Each week in this space, we’ll be taking a look back at Sunday’s games to find five of the most important stats for fantasy football owners heading into the following week. With 13 of 14 games from Week 10 in the books, here are the five stats you need to know:
1. I’m getting some serious déjà vu from last week’s article.
We discussed Adam Thielen’s dominance as a receiver, and after Sunday's 166-yard performance, he now ranks as our second-highest-graded wide receiver this year. I mentioned Tom Savage’s tendency to lock onto DeAndre Hopkins, and Hopkins ranked second among all players in targets and target market share in Week 10. I also brought up how, historically, Demaryius Thomas has always been Brock Osweiler’s preferred option near the end zone, and he scored the team’s lone touchdown on Sunday. We discussed New Orleans’ dominant backfield, which combined for a whopping five touchdowns on the ground and sported the week’s only two 100-yard rushers so far (Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara). We also brought up how much better Jared Goff has played under Sean McVay, and that was clearly evident on Sunday when he led all quarterbacks in passing yards with 355 (a career-high) and added three scores through the air
2. Adrian Clayborn posted a perfect grade of 99.9 (pending review) in Week 10. That might be a PFF record, and is the best game I could find by any player since Julio Jones’ Week 4 performance against the Panthers, when he totaled 300 yards receiving on 15 targets. Clayborn recorded six sacks, one hit, and six hurries. He became just the fifth player since the NFL merger (1970) to record at least six sacks in a single game. His total of 13 pressures was an all-time high for him and nearly double his previous career-high of seven pressures.
Although Clayborn deserves immense praise for such a performance, this is also partly due to Dallas being without star left tackle Tyron Smith. Smith is the only player to rank among our top-10 offensive tackles in pass-blocking efficiency in each of the previous four seasons. His backups, Byron Bell and Chaz Green, combined to account for all of Clayborn’s pressures. In total, Dak Prescott was sacked eight times on Sunday. This was more than double Prescott's previous career-high (four) and has only ever happened to a Dallas quarterback four times since the NFL merger (1970). Dallas fans and Prescott owners should be praying they get Smith back for Week 11, against a Philadelphia defense that leads the league in pressures per dropback (0.43).
3. After San Francisco’s 29-year-old pass-blocking tight end Garrett Celek caught four passes for 67 yards and a score in Week 10, the Giants are now allowing the most fantasy points per game to the position (19.4). Dating back to last season, the Giants have now allowed a tight end to catch a touchdown pass in 10 consecutive games.
Next week, the Giants face our highest-graded tight end and leader at the position in fantasy points and yards in Travis Kelce. I have a feeling that won’t end well for the G-Men.
4. Since Week 3, Robert Woods ranks sixth among all wide receivers in fantasy points per game (16.4), despite ranking 29th in targets per game (6.9).
It's been weird to see the role reversal between Woods and Sammy Watkins. In three years together in Buffalo, Watkins outscored Woods 13.5 to 9.4 in fantasy points per game. This season, Woods leads 16.4 to Watkins’ 9.4. Woods has been fantastic this year, ranking sixth in WR Rating (128.0), seventh in yards per route run (2.26), and sixth in yards per target (10.9). That said, he’s likely due for a fantasy regression. Woods is averaging only 10.4 expected fantasy points per game (behind Cooper Kupp’s 11.3 for the team lead), while scoring well above that, averaging 13.9 actual fantasy points per game.
5. On average, this season, teams are passing the ball on 57.8 percent of their offensive plays. The Saints are passing the ball on only 52.8 percent. Over the past decade, only one other time has a Sean Payton-coached team failed to pass on at least 60 percent of their offensive plays. This was in 2009, when the team won the Super Bowl and passed on only 54.6 percent of their offensive plays.
Drew Brees is averaging only 17.4 fantasy points per game this season, which ranks as his lowest total of the past decade, and 13th-best among all quarterbacks (somehow behind C.J. Beathard) this year. Brees’ fantasy owners are obviously frustrated, but the issue isn’t Brees’ efficiency, considering he ranks as our No. 2-graded quarterback. The culprit for Brees’ lull in production is a lack of a necessity to throw the ball. Opponents are averaging just 17.2 points per game against the Saints – their lowest total since 1992. The Saints lead all teams in point differential since Week 3. They also rank second in yards per carry (4.97). After seven-straight two-score victories, to the detriment of Brees owners, it’s unlikely the Saints stray far from the run-heavy gameplan that’s been working.