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101 interesting fantasy facts from the 2015 season

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Stats, stats and more stats. That's what fantasy football is all about. And when you're coming off as unpredictable an NFL season as we saw in 2015, well, there's going to be more than a few wild stats that are great fodder for the water cooler. More to the point, there's 101 ... at least in this column. So sit down in front of your laptop, or dial up your smart phone and be prepared to be amazed, mystified and maybe a little shocked at our latest edition of the 101 Fantasy Football Facts.

Special thanks to NFL researchers extraordinaire Careen Falcone and Evan Lazar for their help with this column.

1. A total of 11 quarterbacks threw for 30 or more touchdowns in 2015. That is the most in a single season in NFL history. The previous high was nine, which was set in 2014. The NFL also saw a league-record 842 touchdown passes thrown, which is 35 more than the previous record that was also set in 2014.

2. Teams threw the football 59.1 percent of the time this season, which is the highest percentage since 1995.

3. There were 23 quarterbacks who scored 200-plus fantasy points in 2015, which is the most in a single season in NFL history. Also, the top 10 fantasy players overall were all quarterbacks. That's the first time it's happened in the Super Bowl era.

4. The 2015 season also saw 17 signal-callers reach the 250-fantasy point plateau, which marks the fifth consecutive season that number has increased. That total has also more than doubled since 2010, when eight quarterbacks finished with 250-plus fantasy points. Collectively, quarterbacks set an all-time single-season record for fantasy points with 8,300. The previous record was 7,836, which was set in 2014.

5. A total of 20 quarterbacks finished in the top 25 in fantasy points in 2015, which is the most in NFL history. Of the top 15 fantasy quarterbacks, 10 were drafted in the ninth round or later. This includes Cam Newton, who finished with the most fantasy points (389.08) in the league.

6. Two quarterbacks (Drew Brees, Newton) scored 40-plus fantasy points in a single game this season. Both of those performances came against the New York Giants (Brees, Week 8; Newton, Week 15). The third-best performance from a quarterback came from Giants signal-caller Eli Manning. He scored 38 fantasy points in Week 8 ... against the Saints in the same game that Brees recorded his 40 points.

7. Aside from Brees and Newton, the only other player to score 40-plus fantasy points in a single game was Cardinals rookie running back David Johnson. He accomplished that feat against another NFC East team, the Philadelphia Eagles, in Week 15. Newton outscored him by 0.70 points that week.

8. Newton became the first quarterback in NFL history to have 35-plus passing touchdowns and 10-plus rushing touchdowns in a single season. He also had an NFL-leading 389.1 fantasy points, which is the sixth-most scored in NFL history. The most fantasy points recorded in a single season was 425.1 by LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006.

9. In his first five NFL seasons, Newton has scored more fantasy points (1,627.60) than any other player in NFL history. Peyton Manning (1998-2002) is second ... he scored 1,279.30 fantasy points in his first five seasons.

10. After finishing in the top two in fantasy points in each of the previous three campaigns, Brees failed to finish among the top five for the second straight season. Although he led the NFL in passing yards (4,870) and finished sixth in fantasy points, Brees recorded his fewest passing touchdowns in the last eight years.

11. Manning threw the second-most interceptions (17) this season, despite starting just nine games. He averaged 9.1 fantasy points per game, which ranked 40th among quarterbacks and just below Johnny Manziel. His previous low for a campaign was 15.1 in 2005.

12. From 2013-2014, Manning scored 20-plus fantasy points a total of 21 times. He scored 20 or more points just once in 2015, and scored fewer than 12 points in six different games.

13. Eli Manning finished with 4,436 passing yards (second-most in his career) and 35 touchdown passes (career-high), but he barely cracked the top 10 in fantasy points among quarterbacks with 287.54. In 2009, that would have been good enough to finish third overall at the position.

14. Russell Wilson is the first quarterback in NFL history to record 4,000 passing yards, 30 passing touchdowns and 500 rushing yards in a single season.

15. In his first nine games of 2015, Wilson averaged 15.80 fantasy points and was on pace to finish with 252.80 points. That would have ranked him 18th among quarterbacks. His production soared in the final seven weeks, however, as Wilson averaged 27.72 fantasy points and finished third among quarterbacks with 336.26 points.

16. Wilson had as many touchdown passes (28) in his last 11 games as Teddy Bridgewater has in his entire career (28 touchdown passes in 29 games).

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17. Aaron Rodgers finished seventh in fantasy points among quarterbacks in 2015. He had finished no worse than second in five of the previous six seasons. The only season he finished outside of the top two prior was in 2013, when he missed seven games with a broken collarbone.

