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NFL: 10 Fun Facts to celebrate in advance of Week 4

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Tom Brady, DeAndre Hopkins, Travis Kelce, Mike Evans and the mysterious Will Dissly headline our crazy-fun facts for this weekend.

FUN FACT #1
There are three certainties in life: Death, taxes … and James Conner shredding the opposition inside the AFC North.

Charting his six career outings against division foes (as a starter), Conner owns scintillating averages of 139 total yards and 1.2 touchdowns; and that includes a 44-yard, zero-TD clunker versus the Ravens.

Here’s another reason for doing everything in your power to acquire Steelers tailback James Conner before 1 p.m. Sunday:

The wretched Bengals defense has bottom-3 tallies with rushing yards allowed and rushing/receiving touchdowns surrendered. Ouch.

FUN FACT #2
We’re happy that Melvin Gordon reportedly plans to return to the Chargers sometime this week.

At the same time, his agent should be censured for likely keeping Gordon out of Sunday’s juicy game plan against the Dolphins, the NFL’s worst defense against the run (535 ground yards, 4 rushing TDs allowed) … and it’s not even close.

Of course, one man’s stubborn absence is another man’s ham-and-cheese sandwich with extra mustard.

Austin Ekeler (368 total yards, 4 TDs) currently ranks as the No. 3 tailback in PPR cirlces. Within this success, Ekeler has a staggering catch-to-target ratio of 95 percent (19 of 20 targets), while leading all rushers in receiving yards (208) and receiving touchdowns (two).

FUN FACT #3
Texans wideout DeAndre Hopkins has enjoyed a stellar career from just about any angle, but it’s especially fruitful against non-conference competition.

Charting his last 10 games against NFC defenses, Hopkins racked up 100 receiving yards and/or one touchdown nine times; and all told, the Clemson alum boasts supreme averages of seven catches, 113 yards receiving and 0.8 TDs.

FUN FACT #4
Strange but true: Reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes has yet to start an NFL game indoors.

However, the same cannot be said about Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who holds elite-level averages of seven catches, 103 yards and 0.4 touchdowns when playing inside.

Now for the bad news: For the season, the Lions (Kelce’s opponent in Week 4) have top-5 rankings against opposing tight ends, in the categories of targets, receptions and receiving touchdowns allowed.

FUN FACT #5
On paper for Week 4, Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans has an unpleasant date with the Rams, who have yet to yield a receiving touchdown to an opposing wideout.

But as mentioned the other day in the Fantasy Revelations, this is not the time to tread lightly with Evans endorsements.

In fact, we’re willing to bet Sunday’s encounter with the Los Angeles secondary will be a match made in heaven for Evans — not unlike the entree pairing of Dynamite Shrimp and Tempura Poppers from the P.F. Chang’s on Westshore Plaza in Tampa.

Here’s the reason for such optimism:

**Last week, after finally recovering from a nagging illness, the Texas A&M crushed the overmatched Giants for eight catches, 15 targets, 190 yards and three touchdowns.

**Evans has posted at least one touchdown in back-to-back games 14 times.

**Evans has tallied consecutive outings of 100 yards receiving six times.

**For his brief NFL career (2014-present), streaky Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston has racked up 300-yard passing days for back-to-back games six times.

**Since December 2017, Winston has attempted 30-plus passes 14 times.

FUN FACT #6
It’s been a good decade (and century) for Tom Brady, who has enjoyed a 15-3 record against the Bills since 2010.

Life’s been even better in western New York.

Charting his last nine trips to Buffalo, the six-time world champion boasts brilliant averages of 321 yards passing and 2.7 touchdowns.

FUN FACT #7
Rams wideout Cooper Kupp dominated the action last Sunday night, blitzing the Browns for 11 catches (on 12 targets), 102 yards and two touchdowns.

Which brings us to this … charting his last 10 complete games against non-divisional competition, Kupp boasts excellent averages of 6.3 catches, 8.6 targets, 94 yards and 0.9 touchdowns; and for his lone playoff effort (January 2018), the Eastern Washington alum fleeced the Falcons for eight receptions, 12 targets, 69 yards and one score.

FUN FACT #8
The Redskins might be an 0-3 trainwreck in the real world, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with quarterback Case Keenum’s contributions on the fantasy end; and that goodness should carry over to this weekend’s clash with the Giants, who rank dead-last against the pass (346 yards per game) and 29th in passing touchdowns allowed.

There’s also this to celebrate: Citing his last five games (with the Broncos, Redskins), Keenum has quietly notched 300 total yards and/or multiple touchdowns every time; and this year, he’s averaging 29 completions, 311 yards passing and 2.3 TDs per outing.

FUN FACT #9
The Falcons have claimed one division title, two playoff appearances and one NFC championship since 2015; and yet, during this same stretch, the club has a baffling streak of seven straight home losses to AFC foes.

Which begs the question: How has Julio Jones fared during this quirky funk?

Well, it’s a good news/bad news scenario. On the happy front, Jones averaged 6.5 catches, nine targets and 106 yards receiving — solid PPR numbers.

On the down side, Jones hasn’t found the end zone against AFC defenses at home in five years.

And last but not least …

FUN FACT #10
Let’s have a frank discussion about Seattle’s Will Dissly, since he has garnered plenty of Twitter attention this week.

I have no clue if Dissly will bloom into one of fantasyland’s most prestigious tight ends. For yours truly, his big, burly frame and Grizzly Adams-style beard just SCREAMED “blocking tight end” on Fantasy Draft Night.

But let’s give credit where it’s due: Dissly has logged seven career games in the pros; and of the six outings where he collected two-plus targets, the University of Washington alum tallied 50-plus receiving yards and/or one touchdown five times.

Plus, in the last two games alone, Dissly has amassed 11 catches, 12 targets, 112 yards and three touchdowns.

Here’s one more glorious nugget: The Cardinals (Dissly’s opponent for Week 4) rank 31st with targets and receptions allowed to opposing tight ends … along with dead-last in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns to the same positional group.

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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