has a McDaniels-coached RB commanded at least 58% of the team’s RB fantasy points scored. For perspective, last season Najee Harris commanded 92% of Pittsburgh’s RB fantasy points scored.

Los Angeles Chargers

1A. Prior to a Week 6 knee injury, Mike Williams ranked behind only Cooper Kupp in fantasy points scored, averaging 23.2 FPG.

1B. Keenan Allen (age: 30) has declined in YPRR in four straight seasons. In 2017 he ranked 3rd (2.55), then 6th in 2018 (2.50), then 19th (2.01), then 23rd (1.91), and then last year 25th (1.78).

2A. Austin Ekeler is possibly the most fantasy-efficient RB in NFL history. Since entering the league, he’s ranked 3rd, 4th, 2nd, 19th (injured), and 4th (last year) in fantasy points per snap.

2B. Last season Ekeler was a bell cow for just the first time in his career, earning 130 more snaps than he’s ever seen before. And the results were terrific – he scored 20 total touchdowns (up from just 3 in 2020), averaging 21.6 FPG (3rd-most) up from 16.5 in 2020 (12th-most).

2C. But what’s worrisome is… In March, Chargers GM Tom Telesco told reporters he wanted to reduce Austin Ekeler’s workload in 2022, and then later drafted RB Isaiah Spiller in Round 4. And Ekeler himself has said he’s advocated for fewer touches in order to stay healthy, telling us, "You can even go ask my management, like, 'Hey, make sure you limit my touches, like you got to make sure I can get through the entire season.'”

2D. Given the lackluster depth behind him, these concerns were hard to take too seriously… Or at least they were, up until a few days ago when the Chargers signed Sony Michel, who ranked 2nd in touches, 4th in YFS, and 3rd in missed tackles forced over the final six weeks of the 2021 season.

2E. Ekeler currently ranks as the overall RB2 on Yahoo! and as the RB3 on Underdog (a half-point PPR format).

3A. Justin Herbert finished the 2020 season with the 2nd-most passing yards (4,336), the most touchdowns (31), and the 3rd-most FPG (22.2) by a rookie QB all-time.

3B. He finished his sophomore 2021 season ranking 2nd in fantasy points per start (23.3).

3C. Over the past two seasons, he ranks just 17th in rushing fantasy points per start (3.2), with 1.0 less than Ryan Tannehill and 0.5 less than Sam Darnold. But I think Herbert has massive untapped Konami Code potential.

3D. Josh Allen had 10 games with at least 6 rushing attempts last year. Herbert has a career-high of just 6 rushing attempts (minus kneeldowns), a number he reached only once. He rushed for 93 yards in that game.

3E. And Herbert is also an all-time freak athlete. He’s bigger, faster, and jumps higher than not only Josh Allen, but also Josh Allen’s lead RB.

Los Angeles Rams

1A. Cooper Kupp is due for a regression. There’s no way he matches his 2021 numbers this year.

1B. But… and I can’t stress this enough… Who freaking cares?

1C. If Kupp averaged 55.0 fewer YPG he still would have finished as the overall WR1 last season.

1D. Basically, there’s a massive gap between “the best fantasy WR season in NFL history” and “still the unanimous WR1, worthy of a top-5 draft pick.”

2A. Joe Burrow is being drafted 30 picks ahead of Matthew Stafford on average.

2B. If we include the postseason, then Stafford averaged 21.1 FPG (more than Burrow’s 19.8), which would have ranked 7th-best, tied with Lamar Jackson (21.1) and just barely behind Jalen Hurts’ 21.4.

2C. He’s currently being drafted as the QB12 on Underdog, ESPN, Yahoo!, and FFPC leagues.

2D. In his first season playing in the Sean McVay offense – the same offense which led Jared Goff to top-13 fantasy finishes in 3 of 4 seasons – Stafford messed around and immediately won the Super Bowl.

2E. So why does ADP think he’s going to be significantly worse, and not significantly better in Year 2?