18. The fantasy postseason has not been kind to Rodgers in the last two years. In fact, he's scored fewer than 15 fantasy points in four of the last six games he's started in Weeks 14-16. That includes three performances with 10.1 or fewer points.

19. In 2015, Jameis Winston, Brock Osweiler, Jay Cutler, Blaine Gabbert, and AJ McCarron were among the 24 quarterbacks who scored more fantasy points than Rodgers from Weeks 14-17.

20. Winston set Buccaneers' franchise records for most passing yards (4,042) and touchdown passes (22) by a rookie. He finished 13th in fantasy points among quarterbacks (274.98), the highest total for a rookie signal-caller since Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck all finished in the top 10 in 2012.

21. Tom Brady scored 343.7 fantasy points at 38-years-old, making him the oldest player in NFL history to score at least 335 fantasy points in a single season.

22. While Brady averaged 26.63 fantasy points in his first seven games of the season, his production dropped during the second half. In fact, he averaged 17.48 points over the final nine weeks including an average of 15.95 points in the fantasy playoffs (Weeks 14-16).

23. The St. Louis Rams finished the 2015 campaign with a mere 11 touchdown passes. During the fourth quarter alone, Brady threw a combined 12 touchdown passes during the course of the season.

24. Kirk Cousins averaged a mere 12.17 fantasy points per game prior to his "You Like That!" game against the Buccaneers in Week 7. Including that game and throughout the rest of the regular season, Cousins averaged 22.04 fantasy points per game.

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25. Over the final four weeks of the NFL's regular season, Cousins scored the second-most fantasy points in the NFL (108.40). In fact, his point total was more than double the output of Rodgers (50.26) during that time span. Cousins had 12 touchdown passes and one interception, while Rodgers tossed just five scoring strikes and had three picks.

26. Based on ADP (average draft position), Blake Bortles was one of the best values in fantasy football among quarterbacks. Despite going undrafted in most leagues (ADP in 15th round), Bortles finished fourth in fantasy points in the NFL. He had 35 touchdown passes in 2015, which is now a single-season franchise record for the Jaguars.

27. Jacksonville was a hotbed for fantasy points in 2015. Bortles set single-season franchise records in passing yards (4,428) and touchdown passes (35), Allen Robinson tied for the league lead with 14 touchdown catches (franchise record), and Allen Hurns caught a touchdown in seven consecutive games (Weeks 3-10). That is also the longest streak in franchise history.

28. The longest rush of the 2015 campaign belonged to Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota, who scored on an 87-yard touchdown (14.7 fantasy points) run against the Jaguars in Week 13. Believe it or not, but that was more points than Redskins running back Alfred Morris scored in any single game the entire season.

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29. Teams ran the football 26.3 times per game, which is the lowest mark since 1932. Games also averaged only 217.7 rushing yards, which is the lowest total this century and the sixth-lowest since 1932.

30. Running backs scored a combined 8,236 fantasy points this season, which is the second-fewest since 2002.

31. Of the top 15 running backs based on rushing yards in 2014, not one player saw an increase in that category this season. Seven running backs broke 1,000 rushing yards, the fewest since 1991.

32. A record 18 quarterbacks outscored the top-scoring running back (Devonta Freeman) this season. The previous record was six, set in 2012 and matched in 2014.

33. Freeman finished with 243.90 fantasy points, which is the lowest point total for the top running since Charles White scored 207.5 points in 1987. A total of 15 running backs reached the 150-fantasy point plateau this season, which is the lowest number since 1996.

34. Freeman and Adrian Peterson were the lone running backs with 200-plus fantasy points in 2015. That hasn't happened since 1987 when White and Herschel Walker were the lone 200-point runners. That was almost 30 years ago.

35. Freeman's 243.9 fantasy points ranks 159th among running backs for a single-season total in NFL history. He doesn't have much of a chance to finish first in fantasy points at his position in 2016, however, as no running back has ranked in that top spot in back-to-back seasons since LaDainian Tomlinson did it in 2006-07.

36. Peterson was the lone running back with 300-plus rushing attempts in 2015, which is the fewest number of running backs to reach that mark since 1990. He led the NFL with 1,485 rushing yards in 2015, making him just the third player in NFL history to lead the league in rushing yards after his 30th birthday.

37. Peterson also rushed for more yards than seven different NFL teams this season.

38. Peterson has now finished in the top 10 in fantasy points among running backs in eight of his nine NFL seasons. The only time he fell short was his suspension-shortened 2014 campaign.

