5 NFL Stats to Know Through Week 7
We’re approaching the halfway point of the 2015 NFL season, and we continue to get a better idea of who are the studs and duds of this year. This week’s list features both running backs selected in the first round of this year’s draft and shows how different their careers have started.
Speaking of running backs, this year may end up being the best season in 10 years for the position.
Here are five stats to know through Week 7.
1. Todd Gurley’s 110.5 rushing yards per game is first in the league
Gurley was eased into action during his first NFL game and only saw six carries, which he turned into nine yards. Since then, he has averaged a whopping 144.33 yards per game over his past three contests.
Even including that first six-carry game, Gurley is averaging 6.0 yards per carry, which is one whole yard better than Bell or Ivory.
This week he has a great opportunity for another 100-yard rushing game against the 49ers, who rank 30th in the league in terms of Adjusted Defensive Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP). This measures how many points a defense has prevented from an opposing rushing offense compared to another team in a similar situation, adjusted for strength of schedule.
Devonta Freeman is averaging 88.7 yards per game on the season, but 115.6 per game since taking over as the starter in Week 3. If Gurley, Bell, and Ivory can keep up this pace, or if Freeman happens to join the crowd, it will be the first time since 2006 that three or more players averaged over 100 rushing yards per game in the same season.
2. Jordan Reed’s 19.20 fantasy points in Week 7 ranked first among tight ends in Week 7
In his first action since missing two games with a concussion, Reed caught 11 passes for 72 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was targeted by Kirk Cousins 13 times in the game, which was more than twice as many as any other Redskins receiver in the game.
This was against the Buccaneers, who previously had not allowed over 43 yards to an opposing tight end in any game this year, and had only given up a single touchdown to tight ends.
Reed is currently seventh among tight ends with a 29.74 Reception NEP (which measures the value added or lost through receptions only) and has been Cousins’ favorite target this year regardless of matchup. The Redskins have a bye this week before traveling to New England in Week 9 to play the Patriots, who have given up the 25th most fantasy points per game to tight ends in 2015.
3. Danny Woodhead’s 83.50 fantasy points are 6th most among running backs this season
Gurley was the first running back selected in this year’s NFL draft, and we mentioned above how well that has turned out for the Rams. Five picks later, the Chargers selected Melvin Gordon, the only other running back to go in the first round.
That one has not turned out as well.
Gordon has 35.40 fantasy points and 4 fumbles through his first seven games, and his -17.24 Rushing NEP is worse than all running backs not named C.J. Anderson.
Meanwhile Danny Woodhead has quietly become an RB1 in fantasy football. In PPR leagues, Woodhead’s 121.50 fantasy points are third most among all running backs.
None of the Chargers running backs have excelled running the ball this season, but Woodhead has continued to be a great pass catcher out of the backfield. In a pass heavy offense, he has already caught 37 passes for 407 yards and 2 touchdowns and is currently on pace for 84 receptions and 930 receiving yards this season.
4. The Ravens’ 21.6 fantasy points per game allowed to opposing quarterbacks are most in the NFL
In seven games this season, Baltimore has allowed five opposing quarterbacks to throw for at least 250 yards and 2 or more touchdowns.
This week, they will have to deal with Philip Rivers, who ranks first in the league with 350.3 passing yards per game and second with 15 touchdown passes on the season. His 20.62 fantasy points per game is behind only Tom Brady, Andy Dalton, and Aaron Rodgers.
The Ravens are also allowing the second most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, making this a great week to stack Rivers with Keenan Allen, who is currently third in Reception NEP behind only Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins.
5. Denver’s -31.38 Adjusted Net Expected Points is last in the league
We mentioned last week how good the Broncos defense has been this season, but we didn’t say anything about how much their offense is struggling.
Denver is dead last in both Adjusted Passing NEP (-22.28) and Adjusted Rushing NEP (-10.87).
The struggles of the passing attack center around the aging Peyton Manning, whose -0.04 Passing NEP per play is worse than every starting quarterback except Nick Foles. If Manning continues on this pace, it would be the first time in his career that he has finished a season with a negative Passing NEP per play value.
On a somewhat positive note, at least Manning is ahead of someone. The same can’t be said for C.J. Anderson, who ranks dead last (-0.32) in terms of Rushing NEP per play among running backs with at least 25 carries. Ronnie Hillman (0.07) has been the better back in Denver and ranks 14th Rushing NEP per play.
Coming off of their bye week, the Broncos running backs will have a great opportunity to show they still deserve some carries against the Packers, who rank 24th against the run.