Fantasy Football

Offensive Play Calling for 2018


It seems surreal that we are already through week five of the 2018 NFL season.  One of the most common fantasy questions I get on a weekly basis is to pick “who to start” between one player and another.  To help with these decisions, I wanted to highlight certain offensive play calling statistics in the NFL so far in the season.

Knowing how many times a team tends to run or throw the ball, and in which situation, can be a huge help when deciding between players.  An increase in probability that one team is likely to throw in the red-zone, or to know that a team will run the ball more often than not, can help assure your fantasy player will succeed.

There are no guarantees in fantasy sports, but these trends can point you in the right direction in the coming weeks of the season.

Offensive Play Calling for 2018

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Percentage of Pass Plays through week 5

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1. Indianapolis Colts: 256 attempts – 72% of plays

2. Minnesota Vikings: 240 attempts – 71% of plays

3. Green Bay Packers: 234 attempts – 68% of plays

4. New York Giants: 204 attempts – 68% of plays

5. Pittsburgh Steelers: 224 attempts – 67% of plays

Percentage of Run Plays through week 5

1. Washington Redskins: 99 rushes – 49% of plays

2. Tennessee Titans: 145 rushes – 48% of plays

3. Seattle Seahawks: 143 rushes – 47% of plays

4. Carolina Panthers: 122 rushes – 47% of plays

5. Buffalo Bills: 141 rushes – 46% of plays

6. New York Jets: 137 rushes – 46% of plays


When looking at this data it is important to note the amount of plays overall per team.

In fact, here are the top and bottom of total offensive plays/game in the NFL through five weeks of the season

1. Baltimore Ravens: 76.6 plays/game

2. Cleveland Browns: 73.8 plays/game

3. Indianapolis Colts: 71.4 plays/game

4. Houston Texans: 71.0 plays/game

5. Philadelphia Eagles: 69.4 plays/game

28. New York Giants: 60.4 plays/game

29. New York Jets: 59.4 plays/game

30. Dallas Cowboys: 58.0 plays/game

31. Miami Dolphins: 52.0 plays/game

32. Arizona Cardinals: 49.4 plays/game

I am a huge fan of targets and volume, meaning that teams at the top of this list have more opportunities for fantasy success than teams at the bottom.  This is important to keep in mind when choosing between say, Andrew Luck and Sam Darnold, as the Colts not only pass more but they have called far more offensive plays than the Jets at this point in the season.

Let’s look at offensive plays inside the Red-zone (within the 20-yard-line).

Total Red-Zone scoring attempts per game

1. New Orleans Saints: 5.2

2. Los Angeles Rams: 5.0

3. Houston Texans: 4.4

4. Kansas City Chiefs: 4.2

5. Baltimore Ravens: 4.0

5. Atlanta Falcons: 4.0


28. Tennessee Titans: 2.2

29. Miami Dolphins: 2.0

30. Seattle Seahawks: 2.0

31. Buffalo Bills: 2.0

32. Arizona Cardinals: 1.4


Now let’s highlight specifically what teams are doing inside the red-zone.

Total pass attempts inside the Red-Zone

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1. New Orleans Saints: 46 attempts: 8 passing touchdowns

2. Indianapolis Colts: 40 attempts: 11 passing touchdowns

3. Oakland Raiders: 37 attempts: 7 passing touchdowns

4. Los Angeles Rams: 36 attempts: 8 passing touchdowns

5. Houston Texans: 35 attempts: 6 passing touchdowns

Total rushing attempts inside the Red-Zone

1. Los Angeles Rams: 42 Attempts: 7 rushing touchdowns

2. New Orleans Saints: 37 Attempts: 6 rushing touchdowns

3. New England Patriots: 26 Attempts: 2 rushing touchdowns

4. Oakland Raiders: 21 Attempts: 3 rushing touchdowns

5. Cleveland Browns: 18 Attempts: 5 rushing touchdowns

Hopefully, these tables shed some light on fantasy scoring opportunities.

I chose to highlight statistics independent of bye weeks for a reason. Choosing fantasy players on offenses that consistently move the ball into the red zone, run a lot of offensive plays, and who throw or pass accordingly can give you valuable insight into increased fantasy scoring probabilities.

By understanding what a team is likely to do in a given situation, it should allow for an inside window to fantasy success when debating between two players.

Check out the rest of our 2018 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers.

About Christopher T. Luft

Christopher Luft is from Connecticut and graduated from Providence College with a BS degree in Biology. He went to Optometry school at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry and completed an ocular disease residency at the Wilmington, Delaware VA. Chris loves to cook, spend time with his wife, practice and study jiu-jitsu, and of course, fantasy sports.

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