Week Three of the NFL preseason is a highlight of the fantasy football season. Dynasty rookie drafts and best ball leagues are completed, seasonal leagues are beginning, and the starters actually dress to play the majority of the games this week. Starting with the NFL Draft in April and continuing through September, fantasy drafters receive an overwhelming amount of draft prep information. It can be difficult to discern which facts are relevant and which should be ignored. Here are the ten most important facts about each team that should impact redraft decisions in 2018.
(All data via Player Profiler)
New England Patriots
- In 2016, running back James White finished second among all running backs in Production Premium per Player Profiler. This metric compares the outcome of all pass attempts, carries, and targets to the league-average outcome in those same game situations (yard line, down, and distance). Production Premium also takes into account time remaining and game score to account for non-standard situations such as two-minute drills, clock-milking, and garbage time.
- In 2017, White ranked 17th in Production Premium, but fellow running back Rex Burkhead ranked third.
- As a result of injuries, Burkhead only played 10 games last season, accumulating 29.9 percent of the total Patriots running back touches. Despite that low total, Burkhead finished 12th among all running backs in the league in goal-line carries with seven and finished 11th among running backs in total touchdowns scored with eight.
- Dion Lewis had 35 targets in 16 games played last year. Burkhead had 35 targets in 10 games played last year.
- When facing a light defensive front (typically during passing downs), Lewis averaged 4.7 yards per carry, which ranked 17th among all running backs. When facing a light defensive front, Burkhead averaged 6.1 yards per carry, which ranked third among all running backs.
- Between Lewis, Brandin Cooks, and Danny Amendola, the Patriots have vacated 235 targets and 158 receptions.
- Chris Hogan was a top-12 PPR wide receiver in Week 2, Week 3, and Week 5 last year. Hogan barely missed the mark in Week 4, finishing as the WR13 that week.
- Hogan only played in nine games last year due to a shoulder injury suffered in Week 8 of the season. However, in the prior four seasons, Hogan missed a total of one game.
- Wide receiver Julian Edelman is suspended for the first four games of the season. In 2016, Edelman averaged 1.4 fantasy points per target.
- In 2017, Hogan averaged 1.9 fantasy points per target, which ranked 24th overall. In 2016 with the Patriots, Hogan averaged 2.2 fantasy points per target, which ranked third among all fantasy wide receivers.
Fantasy Impact: Many fantasy players are scared off by the New England backfield. If Burkhead plays all 16 games, he will be assuredly be a fantasy RB1 in all formats. Edelman’s suspension gives Hogan a huge boost in fantasy value. With Lewis, Cooks, and Amendola no longer with the team, Burkhead (currently being drafted as the RB27) and Hogan (currently being drafted as the WR22) are the great value plays to target.
- In 2014, wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin totaled 1,008 receiving yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie in Carolina.
- In 2016, Benjamin returned from an ACL tear and finished with 941 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
- Bills general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott both worked in Carolina when the Panthers drafted Benjamin.
- The Bills have 118 vacated targets from last season.
- Per Player Profiler, Benjamin ranked 20th last season in both yards per target (8.9) and yards per pass route (2.0).
- Tight end Charles Clay suffered an MCL sprain and a meniscus tear in Week 5 of the 2017 season. In the four games prior to the injury, Clay posted three weekly finishes as the TE6 or better.
- Through those four weeks, Clay totaled 18 receptions for 227 yards and two touchdowns. Extrapolated out to a full 16-game season, those numbers would total 72 receptions for 908 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.
- Those totals would have made Clay the TE3 in both PPR and standard formats last season. He is going undrafted in most seasonal leagues.
- In each of the last two seasons, running back LeSean McCoy has ranked in top 10 at the position in rushing yards, red zone carries, breakaway runs, and fantasy points per game (PPG).
- Since 2014, McCoy has played 39 games with Tyrod Taylor and 20 games without Taylor. In games played with Taylor, McCoy averaged 3.5 receptions, 26.8 receiving yards, and 0.64 touchdowns for 17.7 fantasy PPG. In games played without Taylor, McCoy has averaged 1.6 receptions, 10 receiving yards, and 0.35 total touchdowns per game for just 12.9 fantasy PPG.