3A. Last season, upon his return from a torn Achilles, Cam Akers averaged 2.57 YPC.

3B. Since 2010, only one of 16 RBs has ever finished inside the top-50 RBs by fantasy points scored following a torn Achilles. That was Mikel Leshoure, who tore his Achilles in 2011, averaged 3.71 YPC in 2012 (the year he finished top 50), saw only two total touches in 2013, and then promptly retired from football.

3C. Cam Akers is currently being drafted as the RB16 in ESPN leagues. Darrell Henderson is being drafted as the RB48.

Miami Dolphins

1A. Tyreek Hill is arguably the most impactful offensive player (non-QB) in football, if not merely the best WR of his era.

1B. Hill told everyone he left Kansas City because he felt “underutilized” and wanted more targets somewhere else.

1C. And yet, somehow, the response was to move Tyreek Hill down to Round 3 following this trade?

1D. Everyone rolled their eyes when Hill said Tua Tagovailoa was more accurate than Patrick Mahomes. And then they rolled their eyes again when HC Mike McDaniel said, "Tua Tagovailoa throws the most accurate, catchable ball I've ever seen."

1E. And, well, granted… But consider this: Per SIS, Tagovailoa ranked tied for 2nd-best in on-target throws (75%) on non-screen plays last year, behind only Joe Burrow (79.5%). And he also ranked 10th-best in completion percentage over expectation (+0.9%), while Mahomes ranked well below average (-2.1%), just directly ahead of Carson Wentz (-2.3%) and Jacoby Brissett (-2.4%).

1F. Hill ran only two routes this preseason. On those two routes, he saw 2 targets, catching both for 64 yards.

1G. One of those targets traveled 48 yards in the air. For perspective, Mahomes’ longest completion to Hill last year traveled only 45 yards in the air.

1H. Per SIS, Tagovailoa completed an NCAA-high 48% of his deep passes (20+ air yards) from 2018-19. Joe Burrow ranked second-best (44%).

2A. How will Tyreek Hill fit into this offense? What does the addition mean for Tua Tagovailoa? Hill’s trump card is his elite speed and deep threat ability, but that’s supposedly Tagovailoa’s greatest liability – e.g. “limited velocity,” “inability to drive the ball,” and “a deep ball which loses energy on the back end.”

2B. In most cases, the QB makes the receivers. In some cases, the receiver makes the QB. Just ask Alex Smith.

2C. Smith’s name has long been synonymous with “game-manager QB.” And indeed, Smith is less a man, more an archetype of a QB defined by risk aversion and a lack of turnovers, a quick release with high-end short-area accuracy, and, most importantly, limited arm strength and a sub-mediocre deep ball. Undoubtedly, Tagovailoa critics and realists put him on the Alex Smith spectrum.

2D. But in 2017, Smith was (or at least his numbers were) truly elite. He led the league in adjusted yards per attempt (8.6) and passer rating (104.7), and finished 4th in FPG (19.7). Hill led the league in deep receiving yards (628) and Smith led the league in deep passing yards (1,344), with over twice as many as he'd ever had before.

3A. There’s no injury risk when you’re being drafted in Rounds 14-15, like Raheem Mostert is on ESPN or Yahoo!. In fact, there’s no “anything risk;” it’s all upside from there. And the upside argument for Mostert is easy, already named the co-starter, and paired back up with his former run-game coordinator and now HC Mike McDaniel.

3B. Mostert ranks 2nd-best all-time in career YPC average (5.67). He averaged 20.0 FPG over his final 8 games in 2019. He averaged 22.7 “fantasy points per four quarters” before his first of two I.R. designations of the 2020 season. He averaged 10.0 YPC last year (lol), and averaged 14.5 YPC this preseason.

3C. And apparently he’s back to full health and already the fastest player on a team that also has Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.

Minnesota Vikings

1A. Over the past five seasons, Thielen has finished 11th, 7th, 44th, 11th, and (last year) 15th in FPG.

