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Splitsville: Wonder-Foles

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Nick Foles, fantasy's finest? (USAT)

Nick Foles is the most efficient fantasy football scorer in the league right now.  That doesn’t make him the best player because volume matters, too. But it sure puts him in the conversation.

Yet I keep getting a lot of questions on Twitter (@michaelsalfino) about starting Foles or Fantasy QB X (who isn’t Peyton Manning). My answer is Foles. Maybe I’d change my mind if the matchup was terrible, which it is not this week against a Detroit team that has trouble stopping passing attacks. You’ll see later in Splitsville that the Lions are downright bad against the pass. They are a backwards defense: stop the run at all costs. So I think Foles and the Eagles will have a typical day and typical for them is top shelf for us.

Here’s a chart of the quarterbacks this year sorted by Yahoo! standard fantasy points per touch (pass attempts, rushing attempts and sacks):

Player, Fantasy Points Per Touch
Nick Foles, 0.743
Peyton Manning, 0.63
Russell Wilson, 0.588
Michael Vick, 0.556
Aaron Rodgers, 0.553
Drew Brees, 0.535
Cam Newton, 0.534
Josh McCown, 0.51
Philip Rivers, 0.506
Colin Kaepernick, 0.5
Matthew Stafford, 0.494
Jake Locker, 0.481
Ryan Fitzpatrick, 0.476
Tony Romo, 0.474
Case Keenum, 0.465
Andrew Luck, 0.459
Jay Cutler, 0.442
Ben Roethlisberger, 0.416
Terrelle Pryor, 0.415
Andy Dalton, 0.413
Alex Smith, 0.401
Robert Griffin III, 0.4
EJ Manuel, 0.392
Matt Ryan, 0.39
Mike Glennon, 0.383
Tom Brady, 0.383
Christian Ponder, 0.38
Carson Palmer, 0.379
Jason Campbell, 0.37
Ryan Tannehill, 0.37
Kellen Clemens, 0.368
Joe Flacco, 0.347
Eli Manning, 0.338
Brandon Weeden, 0.324
Matt Schaub, 0.311
Geno Smith, 0.31
Chad Henne, 0.27

So if you are choosing between, say, Tony Romo this week or, for some reason, Andrew Luck, you have to expect that their touches will exceed Foles’ by a big enough margin to allow them to score more points.

 Tom Brady is tricky. Obviously it’s a different paradigm with Rob Gronkowski back. Since then, Brady has 256 touches and 106.2 fantasy points, or .414 fantasy points per touch, which places him 20th in fantasy scoring efficiency.  So he’s STILL going to need a lot of volume to justify starting him each week. Or maybe he only needs a really killer matchup. This week, the Browns are NOT a good matchup for Brady and the Patriots’ passing game.

To help you with matchup decisions, here are how the teams rank in fantasy points per game allowed to quarterbacks (and by extension all receivers, including running backs) and versus the run only.

Here are the worst matchups for your quarterbacks and receivers this week based on how many fantasy points they’ve allowed to quarterbacks over the past five games (cumulative stats):

Tm, Passing Pts/G
MIA, 8.64
CIN, 9.10
CAR, 9.20
NYG, 9.45
TEN, 10.12
SF, 10.18
CHI 11.53
SEA, 11.54
NOR, 13.65
STL: 14.43

Here are your best matchups for quarterbacks and wide receivers this week based on last five games only:

Tm, Passing Pts/G
KAN, 24.25
NYJ, 22.67
OAK, 22.40
MIN, 21.89
PIT, 20.38
DAL, 19.76
DET, 19.73
HOU, 19.56
GNB, 19.53
SDG, 18.74

Now let’s do the same thing for the rushing defenses, last five games only. Here are the LEAST matchup-friendly (i.e., toughest) run defenses:

TM, Rushing Pts/G
DET, 3.72
ARI, 7.60
NYJ, 8.80
CAR, 9.36
CLE, 9.88
BAL, 10.62
CIN, 11.76
NYG, 12.72
SFO, 12.78
SEA, 12.90

And here are the most-friendly run defense the past five games for each team:

Tm, Rushing Pts/G
CHI, 28.84
DAL, 28.12
ATL, 26.12
GNB, 24.52
SDG, 23.10
NEW, 21.36
TEN, 20.56
IND, 19.74
MIA, 18.64
JAX, 18.24

Here’s more on the Bears. Since the merger, here are the most rushing yards per attempt allowed between weeks 7 through 12, courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference:

Tm, Att, Y/A
CHI (2013), 208, 5.92
CIN (1972), 179, 5.75
DEN (2000), 129, 5.75
OAK (2001), 191, 5.72
NOR (2003) , 165, 5.69

And here’s just most rushing yards allowed:

Tm, Yds, TD
KAN (1977), 1422, 9
BUF (1978), 1305, 9
KAN (1975), 1278, 11
CHI (2013), 1231, 10
KAN (1976), 1226, 13

NOTES:  Yards per target for Broncos receivers: Wes Welker 7.1, Demaryius Thomas  9.9, Julius Thomas 9.5, Eric Decker 10.  Zac Stacy has rushed for 482 yards and four TDs last five games. Andre Ellington is averaging 6.0 per carry. Cam Newton is the first player ever with 50-plus passing TDs (59) and 25-plus rushing TDs (28) in his first three seasons. The NFL has 19 individual 400-yard passing games thus far, already the most ever in a single season. With five more TD tosses, Russell Wilson will pass Peyton Manning (52) for second most in a player’s first two seasons (Dan Marino had 68).

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