39. Peterson will be 31-years-old at the start of the 2016 season. Only two running backs have finished among the top three in fantasy points at the position at 31 years of age or older. Those two backs were John Riggins (1983) and Floyd Little (1973). Curtis Martin came close in 2004, but he finished 3.4 points behind Tomlinson for the No. 3 spot.

40. DeAngelo Williams (age 32) finished fourth in fantasy points among running backs this season, despite the fact that he touched the ball fewer than six times in five different games. Those contests occurred when Le'Veon Bell was back from his two-game suspension and before he injured his knee.

41. In the five games that Bell was active (not including the game he was injured in Week 8), Williams scored a total of 4.3 fantasy points. He averaged 17 points in the games without Bell, which projects to 272.1 points over a full season. That total would have ranked Williams No. 1 among running backs in points, ahead of both Freeman (-28.7) and Peterson (-41.4).

42. David Johnson appeared on the most NFL.com fantasy championship rosters (31.1 percent) this season. Based on his ADP, Johnson was drafted in Round 15.

43. Some of the running backs picked ahead of Johnson on NFL.com include Bobby Rainey, Andre Williams, Bishop Sankey, Terrance West and C.J. Spiller.

44. Johnson had the best fantasy performance from a running back in 2015, as he rushed for 187 yards, scored three touchdowns and piled up 40.9 fantasy points against the Eagles (Week 15). Johnson became the first Cardinals player with 150-plus rushing yards and three-plus rushing touchdowns in a game since Willis Crenshaw had 162 yards and three touchdowns in 1968 (Week 13) as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.

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45. Johnson was one of two rookies to finish in the top 20 in fantasy points among running backs, along with Rams runner Todd Gurley. Jeremy Hill was the lone rookie to finish in the top 20 at the position in 2014, while four finished in the top 20 in 2013.

46. Despite the fact that he didn't start a game until Week 4, Gurley still led all rookie runners with 1,106 rushing yards. He had five games with at least 125 rushing yards as well, trailing only Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson for the most ever by a first-year back. He had seven such performances in 1983.

47. DeMarco Murray was one of the bigger disappointments in fantasy football, finishing 18th in points among running backs after finishing first in points the previous season. He experienced a 153.7-point decline in production compared to his final year in Dallas. Murray also averaged 0.59 points per touch last season, compared to 0.65 points in 2014.

48. Murray collected seven total touchdowns in his first season with the Eagles, while backfield mates Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles combined for 13 scores. Murray also reached 17 fantasy points in a game three times in 2015. He hit that mark 12 times last season.

49. Murray finished with 702 rushing yards this season, which was just 48 more yards than Doug Martin had after contact (650).

50. Mark Ingram led the Saints with 769 rushing yards, making it nine straight campaigns that this franchise has been without a 1,000-yard rusher. Its last 1,000-yard back was Deuce McAllister in 2006.

51. Ingram finished the 2015 campaign ranked 15th in fantasy points among running backs for the second straight time. That comes despite the fact that he's missed seven games over the past two seasons. In his five years in the NFL, Ingram has played in 14-plus games just once.

52. Despite the fact that 41 running backs were drafted ahead of him based on NFL.com's ADP, Danny Woodhead still finished 11th in fantasy points at his position in 2015. He also led the NFL in yards after the catch with 737. That's 234 more receiving yards than Andre Johnson had all season. Johnson, on average, was drafted 83.86 spots ahead of Woodhead.

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53. Lions running back Theo Riddick recorded 80 receptions this season, which is the most in franchise history. It was also more than Rob Gronkowski, Randall Cobb, Mike Evans and Emmanuel Sanders, all of whom had an ADP of Round 4 or higher in NFL.com drafts. Riddick was owned in 5.1 percent of leagues when the season ended.

54. Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls recorded 712 rushing yards in his first six NFL starts while Marshawn Lynch was injured. That ranks as the most rushing yards by an undrafted player in his first six career starts since the 1970 merger.

55. The Chiefs embodied the "Next Man Up" mentality at running back in 2015. Despite losing their star running back Jamaal Charles to a serious knee ailment in Week 5, the team still tied for the most rushing touchdowns in the NFL (19).

56. In Week 8, four different Kansas City players (Alex Smith, Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West, De'Anthony Thomas) rushed for a touchdown. This marked the first time since October 2, 1960, when the franchise was known as the Dallas Texans, that four different players rushed for at least one touchdown in the same game for a team.

57. The Buffalo Bills were the lone NFL team that ran the football on more than 50 percent of their offensive snaps in 2015, which tied for the fewest since 1996.