1B. That 2019 season looks rough, but was really just a total injury-outlier year – Thielen was averaging 17.3 fantasy points per four quarters (would have ranked 7th-best), before suffering a hamstring injury in Week 6. He’d spend the remainder of the season inactive battling that injury, or playing part-time and only as a decoy.

1C. And last year too, Thielen averaged 17.4 FPG (would have ranked 7th-best) prior to an ankle injury suffered in Week 13.

1D. In other words, Thielen has been a WR1 for five straight seasons when healthy – finishing 7th (last year), 11th, 7th, 7th, and 11th in FPG if injury-adjusting his numbers.

1E. He currently ranks as the WR33 by ADP in ESPN leagues.

2. Justin Jefferson has 3,016 receiving yards through two NFL seasons. That’s the most (by 261 yards) of any WR all time, and on a top-5 list that includes Odell Beckham Jr., Randy Moss (HOF), Bill Groman, and Jerry Rice (HOF).

3A. Dalvin Cook has long been underutilized in the passing game. Since 2018, he leads all players (tied with Deebo Samuel) in yards after the catch per reception (9.99), but ranks only 17th among RBs in targets per game over the same span (4.1).

3B. Luckily, new HC Kevin O’Connell seems intent on rectifying this.

New England Patriots

1A. In 2020, Mac Jones earned a 95.8 PFF grade last year in his National Championship-winning season. This was the highest grade PFF has ever awarded to a college QB in eight years of grading.

2B. In 2021, Mac Jones earned a 78.5 PFF passing grade, the 3rd-highest grade awarded to a rookie QB since 2013.

2C. Since 2000, a total of 61 rookie quarterbacks have attempted at least 250 passes in their first year as a pro. Of these 61 QBs, Jones’ rookie year ranks 2nd-best in completion rate (67.6%), 7th-best in passer rating (92.5), 12th-best in sack rate (5.1%), 12th-best in adjusted net yards per attempt (6.2), 14th in touchdown rate (4.2%), and 18th in yards per game (223.6).

2. If you’re wondering why PFF and TheAthletic had Round 2 WR Tyquan Thornton in conversation for being “the biggest reach of the draft”, it’s because although he is ridiculously good at playing football and potentially the fastest WR in NFL history, he lacks ideal wrist girth.

3A. Last season, Rhamondre Stevenson averaged more yards after contact than Damien Harris (3.4 vs. 2.8), more missed tackles per carry (0.25 vs. 0.18), and generated more 10+ yard runs (15% vs. 12%).

3B. Not only were those numbers all better than Harris, but those figures all ranked top-6 among all running backs.

3C. In his final season at Oklahoma, Stevenson joined only Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, and Joe Mixon as the only Power-5 RBs (since 2015) to average at least 100.0 rushing YPG and 35.0 receiving YPG in a single season

Intermission 2

Still with me? We're more than two-thirds of the way done — only 10 teams or 30 stats to go. Now might be a good time to remind you to subscribe to Fantasy Points — to get more great stats like this every week — and to follow me on Twitter.

New Orleans Saints

1A. The last time Michael Thomas played a full season (2019), he set the NFL record for receptions and scored the 18th-most fantasy points by any WR in any season ever.

1B. The last time we saw Thomas on the field (2020), catching passes from a borderline TE attempting to play QB (Taysom Hill), Thomas recorded 30 receptions for 343 yards over his final four games. That yielded an absurd 46% YMS, and, if adjusting for the fact that he wasn’t fully healthy and was not yet playing a full-time role (75% snap share), comes out to 10.0 receptions and 114.3 receiving yards per four quarters.

1C. He’s currently being drafted as the WR43 on NFL.com leagues. 2. Alvin Kamara is quite possibly the most efficient RB of all time. He played hurt in 2019 (ankle, knee) and 2021 (knee, hamstring). But in each of his other three NFL seasons he’s finished top-15 all-time in fantasy points per touch (of over 2,300-plus qualifiers).

