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Matthew Berry’s 100 Facts You Need to Know Before You Draft

Jefferson, CMC top Berry's top 10 overall rankings
Matthew Berry, Jay Croucher, and Connor Rogers run through Berry's top 10 overall fantasy rankings, headlined by Justin Jefferson and Christian McCaffrey, as well as other notables on the list.


Do the kids still say “’Sup?”

No matter, we have no time. The season is already here and we can’t be bothered with staying current with the kids. We gotta get to the research. Best ball drafts have already been happening, dynasty never sleeps and season-long leagues are already arguing about draft dates and locations.

So, roll up your sleeves, buckle up and make a note that you’ll see Barbie and Oppenheimer next Spring. We got work to do.

And the work starts right here. Anything else you have done to this point is useless. Forget it now. Drink those brain cells away. Unless you are under the legal drinking age, in which case, still drink those brain cells away, but in secret. Ha! Kidding! Probably! To be clear I am not recommending under-age drinking. Getting cancelled off the first column of the year is poor form. I’d like to wait until at least mid-season. But what I am recommending is forgetting any research you’ve done previously because you have no idea what you have read / seen / watched / heard yet.

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Let me explain. Here’s some research on two players. A typical “player write-up,” if you will. Read them and then let me know which player you would rather draft this year in fantasy.

“RB A” is the starting RB on a very run heavy team. In the games in which he played significant snaps last year, he averaged over 100 yards from scrimmage per game. He averaged almost a touchdown scored per game. He has a high pedigree, as he was one of the first three running backs drafted the year he came out. A true workhorse, he averaged 20.5 touches a game as the starter last year, playing on over 70% of the snaps. But it’s not just his ability to grind it out that makes him a fantasy superstar, it’s his home run ability. Three different runs of over 60 yards last season (two of which went for touchdowns) shows how he is a threat to break one every time he touches the ball. He showed that scoring prowess with a streak last year of five straight games scoring a touchdown (seven touchdowns total in that stretch). Last year, as a starter, this running back was top five in the NFL in rushing yards and touchdowns and should be a cornerstone of your fantasy team this year.

Meanwhile, the outlook for “RB B” is fairly bleak. Injury issues, of course, are always a concern with this RB, as just last year he dealt with hernia, shoulder and ankle problems in three different spots, while missing entirely or playing very limited snaps in eight different games. But even when he played, it wasn’t all that great. Last year “RB B” had the second lowest success rate among RBs with 100+ carries, played on less than 30% of third downs and had the third most tackles for loss among all RBs. This all makes sense considering his offensive line is a bottom three unit in the NFL per FootballOutsiders. But at least he’s a plus in the passing game right? Nope. He’s an absolute nothing in the passing game. His 0.67 yards per route run was outside the top 50 at the position and he averaged just 1.8 receptions per game last year. As a result, he is basically a very touchdown dependent first- and second-down back (when he actually plays), ranking as RB 33 in games in which he doesn’t score. Before you consider if you want him on your fantasy team, maybe consider his real life NFL team doesn’t, after they just went out and spent a high draft pick on a very talented rookie RB. Someone will have to draft this guy this year, just don’t make it you.


So, which running back do you want this year?

Understand that every single thing I wrote about each player above is 100% true. Heavily researched, verified and completely accurate.

Which Running Back do you want?

You’ve got 60 seconds in the draft room. Clock is ticking down. Gotta make a call and make it quick.

You’ve done the research, including reading about 500 stat-filled words from me on these two RBs. You’re fully informed. So come on now. It should be obvious, right?

You know which RB you want. One is so much clearly better than the other. Come on make the call. It’s super easy. Grab the obvious RB and move on.

Oh, but before you click “Draft” you should probably know one other fact.

Both players are Kenneth Walker.


You see, I can make stats say anything I want. I can talk up or talk down any player I want. I just have to choose the right stats for the job. Or just ask my producer Damian Dabrowski to get me the right stat, which I did at various points in this column.

Everything you are about to read below is an accurate statistical statement. A heavily researched, well-thought-out, 100 percent true, can’t be argued with, fully vetted fact.

That tells only part of the story. The part of the story I want you see. That’s why I say it’s all a lie. And lie is a strong word. It’s more like half-truth. Oh, it’s definitely part of the picture. But not all of it. Just the part that supports whatever opinion I have on a player. Whatever opinion I want to try to convince you of.

When I wanted to talk you into Kenneth Walker (RB A), I leaned into his big-play ability, the fact that once he took over for the injured Rashaad Penny in Week 6, he received a very heavy workload and definitely had some big plays, but was also a bit volume dependent -- especially with Penny out for the year. I left out his injury issues, his lack of passing game work and the fact that when he wasn’t hitting a home run, he struggled. I also left out the fact the Seahawks drafted Zach Charbonnet in the second round.

