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

Week 6 Quick Reads

Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

It has not been a good year for the Minnesota Vikings. They have lost five of their first six games. Though they have scored a lot of garbage-time points, they have often been dominated early; they trailed 29-10 against Green Bay, 28-3 against Indianapolis, and on Sunday, 33-7 against Atlanta. They did beat Houston and suffer a pair of one-point defeats against two undefeated teams in Tennessee and Seattle, but you can't alternate blowout losses with a series of nailbiters and expect to make the playoffs.

The season has not been a total waste for Minnesota, however. One of their few bright spots has been rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who burned the Falcons for 166 yards and two touchdowns to finish as our top receiver this week. It was not the first big fantasy game for Jefferson in this young season; he had 175 yards and a touchdown against the Titans in Week 3, and 103 yards on only four catches against the Texans in Week 4.

Jefferson played his college football for LSU, and like most everyone else in Baton Rouge, he exploded in 2019. He only had 54 catches for 875 yards and six touchdowns in 13 games as a sophomore in 2018, but burst out with 111 catches (first in the country) for 1,540 yards (third) and 18 touchdowns (second) in 15 games as a junior. He skipped his senior season to enter the draft. His performance at the scouting combine was nothing special -- he measured only 6-foot-1 and 202 pounds and didn't rank higher than eighth in any of the drills in which he participated. Between that and the context of the Tigers offense, which inflated his raw receiving statistics, he was the third-ranked prospect at wideout behind Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb and Alabama's Jerry Jeudy in Playmaker Score. At the draft in April, he was the fifth wide receiver off the board, going after Alabama's Henry Ruggs and TCU's Jaelen Reagor in addition to Lamb and Jeudy. This was good news for the Vikings, who had traded Stefon Diggs to Buffalo in exchange for the 22nd pick in the draft, a pick they used to grab Jefferson and stick him into the starting lineup.

Jefferson's start in the NFL, as you'd expect for a rookie with no preseason, was quiet. He saw only three targets in each of a pair of losses to Green Bay and Indianapolis, though he turned those six targets into five catches for 70 yards. He exploded in Week 3 against Tennessee, leading all players in receiving DYAR that week. He went over 100 yards again against Houston before Seattle surprisingly limited him to three catches for 23 yards in five targets. That looks to be an anomaly however, because he was back to making big plays against Atlanta -- six of his nine catches produced first downs, including touchdowns of 11 and 49 yards.

Jefferson's raw numbers this season jump out at you -- 28 catches, 537 yards, and three touchdowns in six games, on only 36 targets. That all works out to 193 receiving DYAR, 50 more than any other wide receiver so far this year.

No rookie wideout has ever led the league in DYAR. Two have finished in second place: Randy Moss in 1998 and Michael Thomas in 2016. Thomas (431) and Moss (428) are also the only rookies to surpass 400 DYAR. Jefferson is on pace to blow that away with 515 DYAR, which would be by far the most of any first-year player and one of the top 20 seasons on record at any experience level.

Top Rookie Wide Receivers, Receiving DYAR, 1985-2019
Year Name Team DYAR Rk DVOA Tgt Rec Yards TD Catch% Y/C
2020 Justin Jefferson* MIN 515 1 57.8% 96 75 1,432 8 78% 19.2
2016 Michael Thomas NO 431 2 31.6% 121 92 1,137 9 76% 12.4
1998 Randy Moss MIN 428 2 30.1% 124 69 1,317 17 56% 19.1
2014 Odell Beckham NYG 396 6 25.8% 130 91 1,305 12 70% 14.3
2004 Michael Clayton TB 389 3 26.1% 122 80 1,196 7 66% 15.0
2013 Keenan Allen SD 343 8 28.2% 104 71 1,053 8 68% 14.8
2017 Juju Smith-Schuster PIT 317 6 37.3% 79 58 917 7 73% 15.8
2011 A.J. Green CIN 288 9 17.4% 115 65 1,057 7 57% 16.3
2004 Lee Evans BUF 284 14 36.0% 75 48 843 9 64% 17.6
2017 Cooper Kupp LAR 272 10 24.8% 92 60 869 5 65% 14.5
* All stats prorated over 16 games.

Overall, this is a very good list of names. Every football statistician takes a deep sigh when they read the name of Michael Clayton, who never again hit 500 yards or more than one touchdown in seven NFL seasons after his brilliant rookie campaign. Everyone else, however, was at least a good starter; generally, we're looking at a selection of Pro Bowlers and record-breakers. And that really makes it clear how ridiculously efficient Jefferson has been so far. He has been the most reliable player in this table with a 78% catch rate, and the most explosive with 19.2 yards per catch.

It goes without saying that (assuming a full season is completed) we are still barely one-third of the way through 2020 -- to be precise, after Monday night, 35% of the year's 256 games will have been played. All players' stats could still change radically, and that's especially true for numbers like DYAR, which are often negative. If you don't believe me, ask Jacksonville's DJ Chark -- he led all wideouts with 139 DYAR through four weeks and was still fourth after Week 5, but he's now 30th after putting up the worst game of Week 6.

Jefferson himself had negative DYAR just a week ago in Seattle. It's almost certain that his per-target efficiency numbers will eventually dip, if only because they can't get much higher. His circumstances in Minnesota may also change -- Dalvin Cook is still second in rushing DYAR, but if his groin injury lingers, will he still draw the defense's attention? And if Jefferson continues to shine, will opponents shift the focus of their coverage off of Adam Thielen and onto him?

Regardless, Jefferson has already made a name for himself, the early leader of a strong rookie class (Lamb and Chase Claypool have each gone over 80 DYAR themselves). This was always going to be a rebuilding year for the Vikings as they shed big names and bigger cap hits. Jefferson, however, is offering plenty of hope that they can contend for the playoffs again in 2021.