3A. The best QB stat for fantasy is “fantasy points per dropback.” The best efficiency QB stat for “real-life football” is EPA gained per dropback. And, granted, it’s a very small sample, but…

3C. Among all QBs with at least 200 dropbacks last year, Jameis Winston ranked 2nd-best in EPA gained per dropback (0.233), just behind league-MVP Aaron Rodgers (0.257). And he led all QBs in fantasy points per dropback.

New York Giants

1A. Kadarius Toney battled through a litany of injuries in 2021 (ankle, hamstring, quad, oblique, thumb, shoulder, and knee), but was electric when on the field.

1B. He ended the season ranking 12th among all WRs in YPRR (2.14). Keep in mind, 2.00 YPRR as a rookie is a “virtual guarantee of a great career,” and that’s also the 8th-best mark by any rookie WR over the past 10 seasons and on an absolutely stacked list.

1C. He recorded 196 YFS in Week 5 (the 13th-most by any rookie WR ever), despite playing on only 54% of the team’s snaps (he exceeded a snap-share of 60% only twice last season).

1D. He led all WRs in missed tackles forced per reception (0.31).

1E. And, from Week 4 on, he led all receivers in targets per route (0.37).

1F. He’s currently being drafted as the WR58 on NFL.com leagues.

2A. Wan’Dale Robinson was the 8th WR selected in the 2022 NFL Draft (Round 2).

2B. He’s currently being drafted as the WR79 on ESPN – three full rounds later than any rookie WR drafted ahead of him in April

2C. Robinson was the No. 1 all-purpose running back coming out of high school in 2019. Last year – just his first year playing the WR position full-time – Rodibson recorded a 45% YMS, averaging 3.64 yards per team pass attempt. No other Power-5 WR from the 2022 class has ever eclipsed either mark.

2D. Per Peter King, Robinson has been “the star of Giants training camp”.

3A. Sterling Shepard has hit 17.0 fantasy points in 5 of his last 5 healthy games with Daniel Jones active (averaging 23.1 FPG).

3B. Over his last 11 healthy games with Jones active, he averages 9.1 targets (~WR9) and 17.4 FPG (~WR11).

3C. Last week, Giants beat writer Dan Duggan predicted Shepard would lead the team in receptions.

3D. He’s currently going undrafted in every format.

New York Jets

1A. I’m very confident Elijah Moore is good at football.

1B. Over his final seven weeks prior to injury, Moore ranked top-3 among all WRs in fantasy points scored. Keep in mind, the Jets played four different QBs over that stretch – Zach Wilson, Mike White, Josh Johnson, and Joe Flacco – and Moore caught a touchdown from each of them.

1C. Moore’s college numbers are even more impressive.

1D. But I’m not at all confident Zach Wilson is good at football.

1E. Last season Zach Wilson returned the following numbers: -0.148 EPA per play, -9.6 completion percentage over expectation, 28.3 QBR, and 3.87 ANY/A.

1F. Among 250-qualifying QB seasons since 2012, those numbers ranked: 2nd-worst, worst, 4th-worst, and 4th-worst.

1G. To emphasize this point, only 2018 Josh Rosen was worse on an EPA per play basis. No QB was more inaccurate (after adjusting for difficulty of throw). And by QBR or ANY/A, the only seasons worse than Wilson’s belong to: Josh Rosen (2018), DeShone Kizer (2017), Blake Bortles (2014), or Mark Sanchez (2012).

1H. Yikes.

2A. Last season Elijah Moore averaged 29.6 FPG in games with Joe Flacco (~WR1), 27.4 FPG in games with Josh Johnson (~WR1), 12.2 FPG in games with Mike White (~WR33), and 7.4 FPG in games with Zach Wilson (~WR79).