Meanwhile, when I talked down Kenneth Walker (RB B), I focused on his lack of pass game usage and didn’t mention his home run potential (almost 13% of Walkers’ carries last year went for 10+ yards), I did mention that while yes, the team drafted Charbonnet, Charbonnet is currently hurt and Walker himself was a second-round pick, just like Charbonnet. I said Walker is touchdown dependent but didn’t mention he scored nine touchdowns in the 10 games where he played significant snaps. And while yes, Walker has a bit of injury history, I made it seem much worse by talking about games he didn’t play a lot in and not mentioning that five of the games with limited snaps were because he was backing up incumbent starter Rashaad Penny to start the year.

You see, there’s very little in this world I am good at, but one thing I am a world class master at? Manipulating stats to tell the story I want. But here’s the other big secret:

I am not the only one.

Everyone does it. Some do it better than others, but everyone does it. They do it in fantasy football analysis, they do it in politics, in pop culture, in office presentations and (fantasy football) happy hour debates. Everyone tells you the stats or side of the story that supports what they think. But they don’t tell you the whole story.

And that might be the most important thing you learn about fantasy football research all season.

I write a version of this column every year, making the same points, with this same message, and the same confession. Because it’s that important. Nothing you read/watch/hear from me (or anyone) in this column or anything in the future is black and white. It’s all shades of grey.

As you go through this preseason (and, frankly, life), you’ll have countless analysts give you all sorts of reasons why this player is awesome and this one is a bum and why you need that guy, but must avoid another one, and it’s all just opinions. Facts, stats and snippets of game film parsed to show you the side that supports their belief. Their opinion. And ONLY that opinion.

We are in an era of information overload. At NBC Sports/Peacock alone I do a daily hour long show and podcast (Fantasy Football Happy Hour), I do two hours every Sunday morning during the NFL season (Fantasy Football Pregame), I’m on Football Night in America before every NBC Sports/Peacock NFL game, I’m constantly posting on my social media handles (@MatthewBerryTMR on all forms of social media, except the Fantasy Life App where I’m just Matthew Berry) and there’s tons of players news, rankings, analysis, sleepers, busts, and much more every single day on and in our Rotoworld Draft Guide (I’m a company man) from my terrific colleagues Denny Carter, RotoPat, Lawrence Jackson, Kyle Dvorchak and of course my Happy Hour co-hosts Jay Croucher and Connor Rogers.

In addition to all that, I personally own two websites, ( (where you get access to eight great premium sites for one low price, including a subscription to Peacock to watch our exclusive NFL Playoff game and my show, among other things. And where I send out a daily newsletter for free with everything you need to know for that day in fantasy football. Blatant plugs aside… that’s just me, right? There are tons of men and women just like me who do really strong work both here at Rotoworld and elsewhere. Many other media companies like NBC Sports/Rotoworld. And we’re all talking, writing, arguing, tweeting, performing. Blah blah blah blah.

Your job? Watch the games, do the research, figure out which analysts you trust and whose thinking aligns with yours. Question everyone and everything you hear, many times over, take it all in, and then make your own call.

Because ultimately, that’s all any of us are doing, especially me: taking a small piece of a big picture and making a call.

Everything that follows is a fully vetted, can’t be argued with, 100% completely accurate fact. Some are about players, some about tendencies, and not a damn bit of it tells the whole story.

These are 100 facts you need to know before you draft. And what you do with them is up to you.

1 Three seasons ago, Stefon Diggs joined the Buffalo Bills.

2 Since then, Josh Allen has nine different games with at least 300 yards passing and 40 rushing yards.

3. No other quarterback in the NFL has more than FIVE such games in that stretch.

4. In Week 13 of last season, Lamar Jackson sprained his ACL and didn’t play for the rest of the year.

5. From Weeks 1-12, Lamar Jackson was the fifth best quarterback in fantasy.

6. In the history of the NFL, only two quarterbacks have ever had multiple games where they ran for over 100 yards and threw for three touchdowns in the same game.

7. One of them was Pete Layden of the 1948 New York Yankees. The other… is Lamar Jackson, who did it multiple times LAST YEAR alone.

7A. He’s actually done it four times in his career.

8. Lamar Jackson has at least 750 rushing yards in four straight seasons.

9. He’s averaged at least 20 points per game in three of the last four years.

10. This year, the Ravens announced Todd Monken as their new offensive coordinator.

11. Over the last three years, Monken’s Georgia Bulldogs were top six in the nation in points per game and yards per play.

12. This offseason, the Ravens signed Odell Beckham Jr, drafted Zay Flowers in the first round and are excited to get Rashod Bateman back from injury to join Mark Andrews in the passing attack.

13. Last year, there were only three quarterbacks in the NFL to throw for at least 4,000 yards, throw for at least 25 touchdown passes and run for at least five touchdowns.

