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FANTASY FOOTBALL: 15 super-fun facts to celebrate the arrival of NFL Week 1

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Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, who inked a massive extension of nearly $500 million this summer, has averaged 317 yards passing and 3.5 TDs for his career outings in Week 1.

FUN FACT #1
Good luck finding a hole in Patrick Mahomes’ candidacy for monster stats this weekend.

****Citing his two career outings against the Texans (Thursday’s opponent), Mahomes boasts robust averages of 297 yards passing and four touchdowns.

****For his two career starts in Week 1, Mahomes owns similarly stellar averages of 317 yards passing and 3.5 TDs.

****Of his 23 lifetime starts against non-divisional foes, Mahomes accounted for 300-plus yards passing and/or three touchdowns 19 times.

WEEK 1 PREP WORK

AMAZE YOUR FRIENDS: 15 Super-Fun Facts For Week 1
PASSING FANCY: QB-starter rankings for Week 1
RUN TO DAYLIGHT: Week 1’s listing of top 60 PPR tailbacks
CATCHES AND TARGETS: Top 70 PPR wideouts for Week 1
LARGE AND IN CHARGE: Week 1’s top 30 PPR tight ends

POSITIONAL RANKINGS

QB-STARTER RANKINGS
TOP 70 PPR TAILBACKS
TOP 75 PPR WIDE RECEIVERS
TOP 35 PPR TIGHT ENDS
TOP 160 PPR PLAYMAKERS

THE ANNUAL PPR SPECTACULAR

PART I
PART II

MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS

HURRY UP AND PICK! Results of three simultaneous mocks (No. 11 slot)
PRESSURE PACKED: Results of three simultaneous mocks (No. 8 slot)
HURRY UP AND PICK! Results of three simultaneous mocks (No. 4 slot)
ONE LAST RIDE: Our final mock draft before the Week 1 torrent (No. 2)
SLEEPER CELLS: 13 mid-to-late round targets to covet with PPR leagues
FANTASY: 4 ways to invoke the risky ‘Bye Week’ draft strategy
FANTASY: How to fake your way through an uncomfortably early draft
DEEP DIVE: Fun Facts-style breakdown of the 2020 schedule
TWO OF EVERYTHING: Cool results from our ‘Noah’s Ark’ mock draft
FREE MONEY: Our second crack at NFL ‘Survivor Pool’ picks for 2020
READY, SET, GO: The NFL’s 30 most anticipated matchups of the season
MOCK DRAFT SIMULATION: # 11 slot
MOCK DRAFT SIMULATION: #4 slot

FUN FACT #2
There are three certainties in life: Death, taxes … and Todd Gurley carving up the Seahawks defense.

Of his last five meetings with the Seahawks (all formerly with the Rams), Gurley has tallied staggering averages of 125 total yards and 2.2 touchdowns.

The weird thing about the above numbers: Gurley had meager averages of 62 total yards and 0.3 TDs in his first four clashes with Seattle; and then after that, things took off like a rocket.

Perhaps this tradition will continue with the Falcons … and the lightning-fast FieldTurf at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, come Sunday.

FUN FACT #3
Go ahead and pencil in Saints wideout Michael Thomas (NFL single-season record of 149 catches last year) for game-changing numbers on Sunday.

Charting his seven career meetings with the Bucs, Thomas holds stellar averages of 9.4 catches, 120 yards and 0.6 touchdowns.

By comparison, the above numbers are remarkably similar to Thomas’s final 12 regular-season efforts from 2019 … when fantasyland’s No. 1 wideout averaged 9.7 catches, 114 yards and 0.7 TDs.

FUN FACT #4
Vikings tailback Dalvin Cook has quickly become a clone of Ezekiel Elliott, in terms of bringing the goods to every fantasy weekend.

Case in point: For his first 13 games in 2019, Cook reached the elite-level threshold of 110 total yards and/or one touchdown every time; and against NFC North foes, the Vikings star recorded stellar averages of 121 total yards and 1.3 TDs.

Also, when factoring in the NFL’s eight worst rushing defenses from last year, in terms of touchdowns allowed, the Vikings will encounter six of the unique opponents in 2020 (nine games total) — including two meetings apiece with the Packers, Bears and Lions.

Speaking of which … of his three career outings versus Green Bay, Cook owns superb averages of 119 total yards and 0.7 TDs.

FUN FACT #5
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson might be annual threat for NFL MVP honors (three-year averages: 3,847 yards passing, 35 TDs), but he’s also not a lock for Week 1 greatness against the Falcons.

Citing his last seven regular-season outings played indoors, Wilson holds meh averages of 206 yards passing and 1.3 TDs.

In other words, a better one-week-only replacement in fantasyland can probably be found on the waiver wire. (Hint: That QB’s last name rhymes with ‘Paroppolo‘.)

FUN FACT #6
Panthers tailback Christian McCaffrey was the consensus No. 1 pick in PPR drafts this summer, a testament to last year’s eye-popping numbers with receptions (116), scrimmage yards (2,392) and total touchdowns (19).

Here’s another window into McCaffrey’s purported greatness, as he builds a Hall of Fame-worthy resume that has few peers, after just three seasons of NFL action:

Charting his last 26 games, McCaffrey boasts scary-good averages of 142 total yards and 1.1 TDs per outing; and during this prolific stretch, the Stanford product reached the magical threshold of 110 total yards and/or one touchdown 23 different times.

FUN FACT #7
There are two ways to look at Matthew Stafford’s Sunday matchup against the Bears, the NFL’s No. 4 scoring defense last year:

MEH: From his previous six meetings with Chicago, Stafford didn’t register three touchdowns or eclipse 320 yards passing at any time.

