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 NFC team that should impact redraft decisions in 2018.
(All data via PlayerProfiler)
New York Giants
- Rookie running back Saquon Barkley produced one of the greatest NFL Combine performances ever. His 4.40 40-yard dash time is one of the fastest times ever recorded for a running back of his size (233 lbs).
- Barkley was also a workhorse back at Penn State, where he garnered a 14.8 percent (93rd percentile) College Target Share.
- The target distribution in 2017 was as follows: Evan Engram (115), Sterling Shepard (84), Roger Lewis (72), Shane Vereen (58), Wayne Gallman (48), Odell Beckham (41), and Brandon Marshall (33).
- Beckham averaged 164 targets per season from 2015 to 2016.
- New York’s offensive line ranked fourth in run-blocking efficiency last season. In the offseason, the Giants signed veteran tackle Nate Solder from New England, drafted massive UTEP guard Will Hernandez, and signed guard Patrick Omameh from Jacksonville.
- Quarterback Eli Manning is 37 years old.
- Manning has thrown double-digit interceptions every season except during his rookie year back in 2004.
- On average, Manning has thrown 597 pass attempts and 27 touchdowns over the last four seasons.
- Over that span, Manning has finished as the fantasy QB10, QB10, QB21, and QB23.
- Before their bye in Week 9 this year, the Giants will play the Jaguars, Saints, Eagles, and Redskins at home, and the Cowboys, Texans, Panthers, and Falcons on the road.
Fantasy Impact: The Giants will certainly be committed to the run this season, making Barkley a relatively safe RB1 pick in fantasy. However, the volume-dependent Manning will likely continue to struggle with efficiency, and Beckham’s return will siphon targets away from Engram, who finished as the fantasy TE5 in Beckham’s absence.
- Rookie running back Derrius Guice tore his ACL in the preseason game against the New England Patriots.
- In 2016, Rob Kelley didn’t receive double-digit carries until Week 8, yet he finished with seven total touchdowns. From that point, Kelley produced five weeks of RB2 or better production.
- In 2017, rookie Samaje Perine had three games of 20 or more rushing attempts. In those games, he averaged 107.7 total yards and 14.4 fantasy points.
- Last year, Kirk Cousins attempted 69 deep-ball passes but completed just 33.3 percent of them. He ranked fifth at the position in deep-ball throws but just 17th in deep ball completion percentage.
- New Washington quarterback Alex Smith attempted 68 deep-ball passes last season, just one fewer than Cousins. However, Smith completed 48.5 percent of those attempts, which ranked second among all quarterbacks.
- Smith finished 2017 as the fantasy QB4 with 295.1 points. He threw for 26 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
- Smith also threw for a career-high 4,042 yards last year, which was the most ever in his 13-year career and his first time eclipsing 4,000 passing yards in a season.
- In 2016, wide receiver Jamison Crowder had six weekly finishes as a WR2 or better.
- Crowder’s nine red-zone receptions and seven touchdowns that year were both in the top-20 at his position.
- In 2017, Crowder suffered a hip strain in the preseason and a hamstring strain early in the season. From Weeks 8 to 16, Crowder totaled 44 receptions for 615 yards and three touchdowns. When extrapolated out to a full 16-game season, those numbers would’ve made Crowder WR10 in PPR, ahead of A.J. Green, Doug Baldwin, and Davante Adams last year.
Fantasy Impact: The Guice injury opens up a huge opportunity for someone, whether it’s Kelley, Perine, the recently-signed Adrian Peterson, or third-down specialist Chris Thompson (recovering from injury). Considering that Smith’s 2017 deep-ball prowess was likely an outlier, it’s probable that Smith will build on an already strong connection with Crowder on short to intermediate passes.
- Over his first two years in the league, Ezekiel Elliott has averaged 129.9 total yards per game. That is better than Le’Veon Bell (119.8), David Johnson (98.6), and Todd Gurley (86.4) during each of their respective first two seasons.
- During that same period, Elliott has scored 25 touchdowns in 25 games, a rate matched only by Johnson (32 touchdowns in 32 games) and well ahead of Bell and Gurley.
- In 2016, Elliott averaged 2.7 targets per game. Last season, that number increased to 3.8 targets per game.