14. Those three quarterbacks are Josh Allen, Joe Burrow and… Trevor Lawrence.

15. Over the past decade there have been seven different QBs that were drafted No. 1 overall and played a third season in the NFL.

16. All seven of those QBs averaged more fantasy points per pass attempt in year three than they did over their first two years.

16A. This is year three for Trevor Lawrence.

16B. The Jaguars brought back every key offensive player this offseason and added Calvin Ridley.

16C. Trevor Lawrence was QB 11 last year.

17. Last year, Justin Herbert was top three in the NFL in pass attempts and passing yards per game.

18. He did that while being only 26th out of 33 qualified QBs in average depth of target.

19. This year the Chargers drafted 6-foot-4 Quentin Johnston who averaged 18.9 yards per catch in his college career.

20. For his career, Justin Herbert is top five in completions and pass attempts 15+ yards or deeper.

21. Over the last two years, under new Chargers offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Dak Prescott was top five in TD rate.

Check out Matthew Berry’s Top 200 Rankings

22. Last year, Justin Fields set an NFL record for single season games with at least 80 rushing yards, a rushing touchdown and a passing TD.

23. In 12 of his final 13 games last year, Justin Fields had at least 45 yards rushing.

24. In his last eight games, Fields completed 63.1% of his passes and was on-target for 82.7% of them.

25. In six of his final nine games last year, Justin Fields had at least 20+ fantasy points.

26. This offseason, the Bears traded for D.J. Moore whose 1.7% drop rate last year was fifth lowest of all WRs who saw at least 100 targets.

27. Last year, no QB had a better TD to INT ratio than… Jared Goff.

28. Since Week 13 of 2021, when Amon-Ra St. Brown burst onto the fantasy scene, Jared Goff is fifth in fantasy points per pass attempt.

29. Last year, Goff was top 10 in the NFL in pass attempts.

30. He was also top 10 in passing yards per game and top five in touchdown passes.

31. This upcoming season, from week 11-18, Jared Goff will play six of his final eight games indoors.

31A. He’ll also play a December 30th game at Dallas, where they have a retractable roof.

32. Last year, in games that were indoors, Jared Goff averaged 20.6 fantasy PPG.

33. Last year, only Jalen Hurts, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow averaged more than 20.6 fantasy PPG.

39. In two seasons with Arthur Smith as his offensive coordinator, Derrick Henry had 718 touches.

40. Henry had at least 1,500 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns each of those seasons.

41. Last year, under head coach Arthur Smith, no team in the NFL had more RB rushing yards than the Atlanta Falcons.

42. Since 2012, six running backs have been taken with a top 10 overall pick.

43. Those six RBs averaged 295 touches in their rookie seasons.

44. Last year, Falcons lead RB Tyler Allgeier got 226 touches.

45. In the last decade, of the six rookies drafted in the first round to have that many touches, five of them finished as a top 7 RB in PPG.

46. In his last season at the University of Texas, Bijan Robinson had 277 touches for 1,894 yards and 20 touchdowns.

47. For his career, Ezekiel Elliot averages 21.1 touches per game.

48. Last year, Ezekiel Elliot had 248 total touches.

49. As of this writing, Ezekiel Elliot is no longer a member of the Dallas Cowboys.

50. In 13 career games where he has gotten at least 15 touches, Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard averages 19.6 PPG.

51. Last year, Tony Pollard had 12 carries inside an opponent’s 10-yard line, tied for 30th among RBs.

52. Last year, Tony Pollard had nine rushing touchdowns.

53. Last year, Ezekiel Elliott had 26 carries inside an opponent’s 10-yard line, tied for third most among RBs.

54. Please see number 49.

55. Over the last two seasons, there are only four running backs to have at least 300 receiving yards and at least seven rushing touchdowns: Austin Ekeler, Josh Jacobs, Joe Mixon and…. James Conner.

56. As of this writing, James Conner is the only one of them being drafted outside the first three rounds.

57. Last year only four running backs had at least four games with 65 rushing yards and four receptions: Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs and… Rhamondre Stevenson.

58. Rhamondre Stevenson’s 17% target share last year was third highest among running backs.

59. Last year, Rhamondre Stevenson had 15+ touches in 14 of 17 games.

60. Since 2017, no team averages more PPR points per game from the RB position than… the New England Patriots.

61. With Damien Harris moving onto Buffalo, the Patriots current running back room contains Pierre Strong who has 10 career carries, 5-foot-6. 190-pound J.J. Taylor and Ty Montgomery, who, since 2018 has more receiving yards than rushing yards.

62. No team got more fantasy production from the RB position last year than… the Detroit Lions.

62A. Jamaal Williams is now a Saint.

62B. D’Andre Swift is now an Eagle.

