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

Week 13 Quick Reads

Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

The best quarterback in Week 13 (going into Monday Night Football) finished sixth at the position in average yards per dropback, eighth in success rate, and 19th in total offense.

In Baltimore, the Ravens quarterback only averaged 5.2 yards per play (passes, sacks, and runs). He finished sixth in our tables.

Philadelphia had the week's fifth-ranked quarterback in fantasy points, but you'll find him just below the midway point here.

In running back news, Washington's Derrius Guice for 129 yards and two scores in only 10 carries. He got knocked out of our top five on Monday night. His teammate Adrian Peterson ran for 99 yards and a score on only 13 carries. He did not make our top 20. Meanwhile, Cincinnati's Joe Mixon did make the top five while averaging 2.3 yards per carry.

Among the players with big receiving days this week, you'll find Alshon Jeffery (nine catches for 137 yards and a touchdown), Tyler Higbee (7-107-1), and Courtland Sutton (4-74-2) -- unless you're looking in our tables, where those names are nowhere to be seen.

Welcome to 2019 in the NFL, where the gaps between the best and worst defenses is enormous, and as a result, opponent adjustments are having a massive impact on our ratings. There are other factors at work here, obviously -- turnovers, scoring plays, consistency, etc. -- but this season, who you play is almost as important as how you play. Our top quarterback for Week 13, Houston's Deshaun Watson, only threw for 234 yards, adding 6 more as a receiver but losing 17 on sacks and runs/kneeldowns. However, he did all that against the mighty New England defense -- only one other player has more passing yards against the Patriots this season. It's a similar story for Lamar Jackson, who became just the fourth player to top 200 yards of total offense against San Francisco this year. At the other end of the spectrum we have Carson Wentz, who threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns against Miami -- but against Miami, those numbers are nothing special, so Wentz finishes barely above replacement level.

Every year has good and bad defenses, of course, but this season the gap between the best (New England, -31.3% DVOA) and worst (Miami, 24.9%) is just enormous at 56.2%, which would be the second-largest since 1985 and the highest since 1991. For opponent adjustments, however, specific splits between pass and run defense are more important than overall defensive figures. And when we isolate teams by how they have fared against the pass, the 49ers, Patriots, and Dolphins jump out at you.

The 49ers have been the NFL's best defense against the pass this season, but that doesn't go far enough to put their excellence into perspective. They currently have a pass defense DVOA of -45.3%. Only four teams have ever finished a season with a pass defense DVOA of -40.0% or better; the last to do it was the best we have ever measured, the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at -51.9%. (The others are the 1985-86 Bears and the 1991 Eagles.) The 49ers aren't just No. 1 against the pass this year; they have been clearly superior to most No. 1 pass defenses in the past three-plus decades.

While the 49ers have been a particularly great No. 1 team in pass defense DVOA, the Patriots have been the best second-ranked team by miles and miles. Their pass defense DVOA is -42.1%, right behind the 49ers for the best since 2002, and the fifth-best on record. Forget about having two teams at -40.0% or better -- only once before have we seen two teams at -30.0% or better (in 1991, when the second-place Saints were at -33.1%). Most quarterbacks can expect to go years and years without facing defenses as fierce as the 49ers and Patriots; this year, five teams (everyone in the AFC North, plus Washington) will see them both. The dropoff from No. 2 New England to No. 3 Baltimore is bigger than the gap between Baltimore and the 21st-ranked team, the New York Jets.

And then we find the Dolphins. Their pass defense DVOA of 45.3% would be the second-worst we have ever measured, only behind (ahead of?) the 2015 New Orleans Saints. They are not alone among the list of bad defenses this season, however -- you'll note the right end of the orange line in that graph is clearly above the blue line, meaning the worst pass defenses this year are significantly worse than the worst pass defenses in an average season. Eight teams (from worst to best, the Dolphins, Bengals, Giants, Cardinals, Raiders, Falcons, Lions, and Texans) have pass defense DVOAs of 20.0% or worse, which would be the most in any given season.

If we compare the run defenses of 2019 to historical norms, we find they are by and large ahead of the curve … with one very notable exception.

