5 NFL Stats to Know Through Week 4
We are four weeks into the NFL season, and things are beginning to take shape.
There are six teams who have yet to taste defeat, with the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers -- who are still at 3-0 after their enforced bye week -- accompanying the 4-0 Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers. Four teams have yet to record a victory in 2020, with one of those teams making the first coaching change of the season on Monday. Things are already moving fast.
Here are five stats to know -- both traditional and our advanced statistics -- from Week 4 of the NFL season.
Odell Beckham Jr. Scored 38.4 PPR Points
Against the Dallas Cowboys, Beckham caught five of his eight targets for 81 yards and two touchdowns, one of them thrown by fellow wide receiver Jarvis Landry. He also added 73 yards on the ground, including a game-breaking 50-yard touchdown run. Beckham finished with 38.4 PPR points -- his highest total as a Brown and also the second-highest of his career. Beckham scored 42.2 as a member of the New York Giants against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6 of the 2016 season.
Sunday also marked the first time Beckham has scored two receiving touchdowns in a game for the Browns, and the first time he has managed the feat for anyone since he scored twice through the air for the Giants against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 10 of the 2018 campaign.
Beckham's deeds helped the Browns to their third consecutive game of more than 30 points. The team hasn't had a streak that long since 1968, when they managed at least 30 points in six straight games between Weeks 6 and 12.
Joe Mixon Racked Up 42.1 PPR Points
Through the first three weeks of the 2020 season, Joe Mixon's best fantasy finish had been as RB27. He had a total of 29.2 combined PPR points in those first three contests. People were starting to worry about if they had erred in taking him at the end of the first round in their fantasy drafts this year.
Week 4 was the first sign that they had not.
Mixon had 31 total offensive touches for the Cincinnati Bengals against the Jacksonville Jaguars, amassing 181 yards from scrimmage in the process. Mixon rushed for 151 yards with two touchdowns while also catching six passes for another 30 and an additional score. It all added up to 42.1 PPR points. It's a new career-high for Mixon, beating the 30.6 he had in Week 17 last season against the Browns.
Tom Brady Threw 5 Touchdown Passes
Let's be honest -- Tom Brady throwing five touchdown passes in a game is far from a surprise. After all, he did achieve this feat six times during his time with the New England Patriots. But Brady is no longer on the Patriots, and Sunday marked the first time he managed this feat in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniform.
The Los Angeles Chargers were the unlucky team on the end of Brady's first big game as a Buccaneer. Before Sunday, Brady's last game with five touchdowns had come in Week 3 of the 2017 season. His scoring strikes that day led the Patriots to victory over the Houston Texans.
Brady also managed 369 passing yards against the Chargers in Week 4, his 93rd career game with more than 300 yards passing. He and Peyton Manning are in a tie for second place in NFL history with the most 300-yard games, trailing Drew Brees. Brees has 121. Manning (nine) and Brees (11) are the only players with more five-touchdown games than Brady, incidentally.
Brady is not the first Bucs quarterback to throw five touchdowns in a game, although he is the oldest. Four other players have managed the feat, with the last such instance coming in 2015. Rookie Jameis Winston tossed five scores during the team's rout of the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 11.
The Texans Allowed 162 Rushing Yards to the Vikings
Gary Kubiak and his Minnesota Vikings offense ran all over his former team, the Houston Texans, on Sunday. Dalvin Cook led the way with 130 of the 162 rushing yards the Vikings piled on in their 31-23 victory.
This game marked the fourth straight game to open the season for the Texans in which they had allowed at least 160 yards on the ground. You have to go back to 1995 and a Buddy Ryan-led Arizona Cardinals team for the last time a squad started a season with four straight games with at least 160 rushing yards allowed. The Cardinals' run eventually extended to seven of their first eight.
Four teams allowed more rushing yards to the opposition than the Texans on Sunday, and according to our metrics, they were far from the least efficient rush defense on show. They allowed 0.19 Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play in Week 4, which was "good" for seventh-most.
But while they are slightly more efficient than other teams, the volume is becoming a concern. A once-stout defense is now becoming one that fantasy managers should look to attack. The Texans have allowed three rushers to gain at least 100 yards in their opening four games of the season. They allowed only three such players in the whole of the 2019 season. The suddenly Bill O'Brien-less Texans season is already looking like a lost one.
Both New York Quarterbacks Had Negative Marks in Passing NEP Per Drop Back
No position attracts more attention, both positive and negative, than quarterback in the NFL. And no sports media market in the world is quite like New York. So if you're a quarterback for one of New York teams and your team is 0-4, all eyes are going to be on you.
This currently applies to quarterbacks for both the New York Jets and New York Giants, as both teams are winless and looking hapless on offense. This was evident this past week, as Sam Darnold and Daniel Jones struggled for production and efficiency.
Darnold's 23 completions on 42 attempts brought him 230 scoreless yards, while Jones went 23 for 36 for 190 yards. Darnold "earned" a Passing NEP per drop back of -0.25 on Thursday, the worst among all quarterbacks who attempted at least 10 passes in Week 4. Jones was barely better with a -0.21 clip.
Both are struggling with external factors, not least a lack of play-makers around them. But if their play does not improve, it could lead to big changes off the field for both of these teams. And suddenly, these two quarterbacks could find themselves with front offices that have zero loyalty to them and no reason to stick with them in 2021 and beyond. The Big Apple is getting more rotten with each passing week.