2B. You might want to double-check my math, but I’m pretty sure the difference between Zach Wilson starting all year vs. Joe Flacco starting all year is worth somewhere around 700 fantasy points to Elijah Moore

3A. Since 2000, no RB has recorded 1,400 or more rushing yards, 20 or more rushing TDs, and 20 or more receptions in back-to-back seasons besides Breece Hall.

3B. According to my Production Model, Hall ranks 9th-best of any RB to come out since at least 2014.

3C. According to my Athleticism Model, Hall had the 5th-best Combine of any RB over the last five NFL Combines. Only Saquon Barkley, A.J. Dillon, Christian McCaffrey, and Jonathan Taylor fared better.

Philadelphia Eagles

1A. In his rookie season, Jalen Hurts averaged 24.8 fantasy points per four quarters or 25.9 FPG in games started and finished. Either number would have ranked top-10 all-time.

1B. Last season, Hurts ranked as the overall QB1 prior to a Week 12 ankle injury.

1C. Hurts currently ranks as just the ADP QB8 on NFL.com and Yahoo!.

1D. Why does NFL.com and Yahoo! think Hurts will be significantly worse instead of massively better this year, after the team upgraded Jalen Reagor with A.J. freaking Brown? I have no idea.

2A. Miles Sanders ranks 10th-best all-time in YPC average (min. 450 rushing attempts).

2B. But, in spite of that, and per PFF’s Nathan Jahnke, Sanders “has the 4th-lowest PFF run grade among the 30 backs with 400 or more carries over the last three seasons — two of the three running backs with a lower grade are now out of the league.”

2C. Kenneth Gainwell, meanwhile, averaged 1.22 fantasy points per touch last year.

2D. That ranked 2nd-most among all RBs with at least 100 touches last year (behind only Austin Ekeler) and 4th-most by any rookie RB with at least 100 touches over the past 30 years.

2E. To emphasize this point, over the past 30 years only three RBs averaged more fantasy points per touch as rookies – Alvin Kamara, David Johnson, and Maurice Jones-Drew.

3A. Last season, Dallas Goedert finished 2nd among all TEs in YPRR (2.34), between George Kittle (2.35) and Mark Andrews (2.18). For clarity, only six other TEs have finished top-3 in any of the past five seasons: Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, George Kittle, Rob Gronkowski, and Zach Ertz.

3B. If we spotted Goedert just 7 receiving yards, he would have finished 1st. Only three players have led the position in YPRR since 2012 – Rob Gronkowski (5 times), George Kittle (4 times), and Jordan Reed (once).

3C. Following the departure of Zach Ertz (Week 7), Goedert ranked 2nd in route share (85%), 2nd in target share (23%), 4th in YPG (65.1), and 6th in FPG (12.2).

3D. He ranks as the TE8 in ESPN leagues.

3E. If GM Howie Roseman had never traded for A.J. Brown I’d probably be drafting him in Round 4. But alas…

Pittsburgh Steelers

1A. The only person who loves bell cows more than me is HC Mike Tomlin.

1B. And last season, Najee Harris was a near-Christian McCaffrey-esque bell cow.

1C. He led the position in snaps with 929. That was 168 or +22% more than the next-closest RB.

1D. In case you are unable to fully grasp what an unfair advantage this is for fantasy…

1E. Basically, Harris was playing five quarters per game to any other RB’s four quarters per game. In real terms (by snaps), he played 15 more quarters (3.75 more games) than any other RB in football.

2A. Much like throughout the 2021 Draft process, Pat Freiermuth’s rookie season was unfairly overshadowed by Kyle Pitts.

2B. Last season, Freiermuth recorded 60 receptions (the 5th-most by any rookie TE all-time). He averaged 9.5 FPG, which was the 7th-most by any rookie TE since 2000, and on a stacked list. From Week 6-on, Freiermuth averaged 11.3 FPG, just 1.2 FPG off of the TE4.

2C. Historically, fantasy TEs typically see a massive increase in FPG in their sophomore year, jumping from just 63% of their career baseline average to 96%.

