NFL

5 NFL Stats to Know Through Week 14

The Cowboys got the win on Sunday, but another shaky performance from Dak Prescott may have left some fantasy teams on the outside looking in. What are some stats to take note of through 14 weeks?

Many fantasy playoffs get underway this week, and we're finally through all those pesky late-season byes. There's a good chance some of the following players have either derailed or gifted you a playoff berth these past few weeks.

Here are five stats to know -- both traditional and our advanced statistics -- through 14 weeks.

Dak Prescott Has Posted Fantasy Scores Outside the Top-20 Quarterbacks in Three of the Last Four Weeks

Dak Prescott has helped his fantasy managers to plenty of victories this season, but his recent play could be sinking some championship dreams.

According to FantasyPros, Prescott has finished as the QB28, QB3, QB21, and QB21 over the past four weeks, and that last ranking figures to drop even further with Kyler Murray and Matthew Stafford still on tap for Monday night.

Over this stretch, Prescott has thrown just four touchdowns while getting picked off five times. He's averaged an ugly -0.09 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back and a 41.11% Passing Success Rate, meaning he's effectively hurt his team more often than not when dropping back to pass. For context, -0.09 Passing NEP per drop back is worse than the season-long marks of Trevor Lawrence, Tyrod Taylor, and Sam Darnold.

It's fair to wonder whether Prescott is still being affected by a mid-season calf injury that caused him to miss Week 8. In fact, if we consider that most of his Week 9 production came through garbage time in an ugly loss to Denver, he's arguably only had two good performances over the last six games, and those were against two lousy defenses in the Falcons and Raiders.

Additionally, Prescott is averaging a career-low 8.8 rushing yards per game and only has one rushing touchdown, so it's not like we can count on him as a runner, either.

Unless you're in an especially shallow season-long league, there's no way your benching Prescott down the stretch, particularly with the Cowboys favored by 10.5 points over the Giants next week, per FanDuel Sportsbook. But we may need to temper expectations for the short-term, and he could be someone to avoid in DFS moving forward as well.

Rashaad Penny Leads the Seahawks' Backfield in Rushes and Snaps

Let's just say no one was predicting Rashaad Penny to emerge as the overall RB2 through Sunday's games, but here we are.

While it's fair to assume that this ends up being Penny's best fantasy performance of the year -- 137 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns -- the uptick in volume could keep him relevant for the homestretch if you're hurting at running back.

The usage won't blow you away, but it's clear he's passed Alex Collins for top honors in his backfield, leading the way with 16 carries and a 57.9% snap rate. Collins would finish with just 7 rushes and a 22.8% snap rate.

The downside is that even if Penny maintains a featured role, a lack of passing game usage could make him game-script dependent. Penny would go on to see one target in the game, just his second target all season -- albeit in limited action. But Chris Carson and Collins also didn't see a ton of targets as lead backs in this offense, so this could be a reflection of how Seattle uses its running backs.

That makes Penny a tough sell against the Rams this week, who are 6.5-point favorites over the visiting Seahawks. But, the good news is that he ought to be viable in the games that follow at home against lesser opponents in the Bears and Lions.

Aaron Jones Only Logs 8 Touches in Week 14

If you only looked at Aaron Jones' fantasy point total on Sunday, you probably assumed he led the Packers' backfield in touches.

Instead, despite Jones scoring a pair of touchdowns, A.J. Dillon actually out-carried him 15-5 and logged the higher snap rate (53.1% to 45.3%). While Jones would also catch 3-of-3 targets, eight touches probably aren't what fantasy managers were hoping for after Green Bay's Week 13 bye.

Of course, as he's done for much of his career, Jones once again proved that he can still put up points in limited opportunities, but this is a concerning sign for his floor. It sure doesn't look like the Packers are planning to scale back Dillon's role, and they're likely taking a big picture approach to Jones' usage following his knee injury.

You're still rolling Jones out there, but he's looking more like a shaky, boom-or-bust option in the fantasy playoffs.

Hunter Renfrow Posts His Third Straight 100-Yard Game

Hunter Renfrow is typically viewed as a low-upside, "boring" fantasy receiver, but since Darren Waller went down early in Week 12, Renfrow has rattled off 134, 102, and 117 yards across the last three games.

Over that span, he's averaged 11 targets per game with a 27.8% target share, and his 14 targets and 13 receptions on Sunday were both career-highs.

Waller could return this week against Cleveland, but that's hardly a guarantee after missing practice all of last week. Additionally, this game is being played on Saturday, giving Waller less time to get back on the field.

Perhaps Renfrow can continue being one of the more surprising fantasy contributors down the stretch.

DK Metcalf Has One More Target Than Tyler Lockett Over the Last Five Games

Since Russell Wilson's return in Week 10, Tyler Lockett has averaged 13.8 fantasy points in half-PPR formats, while DK Metcalf has averaged a middling 5.2 points.

And yet, it might surprise you that Metcalf actually has one more target than Lockett over that span (36-35), meaning they're actually averaging virtually the same target share these past five weeks. While Lockett's higher fantasy outputs have been aided by big plays and a 43.7% air yards share, the truth is that the targets are still being split down the middle between these two.

That probably doesn't offer much comfort to Metcalf managers, many of whom could be out of contention after so many duds, and the low passing volume in this offense doesn't leave much room for error, too. Still, the usage suggests positive regression could be coming, and a negative game script could force Wilson into more pass attempts against the Rams this week.