5 NFL Stats to Know Through Week 8
Another week of NFL action is in the books as we hit the halfway mark of the 2020 regular season. There is still an unbeaten squad, there is still a winless team, and there has been more serious injuries and drama than the average soap opera could hope to have in a whole month. What a week it was.
Here are five stats to know -- both traditional and our advanced statistics -- from Week 8 of the NFL season.
Patrick Mahomes Passed for 416 Yards and 5 Touchdowns
It's been a quiet few weeks for the Kansas City Chiefs and all-world quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Sure, they kept winning games and putting up points. But Mahomes wasn't producing massive numbers in these games. He broke out of this mini-funk on Sunday, and the hapless New York Jets got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Mahomes torched the Jets for 416 yards through the air and five touchdowns as the Chiefs eased to a 35-9 victory. Sunday marked the 10th time in his career that Mahomes passed for four touchdowns, moving him into a tie with Hall of Famer Dan Marino for the most such games in the first four years of an NFL career. It was also the sixth time he had four or more scores and zero interceptions, another record for the first four years of an NFL career. This record is held jointly with Jeff Garcia.
Dalvin Cook Had 226 Yards From Scrimmage and 4 Touchdowns
I'm not sure how big a fan of the A-Team Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is/was, but on Sunday he had at least one thing in common with Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith. Both of these men love it when a plan comes together, and Zimmer's plan worked perfectly against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
In a game where Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins attempted a mere 14 passes, running back Dalvin Cook had himself a monster day. Cook amassed a whopping 226 yards from scrimmage -- 163 rushing yards and 63 receiving -- as the Vikings felled the Packers, 28-22. Cook also found the end zone four times. Cook's deeds saw him score 48.6 PPR points, the most of any player in Week 8.
Cook became just the fifth player since the NFL-AFL merger to have at least 200 scrimmage yards, three rushing scores, and a receiving touchdown in the same game -- as well as the first since 2002. Shaun Alexander, Marshall Faulk, and Clinton Portis all achieved the feat that year. Fred Taylor had performed the feat himself in the 2000 season. Cook is also the third Vikings player to score four scrimmage touchdowns in a game -- the first since Ahmad Rashad in 1979. Chuck Foreman also scored four times in a single game back in 1975.
Sunday marked the sixth game in a row for Cook in which he scored a rushing touchdown, making him the first Vikings player to achieve such a streak since Adrian Peterson in 2011.
Amari Cooper Scored 1.5 PPR Points
Things have not been going well for the Dallas Cowboys' skill position players since Dak Prescott was lost for the year. This has been bad news for fantasy managers everywhere, many of whom invested high draft picks in the summer to get Cowboys players onto their fantasy rosters. Things reached a new low for one player in particular in the Cowboys' Sunday night loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Coming into Week 8, Amari Cooper was averaging a healthy 17.9 PPR points per game in 2020. This average was buoyed by a monster outing in Week 4, when he scored 33.4 points, but he was doing enough to get by. But against the Eagles, Cooper had one reception for five yards, "good" for 1.5 PPR points. That marked the third-lowest fantasy output of his career. He scored 1.3 against the Jets in 2019, and in his rookie year in 2015, Cooper bagged 1.4 for the Oakland Raiders against the Detroit Lions. Sunday also marked the eighth time in his career he has finished with fewer than 10 receiving yards (minimum one target).
Cooper's outlook is bleak at present, although things may improve when Andy Dalton returns to the lineup. But as for hopes of Cooper paying off his draft price at present, they are looking seriously grim.
Travis Fulgham Is the WR1 Since Week 4
Coming into the 2020 season, the name Travis Fulgham probably meant little to fantasy owners outside of the deepest of deep leagues. The former Old Dominion wide receiver had cups of coffee with the Lions and Packers before he landed on the Eagles' practice squad before the 2020 season. The Eagles added Fulgham to the active roster before Week 4, and since then, he has made sure everyone knows his name.
Fulgham scored 19.8 PPR points in Week 8, making him the WR14 for the week. This tally gave him 96.5 PPR points since Week 4, more than any other wide receiver in that span. It's been an incredible showing by Fulgham, who is the first Eagles wide receiver to have 70 or more receiving yards in four consecutive games since Terrell Owens, who managed it in 2005.
The Eagles are heading into a bye next week and should be getting some of their veteran offensive playmakers back from injury soon. But it will be hard for the Eagles to remove Fulgham from their game plan moving forward.
The Tennessee Titans Failed to Sack Joe Burrow
Over the last two seasons, only the Jets have allowed more quarterback sacks than the Cincinnati Bengals. This year, through the first seven weeks of the season, rookie quarterback Joe Burrow had been sacked at a rate of 7.8%. Burrow had been taken down on multiple occasions in all but one game. The Tennessee Titans' pass rushers, who had been disappointing coming into Week 8, were in a great position to get right. They did not take advantage of it.
The Titans failed to sack Burrow a single time on Sunday despite the Bengals trotting out an offensive line comprising of no players who took to the field in Week 1. It was an embarrassing display by the Titans, who allowed the Bengals to average 0.30 Net Expected Points (NEP) per play, the second-highest total of Week 8.
After seven games, the Titans have a grand total of seven sacks. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars have fewer at this stage of the 2020 season. Fans must be seriously wondering how the Titans can justify the combined $22.2 million they have allocated to Jadeveon Clowney and Vic Beasley this season given the total lack of production.