Most folks in fantasy football play the first 16 weeks of the regular season. If your team struggled this season with injuries or poor performances it's possible that you were locked out of the playoffs as early as Week 14. With fewer folks still playing playoff fantasy football what are you left to do? What I'm getting at is that most fantasy players are now in full on fan mode as they are focusing more on following NFL teams than thinking about how the players performed during the regular season. That's why I'm here, to remind you. This isn't going to be a fantasy piece per se since fantasy advice for 2013 has been rendered a moot point for most. Instead, I'm just going to review performances from the NFL regular season and point out some interesting tidbits that you might consider pondering over the offseason as you worry about how to rank players for the 2014 season.
Andy Dalton threw for 4,293 yards and 33 touchdowns. How many signal callers matched both numbers? The answer is three – Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers.
Nick Foles threw an interception every 118 passes. Eli Manning threw one every 20.4 passes.
Tony Romo had 31 touchdown passes and only 11 interceptions. The only other QB with at least that many scores and fewer interceptions was Peyton Manning. Speaking of Manning, he may have only tossed 10 interceptions but he lost six fumbles, the most at the position (tied with Matt Flynn and Ben Roethlisberger).
For the 3rd straight season Matt Ryan threw for 4,000 yards and 25 scores. What makes his 4,515 yards and 26 touchdowns from the just completed season so impressive is the fact that Julio Jones only played five games and Roddy White played 12 games catching just 63 balls.
Matthew Stafford is roundly looked at as somewhat disappointing in the fantasy game. Is that fair? I'd suggest it's not, not by a longshot. Over the past three years an average Stafford season has produced 4,885 yards and 30 touchdowns. You know how many times Tom Brady has reached both of those numbers in one season? The answer is once. Think about that for a moment before discounting Stafford.
Everyone likes to bag on Jordan Cameron and I get it. His season was certainly filled with highs and lows, and no one likes to see those five point outings from their players in the fantasy game. Still, the guy caught 80 passes for 917 yards and seven scores. The only tight end in the game who could match all three of those numbers was Mr. Graham of the Saints.
Vernon Davis was second at the position with 13 scores (he also scored 13 times back in 2009). What made Davis' effort so exciting was that he had scored only 11 times the previous two seasons in the Niners' run first attack. Vernon only caught 52 balls but his total of 850 reeving yards was still good enough for 6th at the position.
Antonio Gates really slowed in the second half of the season as Ladarius Green started to assert himself, but Gates still caught 77 passes for 872 yards. Those numbers were both four season highs. Unfortunately he only scored four times, the first time he failed to reach the end zone at least seven times since his rookie season back in 2003.
Jimmy Graham was the only tight end in football with more than 920 receiving yards. He had 1,215. He was so impressive that if you cut his yardage mark in half, down to 608 yards, he would exactly match the season long output of Coby Fleener. Seriously. Moreover, Graham scored 16 times. That means he scored as many times as Antonio Gates (four), Martellus Bennett (five) and Jordan Cameron (seven).
Jason Witten caught 73 passes, a seven year low. Witten went for 851 yards, a seven year low. Witten scored eight times though, an after scoring a total of eight times the previous two seasons his overall fantasy production was still solid even though he saw a significant reduction in his pass catching. In fact, Witten had 111 targets in 2013. He caught 110 passes in 2012.