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NFL: Michael Thomas, Zeke Elliott, Chris Carson carry the super-fun facts for NFL Week 15

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Charting his last 11 outings at the Superdome (including the playoffs), Saints WR Michael Thomas boasts supreme averages of 9.7 catches, 113 yards and 0.6 TDs

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 four items.

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

Enjoy!

INVITATION: While diving into this week’s playoff-relevant nuggets, please peruse the many sublime dishes at Hooters restaurant, particularly the Smothered Chicken Sandwich or Baja Fish Tacos (location finder).

TAKE #1

Saints wideout Michael Thomas (121 catches, 1,424 yards, 7 TDs) has a decent shot at breaking the NFL single-season record for receptions (143 — Marvin Harrison), needing just 23 more catches over the next three weeks.

Can Thomas reach the hallowed 144 mark?

Here are four reasons why it’s eminently doable:

**The Colts (this week’s opponent) own bottom-12 tallies with receiving yards and receiving touchdowns allowed to opposing wideouts … but also possess strong rankings with catches and targets surrendered.

**Quarterback Drew Brees has accounted for 300 yards passing and/or three-plus touchdowns in four of five home games this season.

**Thomas has collected nine-plus targets in 15 of his last 19 games (including the postseason).

**Counting his last 11 outings at the Superdome (including the playoffs), Thomas boasts supreme averages of 9.7 catches, 113 yards and 0.6 TDs … and that includes a pair of clunkers resulting in less than 40 yards apiece.

TAKE #2

Chris Carson owners couldn’t have asked for a more blessed playoff matchup than the free-falling Panthers (five straight losses), who rank 31st in rushing yards allowed and dead-last with rushing TDs surrendered to opposing backs (by a large margin).

What’s more, opposing rushers are averaging 5.3 yards per carry versus Carolina.

Can Carson (1,299 total yards/7 TDs this year) handle the pressure of being a top-5 fantasy back this week? Does he care?

**Citing his last six road outings, Carson carries rock-solid averages of 107 total yards and 0.5 TDs.

**Charting his last eight games played on natural grass, Carson holds similarly stellar averages of 108 total yards and 0.5 scores.

TAKE #3

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz could be in line for great numbers this weekend, citing five distinct factors:

a) Since Week 10, Ertz leads all tight ends in catches (33) and targets (44).

Of equal importance, the Stanford product boasts top-5 rankings with receiving yards (300) and positional TDs (3) during this vital stretch.

b) The Eagles wideouts have been wrecked by substantial injuries, with Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson done for the season … and Nelson Agholor (knee) and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (hamstring) reportedly playing at less than 100 percent.

This presumably leads to more targets for Ertz, tailback Miles Sanders and fellow tight end Dallas Goedert.

c) The Redskins (this week’s foe) hold bottom-12 rankings with catches, receiving yards and receiving TDs allowed to opposing tight ends.

d) Since January 2017, Ertz has collected 11 touchdowns against NFC East competition.

e) Charting that same period of January 2017 to the present, spanning 49 total games (including the playoffs), Ertz absurdly tallied seven-plus targets 36 times.

TAKE #4

The Titans have been on fire since installing Ryan Tannehill at quarterback (supplanting Marcus Mariota), posting a 6-1 record and averaging 34.3 points during the seven-game stretch.

Tennessee has also been a balanced unit, relative to fantasy star power:

**Tannehill has superbly averaged 285 total yards and 2.6 touchdowns during the seven-game flurry.

**Tailback Derrick Henry has averaged 133 total yards and 0.7 TDs since Tannehill helmed the offense in Week 7.

**Charting his last seven games, rookie wideout A.J. Brown has modestly accounted for six catches, 80 yards and/or one touchdown six times. However, for the last three weeks, Brown has enjoyed elite-level averages of four catches, 111 yards and one TD.

Here are two more tidbits worth celebrating:

a) The Texans (this week’s opponent) have surrendered the second-most receiving touchdowns to opposing backs. These same playmakers also have a robust catch-to-target rate of 87 percent versus Houston.

b) For the season, Houston ranks in the bottom 10 for receiving touchdowns yielded to opposing wideouts.

And last but not least …

TAKE #5

Forget about the Cowboys and Rams having middle-of-the-pack rankings with rushing yards and rushing touchdowns allowed to opposing backs.

Recent history begs for us to believe in tangible star power for this week’s matchup:

For example:

**Dallas tailback Ezekiel Elliott has stealthily averaged 103 total yards and 1.5 touchdowns in two career meetings with the Rams.

**Todd Gurley owns excellent averages of 116 total yards and one score for his two encounters with the Cowboys.

The above numbers don’t even tell the whole story, either.

For last year’s Rams-Cowboys playoff clash, Gurley’s 118 total yards/1 TD … could hardly compare to backup Malcolm Brown’s out-of-nowhere deluge, racking up 123 total yards and multiple touchdowns.

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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