5 NFL Stats to Know Through Week 4

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

We’re now a quarter of the way through the season, and stats are beginning to become clearer about who was a one week wonder and who is here to stay.

Trends from the first four games will help us determine which teams are performing well in certain areas which teams are open to being exposed.

Here are five stats to know through Week 4 of the NFL season.

1. Ryan Tannehill’s -16.86 Passing NEP is the worst in the league

Passing  Net Expected Points (NEP) is our signature metric that measures the value added or lost through passing attempts. Turnovers -- especially turnovers in scoring positions and during close games -- will decrease Passing NEP dramatically, so Ryan Tannehill's five interceptions through four games is certainly a factor in his name being at the bottom of this list.

Tannehill ranked 16th with a 46.72 Passing NEP last season and appeared to be destined to improve this year after the Dolphins spent the offseason upgrading his receiving weapons. However Jordan Cameron, Kenny Stills, Greg Jennings, and DeVante Parker have combined to catch only one touchdown pass thus far.

Tannehill hasn’t been getting much help from the rushing attack, as Dolphins running backs have a total of 52 rushing attempts on the season and the team ranks 18th in schedule-adjusted Rushing NEP per play.

The bye week has come at a great time, as the Dolphins could really benefit from this two-week break. They now have a new head coach and offensive coordinator, and Parker is continuing to recover from his offseason foot injury.

We will see how much the offense changes under the new coaching staff after the bye, but things certainly can’t get much worse for Tannehill as he is already dead last in Passing NEP.

2. Devonta Freeman has 6 rushing touchdowns over the past two games

I figured Devonta Freeman's three-touchdown performance in Week 3 was a fluke, so I didn’t bother mentioning him in last week’s article. Maybe he noticed and wanted to prove me wrong, or maybe he is really good. Either way, he rushed for three more touchdowns in Week 4.

He has the most fantasy points in the league in each of the past two weeks, and his 11.15 Rushing NEP is the highest among all running backs.

After starting the season behind Tevin Coleman on the depth chart, Freeman has certainly seized the starting role for now. Coleman’s Rushing NEP through two games before getting hurt was 0.42 on 29 carries, and he only found the end zone once. However, Freeman's Rushing NEP on 22 carries in Weeks 1 and 2 was -4.32.

Week 5 will be a real test for Freeman against the Redskins who allow the fewest points in the league to opposing running backs and rank third in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play.

3. Mike Evans owns a Target NEP of -15.88

Target NEP is our in house metric that measures the number of expected points a receiver gets on all targets, not just receptions. Mike Evans ranks last among 170 players with at least 10 targets through Week 4. Throws in his direction have lost the Bucs nearly 16 points in expected scoring -- and he's seen only 28 targets.

His Reception NEP per target (which measures the value added or lost on each target) of 0.24 is the same as  Devin Smith and Jonathan Grimes. Evans ranks 149th in the group.

Teammate Austin Seferian-Jenkins actually has the best mark (though he's seen just 10 targets) of 1.85. Vincent Jackson (0.79) ranks 39th and has seen 35 targets.

Jameis Winston owns a Passing NEP of -16.50, third worst among all quarterbacks so far. Evans and Winston just haven't figured it out -- to put it mildly.

4. The Oakland Raiders have allowed a league high 74 fantasy points to tight ends

The Raiders are allowing an average of 18.5 fantasy points and at least one touchdown per game to opposing starting tight ends.

Week Player Receptions Yards Touchdowns Fantasy Points Rank
1 Tyler Eifert 9 104 2 22.40 4th
2 Crockett Gillmore 5 88 2 20.8 1st
3 Gary Barnidge 6 105 1 16.5 2nd
4 Martellus Bennett 11 83 1 14.3 1st

Tight ends across the league exploded in Week 1 and occupied four of the top 15 fantasy scores. In any other week this season, Tyler Eifert's Week 1 performance would have ranked in the top two among tight ends.

All four of these players have had their best week of the season against the Raiders. Eifert, Gary Barnidge, and Martellus Bennett have performed well in other weeks as well, but Crockett Gillmore has a total of 5 catches for 63 yards and 0 touchdowns in all other games.

This week Owen Daniels comes to town and will be looking to extend his two-game touchdown streak.

5. Russell Wilson has been sacked 18 times

Through four games, the Seahawks are tied with the Chiefs for the league lead in sacks allowed, and Russell Wilson is on pace to be sacked 72 times this season. That’s four shy of the single season record set by David Carr in 2002.

They’ve allowed at least two sacks in each game, and given up six sacks twice already.

Week Team Sacks Rank
1 St. Louis 6 1st
2 Green Bay 2 T-10th
3 Chicago 4 T-4th
4 Detroit 6 T-2nd

St. Louis and Green Bay are tied for second with 17 sacks each on the season, but the Bears have only managed two sacks in the three games that they have played against teams other than the Seahawks.

Seattle handed Wilson a new contract this offseason after he led them to the Super Bowl two years in a row, so it would make sense for them to view protecting him as a priority.

Apparently they thought it was more important to get him another receiving weapon and traded away Max Unger for Jimmy Graham. Unger allowed only three sacks in his four years with the Seahawks, and so far Jimmy Graham has shown no ability to block anyone.

Wilson could be in for another rough day in Week 5 against the Bengals, who sacked Alex Smith 5 times last week and have 11 sacks on the year.