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

Week 17 Quick Reads

Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

With the 2019 regular season over, it's time to look back at the best and worst games of the year, with full-strength final opponent adjustments. Later this week, I'll be back with a rundown of the best and worst players of the season by DYAR, rather than analysis of Week 17.

Quarterbacks

Best Games

The Week 5 game game between Houston and Atlanta started as a back-and-forth shootout, but then the Falcons stopped scoring while the Texans didn't. Watson finished with 426 yards and five touchdowns on only 33 attempts. In the three months since, Watson's performance has gained 20 DYAR due to opponent adjustments as the Falcons have undergone their traditional second-half improvement on defense.

It's the opposite story for Drew Brees' five-touchdown day against Houston. Just three weeks ago we compared it to some of the best games of all time. Now, thanks to San Francisco's defensive swoon to close out December, it wasn't even the best game of the year. Which is still impressive.

Some observers (including us!) have questioned whether Aaron Rodgers still belongs among the best quarterbacks in the league. If you ask the Oakland Raiders, they would likely tell you he's still quite dangerous, thank you very much. Our final two games were produced by Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott, but they were not enough to get the Cowboys into the postseason. We'll have more -- a lot more -- to say about this on Tuesday.

Worst Games

Each of these five men were in their first or second season in the NFL in 2019. Three were backups who only played because the starter on their teams was injured. One was a backup coming out of training camp who was briefly named the starter before quickly showing why he had failed to earn the job in the first place. The other was the third overall pick in 2018 who showed little development in his first season working with a head coach whose reputation as a quarterback whisperer is starting to wear thin.

Allen, like Watson, has seen the value of his game change as Atlanta's defense improved. In Week 11 we wrote that it was the new worst game of all time. Turns out it was not -- it was the fourth-worst game of all time.

Running Backs

Best Games

The Panthers having the best running back game of the year and the worst quarterback game of the year pretty neatly summarizes their season, really. Christian McCaffrey set the tone for Carolina's year on opening day, when he burned the Rams for 200-plus yards from scrimmage. Aaron Jones helped the Packers win a first-round bye with a pair of dominant games, including his Week 8 game against Kansas City that finished in the top five for receiving DYAR by running back. Kenyan Drake's first game with Arizona was also his best game with Arizona -- so far. By the end of the year he had relegated David Johnson to the bench, and it's clear that Drake will be a big part of an Arizona offense that looks to improve even further in 2020. Our final game was produced by Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott, but it was not enough to get the Cowboys into the postseason. We'll have more -- a lot more -- to say about this on Wednesday.

Worst Games

Brian Hill started two games for Atlanta while Devonta Freeman was injured. In those two contests, Hill managed only 44 yards on 24 carries. One of those games came against Carolina, the worst run defense in the league, and that's the game listed here. Melvin Gordon and Damien Williams each had terrible days in Week 7, but since we list two worst running backs each week -- one based on total DYAR, one based on rushing DYAR only -- you can read about their individual struggles in that column. You cannot read about what Alvin Kamara did against Jacksonville in Week 6, however, because Derrick Henry was originally listed as the worst running back that week. Kamara gets that dubious distinction in hindsight for his day against Jacksonville, in part because he loses 21 DYAR for playing the Jaguars' atrocious defense.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Best Games

That's … kind of stupefying. Bucs receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin had the three best games of the year, when they combined for 35 catches, 550 yards, and five touchdowns in only 42 targets. Michael Thomas, meanwhile, had his best game of the year against the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay fans saw their share of big catches, that's for sure. Stefon Diggs, meanwhile, gained 124 yards against the Eagles … on his three touchdowns. He had 43 yards on his other four catches.

