5 NFL Stats to Know Through Week 2
Week 2 of the 2020 NFL season was one of the most brutal I have ever seen from an injury standpoint. For a while, it seemed like any player with big-name billing was being struck down with some ghastly injury. Saquon Barkley and Nick Bosa are likely lost for the season. Drew Lock and Raheem Mostert will probably miss significant time, too, while we await news on players like Malik Hooker and Jimmy Garoppolo. Just brutal.
Despite Week 2 seeming to be all about the injuries, there was plenty of actual game action to take in. This produced some incredible performances across the league. Here are five stats to know -- both traditional and our advanced statistics -- from Week 2 of the NFL season.
Dak Prescott Rushed for 3 Touchdowns and Passed for 450 Yards
While it ultimately took a colossal error on the part of the Atlanta Falcons' hands team to help the Dallas Cowboys to a victory, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott certainly did his bit for his team. Prescott completed 34 of his 47 pass attempts for 450 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for three scores. His 39.8 fantasy points are the second-most in a single game by a Cowboys quarterback in franchise history. Tony Romo had 40.9 points back in Week 5 of the 2013 season.
Sunday marked just the 17th instance of a quarterback rushing for a hat-trick of touchdowns since 1950, and it was only the third time it's happened this century. Cam Newton had three for the Carolina Panthers back in 2011, while Russell Wilson managed a trio of scores for the Seattle Seahawks against the Buffalo Bills in Toronto in 2012.
Prescott has now passed for 400-plus yards in a game five times in his NFL career, going for more than 450 three times. He moves into a tie with Ben Roethlisberger for the most such games since 2016. It also makes Prescott the first player in NFL history to rush for three touchdowns and pass for more than 400 yards in a single game.
Prescott and the Cowboys take on the Seahawks in Week 3, and it could be another bumper day for Dak. The Seahawks have allowed 831 passing yards in their two games this season.
Julio Jones Had Just 4.4 PPR Points
While Sunday saw a big game from Prescott, it was quite the opposite for Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones. Jones averaged 18.9 PPR points per game in his 127 career games before Sunday. But despite Matt Ryan passing for 273 passing yards and four touchdowns against the Cowboys, Jones mustered only two receptions for 24 yards, giving him 4.4 PPR points.
Jones has had a worse fantasy day just once in his career, when he scored 3.8 points against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 13 of the 2018 season. Jones had totaled 4.4 a year earlier against the Minnesota Vikings. All told, Jones has scored less than 10 PPR points just 22 times in his career -- or 17.2% of his career games.
Jones and his fantasy managers will be hoping for a bounce-back game in Week 3 when the Falcons take on the Chicago Bears. The Bears have allowed 508 yards through the air to Matthew Stafford and Daniel Jones so far in 2020.
Aaron Jones Blew Up for 45.6 PPR Points
Running back Aaron Jones was supposed to be a prime regression candidate heading into the 2020 season, at least from a touchdown perspective. No one told him this, however.
Jones found the end zone three times for the Green Bay Packers against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, twice on the ground with another through the air. These scores accompanied 236 yards from scrimmage, with a career-high 168 rushing yards and another 68 receiving. You have to go back to Week 4 of the 1956 season to find the only player with more yards from scrimmage in a single game for the Packers. That was Billy Howton, who had 257 receiving yards on seven receptions, scoring two touchdowns.
Jones amassed 45.6 PPR points on Sunday, making him the overall RB1 in Week 2. Jones has scored more fantasy points than this only once in his career, notching 49.2 in Week 5 of the 2019 season against the Cowboys. But he also managed a 41.6-point outing in Week 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Jones joins Christian McCaffrey as the only running backs with three games of more than 40 PPR points since the 2010 season.
Jones and the Packers head to the Superdome in Week 3 for a clash with the New Orleans Saints. The Saints have allowed the eighth-fewest rushing yards in the NFL through two weeks -- 202 at just 3.3 yards per attempt. But only four teams have allowed more 20-yard runs than the Saints so far (two).
Tyler Higbee Caught 3 Receiving Touchdowns
People were wondering if the fine form Tyler Higbee showed at the end of the 2019 season would carry over into 2020. The early signs are that it just might, especially after Higbee's performance for the Los Angeles Rams in their win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
Higbee caught all five of his targets against Philly, managing just 54 yards. But three of his catches resulted in touchdowns. Higbee is the first tight end with a trio of touchdown catches in a single game since 2017. Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis found the end zone three times against the Ravens at Wembley Stadium.
He isn't the first Rams tight end to hit paydirt three times in one game, but you need to go a long way to find the last (and only) time it previously happened. Damone Johnson had three scores in Week 16 of the 1988 season against the San Francisco 49ers.
Higbee and the Rams will be up against the Bills in Week 3. The Bills have excellent boundary corners, but teams have been using their tight ends to attack them in 2020. Tight ends have already amassed 15 receptions for 171 yards and a touchdown against Buffalo in 2020.
Kirk Cousins Managed -0.46 Passing NEP per Drop Back
Everyone knows that the Minnesota Vikings are a team that wants to establish the run. Everyone knows this.
But they are still paying Kirk Cousins an average of $33 million a year, so they're likely expecting some efficient play from him. They got precisely nothing in Week 2, with Cousins completing just 11 of his 26 pass attempts for 113 yards. He also tossed three interceptions to go with three sacks, one of which led to the second safety allowed by the Vikings this season.
Cousins counting stats were awful, and his per-play efficiency even worse. Last week, Carson Wentz averaged a woeful -0.38 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, a mark worse than only two quarterbacks in the entire 2019 season. Well, Cousins was even worse on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. He posted a mark of -0.46. This was easily the lowest mark of any quarterback with more than 20 pass attempts in Week 2.
Cousins and the Vikings will look to bounce back in Week 3 when they take on the 2-0 Tennessee Titans. The Titans have allowed 531 passing yards through two games with four touchdown passes and two interceptions. They've managed just two quarterback sacks.