Six Facts to Know Entering Week 7

Joe Flacco faces his rival Steelers this week. Can he improve his success rate?

It’s Ravens week.

I've said it at times in my previous columns, but I'm a Steelers fan. I'm born and raised Yinzer, and although I moved away from the city after I graduated from Pitt, I still bleed black and gold everywhere I go.

The Steelers get Baltimore this week in the first of two games that are always some of the more physical ones in the NFL each year. So, of course, I had to throw in a couple of Baltimore zings into one of my columns this week. Considering how poorly the Ravens have scored offensively this season within our advanced metrics, I figured this was the right place to point it out. And no, Ravens fans, I didn't manipulate the data to make the team look worse. You've watched them play this year.

Aside from the defending Super Bowl champs (man, it's tough for me to write that out), there are a few other metrics entering Week 7 that may raise a few eyebrows. Just take a look below.

Joe Flacco has a pass success rate of 40.55%, fourth-worst in the NFL.

We use a metric called net expected points (NEP) here at numberFire, which quantifies the amount of points above or below expectation a particular player has performed. If a player makes a play that contributes positively towards that value, given field position and game situation, that play is deemed a success. Conversely, if it doesn’t, that play isn’t a success.

So far this season, Joe Flacco has dropped back to pass 254 times. Of those 254 passes, only 103 have been successful, good for a success rate of 40.55 percent. The only passers with 100 or more attempts in the league with a worse rate are Chad Henne, Brandon Weeden and Josh Freeman. Yikes.

Bernard Pierce and Ray Rice rank in the bottom three in terms of rushing net expected points.

As I said above, our expected points metric can help measure efficiency given particular game situations and how a player performs within those conditions. So far this season, teammates Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce rank third-to-last and dead last respectively in terms of rushing NEP among 50-plus attempt runners. In other words, those runners are performing worse than at least 33 running backs.

It makes sense, as both runners have a fat kid-like 2.8 yards per carry this year. Ray Rice is typically in the 4.5 range or so, which just goes to show how below average the Ravens offense has been this year. [Don’t worry, they’ll probably destroy my Steelers this weekend.]

Atlanta ranks dead last in adjusted defensive passing net expected points per play.

Nothing better than good ol’ Adj DPNEP/P. While it takes 13 seconds to say, this metric simply tells us how many points a defense is surrendering on a per play basis through the air. The “adjusted” piece allows us to evaluate based on strength of schedule. Easy, right?

Atlanta ranks last in the category, surrendering .29 points per play below a team in a similar situation. They’ve been torched this year, allowing over 300 yards passing to the Saints, Rams and Patriots, nearly 250 to the Dolphins and another 200 to the Jets. What’s worse is that passers have thrown at least two touchdowns against them in every contest.

Their matchup this week? Tampa Bay. Mike Glennon could actually be a decent quarterback streaming option in deeper leagues.

Andrew Luck has been the league’s best rusher at the quarterback position this season.

Luck has a rushing net expected points total of 18.48, meaning he’s added nearly 19 points for the Colts this season via his legs. He’s averaged about 26 yards per game on the ground, which isn’t bad at all, but his efficiency score is due to his ability to pick up important yardage when the team needs it.

Scott Chandler ranks ninth in reception NEP among all tight ends.

The Bills tight end is silently having a solid season. His current stat line of 20 receptions, 251 yards and two touchdowns brings him to an extrapolated season total of 53 catches for 669 yards and five scores, which would be the best of his career.

His reception NEP of 25.37 places him right below Martellus Bennett in the nine spot, which makes sense considering this metric correlates nicely to fantasy success and he’s the 12th-best tight end asset so far in 2013. Don’t overlook Chandler if you’re looking to stream tight ends, especially this week against Miami, a team that has surrendered a tight end score in all but one game (Baltimore) this year.

Terrance Williams has the highest yards per target rate and best catch rate in the NFL.

Williams has been a big play guy with Miles Austin hampered by injury over the last few weeks. He’s been targeted 21 times and has caught 18 of them (85.7%), and has a 14.7 yards per target average. Williams now has 13 receptions for 249 yards and two touchdowns over the last three weeks, and will be a sneaky start again this week against the league’s worst defense against fantasy receivers.