- Elliott was suspended for six games in 2017 for alleged incidents of domestic violence. In the ten games he played, Elliott totaled 983 rushing yards, 249 receiving yards, and nine total touchdowns. Extrapolated out to a full 16-game season, Elliott would have totaled 1,573 rushing yards, 398 receiving yards, and 14 total touchdowns.
- This would’ve made him the league’s rushing leader by 246 yards and second in total touchdowns.
- The Dallas coaching staff has told Elliott to prepare for 400 total touches this season. While offseason coaching comments should be taken with a grain of salt, Elliott has shown that he is capable of handling such a workload should it come to pass.
- The Cowboys released wide receiver Dez Bryant and lost tight end Jason Witten to retirement. Between those two players last year, the Cowboys have 218 vacated targets, 33 red-zone targets, and 11 touchdowns.
- Dallas’s offensive line ranked fifth in run-blocking efficiency in 2017 and second in 2016.
- Per Warren Sharp, the Cowboys face the fifth-toughest schedule of pass defenses in 2018.
- The Cowboys are the only team to have four home games over the last five weeks of the fantasy season. Dallas plays at home for three consecutive games in Weeks 12, 13, and 14 and again in Week 16.
Fantasy Impact: While the Cowboys may struggle overall to generate wins, Elliott’s increased passing game usage will serve as a foundation for a massive workload and could translate into a fantasy finish as the top-scoring fantasy running back this year. With so many available targets, one of Dallas’s wide receivers will likely exceed his current ADP. Allen Hurns (ADP of 114.2) and rookie Michael Gallup (ADP of 132.6) both stand out as great values at ADP.
- Despite tearing his ACL in Week 14, Carson Wentz‘s 33 touchdown passes last year ranked second in the league.
- Wentz was also second in fantasy points per game (PPG) among all quarterbacks, bolstered by his 22.6 rushing yards per game, good for fifth at the position.
- In 2017, running back Jay Ajayi played seven games for Miami and seven games for Philadelphia. He averaged 3.4 yards per carry for the Dolphins and 5.8 yards per carry for the Eagles. Ajayi also ranked ninth among all running backs with ten runs of 15 yards or more.
- Pro Football Focus projects the Eagles to have the best offensive line in 2018.
- Per Warren Sharp, from Week 8 onward the Eagles face the easiest schedule against opposing run defenses.
- Last season, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery finished with 57 receptions for 789 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. His catch total ranked 35th at the position, and his yardage total ranked 29th; however, his nine touchdowns were good for third-best among wide receivers.
- Jeffery also ranked 103rd in target separation among wide receivers.
- Despite seeing 25 fewer targets than Jeffery, teammate Nelson Agholor finished with more red zone targets (18) and red zone receptions (13).
- Agholor is three years younger than Jeffery and runs a 4.42 40-yard dash compared to Jeffery’s 4.53 time. Agholor had seven weekly finishes as a WR2 or better in 2017, whereas Jeffery only had six.
- Jeffery is currently being drafted as the WR28, and Agholor is currently being drafted as the WR42 nearly four rounds later.
Fantasy Impact: Ajayi is entering the final year of his rookie contract, which could lead to the Eagles utilizing him heavily. Fantasy drafters may be scared off by Wentz’s injury, but he is a top fantasy quarterback assuming health, and all reports are that his rehab is going well. Agholor is a much better value at ADP than the oft-injured and touchdown-dependent Jeffery, and there is even a chance that Jeffery will miss the first six weeks on the PUP list.
Green Bay Packers
- If you combined the stats from Ty Montgomery, Aaron Jones, and Jamal Williams in the games they started last season, they would total 1,279 total yards and 10 touchdowns.
- That equates to 233.9 fantasy points in PPR formats and 187.9 points in standard, which would’ve ranked as RB8 in PPR and the RB9 in standard. Those numbers are also despite Brett Hundley starting at quarterback for nine games.
- Last season, Montgomery averaged 13.6 fantasy PPG in five games with Aaron Rodgers and 7.8 PPG without him in PPR.
- In the last five seasons during which Rodgers has played at least 15 games, here are the fantasy finishes for Green Bay’s top two wide receivers:
- Randall Cobb is currently being drafted as the WR35.
- Per Warren Sharp, the Packers have the easiest schedule in the NFC, and Green Bay opens the season with four home games in the first six weeks.
- Since 2014, Rodgers has faced NFC North opponents in 20 games. In those games, Rodgers has averaged 235.5 passing yards, 2.5 touchdowns, and 0.2 interceptions.
