Fantasy Meets Reality: 15 super-fun facts to digest for NFL Week 5


11Alive Sports serves up 15 gloriously fun facts to digest, in advance of NFL Week 5.

We’re talking about premium knowledge that will surely help your weekend cause if/when …

**Attempting to win barstool debates among strangers.

**Unwittingly pushing your spouse or family to the absolute breaking point of delirium, assuming they don’t also eat, breathe and live for football.


1. My Buffalo-based moles say it’s time for LeSean McCoy to become the Bills’ workhorse once again, in advance of a four-game stretch with the Titans, Texans, Colts and Patriots.

In other words, McCoy represents an excellent buy-low candidate at this point, especially if Buffalo’s secondarily looking to boost Shady’s trade value in the coming weeks.

Regarding this week’s opponent, here’s the scoop:

a) In two career outings against Tennessee, McCoy eclipsed the mark of 100 total yards both times (plus one touchdown).

b) The Titans have yet to surrender a rushing touchdown all season … which means they’re due on this end.

c) Of his last three October home games, McCoy owns absurd averages of 146 total yards and 2.3 touchdowns per contest.

2. The Vikings might be a real-world boondoggle out of the gate (on defense, at least), but the fantasy prospects remain strong for quarterback Kirk Cousins and wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs.

To wit:

a) The Eagles (this week’s opponent) own bottom-7 tallies against opposing wideouts, citing targets, receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns allowed.

b) Thielen (40 catches, 473 yards, 2 TDs) and the Texans’ DeAndre Hopkins are the only wideouts to post double-digit targets in every game this season.

Going further, only Thielen has notched 12 or more targets for Weeks 1-4.

c) Diggs has been near-unstoppable since Week 2, averaging eight catches, 13 targets, 90 yards and 0.6 touchdowns during that span; and this includes a 17-yard clunker against Buffalo.

d) The Minnesota offensive line has been shaky with run blocking, fueling the need for more accurate passing from Cousins, who’s on pace for 5,000-plus yards passing and 40 touchdowns–including a completion rate in the neighborhood of 70 percent.

3. The injury-wrecked Falcons have been a statistical mess on defense, posting bottom-7 tallies with completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns allowed.

What’s more, Atlanta owns bottom-4 rankings with points and total yards surrendered.

Which brings us to Ben Roethlisberger’s scintillating Sunday of impending greatness.

Of his last five non-divisional home games, Big Ben boasts absurd averages of 370 yards passing and 3.6 touchdowns.

4. This is why we love PPR leagues:

In nine career outings against AFC North competition, Jarvis Landry has averaged 15.1 PPR points during that span … despite finding the end zone just once (ironically, his lone TD came against Cleveland).

What’s Landry’s key to success? He’s essentially a weekly lock for seven catches and double-digit targets … which explains why he’s the only receiver in NFL history to corral 400 catches over his first four seasons.

And yet, Landry was there for the taking in Round 4 of just about every fantasy draft this summer.

5. At first blush, Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles comes off a schizophrenic asset in fantasy circles; but maybe only that should be the case against AFC South foes.

Charting his last five regular-season outings against non-divisional foes, Bortles holds rock-solid averages of 318 yards and 2.2 touchdowns per game.

Bortles should be a stealth pick for this week, as well. Through four weeks of regular-season action, the Chiefs defense owns bottom-10 rankings with completions, pass attempts, passing yards and passing touchdowns allowed to opposing quarterbacks.

6. Rams tailback Todd Gurley deserves the No. 1 tailback spot this week for three reasons:

a) Of his five career outings against the Seahawks, Gurley owns steady averages of 85 total yards and one touchdown.

b) Seattle currently ranks 27th against the rush, allowing nearly 123 ground yards per game.

c) Here’s the kicker: Of Gurley’s last 20 outings (including the playoffs), the Georgia product reached the elite-level threshold of 100 total yards and/or one touchdown 19 times.

The lone clunker of the bunch: A home date with Seattle last year.

7. Charting his last eight complete games against AFC East foes, Bengals wideout A.J. Green reached the elite-level threshold of 100 receiving yards and/or one touchdown six times.

Also, during this stretch, dating back to 2013, Green proffered top-notch averages of 7.3 catches, 86 yards and 0.5 TDs.

8. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (646 yards passing, 8 total TDs through three games) has a brief, but interesting history against the Giants:

a) Of his three career outings versus New York, Newton owns superb averages of 268 yards passing and 3.3 touchdowns per game.

b) For good measure, Newton either rushed for 100 yards or notched one rushing touchdown in every Giants encounter.

9. Something must give with Sunday’s matchup of Drew Brees versus the Redskins defense.

a) Through three games, Washington boasts top-3 rankings with points, passing yards and passing touchdowns allowed.

b) On the flip side, Brees has averaged 311 yards passing and 2.3 TDs in his last three meetings with the Redskins.

10. Man, that Matt Breida matchup looks pretty juicy this week, huh?

Even with his knee issue, which could be a game-time-decision thing all season, it’s hard to envision Breida (398 total yards, 1 TD) being a flop against the Cardinals.

Through four games, Arizona’s defense ranks dead-last in rushing touchdowns allowed (by a healthy margin), along with 31st in rushing yards surrendered per game.

And check this out: Opposing teams are averaging 31 rush attempts per game against the Cardinals.

This should be a strong tell about the Niners’ plans for Sunday.

11. There’s a good news/bad news proposition involving the fantasy prospects of Aaron Rodgers, heading into Sunday’s crucial clash with the Lions:

a) On the plus front, Rodgers holds sterling averages of 265 yards passing and 3.2 touchdowns in his last five encounters with Detroit.

Also, opposing quarterbacks have enjoyed a ratio of one touchdown pass per 9.1 attempts against the Lions.

b) On the negative front, the Lions have given up the fewest amount of completions and pass attempts this season, while also touting a top-3 ranking with passing yards allowed.

12. The 49ers have not defeated the Arizona Cardinals since Jim Harbaugh left the franchise in December 2014.

For this six-game slide, San Francisco tallied a grand total of three touchdown passes for the head-to-head encounters (two from Blaine Gabbert, one from Colin Kaepernick).

13. The Redskins have a 51/49-percent ratio for runs-to-passes through three games, but don’t expect this trend to continue Monday night, citing three reasons:

a) The Saints have the NFL’s No. 3 run defense, surrendering only 80 ground yards per contest.

b) On the flip side, New Orleans has allowed the most receiving yards and receiving touchdowns to opposing wideouts.

c) With tight end Jordan Reed healthy, and Chris Thompson and Adrian Peterson wreaking havoc in the Redskins’ versatile backfield, receiver Jamison Crowder (100-percent catch-to-target rate in Week 3) likely won’t see a double team all day.

14. The Vikings have faced the Eagles 27 times since 1962, including the NFC title game back in January.

Within that span, two interesting trends have developed:

a) Philadelphia owns a perfect 4-0 record versus Minnesota in head-to-head playoff showdowns.

b) The Vikings have never been held scoreless by the Eagles.

And last but not least …

15. Remember how Chargers tailback Melvin Gordon failed the find the end zone his entire rookie campaign (2015)?

Well, since that ignominious stat became official, Gordon has cracked the marks of 100 total yards and/or one touchdown 26 times in a 32-game span; and during this stretch, the Wisconsin star has located the end zone 29 times.

Which begs the question: What’s Gordon’s track record against the Raiders?

The fourth-year pro holds supremely clean averages of 120 total yards and one touchdown in his last three encounters with Oakland, which has surrendered the NFL’s third-most rushing TDs this season.

© 2018 WXIA

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