STRONG: Charting his last seven Week 1 outings, including a clunker against the Jets two years ago (Matt Patricia’s head-coaching debut), Stafford holds sterling averages of 322 yards passing and 2.6 touchdowns.

FUN FACT #8
Eagles tailback Miles Sanders couldn’t ask for a better matchup on Sunday, as the second-year pro makes a legitimate push for 1,600 total yards and/or double-digit touchdowns:

****The Washington Football Team (this forlorn franchise needs a better placeholder name) had the NFL’s 31st-ranked rushing defense, giving up 146 ground yards per game last season.

****Sanders’ standout performance from 2019: Crushing Washington for 172 total yards and two touchdowns in Week 15 — essentially carrying fantasy owners to the championship playoff round.

****Last year, Washington’s defense incurred bottom-five rankings versus opposing tailbacks, citing the crucial categories of rushing yards, catches, targets, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns surrendered.

FUN FACT #9
The Browns were baffling pushovers versus tight ends last year, giving up 10 touchdowns to that position … or one score for every 7.3 catches allowed.

You know who contributed to that absurd rate for finding the end zone? The Ravens’ Mark Andrews scored three of his 10 touchdowns against the Browns in 2019, while merely averaging five catches, 8.5 targets and 60 yards along the way.

Here’s another nugget worth celebrating: Last season, Andrews (64 catches, 852 yards, 10 TDs) was one of only six tight ends to post seven outings of six-plus targets — along with Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, Darren Waller, Austin Hooper and George Kittle.

FUN FACT #10
The training-camp reports of Ben Roethlisberger’s throwing capabilities (post-elbow surgery) have been largely positive, indicating the 38-year-old quarterback could be a candidate for 4,000 yards passing and 27-plus touchdowns.

Here’s something to further that narrative: Counting his last 12 complete outings against NFC foes (excluding last year’s injury exit against Seattle), Big Ben has tallied strong averages of 309 yards passing and 2.5 TDs.

What’s more, the Giants defense (Monday’s opponent) ranked in the bottom 11 last year with passing yards, passing touchdowns and completions versus opposing quarterbacks.

FUN FACT #11
Here’s a bad news/good news proposition involving Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott:

On the down side, in nine career meetings with the NFC West, Prescott (personal bests with completions, passing yards, passing TDs, total TDs last year) had never eclipsed the mark of 300 yards passing.

On the plus side, Prescott accounted for multiple touchdowns seven times against that division (including the playoffs).

FUN FACT #12
In the 49-year history of the Broncos and Titans (previously Oilers) squaring off, covering 42 different outings, Denver has never been shut out by the Tennessee/Houston defense.

FUN FACT #13
Only one rookie quarterback in NFL history has passed for 400 yards in Week 1 — Cam Newton in 2011 (then with the Panthers).

On Sunday, Newton will make his Patriots debut against the Dolphins … who surrendered an NFL-worst 39 passing touchdowns last season.

FUN FACT #14
Bengals wideout A.J. Green missed all of last season with an ankle injury, but that’s not a reason to dismiss his fantasy chances on Sunday (vs. the Chargers).

Charting his last six Week 1 performances (2013-18), Green owned supreme averages of 7.1 catches, 117 yards and 0.8 TDs per game.

And last but not least …

FUN FACT #15
The Cardinals (featuring Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, Kenyan Drake, Christian Kirk, Larry Fitzgerald) should have one of the NFL’s most dynamic offenses this season.

But here’s the real question to ponder: Can the defense keep up with the offense’s expected progression?

Last year, the Arizona defense ranked dead-last in passing yards and completions allowed, while yielding the second-most TD passes to opposing quarterbacks.

What’s more, opposing QBs posted a completion rate of 70 percent against the wretched Cardinals.

Which brings us to this …

Against the Cardinals last season, Niners QB Jimmy Garoppolo enjoyed scintillating per-game averages of 371 yards passing and four touchdowns.

Jackpot!

Jay Clemons, the 2008 Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and 2015 Cynopsis Media award winner for “Sports Blog Of The Year,” has previously served as the lead fantasy analyst for Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports South, Bleacher Report and Fanball.com.

About The Managing Editor

Jay Clemons remains the only sports writer on the planet to capture Cynposis Media’s national award for Sports Blog Of The Year (beating out NBA.com, MLB.com, PGATour.com, The Players’ Tribune in 2015), along with the Fantasy Sports Writers Association’s pre-eminent award for Best Writer (2008). Through the years, Mr. Clemons has been a key figure with numerous blue-chip sports/media brands, namely the Detroit Lions, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report and the NBC/Universal family. With Sports Illustrated (2006-11), Clemons served a triple role with SI.com‘s heralded football coverage—editing Peter King’s famed ‘Monday Morning Quarterback’ column, penning award-winning pieces for NFL and then writing/narrating scripted videos within the NFL and baseball realms. In 2013, Clemons’ first year with the company, FOX Sports South enjoyed a monumental increase of approximately 34 million Web hits in a 12-month cycle—merely posting 11 million hits the previous year. 

Then, over a two-month span in 2014, FOX Sports South amassed 19.5 million Web hits—a 60-day record for any FOX affiliate. And in 2015, Clemons claimed the aforementioned Cynopsis Media award on FOX Sports’ behalf, the company’s only national writing award during that period. Clemons, a graduate of Michigan State University  and Wayne State University, has been an on-camera Web-TV host for Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report and FOX Sports. In 2015, he also became the first-ever sports journalism professor at Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta.

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