As passing in the NFL has gotten more efficient, running has become less efficient in comparison, which is why almost every team in the NFL has a better run defense DVOA than you would expect given their ranking in the league this season. There only two exceptions: No. 30 Kansas City (7.0% run defense DVOA, when we would expect the 30th-ranked team to be at 6.6%) and last-place Carolina (17.8%, much worse than the average last-place ranking of 9.7%). The Panthers are not close to the worst team we have ever measured, the 1986 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (21.2%). But they very well could finish in the bottom 10, and would be the worst since 2008 St. Louis Rams (18.0%).

And then we have this year's Buccaneers, in what has turned out to be a very Buccaneers-intense column. The Bucs currently have a run defense DVOA of -31.0%. Only eight defenses have finished with run defense DVOAs of -30.0% or better, most recently last year's Houston Texans (-30.1%). The all-time record held by the 2000 Baltimore Ravens (-36.6%) is probably safe, but the Bucs will likely finish somewere in the top ten. The New York Jets, meanwhile, have a run defense DVOA of -27.1%, which is very good for a second-place team, but not unprecedented: last year's Bears were in second place at 27.3%, and the 2000 Titans were at -27.4%. You'll note that the year 2000 has come up quite frequently, and for good reason -- that was the last time we saw a gap between the best and worst run defenses as big as that between Tampa Bay and Carolina this year.

There's still a month to go in the season, and all of the numbers for this year's teams could end up improving or declining. But keep these adjustments in mind when asking why the numbers for Watson or Jackson may be higher than you expected -- or those for Wentz or Guice may look so low.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Deshaun Watson HOU
18/25
234
3
0
3
210
193
0
NE
Watson gained 65 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. Watson's totals include 193 DYAR passing, 0 DYAR rushing and 16 DYAR receiving for his one target, a 6-yard touchdown catch. The Patriots have allowed eight passing touchdowns this season, and Watson threw or caught half of them in this game. That reflects how dangerous he was in scoring range -- within the New England 40-yard line, he went 6-of-8 for 89 yards and three touchdowns, with a ninth throw resulting in a DPI for 5 more yards.
2.
Aaron Rodgers GB
21/33
243
4
0
0
132
124
9
NYG
Rodgers loses 53 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. Red zone passing: 8-of-9 for 42 yards and three touchdowns, plus a DPI for 15 more yards.
3.
Jared Goff LAR
33/42
424
2
0
1
122
122
0
ARI
Goff loses 67 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. Goff threw 11 passes on third down and completed every one of them, gaining 182 yards and a touchdown in the process. Eight of those completions were conversions.
4.
Ryan Fitzpatrick MIA
27/39
365
3
1
3
119
126
-7
PHI
It's kind of amazing Fitzpatrick is this high considering his start to this game: 3-of-6 for 21 yards with one interception, two sacks, and zero first downs. But then his last pass of the first quarter was a 43-yard touchdown to DeVante Parker, and he caught fire from that point forward. He was fourth-worst in first-quarter DYAR this week, but first in DYAR from the second quarter onwards.
5.
Josh Allen BUF
19/24
231
1
0
4
117
100
17
DAL
In the second half, Allen went 11-of-12 for 130 yards with two sacks and an 18-yard DPI.
6.
Lamar Jackson BAL
14/23
105
1
0
1
105
67
37
SF
Jackson gained 77 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, most in the league this week. It was feast or famine for Jackson in the passing game. He only threw for six first downs against San Francisco, but averaged 11.3 yards on those plays. He averaged 2.1 yards on his other 18 dropbacks.
7.
David Blough DET
22/38
280
2
1
2
88
92
-4
CHI
Who?

OK, OK, we'll write a comment for Detroit's third-stringer. An off-and-on starter for four years at Purdue, Blough signed with the Browns as an undrafted free agent in May, then was traded to Detroit shortly before the season started. He made a lot of good plays against Chicago on Thanksgiving Day, but not many of them came in scoring range. Within the Bears 40, he went 5-of-10 for 37 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