58. Despite Buffalo's dependence on the run, LeSean McCoy still finished outside of the top 15 in fantasy points at his position. Of course, that's due in part to his missing four games due to injuries. In the 12 games he was active, McCoy averaged 12.2 fantasy points per game. Had he started all 16 contests, he would have projected to finish fourth in fantasy points among all runners.

59. There were 26 wideouts who reached 1,000 receiving yards in 2015, which tied for the most in the Super Bowl era (1999).

60. Six wide receivers scored at least 200 fantasy points, which is one shy of the all-time record of seven set in 1995.

61. Antonio Brown led all wide receivers in fantasy points for the second straight season. He recorded four 185-yard receiving games in 2015, which is the most in a single season in NFL history.

62. Based on the games Ben Roethlisberger played this season (including the game where he took over for an injured Landry Jones), Brown would have projected to set NFL single-season records in targets (216), receptions (159) and receiving yards (2,132). His 273.2 fantasy points would have ranked as the third-most among wide receivers in NFL history, trailing just Jerry Rice and Randy Moss.

63. Brown finished with 246.2 fantasy points in 2015, which ranked him first in points among wide receivers for the second straight season. The last wide receiver to finish first in points at the position in three straight years was Rice (1993-95).

64. Brown has now recorded the most receptions in a two-year span in NFL history (265).

65. Brown and Julio Jones combined for 3,705 receiving yards this season, which is the most by two wide receivers in a single season. It is also more than any team's combined wide receivers combined.

66. As a team, no group of wide receivers had more yards (3,689) this season than the Steelers.

67. Jones led the league in receiving yards this season with 1,871, which is the second-most yards in a single season in NFL history behind Calvin Johnson (2012). Jones also finished second among wideouts in fantasy points, which is the first time he finished within the top seven at the position during his five-year career.

68. Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin was owned on the second-most fantasy championship rosters on NFL.com (22.8 percent). While he scored fewer than 10 fantasy points in eight of his first 10 games (71.9 points), Baldwin went on to score 16-plus points in five of his final six contests (119 points).

69. Baldwin had 10 touchdown catches from Weeks 12-15, which tied him with Rice (1987) for the most touchdown catches in a four-game span in a single season in NFL history. Baldwin scored 96.6 fantasy points over that span, which was more than Cobb had for the Packers in his last 13 games combined (80.2).

70. Odell Beckham Jr. has recorded a combined 2,755 receiving yards (1,450 in 2015) in his first two NFL seasons. That surpassed Moss' previous total for the most receiving yards in a player's first two seasons in NFL history.

71. OBJ has nine career games with at least 140 receiving yards, the most ever by a player in his first two NFL seasons. During this time span, he averaged 15.8 fantasy points per game, the most among wide receivers.

72. Beckham Jr. has also scored the second-most fantasy points (427.30) in his first two seasons among wide receivers in the Super Bowl era, behind only Moss (449.40).

73. OBJ has missed a combined five games in his first two NFL seasons. Moss played in all 32 games in his first two pro campaigns.

74. In 2015, Allen Robinson became the fourth player in NFL history to record 1,400 receiving yards at the age of 22 or younger. The other three were Moss, Josh Gordon and Larry Fitzgerald.

75. Robinson scored double-digit fantasy points in 12 games, which was second-most among wide receivers in 2015. Robinson had 14 touchdown receptions, which is the most in a single season in Jacksonville's franchise history.

76. DeAndre Hopkins posted a 100-yard receiving game with four different starting quarterbacks (Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, T.J. Yates and Brandon Weeden) this season. He is the first player since at least 1950 to accomplish that feat.

77. Amari Cooper got off to a hot start in his rookie season, posting three 100-yard receiving games in Oakland's first six games. That made him the first rookie with three 100-yard receiving games in his team's first six games since Mike Ditka accomplished the feat in 1961.

78. Cooper would post just three more 100-yard performances in his final 10 games.

79. Stefon Diggs finished with 52 receptions in 2015, the third-most by a rookie in Minnesota's franchise history (Moss, 1998; Percy Harvin, 2009). Diggs also became the first rookie in franchise history to lead the team in receptions. Cris Carter led the Vikings in catches in Moss's rookie campaign.

80. In what was supposed to be a down season at the position, five different tight ends (Rob Gronkowski, Gary Barnidge, Jordan Reed, Greg Olsen, Delanie Walker) scored 140-plus fantasy points. That's the most in NFL history.

81. There were also four tight ends (Gronkowski, Olsen, Walker, Barnidge) who recorded 1,000-plus receiving yards in 2015. That is also the most in NFL history.

82. Out of the top 10 tight ends based on fantasy points this season, seven had an average draft position of Round 12 or later. That list includes Barnidge, Benjamin Watson and Richard Rodgers, who weren't even drafted in most leagues.

