Fantasy Football: 20 Fun Facts to Consider When Crafting Week 8 Lineups

Jay ClemonsFantasy Sports Lead WriterOctober 25, 2012

Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (40 catches, 459 yards, 3 TD) caught a touchdown in both games against the rival 49ers last season.
Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (40 catches, 459 yards, 3 TD) caught a touchdown in both games against the rival 49ers last season.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Here are 20 fun facts involving some of fantasy's biggest stars leading up to NFL Week 8, which includes the annual game abroad at England's Wembley Stadium (Patriots-Rams).

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 his last five home games against the 49ers (2007-11), Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald boasts averages of 6.8 catches, 91.8 yards and one touchdown.

2. There is zero excuse for benching Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin on Sunday. In his last two games against the Falcons (2010-11), Maclin boasts absurd averages of 10 catches, 165 yards and two touchdowns.

3. Bears tailback Matt Forte (476 total yards, 1 TD) has per-outing averages of 208 total yards and 1.5 touchdowns in his last two games against the Panthers.

4. My Sunday endorsement of Miles Austin is more a reflection of his four-year track record (218 catches, 2,368 yards, 29 TD from 2009-12) than his five-game history against the Giants (as a starter)—4.2 catches, 58.6 yards and 0.6 touchdowns.

5. In Rashad Jennings' brief history of logging 20-plus touches (two games), the Jaguars tailback notched 100 total yards and one touchdown each time.

6. For what it's worth, Vincent Jackson has a grand total of three catches and 47 yards in two career games against the Vikings (while with the Chargers). But it's probably not sufficient cause to bench an electric talent who's just days removed from 216 yards and one touchdown (against the Saints).

7. Michael Vick's track record against the Falcons (as a starter) is incomplete—just one outing of 267 total yards and two touchdowns last year. So, let's shift the focus to Vick's home averages in 2012: 355 total yards and 1.66 touchdowns per game.

8. Through six games, Philly's LeSean McCoy has tallied 100 total yards and/or one touchdown five times. As a supplement to that, Atlanta's defense has allowed 100 combined rushing yards in every game to date.

9. Falcons wideout Roddy White (37 catches, 553 yards, 4 TD) has per-outing averages of 6.5 catches, 81 yards and one touchdown in his last four games against the Eagles.

10. The hysteria from Heath Miller's incredible start (four scores for Weeks 1-3) has died down a bit, but that's no reason to doubt the tight end moving forward. For Weeks 6 and 7, Miller collected 12 catches, 17 targets, 120 yards and one touchdown. And this Sunday, he draws the NFL's worst pass defense (Washington).

11. How's this for consistency: In three career games against the Cowboys, receiver Victor Cruz  caught six balls each time. And in that span, he averaged 10 targets, 103 yards and 0.33 touchdowns.

12. Through six games, Tony Gonzalez has reached the PPR-elite threshold (among tight ends) of five catches, 75 yards and/or one touchdown five times. Of equal importance, he's the only one of his positional brethren to draw double-digit targets in three games.

13. Upon joining the Dolphins last year, Reggie Bush didn't crack the century mark in total yardage until Week 8 (120 vs. the Giants). And after that, Bush produced 96 total yards and/or one TD for the next 10 games (including this season).

14. Green Bay's Jordy Nelson (17 catches, 243 yards, 4 TD in his last two games) has ascended to the elite strata of receivers without a bonanza of targets. For the season, Nelson has collected nine-plus targets just four times.

15. Fantasy owners have a 50-50 chance of correctly guessing when Vernon Davis will score against Arizona—Week 8 (Oct. 29) or Week 17 (Dec. 30). From 2008-11, Davis tallied a touchdown in one of two annual games against the Cardinals, but never both.

16. Brandon Marshall has faced the Panthers only once in his seven-year career, catching five balls for 48 yards four years ago (December 2008). And that middling performance was curiously sandwiched between outings of double-digit receptions when Marshall had Jay Cutler in Denver.

17. Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew has been off the mark of late, catching only eight balls for 75 mundane yards in the last two weeks. But in his last four home games (dating back to last year), Pettigrew has robust averages of seven catches, 70 yards and 0.5 touchdowns.

18. Darren McFadden has waited three years to play again at Arrowhead Stadium, even though the Chiefs and Raiders are division rivals. For 2008 and '09, DMC averaged 114 total yards and one touchdown at Kansas City.

19. Through seven games, Cardinals wideout Andre Roberts (29 catches, 389 yards, 5 TD) has collected six-plus targets six times, and the one "clunker" game of one target (Week 2) entailed a touchdown.

And finally...

20. In a six-game period from 2009-11, Eli Manning passed for 300-plus yards on the Cowboys five times. So, why am I having such difficulty attaching a top-five ranking for the week?

Maybe the Cowboys' new-and-improved secondary (ranked No. 3 against the pass) can be a mild form of fantasy Kryptonite for the often-super Manning.

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