A simple look at a score or study of fantasy categories doesn’t always tell the whole story of how a player is performing. Dalton Del Don attempts to identify misleading numbers that are worth a closer look.
Yes… The numbers lie.
Richardson had a modest passing debut on the surface, but his usage suggests he can be a top-five fantasy quarterback right away. He stays a limited passerbut the Colts called 45 dropbacks in the rookie’s first start, a number that tied Patrick Mahomes for eighth in Week 1. Richardson also ranked eighth in first-down throwing percentagewhile Indy was first with a neutral pace.
AR had two of the Colts’ three carries inside the 5-yard line (and would have had another had he not left with a minor injury) and led all QBs in designed runs in Week 1. In fact, Richardson accounted for 27% of Indy’s designed rushing attempts and posted a 9% scramble rate.
If Richardson hadn’t gone out, he likely would have ended up as Fantasy QB2 in Week 1 despite throwing for fewer than 225 yards and just one touchdown (and being tackled at the 1-yard line).
Cam Akers leading the league in carries is a lie
Akers started and finished with a career-high 22 carries in Week 1, but the numbers are misleading. Beat writers warned all summer that Kyren Williams would be an important part of Los Angeles’ backfield, and Sunday’s usage suggested he was the team’s “star.”
Akers just played four shots in the first half!
Williams had more touches until Akers did 11 in the last nine minutes while maintaining a double-digit Rams lead. Williams had done it an advantage in snap share (65% versus 35%), share of routes (74% versus 10%) and transports within the 10 (3 versus 2). He nearly scored his third touchdown before Akers replaced him and ran him in from the 1. Akers has the third-most touches in the league but has run 25 fewer routes, played half as many snaps and seen a third of the red zone brings respect to Williams.
We haven’t even talked about performance, which one it also skews Williamswho was one of the most active receivers in the league in Week 1. Akers benefited greatly from a game script (and rhythm) will likely look a lot different for LA moving forward, starting this week against the 49ers.
Tee Higgins’ zero catches were a lie
While fantasy managers have my blessing to worry about Drake London and DJ Moore, there’s no reason to sweat Higgins’ goose eggs in week one. Weather was a major factor that stopped both passing attacks. Joe Burrow had done it the worst match of his career returning from a calf injury that prevented him from training for much of the preseason.
Using Higgins, however, was perfectly fine, as he ran a route during each Tana dropback with a share of 25%.. His eight targets without catching they were historical and the most since 2015. Higgins has seen a lot of them first reading aspect and had the highest average depth of target (18.9 yards) among all WRs in Week 1 (which also helps explain why he wasn’t caught!).
Treat Higgins exactly as you did a week ago.
Luke Musgrave’s 6.5 fantasy points were a lie
Musgrave’s 6.5 fantasy points they were good enough for a top-10 finish (0.5 PPR) in what seemed like a tight finishing position darker than ever in the first week. But the rookie could have led All The fantasy tight end in the scoring had Jordan Love Don’t spill it on the groundor if he hadn’t fallen after a long recovery right before the end zone.
Musgrave was helped by the absence of Christian Watson, but that was it encouraging usage during its debut. He led all Packers in routes run and should be added in fantasy leagues given his tight end status (and Jordan Love looked great). The recent scoring doesn’t show how close Musgrave was to a big game, and this week he gets a Falcons defense that allowed the third-most fantasy points to a balanced result last season.
Chicago’s backfield touches were a lie, but…
Khalil Herbert was Chicago took the lead on Sunday until the final two drives when the score was 38-14. In other words, 92% Roschon Johnson the touches arrived at the time of the garbageincluding five targets beyond the last four minutes. Johnson went from seeing six snaps (no opportunities) before halftime to getting 12 opportunities after.
But the Bears watched Badso similar game scripts may be normal moving forward. Johnson also impressedwhile Herbert failed to do so (3.0 YPC).
Probably Herbert the owner remains, and he led the NFL in yards above expectations last season, so he still has potential. But Chicago’s new regime isn’t beholden to him as if he were a rookie. D’Onta Foreman also rotated sets at times, so it’s not an ideal fantasy setup in many ways, although one encouraging change was that Justin Fields targeted his running backs a whopping 15 times.
Joshua Kelley’s carries were a lie, but…
Kelley finished with the same number of carries (16) as Austin Ekeler, but many of them came after Ekeler left with an ankle injury late in the third quarter (which oddly wasn’t widely reported until days later). Ekeler barely saw the field in the final 17 minutes, while Kelley’s snap percentage jumped to 78% in the fourth quarter (when he ran seven times).
In other words, Ekeler’s (21) opportunities were as good as, if not better, than ever before he suffered the injury.
But Kelley was surprisingly active before Ekeler’s injury and has clearly established himself (5.7 YPC) as LAC’s No. 2 in an offense crafted by new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore the league’s heaviest run in Week 1. After finishing second last season, the Chargers were before a mile in RB expected fantasy points last week.
Ekeler’s injury is unclear, but if it is a high ankle sprainKelley could be a top 10 fantasy in Week 2. He was my #1 waiver target. 2 this week (behind Puka Nacua, of course).