8.
Mitchell Trubisky CHI
29/38
338
3
1
1
84
100
-16
DET
Trubisky loses 48 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He threw an interception in the third quarter, but otherwise was electric in the second half, when he went 12-of-14 for 192 yards and two touchdowns, with one sack.
9.
Andy Dalton CIN
22/37
243
1
0
1
77
74
3
NYJ
The Bengals scored 17 points on their first four drives. Over that stretch, Dalton went 14-of-20 for 155 yards and a touchdown, with a 21st throw picking up 39 yards on a DPI.
10.
Devlin Hodges PIT
14/21
212
1
1
1
71
94
-23
CLE
Hodges was best when throwing to his right, where he went 7-of-10 for 107 yards and a touchdown, with an 11th throw picking up an 11-yard DPI.
11.
Kirk Cousins MIN
22/38
276
2
1
0
59
59
0
SEA
12.
Jimmy Garoppolo SF
15/21
165
1
0
2
51
56
-5
BAL
Garoppolo only threw two deep passes against Baltimore. One was complete for a 33-yard touchdown on fourth-and-2, the other was complete for an 18-yard gain on first-and-15. Maybe he should have thrown deep more often.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Jameis Winston TB
21/33
268
0
0
4
46
43
3
JAX
We have written before about the great seasons that Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have been having, but they were quiet on Sunday. On throws to his top two targets, Winston went 8-of-17 for 103 yards, plus two DPIs for 26 more yards.
14.
Dak Prescott DAL
32/49
355
2
1
4
43
39
4
BUF
Prescott threw a lot of dinks and dunks to his tight ends, going 8-of-11 for all of 51 yards and a touchdown.
15.
Patrick Mahomes KC
15/29
175
1
0
1
40
25
15
OAK
Most of Mahomes' passes went to his right, but he was more effective going to his left or down the middle, where he went 8-of-11 for 98 yards and a touchdown.
16.
Russell Wilson SEA
21/31
240
2
1
2
31
31
0
MIN
17.
Jacoby Brissett IND
25/40
319
1
2
3
30
30
0
TEN
In contrast to Mahomes we have Brissett, who was precise on throws to his left (15-of-20 for 200 yards on a touchdown) but struggled on throws down the middle (5-of-9 for 68 yards with two interceptions) or to his right (5-of-11 for 51 yards).
18.
Drew Brees NO
19/30
184
1
0
0
15
15
0
ATL
Brees only had one third-down conversion all night, going 1-of-6 for 5 yards with an inentional grounding.
19.
Carson Wentz PHI
28/46
310
3
1
2
12
12
0
MIA
Wentz loses ONE-HUNDRED ONE DYAR for playing the Dolphins. All three of his touchdowns came on third downs, when he went 7-of-13 for 94 yards with a sack. All seven of those completions picked up first downs; so did his 20-yard DPI. Wentz averaged 6.7 yards per throw against Miami. Only three quarterbacks had worse averages against Miami: Sam Darnold, Case Keenum, and Brian Hoyer.
20.
Derek Carr OAK
20/30
222
1
2
2
5
23
-17
KC
Carr had all kinds of troubles on throws to his wide receivers, going 4-of-8 for 34 yards with a pick-six.
21.
Drew Lock DEN
18/28
134
2
1
0
1
-2
3
LAC
Lock's longest completion in the second half gained only 6 yards, as he went 6-of-9 for 11 yards (yes) with an interception. Oh, he also picked up 37 yards on a DPI you might have heard about.
22.
Philip Rivers LAC
20/29
265
2
1
3
0
0
0
DEN
Rivers threw nine passes that traveled at least 11 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, completing seven of them for 188 yards and two touchdowns.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Tom Brady NE
24/47
326
3
1
3
-10
-14
5
HOU
Brady was at his best at the end of the game. His last pass of the third quarter was a 12-yard touchdown to James White, and in the fourth quarter he went 9-of-13 for 137 yards with two touchdowns, one sack, and a 12-yard DPI.