Worst Games

Parris Campbell was an injury replacement who eventually landed on IR himself with a broken foot. Jamison Crowder was an off-and-on starter who struggled as a top wideout in the Jets offense … but then, everyone struggled in the Jets offense. It was a similar story for Tyler Boyd, who was serviceable enough as A.J. Green's sidekick in 2018 but then faceplanted without Green in 2019 -- on the other hand Green had only played nine games in 2018, and everyone in Cincinnati faceplanted in 2019. Mohamed Sanu failed to make much of an impact after the Patriots acquired him in a midseason trade. Speaking of trades, the Cowboys gave up their 2019 first-rounder to get Amari Cooper from the Raiders. He rewarded them by coming up shortest just when Dallas needed him most. It's probably not a coincidence that two of these games came against Cincinnati in December, as the Bengals defense improved radically late in the year.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Ryan Fitzpatrick MIA
28/41
320
1
0
2
201
196
5
NE
OK, for the last time this year (thank goodness), let's break down some of the most extreme opponent adjustments of the week -- starting with Fitzpatrick, who gained a league-high 81 DYAR for playing the Patriots.
2.
Drew Brees NO
19/30
253
3
0
0
197
197
0
CAR
3.
Russell Wilson SEA
25/39
233
2
0
1
165
169
-4
SF
Wilson gained 70 DYAR dut to opponent adjustments.
4.
Jimmy Garoppolo SF
18/22
285
0
0
2
111
110
1
SEA
5.
Ryan Tannehill TEN
13/20
198
2
0
0
110
104
7
HOU
6.
Dak Prescott DAL
23/33
303
4
0
3
106
98
9
WAS
7.
Philip Rivers LAC
31/46
281
2
2
3
99
99
1
KC
Rivers gained 54 DYAR dut to opponent adjustments.
8.
Jared Goff LAR
29/45
319
3
0
1
86
83
2
ARI
Goff lost 55 DYAR due to opponent adjustments.
9.
Derek Carr OAK
30/45
391
1
0
2
67
67
0
DEN
10.
Kyle Allen CAR
25/41
295
0
1
1
53
57
-5
NO
11.
Gardner Minshew JAX
27/39
295
3
1
3
45
41
3
IND
12.
Andy Dalton CIN
16/28
190
1
1
1
43
24
19
CLE
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Kyler Murray ARI
26/41
325
2
2
1
38
38
0
LAR
14.
Matt Ryan ATL
30/51
313
1
0
6
27
30
-3
TB
15.
Carson Wentz PHI
23/40
289
1
0
1
26
16
10
NYG
Wentz lost 57 DYAR due to opponent adjustments.
16.
Aaron Rodgers GB
27/55
323
2
1
1
10
12
-2
DET
Rodgers lost a league-high 77 DYAR dut to opponent adjustments.
17.
Robert Griffin BAL
11/21
96
0
1
3
6
-10
16
PIT
Griffin gained 42 DYAR dut to opponent adjustments.
18.
Sam Darnold NYJ
23/36
199
1
1
2
-4
-4
0
BUF
19.
Patrick Mahomes KC
16/25
174
1
1
0
-16
-18
2
LAC
20.
Daniel Jones NYG
28/47
301
1
1
4
-20
-17
-3
PHI
21.
Drew Lock DEN
17/28
177
1
0
2
-24
-33
9
OAK
22.
Mitchell Trubisky CHI
26/37
207
0
0
4
-34
-26
-9
MIN
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Sean Mannion MIN
12/21
126
0
2
0
-36
-36
0
CHI
24.
Jameis Winston TB
14/24
201
2
2
1
-44
-39
-5
ATL
25.
Tom Brady NE
16/29
221
2
1
1
-48
-48
0
MIA
Brady lost 59 DYAR due to opponent adjustments.
26.
AJ McCarron HOU
21/36
225
0
1
4
-51
-70
19
TEN
27.
David Blough DET
12/29
122
0
1
1
-55
-58
3
GB
28.
Jacoby Brissett IND
12/25
162
0
0
3
-59
-42
-17
JAX
29.
Baker Mayfield CLE
12/27
279
3
3
6
-72
-77
4
CIN
Mayfield lost 45 DYAR due to opponent adjustments.
30.
Devlin Hodges PIT
11/25
95
0
0
2
-93
-93
0
BAL
31.
Case Keenum WAS
18/37
206
1
1
2
-96
-96
0
DAL
32.
Matt Barkley BUF
18/34
232
0
2
1
-108
-98
-10
NYJ
33.
Will Grier CAR
1/8
4
0
1
1
-113
-108
-5
NO

 

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.
Derrick Henry TEN
32
211
3
0/0
0
0
73
73
0
HOU
2.
Boston Scott PHI
19
54
3
4/6
84
0
49
14
35
NYG
Scott gained 14 DYAR due to opponent adjustments.
3.
Mike Boone MIN
17
148
1
2/3
12
0
47
46
1
CHI
4.
Travis Homer SEA
10
62
0
5/5
30
0
42
24
18
SF
5.
David Montgomery CHI
23
113
1
0/0
0
0
40
40
0
MIN

 

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.
Derrick Henry TEN
32
211
3
0/0
0
0
73
73
0
HOU
2.
Mike Boone MIN
17
148
1
2/3
12
0
47
46
1
CHI
3.
Damien Williams KC
12
124
2
4/7
30
0
30
43
-13
LAC
4.
David Montgomery CHI
23
113
1
0/0
0
0
40
40
0
MIN
5.
Devonta Freeman ATL
18
58
0
2/4
15
0
31
39
-8
TB
Freeman gained FORTY-TWO RUSHING DYAR dut to opponent adjustments.

