Here are 20 fun facts to ponder when constructing fantasy lineups for NFL Week 9, specifically the Sunday/Monday slate of games.
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. Here's one stat marginalizing the Steelers' top-ranked pass defense (182.6 yards per game): The opposing team's top receiver (Demaryius Thomas, Santonio Holmes, Denarius Moore, Kenny Britt, A.J. Green, Santana Moss) scored a touchdown in six of Pittsburgh's seven games. The only miss: Neither DeSean Jackson nor Jeremy Maclin scored for Philly in Week 5.
2. In his last six outdoor games on grass (dating back to last season), Detroit's Calvin Johnson boasts stellar averages of 7.8 catches, 148 yards and 0.67 touchdowns. Of equal importance, he collected double-digit targets each time.
3. Peyton Manning has absurdly notched four straight games of 300 yards passing and three TD passes—the longest run of his Hall of Fame career. Think about that for a second. It took 14 healthy seasons (excluding 2011) and two different NFL uniforms for Peyton to hit this high.
4. A.J. Green currently has a streak of at least one touchdown in six straight games. And in only his second pro start last year, Green busted the Broncos for 10 catches, 124 yards and one touchdown.
5. Among tailbacks, Arian Foster (736 total yards) is the leader in rushes (168), rushing touchdowns (nine) and total TDs (10). He also had a bye week to physically and mentally recharge for this Sunday's shakedown against the Bills, who have already surrendered 150 rushing yards five times. Ouch.
6. Here's another example of Ryan Fitzpatrick's feast-or-famine approach to being an NFL quarterback: Of his last nine road games, Fitzpatrick (1,435 yards passing, 15 TD) has thrown zero or one touchdown five times. For the other four games...he averaged 2.75 touchdowns.
7. In his last six home games (including the playoffs), Drew Brees touts per-outing averages of 352 yards passing and 3.7 touchdowns. On the flip side, the Eagles defense has tallied just two sacks since Week 4 and has surrendered 28 points per game in the last two outings.
8. Strange but true: Packers receiver James Jones (36 catches, 401 yards, seven TD) has accrued more targets in the four games he hasn't scored (30)...than the four outings in which he netted a touchdown (26).
9. In career games of 20-plus touches, Jacksonville's Rashad Jennings is a perfect 3-for-3 in racking up 100 total yards (with two total touchdowns). Please keep this in mind...if you don't anticipate Maurice Jones-Drew (foot injury) returning anytime soon.
10. There are two main factors working against Miles Austin this weekend: The Falcons currently have the NFL's 10th-ranked pass defense...and Austin has pedestrian averages of 4.6 catches, 69 yards and 0.4 touchdowns in five indoor games since 2009.
11. Carson Palmer can't help but send mixed signals to those projecting his future fantasy worth off past results. In four home starts with the Raiders last year, Palmer averaged 354.3 yards passing and 1.5 TDs on just 39 pass attempts. For 2012, Palmer is averaging fewer yards (268.7 per game)...but with more TD passes (1.7) and more pass attempts (42).
12. Thank goodness Bucs QB Josh Freeman (1,800 yards passing, 14 TD) is riding separate streaks of games with 300 total yards (four) and at least three touchdown passes (three). Otherwise, we'd fixate on his subpar track record when playing on the West Coast: A three-game average of 179.3 yards passing and 1.33 touchdowns.
13. Excluding the NFC playoffs, Matthew Stafford is set to play his seventh straight road game on grass this Sunday (at Jacksonville), with all seven outdoor games occurring in different venues. For what it's worth, Stafford boasts per-outing averages of 332 yards passing and 2.17 TDs in the six completed road tilts.
14. Cowboys tight Jason Witten may be riding high from setting an NFL single-game record for catches by a tight end (18), but his career track record against the Falcons is not optimal. In three games against Atlanta, Witten has averaged 3.67 catches, 41 yards and zero scores.
15. For the season, Percy Harvin has developed a pattern of one game of single-digit targets...then two games of double-digit targets. Within that sturdy rationale, Harvin is apparently due for seven catches, 11 targets, 97 yards and maybe a touchdown.
16. Ben Roethlisberger (1,987 yards passing, 14 TDs) should be a no-brainer pick to start in 12-team leagues: In his last three road games, Big Ben boasts averages of 342 yards passing and two touchdowns.
17. Houston's Owen Daniels has been a model of consistency for points-per-reception league owners. Through seven games, Daniels has crossed the PPR-elite threshold (among tight ends) of six catches, 85 yards and/or one touchdown six times.
18. In his last six games against the Browns (dating back to 2009), Ray Rice has per-outing averages of 123 total yards and 0.5 TDs. Of equal importance, the "worst" performance during that span was 92 total yards.
19. The Colts, Reggie Bush's Week 9 opponent, have allowed 110-plus combined rushing yards in five of their seven games.
20. In the Falcons' odd-numbered games this season (1, 3, 5, 7—all on the road), Julio Jones easily trumped teammate Roddy White in the fantasy realm. But for the even-numbered games (2, 4, 6—all at home)...the reverse holds true.
White's road averages: 4.5 catches, 62 yards, zero scores
White's home averages: 7.3 catches, 114 yards and 1.33
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!