Rapin's Ramblings: Alvin Kamara and the NFC South

In doing my research for the fantasy football season, I often come across some very interesting facts, statistics, or tidbits of information. I use those to come up with my projections and ultimately my rankings, but for the most part, those useful morsels of information get buried inside my spiral bound notebook. My goal this year is to do a better job at sharing these potential valuable nuggets with the world.

My goal with these is to simply provide the info to you and let you form your own opinion. It doesn't always work out that way since you may find an opinion or two of mine scattered throughout the article, but feel free to let me know when I'm off base with that opinion.

Sometimes this information raises questions. I may leave a question unanswered and leave it up to you to draw your own conclusion. C'mon...I can't draw every conclusion for you!

Anyways, I hope you find this useful in your research. In case you missed it, here are my Ramblings on the NFL West. Feel free to provide any feedback and make sure to give me a follow on Twitter at @fantasygeek37

Atlanta Falcons

  • Matt Ryan has only missed two games in his 10 year NFL career.
  • With Steve Sarkisian in his first year as Offensive Coordinator for the Falcons, Ryan threw for 4,095 yards, which was his lowest yardage total since 2010. He also had only 529 pass attempts, his lowest since 2009, and 20 touchdowns, his lowest total since his rookie season in 2008.
  • Over the past three seasons, Devonta Freeman has finished as the RB1 (2015), RB6 (2016), and RB13 (2017) in PPR leagues. He also missed two games in 2017. His ADP is RB11 on Fantasy Football Calculator.
  • Freeman only had five games where he finished with more than 12 rushing attempts in 2017.
  • Over the past two seasons, Tevin Coleman has finished as the RB19 and RB22 in PPR leagues. His current ADP on Fantasy Football Calculator is RB30.
  • Julio Jones tied for 16th in red zone targets (18) in 2017 according to NFL Savant, yet only finished with three touchdowns.
  • Julio Jones has not finished with less than 124 targets or 1,409 yards in each of the last four seasons.
  • Over those four years, Julio has not finished below WR7 in PPR leagues.

Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton

When he's healthy, Cam Newton is an absolute fantasy stud.

  • Cam Newton has played in 16 games four times in his six NFL seasons. In those years that he has played 16 games, Newton has finished as QB4 or better every time.
  • The Panthers finished third in the NFL in rush attempts per game (30.6) in 2017.
  • Norv Turner is taking over as the Offensive Coordinator in Carolina. In his last six seasons as Offensive Coordinator or Head Coach (SD/CLE/MIN), Turner's teams have finished in the bottom half of the league in rushing attempts.
  • CJ Anderson was signed by Carolina after playing last season in Denver. Per Pro Football Focus, Denver's offensive line ranked 23rd in 2017 while Carolina's ranked 10th. The Panthers also led the league with an average of 2.89 yards before contact on inside zone runs, which could benefit Anderson.
  • Anderson finished both the 2014 and 2015 season averaging 4.7 yards per carry. In 2016 he averaged 4.0 yards per attempt and 4.1 yards per attempt in 2017.
  • Over the past three seasons, Jonathan Stewart has had 242, 218, and 198 rush attempts per season. While I think Anderson will be more productive per attempt than he has been the last two years, with Norv Turner's recent coaching history paired with the potential increased workload of Christian McCaffrey, I don't believe it's a lock that we see Anderson receive 200 rushing attempts in 2018.
  • Christian McCaffrey led all running backs with 113 targets in 2017.
  • With Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen, Devin Funchess had 63 targets in 2015 and 58 targets in 2016. Last season with Benjamin gone to Buffalo and Olsen only playing a partial season in Carolina, Funchess had 111 targets. The Panthers selected WR DJ Moore in the first round of this year's draft and Olsen is now healthy, so what will happen to Funchess' targets in 2018?
  • Greg Olsen had over 100 targets in each season from 2012-2016.

New Orleans Saints

  • Drew Brees' middle name is Christopher. Betcha didn't know that.
  • Brees had 536 pass attempts in 2017. That was the lowest number of attempts he's had since 2009.
  • Brees threw for 4,334 yards in 2017. That was his lowest yardage total since 2005.
  • Brees threw for 23 touchdowns in 2017. That was his lowest touchdown total since 2013.
  • Despite having a "down" season, Brees still finished as the QB9 in fantasy. I like the high floor he provides.
  • Among running backs with at least 100 rush attempts, Alvin Kamara finished first in the NFL averaging 6.1 yards per carry. Dion Lewis finished second averaging 5.0 yards per carry.
  • Kamara finished the season with 105 targets, which was third among running backs.
  • Per Pro Football Focus, Alvin Kamara led the league in yards after contact per attempt and missed tackles per touch. Since 2007, Kamara's 2017 season ranks third-best in yards after contact and second best in missed tackles per touch.
  • From Scott Barrett's (@scottbarrettDFB) Twitter on 2/12/18, "Since the NFL merger (1970), there have been 2,173 instances of a running back totaling at least 100 carries in a single season. Of those seasons, Alvin Kamara's 2017 season ranks best in fantasy points per touch and second-best in yards per touch".
  • Adrian Peterson was traded to Arizona after Week 4 last year. From Week 5 through the end of the season, Kamara finished third in PPR fantasy points per game (21.7) and Mark Ingram finished fourth (19.5).
  • Even with the emergence of Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram still finished the season with 58 receptions, which was a career high.
  • The Saints wide receiver coach is Curtis Johnson, who was also Cam Meredith's coach in Chicago when he had 66 receptions for 888 yards and four touchdowns.
  • In 2015, tight end Ben Watson had 61 receptions for 825 yards and six scores during his last season with Brees in New Orleans.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Mike Evans has seen a lot of targets during his time in Tampa Bay.

  • Over his three year career, Jameis Winston has never finished better than QB13 in fantasy.
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick's nickname is, "The Amish Rifle".
  • Ronald Jones only had 14 pass targets at USC in 2017 and a total of 40 over his three year collegiate career.
  • Last season, Mike Evans played four games where Ryan Fitzpatrick received a majority of the snaps. In those games, Evans went 3-95-1 at Arizona (Week 5), 5-92-0 at Miami (Week 9), 6-78-0 at Atlanta (Week 10), and 2-33-0 at Green Bay (Week 11). With Jameis Winston serving a three game suspension to start the season, Ryan Fitzpatrick is expected to start those three games.
  • From 2014 when Mike Evans entered the league, his targets per game have been 8.1 in 2014, 9.9 in 2015, 10.8 in 2016, and 9.1 in 2017. Even with the drop in targets in 2017, Evans still finished eighth in the NFL in targets per game.
  • Evans has never finished with less than 1,000 yards in a season, despite playing a full 16-game season only once in his career.
  • DeSean Jackson is 31 years old and in 2017, he finished the season averaging 13.4 yards per reception, which was the lowest of his ten year career. Is he slowing down?
  • In the final two games of the 2017 season, Chris Godwin had 10 receptions for 209 yards and a score on 18 targets.
  • Per Brad Evans (@yahoonoise) on Twitter, "OJ Howard finished first or second in yards per target, yards per route, target separation and fantasy points per route in 2017". Howard only saw a total of 39 targets in 2017 compared to 77 targets for Cameron Brate, so the the question now becomes, will Howard see enough targets in 2018 to enter TE1 territory in fantasy? 

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