At 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, @daviddupree05 on Twitter replied to a tweet of mine about the Arizona game.
DuPree's Twitter bio reads: "My life mission is to actually save the world and love my kids. The world is crazy with darkness, but life is amazing while our hearts beat one pump at a time."
That is a beautiful sentiment and I am all for anyone who loves their kids and wants to try to bring light to a dark world. With that, here's his tweet to me:
IM SICK OF YOU'RE BS ANALYSIS!!!!
YOU TELL PEOPLE TO SIT DAVID JOHNSON AND HES KILLING IT. YOU SHOULD BE FIRED.
- David DuPree (@daviddupree05) September 23, 2018
Goodness. Four exclamation points. David feels very strongly about David Johnson, my analysis and my current employment status.
I don't believe I ever said "sit David Johnson." I rarely make definitive statements like that, because every team is different, every league is different and there's no way for me to know what other options someone might have. I did express concern for him, both season long and specifically against a very good Bears run defense. And I mentioned all week that I had ranked him 17th in Week 3, lower than I could ever imagine ranking a healthy David Johnson, but that's where we are.
Johnson finished Week 3 with 12 carries for 31 yards (2.58 yards per carry), and he got more involved in the passing game, catching 4 balls for 30 yards and 1 touchdown. He ultimately finished with 16.1 fantasy points in ESPN PPR scoring, good enough to finish as ... the 16th-best running back in fantasy in Week 3, or one spot ahead of where I ranked him for most of the week.
There were plenty of wrong calls by me in Week 3, but I don't believe Johnson was one of them.
But you see, gentle reader, this is not about me trying to pat myself on the back about my David Johnson rank. And this isn't to publically shame David DuPree, either. If you know David DuPree, or even if you just run into him online, be kind to him. You see, David is still just in the first stage.
There are five stages to dealing with having David Johnson on your roster this year, and ...
Stage 1 is Denial
"There is no way someone as talented as Johnson could be bad in fantasy. He was the No. 1 player in fantasy football in 2016. He had more points than Aaron Rodgers and every other QB! He had 82 more points than any other running back! I used a top-three pick on him this year. I mean, OK, so he had only 67 yards in Week 1 against a Redskins team that allowed the eighth-most RB points in 2017... but, but he's scored two touchdowns in three games. And, you know, he's gotten 43.1 percent of Arizona's offensive touches this season, the fifth-highest rate in the NFL. And, and, um, he's, uh, RB20 on the season -- just, uh, one-tenth of a point behind T.J. Yeldon. Yeah! T.J. Yeldon! You see? Everything is perfectly fine with David Johnson. HE'S KILLING IT, BERRY!"
I know, Mr. DuPree. I know. But while you are still in Stage 1, a quick look at my Twitter shows many folks are now in ...
Stage 2: Anger
"What the hell is going on here? Johnson has lined up as a wide receiver just six times in three games. Six! Total! Did you know he averaged more than 10 snaps A GAME as a wide receiver in 2016?!? How could you give him only 13 carries in Week 2? He ran only 13 routes in Week 2. Did you know 169 players ran more in Week 2? This is David Johnson we are talking about!
"Why won't Mike McCoy run him outside? In 2016, Johnson led the NFL in rushing yards outside the tackles (463), averaging 6.3 yards per carry on those rushes. He had 74 such carries in 16 games (4.6 per game) and 74.7 percent of his rushing attempts were between the tackles. This season? Just five carries for 6 yards outside the tackles, and 85.3 percent of his runs have come between the tackles.
"Arghhh, I hate how they use him this year so much!"
This is the stage many are in, but soon Stage 3 will set in.
Stage 3: Bargaining
"Can we just get him to 15 carries in a game this season, Mike McCoy? Please? I mean, 15 carries per game isn't that much, right? Derrick Henry averages 15 carries per game. Johnson is at least as good as stuck-in-a-committee Derrick Henry, right? Royce Freeman, who is splitting time with Phillip Lindsay, has more carries than David Johnson this season. So does Isaiah Crowell. And Alfred Morris, who wasn't even on a team six weeks ago. All these guys in a committee have more carries than Johnson. And he's not in a committee. Pretty please?
