Brandon Funston

The Funston Fives

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Gurley, All or Nothing

Thursday, October 5, 2017


Each week during the NFL season, I will offer up a variety of top-five lists because, well, who doesn’t love a top five list?  With that universal love of lists in mind, I offer up some notable under-the-radar stats, as well as some under-the-radar players that may have notable performances in Week 5.


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5 Notable Offensive Stats

Melvin Gordon, LAC, RB; Todd Gurley, LAR, RB – The Los Angeles running backs are tied for the league lead in carries (19) resulting in no gain (or a loss of yards). But with -37 yards on 14 such carries, rookie Joe Mixon has been most negatively effected by these fruitless carries. Gurley and Gordon have amassed -25 yards and -26 yards, respectively, on their 19 fruitless carries. Interestingly, Gurley also leads the league in rushes that have gained five or more yards (34).

Matt Ryan, ATL, QB – As part of his run to ’16 NFL MVP honors, Ryan completed 32 passes on targets that were 20 yards downfield or further. This season, through four games, he has just three such completions – among qualified QBs, only Mike Glennon and Joe Flacco (2) have fewer. And Ryan’s Completion% (20.0 – 3-for-15) on 20-plus passes is lowest in the league – for the record, he hit at a 57.1% rate last season, second-best behind Sam Bradford (57.4).

Michael Thomas, NO, WR – Just call the Saints’ go-to guy the King of Consistency. Thomas has caught at least four passes in all 19 games he has played at the professional level. It’s the longest active streak of games with at least four receptions. Odell Beckham is second with a streak of 15 games, but after that, there’s a precipitous drop to third place (Mike Evans – 7).

Evan Engram, NYG, TE – Speaking of streaks with four or more catches, Engram is in select company with Zach Ertz as the only tight ends to have at least four catches and 40-plus yards in each of their four games this season. Engram’s under-the-hood numbers bode well for his fantasy owners going forward, as he ranks first at the position in the total number of snaps in which he’s run a pass route (144, ahead of the 140 run by Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski), and his 30 targets is tied for second (with Gronk) behind Ertz (36).

Jaron Brown, ARI, WR – Something to consider when deciding on whether to cast a line in the waiver pool for Brown’s services is that he ranks tied for fifth in catches that have gone for 10 or more yards (14). This is especially impressive, considering he didn’t even record a catch in Week 1. Not surprisingly, Antonio Brown and Julio Jones (16) top this list, and Stefon Diggs and A.J. Green clock in right after with 15 such catches. So Brown is hanging in elite territory in this statistical showcase.

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5 Notable Defensive Stats


Baltimore (Shutdown) Corners – Baltimore’s trio of corners (Brandon Carr, Jimmy Smith and slot cover Ladarius Webb) all rank in the top 13 (among CBs that have played at least 50 percent of their team’s snaps) in QB Rating Allowed on intended targets to their assignments. All have a QBR Allowed below 60.0, with Carr (20.0) and Smith (26.0) ranked first and third, respectively. In total, the trio has combined to allow just 24 catches for 453 yards with a TD-to-INT ratio of 0:5 in four games. Sans QB Derek Carr, all Raiders’ wideouts, who face Baltimore this week, need to be heavily downgraded for the matchup in addition to the QB change.

Pittsburgh Steelers – It could be a rough week for Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville offense. The Jags face a Steelers’ defense that is second in QB sacks (15), first in Yards per Pass Attempt (5.2) and has allowed just 4.2 yards per play, lowest in the league. New England (7.2) has allowed a full three yards more per play than Pittsburgh, and sit last in this category. The Buccaneers get to host the Patriots this week, and the Tampa Bay offense has generated 6.0 yards per play, fifth-best in the NFL.

Tennessee Titans – The Titans’ defense allows a league-high 4.5 red zone opportunities per game, resulting in an average of 3.2 red zone touchdowns allowed per game, also tops in the league. Oh, and guess who allows the most first downs per game? Yep, that’s the Titans once again, allowing 24.8 chain-moving plays per game. Hosting Tennessee, it’s a great week for Miami to break out of its offensive slump.

Chicago Bears Run Defense – The Bears have faced some formidable running backs through the first month of the season (Devonta Freeman, Le’Veon Bell and Ty Montgomery among them), yet they are the only team that has yet to allow a run of at least 15 yards. And only Philly and Denver have allowed fewer yards from scrimmage to the running back position. Dalvin Cook owners might be tempted to pick up Latavius Murray and/or Jerick McKinnon to plug in for Cook this week at Chicago on Monday night, but they should seek other options.

Cleveland Browns – Think the Browns’ defense is a pushover? Think again. The Cleveland defense has produced a total of 50 plays that have resulted in no gain or a loss of yards, tops in the league.




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Brandon Funston has been dispensing solid gold fantasy advice (with some fool's gold mixed in from time to time) for the past 20 years, formerly with ESPN, and Yahoo. You can send him questions/comments on Twitter @brandonfunston.



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