 

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Deshaun Watson HOU
28/36
335
4
0
2
184
176
8
TEN
Watson was 11th in DYAR when Bill O'Brien was fired; he is now second in the two weeks since. He led all quarterbacks in Week 6 with a success rate of 67%. He was dynamite when throwing down the field. On passes that traveled at least 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, he went 8-of-12 for 196 yards with a touchdown; a 13th throw resulted in a DPI for 28 more yards.
2.
Matt Ryan ATL
30/40
371
4
0
2
175
183
-8
MIN
Ryan was 18th in passing DYAR when Dan Quinn was fired; he is now first in passing DYAR in the week since. He was the best third-/fourth-down passer of Week 6, completing 10 of 12 passes for 188 yards with one sack. Every one of those completions picked up a first down, including three touchdowns.
3.
Ryan Tannehill TEN
30/41
364
4
1
2
167
167
0
HOU
Tannhill passed for a league-high 22 first downs. He led all quarterbacks in red zone DYAR, completing each of his eight passes for 59 yards and three touchdowns, with one sack. He was also first in DYAR on passes to tight ends. He threw 15 passes to Anthony Firkser, Jonnu Smith, and Geoff Swaim. Eleven were completed for 136 yards and a touchdown; a 12th resulted in a DPI for 8 more yards.
4.
Jimmy Garoppolo SF
23/33
268
3
0
0
157
160
-3
LAR
Garoppolo's average pass traveled 4.5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, shortest of the week. But his average completion produced 9.7 yards after the catch, best of the week by more than 3 yards. He led the league with 65 DYAR on passes to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage; only two other quarterbacks were even above zero in that category. He completed nine of his 11 passes in that range, resulting in 101 yards and a touchdown.
5.
Philip Rivers IND
29/44
371
3
1
1
114
114
0
CIN
Rivers basically won this game for the Colts in the second quarter, when Indianapolis outscored Cincinnati 21-10 and Rivers went 14-of-21 for 235 yards and two touchdowns.
6.
Tom Brady TB
17/27
166
2
0
0
78
78
0
GB
Though most of his throws went to his left, Brady was actually more effective throwing to his right, where he went 7-of-8 for 101 yards. (He only threw two passes down the middle; both were incomplete.)
7.
Patrick Mahomes KC
21/26
225
2
0
1
76
98
-22
BUF
Mahomes was perfect inside the Buffalo 40-yard line, completing all eight of his passes for 66 yards and two touchdowns.
8.
Lamar Jackson BAL
16/27
186
1
0
3
61
19
41
PHI
Jackson's rushing numbers: seven carries for 110 yards and a touchdown. His average pass came with 11.0 yards to go for a first down; he was the only starter this week in double digits in that category. With more than 10 yards to go, he went 6-of-11 for 76 yards, but only two first downs.
9.
Josh Allen BUF
14/27
122
2
1
0
32
32
0
KC
Allen did not complete a pass for a third-down conversion in this game. His five passes on third down resulted in four incompletions and a 24-yard DPI.
10.
Joe Burrow CIN
25/39
313
0
1
2
31
29
2
IND
Burrow's first three passes down the middle were completed for gains of 22, 12, and 23 yards. It looks like the Colts adjusted after that, because Burrow only threw for one more first down in that direction the rest of the day, going 4-of-10 for 22 yards with an interception.
11.
Kyler Murray ARI
9/24
188
2
0
1
21
-7
28
DAL
Murray's rushing numbers: nine carries for 75 yards and a touchdown. Murray is now up to 149 DYAR through six games; the record for quarterbacks is 297 by Randall Cunningham in 1990. Nearly three-quarters of his passing yardage on Monday night came on two plays: an 80-yard touchdown to Christian Kirk and a 60-yard completion to DeAndre Hopkins.
12.
Nick Foles CHI
23/38
198
1
1
0
15
12
3
CAR
Foles led the league in DYAR on passes to running backs. He threw five passes to his backs, all to David Montgomery, completing four of them for 39 yards and three first downs.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Matthew Stafford DET
19/31
223
1
1
0
6
-1
8
JAX
Stafford only converted two third-down plays, and one of those was on a 25-yard DPI. On non-penalty third downs, he went 4-of-9 for 53 yards with an interception. He also threw a 1-yard touchdown on his one fourth-down pass.
14.
Daniel Jones NYG
12/19
112
1
1
1
-3
-29
26
WAS
Jones' rushing numbers: five carries for 77 yards. He was the week's worst passer in the red zone. His five dropbacks inside the Washington 20, in chronological order: third-down sack; completion for a loss of 4; completion for 1 yard on third-and-1; DPI for 4 yards on third-and-2; interception on first-and-goal from the 7. That's a net total of -3 yards and a turnover.
15.
Ryan Fitzpatrick MIA
18/27
191
3
2
2
-9
-13
4
NYJ
Fitzpatrick had a very streaky game. He failed to pick up a first down on any of his first four dropbacks, then picked up five in a row, including two touchdowns. Then he went six straight dropbacks without a first down, including back-to-back sacks; he followed that by completing each of his next four passes for 84 yards and a touchdown. He followed that witn an interception and an incompletion, then back-to-back completions for 15 and 18 yards. And he failed to pick up a first down after that, going 2-of-6 for 11 yards with an interception. So, really, this was a neat capsule of Fitzpatrick's entire career. He also failed to convert a third down, going 1-of-6 for 3 yards with a sack.
16.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
14/22
162
1
0
2
-10
-13
3
CLE
Roethlisberger only threw for five first downs against Cleveland, but they were big plays, totalling 121 yards and a touchdown.
17.
Case Keenum CLE
5/10
46
0
0
0
-25
-25
0
PIT
Keenum came into this game with Cleveland down 31-7 in the third quarter. His first pass was a completion for a 6-yard loss, but he picked up a first down on his next pass with a 24-yard completion, and followed that with another first down on a 13-yard gain. He failed to throw for a first down after that, going 2-of-7 for 15 yards.