- In the 35 games not against divisional opponents during that time, Rodgers has averaged 274.5 passing yards, 2.17 touchdowns, and 0.63 interceptions.
- Jordy Nelson received 32 red-zone targets in 2016 from Rodgers. Nelson is now in Oakland.
- Tight end Jimmy Graham received 46 red-zone targets over the last two years in Seattle. In 2017, Graham received 26 targets red-zone targets, which ranked first among all tight ends.
Fantasy Impact: Rodgers is a top-tier fantasy quarterback as usual. Adams and Cobb are poised for big years as well assuming Rodgers stays healthy, and Graham has strong touchdown upside with a current fifth-round ADP. While projecting the Green Bay backfield is difficult, both Montgomery and Jones in being drafted in the ninth round present huge upside on a limited investments.
- During his tenure in Washington, Kirk Cousins exceeded a passer rating of 86 and averaged 7.0 yards per attempt in three seasons. Last year, Cousins had a passer rating of 94 and averaged 7.6 yards per attempt. Per Warren Sharp, the only other quarterbacks to reach these marks in the last three years have been Tom Brady and Drew Brees.
- Per PlayerProfiler, Cousins has ranked among the top-five quarterbacks with the most deep-ball pass attempts in the last two years; he threw 69 such passes in 2017 and 94 in 2016.
- Cousins has rushed for 13 touchdowns over the last three seasons. This ranks third among all quarterbacks behind Cam Newton (21) and Tyrod Taylor (14). It is more than Jameis Winston (8), Alex Smith (8), Blake Bortles (7), and Andy Dalton (7).
- Through the first four games of the 2017 season, Dalvin Cook totaled 444 yards total yards and two total touchdowns. Extrapolated out to a full 16-game season, that would total 1,776 total yards and eight total touchdowns. Those numbers equate to 269.6 fantasy points in PPR and 225.6 in standard, which would’ve made Cook the RB6 last year in both scoring formats.
- Cook’s 4.8 yards per carry in 2017 ranked seventh among all qualified running backs.
- Wide receiver Stefon Diggs is entering his fourth NFL season. He has never played a full season and has missed eight games over the last three years.
- Diggs was the overall fantasy WR2 in Week 1 and the top-scoring wide receiver in Week 3 last season. The only other time he produced a WR15 or better performance was in Week 16.
- Wide receiver Adam Thielen hasn’t missed a single game in his four years in the league. In 2017, Thielen had 91 receptions for 1,276 yards and four touchdowns. Only seven wide receivers had more receptions then Thielen last year.
- Thielen produced a WR15 or better performance seven times last season, including a weekly finish as the overall WR2 in Week 10 and the overall WR4 in Week 1.
- Over the last two seasons, tight end Kyle Rudolph had 41 red zone targets, which ranks second among all tight ends behind Jimmy Graham, who had 46. Rudolph also totaled 29 red zone receptions in 2016 and 2017, which ranks first at the position.
Fantasy Impact: Cousins is primed for a great season given his surrounding case, and Cook’s phenomenal performance in four games last season justifies his ADP as the tenth running back off the board. Diggs makes the spectacular catches seem routine, but his injury history makes Thielen a far safer option based on their respective ADPs. Rudolph is a steal, as he is currently being drafted as the eight tight end off the board in most drafts.
- Over his first two NFL seasons, running back Jordan Howard has rushed for 2,435 yards and scored 16 total touchdowns while averaging 4.6 yards per carry.
- Per Pro Football Focus, there have been 13 times since 2007 that a qualified running back has reached a 20 percent drop rate or higher. Two players are on that list twice: former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs and Howard.
- Over his last two seasons, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky’s top receivers have been Ryan Switzer (at North Carolina) and Kendall Wright.
- Wright totaled 59 receptions for 614 yards in 2017, and Switzer totaled 96 receptions for 1,112 yards in college. Both players served as their team’s slot receiver.
- Despite only playing in only 12 games last year, Trubisky rushed for 243 yards, good for 13th among all quarterbacks, and two touchdowns.
- Tarik Cohen only received a 35.9 percent snap share last season, which ranked 56th among all qualified running backs.
- However, Cohen ranked seventh in breakaway run rate (5.8 percent) with seven runs of 15 yards or more.
