While preparing my fantasy football rankings each week, I come across statistics and trends worth monitoring. Usually these observations help to inform my rankings. Now that the regular season is over, I want to spend a little time quantifying some of the accomplishments of players across the league.
Arizona Cardinals – Larry Fitzgerald ended the season with the most receptions among wide receivers without a drop at 54. DeAndre Hopkins was tied for the most receptions among players with only one drop with 115.
Cincinnati Bengals – Tee Higgins gained 11 first downs from in routes. He ranks second in the last 15 years among rookies, finishing just behind Keenan Allen in 2013 and just ahead of Calvin Johnson in 2007.
Cleveland Browns – Nick Chubb finished with 4.1 yards after contact, leading all running backs. There have been 11 instances over the last 15 years of a back finishing with 3.8 yards after contact per carry or better over a full season. Chubb owns three of those — each of the last three seasons.
Dallas Cowboys – CeeDee Lamb gained 877 receiving yards while lined up in the slot. That’s the most for a rookie wide receiver in the last 15 years. Given slot receivers are much more prevalent now compared to 15 seasons ago, he might have the all-time record for rookie slot receivers.
Detroit Lions – D'Andre Swift gained a first down or touchdown on 31.7% of his carries when faced with eight or more men in the box. That ranks second-best for a rookie back in the last six seasons only behind Kerryon Johnson in 2018.
Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers threw 27 touchdown passes where his receiver caught the pass in the end zone. He finished tied for second-most this season and tied for fourth-most in the last 15 seasons. Rodgers owns three of the six best seasons with 28 in 2016 and 27 in 2011.
Indianapolis Colts – Jonathan Taylor finished with 69 first down rushes, ranking fourth-best among rookie running backs in the last 15 seasons. He finished just ahead of former Colt Joseph Addai, who had 66 first downs in 2006.
Kansas City Chiefs – Travis Kelce’s 79 first down receptions are the most for a tight end in a season in the last 15 years. He finished with 66 last year, which ranks seventh, and 67 the year before, ranking fifth.
Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert broke the all-time record for most passing touchdowns by a rookie quarterback with 31. He also has the record for most deep touchdown passes in the last 15 years with 12.
New England Patriots – Cam Newton finished with 56 rushing first downs, leading all quarterbacks and tying his career-high. He matched his own second-best mark for a quarterback in the last 15 years. Newton owns seven of the top 13 seasons over that time.
New Orleans Saints – Alvin Kamara’s 290 yards after contact on catches are the most for a running back this season by nearly 100 yards and the fifth-most by a back in the last six seasons. He also owns the second-best season with 340 yards after contact in 2017.
New York Jets – Sam Darnold averaged 5.5 yards after contact per attempt, the most for a quarterback with at least 25 attempts in a season in the last 15 years. When excluding kneel downs, he still remains at the top with 6.7 yards after contact per attempt.
Philadelphia Eagles – John Hightower was the first wide receiver in the last 15 years to see over 25 targets and have an average depth of target above 22. He finished with a 22.4 average depth of target on 29 targets.
Pittsburgh Steelers – JuJu Smith-Schuster caught 81 passes from the slot — the most slot receptions by a player in the last five years and second-most in the last 15 for a player not named Wes Welker.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tom Brady threw 27 touchdowns where his target caught the pass in the end zone. That's tied for the fourth-most in the last 15 years. Brady also has one of the three better seasons with 28 in 2007.
Washington Football Team – Alex Smith‘s average depth of target was down to 5.4 by the end of the season. This was the lowest rate for a quarterback with at least 100 dropbacks in the last 15 years. Two-thirds of his pass attempts were short of the first down marker — the most in the last 15 seasons.