5 NFL Stats to Know Through Week 9
We have officially entered the second half of the 2020 NFL season, and Week 9 provided another slate of games filled with magic, misery and mayhem depending on who you support. Big players delivered big games, unlikely heroes emerged, and the Los Angeles Chargers continued to find new and inventive ways to lose football games.
Here are five stats to know -- both traditional and our advanced statistics -- from Week 8 of the NFL season.
Jake Luton Passed for 300 Yards in His Debut
It would be fair to say that many people did not know what to expect from Jacksonville Jaguars rookie quarterback Jake Luton in his first NFL action. It is now fair to say that, for the most part, people were quite impressed.
Luton completed 26 of his 38 pass attempts against the Houston Texans, gaining 304 yards and a touchdown as well as an interception. He also showed some slick moves on the ground, pirouetting his way to a 13-yard rushing touchdown. Luton became the first player since 1950 to complete at least 25 passes for a minimum of 300 yards and score a rushing touchdown in his first career start. Getting off to a fast start certainly helped his cause, as Luton's very first pass attempt was a 73-yard score to D.J. Chark. Only three players since 1970 have recorded a longer passing touchdown on their first career pass attempt.
Luton is only the second Jaguars quarterback to rack up 300 yards in his first career start. You have to go back to the final week of the 1999 season to find the only quarterback with more yards in his first outing, with Jay Fiedler taking 317 yards off the Cincinnati Bengals' defense.
The Jaguars' next game is against the Green Bay Packers, but Luton isn't quite ready to be included n the streaming conversation for Week 10. The Packers have allowed 15.26 points per game to quarterbacks over the last four weeks -- only five teams have given up less.
Richie James Scored 33.4 PPR Points
There are not many teams who could challenge the San Francisco 49ers for the sole position of the "most injury-ravaged team of 2020." It's frankly astonishing how many of their biggest name players are currently unavailable to them. Although the 49ers lost to the Packers on Thursday night, there was something of a bright spot for the team moving forward.
Coming into the game, wide receiver Richie James was the proud owner of 15 career receptions, with these receptions bringing him 295 yards and two touchdowns. With no Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, or George Kittle in the 49ers' attack, James became the focal point of the offense. He saw 13 targets, nine of which he corralled for 184 yards and a touchdown. James finished the week as the leading wide receiver in PPR formats with 33.4 points.
The 49ers face the New Orleans Saints in their next game, and while James may well stay involved in the offense, there is a good chance that the 49ers may have some of their other weapons back in time for that game. It would probably be wise to assume that he won't be able to repeat this feat. But stranger things have happened.
Derrick Henry Finished With 6.8 PPR Points
Derrick Henry has been one of the more reliable options in fantasy football over the last two seasons. Since Week 1 of the 2019 campaign, he has averaged 20.2 PPR points per game and finished as a top-12 weekly option at the running back spot 13 times out of 22. But he won't remember this last Sunday with any degree of affection, nor will his fantasy managers.
Henry saw 21 rushing attempts for the Tennessee Titans against the Chicago Bears. But he was able to gain only 68 yards and was held out of the end zone for the first time since Week 2. Henry didn't see a single target, either, as he posted a massively disappointing 6.8 PPR points.
The Bears have been no mugs when it comes to holding running backs in check this season. In their last five games before Sunday, they were seeing almost 24 running back rushing attempts per game but allowing less than 98 yards on the ground. The only back to go over the 100-yard mark against the Bears this season is Ronald Jones, who had 106 yards back in Week 5.
Things may not get easier for Henry in Week 10 when the Titans have a crucial AFC South matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts have allowed the second fewest rushing yards to running backs all season.
Jerry Jeudy Scored 25.5 PPR Points
Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy has been solid so far in his NFL career, but he certainly hasn't been spectacular. While he commanded 20% of the team's targets through the first seven weeks, he had a high of five receptions in a game, and his best yardage output was 73. Well, those were his highs before Week 9.
Jeudy saw 14 targets from Drew Lock against the Atlanta Falcons. He converted these looks into seven receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown. Going back to 1992, when the NFL began tracking targets, Jeudy is just the second Broncos rookie to have at least 10 targets, seven receptions, and 100 yards receiving in a game. Eddie Royal managed the feat twice in his first season back in 2008. Jeudy has 484 yards after eight games and is just the fourth Broncos first-year player to have at least 400-yards in the first eight games of his career. Of the four, only Royal (625) had more yards than Jeudy.
Jeudy finished as the WR6 in Week 9 and could be in for another decent fantasy outing next week when the Broncos take on the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders are middle of the pack (17th) in terms of fantasy points allowed to wide receivers in 2020.
Tom Brady Averaged -0.42 Passing NEP Per Drop Back
If there is one thing we have come to expect from Tom Brady over the years, it is ruthless efficiency. He hasn't been at his very best for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers so far this season, but he has certainly been adequate. Of the 28 quarterbacks with at least 200 drop backs before Week 9, Brady was 14th in Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back with 0.22, with the average for this cohort 0.18. But these numbers do not reflect his performance on Sunday night.
Against the Saints, Brady completed 22 of his 38 pass attempts for 209 scoreless yards, throwing three interceptions. Brady last had three interceptions in a game way back in 2011, in a Week 3 New England Patriots loss to the Buffalo Bills. Along with these ugly counting stats, Brady's efficiency was dire. His mark of -0.42 Passing NEP drop back was the lowest of any high-volume quarterback this past week. Brady's previous low point for the season was back in Week 1, when he posted -0.14 Passing NEP per drop back against these same Saints.
Brady's bad game saw him finish with just 2.36 fantasy points, marking just the fifth game he has played since 2016 in which he failed to crack double-digit fantasy points. It was the second time this season Brady has failed to score 10 fantasy points after he notched 8.68 in Week 2 against the Carolina Panthers. Next up for Brady is a rematch with the Panthers.