The Rundown: Week 1 Stats to Know & Packers vs Bears

The Rundown: Week 1 Stats to Know & Packers vs Bears

The inaugural edition of this weekly article has me very excited. For those who have followed my work, you know that I love analyzing data and fantasy analysis. Now, I get to preview every game and provide a wealth of information to help understand how team matchups will influence fantasy performance.

Each week, I will provide a preview article with some key overall stats to watch for along with the Thursday game preview that includes start/sit ratings. Then, there will be subsequent previews later in the week with all the other games in time for the remaining fantasy decisions before kickoff. For much of this data, I will be using 4for4's Snaps, Touches, and Targets Apps as well as analyzing each team's pace and play-calling tendencies.

Five Stats to Know for Week 1

  • Tortoise vs the hare: The Colts were last year’s fastest offense at 26.30 seconds per play, and they go against the slowest offense in the Chargers at 30.25 seconds per play.
  • We’re going streaking: The Chiefs have 11 straight games with multiple touchdown passes. The Jaguars allowed five such games in 2018, the third-fewest among NFL teams.
  • I only wanna be with you: Ezekiel Elliott played at least 75% of the Cowboys’ offensive snaps in all 15 games he played during the 2018 season.
  • The Running Man: Josh Allen was the seventh quarterback to average over 50 rushing yards per game and total over 500 rushing yards. One of his two 100-yard rushing games was against the Jets.
  • Catching feelings: Five running backs caught 75 or more receptions in 2018, the most in a single season. 1986 was the only other season to see more than three.

Packers at Bears

Spread: Bears -4 | Total: 46

Arguably the NFL’s most historic rivalry, this game has extra meaning to open the season knowing that both have legitimate playoff aspirations in 2019. The Packers operate quickly, having the eighth fastest offensive time between plays (27.16) in 2018, but the Bears’ defense saw the third-fastest pace (26.73). The latter was fueled by teams having to play catchup as roughly 70% of the Bears 2018 defensive plays occurred when they held the lead (league average was 46%). If the Packers do find themselves trailing, they will shift from a 65% pass play offense up to 72%, making their receiving weapons more intriguing for this matchup.

Green Bay Packers

The Bears’ defense gave the Packers fits in 2018 and it’s likely going to continue into this season. Rodgers was sacked seven times and the team failed to reach 100 total rushing yards in either contest. The Packers will likely rely on Rodgers’ arm here and try to avoid falling behind early. Some vulnerability in the slot with Bryce Callahan gone could lead to an opportunity for one of the non-Davante Adams options as well.

Team Trends That Matter

  • Aaron Rodgers absorbed 49 sacks last year, his highest number since 2012, which included 10 games of three or more.
  • The Packers had just 15 turnovers in 2018, the second-fewest, but the Bears accounted for three of those.
  • Head coach Matt LaFleur was top 10 in rushing attempts both seasons as an offensive coordinator, but bottom 10 in passing attempts.

Fantasy Ratings and a Stat to Know

Chicago Bears

Much like last season, the Bears offense will likely play things safe with a ball-control strategy that keeps Aaron Rodgers off the field. That should lead to David Montgomery seeing a lot of action with shallow field receiving options like Tarik Cohen and Trey Burton (if healthy) helping to move the chains in passing situations. Mitch Trubisky could have a sneaky day with some rushing opportunities to supplement a likely lighter passing game as he averaged one yard fewer per attempt against the Packers than his season average.

Team Trends That Matter

  • Held the Packers under 100 rushing yards in both matchups, first time since 2011.
  • Jordan Howard had 20 touches in each matchup against the Packers in 2018. He had six total instances of 20 or more touches for the season.
  • Matt Nagy’s 2017 Chiefs and 2018 Bears were top ten scoring offenses and only failed to reach double digits in points once in 32 regular-season games.

Fantasy Ratings and a Stat to Know

  • QB Mitch Trubisky (3) - Zero career interceptions against the Packers
  • RB David Montgomery (3) - Had 20-plus carries in 13 of the last 19 college games
  • RB Tarik Cohen (2) - Five games of eight or more targets in 2018, tied for the team lead
  • WR Allen Robinson (3) - All four 2018 touchdowns came from further than 10 yards away
  • WR Anthony Miller (2) - Played in half of the offensive snaps in 11 of 15 games
  • WR Taylor Gabriel (1) - 11% target rate per snap ranked second behind Robinson
  • TE Trey Burton (3) - Averaged nearly four more yards per catch at home in 2018

Fantasy Rating Key

  • (5) - Elite option. Must start.
  • (4) - Strong option. Likely start.
  • (3) - Good option. Low-end starter to high-end backup.
  • (2) - Weak option. Possible flex or desperation play.
  • (1) - Bad option. Bench in nearly all cases.
  • (0) - Not an option. Injured, bench, or waivers.

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