Fantasy Impact: Like it or not, Benjamin (currently being drafted as the WR41) is a great value in the ninth round. Clay (ADP 158.7) is being ignored as well due to the uncertain quarterback situation and is likewise a value at ADP. McCoy is a good value in the third round, but his legal troubles make him a risky bet there.
New York Jets
- From Week 13 to Week 15 of his rookie season in 2016, Robby Anderson totaled 14 catches for 240 yards and two touchdowns. He was a top-17 PPR wide receiver in each of those weeks.
- In 2016, he also ranked sixth among all wide receivers with an 85.7 percent contested catch rate.
- Last season, Anderson finished 23rd among all wide receivers in receptions (63) and also finished 23rd in average fantasy PPG (12.5).
- Anderson finished in the top 10 in end zone targets (15) and caught at least one touchdown in five consecutive games from Week 7 to Week 12.
- In 2016, running back Isaiah Crowell finished as the PPR RB16. Last year, Crowell had a disappointing season on a Browns team that finished 0-16.
- Crowell’s ADP is currently RB38 despite the Jets losing running back Elijah McGuire for three to six weeks with a broken foot.
- Per Pro Football Focus, last year Bilal Powell rushed 13 times inside the 10-yard line for a net total of zero yards.
- Last year, Crowell had 14 carries inside the 10-yard line for 23 yards and a touchdown.
- In 2016, wide receiver Quincy Enunwa produced three top-15 PPR performances despite only having 58 total receptions. Enunwa also ranked 11th among all wide receivers that year with an 80 percent contested catch rate.
- Quarterback Josh McCown was a top-5 fantasy quarterback in five different games last season, including three weeks in a row from Week 6 to Week 8. That was more top-5 fantasy finishes than Kirk Cousins (four), Ben Roethlisberger (three), Tom Brady (three), Drew Brees (two), Matthew Stafford (two), Philip Rivers (two), and Matt Ryan (zero).
Fantasy Impact: Crowell has solid RB2 value with McGuire’s injury. Anderson is one of the best deep threats in the NFL but needs to navigate a potential suspension for off-field behavior. Whoever starts at quarterback for the Jets (McCown or rookie Sam Darnold), can serve as a bye week replacement throughout the season.
- The Dolphins have the second-most vacated targets (290) from 2017, trailing only the Ravens.
- Wide receiver Jarvis Landry is now in Cleveland. Last season, he ranked third among all wide receivers in targets (161), first in receptions (112), and first in red zone receptions (18).
- In 2017, Landry averaged 16.4 PPR fantasy PPG, which ranked fourth among all wide receivers.
- Wide receiver DeVante Parker missed three games last season with an ankle sprain suffered in Week 2. During those three games missed, fellow wide receiver Kenny Stills averaged 7.7 targets and 17.6 fantasy PPG.
- Per Warren Sharp, the Dolphins were last year’s most pass-heavy team, throwing on 64 percent of their offensive snaps. This was with Jay Cutler and Matt Moore at quarterback.
- Over the last nine weeks of the 2017 season, running back Kenyan Drake was an RB2 or better in seven of those nine games, and he was an RB1 in five of those games.
- For the season, Drake finished seventh among all running backs with 4.8 yards per carry. He was also seventh at the position in yards per carry (4.8) against base front defenses.
- Last year’s, Miami’s offensive line ranked 26th in run-blocking efficiency. Guard Josh Sitton, a four-time Pro Bowler, signed with the Dolphins in the offseason. Miami also traded for center Daniel Kilgore, who graded out higher than former center Mike Pouncey per Pro Football Focus.
- In 2016, quarterback Ryan Tannehill played behind the 24th ranked offensive line in pass-blocking efficiency.
- Despite that, Tannehill ranked ninth in completion percentage (66.9 percent) and fourth in red zone completion percentage (67.4 percent).