"Dion Lewis has more carries than DJ. Let that sink in. Two different Tennessee Titans running backs have more carries than one of the most talented running backs in the NFL. I'm begging here. The touchdowns are nice, don't get me wrong, but three straight games below 50 yards rushing? Can we count on the scores continuing? What if he gets pulled in the red zone again for another 'teaching moment.' Are you aware that there are 31 different running backs with at least one game of 15-plus carries this season? And David Johnson is NOT one of them?
"Come on. You want your prized rookie quarterback Josh Rosen to have a chance, right? So take some pressure off him and, you know, hand the ball off. Just a thought? Yes? Maybe? And you know the Cardinals' schedule gets a lot easier starting in Week 8, right? And I'll still be in the playoff hunt by then, right? Probably? Maybe?"
At some point you will realize you are not making any progress. You are a fantasy hamster, running in a circle. Which is still better than running into an eight-man front like your first-round pick keeps doing. So you slowly descend into ...
Stage 4: Depression
Everywhere you look, there's another bad stat about the Cardinals. They have had only two red zone drives this whole season. Two. All year long. Fewest in the NFL. Arizona is averaging just 47 plays per game, also fewest in the NFL. In 2016, they averaged 67.9 plays per game, second most in the NFL.
Every other team in the NFL has at least 51 offensive plays on the opponents' half of the field. Arizona has run 32 such plays.
Other members in your league are offering trades like Peyton Barber for him. The best offer you've gotten is Austin Ekeler. Or Javorius Allen. You can't trade him for such a low price. This is your first-round pick. You could have drafted Ezekiel Elliott. Or Alvin Kamara. Or Saquon Barkley. Or Melvin Gordon. Look at the people who drafted them in your league. Look at them looking at their phones, laughing and smiling as the fantasy points pile up.
This is what it is. Me and my top-three-pick RB who has scored 6.1 more points this season than Bilal Powell. It hits you like a ton of bricks: "With my first-round, top-four pick ... I drafted Bilal Powell. I hate Bilal Powell."
You can't get out of bed. You just sit there staring at the ceiling as depressing music plays and raindrops hit the window. You can barely set your lineup. You didn't even make a waiver claim this week. Why pick up LeGarrette Blount or Nyheim Hines, you think to yourself. I already have a more famous version of either of them.
It is only at this point, when you have hit rock bottom in your depression, that you are ready for ...
Stage 5: Acceptance
"OK," you think. "So I'm stuck with Johnson this year. That's OK. Hey, it could be worse, right? I could have drafted Le'Veon Bell. At least Johnson is playing in NFL games. And hey, remember Todd Gurley II in 2016? He was a super-high draft pick that year, too. And yes, Jeff Fisher and staff, were not, you know, the most creative offense, but they did use him a lot. Gurley didn't return the value of his draft pick that year, but he played every game, he ground out yards and when all the dust settled, he still somehow managed to finish as the 15th-best RB in fantasy that season."
Just one spot and 1.2 points ahead of ... Bilal Powell.
You will get through the stages of having David Johnson this year at your own pace, at your own comfort level. Just know that as you move through the stages, we are all in this together ... you, me and David DuPree.
As I continue to tinker with the format of my 50 Facts column, I have gotten some feedback that among the things some folks really enjoyed about Love/Hate was that they could skim the piece and look for their players, immediately knowing if one of their guys made the "love" or the "hate" list. There are always going to be people who don't love change, so resistance to a new format was to be expected, and I will say that I have gotten a number of nice emails and tweets saying they really enjoy the new format. But ultimately, I want this column to be of the most use to as many people as possible, and I understand that quick scan for your specific players was among the appeals of the column.
Let's get to it.
