Four surprising fantasy facts, and what they mean
Surprises are funny things. Some people live for surprises. Other people hate them, and will hate you if you attempt to pull one over on them.
I fall somewhere in between. I like to learn. I like to be surprised when I’m looking for something, but then I find something else.
This week I came across a couple fantasy surprises that just might help you turn your fantasy season around. If you’re already off to a great start, these little nuggets could help push you over the top.
Dak Prescott has the highest quarterback rating in the league (137.3) when he targets Cole Beasley. Case Keenum has the second-highest rating (132.5) when he targets Kenny Britt.
Yep, this is the point where I tell you to pick up Cole Beasley and Kenny Britt. You don’t want to? Fine. Your loss.
Beasley has lined up in the slot on 86.8 percent of his routes run. He’s been targeted on 23.7 percent of those routes and has converted on 83.9 percent of those opportunities.
Britt is tied with Stefon Diggs with the highest catch rate on targets that go for 20 yards or more. In fact, 160 of his yards on the season have come on deep passes. He’s averaging 2.69 yards per route run, fourth behind Julio Jones, Sammie Coates and Diggs.
Britt and Beasley are two completely different receivers, but their successes are similar in scope.
Beasley has 33 catches on the year, tied with Terrelle Pryor for ninth-most in the league. He’s averaging 5.5 catches for 65 yards and 0.5 touchdowns per game and he’s caught 87 percent of the passes thrown his way, the highest percentage among any wide receiver with more than 20 catches this season.
Britt’s 492 receiving yards are currently the eighth-most in the league. Despite playing with the much-maligned Case Keenum, Britt averaged 16.4 yards per reception, tied with Will Fuller for 15th-highest in the league.
Andy Dalton is a top-10 fantasy quarterback… again.
Back-to-back weeks with 20-plus fantasy points, both games on the road. Yeah, surprised me, too.
Dalton started off the season with a pair of outings of 300-plus yards, but then his numbers (and fantasy production) dropped off. The glaring issue with the Cincinnati offense is a lack of a red-zone threat. Say what you will about Tyler Eifert’s fantasy value being “touchdown dependent,” but the Bengals clearly depended him on touchdowns, as well.
Last year, Dalton was on pace for a career year. He put up 300-plus passing yards in four of his 13 games and scored 25 touchdowns to just seven interceptions.
So far this season, Dalton only has six passing touchdowns, tied with Brian Hoyer, Sam Bradford, Ryan Tannehill and Tom Brady for 22nd in the league. Tannehill is the only other signal-caller in the group to have also played in six games this season. In good news, Dalton only has two interceptions on the season (interestingly, his 93 rushing yards are the seventh-most of any quarterback this year).
Dalton’s 77.1 accuracy percentage is the seventh highest in the league. He’s completed 57.7 percent of his passes that have gone for 20 or more yards downfield, that ties Matt Ryan for fourth-best in the league.
Up next, Dalton will face Cleveland and Washington at home. Then Cincinnati will have a bye. His early fantasy playoffs schedule is pretty nice, as well. Week 14 at Cleveland. Week 15 home versus Pittsburgh. In Week 16 he’s at Houston, but we’ll have to see how that defense continues to hold up as we get farther into the season.
Eddie Lacy has the league’s highest elusive rating, no matter what his weight actually is.
I would like the announcers to stop brining up Lacy’s weight on air. Even when they are trying to be positive by bringing up P90X and Lacy working hard, it’s gross. It’s rude. And frankly, he doesn’t look that different.
Instead, let’s focus on results. Right now, Lacy has a 95.4 PFF elusive rating due to his 21 total forced missed tackles on the season. At 76.7, David Johnson has the second-highest rating. Lacy is averaging 3.41 yards after contact, second only to Isaiah Crowell.
He even has four breakaway (15-plus yards) runs on the season. That’s the same amount as DeMarco Murray, LeGarrette Blount, Frank Gore and Lamar Miller. And yet, Lacy has at least 29 fewer carries than each of those backs on the season. He’s tied with Ezekiel Elliott averaging 5.1 yards per carry.
Lacy is not really involved in the passing game (four catches off of six targets for 28 yards on the season). He only has 71 carries in five games and no touchdowns. However, if his efficiency remains at this level, he could be the perfect mid-season buy low. People are down on Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the team’s name appeal took a hit. Lacy is also dealing with an injury so you could perhaps get him cheap. Really cheap.
Two tight ends have more than 30 receptions with no drops: Greg Olsen and Zach Miller.
Jordan Reed and Dennis Pitta are the only other two tight ends with 30-plus catches and any number of drops. Trading for a tight end is risky, and most of the time a bad idea. But this year is different. This year, we have a problem.
Reed is being evaluated for his sixth concussion since 2011. It’s scary. At bare minimum, you can’t count on him for a few weeks. Pitta may have 34 catches, but he only has 295 yards and no touchdowns. Martellus Bennett is the only tight end with four touchdowns on the season.
Last week, 11 tight ends scored touchdowns. Great! But check out the names: Rob Gronkowski, Coby Fleener, Hunter Henry, C.J. Fiedorowicz, Levine Toilolo, Vernon Davis, Jack Doyle, Lance Kendricks, Anthony Fasano, Ed Dickson and Josh Hill.
According to Yahoo, only Gronkowski, Fleener and Henry are owned in more than 10 percent of leagues. Six of the 11 scoring tight ends are owned in 1 percent or less of leagues.
This position is incredibly unpredictable. If you can make a trade for a standout tight end, this is your time to do it. Only the four tight ends I mentioned are getting volume, so I would focus on the best two, Olsen and Miller. You can get Miller cheaper, so I’d start there. Gronkowski is blowing up now that he’s healthy and Brady’s back. Bennett will be hit-or-miss with a healthy Gronk. Henry looks like another candidate for solid tight end production. Do yourself a favor, shore up that position now, if you can.