Quick Reads

The best and worst players of the week according to Football Outsiders stats.

Week 17 Quick Reads

by Vincent Verhei

Traditionally, for the last week of the year, Quick Reads is a rundown of the best and worst players of the season by DYAR, rather than analysis of Week 17. I'll be writing that article for Wednesday, later this week. For now, here's a list of the best and worst games of the 2017 season with final opponent adjustments:

Quarterbacks

Best Games

It's been a while since Week 4, so you may have forgotten that Jared Goff and Mitchell Trubisky combined for 11 touchdowns and more than 800 yards with nary an interception against the Vikings and Buccaneers. Goff finishes higher here due to opponent adjustments -- he gains about 30 DYAR due to playing Minnesota, while Trubisky loses about 30 for playing Tampa Bay. As for the others, the season in Tampa Bay started with FitzMagic and ended with the coach being fired; Drew Brees threw four touchdowns in a 48-7 destruction of the Eagles; and Ben Roethlisberger threw five touchdowns with only three incompletions in the Thursday night game that started Carolina's seven-game losing streak.

Goff's game is one of the top ten of all time; Fitzpatrick also makes the top 20.

If you're looking for Patrick Mahomes, he narrowly missed the list twice -- his Week 9 game against Cleveland was in sixth place, and his Week 2 game against Pittsburgh was seventh. Mahomes had seven games in the top 50, second only to Brees, who had eight.

Worst Games

So, uh, how about those rookies, am I right? Josh Allen's seven-sack outing against the Packers makes the bottom five games on record. The other rookie named Josh had his own troubles -- a half-dozen sacks in each of two games against the Broncos and Falcons. Sam Darnold was only sacked four times by the Dolphins, but he also threw four interceptions. Mark Sanchez, in his first and only start since 2015, lasted barely more than a half and failed to pick up a single first down. He was soon replaced by Josh Johnson, a scenario that seemed unimaginable when the season began.

Running Backs

Best Games

Ezekiel Elliott's 110 DYAR against Detroit was the best game for a running back since Kansas City's Jamaal Charles caught eight passes for 195 yards and four touchdowns in Week 15 of 2013. Derrick Henry's big game against Jacksonville was highlighted by just the second 99-yard run in NFL history. Opponent adjustments are included in DYAR, so it's just coincidence that Isaiah Crowell and Todd Gurley had back-to-back monster games against the Broncos in October. Those four players each had at least 225 yards from scrimmage. James Conner's totals against Baltimore were more modest (107 on the ground, 56 through the air), but his DYAR numbers almost double after opponent adjustments thanks to the mighty Ravens defense.

Worst Games

David Johnson had eight catches for 9 yards against the Lions, the worst receiving DYAR for a running back in a game since John L. Williams gained 45 yards on 15 catches for the 1992 Seahawks. Within a few hours of Week 7, Joe Mixon and Ezekiel Elliott gained a total of 93 yards from scrimmage on a combined 28 runs and 11 targets. Wendell Smallwood gained only 51 yards in 18 carries in Week 6; he had only 44 carries over 10 games after that. Phillip Lindsay's 14 carries against Cleveland gained only 24 yards, and his six targets only added 20 more.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Best Games

By receiving DYAR alone, Calvin Ridley (seven catches in eight targets for 146 yards and three touchdowns against the Saints) and Amari Cooper (10-13-217-3) are neck-and-neck at the top, but Ridley gets a rushing boost from his one carry for 9 yards. There's not a ton to say about the big days for T.Y. Hilton (9-9-155-2), DeAndre Hopkins (10-11-170-2), or Corey Davis (4-4-96-1, plus one carry for 39 yards) except that they were very good.

Worst Games

When Chris Godwin had one catch for 13 yards in ten targets against New Orleans, we wrote that it was the worst game for a wide receiver on record. That's still true … if you look at receiving DYAR only. If you include rushing DYAR, it's second-worst behind Stefon Diggs' nightmarish outing against the Jets -- his 15 targets resulted in eight catches for 33 yards, and his two carries combined to lose 7 yards. The updated list of terrible wide receiver games is riddled with games from this year. When teams pass as frequently and efficiently as they did in 2018, the bad games really stand out in comparison.