As always, please check my rankings Sunday morning to know what I specifically think about certain player-versus-player questions, and tune into the Fantasy Focus podcast live every day on Twitter at 11 a.m. ET or download it wherever you get podcasts. Fantasy Football Now will start at 10 a.m. ET Sunday on ESPN2. Thanks to Kyle Soppe and Damian Dabrowski for their help at various points in this column.
With all that in mind, here are 50 facts you need to know before Week 4. Some are positive, some are negative and not a damn one tells the whole story. What you do with them is up to you.
Positive QB facts for Week 4
2. Since Week 6 of last season, only the 49ers have allowed more multitouchdown games than the Falcons.
4. In Weeks 2 and 3, the Falcons' defense gave up an average of 365 passing yards per game and 35 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks.
4a. They also just lost starting safety Ricardo Allen.
4b. Dalton is available in about 60 percent of ESPN leagues.
5. Since Week 8 of 2016, no quarterback in the NFL has more games with multiple touchdown passes than ... Philip Rivers.
6. In that same stretch, no team has allowed more such games than the 49ers.
7. Here are the weekly finishes of the QBs who have faced San Francisco this season, starting in Week 1: QB10, QB9, QB7.
7a. Rivers currently has an ESPN start rate of just 40.8 percent in Week 4.
8. The Kansas City Chiefs have allowed the second-most completions this season.
9. They've allowed the third-most touchdown passes.
10. They've allowed the third-most yards per play.
11. They've also scored 118 points this year on offense, most in the NFL.
11a. Since the start of last season, Keenum has the sixth-best TD-INT ratio in the NFL when trailing.
12. So far this season, Flacco has the fourth-most red zone touchdown passes.
12a. He also has the third-highest red zone completion percentage.
13. Since the start of 2017, the Steelers are the second-worst red zone defense in the NFL.
14. Here are the weekly finishes for QBs who have faced the Steelers this season, starting in Week 1: QB6, QB2, QB8.
15a. He is available in 89 percent of ESPN.com leagues.
Negative QB facts for Week 4
16. Since the start of last season, the Bears are allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.
17. The Bears lead the NFL in sacks and sack percentage, despite blitzing less often than any other defense this season.
18. Prior to 2018, when Fitzpatrick is under pressure he completes less than 40 percent of his passes and his TD-INT rate drops by 56 percent.
19. Fitzpatrick threw two of his three interceptions last week while under heavy pressure.
20. Carr ranks top five in the NFL in both completions and completion percentage, and yet ... there are 24 players with more passing TDs this season.
21. The Browns are allowing a touchdown pass on just 2.8 percent of attempts this season, sixth lowest in the NFL.
Positive RB facts for Week 4
Marshawn Lynch, Oakland Raiders (vs. Cleveland)
23. Since Lynch joined the Raiders, he has accounted for 69.4 percent of Oakland's red zone rushing attempts
23a. The only running backs with a higher rate are Le'Veon Bell, Todd Gurley II and Melvin Gordon.
24. Since the start of 2017, the Browns are the least efficient red zone defense, allowing a TD on 66.1 percent of red zone drives, well above the league average.
25. Here are the fantasy point totals the Browns have given up to running backs this season, starting in Week 1: 34.2, 21, 26.4.
26. Dating back to last season, Hyde now has at least 15 carries AND a rushing score in five straight games.
26a. That is the longest such streak since Arian Foster had six straight in 2011.
27. He is averaging 20.3 carries per game.
28. The Raiders are allowing 5.13 yards per carry this season, fourth highest in the league.
29. The Raiders are allowing the second-most yards per carry before first contact (3.59).
Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (at Atlanta)
30. Since the start of 2017, Bernard averages 17.0 touches, 86.3 yards and 17.3 fantasy PPG in games Joe Mixon doesn't play.
30a. That would have been RB9 last season on a per-game basis, just behind Mark Ingram II.
31. Since he entered the NFL in 2013, Bernard ranks third among running backs in receiving yards and fifth in receptions.