- Against stacked defensive fronts, Cohen averaged 17.5 yards per carry, first among all running backs.
- The Bears signed Allen Robinson to a three-year $42 million contract in the offseason. In each of his 2015 and 2016 seasons with Jacksonville, Robinson totaled 151 receiving targets.
- In 2015, Robinson averaged 19.0 fantasy PPG and finished as the WR6 in PPR formats.
Fantasy Impact: Howard may struggle to catch the ball, but he has finished as the RB10 and RB14 in the last two seasons, respectively, in PPR scoring. He is being drafted at his floor based on his current ADP in the late second or early third round of drafts. Head Coach Matt Nagy had great success using Tyreek Hill in a variety of ways, and it’s likely that Cohen will see an increase in snap share this year. Robinson may be the top receiver on Chicago’s depth chart, but rookie Anthony Miller (currently being drafted as the WR56) may be the better value.
- Matthew Stafford has finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback in six of the last seven seasons.
- Stafford was a weekly QB1 for six consecutive games from Week 5 through Week 11.
- He was also had five weekly finishes as a top-seven fantasy quarterback. This was more than Ben Roethlisberger (3), Tom Brady (3), Philip Rivers (2), Drew Brees (2), and Matt Ryan (1).
- Wide receiver Marvin Jones had 61 receptions and nine touchdowns last season, eseentially scoring once in every 6.8 receptions. Prior to last season, Jones scored once in every 9.9 receptions.
- In the five games in which Kenny Golladay did not play, Jones averaged 5.4 receptions for 85.4 yards and scored 17.5 fantasy PPG in PPR formats.
- Wide receiver Golden Tate has had four consecutive seasons of 90 or more receptions. He has missed one game in the last seven seasons.
- Tight end Eric Ebron signed with the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason, vacating 86 targets, including 12 red-zone targets and six end-zone targets.
- The Lions signed former Seahawks tight end Luke Willson to a one-year $2.5 million deal in 2018. The last three seasons Willson has received 26, 21, and 22 targets, respectively.
- Over the last four seasons, Detroit has finished 28th, 32nd, 30th, and 32nd in rushing yards, respectively.
- The Lions selected Arkansas center Frank Ragnow with their first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He is 6’5, 312 lbs and was not credited with allowing a single sack in college.
Fantasy Impact: Stafford remains one of the best quarterback values in all of fantasy football. The vacated targets left behind by Ebron targets will likely boost Golladay’s share, not Willson’s. With Tate and Jones’s ADPs hovering in the fourth and fifth rounds of drafts, Golladay has immense upside and is the best value with a 13th-round ADP.
- Last season, Cam Newton finished fourth among all quarterbacks with 19.6 fantasy PPG.
- In 2017, Newton had a career-high 754 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns. He has averaged 7.7 rushing touchdowns per season over his seven-year NFL career.
- Newton ranked first among all quarterbacks in rushing touchdowns, rushing yards, red zone carries, and rushing yards per game last year.
- He had four weekly finishes as a top-two fantasy quarterback.
- Christian McCaffrey was the most-targeted running back in the league last year (113) and had the third-most receptions (80) at his position.
- In 2017, former teammate Jonathan Stewart had 198 carries for 680 yards and six touchdowns.
- The Panthers signed former Broncos running back C.J. Anderson in the offseason. In the preseason, McCaffrey has dominated snaps played with the first-team offense, whereas Anderson has entered games far later.
- In the eight games last year for which Kelvin Benjamin was still on the Panthers, Devin Funchess averaged 44.6 receiving yards, 0.4 touchdowns, and 10.8 fantasy PPG in PPR scoring.
- In the other eight games without Benjamin, Funchess averaged 60.4 receiving yards, 0.6 touchdowns, and 13.5 fantasy PPG in PPR scoring.
- Since 2014, tight end Greg Olsen has played 52 games with Newton at quarterback. In those games, Olsen has averaged 12.1 fantasy PPG in PPR formats. Extrapolated out to a full 16-game season, that equates to 193.6 fantasy points, which would’ve made Olsen the TE4 last season.