18.
Kyle Allen WAS
31/42
280
2
1
3
-25
-21
-4
NYG
Allen threw 10 failed completions, tied for most in the league this week. On a related note, he completed 11 of 13 passes on third down for 112 yards, but only seven of those completions picked up first downs. Worse, he was also sacked on third down, fumbling the ball away for a Giants touchdown.
19.
Kirk Cousins MIN
24/36
343
3
3
1
-34
-34
0
ATL
Cousins loses 28 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, most in the league this week. Only three quarterbacks (Baker Mayfield, Aaron Rodgers, and Joe Flacco) were worse than Cousins threw three quarters, but he was first in DYAR in the fourth quarter, going 9-of-12 for 146 yards and two touchdowns. This is nothing new for Cousins -- through six weeks, only Dwayne Haskins, Daniel Jones, and Carson Wentz have been worse in the first three quarters of games. But Cousins leads all quarterbacks in DYAR in the fourth quarter and overtime.
20.
Carson Wentz PHI
21/40
213
2
0
6
-42
-47
5
BAL
Wentz's average completion gained a league-low 2.6 yards after the catch. He did not throw for a first down until the Eagles were down 17-0 27 minutes into the game. He did not convert a third down until he hit John Hightower for a 50-yard gain on his last pass of the third quarter when the Eagles were down 24-6.
21.
Jared Goff LAR
19/38
198
2
1
0
-50
-55
6
SF
Goff was last in DYAR on passes to wide receivers. He completed 10 of 25 passes to his wideouts for 97 yards and a touchdown; a 26th pass resulted in a DPI for 17 more yards.
22.
Gardner Minshew JAX
25/44
243
1
1
1
-52
-61
9
DET
Minshew threw 10 failed completions, tied for most in the league this week. He was, frankly, terrible deep in his own territory. Within the Jacksonville 25-yard line, he went 4-of-8 for 17 yards with more interceptions (one) than first downs (zero).
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Teddy Bridgewater CAR
16/29
216
0
2
4
-74
-80
7
CHI
Bridgewater was last in the league in DYAR on short passes. I'd give you his short-ball stats, but it's easier to give you his deep-ball stats. He threw six deep balls against Chicago (all to his left, oddly), completing three of them for 97 yards (45% of his total on the day) with a fourth resulting in a 33-yard DPI. That means his 24 short-ball throws gained less than 5 yards apiece.
24.
Drew Lock DEN
10/24
189
0
2
2
-80
-67
-13
NE
Lock's success rate of 31% was worst in the league this week, a few decimal points worse than Teddy Bridgewater's. But that's partly because he was an unparalleled mad bomber -- his average pass traveled a ridiculous 16.3 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, deeper than anyone else by more than 4 yards. He had 26 total dropbacks this week; 21 quarterbacks threw more (not even counting the two Monday games). But he threw 11 deep balls this week (compiled here by FOA contributor Dan Pizzuta), tied with Kirk Cousins and Jared Goff for most in the league. Lock was also last in DYAR in the fourth quarter -- he threw five passes in the last 15 minutes, completing one (an 8-yard gain on third-and-9) and throwing a pair of interceptions.
25.
Baker Mayfield CLE
10/18
119
1
2
4
-105
-108
4
PIT
Mayfield was the NFL's worst passer on third/fourth downs; he only picked up one conversion, going 2-of-7 for 8 yards (yes) with one sack and two interceptions, including a pick-six. He was also last in the first quarter (2-of-5, 23 yards, two sacks, the pick-six). And down the middle (1-of-3 for 6 yards with the pick-six). The lesson here is that pick-sixes are bad and you should avoid them.
26.
Andy Dalton DAL
34/54
266
1
2
3
-112
-109
-3
ARI
Dalton did not throw a deep pass against Arizona until the Cowboys were down 21-0 in the second quarter. He finished with a half-dozen deep-ball attempts, completing none of them with one interception.
27.
Aaron Rodgers GB
16/35
160
0
2
4
-137
-143
6
TB
Opponent adjustments go up to 60% strength this week, which has a strong impact on Rodgers' numbers -- he gains 54 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, most in the league, and he still finishes in third-to-last place. He threw for a half-dozen first downs early in the game as the Packers built a 10-0 lead, but only had three first downs after that. He was by far the league's worst passer from the second quarter forward, when he completed eight passes for 53 yards while losing 42 yards on four sacks. He also threw two interceptions, one of them a pick-six, which you'll recall are bad and should be avoided.
28.
Cam Newton NE
17/25
157
0
2
4
-139
-164
15
DEN
Newton's totals including 10 DYAR receiving for his one catch for 16 yards. He struggled badly in scoring range -- inside the Denver 40, he went 5-of-8 for 27 yards with more sacks (three) or completions that lost yardage (two) than first downs (one). In a related note, none of those passes came in the red zone. He was also last in DYAR in the second half, when he went 8-of-14 for 57 yards with three sacks and an interception.
29.
Joe Flacco NYJ
22/44
186
0
1
3
-175
-159
-16
MIA
Flacco gains 52 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, second-most in the league this week, and he still finishes in last place. In one stretch starting in the first quarter and lasting into the fourth, he went 20 straight dropbacks without a first down, going 8-of-17 for 43 yards with two sacks, an interception, and an intentional grounding. He only threw for one first down in Miami territory, where he went 8-of-14 for 65 yards with an intentional grounding and a 28-yard sack. He did not convert a third down until the Jets were down 24-0 in the fourth quarter. Up to that point, he had gone 2-of-8 for 6 yards with an intentional grounding, an interception, and a sack. Finally, he was last in DYAR on deep balls (well, before Monday night) -- all eight of his attempts were incomplete.