24.
Baker Mayfield CLE
18/32
196
1
1
5
-22
-25
2
PIT
Mayfield gained 51 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He did not fare well in obvious passing situations -- he only picked up first-down conversions on five of his second- or third-down plays, going 11-of-18 for 96 yards with one touchdown, one interception, five sacks, and one fumble.
25.
Ryan Tannehill TEN
17/22
182
2
0
6
-27
-32
6
IND
Tannehill was good at the beginning and end of this game, but not so much in the middle. He threw for only one first down in the second and third quarters, going 9-of-11 for 65 yards with five sacks.
26.
Matt Ryan ATL
35/49
312
2
2
9
-37
-33
-4
NO
Most of Ryan's struggles came between the 40s, where he went 11-of-17 for 78 yards with one 35-yard DPI, four sacks, and two interceptions.
27.
Daniel Jones NYG
20/37
240
1
3
0
-48
-49
1
GB
The worst area of the field for Jones was between the 35-yard lines, where he went 6-of-13 for 59 yards with all three interceptions, plus a fumbled snap.
28.
Dwayne Haskins WAS
13/25
147
0
0
5
-70
-55
-15
CAR
Haskins only converted two third downs in this game, going 3-of-7 for 36 yards with two sacks. Between the Carolina 26 and the goal line, he went 1-of-7 for 4 yards with no touchdowns, two sacks, and one fumble.
29.
Kyle Allen CAR
27/46
278
2
1
7
-97
-109
13
WAS
Allen started off red-hot but immediately went ice-cold. Each of his first eight dropbacks resulted in a completed pass for a first down, combining to produce 106 yards and two touchdowns. And then he went ten straight dropbacks without a first down, as he went 1-of-8 for 6 yards with an interception and two sacks. He lead the league in first-quarter DYAR, but was dead last in DYAR from the second quarter onward.
30.
Gardner Minshew JAX
16/27
147
1
1
2
-98
-101
3
TB
Minshew came into the game after halftime with the Jaguars down 25-0, and honestly, he didn't do a ton to improve that score. His last 11 dropbacks resulted in zero first downs, as he went 4-of-9 for 20 yards with two sacks, a fumble, and an interception.
31.
Kyler Murray ARI
19/34
163
0
1
6
-120
-132
13
LAR
Murray did not throw a pass in the red zone. In Rams territory, he went 6-of-8 for 40 yards with three sacks. He did not convert a third or fourth down until the Cardinals were down 34-0 in the fourth quarter. On third/fourth downs, he went 6-of-11 for 35 yards with two sacks and only three conversions. Despite trailing for the entire game he only threw two deep passes -- one incompletion, one DPI for 16 yards. His deepest completion was caught only 13 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.
32.
Nick Foles JAX
8/14
93
0
1
3
-146
-150
4
TB
Foles only played in the first half. In that time, he had as many first downs as turnovers (one interception and two lost fumbles, one returned for a touchdown). None of those first downs came in the second quarter, when he went 3-of-6 for 17 yards with an intentional grounding and two sacks. He had three plays in Tampa Bay territory: a 13-yard completion, an interception, and a sack-fumble.
33.
Sam Darnold NYJ
28/48
239
0
0
4
-152
-145
-7
CIN
Darnold loses 86 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. Somehow, in 48 passes, he did not throw one in the red zone. In the front zone -- the area between Cincinnati's 20- and 40-yard lines -- he went 2-of-7 for 13 yards with a sack. He struggled to complete the shortest passes in the game -- on passes to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage, he went 8-of-15 for 39 yards.