83. Gronkowski finished first in fantasy points among tight ends with 183.60, which was 25.3 more than the second-best tight end (Barnidge). He also scored 27.4 fantasy points in a Week 1 win over the Steelers, which led all tight ends for a single-game performance.

84. Gronkowski's 27.4 points in that contest were more than Jimmy Graham scored in his last five games played combined.

85. Prior to getting injured in Week 12 against the Steelers, Graham was a monumental disappointment for fantasy fans. After being drafted in the fourth round in most NFL.com leagues (31st overall), he finished 11th among tight ends in fantasy points scored per game (6.59).

86. Graham scored two touchdowns and 26.5 fantasy points in his first three games as a member of the Seahawks. He would score a combined 46 points with no touchdowns in his last eight games played.

87. Olsen is coming off the best statistical season of his career, posting 1,104 yards and seven touchdowns while finishing fourth in fantasy points among tight ends. He's been the model of consistency when it comes to finding the end zone, as Olsen has scored at least five touchdowns in eight consecutive seasons.

88. A total of 44 players were drafted ahead of Olsen on NFL.com this season, a list that includes DeSean Jackson, Matt Ryan, Jordan Matthews, Alfred Blue and Peyton Manning.

89. Barnidge was one of the top draft bargains in fantasy football, as he finished second in points among tight ends despite going undrafted in virtually every league on NFL.com. He joined Kellen Winslow Jr. and Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome as the only Browns tight ends to finish with 1,000-plus receiving yards in a single season.

90. Barnidge's 79 catches, 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns in 2015 were more than he had recorded in his first seven NFL seasons combined.

91. Eifert missed three games in 2015 due to injuries, but he still finished sixth in fantasy points (139.50) at his position. If you project his totals over a full 16 games, he would have recorded 171.69 points. Only Gronkowski would have finished with more among tight ends.

92. Reed was the tight end who appeared on the most NFL.com fantasy championship rosters (20.1 percent) in 2015. Over the final four weeks of the NFL's regular season, no tight end scored more fantasy points (67.80). In fact, Reed's point total was almost double the output of Gronkowski (36.50 points) during that time.

93. Over the last four seasons, at least one kicker has scored 158 or more fantasy points based on NFL.com standard scoring. One kicker (Stephen Gostkowski) reached that mark in 2015, making this the third year in a row he's finished first at the position. His 159.00 points were more than Eddie Lacy, DeMarco Murray, Randall Cobb and Mike Evans recorded this season.

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94. Gostkowski led the NFL in scoring for the fifth time in his career (151 points), joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Hutson (five) and Gino Cappelletti (five) as the only players to lead the league in points scored at least five times. Also, Gostkowski would have been the 13th-ranked running back, the 16th-ranked wide receiver and the second-highest scoring tight end (behind Gronkowski) based on fantasy points.

95. In Week 4, Cairo Santos scored 25 fantasy points against the Bengals. That was tied for the third-most fantasy points scored by a kicker in a single game since at least 1999. The best single-game fantasy performance from a kicker came in 2007, when Rob Bironas scored 28 fantasy points for the Titans.

96. Gostkowski (159 points), Graham Gano (150 points) and Blair Walsh (147 points) all scored more fantasy points than Peyton Manning's projected season point total based on the production (121.5) in his first nine games. The trio also outscored five of the first 10 overall selections in 2015 drafts based on NFL.com's average draft position.

98. The highest-scoring fantasy defense in 2014 was the Eagles with 177 points. The Broncos ranked 18th. In 2015, Denver led all defenses with 175 fantasy points. The Eagles ranked 13th, scoring 47 fewer points than the previous campaign.

99. The Seahawks led the NFL in scoring defense (17.3 PPG) for the fourth straight season. The only other team in NFL history to lead the league in scoring defense in four straight seasons is the Browns, who did it five straight times (1953-1957). Despite this streak, Seattle's defense has not finished first in fantasy points among their position once in this span.

The Chiefs defense scored a total of 32 fantasy points in their first six games (5.3 FPPG) of the season, including two games with negative points. In their final 10 games, Kansas City's defense scored 128 fantasy points (12.8 FPPG). That included a two-game stretch of the fantasy postseason (Weeks 14-15) with a combined 35 points ... or three more points than in their first six contests.

101. The 49ers defense finished the 2015 season with a league-low 64.00 fantasy points, which was three points fewer than the Texans defense scored in the last four weeks of the season combined (67.00). On the other side of the football, the 49ers offense scored the fewest points in the NFL by more than five touchdowns (238).


Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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