 

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.
James Conner PIT
20
101
1
1/1
1
0
41
46
-5
CLE
Conner wasn't very explosive against the Browns -- his longest run gained only 14 yards -- but he was reliable. Only one of his 20 carries failed to gain positive yardage, eight went for first downs, and three gained 10 yards or more.
2.
Derrick Henry TEN
22
212
2
2/5
52
0
41
38
3
HOU
Henry loses 27 DYAR due to opponent adjustments. He ran for seven first downs against Houston, including gains of 14, 18, 34, and 94 yards, while being stuffed three times. His two receptions had radically different results. One was a 1-yard loss on first-and-20. The other was a 53-yard gain on second-and-8.
3.
Myles Gaskin MIA
18
91
0
4/4
35
0
35
18
17
NYJ
Gaskin only ran for three first downs against the Jets, on gains of 11, 11, and 15 yards, but 11 of his carries gained at least 4 yards while he was stuffed twice. Each of his four receptions gained at least 6 yards and counted as successful play.
4.
Darrell Henderson LAR
14
88
0
1/1
4
0
34
36
-2
SF
Henderson ran for five first downs against the 49ers, the longest a gain of 18, while getting stuffed twice.
5.
Jonathan Taylor IND
12
60
0
4/4
55
0
32
-1
33
CIN
Taylor ran for first downs against Cincinatti, but 63% of his yardage came on two carries, 17- and 21-yard gains in the third quarter. He shows up here for what he did as a receiver: three of his receptions produced first downs, including gains of 21 and 22 yards.

 

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.
James Conner PIT
20
101
1
1/1
1
0
41
46
-5
CLE
2.
D'Andre Swift DET
14
116
2
3/4
7
0
27
41
-14
JAX
Swift was stuffed just once while running for six first downs, including gains of 19 and 54 yards.
3.
Derrick Henry TEN
22
212
2
2/5
52
0
41
38
3
HOU
4.
Kenyan Drake ARI
20
164
2
0/2
0
0
26
37
-11
DAL
Drake loses 17 rushing DYAR for facing the Cowboys. He was stuffed just once on Monday night while running for a half-dozen first downs, including gains of 20, 22, and 69 yards.
5.
Darrell Henderson LAR
14
88
0
1/1
4
0
34
36
-2
SF

 

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.
Ezekiel Elliott DAL
12
49
0
8/11
31
0
-63
-23
-40
ARI
No, this was not the worst receiving DYAR a running back ever had -- Seahawks fullback John L. Williams once had -59 DYAR for an 11-catch, 45-yard day against the Giants in 1992. But Elliott still had a terrible day as a receiver, with as many fumbles (one) as first downs. He was slightly more successful on the ground, with two first downs and one fumble.

 

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.
David Montgomery CHI
19
58
0
4/5
39
0
-16
-33
17
CAR
Montgomery ran for three first downs against Carolina with a long run of 12 yards, but he was hit for no gain or a loss a half-dozen times. He also loses 11 rushing DYAR for playing the Panthers.

 

Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Justin Jefferson MIN
9
11
166
18.4
2
63
ATL
2.
Julio Jones ATL
8
10
137
17.1
2
61
MIN
Six of Jones' catches produced first downs, including 20- and 40-yard touchdowns.
3.
Anthony Firkser TEN
8
9
113
14.1
1
47
HOU
Six of Firkser's catches produced first downs, including a 7-yard touchdown and gains of 23 and 45 yards. He picked up another 8 yards on a DPI.
4.
Kenny Golladay DET
4
6
105
26.2
0
47
JAX
Golladay only caught four passes, and only three of them produced first downs, but two of them were on gains of 36 and 48 yards. He also picked up two more first downs on DPIs of 8 and 25 yards.
5.
Christian Kirk ARI
2
3
86
43.0
2
42
DAL
Six-yard touchdown, 80-yard touchdown, both in the second quarter. That'll do.

 

Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
DJ Chark JAX
7
14
45
6.4
0
-53
DET
Chark had three first downs, the longest a gain of 14. But only one of his other catches counted as a successful play. He was also the target on two incompletions on third or fourth down.

Comments

69 comments, Last at 21 Oct 2020, 4:21pm

1 Would be interesting to know…

Would be interesting to know Phillip Lindsay's DYAR for the game against the Patriots, was half expecting to see him crack the list this week as he seemed to be pretty consistently good until a few stuffs near the end.

2 Allen vs Rodgers

Allen is 9th which is surprising even incl his rushing. Eye judgement says he was definitely not top 10 yesterday. And Rodgers is 29th or something. I think the apocalypse is coming ...

5 KC has a good pass defense,…

In reply to by Topas

KC has a good pass defense, but a bad run defense.

I'm surprised Singletary wasn't called out; 10-32 against KC is awful. The corpse of D. Johnson (sorry, too obvious; David J.) got 11-77 with a TD and another 32 receiving.

7 13 QBs had positive DYAR at…

In reply to by Topas

13 QBs had positive DYAR at all this week, and two of those were boosted by positive rushing, meaning there were only 11 QBs across the league with positive passing DYAR.  So, you know, "top 10" may not mean this week what it usually does.

13 Passing DYAR

To me, it's not so much the ranking. He gets positive DYAR for 50% completion pct. on not very many throws and not very much yardage? I guess those two TDs count for an awful lot. Also only one sack to drag him backward....Still doesn't seem like it should add up unless he's getting a boost for playing the Chiefs D (which also doesn't seem likely).

 

28 KC

Yeah, see I had the Raider game in my head and thought that their pass D surely couldn't be that good. But that's only one game...

