5 NFL Stats to Know Through Week 17
Does anyone know where the reset button is?
After five way-too-short months, the NFL regular season has come to an end. It's been a fun year keeping track of which players and teams were leading (or losing) the league, and what new records were being set.
The ending certainly didn't disappoint, as we all had to wait until the very last game was over on Sunday night for the playoff seeds to be decided. Now, the playoffs are here, and it's time to cherish the last month of NFL football for the year.
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 -- from the 2015 NFL regular season.
1. DeMarco Murray’s -0.03 Rushing NEP per rush was 16th among 30 running backs with 150 or more carries
After leading the NFL with 1,845 rushing yards last year, DeMarco Murray came to the Eagles this offseason with a big contract to replace the departed LeSean McCoy. However, Murray proved not to be a fit with Chip Kelly and finished with the worst Rushing NEP per play among all of the Eagles' running backs.
Dallas replaced Murray with Darren McFadden, who played in all 16 games for only the second time in his eight-year career and averaged 0.1 yards per carry fewer than Murray did in 2014. McFadden’s Rushing NEP per rush was slightly better than Murray’s at -0.02, but he only had 3 rushing touchdowns compared to Murray’s 13 from the year before.
Meanwhile in Buffalo, McCoy’s -0.01 Rushing NEP per play ranked 12th among running backs with at least 150 carries.
2. Adrian Peterson led the NFL with 1,485 rushing yards
Peterson has led the NFL in rushing yards twice and rushing touchdowns once before, but this is the first time he has claimed or tied for the lead in both categories during the same season.
Excluding 2014, Peterson has rushed for double-digit touchdowns in every season and cleared the 1,000-yard mark in all but one season.
He averaged 4.5 yards per carry this season with 6 fumbles and finished sixth in Rushing NEP (3.82) among all running backs with 150 or more carries.
3. Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 0.14 Passing NEP per drop back was 12th best in the NFL among 34 quarterbacks with 250 or more drop backs
Fitzpatrick responded by starting every game for the Jets and posting career highs in Passing NEP per drop back, passing yards (3,905), and passing touchdowns (31). His 31 passing touchdowns were the 10th most in the league.
Meanwhile, Mallett only lasted six games before being released, and the Texans were forced to use four different starting quarterbacks throughout the season. Hoyer was the best of the bunch, starting 11 games and finishing with a 0.10 Passing NEP per drop back that ranked 18th in the NFL.
4. Odell Beckham’s 151.54 Reception NEP is the seventh highest of any NFL player since 2000
Four wide receivers this year recorded Reception NEP scores that rank among the top 15 all-time since we began tracking NEP in 2000.
|Player||Reception NEP||All-Time Rank|
Odell Beckham is the youngest of this bunch, and his 2,755 receiving yards are the most by any player in the first two seasons of his career.
Antonio Brown’s 151.91 Reception NEP from 2014 ranks sixth all time, and he followed up that performance by tying Julio Jones for the second most catches ever in an NFL season. The pair closed the season just seven catches shy of Marvin Harrison’s record.
DeAndre Hopkins made a significant improvement from his previous career high 96.06 Reception NEP set last year, which ranks 262nd all-time.
2014 is the only other year with three players among the top 20 in all-time Reception NEP.
5. J.J. Watt led the NFL with 17.5 sacks this season
J.J. Watt claimed the sack crown for the second time in his five-year career, after also leading the league with 20.5 sacks in 2012. Despite racking up another 20.5 sacks in 2014, he finished second that year to Justin Houston, who was half a sack away from tying Michael Strahan’s single season record.
Watt has not missed a game since he was drafted in 2011 and has been one of the best players in the NFL over the past four years. He has forced 15 fumbles since 2012 and averaged 17.25 sacks per season over that time.
He has dominated the defensive side of the ball in fantasy football as well, finishing with the most fantasy points among defenders for the third time in four years. His 212.30 fantasy points this season ranks 30th best among all players, ahead of offensive players such as Marcus Mariota (210.02), Doug Martin (199.30), A.J. Green (199.30), and Rob Gronkowski (183.60).