Fantasy Impact: The reports projecting McCaffrey to get 200 carries as a workhorse back seem to be backed up by his usage thus far in the preseason. Funchess should outproduce his ADP as the WR39 off boards, though there is some risk of dynamic rookie D.J. Moore cutting into Funchess’s target share. Olsen should be a safe top-five tight end pick as long as he stays healthy.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Quarterback Jameis Winston is suspended for the first three games of the NFL season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick will start the season at quarterback for Tampa Bay, as he did last year when Winston was injured.
- In the games where only Winston was under center last season, rookie tight end O.J. Howard averaged 29.8 yards, 0.5 touchdowns, and 7.5 fantasy PPG in PPR scoring. When Winston was out, Howard averaged 52 yards, 0.5 touchdowns, and 11.2 fantasy PPG in PPR scoring.
- In the games where only Winston was under center last season, tight end Cameron Brate averaged 43.3 yards, 0.5 touchdowns, and 10.6 fantasy PPG in PPR scoring. When Winston was out, Brate averaged 9.3 yards and 1.9 fantasy PPG in PPR scoring and failed to score.
- Over the last six games of the 2017 season, running back Peyton Barber had three weekly finishes as a fantasy RB2 or better.
- Wide receiver Mike Evans has finished with 1,000 or more receiving yards in each of his first four NFL seasons.
- In 2017, Evans had 25 fewer receptions than he did in 2016, decreasing from 96 to 71 receptions. He also averaged fewer yards per game and yards after the catch in 2017, his per-game average decreasing from 82.6 yards to 66.7 yards and his yards after the catch dipping from 175 to 95.
- His 1.01 average yards of separation ranked 100th among all wide receivers last season.
- Per RotoViz, Evans has actually averaged more fantasy points (16.1) in PPR formats without Winston at quarterback than with him (15.6).
- Per Warren Sharp, the Tampa Bay will face one of the league’s most difficult schedule against opposing pass defenses this season.
Fantasy Impact: While Evans may have been trending in the wrong direction last year, fantasy-wise owners should see a minimal difference in 2018 regardless of whether Fitzpatrick or Winston is throwing him the football. It is also possible that Barber will see 15 or more touches per game, including goal line work, until Ronald Jones adjusts to the NFL level, which makes Barber’s ADP as the RB43 being drafted an incredible value.
New Orleans Saints
- The Saints have produced a top-10 fantasy running back in PPR scoring in three consecutive seasons: Mark Ingram in 2015 and 2016 and Alvin Kamara in 2017.
- Per Graham Barfield, the New Orleans backfield has combined to rank first in total running back receptions in each of the last six seasons except for 2013, when they ranked fourth in the league.
- Kamara had the most receiving yards (826) and second-most receptions (82) among all running backs last year.
- However, Kamara ranked 11th in red zone touches (39) at his position while Ingram ranked seventh (43).
- Ingram is suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
- At home last year, Kamara averaged 20.1 fantasy PPG in PPR formats.
- During away games last year, Kamara averaged 19.3 fantasy PPG in PPR formats.
- The last time tight end Ben Watson was a member of the Saints in 2015, he totaled 74 receptions for 825 yards and six touchdowns, finishing as the TE7 in fantasy.
- Per Player Profiler, the New Orleans offensive line has ranked third and first in run-blocking efficiency over the last two years, respectively.
- Over the past five years, when playing against divisional opponents at home, quarterback Drew Brees has averaged 315.3 passing yards, 2.1 touchdowns, and 25.2 fantasy points per game. The Saints play the Falcons, Buccaneers, and Panthers in Weeks 12, 14, and 15 of this season.
Fantasy Impact: Kamara is one of the safest early-round picks, especially with Ingram’s four-game suspension boosting his touches. While the quarterback position is extremely deep, Brees is always a steady producer and has a particularly good strength of schedule during the fantasy playoffs this year.
- Matt Ryan had a career year in 2016 and led all quarterbacks in both passing yards (4944) and passing touchdowns (38).
- In 2017, with new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, Ryan finished with just 4,095 passing yards, his lowest total since 2010.
- Ryan’s 20 touchdown passes last season were the lowest since his rookie year in 2008.
- Wide receiver Julio Jones has finished with over 1,400 receiving yards in each of the last four seasons. His four-year total of 6,317 receiving yards ranks second only to Antonio Brown‘s 6349 yards.
- Over that same period, Jones has scored only 23 touchdowns, which is significantly fewer than many other league leaders in receiving yardage. For comparison, Brown has scored 44 touchdowns, Odell Beckham 38, Mike Evans 32, and Davante Adams 26 over that time.