Fantasy Impact: Drake was exceptional in the second half of last season despite running behind an injured and inefficient offensive line. With the additions of Sitton and Kilgore, the Dolphins have taken steps to improve their run-blocking efficiency. While Parker is often considered the new WR1 in Miami, with Landry’s 161 targets from 2017 now open, there is ample opportunity for Stills to outperform his current ADP of 127.5 (WR51) regardless of Parker’s level of involvement.
- Quarterback Joe Flacco averaged only 12.3 fantasy PPG last season, which ranked 26th among all starting quarterbacks.
- Flacco suffered a herniated disc while lifting weights in late July 2017, which didn’t fully heal until the second half of the season.
- In the first half of 2017, Flacco totaled 1,290 passing yards, six touchdowns, and eight interceptions. In the second half of the season, Flacco totaled 1,851 passing yards, 12 touchdowns, and five interceptions.
- In the first half of 2017, Flacco didn’t finish a single week as a fantasy QB1, and his highest finish was as the QB14 in Week 2 against Cleveland. In the second half of the season, Flacco was a fantasy QB1 four times, including three games in a row to end the season.
- The Ravens have 336 vacated targets from last year, more than any other team.
- Michael Crabtree has been had seasons with 127 targets or more three times in his career. In those seasons, he has finished as the WR15, WR17, and WR12.
- Per Warren Sharp, the Ravens face very soft run defenses in the first half of 2018 but have the seventh-hardest strength of schedule against run defenses for the season.
- After Alex Collins became the Ravens’ starting running back in Week 6, he posted five RB1 performances including back-to-back RB5 and RB8 performances in Weeks 13 and 14.
- Collins ranked fifth among all running backs in juke rate with a 32.3 percent (evaded tackles per touch).
- Per Warren Sharp, the Ravens will face the easiest slate of run defenses over the final six weeks of the 2018 season.
Fantasy Impact: Flacco is a solid late-round fantasy quarterback option and will be motivated by the presence of rookie Lamar Jackson. Collins (currently being drafted as the RB17) is a great mid-round target, while Crabtree (currently being drafted as the WR30) is an undervalued WR2 being selected far later in drafts.
- In each of the last two seasons, A.J. Green has finished third among all wide receivers in target share (28.7 percent in 2016 and 29.2 percent in 2017).
- When Green has played a full 16-game season, he has finished in fantasy as follows: WR10 in both PPR and standard formats in 2017, WR8 in both PPR and standard formats in 2015, WR4 in both PPR and standard formats in 2013, and WR3 in PPR/WR4 in standard in 2012.
- In 2016, Green played in only 10 games but finished as a WR1 in four of those weeks and as a WR2 or better in seven of those weeks.
- In 2017, Green finished as a WR1 in five of his 16 games and as a WR2 or better in eight of those games. However, over the last seven games of the season, Green was a WR1 only once and failed to catch a touchdown in five of his last six games. Over the last 11 games of 2017, Green also only reached 100 receiving yards in one game.
- Rookie Joe Mixon averaged 10.2 fantasy PPG in 2017, which ranked 28th among all running backs. However, Mixon only received a 47.4 percent snap share, which ranked 32nd among all running backs. Mixon also ranked 46th in running back targets but finished 33rd in receptions and 24th in receiving yards.
- Mixon ranked 13th in yards created per carry (1.54) last season. That was better than LeSean McCoy (1.47), Jay Ajayi (1.41), Melvin Gordon (1.38), and Ezekiel Elliott (1.33).
- In 2017, quarterback Andy Dalton had the lowest completion rate (59.9 percent) of his career since his rookie season in 2011. Dalton’s 207.5 passing yards per game were also the lowest of his seven-year NFL career.
- In 2016, Dalton averaged 17.1 fantasy PPG and had six weekly fantasy QB1 finishes. In 2017, Dalton only averaged 14.1 fantasy PPG but still had six weekly fantasy QB1 finishes.
- In 2016, the Bengals offensive line was the 13th best per Pro Football Focus. In 2017, the Bengals offensive line ranked 28th in the league.
- This offseason, the Bengals traded down from the 12th overall pick to the 21st overall pick to trade for former Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn. They then used the 21st pick to select Ohio State center Billy Price to further bolster the offensive line.
