Soppe’s Week 7 Lineup Ranks
I’m a stats man. I love working with the numbers and that is how I prepare my lineup ranks on a weekly basis. But who is to say that you value the same characteristics that I do? That’s why I give you a peek behind the curtain, a look inside the statistics that matter and the trends you may have been unaware of. Why would you ever settle for a simple list of names again?
** UPDATED 10/18/2014 to reflect the Percy Harvin trade (he's not playing this week, so that takes him out of my Top 60), react the injury news, and subtract those who played Thursday Night. The stats at the bottom are still accurate, but I've left the ranks next to their name alone, thus allowing you to see the difference in current rank to the Wednesday rank **
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- Arian Foster: Back-to-back massive weeks (313 yards and four touchdowns) against the Cowboys and Colts. Subtract just his production and those two defenses are allowing 106.9 rushing yards and 0.6 touchdowns per game. The Steelers are allowing 111.2 yards and 1.0 touchdowns per game.
- Demaryius Thomas: The unquestioned top healthy receiver in football has accounted for 48.9 percent of Peyton Manning’s passing yards over the last two games.
- Giovani Bernard: Las Vegas’ opening betting line for this game was Indianapolis by 2.5 points. Safe to say it’ll be a close game? In non-blowouts, the Colts are surrendering 24.7 PPR points to the highest scoring opposing running back.
- Le’Veon Bell: The Steelers have rotated wins and losses each week this season. Bell is averaging 20.7 PPR points in their last six victories.
- DeMarco Murray: You might have heard that this Murray guy is kinda sorta good (14 touchdowns in his last 14 games with at least 15 carries). The Giants have allowed opposing running backs to total 444 yards and three scores over the last two weeks.
- Jamaal Charles: Darren McFadden was able to average 48.7 percent more yards per carry last week against the Chargers than his average rate since the beginning of 2012. If Charles can do that, you are looking at 7.32 yards per carry. Over that stretch, he has averaged 15.8 carries and 39 receiving yards per game … that puts him in the 20 PPR point neighborhood, even without a touchdown.
- Jordy Nelson: Has been the target for 36 percent of Aaron Rodgers’ passes this season and has scored 10 touchdowns in his last eight October games.
- Antonio Brown: The catch count is as consistent as any player in history and keeps Fantasy owners happy, but the touchdown rate is what has many clamoring for him to be considered among the elite. He has scored seven touchdowns in his last six home games.
- Matt Forte: No player caught more passes than Pierre Garcon (113) last season. Forte has one more catch than Washington’s top receiver has targets this season.
- Marshawn Lynch: Week 6 was the fourth time Beast Mode finished a game with 10 or less carries since the beginning of 2012. He has piled up 392 yards and four touchdowns in the game following the previous three occasions.
- Alshon Jeffery: Working on a career best four game streak of at least 100 yards or a touchdown.
- Julio Jones: Nearly 26 percent of his targets have come at least 20 yards down the field. Only the Jaguars have allowed more passing yards and more 20-yard completions than the Ravens.
- Andre Ellington: Now with three straight 20-plus touch efforts (0 in his first 17 career games), Ellington gets a defense that has allowed the considerably less talented Lamar Miller and Branden Oliver to average 17.3 Fantasy points on the ground alone over the last two weeks.
- Dez Bryant: Hasn’t had multiple catches and a touchdown against the Giants since doing so twice in his rookie season.
- Kelvin Benjamin: Do the Vikings have a number one receiver? If you subtract them from the equation, Green Bay has allowed the opponent’s top receiver to either lead the team in receiving yards or score a touchdown in every game this season.
- Ben Tate: We always discuss opportunity driving Fantasy value. Well, this rank walks the talk. The Jags rank in the top quarter of the league in rush attempts against per week, while the Browns rank in the top quarter of the league in rush attempts per week. Only DeMarco Murray has more carries than Tate since he returned from his knee injury.
- Larry Fitzgerald: After scoring his first home touchdown last season, Fitz has scored five times in the next five weeks. He scored his first home touchdown last week.
- Justin Forsett: The Falcons have allowed the four dual threat running backs that they have faced this season to average seven receptions. Forsett is averaging 0.92 Fantasy points per rush attempt, 27.8 percent more than Murray.
- Randall Cobb: No defense playing this week has allowed more touchdowns but fewer yards per pass attempt than the Panthers. Cobb has the lowest aDOT (average depth of target) among Green Bay receivers and has two more touchdowns than any other WR in the NFL this year.