Bottom 20 WR Games, Total DYAR, 1989-2018
Year Player Team Total
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Pass Rec Yds TD Week Def
2018 Stefon Diggs MIN -86 -74 -11 15 8 33 0 7 NYJ
2018 Chris Godwin TB -85 -85 0 10 1 13 0 14 NO
2010 Andre Roberts ARI -78 -78 0 11 4 23 0 17 SF
2018 Randall Cobb GB -75 -75 0 11 4 23 0 3 WAS
1995 Vincent Brisby NE -74 -74 0 11 0 0 0 6 DEN
1998 Mikhael Ricks SD -74 -74 0 10 3 16 0 11 BAL
2018 Nelson Agholor PHI -72 -72 0 12 5 26 0 4 TEN
2016 Brandon Marshall NYJ -71 -71 0 11 1 16 0 15 MIA
2000 Dennis Northcutt CLE -71 -71 0 13 4 23 0 9 CIN
2014 David Nelson NYJ -70 -70 0 7 3 20 0 3 CHI
1996 Tony Martin SD -70 -70 0 13 1 18 0 12 TB
1993 Carl Pickens CIN -70 -70 0 12 0 0 0 14 SF
2004 Billy McMullen PHI -69 -69 0 12 2 19 0 17 CIN
2008 Justin McCareins TEN -69 -73 4 13 3 36 0 15 HOU
2014 Kelvin Benjamin CAR -68 -68 0 11 3 40 0 5 CHI
2001 Joe Horn NO -68 -71 2 17 4 48 0 3 NYG
2016 Tavon Austin LARM -68 -66 -2 12 4 13 0 1 SF
1991 Flipper Anderson LARM -68 -68 0 11 0 0 0 17 SEA
2006 Greg Jennings GB -67 -67 0 11 1 2 0 16 MIN
2000 Antonio Freeman GB -67 -67 0 13 4 43 0 13 CAR

And now, the Week 17 numbers:

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Kyle Allen CAR
16/27
228
2
0
0
158
140
19
NO
For those of you shouting "WHO?" right now, here's what I wrote about Allen in Audibles: "Allen had an intriguing collegiate career. He was teammates with Kyler Murray at Texas A&M in 2015, but both ended up transferring. Things worked out better for Murray at Oklahoma (until yesterday, anyway) than they did for Allen at Houston -- he was benched after four games in 2017, then made the bizarre decision to declare for the draft. Shockingly, the guy who failed at two schools went undrafted, and he spent most of his rookie year on Carolina's practice squad before throwing four passes last week in relief of Taylor Heinicke. There's a book waiting to be written about obscure Week 17 NFL starters. Allen would likely get his own chapter." And that was BEFORE he ripped the Saints to shreds.
2.
Dak Prescott DAL
27/44
387
4
0
4
154
156
-2
NYG
3.
Tom Brady NE
24/33
250
4
0
1
144
144
0
NYJ
4.
Andrew Luck IND
24/35
292
3
1
1
123
123
0
TEN
5.
Matthew Stafford DET
20/32
266
2
0
1
119
119
0
GB
6.
Jameis Winston TB
22/35
345
4
1
1
113
106
7
ATL
7.
Matt Ryan ATL
31/44
378
2
1
1
102
98
4
TB
8.
Baker Mayfield CLE
23/42
376
3
3
0
91
91
0
BAL
9.
Patrick Mahomes KC
14/24
281
2
1
0
79
80
-1
OAK
10.
Josh Allen BUF
18/26
224
3
1
1
72
25
47
MIA
11.
Jared Goff LAR
16/25
199
4
0
0
72
72
0
SF
12.
Mitchell Trubisky CHI
18/26
163
0
0
0
72
66
5
MIN
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Deshaun Watson HOU
25/35
234
0
0
6
50
35
15
JAX
14.
Nick Foles PHI
28/33
221
2
1
3
45
43
2
WAS
15.
Eli Manning NYG
24/41
301
2
1
1
23
19
4
DAL
16.
Lamar Jackson BAL
14/24
179
0
0
2
22
39
-18
CLE
17.
Philip Rivers LAC
14/24
176
1
2
0
11
11
0
DEN
18.
Kirk Cousins MIN
20/33
132
1
0
4
-11
-14
3
CHI
19.
Nick Mullens SF
23/33
283
3
3
3
-20
-20
0
LAR
20.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
31/45
287
1
1
1
-27
-25
-2
CIN
21.
Case Keenum DEN
31/48
292
1
1
1
-35
-39
4
LAC
22.
Teddy Bridgewater NO
14/22
118
1
1
2
-52
-39
-13
CAR
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Sam Darnold NYJ
16/28
167
0
0
4
-58
-69
11
NE
24.
Blaine Gabbert TEN
18/29
165
1
2
0
-79
-79
0
IND
25.
Russell Wilson SEA
12/21
152
1
1
6
-92
-87
-4
ARI
26.
Jeff Driskel CIN
12/24
95
0
0
4
-127
-112
-15
PIT
27.
Derek Carr OAK
24/33
185
0
2
3
-128
-128
0
KC
28.
Ryan Tannehill MIA
18/31
147
0
2
4
-132
-132
0
BUF
29.
Blake Bortles JAX
15/28
107
0
1
3
-136
-134
-2
HOU
30.
Josh Johnson WAS
12/27
91
0
1
4
-146
-135
-11
PHI
31.
Josh Rosen ARI
18/34
149
1
0
6
-150
-150
0
SEA
32.
DeShone Kizer GB
16/34
132
0
1
2
-171
-194
23
DET


Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
C.J. Anderson LAR
23
132
1
3/3
22
0
70
60
10
SF
2.
Jordan Howard CHI
21
109
2
1/2
5
0
37
45
-8
MIN
3.
Dwayne Washington NO
11
108
0
0/0
0
0
36
36
0
CAR
4.
Kenneth Dixon BAL
12
117
0
1/1
2
0
32
35
-4
CLE
5.
Joe Mixon CIN
13
105
0
1/1
2
0
31
36
-5
PIT


Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
C.J. Anderson LAR
23
132
1
3/3
22
0
70
60
10
SF
2.
Jordan Howard CHI
21
109
2
1/2
5
0
37
45
-8
MIN
3.
Joe Mixon CIN
13
105
0
1/1
2
0
31
36
-5
PIT
4.
Dwayne Washington NO
11
108
0
0/0
0
0
36
36
0
CAR
5.
Kenneth Dixon BAL
12
117
0
1/1
2
0
32
35
-4
CLE


Worst Running Back by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Elijah McGuire NYJ
18
44
0
2/2
24
0
-43
-57
15
NE


Worst Running Back by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Elijah McGuire NYJ
18
44
0
2/2
24
0
-43
-57
15
NE


Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Blake Jarwin DAL
7
8
119
17.0
3
74
NYG
2.
Tyreek Hill KC
5
7
101
20.2
1
58
OAK
3.
Julian Edelman NE
5
6
69
13.8
1
57
NYJ
4.
Cole Beasley DAL
6
6
94
15.7
1
53
NYG
5.
Mike Evans TB
6
9
106
17.7
2
50
ATL


Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Amari Cooper DAL
5
11
31
6.2
0
-63
NYG

Comments

14 comments, Last at 02 Jan 2019, 2:43pm

1 Re: Week 17 Quick Reads

by dank067 // Dec 31, 2018 - 12:57pm

There are a few decent-to-very good receivers in that all-time worst receiving games list, some even in their prime years. I suppose since it takes a lot of targets to rack up all that negative DYAR, it makes sense that you end up with a mix of good players and best options on bad teams. And Tavon Austin playing for Jeff Fisher.

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2 Re: Week 17 Quick Reads

by dank067 // Dec 31, 2018 - 1:04pm

So Kizer posted a VOA of nearly -200% in his appearance in Week 1. That probably has improved with opponent adjustments, but I'll be watching for the position page update to see if he still manages to finish the season below -100% DVOA after his outing yesterday.

It's amazing that the Packers traded a defensive starter for the only qualifying QB who was worse than Brett Hundley last season.

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3 Re: Week 17 Quick Reads

by big10freak // Dec 31, 2018 - 2:03pm

Have to mention some terrible results from the Lions/Packers game where the only Lions offensive player the Packers D could handle was LeGarrette Blount and his 11 rushes for 15 yards where he had multiple negative and no gain rushes. Meanwhile, for GB Jamaal Williams had 8 rushes for 4(!) yards. The GB o-line was pretty battered but still that is some kind of bad.

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4 Re: Week 17 Quick Reads

by RickD // Dec 31, 2018 - 5:01pm

Mahomes=MVP, right? Is this the place to discuss it? Seems as good as any.

