AFC North Fantasy Review

| 4 years ago

AFC North Fantasy Review

There are different stats I like to look at when looking back at the season. As with any stats, some are limited by injuries, sample size, or just regular prejudice. Each stat will be the same throughout the series, but putting together a comprehensive review would take forever and frankly would be 400 pages long. Luckily for you, I have split up each one into the most important (and unusual) stats to compare within each division.

With the majority of free agency settled, the players have been moved into the appropriate divisions. Player movement is included in the notes and commentary follows each table. I have included any relevant players, based on team changes and popular “sleeper” candidates. Stats are based on PPR (points per reception).



The AFC North will see the same four quarterbacks start the season, assuming Brandon Weeden still has a job in Cleveland. Ben Roehlisberger loses the most with Mike Wallace taking his talents to South Beach.


Points Per Drop Back

Points Per Game

Joe Flacco

0.398 (15th)

14.19 (17th)

Andy Dalton

0.403 (14th)

14.94 (14th)

Brandon Weeden

0.275 (36th)

10.27 (33th)

Ben Roehlisberger

0.435 (13th)

16.46 (11th)


Joe Flacco put together a phenomenal playoff run, culminating in a Super Bowl win. However, it is interesting to see Andy Dalton outperformed him in both categories during the year. Another year with AJ Green, the return of a healthy Mohammed Sanu, and hopefully a better running game will give Dalton the opportunity to take the next step forward. Brandon Weeden brings up the rear in his rookie campaign. Another year with Josh Gordon, Travis Benjamin, and Greg Little could get him on track. With Mike Wallace out of Pittsburgh, it will be interesting to see what happens with the Pittsburgh offense.


Running Backs

Rashard Mendenhall left Pittsburgh and current indications are they will be looking to fill that gap in the draft.


Touches/Missed Tackle

Carries/15y+ Run

Points Per Snap

Points Per Touch

Ray Rice

9.9 (76th)

23.4 (52nd)

0.337 (39th)

0.88 (33rd)

Bernard Pierce

4.6 (13th)

15.4 (24th)

0.312 (50th)

0.62 (90th)

BenJarvus Green-Ellis

13.0 (99th)

27.8 (69th)

0.257 (83rd)

0.57 (98th)

Trent Richardson

5.4 (24th)

44.5 (85th)

.343 (35th)

0.78 (44th)

Ray Rice might be in trouble from a fantasy perspective. Bernard Pierce, Rice’s backup, outperformed him in both skill categories. This will be an important factor when it comes time to choose Ray Rice in the first round, or another running back with less talent and competition behind him. Trent Richardson, who is ranked the top running back on dynasty charts (including PFF!), should see more room if Weeden progresses along with Josh Gordon.


Wide Receivers

Anquan Boldin went from one Harbaugh coach to another and Mike Wallace left for Miami. There were no high-profile free agents added in the division.


Points Per Snap

Points Per Catchable Target

Torrey Smith

0.194 (62nd)

3.34 (7th)

Jacoby Jones

0.175 (82nd)

2.41 (71st)

AJ Green

0.307 (11th)

2.82 (27th)

Mohammed Sanu

0.272 (23rd)

3.56 (2nd)

Josh Gordon

0.190 (66th)

2.96 (18th)

Greg Little

0.152 (92nd)

2.30 (86th)

Antonio Brown

0.265 (28th)

2.53 (60th)

Emmanuel Sanders

0.152 (91st)

2.40 (73rd)


Mohammed Sanu ranking second in points per target is directly related to scoring four touchdowns in five games. AJ Green will continue to be the focus of opposing defenses, so Sanu can easily keep up that rate if healthy. Greg Little, the darling of many sleeper lists last summer, still has some work to do. Ranking 92nd and 86th respectively can partly be attributed to Brandon Weeden, but Josh Gordon ranked 66th and 18th respectively with the same quarterback. Plus, Gordon was drafted in the supplemental draft, giving him much less time with the team. Antonio Brown’s points per snap is sure to increase just on shear volume with Wallace gone. It is entirely possible Brown will see a Brandon Marshall-like 11 targets per game.


Tight Ends

Ben Watson has moved on to New Orleans, leaving Jordan Cameron as the lead tight end in Cleveland.


Points Per Snap

Points Per Catchable Target

Dennis Pitta

0.257 (3rd)

2.66 (8th)

Jermaine Gresham

0.167 (19th)

2.39 (24th)

Jordan Cameron

0.144 (26th)

2.21 (32nd)

Heath Miller

0.198 (10th)

2.68 (7th)


Before last season, I mentioned on twitter that Dennis Pitta had a zero drop rate and that a quarterback will always gravitate towards those with great hands. Both his points per snap and points per target reflect Joe Flacco did just that. Jermaine Gresham took a small step forward, and Heath Miller was a constant on the Steelers during a down year. Jordan Cameron didn’t do much with his targets but will get his opportunity this season.



Just kidding. But yes, kickers are people too.


Allen has lots of interesting stats and somewhat funny jokes on Twitter: @Allen_Bassett … and don’t forget the main PFF Fantasy feed: @PFF_Fantasy


Business Consultant working in Albuquerque, NM (yes, that's a state). I love football and I love statistics.

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