Fantasy Impact: The success of Dalton and Mixon will be directly correlated to the success of the Cincinnati offensive line. If Glenn and Price play to expectations, Dalton could be a huge draft day value. Green always produces at a high level but will struggle with consistency as a result of Dalton’s ups and downs.
- Tight end David Njoku only received a 52.4 percent snap share as a rookie last year.
- However, Njoku finished 14th among tight ends in end zone target share (22.2 percent) and 12th in touchdowns with four scores.
- Njoku finished fourth among all tight ends in contested catch rate with an impressive 52.9 percent.
- Wide receiver Josh Gordon was reinstated from suspension last season, returning in Week 13 against the Chargers.
- In five games played in 2017, Gordon totaled 18 receptions for 335 yards and one touchdown. Extrapolated out to a full 16-game season, those numbers would total 58 receptions for 1,072 yards and three touchdowns.
- While those numbers may not seem all that impressive, Gordon played with rookie DeShone Kizer, and only 67.4 percent of Gordon’s targets were deemed catchable (ranked 86th among all wide receivers).
- Over the last two seasons, Le’Veon Bell has led all running backs with 160 receptions on 200 targets. Duke Johnson has been second in both categories with 127 receptions on 167 targets.
- Tyrod Taylor started at least 14 games with the Bills in each of the last three seasons. During that time, Taylor has averaged 20.7 fantasy PPG with limited offensive weapons.
- Even more impressive is the fact that Taylor has averaged 36.8 rushing yards per game.
- Taylor had seven weekly finishes as a fantasy QB1 last year, which was three more than Brees had.
Fantasy Impact: Taylor is a reliable fantasy QB1 for as long as he holds the starting job in Cleveland. Gordon’s ADP of 50.1 doesn’t leave much room for error, but with the likelihood of more accurate targets from Taylor, he has a relatively safe WR2 floor. While rookie Nick Chubb’s presence makes it a crowded backfield, Duke Johnson’s receiving ability keeps him as a viable RB2 in PPR formats. Njoku is a legitimate fantasy breakout candidate at tight end if he can pick up where he left off last year.
- See No. 7 from above in the Cleveland section. Bell has been targeted more and caught more passes than many wide receivers in the league over the last two seasons.
- Over the last ten seasons, only eight fantasy running backs have finished in the top five for consecutive years.
- Only two running backs, Arian Foster from 2010 to 2012 and Marshawn Lynch from 2012 to 2014, have finished in the top five for three consecutive seasons.
- Bell finished as a top-five fantasy running back in 2016 and 2017.
- Ben Roethlisberger has finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback only twice in the last ten seasons.
- Since 2014, Roethlisberger has played 27 games at home and 30 games on the road.
- At home, he is averaging 29.1 fantasy PPG versus just 17.3 fantasy PPG on the road.
- Roethlisberger is also averaging 2.8 passing touchdowns per game at home versus just 1.2 passing touchdowns per game on the road.
- Martavis Bryant is now in Oakland, leaving behind 84 open targets for Steelers receivers.
- Last year in Week 8 when Bryant was out, JuJu Smith-Schuster caught seven passes for 193 yards and one touchdown.
Fantasy Impact: When healthy, Bell has been a top fantasy producer throughout his career, but missing two consecutive preseasons is a cause for concern. Smith-Schuster could have a breakout season opposite Antonio Brown, and his current ADP as the WR18 may still be worth the risk.
- In six games started last season, Deshaun Watson averaged 32.7 fantasy PPG. For comparison, Russell Wilson finished 2017 as the top-scoring fantasy quarterback while averaging 22.4 fantasy PPG.
- Over those six games, Watson threw 18 touchdowns and ran for 253 yards.
- Watson finished last season with more passing touchdowns than Jameis Winston and Flacco despite playing in only seven games.
- Watson also finished tenth among all quarterbacks in rushing yards despite missing more than half the season.
- Extrapolating these numbers out to a full 16-game season would give Watson 3,883 passing yards, 43 passing touchdowns, and 18 interceptions.