 

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.
Rashaad Penny SEA
15
74
1
4/5
33
1
67
47
20
MIN
2.
James White NE
14
79
0
8/11
98
2
55
24
30
HOU
White ran for five first downs against Houston, including gains of 15 and 32 yards, while being stuffed just twice. In addition to his 11- and 12-yard touchdown catches, he also had receptions for 19 and 36 yards.
3.
Duke Johnson HOU
9
36
0
4/7
54
1
40
3
36
NE
Johnson only ran for one first down, but then he was stuffed just once too. His biggest catch was his 14-yard touchdown on third-and-3; he also picked up first downs on an 8-yard catch on second-and-8 and a 5-yard DPI on second-and-7.
4.
Joe Mixon CIN
19
44
1
4/4
26
0
39
33
7
NYJ
Mixon gains 34 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. His longest carry gained only nine yards, and he picked up only four first downs while being stuffed six times. He gets extra DYAR for converting each of his three carries with 1 yard to go.
5.
Todd Gurley LAR
19
95
1
1/1
20
0
37
28
9
ARI
Gurley rushed for five first downs against the Cardinals while being stuffed three times. Thirteen of his runs gained at least 5 yards, and two of his shorter runs picked up first downs.

 

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.
Rashaad Penny SEA
15
74
1
4/5
33
1
67
47
20
MIN
2.
Derrius Guice WAS
10
129
2
2/3
8
0
35
42
-6
CAR
Guice loses 22 rushing DYAR due to opponent adjustments. Guice's two touchdowns were both 1-yard gains, but he boosted his average with gains of 37 and 60 yards, while he was stuffed just once.
3.
Raheem Mostert SF
19
146
1
2/2
8
0
31
34
-3
BAL
Mostert loses 19 rushing DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He ran for five first downs against Baltimore, including four gains of 16 yards or more, while being stuffed just twice.
4.
Joe Mixon CIN
19
44
1
4/4
26
0
39
33
7
NYJ
5.
Melvin Gordon LAC
20
99
0
2/3
11
0
27
32
-5
DEN
Gordon ran for five first downs against Denver, four of them gaining 8 yards or more, while being stuffed just twice.

 

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.
Phillip Lindsay DEN
17
58
0
3/3
4
0
-33
-17
-15
LAC
Lindsay only ran for two first downs against the Chargers while being stuffed six times. His two catches were a 9-yard gain on second-and-12 and a 5-yard loss on first-and-10.

 

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.
Frank Gore BUF
9
11
0
1/1
14
0
-20
-27
7
DAL
Gore had no first downs against Dallas; his longest run was a 5-yard gain on second-and-6, and that was his only successful carry of the day. He was stuffed four times.

 

Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Kenny Golladay DET
4
5
158
39.5
1
83
CHI
Golladay's four catches on Thanksgiving: 75-yard touchdown on third-and-10; 29-yard catch on third-and-9; 34-yard catch on second-and-5; 20-yard catch on third-and-11.
2.
Calvin Ridley ATL
8
10
91
11.4
0
68
NO
Ridley's eight first downs on Thanksgiving included four conversions on third or fourth down; two of those came on the two DPIs he drew for 22 and 35 yards.
3.
DeVante Parker MIA
7
10
159
22.7
2
59
PHI
Parker had touchdowns of 17 and 43 yards against the Eagles, with two other catches of 34 yards or more. He had six first downs altogether, including his 9-yard DPI on third-and-10.
4.
James Washington PIT
4
4
111
27.8
1
56
CLE
Three of Washington's catches came on first-and-10: a 30-yard touchdown, plus gains of 6 and 44 yards. His other catch was a 31-yard gain on third-and-9.
5.
Allen Lazard GB
3
3
103
34.3
1
56
NYG
Three catches: 43-yard gain on second-and-3; 37-yard touchdown on second-and-1; 23-yard gain on third-and-13.

 

Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Jamison Crowder NYJ
2
9
8
4.0
0
-60
CIN
Neither of Crowder's catches -- a 1-yard loss on second-and-19, and a 9-yard gain on the following third-and-20 -- produced first downs or counted as successful plays.

Comments

42 comments, Last at 05 Dec 2019, 3:05pm

1 I thought both Seattle RBs…

I thought both Seattle RBs would make the top 5 for sure, considering how good Minnesota's run defense is, but I suppose two failed conversions with one yard to go set Carson back.

On that note, I'm guessing that Seattle will grade better in DVOA than their 5.8 yards per play versus Minnesota's 6.8 would suggest. Seattle had a whopping 10 plays with one yard to go, and converted 8 of 10 (and Carroll chickened out on two further 4th-and-1's), which gives a high success rate but low yards per play; Minnesota was 4 for 4 on such plays in comparison.

12 I'm also pretty surprised…

I'm also pretty surprised that Carson didn't crack the top 5 by rush DYAR at least. Given the adjustments for the Vikes D 23 carries for 102 and a TD sure seems like a better line than Mixton, even if the Jets run D gets him a lot of adjustment as well. Yes - he was stuffed on a few high leverage situations, but he also seemed like he churned out quite a few successful runs on average.

2 Oops

"Garoppolo only threw two deep passes against San Francisco."

I'd think he'd be higher playing against that good a pass defense.

6 In the context of a guy…

In the context of a guy trying to get his timing back after a major injury, I never thought it meant anything other than he was seeing what windows he could hit and what windows he could not.

Sports reporters are somewhere between architecture and fashion critics on the scale of journalistic quality.

13 On average lower than that,…

On average lower than that, I'd say.  Most of my least favorite developments in English seem to trace to sports writers.  "They need to get untracked," "suffice to say," "that was grizzly," using "tantamount" for "paramount," etc., etc., way too many etceteras.  If only I could find a way to blame them for the loss of the Oxford comma, I'd be in curmudgeon heaven. 

