Numbers make the fantasy football world go ’round.
Besides the most obvious way — numbers are what determine our weekly matchups and, ultimately, our league champions — it’s those very digits that often give us precious insight into particular players, teams and positions (pertaining to draft and lineup strategy). Numbers tell stories in fantasy football, some of them critical to our decision-making process, others sometimes misleading as we cherry pick stats to make arguments in favor of certain players over others.
The numbers can take us down practically any path we wish when telling a fantasy football story, but knowing these statistical facts is imperative to your team’s chances. It’s up to you to decide how, and in what way, each is important to you.
So, as the 2023 season dawns, let’s go through some of my favorite numbers collected during my preseason research. Absorb them in whatever way you wish: to make the call between two similarly valued players, for a head start on your own research on the player (or team or position) in question, as merely a “huh, how about that?” factoid or even as trivia to stump your friends and leaguemates.
NOTE: All references to fantasy points are for PPR leagues, unless noted.
0: Times that Aaron Rodgers scored 20 or more fantasy points in a game in 2022. In his previous 14 seasons as an NFL starter, he never had fewer than four 20-point performances.
2: Number of tight ends selected outside the position’s top 15 to finish 2022 with at least 140 fantasy points. There were 12 TEs total who scored at least 140 points last season.
4: Number of running backs selected among the position’s top 10 on average who finished the season as positional top-10 scorers in each of the past two seasons.
4: Tight ends who had at least a 20% target share in 2022, all of whom scored 150-plus fantasy points.
4.2: Amount of fantasy points Jahan Dotson outscored Terry McLaurin by over the Washington Commanders’ final four games last season. Dotson also saw four more targets and three more end zone looks than McLaurin in that span.
5: Number of kickers who finished among the position’s top 15 in fantasy points in 2022 after being selected among the top 15 kickers in drafts.
6: Rushes by Travis Etienne Jr. that NFL’s Next Gen Stats clocked at 20 mph or faster in 2022, tied with Saquon Barkley for the most among running backs. Etienne also had 25.5% of his rushing attempts clocked at 15 mph or faster, the second-highest rate among RBs with at least 200 attempts.
7: Number of running backs selected outside the position’s top 25 in the past three seasons (2020-22) to finish the season as top-10 scorers at the position.
7: Times that Justin Jefferson scored at least 30 fantasy points in a game in 2022, a single-season record by a wide receiver.
7: Total number of D/STs selected among the top three at the position in the past 10 seasons to finish the season in the top five in fantasy scoring. Only 16 of 30 even finished among the position’s top 10 in scoring in those seasons.
7.6: Fewest fantasy points scored in any game by Travis Kelce in 2022.
9.35: Average fantasy points per game by the league’s leading kicker (minimum nine games played). To compare, 33 quarterbacks, 36 running backs, 50 wide receivers and 10 tight ends averaged at least that many.
10: Times Austin Ekeler had a top-five fantasy point total among RBs between Weeks 2 and 17 last season. To put that into perspective, the only RB to have more than seven top-five weekly performances in any of the past four seasons was Christian McCaffrey in 2019 (10).
10: Rushing TDs from the 1-yard line by Jamaal Williams in 2020, tied for the second most in a single season this century behind only LeGarrette Blount’s 11 in 2016.
10: Of the 16 total D/STs to score at least 10 fantasy PPG in the past 10 seasons, 10 of them were drafted outside of the top 10 D/STs.
13.5: Average depth of target in yards for Kyle Pitts in 2022, the most in a season by any tight end with at least 50 targets since the stat began being tracked in 2006.
18.8: Percentage of Breece Hall’s rushing attempts that went for at least 10 yards, largest among running backs with at least 40 attempts last season.
23: Number of 25-point fantasy games combined by quarterbacks Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts in 2022, accounting for 37% of those from the position.
24: Number of end zone targets seen by DK Metcalf last season, nine more than any other player.
28: Number of times Cooper Kupp has scored at least 20 fantasy points in a game in the past four seasons, most among wide receivers.
86: Number of receptions for Diontae Johnson without scoring a touchdown in 2022, a single-season NFL record by 23 over the next closest wide receiver.
100.9: Fantasy points separating Kelce from the No. 2 scoring tight end, T.J. Hockenson, the second-largest “victory margin” by a tight end in NFL history behind only Kellen Winslow’s plus-111.6 in 1980. To put it into perspective, the difference between TE2 and TE19 last season was 99.8.
102.0: Jerick McKinnon’s league-leading fantasy point total from Weeks 14 to 17 of 2022. It’s more points than he scored in five of his previous eight NFL seasons in their entirety.
104: Missed tackles forced by Bijan Robinson at Texas last season, per Pro Football Focus, a single-season NCAA record.
113.52: Fantasy points separating the Nos. 1 (Mahomes) and 5 (Geno Smith) quarterbacks last season. The difference between QB5 and QB20 was 107.32.
162.3: Fantasy points scored by the Bears’ Fields on rushing plays alone in 2022, the most by any quarterback in a single season in NFL history. This accounted for 55% of his total fantasy production.
174: Difference in number of rushing attempts by league leader Derrick Henry and the next closest player (Dalvin Cook) over the past four seasons. Henry played in fewer games (55) than any of the five running backs with at least 1,000 rushing attempts during that span.
238.36: Fantasy point total scored by McCaffrey after joining the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7 last season, the most by any RB in that span.
417.4: Mahomes’ fantasy points scored in 2022, which set a single-season record by a quarterback. Mahomes has the position’s two best single-season totals in history (also 417.08 in 2018).
418.7: Fantasy points scored by Amon-Ra St. Brown since Week 13 of 2021 — the first game in which he saw double-digit targets — which is third most among wide receivers during that span.
547.0: Ja’Marr Chase‘s career fantasy point total through his first 29 games. Since the merger, it’s the second most by any wide receiver through that many career games, behind only Odell Beckham Jr.’s 642.2.