5 NFL Stats to Know Through Week 7
We are virtually at the halfway stage of the 2019 NFL season, with Week 8 fast approaching.
The last week of NFL action saw Matthew Stafford become the first quarterback in NFL history to eclipse 40,000 passing yards in less than 150 games. Kirk Cousins, a much maligned figure three weeks ago, has recorded three consecutive games with at least 300 passing yards and a passer rating in excess of 135, making him the first quarterback in NFL history to achieve this feat. There are still two undefeated teams, one in each conference. The still-dominant defense of the New England Patriots has helped propel them to a 7-0 start, and the equally nasty defense of the San Francisco 49ers has their team at 6-0 for the first time since 1990.
Here are five other stats to know -- both traditional and our advanced statistics -- from Week 7 of the season.
Aaron Rodgers Had a Perfect 158.3 Quarterback Rating
Aaron Rodgers offered the football watching world a reminder of his talents in Week 7, as he led the Green Bay Packers to a 42-24 victory over the Oakland Raiders. Rodgers passed for 429 yards and five touchdowns on his way to the first perfect QB rating of 158.3 of his career. It marked the sixth time in his career that he had five or more touchdown passes in a single game, making him only the seventh player with this many games since 1950.
|Player||Games With 5 or More TD Passes|
For good measure, Rodgers also ran for a touchdown too. He joins Mark Rypien and Norm Van Brocklin as the only quarterbacks with 400 yards, five passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in a single game in NFL history.
The passing scores took Rodgers to 350 for his career in just 172 career games. This is the quickest any player has achieved 350 touchdown passes (in terms of games played) in NFL history, beating Drew Brees, who managed it in 180 games. Rodgers total of 43.8 fantasy points was the second highest of his career and makes him the only quarterback since 2000 to have had multiple 40-fantasy-point games.
The Packers and Rodgers fantasy owners will be hoping that he can keep the good times rolling in Week 8, as they take on a Kansas City Chiefs team suddenly missing their own freakishly talented quarterback in Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs have allowed three quarterbacks to score 21 or more fantasy points this season, although they have yet to allow a passer to amass more than 291 yards in a single game.
Marvin Jones Had 4 Touchdown Receptions
Not many people would have had a clash between the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions down as a shootout going into Week 7, but that is exactly what happened. The Vikings came out on top, 42-30, but Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones did his best to keep his side in the game.
Jones caught 10 of his 13 targets for 93 yards on Sunday, with four of his catches resulting touchdowns. Two of them came in the first quarter, making him the first Lions wide receiver with two scores in a game's opening quarter since Calvin Johnson managed it in Week 1 of the 2014 season. Jones had three of his touchdowns before halftime. The last Lions wide receiver to have three first-half touchdown receptions was Herman Moore in 1995.
Jones is only the second Lions wide receiver to have four touchdown receptions in a game, but he's the first in the Super Bowl era. Cloyce Box put up 12 receptions for 302 yards and four touchdowns for the Lions against the Baltimore Colts in Week 12 of the 1950 season. But, remarkably, it was the second four-touchdown game of Jones career. He had four scores in a game for the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 8 of the 2013 season against the New York Jets. Jones joins Jerry Rice and Sterling Sharpe as the only players with two games of four touchdown receptions since 1950.
Jones had scored only one touchdown this season before Sunday's game. He'll fancy his chances of adding to his tally in the Lions' next game, as they welcome the New York Giants to Ford Field. The Giants have allowed eight touchdowns to wide receivers in 2019, with both Mike Evans and Adam Thielen enjoying multiple touchdown games against them. But it's not just wide receivers who have enjoyed success against the Giants this season.
Chase Edmonds Had 35 PPR Points
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson had been listed as questionable heading into his side's clash with the Giants, but the news came through before the game that he would be good to go. This news no doubt led to many of the fantasy owners who picked up Chase Edmonds this past week to leave the Fordham product on their benches, safe in the knowledge that Johnson would handle the lion's share of the running back duties.
Boy did we get duped -- I mean, didn't they get duped.