3A. Diontae Johnson has been the single-most consistent WR in fantasy over the past two seasons.

3B. Over this span, Johnson has hit double-digit targets in 22 of the 28 games (79%) in which he earned a snap share of at least 50%, averaging 10.8 targets per game across all 28 games. For perspective, both numbers lead all WRs over the past two seasons.

3C. And he’s exceeded 15.0 fantasy points 64% of the time (4th-most), and at least 11.5 fantasy points 89% of the time (most), while averaging 17.4 FPG (9th-most) across all 28 healthy games.

3D. But this raises an important question: was Johnson just Ben Roethlisberger’s guy? Or is he simply an elite WR, only seemingly volume-dependent due to Roethlisberger’s incompetence. (Generally, targets are indicative of a surplus in talent.)

3E. Truthfully, I’m not too sure. But I am confident either Mitchell Trubisky or Kenny Pickett will represent a marked improvement for Johnson. Last season, and of at least 28 qualifiers in each instance, Roethlisberger ranked dead-last in PFF passing grade (52.8), depth-adjusted completion percentage, and depth-adjusted yards per pass attempt.

3F. It might not take much for Diontae Johnson to finish as a league-winning pick at his current Underdog ADP (WR23). The primary concern, for both he and Freiermuth, is rookie George Pickens being exactly as good as Georgia brass or Greg Cosell proclaimed him to be.

San Francisco 49ers

1A. George Kittle is an absolute freak of nature and the closest thing we may ever see to Rob Gronkowski. But that doesn’t mean he’s a worthwhile pick at his current ADP (TE3).

1B. Kittle has led the position in YPRR each of the last four seasons. But in part because he’s an equally effective blocker as he is a receiver, he also averages 33% fewer routes run per game than Travis Kelce over this span.

1C. He’s also seen his FPG average decline in four consecutive seasons: 16.0 to 15.9 to 15.6 to 14.3.

1C. And, last season, a whopping 37% of his fantasy points came in just two of his games, while he also failed to eclipse even 8.0 fantasy points 43% of the time.

1D. And here’s another alarming stat: Deebo Samuel has sat out or played under 35% of the team’s snaps in 6 of Kittle’s 22 games over the past two seasons. Without Samuel, Kittle averages 20.3 FPG. With Samuel, that drops to just 12.6.

2A. Last season Deebo Samuel led the NFL in yards per reception (18.3) and ranked 3rd among all players in YPC (6.2). He finished with the 5th-most receiving yards of any WR (1,405) and 9th-most rushing touchdowns of any RB (8).

2B. In total Samuel finished 3rd among WRs in FPG (21.2), along with the 25th-most fantasy points by any WR in any season in NFL history (339.0).

2C. Despite playing two entirely different roles within the two halves of the season, he was just as productive as a “wideback” as he was as a wide receiver.

3A. Even if Trey Lance is bad at football, it feels impossible for him to be bad at fantasy football, so long as he holds onto the starting job.

3B. Jimmy Garoppolo leads all QBs in YPA since 2018, on a top-20 list that includes fellow 49ers Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard, but not Justin Herbert, Kyler Murray, Tom Brady, or Josh Allen.

3C. That’s due in a large part to HC Kyle Shanahan’s playcalling brilliance, but also due to what’s maybe the best after-the-catch receiving corps ever assembled.

3D. Essentially, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk are so talented, it feels like Lance could average 8.0 YPA on a 3.4 aDOT. (Since 2018, Garroppolo has seen a league-high 55% of his passing yards come after the catch.)

3E. And due to the effects of the Konami Code – Lance’s mobility can totally insulate us from the fact that he very well might be a poor-to-incompetent passer, while also providing additional upside beyond that. (Tim Tebow finished top-12 in fantasy points per start in 2011. Taysom Hill averages more career fantasy points per QB start than Aaron Rodgers.)