- Tight end Austin Hooper in entering his third NFL season. In 2017, Hooper caught 30 more receptions and had 255 more yards than he did in 2016.
- If you combined Devonta Freeman‘s 2017 stat totals with Tevin Coleman‘s stats in Weeks 11 & 12 when Freeman was out, they sum to 1,337 total yards and 11 touchdowns.
- That production would’ve equated to the fantasy RB8 in both PPR and standard scoring formats in 2017.
- There were five weeks in 2016 in which Freeman and Coleman both finished as fantasy RB2 or better in the same game.
- Here are the current ADPs of the aforementioned Falcons players: Ryan at 111.3 (QB13), Freeman at 19.1 (RB12), Coleman at 74.0 (RB32), Jones at 13.4 (WR4), and Hooper at 153.1 (TE17).
Fantasy Impact: The Falcons offense should improve during Sarkisian’s second year, and all are worth drafting at their current ADPs. Drafting both Freeman and Coleman is a viable strategy given their standalone production as well as added handcuff value, and Hooper is a late-round tight end who could have untapped potential.
- In 2014, most fantasy owners thought Larry Fitzgerald was finished after totaling just 63 receptions for 784 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games.
- The last three years, Fitzgerald has averaged 108 receptions for 1,131 yards and seven touchdowns.
- He has finished as the WR7, WR11, and WR4 in PPR formats over that span.
- In the first two years of David Johnson’s career, he has produced 2,156 total yards and 32 total touchdowns.
- Since 2000, Johnson is tied with Ezekiel Elliott for the most total touchdowns in a player’s first two seasons.
- In Week 11 last season, Ricky Seals-Jones finished as the overall TE1 after catching three passes for 54 yards and two touchdowns. He followed up that performance in Week 12, finishing as the TE5 after catching four passes for 72 yards and a touchdown.
- Seals-Jones accomplished this despite only receiving a 26.3 percent snap share, which ranked 85th among all tight ends last season.
- The Cardinals drafted wide receiver Christian Kirk in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Kirk’s 18.8 breakout age at Texas A&M ranks in the 93rd percentile of wide receivers.
- Kirk also accounted for 73 percent of the Aggies’ total receiving yards and touchdowns while in college.
- In 2016, quarterback Sam Bradford set an NFL record with a 71.6 completion percentage. However, Bradford has only started 16 games twice during his eight-year NFL career.
Fantasy Impact: Fitzgerald is a reliable early-round wide receiver in fantasy despite being 35 years old. Seals-Jones and Kirk are late-round picks with tremendous upside, though a lot hinges on the health of Bradford and how well rookie quarterback Josh Rosen performs if and when starts for the Cardinals.
San Francisco 49ers
- In the 11 games prior to acquiring quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo last year, the 49ers averaged 17 points per game.
- In the five games with Garoppolo under center, the 49ers averaged 28.8 points per game.
- Without Garoppolo, wide receiver Marquise Goodwin averaged 5.6 targets, 2.5 receptions, 52.6 receiving yards, and 8.5 fantasy points per game.
- In the five games with Garoppolo, Goodwin averaged 8.6 targets, 5.8 receptions, 76.8 receiving yards, and 15.1 fantasy points per game.
- One fantasy player hurt by Garoppolo’s presence was Carlos Hyde. His receptions dropped from 4.2 to 2.8 per game, and his receiving totals dropped from 27.4 to 12.7 yards per game.
- In his five games as a starter in San Francisco, Garoppolo averaged 308.4 passing yards per game. However, his touchdown-to-interception rate during those games was a forgettable 1.2 to 1.0 ratio.
- In his career, Garoppolo has only started seven NFL games, two with the Patriots and five with the 49ers.
- As a starter, Garoppolo has averaged are 291.4 passing yards, 1.4 touchdowns, 0.7 interceptions, and 17.6 fantasy points per game.
- Extrapolated out to a full 16-game season, those numbers project to 4,662 passing yards, 23 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. Those stats would’ve made him the QB12 in fantasy last year.
- Wide receiver Pierre Garcon played eight games last season before fracturing his neck. Adding the stats from his final eight games from 2016 to his 2017 totals would give Garcon 83 receptions for 1,145 receiving yards and two touchdowns over his last 16 games played.
