Each week in this space, we’ll be taking a look back at Sunday’s games to find five of the most important or most interesting stats for fantasy football owners heading into the following week. With 15 of 16 games from Week 12 in the books, here are the five stats you need to know:
1. Alvin Kamara saw only five carries and six targets in Week 12. 35 different running backs had as many or more opportunities (carries + targets) as Kamara this week. Of course, I’m burying the lede here, as Kamara led all running backs in fantasy points and yards from scrimmage in Week 12, turning those 11 opportunities into 188 total yards and two touchdowns.
Kamara has finished as a top-five running back in four straight weeks, despite ranking 22nd in opportunities per game over this stretch. While Kamara is likely due for regression if volume doesn’t improve, that doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t continue to perform as an RB1. More importantly, let’s not overlook just how fantastic he’s been. Since the NFL merger (1970), Kamara is the only player to handle at least 75 carries and average over 7.00 yards per carry in a single season. Among all 315 instances of a player recording at least 75 carries and 50 receptions over this span, Kamara's 2017 season ranks first in both yards per touch (8.29) and PPR fantasy points per touch (1.65).
2. Marvin Jones has had the fourth-toughest cornerback schedule this season, with 32.9 percent of his targets coming against top-30-graded cornerbacks. Only Antonio Brown (39.3 percent), A.J. Green (41.7 percent), and, randomly, Ricardo Louis (43.1 percent) rank higher. In spite of this, Jones ranks fourth among all wide receivers in fantasy points in standard leagues.
In Week 12, Jones ran 84.2 percent of his routes against Xavier Rhodes (our 22nd-graded cornerback), surrendering five receptions (on eight targets) for 92 yards and two scores. Rhodes had dominated Jones up until this point (only 16 yards on eight career targets), but Jones has been far more matchup-proof this season than in years past. In Week 6, he also caught four of seven passes for 74 yards and a touchdown against our No. 17-graded cornerback Ken Crawley. Unfortunately for Jones, the tough schedule continues this week against the Ravens, who came into the week ranking third-best in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing outside wide receivers (15.1) and sport two top-30-graded cornerbacks in Jimmy Smith and Marlon Humphrey. He’s probably still a risky play in DFS, but he needs to be started in redraft leagues.
3. Tom Brady currently leads all quarterbacks with a 106.6 passer rating when under pressure. This is 40.6 more than the league-average rate and 18.1 more than the next-closest quarterback (Tyrod Taylor). In fact, this is also 2.1 more than next-closest quarterback regardless of pressure (Alex Smith).
This stat doesn't really matter much for us in Week 13, considering Buffalo is pressuring opposing quarterbacks on just 28 percent of dropbacks — the second-lowest rate in the league – but it does serve as an indicator of just how awesome Brady has been this season. He’s also our highest-graded quarterback this season with a grade of 94.5, while no other quarterback grades out in the 90s.
4. On Sunday, Julio Jones saw 15 targets, catching 12 for 253 yards and two touchdowns. He now has three career games with at least 250 receiving yards. No other player in the history of the NFL has even two such games, with only 25 ever having one.
Since 2014, across seven games, Jones averages 28.7 fantasy points per game against Tampa Bay, never scoring below 16.5 fantasy points. Luckily for his owners, Jones gets them again in Week 15. Tampa Bay came into the week allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game over expectation to opposing WR1s – and obviously, I now expect that number to climb. In Week 13 the Buccaneers head to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers. This bodes well for Davante Adams, who has quickly cemented himself as the team’s WR1 under Brett Hundley. Since Aaron Rodgers’ Week 6 injury, Adams leads all Green Bay wide receivers in targets (47, 23 more than next closest) and fantasy points (92, 42 more than next closest).
5. Dak Prescott has failed to finish as a QB1 in each of his last three games without Ezekiel Elliott, with two bottom-five finishes across this stretch. In his prior 10 games, he finished as a QB1 nine times.
Prescott’s poor numbers in recent weeks could just be due to a small sample size, but more than likely he’s having trouble adjusting to greater defensive pressure without Elliott there to lighten the load. Coincidentally, the last time Prescott failed to finish as a QB1 (with Elliott active) was in Week 8 against the Redskins – who he plays again in Week 12. The Redskins came into Week 12 allowing the 13th-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, but have historically gotten the better of Prescott. Across three games over his career, Prescott totals just 630 passing yards and one passing touchdown against Washington. Prescott is just a fringe-QB1 for me in Week 13.
On Sunday, Mohamed Sanu completed a 51-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones. He is now the most efficient passer of all time*.
*Among all players to attempt at least six passes in their career, Sanu leads with a 48.0 adjusted yards per attempt. On six career passes, he’s completed all six for 228 yards and three touchdowns. Of course, this isn’t really actionable for fantasy, but it is interesting.