Welcome back to the Week 3 edition of By The Numbers. I’m writing this from one of my favorite cities on the entire world – New Orleans. In fact, I’m in a bit of a haze as I pen this. Maybe it was all the huffing, or quite possibly the hookers, who knows? Either way, The French Quarter never disappoints. After I’d had my fill of the “Vieux Carre” I was deep in thought as I traveled back to my humble Midwest estate. It came to my attention that the Saints were playing host to the Atlanta Falcons this week. If you’ve followed the numbers at all the past few years then you’re well aware that it doesn’t get much better than Drew Brees at home. Maybe he adds an extra dose of NyQuil into his lean on Saturday nights or Sean Payton really knows how to whip up some magic jambalaya. Whatever the case, he’s absolutely nails in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Over the past two seasons Brees has averaged 324 yards and 2.87 touchdowns per home game, while producing 292 yards and 1.87 touchdowns on the road. That extra production has helped New Orleans win 68.9% of their home games since 2010, while winning just 52.2% of road contests during that same period. This week he’ll feast on a weak Atlanta pass defense which allowed 299 yards through the air and three touchdowns to Derek Carr in Week 2. Two weeks ago this was the same group that yielded four touchdowns and 281 passing yards to Jameis Winston, while generating zero sacks. With just two weeks worth of data to sift through, Atlanta has already given up seven passing scores against zero interceptions. The Falcons are allowing the third most fantasy points (28.7) in the league to opposing QBs, 12th most fantasy points to WRs (24.9) and they’re ranked second-worst in the league in points allowed to opposing TEs (15.7). In other words…..They’re way below average. Whether you’re playing the daily game or season long fantasy (or both) you obviously want a piece of the Saints’ passing attack in you lineups if possible. Don’t let last weeks low scoring affair scare you away from Brees’ and his tiny hands. He was still able to complete 65 percent of his passes against the Giants and he dropped back 46 times in that contest. This is perhaps the most pass happy attack in the league – averaging 343 yards and 2.5 scores through the first two weeks this year. This game currently holds the highest O/U of the week at 53.5. Hopefully that excites you like it excites me. I currently have a Drew Brees rager you could hang a hat on. Anyway, remember to check out Jay’s rankings and Rudy’s “Pigskinator” to help you dominate your league. They’re without a doubt two of the best in the industry. Without further delay, here’s a look at some stats and facts that might help you win your matchups this week:
- Through two games the Bills’ pass defense is ranked 24th in the league averaging 298 passing yards allowed per contest. They’re allowing 20.7 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs and they’ve been torched by opposing WRs ranking 30th in fantasy points allowed in that respective category. Carson Palmer, Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald all have great matchups this week. Also worth noting – David Johnson saw five targets last week and led the team in receiving with a 3/98/0 line in Week 2.
- We’ve already covered the Saints side of the ball in the lede, but Atlanta will most likely put up their share of points in Monday’s contest as well. The injury riddled New Orleans secondary has given up 672 passing yards (336 per game) ranking 30th in the league, while Matt Ryan has produced a 121.4 QB rating in the first two games. Ryan is off to a fantastic start this year leading the league in QB rating, ranking 2nd in passing yards (730) and throwing five touchdowns against just one interception. The Falcons are averaging 29.5 points per game this season.
- San Diego is allowing 324 passing yards per game which ranks 29th and they’re allowing opposing QBs to score 29.3 fantasy points per game (2nd) and opposing TEs 12.2 fantasy points per game (5th). I expect Andrew Luck and Phillip Dorsett to connect several times Sunday and the Colts will make it a point to get Dwayne Allen involved early and often.
- The Raiders pass defense was obliterated last week by the Falcons and that bodes well for Marcus Mariota who is 50/74 for 509 yards passing and four touchdowns through the air. Oakland is yielding 404 passing yards per game this season and they’ve allowed 7 passing scores while generating just one interception.
- Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams should eat Sunday as the Colts rank 25th in the league in passing yards allowed – yielding 299 per contest. The Indy passing D has generated just two sacks and one interception this season.
- C.J. Anderson has racked up 47 touches for 232 yards and 3 TDs through two games this season. The Bengals are allowing 138 rushing yards per game along with the 8th most fantasy points to opposing RBs (20.7) over the first two weeks. With Trevor Siemian under center, expect Anderson to be a lock for 20+ touches.
- It’s the Melvin Gordon show in Naptown this Sunday as the Colts’ 29th ranked rush defense will be put to the test. Indianapolis has allowed three TDs on the ground so far and they’re allowing a healthy 125 yards per game rushing as well. One other item to watch for is the increase in targets for Gordon now that Danny Woodhead is lost for the year. He’s only recorded three catches in the first two games, but he’ll be the workhorse in this offense moving forward.
- This could be the week that Mark Ingram finally rewards his owners with a productive game. The Falcons rush D has been more than kind this season, averaging 122.5 rushing yards allowed and 23.8 fantasy points per contest to opposing RBs. They were gashed by Oakland last week allowing a ridiculous 6.2 yards per carry. Ingram has averaged just 14 touches per game this season, but that’s mostly due to New Orleans’ abandoning the run game far too early. One other item in Ingram’s favor this week: He’s scored 5TDs over the last three games vs. Atlanta.
- Matt Forte has 59 touches for 264 total yards and 4 TDs over the first two games. Kansas City has been surprisingly bad against the run thus far, allowing 126 yards per game with two rushing TDs given out.
- Tevin Coleman saw four red-zone carries last week after seeing just one in the season opener, while Devonta Freeman’s red-zone carries dropped from four in Week 1 to three last week. While not a significant reduction it does merit some attention moving forward.
- Kirk Cousins targeted 10 receivers during Sunday’s contest vs the Cowboys, but it’s worth noting that Jamison Crowder received 4 of his 8 targets inside the red-zone with two coming inside the ten.
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