- Watson also had a positive influence on Houston’s run game. In games where Watson started, running back Lamar Miller averaged 15.4 fantasy PPG in PPR. In all other games, Miller averaged 10.1 fantasy PPG.
- Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins averaged 20.2 fantasy PPG in PPR formats last season. His starting quarterbacks in 2017? Tom Savage (seven games), Watson (six games), and T.J. Yates (three games).
- Hopkins averaged 21.1 fantasy PPG last year with Watson under center.
- Hopkins averaged 20.5 fantasy PPG with all other quarterbacks last season.
- Will Fuller averaged 21.0 fantasy PPG in PPR last year with Watson under center. Fuller averaged 4.9 fantasy PPG with all other quarterbacks last season.
Fantasy Impact: Watson’s incredible efficiency is likely impossible to continue in 2018. Despite that, Hopkins is a threat to be the top-scoring fantasy wide receiver assuming health, and Fuller is a potential value with his current ADP coming off draft boards as the WR31. While Miller may not be a popular pick, he could easily finish as a fantasy RB1 in both PPR and standard formats with Watson under center.
- Running back Leonard Fournette scored every week in the first six games of 2017, totaling seven total touchdowns across that span.
- He finished with a 31.9 percent Dominator Rating from Player Profiler, which measures the percent of total team yards and touchdowns generated on offense. This ranked third among all running backs last year.
- Despite playing in only 13 games due to injuries and a violation of team rules, Fournette totaled 36 receptions for the year, which ranked 22nd among all running backs.
- Jacksonville ran the ball 526 times in 2017, which was the most in the league.
- Despite his success, Fournette only averaged 3.9 yards per carry, which ranked 38th among all running backs.
- In 2016, quarterback Blake Bortles threw 659 pass attempts, which ranked fourth among all quarterbacks.
- In 2017, Bortles only threw 523 pass attempts, which ranked 11th among all quarterbacks, but Bortles completed a career-high 60.2 percent of his passes. He also threw a career-low 13 interceptions.
- Per Pro Football Focus, Fournette had nine carries inside the five-yard line last year and converted six of those for touchdowns.
- Surprisingly, Fournette only received 39.1 percent of the team’s carries inside the five-yard line in 2017. That number is lower than Peyton Barber (47.1 percent), Bilal Powell (52.9 percent), and Jamaal Williams (53.3 percent).
- Chris Ivory had eight carries inside the five-yard line for Jacksonville last season. He is now in Buffalo.
Fantasy Impact: Fournette may actually be undervalued, currently being selected as the RB8 or RB9 in most drafts. With Ivory gone, Fournette could lead the league in rushing touchdowns this year.
- Andrew Luck was drafted by Indianapolis in 2012. Since then, the Colts have played 70 games with Luck at quarterback and 22 games without him.
- In games where Luck has played, the Colts have averaged 278.9 passing yards, 1.9 passing touchdown, 25.3 points, and a 59 percent win percentage.
- In games without Luck, the Colts have averaged 225.3 passing yards, 1.0 passing touchdowns, 17.6 points, and a 41 percent win percentage.
- Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton has played 68 games with Luck and 24 games without Luck.
- In PPR scoring, Hilton has averaged 15.1 fantasy PPG with Luck and only 11.3 fantasy PPG without Luck.
- In games where Luck has played, the Colts have averaged 104.4 rushing yards.
- In 2017, running back Frank Gore only tallied two weekly RB1 finishes.
- When Luck played in 2016, Gore had three weekly RB1 finishes in the first nine games.
- In 2017, Jack Doyle ranked fifth in targets (108) and second in receptions (80) among all tight ends.
- Doyle was utilized heavily in the red zone as well, where he ranked sixth in red zone target share with 26.3 percent of the team’s targets.
Fantasy Impact: If Luck can return to full health, he can finish 2018 as a top-five fantasy quarterback. The biggest beneficiaries will be Hilton, whoever emerges as the lead running back, and Doyle.
