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Fantasy FactFinder Week 9: Putting the Patriots D/ST in Perspective


Fantasy football is a fickle game. Through Week 8, only five players scored more fantasy points than the Patriots D/ST: Christian McCaffrey, Deshaun Watson, Dalvin Cook, Russell Wilson, and Michael Thomas. That’s it. New England’s D/ST ranks No. 6 in PPR formats with 181 fantasy points, per FantasyPros. That’s an average of 22.6 fantasy points per game. The midseason mark of 181 ties New Orleans’ number in 2009; for the entire season.

That’s insane.

Exploring historic data from reveals that no D/ST managed to finish inside the top-10 in fantasy points scored. The 2006 Baltimore Ravens came close, scoring 238 points to finish ranked No. 12. The Patriots D/ST posted 225 fantasy points in 2003 (No. 17); the current rendition figures to blow that mark out of the water. According to Football Outsiders, New England boasts the eighth-best total DVOA ranking in NFL history through eight games.


This chart reflects rankings among all offensive positions (QB-RB-WR-TE-K) plus D/ST dating back to the 2009 season. Source:

Run Down

The Bucs allow an average of 3.0 yards per carry and 69 yards per game. Derrick Henry carried the ball 16 times for 75 yards (4.7 YPC) in Tennesee’s victory. Henry’s Week 9 opponent, the Panthers allow an average of 5.0 YPC and 135 yards per game, both second-worst in the league.

With 198 touches and one TD, Leonard Fournette looks primed to explode with positive regression. He ranks inside the top-5 at RB for attempts (163, No. 1), rush yards (791, No. 2) and rush yards per game (98.9, No. 4). He’s the RB5 in PPR but finds himself with 64 fewer fantasy points than RB1 Christian McCaffrey (nine TDs), and 48 fewer than RB2 Dalvin Cook. He’s a screaming buy-low for gamers with playoff aspirations.

Prior to Melvin Gordon’s return in Week 5, Austin Ekeler averaged 14 carries and 26.75 fantasy points per game. In the four games since Gordon’s return, those averages dropped to four carries and 16.2 fantasy points. He still holds value – especially in PPR formats – and can be acquired on the cheap due to his situation. Dangle a recent waiver wire wonder and secondary player to start negotiations.

Lamar Jackson leads the NFL in average yards per carry (6.9) and it’s not close. Among players with at least 50 rush attempts, Raheem Mostert’s 5.7 YPC ranks second and Nick Chubb’s 5.5 YPC ranks third. It’s safe to say Jackson has unlocked the Konami code.

Aaron Jones notched his second 40-point performance, dominating on the ground and through the air for 226 scrimmage yards (159 receiving, 67 rushing). His Week 6 performance, in which he failed to reach 10 fantasy points, feels like ages ago. It also marked the second time he finished as the top-scoring fantasy RB.

Air Raid

Tyler Boyd’s 82 targets rank No. 3 among all players, just behind Cooper Kupp (87) and Michael Thomas (89). Thomas and Kupp rank as WR1 and WR2 with 183.6 and 167.7 PPR points, respectively. Boyd, on the other hand, ranks outside the top-15 (109.1). With the Bengals benching Andy Dalton and going with rookie Ryan Finley at QB, Boyd becomes an easy fade down the stretch in season-long leagues.

According to FantasyPros, no team allows more fantasy points to opposing WRs than the Eagles. That’s good news for Chicago’s Allen Robinson, who faces Philadelphia this week and is due for a blowup game. Despite playing with Blake Bortles Midwest (aka Mitchell Trubisky) at QB, Robinson is on pace to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards this season. It’s no small feat given Trubisky’s shortcomings.

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