- Brandon Marshall: It’s been three calendar years since the last time he failed to score in three consecutive games; he’s been held out of the endzone in each of the past two weeks.
- Alfred Morris: The Redskins scored 75 points in Weeks 2-3: Morris had 45 carries. They’ve scored 51 points in the three weeks since: Morris has had just 38 carries.
- Andre Williams: The Cowboys may be 5-1, but they are giving up 5.1 yards per carry and have allowed 280 rush yards on 44 carries in their last two home games.
- T.Y. Hilton: It takes time to run deep routes and no team has a worse pass rush than the Bengals this season.
- DeAndre Hopkins: Pittsburgh has allowed a receiver with an aDOT of at least 11.9 lead their opponent in receiving yards in four of the last five weeks. Hopkins’ aDOT for 2014 is 11.9.
- Eddie Lacy: The disappointing season continues, as Lacy snapped his streak of 13 straight games with a reception last week and has now averaged 3.3 yards per carry or less in six of his last seven regular season games.
- Ahmad Bradshaw: After doing so only once in the first four weeks, Bradshaw has recorded double- digit carries and double-digit pass routes run in back-to-back weeks. He also has managed a gain of at least 15 yards in all six games this season.
- Golden Tate: He hasn’t had back-to-back weeks without a 20-plus yard reception since Weeks 1-2 of last year.
- Julian Edelman: All other Patriot WR's have been targeted 55 times this season … Edelman has seen 54 passes thrown his way.
- Marques Colston: Jimmy Graham has missed just one game over the last three-plus seasons: Colston caught seven of the 10 passes thrown his way for 73 yards and a score on that day.
- Pierre Garcon: He has caught just five passes in three home games this season and has scored only one touchdown in his past 12 home games.
- Markus Wheaton: The Texans gave up an 80-yard touchdown pass to the conservative Bills three weeks ago, three passes of at least 34 yards to the Cowboys two weeks ago, and a massive 223-yard performance to T.Y. Hilton last week. Only Andrew Luck and Philip Rivers are completing a higher percentage of their passes and have more 20-plus yard completions than Ben Roethlisberger this season.
[caption id="attachment_82361" align="alignright" width="300"] Bishop Sankey … rookie to watch or over-hyped prospect that isn’t worth your time? Photo Credit: Thomson200 [/caption]
Bishop Sankey: Set season highs in snap percentage, touches, and long rush. Not a bad way to enter a game in which the sixth worst defensive line against the run opposes Sankey’s ninth best run blocking offensive line.
- Emmanuel Sanders: This will be the Broncos third game against a Top 10 (in terms of passing yards allowed) pass defense. Sanders caught 19 passes for 257 yards in the first two instances.
- Rueben Randle: Jordy Nelson, Kelvin Benjamin, and Dez Bryant all have the same number of targets as Randle over the last month.
- Roddy White: Target rate is right on pace with last season but his catch rate is down to 50 percent from 64 percent a year ago. The reason? A swelling aDOT. That shouldn’t be a major issue against a Ravens defense that ranks below average in yards per pass attempt and has allowed 626 passing yards over the last two weeks.
- Brandin Cooks: The Lions superior front seven forces opposing quarterbacks to check down with regularity, thus explaining their Top 5 rank in yards per pass attempt. That should be OK with Cooks owners, as the Saints rookie owns an aDOT that is 29.1 percent lower than any other receiver with at least 25 catches this season.
- Andre Johnson: After last week, “The Natural” has scored a touchdown in five games over the last two calendar years. He averaged 21.7 PPR Fantasy points following the previous four games with a TD.
- Ronnie Hillman: Has touched the ball on 43.8 percent of his snaps over the last two weeks. He hasn’t been overly successful, but there is little question about who is getting the carries in Denver and who stands to gain value from the genius that is Peyton Manning.
- Kendall Wright: Tennessee quarterbacks have a higher quarterback rating this season when throwing to Wright than Cutler does to Marshall or Stafford to Johnson, a trend worth knowing when opposing a Redskins defense that has the fifth highest QB rating against.
- Cecil Shorts: Nine different Jags caught a pass and four recorded a rushing attempt, yet Shorts was still targeted 25 percent of the time he was on the field and 33 percent of the time he ran a route.
- Shane Vereen: Had 121 career carries entering this season and was on pace for 119 before Stevan Ridley shredded both his ACL and MCL.
- Kennan Allen: He scored five times on eight catches in a three game span late last season. Ignore that stretch and he hasn’t scored in 11 straight regular season games.