- Prior to last season, quarterback Marcus Mariota had completed 64 percent of his pass attempts in the red zone for 33 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
- After an off-year in 2017, Mariota’s career averages in the red zone are still high, with a 58.6 completed pass percentage along with 39 touchdowns and zero interceptions per Pro Football Reference.
- When running back Derrick Henry has received more than 10 carries in a game, he has averaged 12.6 fantasy PPG in PPR and 11.5 in standard.
- In 2017, Henry only received a 41 percent snap share, which ranked 46th among all running backs. However, he received 29 red zone touches, which ranked 19th among all running backs.
- Over the last two seasons, DeMarco Murray had 477 rushing attempts. The Titans released Murray and signed Dion Lewis to a four-year $20 million contract.
- Lewis has missed 41 games over his seven-year NFL career due to injury. Last year was the first time Lewis had ever played a full season.
- Last season with the Patriots, Lewis only received a 37.4 percent snap share, and it wasn’t until Week 6 that he had a game with double-digit carries.
- Lewis was the top-scoring PPR running back in Week 17 and the second-highest scoring PPR running back in Week 16. Outside of those two weeks, Lewis had only one weekly RB1 finish in the last two seasons.
- In 2017, no tight end received a higher red zone target share than Delanie Walker, who received half (13) of all the Titans’ red zone targets.
- Walker has ranked sixth in PPR fantasy PPG in each of the last two seasons but is currently being drafted as the TE8 in PPR formats.
Fantasy Impact: Mariota is primed for a huge bounce-back season in 2018. Lewis’s presence in the backfield is being heavily overstated, making Henry a great value in all formats. Despite being 33 years old, Walker is as consistent a fantasy tight end as you will find and undervalued by a round or more based on current ADP.
Kansas City Chiefs
- Kansas City traded Alex Smith to Washington in January and will rely on ascending 22 year-old Patrick Mahomes as their starter in 2018.
- Many fantasy owners are excited about Mahomes’s arm strength, especially after his 78-yard throw at his pro day. But last season, Smith with sixth among all quarterbacks in deep ball attempts (68) and second in deep ball completion rate (48.5 percent).
- The average of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Andrew Luck‘s first full starting seasons was 59 percent pass completion, 3,749 passing yards, 24 passing touchdowns, and 18 interceptions. Those numbers would’ve equated roughly a fantasy finish last year as the QB12.
- Tyreek Hill finished as the PPR WR9 last season. He had 75 receptions for 1,183 yards and scored seven total touchdowns.
- Hill benefitted from incredible efficiency on long touchdown receptions, scoring on passes of 79, 75, 64, 64, 56, 40, and 30 yards.
- The other top wide receivers on the Chiefs in 2017 were Albert Wilson (42 receptions) and Demarcus Robinson (21 receptions). Wilson is now a member of the Miami Dolphins.
- In Wilson’s stead, Kansas City signed wide receiver Sammy Watkins in the offseason. Over the last two years, Watkins has played at least 13 games each season and has 17 total receiving touchdowns.
- As a rookie, running back Kareem Hunt had 53 receptions for 453 yards and three touchdowns. With a rookie quarterback, these numbers are likely to increase.
- Tight end Travis Kelce is the top receiving option in the Chiefs’ passing game. His 24.7 percent target share was first among all tight ends in 2017.
- Kelce also ranked first in receptions (83) yards after the catch (408) among all tight ends.
Fantasy Impact: It would be startling for Mahomes to match Smith’s 2017 efficiency. Mahomes will experience the typical variance as a first-year starting quarterback in the league and likely to rely on Hunt and Kelce as outlet receivers. Watkins’s downfield ability will also likely detract from Hill’s 2017 scoring rate, making Hill overvalued at his ADP of 32.1 (being drafted as the WR14).
Los Angeles Chargers
- Running back Melvin Gordon has averaged 4.4 targets and 5.2 targets per game in the last two seasons, respectively.
- Over that span, Gordon has averaged 3.2 receptions and 3.6 receptions per game, respectively.
- He has 24 total touchdowns over the last two years, behind only Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott across that span.