 

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.
Miles Sanders PHI
9
52
0
3/5
-1
0
-23
7
-30
NYG

 

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.
Latavius Murray NO
17
61
0
1/1
14
0
-23
-35
12
CAR
Murray lost THIRTY-TWO DYAR RUSHING due to opponent adjustments.

 

Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Breshad Perriman TB
5
8
134
26.8
1
64
ATL
2.
DeVante Parker MIA
8
11
137
17.1
0
56
NE
Parker gains 15 DYAR due to opponent adjustments.
3.
Deebo Samuel SF
5
5
102
20.4
0
52
SEA
Samuel's totals include 25 DYAR receiving, 27 DYAR rushing for his two carries for 33 yards and a touchdown.
4.
Keenan Allen LAC
9
10
82
9.1
1
46
KC
5.
Tre'Quan Smith NO
5
5
56
11.2
1
42
CAR

 

Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Sterling Shepard NYG
5
10
39
7.8
0
-39
PHI
 

Comments

27 comments, Last at 02 Jan 2020, 2:02am

2 Wow, that Brady guy really sucked!

Under QB8 you have “ Brady lost 55 DYAR due to opponent adjustments.”
Under QB15 you have” Brady lost 57 DYAR due to opponent adjustments”.
Under QB25 you have “ Brady lost 59 DYAR due to opponent adjustments.”
Under QB29 you have “ Brady lost 45 DYAR due to opponent adjustments.”
So, are those cumulative or what?

5 It's worth noting that…

It's worth noting that Michael Thomas' 93 DYAR game happened with Bridgewater at quarterback!

9 It's sad that Ballage's…

It's sad that Ballage's beautiful game against Indy only comes in third. He had 24 touches with 0 first downs, which (as far as I've been able to find - this isn't directly searchable) ties Mike Gillislee 2015 for the most touches without a first down since PFR's play-by-play data starts in 1994.

But I guess Hill got a pretty big negative boost from going nowhere against the league's worst run defense, and Gordon got big negative bonuses from fumbling twice. So I guess it's pretty difficult for mere repeated futility to compete with those kinds of bad days, and on the whole it's impressive that Ballage even made it close.

10 I know DYAR is a counting stat and all

But Lamar Jackson incinerating the Rams was the best QB game of the season and I won't believe otherwise. You literally cannot beat a team worse than that.

12 By DYAR, that wasn't even…

By DYAR, that wasn't even Jackson's best game of the year -- Week 15 against the Jets was. He had five touchdowns in both, but averaged about 9.1 yards per play (rush + pass + sack) against NYJ, but "only" 8.4 against LAR. 

Not trying to argue with you, just letting you know where that game finished in the numbers. 

19 For next year's Quick Reads,…

For next year's Quick Reads, I suggest you consider adding a column on each table, just after "Opponent", for "Opponent Adjustment". A column of +81 or -59 or whatever.

I guess it would be empty for the first several weeks of the season.

20 I second this. I know that…

I second this.

I know that space is at a premium, but personally, I'd much rather see either an unadjusted "YAR" column or this over some of the columns that show basic stats like attempts, yards, and touchdowns.

22 We really can't add data to…

We really can't add data to the tables, but I will take the suggestion of replacing data under advisement. 

Although, with 2019 (almost) over, hopefully things will return to normal and opponent adjustments won't be the be-all and end-all of the rankings like they were this year. 

21 How does DYAR handle…

How does DYAR handle multiple-fumble Hail Lateral end-game plays? Does it just ignore them, like it does Hail Mary INTs?

23 Typically we count them as a…

Typically we count them as a completion where the receiver is tackled at the point of the first lateral and ignore everything that happens after that. 

 

On the rare occasion when that play works, things get complicated. Check Ryan Tannehill's comment from Week 14 last year for an example.

 

https://www.footballoutsiders.com/quick-reads/2018/week-14-quick-reads

26 One more cleanup

"It's the opposite story for Drew Brees' five-touchdown day against Houston."

Should be SF, not Hou.