Johnson had one rushing attempt against the Giants, while Edmonds managed a career high 27. He converted these opportunities into 126 rushing yards and three touchdowns, giving him 35 PPR points for the day. His three touchdowns were all from at least 20 yards out, making him the fifth player in NFL history to score three rushing touchdowns of 20-plus yards in the same game. The last player to manage this feat was Doug Martin in 2012.
Edmonds' success is unlikely to create a running back controversy for the Cardinals, it should be stated. Johnson, when fully fit, should resume the lead-back duties for Kliff Kingsbury's unit. But it should mean an increased role for Edmonds moving forward. Prior to Sunday, Edmonds hadn't been entrusted with more than eight carries in a single game. He now offers genuine standalone flex value whilst serving as an elite handcuff should Johnson be forced to miss more time.
Joe Flacco Averaged -0.44 Passing NEP Per Drop Back
Joe Flacco is owned in only 4.5% of ESPN fantasy leagues, indicative of his status as a quarterback unlikely to be running a high-octane offense at this stage of his career. He showed that this assessment of him is pretty close to accurate on Thursday night as the Chiefs blew through Flacco and the Denver Broncos.
Flacco completed 21 of his 34 pass attempts for 228 scoreless yards against KC, absorbing a career high eight sacks. His numbers look pedestrian on first view, but by our metrics, they are absolutely woeful. Flacco averaged -0.44 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, the second lowest among all quarterbacks in Week 7. It was his third straight game with a negative NEP average. Flacco's passing Success Rate -- the number of plays positively impacting a players NEP -- was a season-low 33.33%. Only Sam Darnold, Lamar Jackson and Matt Ryan posted a lower mark in Week 7.
The Broncos' offense averaged -0.27 NEP per play against the Chiefs, tied for the second lowest mark of the week with Washington. This poor showing by Flacco's unit is all the more prominent when one considers how other teams have fared against the Chiefs in 2019.
|Week||Team||Offensive NEP per play|
With rookie Drew Lock still a ways off a return from injury and only Brandon Allen behind Flacco on the depth chart, it seems that Flacco will continue at the helm of the Denver offense for the time being. But this team, only three seasons removed from a Super Bowl victory, are staring down the barrel of another wasted season thanks in no small part to substandard quarterback play.
Melvin Gordon Averaged -0.61 Rushing NEP Per Carry
Since Week 5, only five running backs have enjoyed a larger share of their team's running back carries than Melvin Gordon (71%). However, it wouldn't be accurate to say that he has been making the most of his opportunities. Since Week 5, 29 running backs have scored more fantasy points than Gordon, while Sunday's performance was by far his worst yet.
Gordon's 16 rushing attempts brought him 32 yards against the Tennessee Titans, which sounds bad enough. But his Rushing NEP per carry mark of -0.61 was the lowest in a game of any running back with at least 15 carries all season long. Gordon hasn't averaged more than -0.31 Rushing NEP per attempt in any of his three games so far in 2019.
The difference in offensive output from the Chargers since Gordon returned is quite striking. Without Gordon, the Chargers were averaging 103.5 rushing yards per game and 2.55 points per drive. Now, I'm not saying that Gordon is entirely to blame, but since he returned to the lineup, these numbers have dropped to 35.33 and 1.49.
The return of Gordon has relegated Austin Ekeler to a pass-catching role, which is far less than his early-season deeds warrant. Ekeler was handling 14 rushing attempts per game in the seasons opening month, which, in addition to his average of six receptions per game, gave him 27.3 PPR points per game. Since Gordon returned, Ekeler is down to a mere 4.3 rushes per game whilst seeing 9.3 targets per game. Now, 18.5 PPR points is not to be sniffed at, but the simple truth is that Ekeler deserves more opportunities to do what he showed he was good at in the season's opening weeks.
However, I dare say that the Chargers' brain trust will continue to hand chances to Gordon at the expense of Ekeler in the coming weeks. Maybe things will improve for Gordon in Week 8 when the Chargers take on the suddenly reeling Chicago Bears. But until he shows signs that he is back to his best, Gordon's opportunity isn't warranted.