- In the first nine weeks of 2017, wide receiver Keenan Allen had 44 receptions for 596 yards and only one touchdown.
- In the final seven weeks of 2017, Allen had 58 receptions for 797 yards and six touchdowns.
- Allen ranked first among all wide receivers in Hog Rate (19.9), which measures targets per snap played.
- Tyrell Williams was fourth among all wide receivers in yards per target (10.6).
- Williams had four weekly finishes as a WR2 or better and two weekly finishes as a WR1 in 2017.
- Quarterback Philip Rivers has thrown for over 4,000 yards in nine of his last ten seasons and has averaged 29.8 touchdowns per season over that span. He has never missed a game during that time.
- Rivers has also averaged 14.1 interceptions over the last ten seasons.
Fantasy Impact: Gordon is one of the most reliable producers in all of fantasy football and deserves his early ADP. Allen is an elite wide receiver as expected when healthy, and Williams is a fantastic value at his ADP of 163.2 (currently being drafted as the WR78 or not at all). Williams will likely see an uptick in targets with the retirement of Antonio Gates and a season-ending injury to Hunter Henry.
- Under Jon Gruden, his team’s top wide receiver has averaged 136.5 targets, 115.3 receiving yards, and 7.7 touchdowns per year.
- Those numbers come out to 298.4 fantasy points in PPR and 161.9 points in standard formats.
- In 2017, that would’ve equated to the WR3 in PPR and the WR7 in standard formats.
- Running back Marshawn Lynch ranked second among all running backs in evaded tackles with 99 last year (6.6 per game).
- Among all running backs, Lynch ranked 17th in carries (207) and 27th in snap share (50.3 percent).
- Lynch’s 43.6 percent Juke Rate in 2017, which measures evaded tackles per touch, was first among all running backs.
- The Raiders’ offensive line ranked just 28th in run-blocking efficiency in 2017. In 2016, their offensive line was the 12th-best in run-blocking efficiency.
- In the 2018 NFL Draft, Oakland selected offensive tackles Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker in the first and third rounds, respectively.
- Starting center Rodney Hudson received a 91.8 pass-blocking rating from Pro Football Focus last year, which was the best score ever recorded at the position.
- Veteran tackle Donald Penn is returning from foot surgery this season and was named an All-Pro in both 2016 and 2017.
Fantasy Impact: It’s difficult to see Amari Cooper failing to exceed his current WR16 ADP in PPR formats. Lynch is also a very safe pick at his current 75.1 ADP (currently being drafted as the RB33).
- Starting in Week 6 last season, Case Keenum finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback in five weeks, including three top-four weekly fantasy finishes in Weeks 8, 10, and 12.
- Keenum had 3,464 passing yards in 2017.
- Keenum had 3,464 total passing yards from 2014 to 2016.
- Before 2017, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders had at least 76 receptions and 1,000 yards in each of the three prior seasons.
- In 2016, Sanders had 79 receptions for 1,032 yards and five touchdowns, finishing the season as the fantasy WR20.
- Sanders finished as the WR20 in 2016 with Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch as his quarterbacks.
- Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen had 91 receptions for 1,276 yards last year with Keenum. Per Evan Silva, Thielen was targeted on 25 percent of his slot routes, the highest rate in the league.
- The Broncos drafted SMU’s Courtland Sutton in the second round and Penn State’s DaeSean Hamilton in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Sanders has been utilized heavily in the slot this preseason as a result.
- Since Terrell Davis retired in 1998, twelve different running backs have led the Broncos in rushing yards.
- Devontae Booker is currently listed atop the Denver running back depth chart. Booker is 5’11, 219 lbs and runs a 4.58 40-yard dash. Rookie Royce Freeman is 6’0, 229 lbs and runs a 4.54 40-yard dash.
Fantasy Impact: While Keenum has only had one good year in 2017, he is still a big improvement over Siemian and Lynch. With Keenum targeting the slot heavily, Sanders is a glaring value at ADP, currently being drafted as the WR33. Freeman is the running back to own in Denver regardless of the current unofficial depth chart.
If you enjoyed reading, check out the NFC edition here!