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Fantasy football stats to know for Week 4

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After a loaded Sunday of NFL action, there are always a ton of statistics that stand out, making it very difficult to choose just a handful. But I try to highlight some stats that impact multiple different aspects for multiple players in fantasy football.

Let’s take a look as we get ready to turn the page to Week 4.

 

 

DJ Moore is averaging 10.3 targets per game

DJ Moore has enjoyed a tremendous start to the 2021 campaign. Through three weeks, he has hauled in 22-of-31 targets for 285 yards and a touchdown, eclipsing 75 receiving yards in all three contests. He’s emerged as the clear top target in this Carolina passing attack, as he is sporting a 30.3% target share and averaging a healthy 10.3 targets per game. His usage is also a bit different this season, as his yards before the catch per reception have dropped from 12.3 in 2020 to 9.3 this year. The 10.3 targets per contest are great, but they are even more impressive when you consider that the Panthers are the only team in the NFL thus far that has yet to play a single snap while trailing. In other words, imagine the ceiling for targets Moore might have in a game where Carolina is chasing points, especially with Christian McCaffrey likely out of the lineup for the next few weeks. That could be the case in Week 4 against a high-powered Cowboys offense that can push Carolina’s offense to score, which hasn’t been the case during the first three weeks of the season against the Jets, Saints and Texans. 

Matt Ryan is averaging just 4.2 intended air yards per pass attempt

It is the second-lowest mark among qualified signal callers, behind only Andy Dalton and the Bears’ putrid passing game, and is perhaps the reason that both Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts have underwhelmed to start the season. 59.8% of Matt Ryan’s pass attempts have been of the short variety (0-9 yards), also the second-lowest mark in the league, as he’s been checking the ball down a lot. As a result, Mike Davis has 17 targets through three weeks, while Cordarrelle Patterson has become a legitimate part of this offense, seeing 16 targets, 14 over the last two games. It is very frustrating for Ridley, who averaged 15.3 yards per catch a season ago and for his career, is averaging just under 14 yards per reception. Through three weeks, Arthur Smith’s offense has been arguably the most dull and disappointing offense in football and is really crushing the ceiling of both Ridley and Pitts. 

Sony Michel handled 23-of-24 RB touches vs. the Buccaneers

With Darrell Henderson nursing a rib injury, Sony Michel got the start against Tampa Bay Sunday. And while the production was unsurprisingly underwhelming against a stout Buccaneers run defense, the volume is all we care about. Michel handled 23 of the 24 running back touches for the Rams, as Jake Funk touched the ball once and was hardly on the field during the second half. Michel ended up outsnapping Funk 48-14, and if Henderson can’t return for Week 4 against the Cardinals, Michel will be a top-15 running back option for me. This Rams offense is so good, averaging 4.3 red-zone scoring trips per game so far this season, tied for the fifth-most in the NFL. It appears the Rams want to use one running back so if Henderson can return next week, I’d safely play him as a top-15 running back. 

 

 

Derrick Henry has four targets off screens this season

That may not seem like an incredibly intriguing statistic, but consider this: In 16 games in 2020, Derrick Henry had just seven targets off screens, so the Titans are clearly using him in the passing game more than ever so far here in 2021. He already has 12 catches on 13 targets through three games and is on pace to shatter his career-high mark of 31 targets. Still getting 25-plus carries per game, if Henry continues to add three or four receptions per contest, it will be difficult for any running back to pass him in fantasy. And if A.J. Brown is forced to miss time with a hamstring injury, Henry’s newfound passing-game involvement should remain intact. 

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