So if Allen gets about 20-25 DYAR boost for playing the Chiefs, I could maybe squint and see the two TDs being enough to otherwise get him above 0.

46 KC also committed what, 3…

In reply to by LyleNM

KC also committed what, 3 DPIs?  That accrues to the QB as DYAR as if the pass was completed.

3 but you can't alternate…

but you can't alternate blowout losses with a series of nailbiters and expect to make the playoffs.

Expect, perhaps not. But you can do it.

See the 2011 Broncos, of 4 OT wins and 4 blowout losses, who won 1 game by more than a score.

4 The expectation when rushing…

The expectation when rushing against Houston is 22-174 with 2 TDs. Ouch.

My mission in life is to be a street FA who signs with teams in time to play Houston, and to parlay my 352-2784-32 line into a monster contract.

6 Or, since a touchdown is…

Or, since a touchdown is worth about 20 yards when you're trying to measure both things on a single scale, you could alternatively run for 214 but never reach paydirt. Talk about an empty 3424-yard season.

10 Looks like "Shea Dixon"…

Looks like "Shea Dixon" accidentally tweeted Julio Jones' statline instead of Jefferson's. I guess I don't blame him for not paying too much attention to the details of a game that was over midway through the 2nd quarter. If only Matt Ryan had tossed him a 29-yard pass on their last drive, they'd have ended up with identical numbers!

Vikings have converted six 2-point conversions so far this season, all in the 4th quarter, in games they lost by multiple scores. All Hail Kirk Cousins, the Garbage King! I guess $30 million doesn't buy what it used to.

63 Cousins has the 1st and 4th…

Cousins has the 1st and 4th ranked wr's, the 2nd ranked rb. The 3rd ranked oline in adjusted yards, and he ranks 22nd in DYAR. Granted the oline can't pass block, but that's pretty outrageously bad performance given such elite talent at the skill positions. 

11 Today's offensive climate…

Today's offensive climate notwithstanding, it's hard to overstate how awful Dallas's defense is. Outside of week 1, they've given up nearly 35 points every single week. It's not even like they've faced the chiefs every week. 

 

Quickly going through my memory, the teams that were this much of a broken damn were those early 2000s Chiefs, the winless Lions, one of the Houston Texans years with Schuab, and the CC Brown led Giants.

Edit

 

Good catch on the dam n, I've decided to leave it in.

Also yes, those mid decade Saints deserve to be mentioned. 

12 Last year's Dolphins were…

Last year's Dolphins were pretty sieve-like, too. In their first six games, they only held the Skins to less than 30, and that was a Skins team in a six-week stretch where they only broke 9 points and 250 yards against the Dolphins.

They were moved by a stoppable object.

14 That's when you know your…

That's when you know your dam is in trouble- when it's so broken, you have to add an N to it, to make it a damn!

Don't forget the 2012 & 2014-16 Saints and their 7-9 bullshit. They were their own stoppable object & movable force. They averaged about 30 points and 300 passing yards a game... yet their defense somehow gave up even more.

18 Good call! I thought it…

Good call on not editing! I thought the alternative spelling might have been on purpose, like the guy who referred to the 2017 Cleveland squad as the Brons, since they didn't earn the 'W'.

If I'm not mistaken, the only team to give up 500+ points since the merger are the 1981 Colts, with 533. I wonder if the 2020 'Boys can surpass them. The issue is that the Dalton offense might prove so bad, that teams will take their feet off the pedal midway through the 3rd quarter, as they amass huge leads, thus settling for scores in the high 20s, rather than the high 30s we've seen so far.

21 I think that's correct. Part…

I think that's correct. Part of the reason the Saints defense looked worse on paper than it was was because teams were weary of the Saints offense. Probably was true for the 2000s Chiefs. I guess that means the winless Lions are even worse on defense once you do that adjustment. 

 

On a related note, I'm a bit surprised Dalton was this bad. I figured he was an average QB at this point and Dallas has a terrific group of receivers, the combination would mean a good offense. Instead the offense is beyond abysmal.

 

32 He has a great squad of…

He has a great squad of receivers to throw to, but the OL has been wracked by injuries.  Combine that with limited reps in this offense and Dalton therefore needing a little more time to process things, and last night's performance is understandable.

Give the new people on the OL a couple of weeks to work together, and Dalton a couple of weeks with starters' reps in practice, and they'll be better on O, I suspect.  Not as good as Prescott, but not as bad as last night.

Not that it'll matter if the D doesn't improve dramatically.  Actually, they're in the NFC East, so maybe it will matter.

I won't be the first to make this joke, but we can start calling them "alas!, Cowboys!", since they have no D to speak of.

 

33 Actually, you might be the…

Actually, you might be the first! I certainly haven't seen it before. Well done!

Dalton has been trending sharply down since 2016, so my expectations aren't too high. But they still have a lot of talent on offense. If they can get to 7-9, that should do it. Given that they still have 5 divisional games left, 5-5 the rest of the way is doable, albeit barely.

23 Man, the 1981 Colts were…

Man, the 1981 Colts were outscored by more than they scored. They paired a Seahawks-like offense with a Saints-like defense.

They even had two decent (if over-the-hill) QBs.

29 It's pretty harrowing to…

It's pretty harrowing to read about how an owner can single handedly flush a team down the toilet. I am so glad I wasn't a fan(or born) back then to follow them.

 

His son seems to have inherited some of the same addictive qualities of the father, but as far as meddlesome egomaniac goes, he's much more hands off. I am of the opinion that the NFL should not be an owner's primary business. 

34 Millen isn't the only one. …

Millen isn't the only one.  Russ Thomas was the GM from 1967-1988, despite the fact that he should have been fired sometime in the late 1970's.  Chuck Schmidt held the job from 1989-2000.  His early drafting was okay (Sanders and a few other pretty good players), but by the mid/late 90's he had a bunch of nothing drafts and should have been canned after '98 IMO.  