I can't seem to make a good argument for any other candidate. Sure, Brees is a good candidate, but Mahomes is ahead of him in all the QB metrics.

Non-QBs are only chosen when no QB has an MVP-caliber year.

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6 Re: Week 17 Quick Reads

by Will Allen // Dec 31, 2018 - 5:52pm

Mahomes is clearly the best and most valuable offensive player on a 12-4 team which has the 26th best defense. Yeah, I'd say he is the MVP for the league.

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5 Re: Week 17 Quick Reads

by jmaron // Dec 31, 2018 - 5:47pm

I'm over in audibles at the line arguing the Vikings shouldn't have signed Cousins, then I pop over here and see Bridgewater and Keenum had worse days in DYAR than Cousins Sunday. Which tells me one thing, The Viking's are cursed. No matter what choices they make they will always come up short.

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7 Re: Week 17 Quick Reads

by Will Allen // Dec 31, 2018 - 6:01pm

Give the Vikings oline performance of 2017 to Bradford in 2016, or Cousins in 2018, and both of those teams win 11 plus games. Keenum not only benefitted from good oline play, at least through 11 or 12 games, but he also was very, very lucky, at least in the regular season, in getting away with his mistakes, in a way Cousins was not. The Vikings were pretty unlucky to have Keenum as their starter last year, but had some good fortune with regard to Keenum not screwing the pooch, at least until they arrived in Philly.

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8 Re: Week 17 Quick Reads

by Aaron Brooks Good Twin // Dec 31, 2018 - 6:05pm

Keenum was legitimately good in 2017. But no better than Cousins was in 2016, and he got a bump from a really good defense. Cousins got neither that o-line or defense this year. A really good QB can overcome one of those.

Even peak Manning required Bullet Bob coming back.

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11 Re: Week 17 Quick Reads

by Will Allen // Dec 31, 2018 - 6:48pm

Keenum's performance last year really convinced me how inadequate a sample size of one season's attempts are, for measuring qb performance, given the outsized effect the int has on nearly all qb metrics. I swear, it would have been incredibly easy for him to rack up 10 more ints last year, with some of the throws he made under pressure.

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9 Re: Week 17 Quick Reads

by tuluse // Dec 31, 2018 - 6:32pm

It's very hard to mentally adjust for great defense. When the Bears are smothering your receivers and demolishing your offensive line, you're going to look bad. The fact that he never chucked it up for a pick while Hicks was treating Remmers like mild nuisance is worth a lot. Still. watching Cousins you get the feeling that Walsh expressed about Deberg. He's just good enough to get you beat.

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10 Re: Week 17 Quick Reads

by Will Allen // Dec 31, 2018 - 6:48pm

If they signed Cousins with the idea that he'd be able to largely compensate for truly awful oline play like P. Manning or Russell Wilson were (for entirely different reasons) , then signing Cousins was an error. I don't think that was the plan. They had started to expend draft capital for olinemen again, and thought they had turned the corner last year. Berger retires, Easton gets hurt, Sparano dies. Remmers, never a good player, goes over the falls. 8-8 happens, and people squawk about Cousins because he plays the position which makes tje most money.

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13 Re: Week 17 Quick Reads

by tuluse // Jan 02, 2019 - 12:47pm

Well QB play is also very visible and the QB has the single largest impact on team performance. I do wonder if it's better to have a guy like smokin Jay who is occasionally brilliant, but frequently terrible vs a guy like Cousins who is just steady all the time. I suspect the only scenarios where the Vikings won their last game this year is the defense forcing turnovers or the Bears just playing way under their talent level. If you have a Jay Cutler there's maybe 10% chance he pulls a rabbit out of his posterior.

I donno, football is hard.

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14 Re: Week 17 Quick Reads

by Will Allen // Jan 02, 2019 - 2:43pm

I thought the Vikings offense, given their blocking talent, came close to maximizing their performance against the Bears defense. They scored 10 points and had zero turnovers. Cutler was nevet any good at handling pressure. When it was announced that Rhodes and Kendricks were out with injury on the Vikings defense, I thought the Vikings had about a 15-20 percent chance to win, at best.

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12 Re: Week 17 Quick Reads

by oconnk11 // Jan 01, 2019 - 5:35pm

It's pretty funny that a 1/10 for 13 yards is a worse game than 0/11.

Yes, I know it has to do with statistical adjustments and stuff and this isn't a criticism. It's just funny.

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