23 "Unanswered." The Chiefs…

In reply to by TacticalSledgehammer

"Unanswered." The Chiefs will score a touchdown and Jim Nantz will immediately say "That's 17 unanswered points for the Chiefs" before the other team has even had a chance to answer. The word you want, Jim, is "consecutive."

34 "Unanswered" is my biggest…

"Unanswered" is my biggest pet peeve. Points are only unanswered if the game is over and the points were actually, you know, unanswered. Otherwise it's consecutive or straight. Drives me crazy.

26 No that's a correct usage

In reply to by alljack

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fate

Look at the 3rd definition, a final outcome. Teams do control their final outcomes.

29 Losing Streak

Team X is in the middle of a 4-game losing streak.

 

Well, no.  Unless you can see the future, Team X is necessarily at the end of a 4-game losing streak.

5 The first seven drives…

The first seven drives resulted in 4 TD passes and a field goal.  The 8th and final Rodgers drive, after the game had effectively been decided, featured 4 straight runs and then a Rodgers incomplete pass on 3rd down.  Even the two dud drives on either side of halftime featured a couple successful Rodgers runs and a 23 yard completion.

 

I know NY is bad, but that's going to be a good statistical day any way you slice it.

8 In the audibles comments, I…

In the audibles comments, I was openly pessimistic about Josh Allen's future. I believe Josh Rosen, fairly or unfairly, is not going to end up a successful player. Lamar Jackson is obviously a different story. And Baker I think will rebound next year.

Which leaves Mr. Darnold. I've only seen two of his games and both have been inconsistent to terrible. Stylistically there is a lot to like and Ben Muths articles suggest that on their best days the offensive line is still below average, suggesting it's a pretty terrible unit. But on the whole, by the end of your second year, successful quarterbacks tend to put up at least average to above-average pass offenses. There are a few exceptions of course and the offense is not just about the quarterback obviously. But still... It's not encouraging.

I guess that's a long way of saying I'm pessimistic about darnold too. 

17 Darnold is an enigma right…

Darnold is an enigma right now.  He's got to be the highest variance QB (or close to it).  At times he looks amazing.  Then there's the INT-paloozas (Pats and Jags).  But also weird inneffective-but-difficult-to-say-what-else-he-could-do games like Miami and Cinci where it's not like he was throwing it to the other team or missing open guys.  Either no one was open or he was getting hit on his 5th step.  I think QBs -- at least until they are are established veterans -- are much more dependent on coaching than we normally give credit for.  Darnold's performance has been heavily based on whether the game plan worked because Gase seems to have no ability to make adjustments.  The OL also has been both bad and beset by injuries, but a lot of teams deal with that and the impact of poor OL play is also a function of game planning and adjustments.  Ultimately, I think the answer is an unsatisfying "we still have to wait and see."  He's still only 22 -- younger than Joe Burrow is now, and younger now than both Brady and Manning (just to pick two random examples!) were at the time of their first starts.  By the time he's Mayfield's current age, he'll be in a contract year.  

18 The age thing complicates…

The age thing complicates this for sure. I can't remember a similar very young quarterback who also started multiple seasons in college football. 

 

I do have memory of the opposite, one Brandon Weeden, where his age was spun as a positive that never materialized.

 

Honestly my comment was born out of a discussion with a friend of mine. It might be rendered moot but if the Jets don't fall to the number one overall pick, but if they do,  should they consider jettisoning Darnold? 

 

That led to a discussion of how much rope do you give a first-round quarterback. We debated but never arrived at a consensus. He seems to think that if the quarterback doesn't develop more or less immediately, you should probably draft another quarterback.

19 "Darnold's performance has…

"Darnold's performance has been heavily based on whether the game plan worked because Gase seems to have no ability to make adjustments."

When your greatest skill was being able to say "Yes sir, Mr. Manning SIR!", that is hardly surprising.

9 About opponent adjustments:…

About opponent adjustments: Let's take a look at Deshaun Watson, who had 28 dropbacks against the Patriots and gained 65 DYAR in adjustments. Would any QB who dropped back 28 times against the Pats also gain 65 DYAR? Or is there something specific about Watson's dropbacks - maybe who he targeted - that has an effect on his opponent adjustments?