This is a long winded way of saying that they were far too slow on the trigger to get rid of incompetent employees.  Continuity and stability is good, but not if it's stability in being mediocre to bad.

35 What have the Fords done…

What have the Fords done that shows even minor, accidental competence?

Pre-Ford, the Lions were 202-171-18 (54%), with 4 titles and a championship game loss. They were 6-1 in the playoffs.

In the Ford era, the Lions are 362-502-15 (42%), with zero titles or championship game appearances. They are 1-12 in the playoffs. Two of their playoff games came with .500 or worse records.

The historically-inept Marty Schottenheimer was 5-13 in the playoffs. The Lions would kill for that kind of success. He's still better than their best Ford-era playoff coach (Fontes, of all people).

Ford basically turned the Steelers into the Cardinals.

 

42 You're always going to have…

You're always going to have teams that underperform relative to the average. And I can name a few franchises that have had longer periods of ineptitude than the Lions. 

 

The question was what did the Fords specifically do that made a situation worse than it should have been. Joey Harrington, himself part of the problem, noted that they are a little too gunshy when it comes to firing incompetent employees. Fair.

But that's hardly the worst vice an owner can have. Jerry Jones for example is capable of doing both, firing too soon and letting them linger far too long. 

 

I can only speak to the 2000s Lions and beyond. The first decade was ruined by Matt Millen. The next period was ruined by the rookie salaries that had essentially cannibalized all of the cap space the Lions had, effectively the opposite of the rookie wage scale situation of today. And now they are plagued with a bad hire at head coach.

 

How much of what's listed above is directly the fault of the Ford's is murkier I would say than what's implied. Ok Matt Millen was a mistake. Hiring Patricia was too even without the benefit of hindsight, but it's a mistake multiple franchises have made so it's hardly something unique to the Fords. And guess who is always a hot candidate for the next head coaching job? Josh McDaniels.

 

In sum, I don't think the lions as a franchise are kneecapped by the Ford's ownership. If anything once they land a good head coach and/or GM, it suddenly becomes a terrific ownership group to work for since they don't meddle and they give full votes of confidence.

45 "Joey Harrington, himself…

"Joey Harrington, himself part of the problem..."

For just a second, I thought you were referring directly to me, and my first impulse was to say, "WTF, how is this my fault!?"

I don't think the Fords are the worst owners in pro sports.  They're not cheap, and are pretty hands off with football decisions.  But there is such a thing as being too hands off.  Pair that with bad luck, and you have one of the least successful franchises in North American sports.

47 And I can name a few…

And I can name a few franchises that have had longer periods of ineptitude than the Lions. 

I can think of one. The 1948-1998 Cardinals had a longer dry spell than the 1958-1990 and 1992-2020 Lions. The Bidwells are one of the few owners shittier than the Fords, on both a personal and success-oriented basis.

There are worse people who own teams than the Fords. The Browns. The Irsays. The Spanoses. Art Modell. Whoever owns the Skins or the Browns in a given year. 

There are a precious few owners with less success. The Lerner/Haslem Browns are worse. Mike Brown pairs incompetence with miserliness like few others. But the Bengals have had some good seasons despite him. The Bidwell Cardinals are famously incompetent -- being ushered out of two prior cities and having one of their few titles be illegimitate. They are probably the one ownership to pair longevity with a lack of success comparable to the Fords.

49 The funny thing is that the…

The funny thing is that the Jets are mentioned along with Lions, Browns, and Bengals as the model franchises in ineptitude (at least during this century). 

This year's version of Gang Green is certainly horrific, but the Jets have actually won multiple playoff games (6-5 playoff record since 2000, I think) during the same time period that the Lions went 0-3, the Bengals went 0-7, and the Browns lost their only playoff appearance (in a Falcons-like 4th quarter collapse). 

Most franchises would kill for that kind of success.  The problem is that when the Jets have a bad season, they can't have a run of the mill, boring bad season like most teams.  It always seems to be a tragicomic spectacle, so people remember it more.

53 In years past, I've always…

In years past, I've always semi-defended the Bidwills for fielding non-competitive teams, as they were the only owners in the NFL whose sole source of income was their franchise.  They were never the scions of steel, oil, or manufacturing families who would purchase a team and run it as a hobby.  So every personnel decision they made was made with an eye to the financial bottom line.

But then the salary cap and huge TV contracts rolled in, and I wonder what their excuse is now.  Like the Fords, Snyders, etc, or the past, they currently have a shitty GM whom they have great loyalty to.  Right now he's getting bailed out by Bill O'Brien, one of a handful of GMs worse than him.

44 Those are it. 2009 Detroit,…

Those are it.

2009 Detroit, 2011 Tampa, and 2019 Miami allowed 494. The 2008-2009 Lions are the worst two-year stretch.

The 1950 Colts gave up 462 in 12 games -- 38.5 per game! They gave up 55 twice and 70 once. They held teams below 20 twice, although they won a curb-stomp game over the Packers by forcing 7 TOs (despite trailing after 3 quarters). Their games in general were turnover fests -- 100 combined in 12 games, good for 8.5 per game. Perhaps this was because their kicker was Rex Grossman.

The 1952 Texans were more reliably bad -- they gave up between 23 and 48 every game. They paired incompetence with boringness. They actually had one great defensive game. In the rematch with the Rams, they picked off Van Brocklin three times and held them to negative net passing yards, but lost 27-6 anyway, because their own offense turned the ball over 8 times, and the kicking game chipped in with an allowed punt return TD and a missed XP.