32. In 2015, the Falcons allowed the most receptions in the NFL to opposing running backs.
32a. In 2016, the Falcons allowed the most receptions in the NFL to opposing running backs.
32b. In 2017, the Falcons allowed the most receptions in the NFL to opposing running backs.
32c. So far in 2018, the Falcons have allowed the most receptions in the NFL to opposing running backs.
32d. They are missing three starters from their defense.
33. Last week, Carson had 32 carries.
33a. That was the most by a Seattle running back since Week 12 of 2006, when Shaun Alexander carried it 40 times.
34. Carson is third in the NFL in rushing yards after first contact.
34a. The Cardinals have given up the third-most rushing yards after first contact.
35. The Cardinals have given up a league-high five rushing touchdowns this season.
Negative RB facts for Week 4
Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (vs. Philadelphia)
36. No team has allowed fewer rushing yards since the beginning of last season than the Eagles.
37. During that stretch, they've been above average in limiting yards per carry after first contact (1.69).
37a. The Titans are gaining the sixth-fewest yards per carry before first contact this season (1.86).
37b. Only two teams in the NFL have fewer red zone drives this season than the Titans.
38. Johnson has just one red zone carry this season.
38a. Even in Johnson's breakout game last week, LeGarrette Blount still played 25 snaps. Theo Riddick played 20.
38b. Blount got four of the five red zone carries last week.
38b. Matthew Stafford is third in the NFL in pass attempts this season.
39. The Cowboys are allowing the fourth-fewest yards per carry this season (3.35).
39a. There have been 360 total plays in Dallas Cowboys games this year, fifth fewest in the NFL.
Positive WR facts for Week 4
Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (vs. Kansas City)
40. Thomas leads the Broncos in slot targets this season.
40a. Since the start of 2017, no team has funneled more targets to the slot than the Chiefs.
41. Thomas now has five or more catches in four straight games (includes a 6-catch, 57-yard, 1-TD effort against these Chiefs in Week 17 last season).
41a. No team has allowed more passing yards per game this season than the Chiefs.
41b. The Chiefs are averaging the second-most yards after the catch per reception this season.
42. During his career, 38.5 percent of Fuller's receptions and 66.7 percent of his touchdown catches from Deshaun Watson have come on deep passes.
42a. Since the start of last season, no team has allowed more deep completions than the Colts.
Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals (at Atlanta)
43. Boyd now has consecutive games with at least six catches for 90 yards and a TD.
44. Boyd has accounted for 64.5 percent of the Bengals' wide receiver slot routes this season.
44a. Since the beginning of last season, the Falcons have allowed the second-most slot completions, the second-highest completion percentage to the slot and the third-most slot touchdowns.
45. After Evan Engram left the game last week, Shepard had four catches for 54 yards and a TD.
45a. He has received at least five targets in all three games this season.
45b. The Saints have allowed an absurd 190 fantasy points to opposing WRs this season, 43 more than the next-highest team.
Negative pass-catcher facts for Week 4
Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (at Dallas)
46. No team has given up fewer receptions and receiving yards to the slot this season than the Cowboys.
46a. The Cowboys also have allowed the seventh-fewest slot TDs since the beginning of last season.
47. Since 2016, Tate ranks fifth in receptions ... but 40th in TD receptions.
47a. During that stretch, 60 percent of the touchdowns he has scored came from the slot.
47b. All that said, Sean Lee is not playing in this game, which should help some.
48. From Weeks 6-12 last season with C.J. Beathard under center, the 49ers, on a per-game basis, had the second-fewest red zone drives and the fifth-fewest points.
49. Since the start of last season, the Chargers have allowed the seventh-fewest TE receptions.
50. They've also allowed the fewest TE touchdowns since the beginning of last season.
Matthew Berry, The Talented Mr. Roto, is also going through the five stages of grief of having Le'Veon Bell on his team. He is the creator of RotoPass.com and one of the owners of the Fantasy Life app and FantasyLife.com.