The first few weeks of the season are always pure madness, with every team on the schedule before bye weeks kick in. While it’s nice to avoid the kind of gutwrenching decisions the byes force, at least they make the schedule a bit more manageable. With 16 games on the schedule, the early weeks of the NFL season can feel a bit overwhelming.
You can’t possibly get a feel for every game on these loaded schedules, so here is one key number to know for all 16 NFL games in Week 2.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills
Percent of Tyrod Taylor ‘s passes that traveled at least 20 yards past the line of scrimmage in 2015, tops in the league
According to ProFootballFocus.com, Taylor was one of the most prolific deep passers in the league last season, competing 28 of 69 such attempts, totaling 18.3 percent of his total attempts. He only attempted two such passes in Week 1, despite hanging on to the ball longer than any quarterback in the league, on average. Taylor’s ability to extend plays is going to up both of those numbers, but if Sammy Watkins ‘ foot injury limits him, that could really hinder Taylor’s downfield game.
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers
Number of games A.J. Green played with more targets last season than the 13 he received in Week 1
And that game came against the Steelers on Nov. 1 when he racked up a whopping 17 en route to 11 catches, 118 yards and a touchdown. In fact, two of Green’s five highest target games came against Pittsburgh. I would bet Green has a few more 13-plus target games in his future this season.
Tennessee Titans at Detroit Lions
Fantasy points per game for Matthew Stafford in the Jim Bob Cooter era
Cooter seems to have dramatically altered the trajectory of Stafford’s career by simplifying his QB’s job. The Lions have Stafford throwing deep less than nearly any quarterback in the league, leading to less risk taking and more efficiency. So far, so good.
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
Targets for Steve Smith in Week 1
I was — and still largely am — skeptical that Smith will be a productive Fantasy option, but the fact that Joe Flacco still looked his way so often is a plus. He had just 19 yards on five catches with those nine targets, so that’s not a great sign yet, and Smith’s effectiveness coming off a ruptured Achilles is still very much in doubt. However, if he is going to get nine targets every game, I’ll take my chances on him.
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins
Completions for Dak Prescott more than 20 yards past the line of scrimmage
It wasn’t for lack of trying; per PFF, Prescott attempted six such passes, the fourth-highest total in the league. He played it mostly safe, and Prescott’s struggles with the deep pass make that look like a wise move after one week. On the other hand, Prescott was 5 for 7 on deep passes in the preseason, so it’s not time to write him — or Dez Bryant — entirely off just yet.
New Orleans Saints at New York Giants
NFL-record number of passing touchdowns allowed by the Saints last season
Six of them were by Eli Manning in Week 6. You should be very excited about starting Manning this week.
San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers
Blaine Gabbert ‘s yards per pass attempt in the opener
Gabbert looked … fine, in the opener, but wasn’t exactly impressive. He moved the ball at times, and his willingness to tuck the ball and run should help Carlos Hyde in Chip Kelly’s running game. However, the 49ers’ passing game still looked mostly lackluster, and the Panthers aren’t going to be afraid of it. Hyde could have a long day.
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
Percent of dropbacks Ryan Tannehill was pressured on in Week 1, 2nd highest in the NFL
Tannehill took five sacks Sunday, which has become a theme for him over the years. The Patriots’ defense did a decent job of pressuring Carson Palmer in Week 1, coming up with three sacks, but they could be a good target for this week too.
Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans
Percent of Chiefs’ offense snaps Spencer Ware played
Ware put together a monster game, finishing with 199 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown, and he did it while sitting out more than half of Kansas City’s plays. He touched the ball on 17 of his 36 snaps, and you have to figure he sees a bigger role this week — if Jamaal Charles sits again. With a tougher matchup on the way, that could make up for any dropoff in per-touch production, which is inevitable.
Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams
Yards after contact per rush for Todd Gurley , 11th-best in the NFL in Week 1
Gurley’s 47 yards on 17 carries doesn’t jump off the page, however he ended up with more yards after contact than he had from scrimmage, a good sign of how tough his road was. Unfortunately, things aren’t likely to get much better for him in Week 2, with the Seahawks on the way.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals
Yards Cardinals’ rookie DB Brandon Williams gave up on four catches in Week 1
The Patriots went out of their way to target the rookie, whose seven targets in coverage led the team. Patrick Peterson was, unsurprisingly, avoided, and it will be interesting to see if the Buccaneers move Mike Evans around to try to take advantage of the same matchup Bill Belichek wisely did.
Jacksonville Jaguars at San Diego Chargers
Danny Woodhead ‘s edge in snaps played over Melvin Gordon
Gordon made the most of his attempts, rushing for 57 yards and a pair of scores on 14 carries, but Woodhead still got the bulk of the work, finishing with 16 carries and five receptions. If Gordon continues to play just 32 percent of the teams’ offensive snaps, it’s going to be hard for him to break out, as many are hoping.
Atlanta Falcons at Oakland Raiders
Falcons success rate in the red zone in Week 1
Moving the ball between the 20’s has never been the issue for the Falcons; they just get bogged down in the red zone. Last season, they ranked 18th in red zone scoring rate, a number that has to get better if Matt Ryan is to take a step forward.
Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos
Broncos rank in FootballOutsiders.com’s pass defense DVOA in 2015
The Broncos boasted the best defense in the league in 2015, with a pair of top-notch corners and a dominant pass rush. Cam Newton had a little bit of success in Week 1 against them, but was still held below 200 passing yards and 6.0 yards per attempt, so don’t expect a repeat performance from Andrew Luck coming off his 37.4-point game vs. Detroit.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Jacksonville’s yards per carry in Week 1 vs. Green Bay
Adrian Peterson is coming off one of his worst career performances in Week 1 when he rushed for just 31 yards on 19 carries. The Packers dominated the ground game in Week 1, though it’s fair to wonder how much of that was just T.J. Yeldon and the Jaguars’ own failings. Still, Peterson may not get on track until Week 4, with the Panthers on the schedule in Week 3.
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears
Percent of snaps the Bears pressured Texans’ QB Brock Osweiler in Week 1
The Eagles were mostly able to keep Carson Wentz ‘s jersey clean in Week 1 — he was sacked twice but wasn’t hit as he threw otherwise. According to PFF, Wentz was pressured on 32.5 percent of his snaps, and went just 4 for 10 when pressured, so if the Bears’ pass rush can get home, Wentz will almost certainly have a tougher job ahead of him than in the opener.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Fantasy Football: 16 numbers to know for Week 2