14 I'm not claiming to have a…

I'm not claiming to have a perfect understanding of how the stats work.  But, it's by down and distance and comparing to the league average on each snap.  So, on any particular drop back, if Watson outperforms the league average, he gets extra points.  If he under performs the league average, he gets fewer points.  It's just that against the Pats the league average is a pretty low expectation, so otherwise pedestrian performance gets a big boost on any particular snap.

10 Vikings

I feel like I'm watching a 1990s Denis Green Vikings teams the last 7 weeks or so. Really good offence, good skill position play and lines getting pushed around on both sides of the ball. Very un Zimmer like.

I think Cousins has been playing better as the season has progressed but that the rest of the team, particularly the defence, has declined. Why Rhodes continues to play is beyond me. He gets beat routinely, takes stupid penalties, lies on the field like he's shot once a game, only to return a few plays later, and he has constant tantrums after getting beat. He needs to be benched.

16 Vikings had pretty good,…

In reply to by jmaron

Vikings had pretty good, physical, olines when Green was coaching. He pretty much whiffed on obtaining good  defensive linemen, of course, Randle already being on the roster.

They really need Linval Joseph to get back into form, and who knows if he is at an age where it will happen. I have no idea what has happened to their corners, if not a not-unusual variance in performance at that position, from year to year.

Anybody who thinks Cousins is underperforming is spewing nonsense.

28 Kirk Cousins has been really…

Kirk Cousins has been really good. The media has some strange gripe against him, likely because he signed a big contract, which has no objective purpose when deciding what kind of qb he is. 

 

The vikes are a good team. They are sort of like the Texans, frisky enough to beat anyone, but have some big holes at key spots that could creep up at any moment. 

11 Devlin Hodges is getting…

Devlin Hodges is getting dinged pretty badly in rush DYAR in part because the game chart lists a run where it really should be a second sack: a play action roll-out to the left sideline where he was stripped of the ball while clearly looking for a receiver (the ball promptly went out of bounds). His other two scrambles were OK: 9 yards on 3rd and 7, and 4 yards on 2nd and 7.

15 First time I've seen Phillip…

First time I've seen Phillip Lindsay on the worst list I think. I don't have stats to back this up but to my eyes it looks like our offensive scheme or playcalling doesn't have much of an answer to defenses stacking the box. Scangarello is starting to bore me a bit, and I'm not convinced it can be blamed entirely on young inexperienced quarterbacks.

25 I'm willing to be patient…

I'm willing to be patient with Scangarello, considering what he's had to work with at QB. 

Is supposed to Drew Lock have significantly better physical tools than Brandon Allen? Because they looked about the same to me in their respective first games. Both made the kind of rookie mistakes most rookies make, and both flashed potential. It's possible that SD's defense is actually good now that Derwin James is back too, which would be a point in Lock's favor. I'm curious to see how he's able to learn and develop over the last month of the season. 

21 The "6" part of the pick-6…

The "6" part of the pick-6 doesn't matter, as all interceptions are scored equally.

What I'd like to know is how the Metcalf fumble is scored for Wilson. Does he get credit for throwing a pass to pick up a first down, and then the fumble is scored separately?

And on that note, I'm surprised that Seattle's passing offense is still in first place (and I think went up in DVOA) despite those two turnovers. Well, 1.5 turnovers, since fumble recoveries don't count.

31 "The "6" part of the pick-6…

"The "6" part of the pick-6 doesn't matter, as all interceptions are scored equally."

To be clear I think you meant "scored equally regardless of the return." As in, the exact return doesn't matter. But to be clear a deep interception isn't penalized nearly as much as a short interception because a short interception is much more likely to have a long return. That's on the Methods page. And of course "scored" here is just the raw score, so a deep interception on 3rd and long isn't nearly as bad (because the average performance by an offense at that point is already bad) as a short interception on 1st and 10.

38 I kinda think the "less…

I kinda think the "less likely to have a big return" is only part of the point as well - obviously if you throw a 40 yard pass and it's intercepted with no return, you're handing the ball to the other team 40 yards down the field. So, crudely, if you treat a turnover as worth -4 points, flat (by field position fluidity), then that turnover is actually costing you only -0.8 points, since it's the same as a 40 yard pass completion (+3.2 points) followed by a turnover (-4 points). If it's 3rd down and long and you're decently far from your end zone, the interception should basically become only a minor loss or even a push, since obviously it's just a punt - except of course that interception returns are on average much longer than punt returns.

