NFL: Michael Thomas, Saquon Barkley, Calvin Ridley headline Week 12’s super-fun facts

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Giants tailback Saquon Barkley holds elite-level averages of 145 total yards and 0.5 touchdowns in two career outings versus the NFC North.

During the 1980s, the late, great actor John Ritter hosted a series of educational videos for children and young adults (“Where There’s A Will, There’s An A”), offering various methods (or tricks) for retaining sizable nuggets of important information.

Among the key lessons, young minds should condense the material into shorter periods of processing, creating more opportunities to recall the first and last bits of information.

So, taking a cue from Where There’s A Will … There’s An A, we’ve reduced the number of weekly Fun Facts to an easily digestible five items.

In other words, we’re taking a Less Is More approach to gleaning top-shelf insight for your fantasy league.

Enjoy!

FUN FACT #1

There are three certainties in life: Death, taxes … and Michael Thomas killing opposing cornerbacks at the Superdome.

Charting his last 15 home games, including the playoffs, the remarkably consistent Thomas (seven-plus targets in 15 straight outings) holds staggering averages of 9.2 catches, 120 yards and 0.7 touchdowns.

In other words, feel free to pull a Clark W. Griswold (from Christmas Vacation fame) … and pre-invest this year’s Christmas bonus on Thomas enjoying a monster afternoon versus the Panthers — who rank dead-last with catches and targets allowed to opposing wideouts.

And keep in mind, Carolina has yet to face New Orleans this season.

FUN FACT #2

Bears wideout Allen Robinson quietly tallied only six targets last week against the Rams, breaking a 13-game streak of seven-plus targets.

But we’re willing to bet a new run of robust targets begins Sunday, with Robinson encountering a Giants defense which ranks 29th in receiving yards allowed to opposing wideouts … and 30th in touchdowns yielded to the same position.

In fact, check this out: Charting the Giants’ last three games, the other team’s No. 1 receiver (Jamison Crowder, Amari Cooper, Kenny Golladay) has enjoyed supreme averages of five catches, 95 yards and 1.3. TDs.

FUN FACT #3

It’s difficult to justify the Packers’ 8-2 record, considering Green Bay has surrendered the second-most rushing touchdowns to opposing backs (11) and fourth-most rushing yards (1,144 … or 4.9 yards per carry) to the same position.

You know what’s easy to explain? Tevin Coleman’s seamless fit into the Niners offense, anchoring a three-headed attack (along with Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert) that has collected nearly 1,300 rushing yards through 10 games.

Sunday should be another stat-sheet-stuffing day for Coleman, from a heavyweight clash that could ultimately decide home-field advantage for the NFC playoffs. Here’s why:

a) Coleman has racked up 563 total yards and six TDs this season, despite logging 20-plus touches only twice.

b) Citing his last five outings against non-NFC West defenses, dating back to his Falcons days, Coleman owns healthy averages of 77 total yards and one TD.

c) With the Niners, Coleman has a superb catch-to-target ratio of 77 percent.

d) For the year, Coleman has recorded one touchdown for every 20.2 touches … and one score for every 20.8 carries.

FUN FACT #4

Falcons wideout Calvin Ridley has quickly established himself as one of the streakiest assets in fantasyland.

How so?

Charting his 26 total games in the pros, Ridley has notched at least one touchdown in back-to-back outings six times; and that bodes well for Sunday, factoring last week’s eight-catch, 143-yard, one-TD explosion against the Panthers.

Here are two more reasons to presume another Ridley breakout:

**The Buccaneers defense currently has bottom-5 tallies with opposing receivers, citing the crucial categories of targets (31st overall), catches, receiving yards (dead-last) and touchdowns allowed (dead-last).

**Charting his last 10 games versus Tampa Bay, Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan boasts rock-solid averages of 296 yards passing and 1.9 TDs.

And last but not least …

FUN FACT #5

There are minimal worries about Saquon Barkley this week, on the heels of his major clunker against the Jets (1 rushing yard, 31 total).

Why is that? Let us count the ways:

a) The Bears defense ranks in the bottom-3 with targets and receptions allowed to opposing backs.

(Barkley has averaged 5.2 catches, 6.6 targets and 42 receiving yards in his last five outings.)

b) Granted, it’s a small sample size, but Barkley has averaged 145 total yards and 0.5 TDs in two career outings versus the NFC North.

c) Barkley has tallied 18-plus targets in each of his last four games.

d) Prior to the Jets debacle, Barkley had amassed fewer than 90 total yards and/or zero TDs just twice … and one of the outings involved a semi-serious ankle injury (against Tampa Bay).

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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