- Michael Crabtree: He has caught 11 passes in San Francisco’s four wins and 17 in their two losses. Not a great sign for a player who plays on a good team, but they are an underdog this weekend in Denver.
- Michael Floyd: The Raiders have given up nine 20-plus yard receptions in their last two games.
- Lamar Miller: Saw his snap count remain steady despite the return of Knowshon Moreno; that’s good. His yards per carry dropped by at least 26.4 percent for the second consecutive week; that’s not so good. With Moreno out for the year, Miller is going to maintain value, but it is based more on quantity of touches, not quality.
- Frank Gore: A second consecutive week in which Gore was featured less in the run game and it doesn’t sound like an accident. Carlos Hyde, while unsuccessful, even got some goal line work.
- Branden Oliver: Conservative rank given the unknown status of Donald Brown and the fact that carry count is the only thing keeping San Diego backs relevant these days. They rank third in the league in rush attempts, but their 2.9 yards per carry rank them dead last.
- Mike Wallace: The burner has scored in 8 of his last 11 games and faces a Bears defense that has allowed 20.3 percent of completions to go for at least 20 yards this season.
- Percy Harvin: Even in a season in which he is struggling to produce the big play; Harvin tops all receivers in catch rate (minimum 10 receptions). That is a trend I’ll buy into for this week, as Seattle travels to St. Louis to face the defense allowing the fourth highest completion percentage.
- Pierre Thomas: Blind devotion to a player I obviously love? Maybe, but with Mark Ingram expected back and Jimmy Graham likely sidelined, the “Darren Sproles” role is opening up nicely for the PT Bruiser (he’s caught nearly 91 percent of passes thrown his way since the beginning of last season). Is it a coincidence that Thomas has scored four times on 31 touches in the Saints last three victories?
- Wes Welker: The Niners are allowing opponents to convert on third downs at the ninth highest rate in the NFL, and no Denver pass-catcher had a higher percentage of his catches on third down than WW last season.
- Reggie Wayne: The Bengals have allowed multiple receivers to haul in five-plus passes and score in back-to-back weeks. Wayne and T.Y. Hilton are the only Colt receivers to haul in at least a handful of passes over the last month.
- Torrey Smith: “Racked up 30.3 percent of his Standard Fantasy points in two consecutive weeks in 2012 and 25.4 percent in two consecutive weeks in 2013.”
- Joique Bell: Reggie Bush is expected back for a revenge game with his former employer, but Bell has been more productive that you know over the last two weeks. He has averaged at least 4.0 yards per carry while catching multiple passes in back-to-back weeks. Remember his breakout 2013 that had everyone reaching for him in drafts this season? Yea, he didn’t pull of this feat once last year.
- Mohamed Sanu: Was targeted once every 7.6 routes run through two weeks. That number has spiked to one target every 3.6 routes run over Cincinnati’s last three games.
- Sammy Watkins: For the month prior to last week’s shadow duty from Darrelle Revis, the Bills promising rookie ranked fourth among receivers in targets.
- Steven Jackson: Why his snap count has remained constant is beyond me, as his fall in yards per carry in the second half (down to 2.35 from 4.83 from the first half) indicates that the veteran is aging before our eyes.
- Justin Hunter: Only Jacksonville’s defense has a worse TD:INT ratio and is allowing more yards per pass attempt than the Redskins. One-third of Hunter’s receptions this season have gone for at least 20 yards.
- DeSean Jackson: He ranks 29th in number of targets at least 20 yards down the field but third in yards gained on “deep” passes. He’s still a high-risk high-reward option, but his change of jersey hasn’t affected his ability to turn one opportunity into a productive Fantasy outing.
- Jerick McKinnon: The Bills defense has been statistically elite against running backs, but look at the names that they’ve shut down. Instead of starters Knowshon Moreno, Ryan Mathews, Arian Foster, Reggie Bush, and Stevan Ridley the Bills have shut down Lamar Miller, Donald Brown, Alfred Blue, George Winn, and Brandon Bolden. McKinnon isn’t a blue-chip NFL talent, but he is the player that Minnesota wants starting, something that’s been a rarity against Buffalo this season. He’s not a great play, but don’t assume he is worthless.
I’m a big fan of the March Madness brackets, so I’ll give you a little extra ranks as a reward for reading this article and willing to go the extra mile to field the best possible Week 7 lineup.
First Two Out: Allen Robinson and Dwayne Bowe
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