Fantasy Football: 20 Fun Facts to Consider Before Crafting Week 5 Lineups

Jay ClemonsFantasy Sports Lead WriterOctober 4, 2012

In 12 head-to-head matchups with Tom Brady (2001-10), quarterback Peyton Manning boasts per-outing averages of 290 yards passing and two touchdowns.
In 12 head-to-head matchups with Tom Brady (2001-10), quarterback Peyton Manning boasts per-outing averages of 290 yards passing and two touchdowns.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Here are 20 fun facts involving some of fantasy's biggest stars leading up to Week 5.

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. In the previous 12 meetings of Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning—as starting quarterbacks for their respective clubs (2001-10)—Brady has per-outing averages of 236 yards passing and 1.8 touchdowns. Manning, in turn, has averaged 290 yards and two touchdowns per game.

2. Drew Brees' No. 1 QB ranking for Week 5 goes deeper than his 446-yard, three-TD dissection of the Packers. In his last four home games, Brees has per-outing averages of 348 yards passing and 3.6 TDs. As an intangible bonus, he gets another shot at his old club (San Diego). In 2008 (London), Brees passed for 338 yards and three scores against the Chargers.

3. In successive games, Andre Brown (130 total yards, two TD) and Michael Turner (171 total yards, one TD) pounded the Panthers for 301 total yards and three touchdowns. Consequently, it makes good fantasy sense to earmark Seattle's Marshawn Lynch (473 total yards, two TD in 2012) for similar greatness in Week 5.

4. The Rams' Steven Jackson is the last running back to post monster fantasy numbers against the Candlestick Park. In November 2010, Jackson rolled for 148 total yards and one touchdown against San Fran.

5. In his last 10 games against AFC opponents (2010-12), Philly's LeSean McCoy has per-outing averages of 96 total yards and one touchdown. On the flip side, the Steelers (McCoy's Week 5 opponent), are allowing 101 rushing yards per game.

6. Reggie Wayne (23 catches, 294 yards, one TD) shall remain a top-five weekly pick until another NFL defense can render him irrelevant during the Andrew Luck era. To date, Wayne is the only wideout to post15-plus targets in two games and at least 70 receiving yards in every outing this season.

7. Not that we need another reason to start Falcons QB Matt Ryan (1,162 yards passing, 11 TD), but the Redskins have the NFL's second-worst pass defense (326.3 yards per game). In his last three roadies on grass, Ryan has averaged 298 yards passing, 3.33 TDs and 0.33 interceptions.

8. Arian Foster may not be a healthy lock for 150 total yards and one touchdown on Monday, but he certainly has the most attractive matchup of any elite rusher. The Jets rank No. 31 in rushing yards allowed (172.8 per game)...and the duo of Foster/Ben Tate might be motivated to eclipse the 49ers' 245 rushing yards against New York (Week 4).

9. In 13 complete games played indoors (from 2008-11—including the playoffs), Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has stellar per-outing averages of 291 yards passing and 2.77 total TDs.

10. Here's some optimism to counteract Michael Crabtree's sluggish numbers (21 catches, 198 yards, zero TD): His 31 seasonal targets are almost in line with his targets surge after Week 6 last year (including the playoffs). And the Bills, Crabtree's Sunday opponent, are surrendering 270 passing yards per game.

11. How good has Brandon Marshall been the last two seasons? Even after factoring in his two-catch, 24-yard clunker against Green Bay in Week 2, Marshall still averages five catches, 100 yards and 0.83 TDs in his last six road games.

12. Cincy's BenJarvus Green-Ellis (332 total yards, two TD) has an intriguing Sunday encounter with Miami, the NFL's No. 1 rush defense. Seriously, who could have guessed the Dolphins would be yielding only 55 rush yards per game at this point?

13. Speaking of which, Green-Ellis racked up 1,878 total yards and 24 touchdowns for the Patriots in 2010-11. But in four games against the Dolphins during that span, BJGE averaged only 51.2 total yards (and 0.75 TDs).

14. For the 2010-11 campaigns, Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick posted mediocre numbers in seven games against NFC foes—averaging 201 yards passing and one touchdown.

15. Calvin Johnson and Dwayne Bowe are the only NFL receivers with 12 or more targets for Weeks 2-4. During that span, Bowe accrued 22 catches, 43 targets, 289 yards and three touchdowns.

16. For what it's worth, Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson tallied 78 targets in his last 10 road games, compared to 64 from his last 10 home tilts.

17. In his third NFL season, Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham (17 catches, 178 yards, one TD in 2012) has never caught more than five balls in a home game. Luckily for fantasy owners, Gresham has also averaged 0.5 touchdowns in his last 10 games at Paul Brown Stadium.

18. Of his last nine home games, Steelers wideout Mike Wallace has averaged 4.78 catches, 74.8 yards and 0.78 touchdowns. At first blush, these totals seem pedestrian. However, Pittsburgh had an 8-1 home record during that time, with an average differential of 15.2 points.

19. This trend likely won't sustain all year, but the Saints have allowed 465 total yards (278 passing, 187 rushing) in their first four games.

To be fair, New Orleans faced Robert Griffin III, Drew Brees, Jamaal Charles and Aaron Rodgers in September. But the woeful numbers portend fantasy goodness for the Chargers' main playmakers, especially QB Philip Rivers. Against the Saints in 2008 (London), Rivers threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns.

On the flip side...

20. Rivers has never thrown for more than 300 yards in a game played indoors (enclosed stadium). As a nitpicky addendum, he notched 299 yards passing at Detroit last year (Christmas Eve).

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