5 NFL Stats to Know Through Week 3

Here are some important -- and interesting -- takeaways from the third week of NFL action.

Week 3 included some huge fantasy numbers and career days for some players. Some young players emerged with breakout games, veterans continued their excellent form, and one quarterback reached a career milestone.

Before I get into detail about what happened in Week 3, let’s look back to see how certain players have fared since appearing in earlier editions of this column.

Jeremy Maclin followed up his preseason touchdown reception with another score in Week 3 to become the first Chiefs wide receiver to catch a touchdown pass in the regular season since 2013.

Julio Jones and Julian Edelman caught another 12 and 8 receptions, respectively, to keep them on pace to shatter Marvin Harrison's record for most receptions in a season.

Karlos Williams proved his subpar preseason was a fluke as he is currently the only player in the NFL to rush for a touchdown in each of the first three games. He leads the league in Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP), which measures the value added or lost via the run, and will get his first start of the season in Week 4 if LeSean McCoy is forced to sit out.

After leading all running backs in fantasy points in Week 2, DeAngelo Williams was given only one carry upon Le'Veon Bell's return from suspension. In his first game of the season, Bell finished week 10th among running backs in Week 3 with 19.2 fantasy points in standard scoring leagues.

That's enough with the reminiscing. 

Now Let’s get into the five stats to know through Week 3 of the 2015 NFL Season.

1. Tom Brady threw his 401st career touchdown pass in Week 3

Tom Brady is the fourth quarterback in NFL history to hit the 400 touchdown mark and only the second do it all with one team.

His 401st touchdown was his 9th on the year, and he is yet to throw an interception. Only Aaron Rodgers has more passing touchdowns (10) than Brady this season, while Brady has thrown for 341 more yards to lead the league with 1,112. 

Rodgers, however has 74 rush yards on the season to make him the only player with more fantasy points than Brady this year.

Heading into a bye week, Brady’s 51.70 Passing NEP is second to only Ben Roethlisberger (52.46), who will now miss the next few games due to injury. 

The bye week gives Brady two weeks to prepare for a Cowboys defense that has only given up a total 39.48 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks through three games. It’s worth noting that despite their stellar start defending the pass, the Cowboys allowed Matt Ryan to reach 23.10 fantasy points in Week 3.

2. Larry Fitzgerald has caught 5 touchdowns over the past two games

Larry Fitzgerald is averaging 123 yards and 2.5 touchdowns over the past two weeks after not finding the end zone in Week 1. 

His receptions have increased each game, and he has now joined Jones, Edelman, and Antonio Brown in the race to break Harrison’s single season receptions record. 

In terms of fantasy points, Fitzgerald currently has the eighth most overall and second most among wide receivers in a standard scoring league, behind only Jones. In terms of Reception NEP, Fitzgerald (36.31) ranks third behind Jones (40.20) and Brown (42.44). If Brown's production decreases with Michael Vick throwing to him, Fitzgerald can take over as the number two receiver according to Reception NEP.

3. Thomas Rawls rushed for 104 yards in Week 3

Marshawn Lynch straggled to get on the field for opening kickoff in Week 3, and once he left the game with a hamstring injury, rookie Thomas Rawls was the clear lead back over veteran Fred Jackson.

Rawls reached 104 yards on 16 attempts, while Jackson only carried the ball twice for 13 yards to go with 2 catches for 9 yards.

He currently owns the league’s 12th best Rushing NEP per play among players with 15 or more carries and will get an opportunity continue as the lead back in Seattle if Lynch’s hamstring forces him to miss a game. 

In Week 4, the Seahawks will take on a Lions defense that has allowed at least one touchdown to opposing running backs in each of the first three games.

4. Kansas City has given up at least 20 fantasy points to a wide receiver each week

The Chiefs have allowed an opposing wide receiver each week to finish in the top six in fantasy points at their position in standard scoring leagues.

Week Opponent Top Fantasy Wide Receiver Points Rank
1 Texans DeAndre Hopkins 23.8 2nd
2 Broncos Emmanuel Sanders 20.7 6th
3 Packers Randall Cobb 28.3 4th

DeAndre Hopkins
, Emmanuel Sanders, and Randall Cobb all had their best week of the season in terms of fantasy points against the Chiefs. One positive is that they did hold Demaryius Thomas to 11.6 points in Week 2.

In Week 3, they came very close to allowing two receivers to hit the 20-point mark, as James Jones finished with 19.9 points.

Don’t expect things to get any better for the Chiefs in Week 4, as they travel to Cincinnati to take on A.J. Green, who led all wide receivers in fantasy points last week with 34.7.

5. Adrian Peterson’s 291 rushing yards are most in the league

After a rough Week 1 that ended with 10 carries for 31 yards, Adrian Peterson has averaged 130 rushing yards per game over the past two weeks, showing that he is still an elite running back. 

He averaged 6.3 yards per carry last week while rushing for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns on 20 carries. That was good enough for 24.60 fantasy points, which ranked sixth among running backs.

He currently stands in 27th in terms of Rushing NEP Per Play but has improved in this area each week. We'll see if he can continue this trend against the Broncos, who have allowed only one running back to gain over 45 yards on the ground so far this season.