3F. Lance was a prolific runner in college, averaging 13.3 rushing FPG and 77.0 rushing YPG across his college career at North Dakota State. For perspective, both stats are better than Kyler Murray’s best collegiate season.

3G. And Lance was also a prolific runner in his rookie year, ranking 2nd in rushing yards per start (60.0), behind only Lamar Jackson (63.9). He also became one of only 5 QBs since 1975 to run the ball at least 16 times in a single game, and – keep in mind – he’s only started two career games.

3H. Granted, this also means we’re working with a dangerously small sample, but… Within that dangerously small sample, Lance averaged 24.8 fantasy points per four quarters last year, which would have bested Josh Allen’s position-high 24.6. And then, by the best stat we have for fantasy QBs, Lance led the league in fantasy points per dropback, posting a historic 0.75.

Seattle Seahawks

1A. Tyler Lockett has seen double-digit targets only 9(!) times across his 111-game career (8%). 1B. He averages an absurd 31.4 FPG in those games.

1B. For perspective, over the same span, DeAndre Hopkins has seen double-digit targets in 59 games (43%).

1C. Hopkins averages only 21.4 FPG in those games.

1D. Lockett averaged 26.3 FPG in his six best games last season, but just 8.3 FPG in his other 10 games.

1E. And this isn’t just a one-year trend – over the last three seasons, Lockett averages a ridiculous 36.5 FPG in his three best games each year. But across his other 39 games (81% of games), he averages just 11.4 FPG (~WR46), equivalent to 2021 Sterling Shepard (11.2 FPG).

1F. Consistency matters. The more volatile and less predictable players will often cause you to start them or sit them in the wrong weeks. And you get diminishing returns on your win expectation after a certain (very high) points threshold is reached.

2A. Rashaad Penny ranks 3rd-best all-time in YPC average.

2B. He closed out the 2021 season averaging an unfathomable 20.3 carries, 158.0 rushing yards (7.80 YPC), and 26.0 FPG over his final four healthy games.

2C. But RB Kenneth Walker’s stats are just as absurd – no hyperbole, he may immediately join Derrick Henry, Nick Chubb, Jonathan Taylor, and Javonte Williams as one of the five-best pure runners the second he steps onto a football field.

3A. D.K. Metcalf finished as the WR14 last year (scoring 244.3 fantasy points), and is now being drafted as the WR28 on Underdog. That seems understandable given the QB downgrade from Russell Wilson to Geno Smith. But, consider this:

3B. Last season 27% of Metcalf’s fantasy points came with Geno Smith under center, although Smith was under center for only 18% of Metcalf’s routes run.

3C. In other words, without Smith, Metcalf was on pace to score just 224.0 fantasy points (~WR23). But a full season of Smith would have put him on pace to score 362.2 fantasy points, behind only Cooper Kupp.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1A. If Tom Brady has had a “kryptonite” at any point in his career, it would be interior pressure. 1B. And now the team is without all three starting interior linemen from a season ago – Pro Bowl LG Ali Marpet (retired), RG Alex Cappa (free agency), and Pro Bowl C Ryan Jensen (injured reserve). The last time just one of those players missed time (Marpet in 2020), Tampa Bay’s points per game dropped by 25%, interceptions per game doubled, and sacks per game rose by 28%.

1C. Worse yet, over the past two seasons, Brady has averaged a whopping 7.4 fewer FPG in the top-50% of games he’s seen pressure most often.

2A. Prior to last season Julio Jones had averaged at least 85.0 YPG for 8 straight seasons. He’s the first WR in NFL history with 8 career seasons of 85.0-plus receiving YPG, let alone 8 such seasons in a row. Absurdly, he’s also ranked top-5 in YPRR in each of those 8 seasons.

2B. Granted, last year was rough. (Although he was also seriously hurt and unable to practice all year.) But that feels more than baked into his current ADP (WR59 on NFL.com).

3. I think if the Buccaneers didn’t draft Rachaad White (a prospect I loved), I’d be drafting Leonard Fournette in the top-5.