50 Wow- thanks for the early…

Wow- thanks for the early 50s history blast! The team to whom those Colts surrendered 70, the Rams, actually scored even more points than the Colts allowed: 466, unsurprisingly the all-time record. I guess the highest scoring offense in history against the highest scored-against defense in history = 70 points!

And yes, Rex Grossman, 29th-round kicker was indeed the grandfather of Rex Grossman III, 1st-round QB. Quite the illustrious family football tree. Based on their performance, I assume Oedipus Rex himself was the family patriarch, with wife/mama Jocasta providing the eggs... that's pretty gross, man!

15 By next year, if Flacco is…

By next year, if Flacco is on a roster as a backup, I will truly wonder why. Given his level of play in recent times ( not just with the pathetic Jets), you can pretty much find that with an undrafted rookie or street free agent. I just don't understand what value he brings nor why the Jets wanted him in the first place. 

 

17 Sure, he has value. Umm…

Sure, he has value. Umm... two meters of SB MVP-caliber veteran poise and experience? A handsome face to put on the team photo? Someone for the rookies to (literally) look up to? Idk. He truly is a borderline 3rd-stringer at this point, like end-stage Mark Sanchez.

48 Flacco was remarkably poor…

Flacco was remarkably poor on every level I could see for the Broncos last year, was very surprised anyone else picked him up even for a reserve. He didn't appear to be particularly interested in mentoring Lock, by all accounts in addition to vastly more exciting on the field Fitzpatrick is also a good mentor type too.

16 Mahomes Rushing DYAR seems....odd

How did Mahomes end up with -22 Rushing DYAR on the game?  Outside of kneel downs it looks like he had 6 scrambles for 34 yards, 1 sack for minimal loss, and a botched snap that he recovered.

Seems exceptionally low for an output like that, especially since only one of his runs went for under 4 yards.

40 Fumble?

I thought I saw on a highlight video last night that he got the ball knocked out of his hands right before running out of bounds. He was holding it in one hand, and I could have sworn it got punched out--right out of bounds, so NBD in the game--but it would knock his DYAR down some.

(Kneel-downs don't get counted)

43 It was definitely the…

It was definitely the botched snap that did it. FO always assigns full fault of those to the QB, and in this case I'd say it was his fault. Sacks get counted under passing DVOA, not rushing, and 6 rushes for 34 yards (5.7 YPC) isn't very impressive for QBs, especially when only one of them went for a first down. For comparison, of the QBs on FO's QB page (minimum 3 rush attempts), the average YPC was 5.8.

64 Glad I wasn't the only one…

Glad I wasn't the only one to notice the oddly low DYAR on Mahomes' rushes.  Buffalo's rushing DVOA is -0.7% so it's not much of an adjustment unless it's different for QB rushes than overall rushing.

Mahomes had four failed runs by what I understand the success criteria to be (45% of the yardage needed for a 1st D on 1st D; 60% on 2nd D; a 1st D gain on 3rd and 4th D):

4 yds on 1st+10

-1 yd on 1st+10 (aborted snap)

4 yds on 3rd+5 (actually only inches short and the maddest I've ever seen Reid in a game when the ref wouldn't grant a measurement)

2 yds on 3rd+6 (a bad DYAR play, but a good football play: he stayed in bounds to keep the clock running down to the 2-minute warning and avoided a sack that could have made the clinching FG harder)

He had 4 successful runs:

5 yds on 1st+10

6 yds on 1st+10

8 yds on 2nd+13 (0.6 * 13 = 7.8)

9 yds on 3rd+7

I'd have thought 50-50 successes and minimal DVOA adjustment would be about 0 DYAR; I guess the failures must have been penalized more than the successes rewarded.  2 kneeldowns excluded.

 

51 Since Montgomery was the least-valuable RB by rushing DYAR

I feel like this is as good a time as any to complain about one of Ryan Pace's habits that drives me crazy: trading away picks to move up in the draft to select a player who disappoints.

Here is a list of all of Pace's trade-ups. I feel like a reasonable expectation for a player you trade up for is that you like them enough to sign them to a 2nd contract: they might not be an all-pro or even a Pro Bowler, but they're solid NFL players. So far, Pace has not signed a single one to a 2nd contract and I don't believe the ones that haven't come to that point yet are any better:

2016 - traded a 4th round pick to get Leonard Floyd (they picked up Floyd's 5th year option then released him prior to this year) and a 6th round pick to get Nick Kwiatkowski (let him walk in free agency after 4 years)

2017 - traded a 3rd round pick and 2 4th round picks to move up 1 spot in order to take Mitchell Trubisky above Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes. Enough said about that.

2018 - traded a 2nd round pick and a 4th round pick to move up in the 2nd round to get Anthony Miller, who has been inconsistent at best.

2019 - gave up a 3rd round pick and a 4th round pick, plus moved down from round 5 to round 6, in order to get Montgomery. In fairness, the Bears run game has consistently been disastrous under Nagy, but I've seen nothing from Montgomery that makes me think he's special. And RB is the most fungible position in the NFL.

2020 - gave up a 4th round pick next year to move up 8 spots in the 4th round this year to get Trevis Gipson, who so far has appeared in 2 of their 6 games and registered 13 defensive snaps and 3 special teams snaps.

So in the last 5 years, Pace has traded away a total of: TEN (10!) draft picks (1 2nd, 2 3rds, 6 4ths, and 1 6th) to acquire 6 players. 2 of them (Floyd and Kwiatkowski) were gone after 4 years, 1 (Trubisky) is sure to be gone after his 4th year, 2 (Miller and Montgomery) appear to be replacement-level, and it's really too early to say anything about 1 from this year (Gipson).

He's basically thrown away an entire draft's worth of picks in a half decade.

