5 NFL Stats to Know Through Week 6
Between injuries beginning to mount and bye weeks beginning to roll through, we're entering a difficult stretch of the fantasy season. Hopefully, your rosters have survived through six weeks!
Here are five stats to know -- both traditional and our advanced statistics -- from the season's first four weeks.
Darrel Williams Rushes 21 Times, More Than Any Game From Clyde Edwards-Helaire This Season
Despite underwhelming in his rookies season, many season-long fantasy drafters spent a high pick on Clyde Edwards-Helaire with the hopes that he could cash in this time around as the lead back on one of the best offenses in the NFL.
But prior to getting injured in Week 5, Edwards-Helaire was just the RB24 in half-PPR leagues in Weeks 1-4, averaging 14.5 carries and 2.0 targets per game. Most notably, while he did notch two receiving touchdowns over that span, he had zero rushing scores, averaging just 1.5 red-zone carries per game and accounting for just a 40.0% market share in that area. Overall, pretty "meh" results from a back in such a high-powered offense.
Instead, Williams would go on to carry the rock 21 times -- more rushes than CEH's seen in any of his healthy games -- which included 100% of the red-zone work (six rushes), helping him to a pair of rushing touchdowns. He also saw four targets, and if you look at his volume through the lens of adjusted opportunities (carries plus 2x targets) on half-PPR sites like FanDuel, his 29 adjusted opportunities were sixth-best in the league this week.
It was just one game, but it sure looks like Williams will have the role that many were hoping to see from Edwards-Helaire entering the season. Particularly if he keeps getting those red-zone looks, more top-notch fantasy performances could be upcoming, and perhaps he even carves out a bigger role when CEH returns.
Sam Darnold Is Last in Passing NEP per Drop Back Over the Last Two Weeks
Sam Darnold's fantasy stock was on the upswing following Week 4, recording three straight 300-yard passing performances while showing some surprising running upside through five rushing touchdowns over four games.
So he's naturally followed that up with his two worst games of the season, throwing for just 177 and 207 yards with a total of two touchdowns to four interceptions. His play was so bad over these two weeks that he averaged a putrid -0.33 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, the worst mark among starting quarterbacks. His 32.9% Passing Success Rate ranked third-worst over that period ahead of just Trey Lance and Jalen Hurts.
While Darnold did rush for 48 yards in Week 6, that puts him at just 110 yards for the season, so that hardly looks like something we can consistently rely upon despite his early barrage of rushing scores. Additionally, coach Matt Rhule suggested he wants to "redefine" who they are on offense and run the ball more, which would theoretically mean relying less on Darnold.
Ricky Seals-Jones Leads All Tight Ends in Snap Rate (96.9%) Over the Last Three Weeks
Since Logan Thomas went down with a hamstring injury early in Week 4, Ricky Seals-Jones has pretty much inherited his role in full, playing 96.9% of the snaps over the last three games, including playing every single offensive snap in Week 6.
While this role didn't result in much production in Weeks 4 and 5, it finally paid off for Seals-Jones this week against Kansas City, as he caught 4-of-6 targets for a season-high 58 yards and a touchdown.
His target share hasn't been amazing over this span (16.1%), but he's running routes at a very high clip (86.2%), so we should still feel confident in his usage. While Seals-Jones' ceiling is probably limited to what we saw on Sunday, Thomas isn't expected back until mid-November, so Seals-Jones should continue to carry short-term value for at least a couple more weeks.
DeAndre Hopkins Owns a 20.5% Target Share This Season
DeAndre Hopkins is the WR13 so far, so it's not like he's been a complete disappointment in the box score, which includes Sunday's two-touchdown performance against Cleveland. Being attached to Kyler Murray has its benefits after all.
But it's becoming more and more clear that Hopkins isn't going to have the voluminous usage we've become accustomed to throughout his career. You see, while he tallied those two scores this week, he did so on just four targets with a middling 14.3% target share.
Normally, we might just chalk that off as one flukey week, except we're now six games in, and Hopkins is showing a mere 20.5% target share. While that leads the team, he's averaging 6.3 targets per game, which is a far cry from early-round fantasy picks like Davante Adams (11.0), Tyreek Hill (10.5), Calvin Ridley (10.5), and Stefon Diggs (9.2).
As a result, Hopkins ranks just 29th in receiving yards and 44th in receptions for the season.
Hopkins leads all Cardinals pass-catchers in snap rate (92.1%) and route rate (96.6%) and has worked through some minor ailments this season, so it's possible better days are ahead. After all, as recently as Week 5, we saw Hopkins soak up a 32.1% target share.
But at present, it's also hard to envision things dramatically changing on an offense with A.J. Green, Christian Kirk, Rondale Moore, Chase Edmonds, and eventually Zach Ertz all getting their share of the pie.
The Vikings Are Tied for the League Lead in Sacks (21)
Fantasy defenses tend to be an afterthought ahead of only the much-maligned kicker position, but as random as the results can feel sometimes, mixing and matching streamers every week can prove fruitful over the long haul.
With that in mind, the Minnesota D/ST could be one to keep tabs on later in the season. They were a solid streamer this week against the Panthers, but they now enter their bye and will follow that up with a tough stretch against the Cowboys, Ravens, Chargers, and Packers. If they aren't dropped immediately this week, they almost certainly will be during that stretch.
Why am I mentioning all this? Well, it turns out the Vikings' defense is actually looking fairly strong to this point. They entered Week 6 as numberFire's fifth-best schedule-adjusted defense, and after sacking Sam Darnold four times, they're tied with the Bears for the NFL's most sacks. Minnesota is fourth in pressure rate, per Pro Football Reference, and they're top three in Football Outsiders' adjusted sack rate.
It's entirely possible we see the Vikings' defense exposed against those tough foes, but if they continue to hold strong in our defense metrics and can keep pressuring opposing quarterbacks, they could be a pickup to keep in the back of your mind later in the season.