Tennessee Titans

1A. Derrick Henry is the single-most gamescript-dependent player in fantasy, averaging +11.0 more FPG in wins than losses over the last three seasons.

1B. Tennessee has won 73.3% of their last 30 games with Henry on the field.

1C. Vegas expects Tennessee’s win total to drop more than that of any other team this year (.706 to .529).

1D. Over the past three seasons, Henry averages 22.8 FPG in wins (~RB1) but only 11.8 FPG in losses (~RB29).

1E. Tennessee is expected to win only 53% of their games this year, which means (based on these win-loss splits) we should expect Henry to average only 17.6 FPG (~RB9).

1F. He currently ranks as the RB2 by ADP on CBS, and no worse than the RB4 on any other draft site.

2A. Last year, Ryan Tannehill averaged 0.07 EPA per dropback when A.J. Brown was on field, but that dipped down to -0.16 EPA/DB when Brown was off of the field. Just for reference, Zach Wilson ranked dead-last in EPA per dropback (-0.15) last year.

2B. When Brown has missed a game over the last three years, Tannehill averages 22% fewer FPG, his YPA drops from 8.1 to 6.7, and his touchdown rate drops from 6.6% to 2.6%.

3. Robert Woods has finished top-20 in FPG for five consecutive seasons, and now ranks as the overall WR47 by ADP. And, keep in mind, four of those five seasons came with Jared Goff at QB, and while competing for targets against the WR who just broke Jerry Rice’s record for most fantasy points scored by a WR in any season all time.

Washington Commanders

1A. Terry McLaurin has finished (albeit just barely) as a top-25 fantasy WR in all three of his NFL seasons, despite Taylor Heinicke (34%), Dwayne Haskins (28%), Alex Smith (15%), Case Keenum (11%), and Kyle Allen (9%) making up the near-entirety of his career targets.

1B. The prevailing narrative is that Carson Wentz will be an upgrade over Heinicke, but I'm not so sure.

1C. Heinicke and Wentz rank tied by career PFF on-target pass% (73%), and Heinicke was slightly more accurate than Wentz last year (73% vs. 72%) on a near-identical aDOT (8.1 vs. 8.2).

2A. Last season Janan Dotson was open on 66% of his targets traveling 10 yards or more, per PFF. That's only slightly less than Chris Olave's 70%, and on a near-identical aDOT.

2B. But although both players ranked top-7 in separation rate, Olave led all WRs in accurate pass percentage on all such throws (68%), while Dotson ranked in the bottom-5 (42%). That’s a 62% advantage in Olave’s favor, and yet Olave was only 7% better by YPT average.

2C. It was almost laughably apparent – from Washington’s Post-Draft Press Conference – that HC Ron Rivera drafted Dotson in Round 1 due to his unique ability to overcome and uplift sub-mediocre QB play.

2D. So, perhaps it shouldn’t be too surprising Dotson has been Wentz’s favorite target this preseason.

3A. In 2020 Logan Thomas led the position in route share (91%) and finished 5th in FPG (13.8). From Week 12-on he looked like a true Oligarch TE, averaging 9.0 targets, 60.3 YPG, and 16.3 FPG.

3B. In 2021, Thomas again saw the same immensely valuable role. He played on 100% of the team’s snaps in his first three healthy games, averaging 11.6 FPG (despite losing his starting QB in the first half of Week 1). From there, Thomas was never again fully healthy, suffering multiple injuries, including a Week 13 ACL tear.

3C. Since 2017, Carson Wentz has targeted TEs on 31% of his throws, which ranks 2nd-most among all QBs.

3D. Unbelievably, Thomas is being drafted as the TE31 in FFPC leagues – a TE-premium format.

Scott Barrett combines a unique background in philosophy and investing alongside a lifelong love of football and spreadsheets to serve as FantasyPoints’ Director of Analytics and Lead DFS Writer.