If you woke up to a fresh batch of “Unsuccessful waiver claim…” emails on Wednesday, please don’t get discouraged. We’ll have new fantasy pickups to chase in a few days; the waiver wire never takes a week off. Here’s a six-pack of stats to distract you from your various fantasy problems …
731 – Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray is currently on pace for 731 pass attempts this year, which would be the single-season NFL record. He’s averaged a whopping 45.3 attempts per game over the past four weeks. Murray leads the league in completions at the moment, although he’s also delivering a lousy 5.8 Y/A and an unimpressive 248.2 yards per game. No team is running more plays per game than Arizona (72.2). The return of DeAndre Hopkins will obviously help Murray specifically and the team’s offense in general, but that’s still a week away. Also, it’s not a complete season-saver.
If Kyler is going to continue dropping back 50-plus times per game, we can stream defenses against this team aggressively (but, um … just not Seattle this week. The Seahawks D doesn’t meet minimum quality standards.)
65.5 – Geno Smith continues to lead the NFL in completion percentage (75.2) and it’s not as if he’s doing this on a bunch of short connections to running backs and tight ends. His average depth of target on the season is a perfectly respectable 8.9. Smith has been absolutely on fire on his downfield throws, completing 65.5 percent of attempts traveling 15-plus yards. That’s easily the highest rate in the league on such passes; in fact, only 13 other quarterbacks have completed better than 65.5 percent of their total attempts, regardless of depth.
NFL life is just so much easier for a quarterback who has receivers like this at his disposal:
48 – Tyler Higbee leads all tight ends with 48 total targets, drawing at least nine in four of his five games. Higbee is also tied for the leading position in receptions (33) and he’s fourth in yards (290). Tight end has of course been a brutal fill all season, with few right answers. Higbee hasn’t yet found the end zone, but he’s been as useful as anyone who isn’t Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews hours Taysom Hill. Higbee’s average target depth leaves a lot to be desired (3.8), but that’s the Rams passing game as it exists in 2022.
35.6 – The Chicago Bears, in the year 2022, is passing the ball on first down only 35.6 percent of the time, which is of course the lowest rate in the NFL. We’re entering Week 6 and Justin Fields still hasn’t attempted more than 22 passes in any game. Darnell Mooney, coming off a 1,000-yard season, is on pace for 588 receiving yards.
Related: Chicago is playing on primetime games in back-to-back weeks, beginning Thursday. Please enjoy responsibly.
4.24 – Rhamondre Stevenson is gaining 4.24 yards after contact per attempt so for this year, the second-best rate of any back with over 30 carries. (Tony Pollard is atop that list at 4.43.) Eleven of Stevenson’s 68 rush attempts have gone for more than 10 yards. This week, he’s facing a Cleveland defense that he roasted for 100 yards and two scores last November. The Browns have given up 5.3 yards per carry and 138.2 rushing yards per game through five weeks, so the matchup is ideal. Damien Harris is expected to miss some time with his hamstring injurymaking Stevenson a full-workload runner. His head coach seems awfully fond of him.
In case you missed it, Stevenson spent his Sunday humbling various Lions defenders …
He’ll make a layup line of opponents following the Cleveland game, making him unbenchable in the weeks ahead.
3.7 – Joe Mixon has averaged just 3.7 yards per touch through five weeks, a startling number considering that A) His 116 total touches lead the league, B) He’s on pace to destroy his career high in receptions and C) The man gained 4.5 yards per touch last year . If you happen to have Mixon on a fantasy roster, you certainly didn’t need an expert to tell you that he’s been a remarkably inefficient high-usage player.
Joe Burrow isn’t the only member of the Bengals struggling behind the team’s rebuilt offensive line. Cincinnati won’t actually face a top-10 run defense again until Week 12, so it’s fair to feel cautiously/nervously optimistic about Mixon.