5 NFL Stats to Know Through Week 5

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

Week 5 proved that it’s not always the superstars that put up the best numbers and that we can’t project everything before the season. 

The top  fantasy performer at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end each had an ADP of fourth round or later.

Sticking with ADP, none of the top projected players were among the top 10 performers of their respective positions.

Player Position Fantasy Points Position Rank
Andrew Luck QB -- --
Jamaal Charles RB 8.4 28th
Antonio Brown WR 4.5 49th
Rob Gronkowski TE 6.7 11th

Andrew Luck
sat out Week 5 with a shoulder injury, and Jamaal Charles tore his ACL midway through the game, so their low scores aren't a knock on their performance, but they do show that certainly not everything can be predicted. That's why it's important to keep track of player production throughout the season and adjust your fantasy roster accordingly.

Here are 5 stats to know through through Week 5 of the NFL season, most of which couldn't have been foreseen.

1. Three tight ends had 25 or more PPR fantasy points in Week 5

Three tight ends ranked among the top 10 players in the league in PPR fantasy scoring for the first time since the tight end explosion the first week of this season.

Player Fantasy Points League Rank
Antonio Gates 30.2 4th
Tyler Eifert 29.0 5th
Gary Barnidge 27.9 8th

Antonio Gates
returned from his suspension in top form to catch nine passes for 92 yards and 2 touchdowns while splitting time with Ladarius Green.

Tyler Eifert rebounded from a few bad weeks and added 2 touchdowns of his own on 8 catches for 90 yards. He put up more fantasy points in Week 5 than he did in the previous three games combined.

Gary Barnidge caught a touchdown for the third game in a row and had 139 receiving yards on his way to a third straight game with double-digit fantasy points. His 1.17 Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) per target (which measures the value added or lost through receptions on a per-target basis) is now first in the league among tight ends, ahead of Rob Gronkowski in second with 1.04. Somehow he is still only owned in 70% of Yahoo! leagues and 56.9% of ESPN leagues.

If any of these tight ends aren’t owned in any of your leagues, pick them up now.

2. Antonio Brown has 8.7 standard fantasy points over the past 2 games

No one is missing Ben Roethlisberger more than Antonio Brown. Since Michael Vick took over as the starter, Brown hasn’t reached five fantasy points in either of the past two weeks, has seen his 35-game streak with at least 5 catches and 50 yards come to an end, and has a total of 8 receptions. In Week 5 he was only targeted 6 times.

Of the 41 quarterbacks with 10 or more drop backs this season, Roethlisberger (0.56) is first in Passing NEP per play, while only Jimmy Clausen is worse than Vick (-0.18).

Brown still has the sixth most standard fantasy points among wide receivers this season but cannot be counted on as a genuine, no-doubt WR1 until Roethlisberger is back under center.

3. Knile Davis had 2 rushing attempts for 2 yards in Week 5

When I wrote about why Charles should be the first overall pick in fantasy football this year, I mentioned that Knile Davis was not a threat to his fantasy value.

Our own Aaron Watson investigated further and determined that Charcandrick West is a better running back and the true handcuff in Kansas City.

With Charles now out for the season, it is time to put all your eggs into the West basket. After not getting any carries the first three weeks of the season, West is averaging four yards per carry over the past two games. That’s not anything to jump out of your chair over, but it’s certainly better than Davis.

I took a look at how the three Chiefs running backs rank among all NFL running backs with at least 10 carries this season. Our Rushing Success Rate metric measures the number of rushes that contribute positively toward a player’s Rushing NEP divided by their number of total rushes.

Player Rushing Success Rate League Rank
Charcandrick West 0.50 10th
Jamaal Charles 0.45 25th
Knile Davis 0.36 51st

The sample sizes are small for West and Davis, but Davis has been an all-or-nothing back for the past two seasons. Further, Charles has averaged over a whole yard per carry better than West this season (and has done so in every season of his career), so I certainly don’t expect West to be an upgrade there, but he is clearly the back to own in Kansas City at this point.

4. Josh McCown threw for 457 yards in Week 5

Josh McCown led the league with 35.48 standard fantasy points in Week 5 and is averaging 25.79 points over the past three games.

He has thrown for at least 340 yards and has 2 touchdown passes in each of those games with only 1 interception all season.

Among all quarterbacks with 50 or more drop backs this season, McCown’s 0.28 Passing NEP per play ranks fifth. In his 11-year career, he has had a positive value in this category only once. That came after he took over as the starter for the injured Jay Cutler in 2013 when his 0.35 Passing NEP per play ranked second to only Peyton Manning.

5. Doug Martin’s 36.80 PPR fantasy points were most in league in Week 5

While McCown edged him out in standard leagues, no player had more fantasy points in a PPR league in Week 5 than Doug Martin.

Devonta Freeman finished 4.10 points behind him due to having a touchdown called back on what is now commonly referred to as the “Dez Bryant rule.”

Martin ran for 2 touchdowns to go with 1 receiving touchdown and now has 25 or more PPR fantasy points in each of the past two weeks. He has 8 receptions in that span while averaging 5.2 yards per carry and getting at least 20 carries each week.

After a bye in Week 6, Martin will have a tough matchup against Washington. They have allowed the least fantasy points to running backs all season but were exposed by the aforementioned Freeman in Week 5.

At this point, Martin is worth starting regardless of matchup.