5 NFL Stats to Know Through Week 15
For many of you, the second week of the fantasy football playoffs is now over and it's on the championship round.
Personally, all of my semifinal games were certainly high scoring, as there were three players in the NFL this week with 40 or more PPR fantasy points and a whopping 20 players over 25 points.
Who could have guessed before the season that David Johnson would be the key to getting your team to the championship round? Or who could have guessed before last week that Antonio Brown would lead the NFL in fantasy scoring against the stout Denver defense that had given up the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers all season?
Johnson ran right through the Eagles defense for 187 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Brown humbled the Broncos with 189 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns.
But now that Week 16 draws near, here are five stats to know -- both traditional stats and Net Expected Points (NEP) marks, which compare team or player's performance relative to expectation-level -- through Week 15.
1. Frank Gore’s -27.61 Rushing NEP is second worst in the NFL
Gore is averaging a career-low 3.6 yards per carry, hasn’t gained over 60 yards in any of his last five games, and has zero 100-yard rushing games this season.
He is on pace for four rushing touchdowns for the second season in a row after rushing for at least eight touchdowns in each of the previous three seasons. Additionally, his four fumbles are tied for the third most of his career.
Gore has a chance to salvage this season somewhat in the Colts' two remaining games. In Week 16, they face the Dolphins, who have allowed the third most fantasy points to running backs. Then, the Colts will finish the season against Tennessee, who gave up two rushing touchdowns to Gore earlier this season.
2. Aaron Rodgers’ 0.13 Passing NEP per drop back is his worst since 2006
In terms of Passing NEP per drop back, Aaron Rodgers is having his worst season since he took over as a starting quarterback.
Even with a bad season, Rodgers still ranks near the top of the NFL in some categories. His 29 touchdown passes are the seventh most in the NFL, and he has thrown only six interceptions all season, while no other quarterback with 300 or more passing attempts has thrown fewer than 9.
With Jordy Nelson out all of this season, the rest of the Packers’ receiving corps has not stepped up like they needed to.
3. Doug Martin’s 5.1 yards per carry is best in the NFL
Among all running backs with 150 or more carries, Doug Martin leads the NFL in yards per carry, and his 6.27 Rushing NEP ranks fifth.
Only Adrian Peterson (1,314) has more rushing yards than Martin (1,305), who is on pace for a career-high 1,491 rushing yards this season.
Martin’s previous career high in yards per carry was 4.6 in his rookie year. He also set a new personal record for his longest run, with an 84-yarder earlier this season.
Martin exploded into the NFL as a rookie to the tune of 1,454 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns before battling injuries and struggling to regain form the past two seasons. While his five rushing touchdowns this season are nowhere near his rookie year total, he has proven that he is still among the elite running backs in the NFL.
4. Calvin Johnson has a total of five receptions over his past three games
Calvin Johnson’s 87.56 Reception NEP ranks 16th in the NFL, and his 0.70 Reception NEP per target is his lowest since 2009.
He is on pace for 82 catches, the fourth highest season total of his career, but also on pace for 8 touchdowns and 1,142 yards, which would both be the fourth lowest of his nine-year career.
In each of Detroit’s last three games, Golden Tate has had more targets, catches, and yards than Johnson.
Johnson’s best game of the season came against the Bears in Week 6, when he caught 6 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown. After a Week 16 test against the 49ers, who have allowed only one receiver to go over 100 yards since Week 9, Johnson will get a rematch with Chicago to finish the year.
5. Kirk Cousins’ 100.75 Passing NEP ranks ninth in the NFL
For most of the offseason, Kirk Cousins was told he would be a backup quarterback this season. Now, his 69.7 completion percentage is the best in the NFL among quarterbacks with 100 or more attempts, and the Redskins are in control of their own playoff destiny.
Of all quarterbacks with at least 100 drop backs this season, Cousins ranks seventh with a 51.12% Passing Success Rate.
Only two players had more fantasy points than Cousins’ 35.86 in Week 15, and he has thrown for over 300 yards in four of his last six games.
Cousins and the Redskins have both enjoyed most of their success at home this season. He has thrown 16 touchdowns and 2 interceptions at FedEx Field compared to 6 touchdowns with 9 interceptions on the road, while leading the Redskins to their best home record (6-2) since 2005.
With two road games left against Philadelphia and Dallas, who both rank in the top half of the NFL in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP, Cousins will have to improve his play away from Washington in order to lead the Redskins to the playoffs.