In The Trenches: 2013 Review
This is likely to be my last article covering the 2013 NFL regular season. It won't be a “fantasy” article per se, but hopefully you will still get a kick out of a few things that you will read about below. Happy New Year... and I hope you aren't reading this from jail after a wild bender gone wrong on NYE.
* NOTE: Talk of fantasy points assumes a PPR setup and only recounts production from Weeks 1-16 since most leagues didn't play in Week 17.
Do you know how many QBs threw for 4,000 yards and 30 scores? There was Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and... Andy Dalton. That's right. No Matthew Stafford (29 scores), Matt Ryan (26 TDs) or Tom Brady (25 scores).
Eli Manning threw 27 interceptions to “lead” the league. Twenty-seven is the same total as Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton threw... combined.
Russell Wilson threw 407 passes while Colin Kaepernick tossed 416. That's significant because Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan all completed more passes. Furthermore, Wilson (26) and Kaepernick (21), combined, threw for less scores than Peyton Manning (55).
From Week 9 through Week 16 there wasn't a more prolific fantasy passer than Nick Foles. Yes, he recorded more points than even Peyton Manning in the second half of the season. There is also this. Tom Brady was the #3 QB in points per game from Week 9 on while Ryan Fitzpatrick, yes Ryan Fitzpatrick, was 7th. Hell, Alex Smith was 10th. Speaking of Smith, please don't get carried away with his season. Yes he was very solid but he only threw for 3,313 yards and 23 scores so it's not like he had a massive season or anything.
Only two men ran for 1,300 yards – LeSean McCoy and Matt Forte. McCoy was the only one to run for 1,400 as he actually crested 1,600. McCoy ran for 134 yards more than the Saints team. McCoy also set an Eagles team record with the mark.
Five backs caught 70 passes: Pierre Thomas, Danny Woodhead, Matt Forte, Jamaal Charles and... Darren Sproles. Sproles carried the ball 52 times all season even though his 4.2 YPC mark was the same as Marshawn Lynch. His 604 receiving yards were one behind Woodhead for second best in the league (Charles led the position with 693 yards).
I know you don't want to hear it but Chris Johnson was the 10th most productive running back in PPR setups. He's wildly inconsistent, and it's not like he had a huge year or anything (1,077 yards on the ground, 42 receptions and 10 total scores), but he never gets hurt, touches the ball a lot, and puts up the points. Even if he's not a sexy name anymore.
DeMarco Murray averaged more points per game than Adrian Peterson. I know.
Four “part time” runners finished in the top-15 in total points: Fred Jackson, Danny Woodhead, Joique Bell and Pierre Thomas. There are so many shared backfield anymore that it's possible for many teams to have two strong options out of the backfield (look at the Lions who also had Reggie Bush in the top-15).
Pierre Garcon became the first Redskin to lead the league in receptions since Art Monk in 1984. Garcon hauled in a club record 113 passes for 1,346 yards and five scores. Antonio Brown was even better with 110 receptions, 1,499 yards and eight scores. Garcon, Brown and Jimmy Smith (2001) are the only three players to ever catch at least five passes in every game in a season.
Only 10 wideouts caught 89 passes in 2013. Two of them were teammates on the Bears – Brandon Marshall (100) and Alshon Jeffery (89). The Broncos weren't far behind with two guys with at least 87 receptions – Demaryius Thomas (92) and Eric Decker (87).
Don't know if you noticed or not, but Jordy Nelson is a damn good football player. He caught passes from four QBs in 2013 but still managed to haul in 85 passes for 1,314 yards an eight scores. His effort allowed him to finish in the top-15 at WR.
I bet you that owners of Torrey Smith, Victor Cruz, Brian Hartline and T.Y. Hilton were slightly disappointed in the efforts of their wideouts. At the same time all were still inside the top-25 in points so it's not like any of them were hideous or anything.
Only one TE had 920 receiving yards. It was Jimmy Graham at 1,215.
Only three tight ends had 80 receptions: Graham, Tony Gonzalez and Jordan Cameron.
Only three tight ends caught double-digit scores. Graham (16), Vernon Davis (13) and Julius Thomas (12).
Tony Gonzalez will retire with the completion of the 2013 season. Over the last 15 seasons only once, 2002, did he fail to catch at least 70 passes. In those 15 seasons he also failed to reach 770 receiving yards just one time. He was amazingly consistent.
Jordan Cameron was a top-5 tight end on the season. From Weeks 11-16 he had just one game with double-digit points.
Charles Clay was a top-10 tight end on the season. He failed to reach 10 total points if you add up his Week 15 and 16 efforts. Ugh.
Coby Fleener finished 12th in total points. In 15 games from Week 1-16 Fleener recorded double-digit points six times. That's a pretty bad number for a TE1 isn't it?
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Thursday at 7 PM EDT & Friday's at 9 PM EDT. For more of Ray's analysis you can check out BaseballGuys.com or the BaseballGuys' Twitter account where he tirelessly answers everyone's questions.
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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