Fantasy Football: 15 Fun Facts to Consider Before Crafting Week 4 Lineups

Jay ClemonsFantasy Sports Lead WriterSeptember 27, 2012

Bears wideout Brandon Marshall (16 catches, 214 yards, 1 TD in 2012) has per-outing averages of 4.5 catches, 97 yards and one touchdown in two career games against the Cowboys.
Bears wideout Brandon Marshall (16 catches, 214 yards, 1 TD in 2012) has per-outing averages of 4.5 catches, 97 yards and one touchdown in two career games against the Cowboys.David Banks/Getty Images

Here are 15 fun facts involving some of fantasy's biggest stars leading up to NFL Week 4.

Hopefully, these numbers-based revelations will help bring clarity to your lineup dilemmas.

To view my smartphone-friendly cheat sheet for this weekend, click here.

1. For what it's worth, Brandon Marshall boasts per-outing averages of 4.5 catches, eight targets, 97 yards and one touchdown in two career games against the Cowboys (2009 and 2011).

And before you dismiss that stat, in light of Dallas's infusion of top-shelf cornerbacks (Brandon Carr and Mo Claiborne)...I'll simply point to this: Against Carr's Chiefs last year, Marshall caught eight balls for 106 yards and one touchdown with Matt Moore (Dolphins) as his quarterback.

2. Everybody remembers Michael Vick's 372-yard, four-TD day in the Eagles' insane comeback win over the Giants in December 2010, punctuated by DeSean Jackson's punt-return TD with no time left. But in the following two contests against New York, Vick had middling averages of 250 total yards and 0.5 touchdowns.

3. Ray Rice, one of fantasy football's most bankable commodities and an automatic start every week, punishes no AFC foe like the Browns. In 2011, Rice rolled for 349 total yards and two touchdowns against Cleveland, with averages of 175 yards and one touchdown.

4. On the whole, the Vikings have done a respectable job containing Calvin Johnson. In seven career games against Minnesota, Johnson has per-outing averages of only five catches, 71 yards and 0.6 touchdowns.

On the flip side, there's the memory of Calvin's seven-catch, 108-yard, two-touchdown demolition from last September.

5. For those who believe Rob Gronkowski is primed for a big-time slump—similar to his two-catch, 21-yard clunker against Baltimore—let's remember that Gronk (90 catches, 1,327 yards, 18 total TD) had six games of four catches or less last year.

6. Perhaps apropos of nothing, Larry Fitzgerald has 11 catches, 245 yards and one touchdown in two career games against Miami (2004, 2008). And that came at a time when the typical NFL fan could identify at least one Dolphins cornerback. Oh, snap!

7. I could be wrong here, but Eric Decker's home encounter with the Raiders has eight catches, 112 yards and one touchdown written all over it. For Weeks 1-3, the Raiders surrendered an average of seven catches, 100 yards and 0.6 touchdowns to the opposing team's lead receiver.

(Of course, Demaryius Thomas has a chance to be Denver's No. 1 wideout this week. But my money's on Decker.)

8. In his last six games against the rival Panthers (2009-11), Falcons QB Matt Ryan has per-outing averages of 232 yards passing and two touchdowns. However, that figure is skewed a bit by Ryan's 320-yard, four-TD performance last December.

9. Dwayne Bowe (15 catches, 31 targets, 181 yards, two touchdowns for Weeks 2-3) certainly warrants a top-10 ranking for Week 4 (amongst wideouts), but that doesn't mean he's a lock for big numbers. From 2009 to 2011, Bowe failed to catch five or more balls in a single game against the Chargers.

10. The Bengals may be exciting to watch on offense, but their matchup with Maurice Jones-Drew is not ideal for the defense. Jones-Drew steamrolled the Colts for 193 total yards and one touchdown last week; and now, he has a home date with the NFL's 31st-ranked rush defense.

11. Seahawks tailback Marshawn Lynch hasn't rung up 100 total yards in his last four road games. Luckily for fantasy owners, Lynch tallied three touchdowns during the mini-slump.

12. In Ryan Fitzpatrick's time with Buffalo, he boasts only one run of five straight games of two-plus passing touchdowns (2009-10). He could replicate that feat with a two-TD outing against the Patriots.

For what it's worth, Fitz averaged 338 yards passing and two TDs against New England last year.

13. I may have Frank Gore tabbed as a Week 4 lock for 115 total yards and/or two touchdowns against the Jets (the NFL's 27th-ranked rush defense), but I'm also aware of the numbers from his last six road games against AFC opponents: 84 total yards and 0.16 touchdowns.

14. I completely understand fantasy owners' displeasure with Jets tailback Shonn Greene (82 total yards for Weeks 2 and 3). However, it's also fair to acknowledge Greene's eight-game track record at home, dating back to last September: averages of 97 total yards and 0.4 touchdowns.

From a flex-position standpoint this week, I could live with that history in 12-team leagues.

And finally... 

15. Hamburger ear aside, Matt Schaub has a tremendous home matchup against the Titans. He also has history on his side. In Schaub's last five games against Tennessee, he sports averages of 293 yards passing and 2.4 touchdowns.

Jay Clemons
can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.