42 Facts to Know About This Weekend's NFL Wild Card Round
The end of the fantasy football season marks the start of two things: a new season of The Bachelor and more fantasy football.
If there's football on television, then we -- football fans -- are playing fantasy football. It's how it works. The only problem, as an analyst and writer, is that things aren't so simple come playoff time.
You see, during the regular season, fantasy football analysis is generally categorized cleanly as either being season-long or daily fantasy focused. The latter still exists when the NFL postseason hits, but the former takes on about a hundred different forms. And that makes it difficult to write content that fits one general league format.
So, no, if your fantasy playoff league has rules where you can only use players in your lineup whose first names start with the letter A, we won't be catering to you. I'm sorry.
With that being said, we can all appreciate interesting data and analytics to help make more-informed lineup choices, right? Right. That's why I decided to gather up over 40 facts about the eight teams participating in this weekend's set of games. Have at it.
The 42 Facts
1. Since the start of the 2014 season, Ben Roethlisberger has averaged 269.91 passing yards, 1.05 passing touchdowns, and a 7.47 yards per attempt average per game on the road. At home, these numbers are 339.85, 2.90, and 8.89.
2. Ladarius Green has played 30 or more snaps (roughly 50%) in just two games this year. In those contests, he's totaled 182 receiving yards and a touchdown.
3. Over the last two years, Le'Veon Bell has started and completed 17 games. He's finished with at least 108 total yards (rushing and receiving) in all but two of them.
4. Outside of Bell, no running back in the wild card round had a double-digit target market share this season. Ty Montgomery's 9.12% is second-best.
5. Antonio Brown has 23 targets without a touchdown over his last three playoff games. He's actually never scored a touchdown in the postseason.
6. Over the Dolphins' last three games (their only three games without quarterback Ryan Tannehill), Kenny Stills has a higher target market share (22.50%) than DeVante Parker (21.25%) while playing two more snaps.
8. Without center Mike Pouncey -- who's on injured reserve -- this season, Ajayi has averaged 4.12 yards per carry. With Pouncey, that number rises to 5.91.
9. Among the 58 wide receivers with 50 or more catches this year, Jarvis Landry's 5.34 yards at the point of the catch per reception this season ranked sixth-lowest. (Cordarrelle Patterson was lowest at 2.52.)
11. The problem is that Moore also has a 47.72% Success Rate, or percentage of plays that result in positive expected points. On the year, 19 quarterbacks have a better rate -- he's bolstered his averages with some big plays.
12. According to our schedule-adjusted rush defense numbers, only the Atlanta Falcons, among all playoff teams, have a worse run defense than the Dolphins.
13. Brock Osweiler is bad, but he's very good at looking exactly like Robert Pattinson.
14. Osweiler was the third-worst starting quarterback per Net Expected Points this year, losing 0.04 expected points per drop back for the Texans. The league average at quarterback this season among 200-plus attempt passers was 0.13, meaning Osweiler was effectively losing 0.17 points per drop back compared to a league-average passer this year.
15. Texans' running back Lamar Miller finished the season with a 35.45% Success Rate, which is below average among 100-plus attempt running backs (anything around 40% is about average). The lowest Success Rate he had in a single season entering the year was 37.85%.
17. Will Fuller has 58 targets since Week 4, but he hasn't scored a touchdown. During the 2016 NFL season, wide receivers scored a touchdown on every 21.82 targets.
20. That may not show us anything because it's a tiny, tiny sample, but Crabtree out-targeted Cooper by 14 looks this season.
21. From Weeks 11 through 15, Latavius Murray saw no fewer than 50% of Oakland's snaps in each contest. Over the team's last two games, his snap rates have been 41% and 30%, respectively.
22. And over the last three weeks, Murray has seen his rushing market share in the Raiders' backfield drop 4.79%.
23. Despite having a strong record -- which, in turn, would create negative game scripts for opposing offenses -- the Raiders' defense faced the fourth-fewest pass attempts against this season.
24. Eli Manning didn't have a strong year for the Giants, finishing with 39.76 Passing Net Expected Points, good (bad?) for 22nd in the NFL. But when the Giants won the Super Bowl in 2007, his regular season Passing NEP was -46.01, and his per drop back rate of -0.08 that season is still the second-worst we've seen from a Super Bowl-winning quarterback since the turn of the century.
26. Odell Beckham, who's facing the Packers on Sunday, scored 0.059 touchdowns per target this season, while teammate Sterling Shepard scored 0.076 touchdowns per target. Among the 93 wideouts with 50 or more targets this year, those rates rank 23rd and 11th, respectively.
28. The Giants finished the regular season running a play every 25.59 seconds, which was fourth-fastest in the NFL. The Packers, meanwhile, ran a play every 30.37 seconds, which was the fourth-slowest.
29. After Week 11, when the Packers had a less than 10% chance to make the playoffs according to our numbers, Aaron Rodgers completed 142 of 200 passes for 1,667 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions.
30. Jared Cook returned to action in Week 11 after sustaining an injury in Week 3, directly coinciding with Rodgers’ rise in play. If you think Cook is irrelevant to the offense, at least consider the fact that Rodgers’ yards per attempt is 7.95 with a healthy Cook this season and 6.54 without him.
31. Since Week 7, the only team to not throw an interception against the Giants has been...Cleveland.
33. Through the first nine weeks of the season, Matthew Stafford had 18 touchdowns. Over his last seven games, he's had six.
36. Marvin Jones finished the year with a 12.60 yards per catch at the point of the catch rate during the regular season. That’s significantly higher than teammates Eric Ebron (7.13), Anquan Boldin (5.46), and the aforementioned Tate (4.86). Jones, in other words, has been used as Detroit’s sole deep threat.
37. In Week 17, Zach Zenner played 97% of Detroit’s snaps, carrying the ball 20 times. No other running back for the Lions this season had a single-game snap rate above 85%.
38. According to our numbers, only the Browns have been worse than the Lions against the pass this year.
39. Through his first nine games, Russell Wilson had a combined 60 rushing yards. Over his final seven games of the regular season, he combined for 199.
40. In Weeks 16 and 17 -- which also matches up with Tyler Lockett's year-ending broken fibula and tibia -- Paul Richardson has played 92 snaps. That’s only 11 snaps fewer than number-two receiver Jermaine Kearse.
42. Collins has also out-snapped Rawls 73 to 56 over the last two weeks, which makes sense: according to our numbers, Rawls has a 26.61% Success Rate, which is third-worst among the 69 (nice) backs with 50 or more carries this season.