63. RB Jahmyr Gibbs was selected by the Lions No. 12 overall in this year’s NFL Draft.

64. Eleven of the last 12 running backs to be drafted in the first round saw 200+ touches their rookie year.

65. While with the Lions the last two years, D’Andre Swift has gotten at least 70 targets each season.

66. Of 35 qualified quarterbacks last year, Jared Goff ranked 34th in average depth of target.

67. In each of the past two seasons, Jahmyr Gibbs was one of just three backs in all of college football with at least 35 catches and 700 rushing yards.

68. Last year, Samaje Perine had four games where he got at least 10 touches.

68A. In those games, he averaged 21.3 PPG.

68B. Last year, 21.3 fantasy PPG would have been good for the second-best RB in fantasy.

69. In five of his final six seasons with the Saints, Sean Payton gave at least 150 touches to multiple running backs.

69A. Samaje Perine now plays for Sean Payton on the Denver Broncos.

70. From 2013 to 2021, no team had a higher RB target share than Sean Payton’s New Orleans Saints.

71. For his career, Samaje Perine has caught 82.8% of his targets.

72. Last year, Cooper Kupp was the 23rd best WR in fantasy football.

72A. He only played nine games.

73. He scored more points than Diontae Johnson, DJ Moore and JuJu Smith-Shuster, all of whom played 16+ games.

74. On a per game basis last year, once again, no wide receiver averaged more fantasy points than Cooper Kupp.

75. Since Week 13 of 2021, among wide receivers, Amon-Ra St. Brown is the third best WR in fantasy.

75A. Only Justin Jefferson and Davante Adams have more total points.

76. In the 13 games last year where he got 8+ targets, St. Brown averaged 19.3 PPG.

76A. That would have been WR5 last year on a PPG basis, ahead of Stefon Diggs and Ja’Marr Chase.

77. The Lions were top 10 in pass attempts last year.

78. T.J. Hockenson is now a Viking. D’Andre Swift is now an Eagle. Jameson Williams is suspended for six games. The Lions didn’t draft a wide receiver this year until Round 7.

79. Last year, Chris Olave saw more than five targets 11 different times.

80. In those games, he averaged 15.1 PPG.

80A. Last year, 15.1 PPG would have been WR 13.

81. Last year, Chris Olave’s 14.2 average depth of target was fifth in the NFL. He averaged eight targets per game.

82. Over the past two seasons, five players have had an average depth of target of 12+ yards while averaging eight or more targets per game.

83. The per game finishes of those five WRs: WR 3, WR 4, WR 6, WR 8, WR 13.

83A. Speaking of Olave’s 14.2 average depth of target, this year the Saints brought in QB Derek Carr.

84. Over the last two years, Derek Carr ranks top five in the NFL in deep ball rate and deep completions.

85. Starting in Week 2 last year, A.J. Brown averaged:

8.3 targets per game, a 27.7% target share, 4.9 receptions, 83.8 yards per game and 17.1 PPG.

86. Starting in Week 2 last year, DeVonta Smith averaged:

8.3 targets per game, a 27.7% target share, 5.9 receptions, 74.8 yards per game and 15.9 PPG.

87. A.J. Brown is currently being drafted over 22 picks ahead of DeVonta Smith.

88. Last year, once he joined the Minnesota Vikings, T.J. Hockenson averaged 9.4 targets per game and was the second-best TE in fantasy through Week 17. (14.1 PPG).

89. Adam Thielen had 107 targets last year for the Vikings.

89A. Adam Thielen is now a Carolina Panther.

90. Since 2019, Darren Waller ranks fourth among TEs in yards per route run.

91. In that time frame he has the third-most receptions on crossing routes.

92. Last season, Daniel Jones targeted crossing routes at the third highest rate (per Next Gen Stats)

93. Last season, Gerald Everett was top eight in the NFL among TEs in targets, red zone targets and receptions.

94. The last two years, under his former offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Dalton Schultz was top five among tight ends in both receptions and touchdowns.

95. Schultz was TE7 in fantasy points per game over that stretch.

95A. Kellen Moore is now the offensive coordinator for the Chargers, coaching both Gerald Everett and Justin Herbert.

95B. Please see fact 17.

95C. And fact 21.

95D. Gerald Everett is routinely drafted outside Round 13 and outside the top 15 TEs on all major platforms.

96. Last year, Tyler Higbee’s 20.9% target share was third highest among tight ends.

97. He was top five among tight ends in targets, red zone targets and receptions.

98. He was the sixth best tight end in fantasy.

99. He is being drafted as TE 13-15 and in the 13th round, or later, on every major platform.

100. The Rams current pass catcher depth chart includes Cooper Kupp (injured), Van Jefferson, Ben Skowronek, Tutu Atwell, Demarcus Robinson and Puca Nacua.

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