Fantasy Impact: It will be interesting to see just how much magic Garoppolo can create with Kyle Shanahan on this 49ers offense. Goodwin’s ADP has risen rapidly but is still palatable give his upside and all the reports indicating a strong preseason connection with Garoppolo. Garcon is best suited as a bye-week replacement option, though he does have a high ceiling in PPR formats if San Francisco can present him with more scoring opportunities.
Los Angeles Rams
- Last year, Sammy Watkins finished eighth in total touchdowns among wide receivers with eight scores. He had four weekly fantasy finishes as a WR2 or better, but his 8.5 yards per target ranked 28th at the position.
- Former Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks, now with the Rams, had seven total touchdowns and eight weekly fantasy finishes as a WR2 or better in 2017, and his 9.5 yards per target was ninth at the position.
- Cooks was ranked tenth in receiving (1,082 yards), whereas Watkins ranked 51st (539 yards) last year.
- In 2017, Keenan Allen had 24 red-zone targets, the most among wide receivers. The three receivers tied for second-most red-zone targets with 23 each were Jarvis Landry, Davante Adams, and Cooper Kupp.
- Kupp also had the third-most red-zone receptions last year (23) by a wide receiver.
- From Week 9 to Week 11, Robert Woods averaged 7.3 receptions for 107.3 yards and 1.3 touchdowns per game despite leaving the Week 11 game early due to a shoulder injury.
- In 2016, quarterback Jared Goff averaged 155.6 passing yards, 0.7 touchdown passes, and one interception per game.
- In 2017, Goff averaged 251.9 passing yards, 1.9 touchdown passes, and 0.5 interceptions per game.
- Per Player Profiler, the Rams’ offensive line ranked 24th in run-blocking efficiency in 2016 but ranked first in 2017.
- Last season, Todd Gurley ranked was the top running back in fantasy points per game, total touchdowns, and goal-line carries.
Fantasy Impact: Cooks has a chance to far exceed what Watkins produced on the Rams last year even if he regresses from his 2017 totals in New England. However, both Kupp (currently being drafted as the WR36) and Woods (currently being drafted as the WR43) are likely better value plays.
- Last season, the Seattle Seahawks totaled only four rushing touchdowns. Three were scored by quarterback Russell Wilson. The other rushing touchdown was scored by J.D. McKissic.
- Seattle drafted San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny with the 27th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
- Per PlayerProfiler, Penny had a 10.3 percent (72nd percentile) college target share and 50.1 percent (98th percentile) College Dominator rating.
- Seattle’s offensive line ranked last in run-blocking efficiency in 2017, but they signed guard DJ Fluker from the Giants in the offseason and drafted Ohio State tackle Jamarco Jones in the fifth round.
- After firing offensive line coach Tom Cable, Seattle hired former Giants offensive line coach Mike Solari to replace Cable. In the his 19 seasons as an offensive line coach, Solari’s offensive lines have finished as a top-ten run-blocking unit in ten separate seasons and as a top-five unit in eight separate seasons.
- In 2017, the Seahawks’ defense ranked outside of the top-12 in points allowed for the first time since Pete Carroll became the head coach in 2010.
- Wilson led the NFL with 34 passing touchdowns last season and was the top-scoring fantasy quarterback. He has finished as a top-three fantasy quarterback three times in the last four years.
- With the departure of Paul Richardson, Jimmy Graham, and Luke Willson via free agency, the Seahawks’ offense has vacated 200 targets, 116 receptions, and 20 receiving touchdowns.
- The Seahawks added a 34-year-old Brandon Marshall, Jaron Brown (86 career receptions), and 31 year-old Ed Dickson in the offseason to replace them.
- From Week 11 to Week 15 in 2015, Tyler Lockett averaged five receptions for 67 yards and one touchdown per game, and he averaged five receptions for 78 yards and 0.7 touchdowns per game from Week 13 to Week 15 in 2016.
Fantasy Impact: The Seahawks will likely need to be pass-heavy on offense to compensate for the weakest defense of Carroll’s tenure. Despite the finger injury and Carson’s presence, Penny should have ample opportunity to win the starting job by mid-season. While Doug Baldwin will still be Wilson’s top target when healthy, Lockett could finally have the breakout season the fantasy community has been waiting for given the state of Seattle’s pass catching corps.
If you enjoyed reading, check out the AFC edition here!