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. Only 21 times in the history of the NFL has a wide receiver totaled over 100.0 PPR fantasy points over any consecutive three-game stretch. Keenan Allen has 100.9 PPR fantasy points over his last three games.
Over the past three weeks, Allen has seen 41 targets, catching 33 for 436 yards and four touchdowns. While Allen is averaging 33.9 fantasy points per game over his last three games, he averaged just 8.9 fantasy points per game across his previous four games. Allen’s earlier struggles can at least be partially explained away by matchup. During that stretch, he faced off against Chris Harris Jr. (Week 7), a Patriots defense that schemes to take away an opposing offense’s top weapon (Week 8), and a Jacksonville defense allowing the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing slot wide receivers (Week 10). However, his matchups have been much better in recent weeks, against a Dallas defense allowing the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing slot wide receivers (Week 12) and a Cleveland defense ranking second-worst in fantasy points allowed per target to opposing slot wide receivers. Perhaps this implies Allen is more matchup-dependent than the average wide receiver. I’m not sure, but the good news is, Allen gets another strong matchup in Week 14. Allen runs 50.7 percent of his routes from the slot, and Washington is funneling 44.4 percent of their total wide receiver fantasy production allowed to the slot (third-most).
2. In Josh Gordon’s return to NFL action in Week 13, he saw 11 targets, catching four for 85 yards. He currently ranks as our sixth-highest-graded wide receiver of the week.
I’ve waited a long time for this moment… Ladies and gentlemen, Josh Gordon is back. *pause for applause*
Gordon’s talent was never in question, only whether he could stay on the field. Gordon’s 2013 season ranks top-25 all-time among wide receivers in fantasy points per game, despite being just his second NFL season and at the age of only 22. After a 35-month absence, on Sunday, Gordon totaled 204 yards in air, 11 targets, and 20.2 expected receiving fantasy points. He finished the week (minus Monday) top-six among wide receivers in yards in air, targets, expected receiving fantasy points, and target market share (34.3 percent). It’s certainly encouraging the volume was there in his first game back, and I wouldn’t worry too much regarding the “poor” efficiency numbers either. His 85 receiving yards was the second-most Los Angeles has allowed to any wide receiver this season, and the second-most by any Browns wide receiver in any game this season. Gordon also ran 71 percent of his routes against Casey Hayward, totaling 76 yards of his 85 yards against him. This is notable, considering Hayward is our highest-graded cornerback this season and hasn’t allowed a wide receiver to top 80 yards against him in any game over the past two seasons – despite shadowing some of the league’s most notable names. Gordon draws a much softer matchup next week against the Packers, who came into this week ranking third-worst over expectation to opposing WR1s.
3. Alvin Kamara has finished as a top-10 fantasy running back in each of the last seven weeks. He’s finished as a top-five fantasy running back in each of the past five weeks. Over that stretch, he totals 44 PPR fantasy points more than the next-closest running back, despite ranking just 17th in touches over this stretch.
I used a similar statistic last week, but this is just too good: Since the NFL merger (1970), there have been 317 instances of a running back recording at least 75 carries and 50 receptions in a single season. Of these, Kamara’s 2017 season ranks: first in yards per touch (8.42), first in yards per carry (7.05), and first in touchdowns per touch (0.08). While he’s still probably due for some regression (based on current volume), that doesn’t mean he isn’t still a top-six running back to own moving forward.
4. In standard leagues, the top five non-quarterback fantasy scorers (in order) are currently: Todd Gurley (211), Alvin Kamara (187), Jacksonville defense (185), Baltimore defense (179), and Mark Ingram (169).
Jacksonville and Baltimore’s defenses are on pace for, respectively, 247 and 239 fantasy points. This would be the most and second-most by any fantasy defense of the past decade. Both defenses have been especially good against the pass this year. Jacksonville ranks first in sacks (45) and Baltimore ranks sixth (66). Opposing quarterbacks are averaging a passer rating of just 65.2 against Jacksonville and 66.8 against Baltimore. If over a full season, both of these opposing passer ratings would rank top-seven this past decade. Perhaps this is more of an argument to shift your league to PPR, but if you’re in a standard league, remember defenses do matter.
5. This season, Russell Wilson is averaging a passer rating of 139.1 in the fourth quarter of his games. Not only is this the highest of any quarterback this year, but it’s the highest of any quarterback this past decade. The traditional passer rating metric doesn’t tell the full story either. He was sacked a combined 26 times in this first three quarters of games, but only twice in the fourth quarter.
While this isn’t super fantasy-relevant, it is interesting, and another reason why Wilson is in MVP consideration this year.