35 Feedback

I thought both Seattle RBs would make the top 5 for sure, considering how good Minnesota's run defense is, but I suppose two failed conversions with one yard to go set Carson back.

I'm also pretty surprised that Carson didn't crack the top 5 by rush DYAR at least. Given the adjustments for the Vikes D 23 carries for 102 and a TD sure seems like a better line than Mixton, even if the Jets run D gets him a lot of adjustment as well. Yes - he was stuffed on a few high leverage situations, but he also seemed like he churned out quite a few successful runs on average.

Carson finished 12th among RBs with 25 total DYAR (27 rushing, -2 receiving), including a boost of 8 DYAR from opponent adjustments. I don't get the PBP data for Monday night games so I can't give you a specific breakdown of his numbers, but I can tell you that short-yardage failures will turf a running back's DYAR in a hurry. Those are high-percentage, high-reward scenarios, so RBs are punished severely for not picking them up.

"Garoppolo only threw two deep passes against San Francisco."
I'd think he'd be higher playing against that good a pass defense.

Oops! Fixed.

About opponent adjustments: Let's take a look at Deshaun Watson, who had 28 dropbacks against the Patriots and gained 65 DYAR in adjustments. Would any QB who dropped back 28 times against the Pats also gain 65 DYAR? Or is there something specific about Watson's dropbacks - maybe who he targeted - that has an effect on his opponent adjustments?

Opponent adjustments are calculated one play at a time, like everything else. If Watson throws a third-and-long pass against New England, he's compared to how other quarterbacks fared on third-and-long passes against New England, not how other quarterbacks fared on all passes agaisnt New England.

Devlin Hodges is getting dinged pretty badly in rush DYAR in part because the game chart lists a run where it really should be a second sack: a play action roll-out to the left sideline where he was stripped of the ball while clearly looking for a receiver (the ball promptly went out of bounds). His other two scrambles were OK: 9 yards on 3rd and 7, and 4 yards on 2nd and 7.

Indeed. Although, changing that to a sack would still be a negative-DYAR play, so his total DYAR wouldn't change much, just his pass vs. rush splits.

How much of a hit did Wilson take from the pick 6 versus an incompletion?

See earlier note about Monday night data. If you ask me again next week I can look that up.

What I'd like to know is how the Metcalf fumble is scored for Wilson. Does he get credit for throwing a pass to pick up a first down, and then the fumble is scored separately?

The former. As far as Wilson's numbers are concerned, it's like Metcalf was tackled on the spot and didn't fumble.

39 Thanks Vincent!

In reply to by Vincent Verhei

Always appreciate you getting back to us on these comment threads.

40 Is this really true? Sounds…

In reply to by Vincent Verhei

Is this really true? Sounds impossible in practice.

Opponent adjustments are calculated one play at a time, like everything else. If Watson throws a third-and-long pass against New England, he's compared to how other quarterbacks fared on third-and-long passes against New England, not how other quarterbacks fared on all passes against New England.

The average success for a play in a given situation is taken from years of data, not just this year. It has to be: we get VOA and YAR values even in the first week of the season.

We get a DVOA for the New England pass defense based on all drop backs in all situations. That's a large enough sample to draw conclusions from.

But your assertion that we do opponent adjustments based on that opponent's sample from just that situation just this season would lead to tiny sample sizes. For example, the Patriots pass defense has faced third-and-15+ just 16 times this season. Their run defense has faced third-and-short (1-2 yards) just 11 times.

I suspect the truth is that Watson is compared to the average success for each given situation (based on years of data), with an adjustment based on the Patriots' overall pass defense DVOA (based on all drop backs against the Patriots this season). I could be wrong. But the original answer seems impossible to me.

 

 

41 I made a mistake on that one…

I made a mistake on that one. Didn't poke through the spreadsheet thoroughly enough. The defense-level adjustments only get as granular as what down it is. Each of Watson's first-down dropbacks got the same adjustment, but that's different than the adjustments he got on second down, and the adjustment he got on third/fourth down is different from either of those.