Herding Stats: Week Fifteen

LacyThere’s a saying, “90% of all statistics are made up”. It’s a funny quote and always gets a smirk from whoever you say it to. In this series we’ll take a look at the other 10% of statistics, those cold hard numbers that make this great game of fantasy football possible. We’ll take a look at what these statistics meant for the game and what they could mean for this week’s game or even the rest of the season. Undoubtedly there will be some statistics I share with you that you’ve heard before, others you’ll be able to share with your friends, enemies or league-mates (none of which are mutually exclusive from one another I might add) and look like the smartest owner around.

Quarterback Focus:  Nick Foles

Foles has been on an incredible tear for the past few weeks. Since taking over for Michael Vick on October 6th Foles has accumulated 132 completions for 1,921 yards and 19 touchdowns while throwing only one interception (thrown last week in a blizzard). For a bit of context that breaks down to roughly 17 completions for 240 yards and over two touchdowns a game. Each pass he completes goes for approximately 14.5 yards and he throws a touchdown every seven completed passes. Simply put, that’s incredibly amazing! To put it in even clearer perspective it takes Peyton Manning over eight completed passes to throw a touchdown and each of Manning’s completed passes goes for 12.3 yards. Needless to say Foles is having an incredible season. Now this week he is about to go against the Minnesota Vikings defense who gives up the second most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. The Vikings have given up the third most passing yards and the most passing touchdowns in the NFL which immediately makes any quarterback playing them a must start, never mind one of the most successful quarterback this season. The bad news doesn’t end there for Vikings fans, Minnesota gives up the most completions of any team in the league so expect a huge helping of passing on the Eagles end. If you’ve got Foles start him with confidence as this game looks in line to be one of his best of the season.

Running Back Focus:  Eddie Lacy

This suggestion comes with a caveat, Lacy has a sprained ankle so be sure to monitor that situation very carefully. If Lacy does start he draws a great matchup against the Cowboys. Dallas is giving up the most fantasy points in the league to opposing running backs. It’s flat out bad for Dallas, they bleed points everywhere. On the ground the Cowboys have given up fifth most rushing yards and the seventh most rushing touchdowns. Additionally, Dallas gives up the most receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns to running backs in the league. With Green Bay coming to town Dallas will be facing the team ranked sixth in yards per rush attempt. Lacy also has the third most rushing touchdowns of all running backs with seven thus far and is the ninth leading rusher of all running backs. It’s tough to imagine a scenario in which Lacy doesn’t put up excellent numbers outside of an injury hampering his excellent matchup.

Wide Receiver Focus:  San Diego WRs

Some interesting dynamics should come into play when the Chargers face the Broncos. First, the Chargers need to win this game. San Diego is still in the hunt for a playoff berth but will likely be eliminated with a loss this Thursday. Second, the Broncos put up points in bunches which will require the Chargers to pass a to keep pace. Third, Denver is giving up the sixth most fantasy points in the NFL to wide receivers. Meanwhile, the Chargers are completing the fourth most passes in the NFL and are also fourth in passing yards per game. Taken all together the Chargers wide receivers are must plays with a clear nod towards Keenan Allen. To further drive the point home, the Chargers are seventh in the NFL in yards per completion while Denver gives up the seventh most yards per completion. The Chargers are scoring the fifth most passing touchdowns in the league while the Broncos are giving up the seventh most passing touchdowns in the NFL. Everything is falling in place for this to be a shootout so be sure to play those Chargers wide receivers if you got them and you should be rewarded with a nice bump towards advancing in your fantasy football playoffs.

Tight End Focus:  Antonio Gates

A big part of choosing Gates here goes hand in hand with the previous selection. Not only is Denver giving up loads of points to wide receivers, they are also doing the same with tight ends. Denver is giving up the fourth most fantasy points to tight ends in the NFL. The Broncos have given up the second most receiving yards to tight ends and the fourth most receptions to tight ends. On the other side of the matchup Gates has gained the third most receiving yards of all tight ends as well as caught the third most receptions of all tight ends in the league while being the third most targeted tight end. Opposing offenses have noticed a weakness in the Denver defense, targeting tight ends the fourth most out of all teams in the league. As I mentioned above, the Chargers are going to have to pass just in order to keep the game close. Look for Gates to get a healthy share of targets, receptions and receiving yards in a must win game for the Chargers.

Defensive Team Focus:  Seahawks

This is almost a no-brainer.  Who doesn’t start the Seahawks every week if they have them? No one is who, but this week Seattle has just an incredible matchup against a Giants team who is giving up the most fantasy points to opposing defenses. The Seahawks are accumulating roughly three sacks per game while the Giants are giving up roughly 2.5 per game so look for a solid continuation of Seattle’s sacking ability. Additionally, the Giants throw the league most interceptions per game with 1.6 interceptions per game while Seattle is intercepting the third most passes per game with 1.3 interceptions a game. The Seahawks are also allowing the third least receptions per game and are allowing the second least points per game. The Giants on the other hand are scoring the fifth least points per game. Expect a great performance by a Seattle defense trying to recover from a tough loss last week.

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