Fantasy Football: 16 Facts You Should Know

San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers

Sep 22, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) passes during warm ups prior to the game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

As long as we wait for the NFL season to arrive, it’s gone before we know it.

Believe it or not, but every team except Carolina and Green Bay has played a quarter of their season. Here are 16 facts over the first four weeks that you may want to take note of going forward.

Why 16? Well, for the number of games played in a season, I suppose. Enjoy.

Four—the number of the past 20 Super Bowl teams that have thrown the ball at least 60 percent of the time in a season. Only the 2011 Giants (60 percent), ’09 Colts (63), ’08 Cardinals (64) and ’04 Eagles (61) reached the big game airing it out nearly two-thirds of the time. Currently, 17 teams are throwing the ball at that pace with five teams (STL, CLE, PIT, NYG, ATL) throwing the ball 70 percent or more.

Thirteen—the number of quarterbacks on pace to attempt 600 passes this season, something only 16 quarterbacks have done since 2005 (six in 2012). Three more quarterbacks (Alex Smith, Jay Cutler and Andy Dalton) are only one pass attempt per game below that pace.

Ninety-six—the number of pass attempts by Russell Wilson, only four more than the 92 times that Brian Hoyer has thrown the ball in his two starts. Those attempts rank 27th in the league and 33 came in week one. Since then, Wilson has averaged only 11.3 completions on 21 attempts. Seattle is a run first team with arguably the league’s best defense. With games coming up against Tennessee, Arizona, Tampa Bay, Minnesota and St. Louis, owners may need to rely on strictly touchdown production to compensate for Wilson’s lack of anticipated volume.

57 percent—the amount of Colin Kaepernick’s fantasy output that came in the week one game versus Green Bay. Since that game he’s posted 5.78 points in a game where he had 87 rushing yards, four points and 13.8 points. In our preseason quarterback preview it was noted that nobody has a larger weekly disparity between ceiling and floor than Kaepernick. Be prepared to ride a season long roller coaster if he’s your QB1.

73.9—the completion percentage that quarterback Philip Rivers has through the season’s first four games, trailing only Peyton Manning. His previous career high is 66 percent in 2010, and he has completed 83 percent of his throws in each of the past two weeks. These aren’t coming cheap either; Rivers averages 36 pass attempts a game. Eight of the remaining 12 games on the Chargers schedule come against opponents who are in the bottom 15 in most fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and in the fantasy playoffs they face the Giants, Broncos and Raiders.

Two—the number of 300 yard passers that the Bengals defense has allowed over their past 41 games. Amazingly, to Brandon Weeden and Tarvaris Jackson. Last week, Brian Hoyer was the first quarterback to finish as a weekly top 12 player in the past 11 games versus Cincinnati, all it took was for the Bengals to be missing three defensive backs. They haven’t allowed a quarterback to reach 20 standard points in a game since week two of last season (Griffin) and 44 percent of quarterbacks to face a Mike Zimmer lead unit in Cincy (84 games) have finished as QB20 or worse in that given week.

Fourteen—the current number of quarterbacks averaging 3.75 rushing attempts per game, the number needed to reach 60 attempts in a season and qualify for the Konami Code in standard scoring. A few of these guys will fall off of the list due to injury (Locker), job security (Ponder) and just bizarre totals from a small sample size (Brady has 17 attempts for negative three yards). The lowest scoring quarterback currently on pace to qualify, Geno Smith, is averaging 13 points per game.

Eleven—the current number of running backs playing at least 70 percent of their teams offensive snaps per week. Last season, twelve backs reached this number, and ten qualified as fantasy running back number one options. Only McCoy (RB21 who missed four games) and Chris Johnson (RB13) didn’t finish as a RB1 In 2012. The most notable back to monitor on the current list is Bilal Powell, playing an average of 71.8 percent of snaps for the Jets. Volume means the world at the running back position.

Seventy—there are seven backs currently on pace to catch 70 passes this season, something only seven backs total have done since 2006. Three players (Forte, Charles and Sproles) are on pace for 90-plus receptions, something that has only been accomplished by a running back four times since 2001. With teams throwing it more often and running less, the short passing game is creating PPR monsters.

One—the amount of yardage or fewer that Arian Forster has on 27 of his 76 carries (36 percent) this season. Also, the same amount of yardage that Chris Johnson has on 35 of his 84 attempts (42 percent).

23.3—the number of touches that Jamaal Charles is averaging per game, putting him on a 373 touch pace over the course of a full season and more than 70 than that of his career high 320 touches in 2012. He leads all running backs in targets (35) and is on pace for 92 receptions, more than double his career high of 45 in 2010.

608—the total yards from scrimmage for LeSean McCoy, more than one hundred of the player in second place (Charles 502). Maintaining that pace would put him at 2,432 yards from scrimmage for a full season, which would be the second highest total in NFL history. This of course is while playing for a team that ranks last in the league in time of possession over the first month.

Twenty-eight—the current number of wide receivers on pace for 1,000 yards this season through the air. Over the past five seasons, only an average of 18.4 players per season reached that total, and not since 2009 have at least 20 players made it to one thousand in the same season. Eighteen of those 28 are on pace for 1,200 yards receiving, which is the same number of wide outs to reach that total over the past two seasons combined.

Four—the number of 100 yard receiving games that the Dolphins big time free agent catch, Mike Wallace, has had over his past 32 games played. Four is also the same number of receptions he’s been held under in 13 (41 percent) of those same 32 contests. Given $30 million guaranteed by Miami this offseason, he’s made $2 million per reception over the first four weeks.

Seven—the number of tight ends on pace to catch 80 passes through four games. The average number of tight ends to catch that many passes in a season has been 2.5 since 2004 and only twice have four players done it in the same season over that same stretch. The intermediate level passing game is alive and well in the league, take advantage.

10.5—the number of points that place kickers are scoring weekly versus the Eagles. Even including the three-point game that Kai Forbath posted in week one, kickers are averaging a nearly unprecedented amount of points versus Philadelphia. Extrapolated, those points would come out to 168 points in a season, which would be the second highest fantasy scoring season ever for a kicker (behind David Akers 171 points in 2011). Streamers take notice; your place kicking Frankenstein is calling.

*Stats used were provided from ProFootballFocus, Pro-Football-Reference, NFLData.com

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Rich Hribar is a husband, father, sports meteorologist and a slave to statistics. A lifelong sports fan and fantasy gamer.