We've reached the end of the first quarter of the 2020 season — plenty of time to better understand which players to trust in fantasy football and which teams are using our guys in fantasy-friendly ways.
While preparing my fantasy football rankings each week, I come across statistics and trends worth monitoring. The following are 32 interesting stats — one for each NFL team — that helped inform my Week 5 rankings. Several can be found in premium stats as well as the PFF fantasy stats. (These numbers do not account for the Thursday night Buccaneers-Bears game.)
Arizona Cardinals – Last season, Arizona attempted 125 screen passes — that was 35 more than any other team. They’ve kept up their high screen pass rate this season with 30. That again leads the league.
Carolina Panthers – Mike Davis has the second-most red-zone targets for a running back at seven. He’s caught five of those, but only one led to a touchdown. Teammate Christian McCaffrey didn’t have any red-zone targets before getting injured this season. Last season, McCaffrey had the second-most among running backs at 18.
Cleveland Browns – Nearly 22% of Browns rushing attempts have led to explosive plays. That is over 3 percentage points more than the next-best team despite Browns facing eight defenders in the box on 86 run plays — 20 more than the next-closest team.
Dallas Cowboys – Ezekiel Elliott has been much more involved in the pass game this year. His nine first downs on receptions are the second-most for running backs. He’s run 33 more routes than any other back.
Denver Broncos – Among all of Drew Lock‘s passing yards, 44.1% have come from air yards rather than yards after the catch. That’s the fourth-lowest rate in the league. His replacements while injured, Brett Rypien and Jeff Driskel, have had the second- and fifth-highest rates at 72.9% and 69.0%, respectively.
Detroit Lions – When healthy, Kenny Golladay has been very consistent since the end of last season. He’s had at least three first-down catches in seven-straight games and a touchdown in five of those seven.
Green Bay Packers – Robert Tonyan leads tight ends in end zone touchdown catches with four. Last season, the Packers had just three end zone touchdowns from tight ends, all coming from different tight ends.
Indianapolis Colts – Jordan Wilkins has a higher PFF grade at 76.4 than both Jonathan Taylor (69.0) and Nyheim Hines (61.6). Wilkins has avoided 11 tackles on his carries — equaling the total of the rest of the Colts running backs put together, despite Taylor having more than double the number of carries.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Last week, D.J. Chark Jr. had six first downs and two touchdowns — those were both the second-highest marks of his career. One of his best skills last season was his ability to avoid tackles, something he did 11 times in 2019. He has yet to avoid a tackle this season.
Kansas City Chiefs – Mecole Hardman has had more offensive snaps than Demarcus Robinson five times over the last two seasons, including this past week. Hardman has never had more snaps than Robinson in back-to-back weeks.
Las Vegas Raiders – Josh Jacobs avoided three or more tackles on his rushing attempts in all but one of his games last year. He avoided just one tackle on his carries last week and two the week before.
New England Patriots – Patriots running backs are averaging 2.3 yards before contact per attempt, the second-highest mark in the league. Last season they were below average at 1.2.
New York Jets – The Jets have run only three goal-line plays all season. Every other team has at least double that amount, and the league average is 13.
Philadelphia Eagles – Carson Wentz is the only quarterback with 10 or more carries and a first down or touchdown on over half of them — he’s at 63.2%. His five avoided tackles on his carries are third-most.
Seattle Seahawks – Russell Wilson has thrown a league leading 11 touchdown passes where the receiver was in the end zone at the catch. That is already more than half of all quarterbacks had in the entire 2019 season. His 20 TD passes are tied for the lead league.
Washington Football Team – Terry McLaurin only lines up in the slot for 27.4% of his pass routes, but when he does he’s been very effective. His 3.77 yards per route run in the slot are third-best for wide receivers with more than 30 routes in the slot.