65 Identifying talent is an…

Identifying talent is an issue, but the thing we see in this analysis is that Pace can't just pay a good price for a player. None of these players were worth trading up for, but Pace has to have his man, so he throws away picks that could be useful to do things like build OLine depth, etc.

It's not just the draft, either; look at this year's QB market, where Pace acted first and paid to grab Foles, instead of letting the saturated QB market come to him.

It feels like a very binary way of thinking; players are either good or not, instead of a spectrum of probabilities. That's the only way I can reason into trading up for Montgomery, who appears to be a very mediocre running back: Pace had identified Montgomery as a Good Player, and the only options were getting a Good Player, or not. The idea of waiting 14 picks and seeing who was left did not appear to be on the table.

67 Well, if Kwiatkowski's great…

Well, if Kwiatkowski's great, then the decision to trade up for him looks better but the more recent decision to prioritize bringing back Danny Trevathan over him makes Pace look even worse.

Count me in as one who believes that Trubisky over Watson/Mahomes alone should get Pace fired, and I think it's insane some people think he should get a chance to draft another 1st round QB. But his defenders always try to say that he's been mostly good in the draft other than Trubisky, and I just don't think that's true either. The QB position is the most glaring and most impactful failure, but a lot of the rest hasn't been good either.

68 Is it possible that the…

Is it possible that the draft, especially for qbs, is more of a crapshoot than people think? None of the scouting reports and pre draft commentary panned the pick as outrageous.

As for Mahomes, Greg Cosell had a great quote about him. He said, " Physical tools are all there, but the guy plays with a complete recklessness. It's disconcerting for a coach to work all week on a specific game plan and for him not to run any of it on game day." 

69 I feel like the consensus…

I feel like the consensus was that Watson was a better prospect than Trubisky. And we found out years later that Pace was so set on Trubisky that he didn't even bother to meet with Watson.

I don't especially blame him for Mahomes, because nobody could have predicted that he would be on a trajectory to be possibly the greatest QB of all time. But looking at that draft class and deciding not only that he preferred Trubisky, but that Trubisky was so clearly his guy that he didn't even need to meet with Watson and that he had to trade up a spot because the 99.9% certainty that he'd be there at #2 wasn't enough is egregious.

55 Feedback

Would be interesting to know Phillip Lindsay's DYAR for the game against the Patriots, was half expecting to see him crack the list this week as he seemed to be pretty consistently good until a few stuffs near the end.

-5 DYAR. Only three first downs and eight runs of more than 4 yards in 23 carries. That's a lot of short runs, including four stuffs.

I'm surprised Singletary wasn't called out; 10-32 against KC is awful. The corpse of D. Johnson (sorry, too obvious; David J.) got 11-77 with a TD and another 32 receiving.

-15 DYAR, including 13 DYAR lost for playing the Chiefs (so, more than 1 DYAR per carry, which is, wow). But there were a lot of bad running backs this week.

So if Allen gets about 20-25 DYAR boost for playing the Chiefs, I could maybe squint and see the two TDs being enough to otherwise get him above 0.

Allen gets a boost of 21 DYAR for playing the Chiefs, but he mainly ranks as high as he did because his bad plays were not very bad. He only had 148 DYAR on successful plays, which was 19th. But he only lost 117 DYAR on unsuccessful plays, which was 25th. He only threw three failed completions, and they weren't terrible plays (4 yards on 1-10, 4 on 2-10, 2 on 2-7). None of his plays lost yardage; there were 25 quarterbacks who can't say that this week.

RE: "Dalton did not throw a deep pass against Arizona until the Cardinals were down 21-0 in the second quarter."

Thank you. Fixed.

How did Mahomes end up with -22 Rushing DYAR on the game?  Outside of kneel downs it looks like he had 6 scrambles for 34 yards, 1 sack for minimal loss, and a botched snap that he recovered.

The fumbled snap goes down as a running play for Mahomes. And even taking the fumbled snap out, a 5.4-yard average is bad for quarterback runs -- the non-fumbled-snap average for QBs this year is 6.3. Mahomes is also dinged for scrambles that failed to convert on third-and-5 and third-and-6.
 

58 Ah

"So if Allen gets about 20-25 DYAR boost for playing the Chiefs, I could maybe squint and see the two TDs being enough to otherwise get him above 0.

Allen gets a boost of 21 DYAR for playing the Chiefs, but he mainly ranks as high as he did because his bad plays were not very bad. He only had 148 DYAR on successful plays, which was 19th. But he only lost 117 DYAR on unsuccessful plays, which was 25th. He only threw three failed completions, and they weren't terrible plays (4 yards on 1-10, 4 on 2-10, 2 on 2-7). None of his plays lost yardage; there were 25 quarterbacks who can't say that this week."

I see now. Not so much the number of incompletions but the lack of failed completions that other QBs amass.

 

59 No sacks, fumbles or runs…

In reply to by LyleNM

No sacks, fumbles or runs for losses, which is pretty unusual (in a good way) for a QB. Plus, his one interception was in about as low-leverage a situation imaginable, at the end of the game, when the Bills had about a 0.1% chance of winning.

Still, the eye test would show that he was pretty ineffective for the vast majority of the game, passing-wise. He made a lot of poor throws, missing wide-open receivers right in front of him, though John Brown did have a brutal 3rd down drop on their opening drive, which could have made a big difference in the game.

60 Yes. He didn't have a lot of…

In reply to by LyleNM

Yes. He didn't have a lot of spectacular plays but he kept Buffalo in the game by avoiding big mistakes. 

And there is a sentence I never expected to write about Josh Allen.

66 Josh Allen

This is, in my opinion, a big reason for the jump in Allen's play. Avoiding big mistakes is extremely valuable--see Tyrod Taylor. Of course, without a little bit of reasonable risk taking (e.g., 50/50 balls, "throwing a receiver open") you become Tyrod Taylor.