Six Numbers Through Week 4: Peyton Manning is Ridiculously Good
The easiest introduction to make with any football article nowadays is to just say “Peyton Manning”.
The man is incredible. He’s on pace to throw 64 touchdowns and zero interceptions this year, and I read reports that he saved 48 children from a burning school bus yesterday.
But aside from Pey Pey’s historic play, other guys in the league are putting up efficiency scores that would, most years, be front and center. And unfortunately for Jacksonville fans, the opposite is true too.
Take a look at some of the numbers through Week 4 to see exactly what I mean.
St. Louis has the highest pass-to-run ratio in the NFL.
What happens when you’ve got one of the worst running games in the league and defense that can’t get off the field? A lot of passes.
The Rams have a 2.66 pass-to-run ratio after four weeks, and that’s actually down from Week 3. They’ve ran 194 passing plays to just 73 running ones, which is the biggest margin in the league. The teams they’re just ahead of? Pittsburgh and Cleveland.
Imagine how good of a fantasy asset Sam Bradford would be if he and the Rams were actually efficient with that volume.
Jake Locker ranks 11th in passing net expected points.
It was sad to see Jake Locker go down in pain against the Jets on Sunday, especially considering how good of a season he’s had thus far. Locker now ranks 11th in passing net expected points, a measure that shows how many points a quarterback has added to his team’s total output above (or below) expectation.
Chris Johnson has been the least effective 50-plus carry runner in the NFL so far.
There are 21 running backs who have rushed the ball 50 or more times this season, and out of all of them, Chris Johnson has been the least effective. His -14.58 rushing net expected points total is on par with David Wilson and Montee Ball, two guys with legitimate fumbling issues.
Johnson’ faced a few tough run-stopping defenses, but unfortunately, he gets the Chiefs, Seahawks and 49ers over the next three weeks. Expect the same type of production until he sees the softer part of his schedule, starting in Week 8 against the Rams.
Jamaal Charles leads all running backs with 35 targets, and it’s by a fairly wide margin.
The Chiefs running back has seen seven more targets than the back listed second on the list, Darren Sproles. Intrestingly enough, however, Charles doesn’t lead the league in running back receptions: Matt Forte does.
These Jamaal Charles targets aren’t going to waste, either. In terms of receiving effectiveness, Charles ranks only behind Sproles in reception net expected points among running backs. In other words, with each reception, Jamaal Charles is contributing more for his team than anyone not named Darren Sproles.
Expect this type of production to continue in Andy Reid’s offense.
Of all 30-plus target receivers, Greg Little has the worst catch rate.
Known for having bad hands, Little has caught just 11 of his 32 targets this year, giving him a catch rate of just over 34 percent. That’s horrible. In last year’s regular season, the worst catch rate belonged to Torrey Smith – due to his constant deep targets – and his percentage was a full ten points higher than Little’s (44.5%). There’s a reason Greg Little isn’t in fantasy lineups each week.
Peyton Manning has added over 92 points above expectation for the Broncos this year.
I’ll start and end with Peyton. He has a 92.21 passing net expected points total, which is a whole 36.16 points ahead of Drew Brees. Guys, Aaron Rodgers' passing NEP score is 32.61 – Peyton Manning is a whole Aaron Rodgers better than Drew Brees!
Every week we’re saying “He’s bound to regress!”, but to what extent? He’s got the best receiving weapons in the game in an offense that lacks an explosive runner. He’s going to continue to see opportunity throughout the course of the season. There's a good chance we're witnessing history.