It was another topsy-turvy week in the NFL in Week 5, with the games producing a whole host of noteworthy statistical performances.
Tom Brady is now third all-time in regular-season passing yards. He finished the New England Patriots’ victory over a hapless Washington with 348 yards, giving him 71,923 for his career. That took him past Brett Favre’s mark of 71,838, and Brady needs just 18 yards on Thursday Night Football to claim second place from his long-time rival Peyton Manning.
Philadelphia Eagles veteran running back Darren Sproles didn’t have a particularly big game on Sunday, finishing with a mere 32 all-purpose yards in Philly’s rout of the New York Jets. But those yards were enough to propel him into fifth place all-time for all-purpose yards. Sunday’s efforts gave him 19,684 for his career, surpassing Tim Brown’s 19,682. Sproles is unlikely to climb much higher on the list, however. He is 1,880 yards behind the player in fourth place, Emmitt Smith.
Here are five other stats to know — both traditional and our advanced statistics — from Week 5 of the season.
Deshaun Watson averaged 1.11 Passing NEP per Play
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson had started his season with two QB1 weeks and two QB2 weeks, alternating between the two through the first four games. On Sunday, he returned to QB1 territory with one of the greatest games of his career.
Watson finished the Texans’ game against the hapless Atlanta Falcons with 426 passing yards and five touchdowns, scoring 41.7 fantasy points. It was his second career game with at least 400 passing yards, and it made him the second Texans quarterback with multiple 400-yard games. Matt Schaub had four such games during his time with the team. It was also Watson’s second career game with five or more passing touchdowns, making him the first quarterback in team history with multiple five touchdown games. The franchise record is six, and it was achieved by Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 13 of the 2014 season against the Tennessee Titans.
Someone needs to ask Deshaun Watson to break down the Falcons defense in his press conference this week because I don’t understand how it works
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) October 6, 2019
Watson’s day looks great from a counting stats point of view, but it was also a triumph in terms of per-play efficiency. Watson averaged a whopping 1.11 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back on Sunday. This was the highest among all quarterbacks with more than a single pass attempt in Week 5.
Watson’s big day was great news for the Texans and their fans, as well as fantasy owners. But he wasn’t the only Texans player to make fantasy owners happy in Week 5.
Will Fuller Scored 53.7 PPR Points
It had been a slow start to the 2019 campaign for wide receiver Will Fuller. His first four games had seen him haul in 14 receptions for 183 scoreless yards, with a grand total of just 32.3 PPR points. Then he exploded on Sunday against the far-from-stout Falcons defence.
Fuller was targeted 16 times by Watson, and he converted these looks into an incredible 14 catches, 217 yards and three touchdowns. This gave him a whopping 53.7 PPR points, the ninth-best fantasy performance by a wide receiver ever. As Adam Levitan pointed out, his day could have been even better had he not been tackled at the one-yard line twice. He had surpassed his seasonal tally by halftime, with 30.1 of his points coming in the first half.
Fuller joins Jerry Rice, Jimmy Smith and Steve Largent as the only players in NFL history to have a game with at least 14 receptions, 200 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns. Not bad company.
Fuller’s reception and touchdown tallies tied Texans franchise records held by Andre Johnson. Johnson had 14 receptions against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 11 of the 2012 season, amassing 273 yards in the process. This is the only game in which a Texans player had more receiving yards than Fuller’s Week 5 total. Johnson also scored three receiving touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 9 of the 2013 season.
Watson and Fuller will be hoping to continue their blistering-hot form in Week 6 when they take on a burnable Kansas City Chiefs defence. The Chiefs have allowed an average of 20.9 fantasy points to quarterbacks so far this season — as well as 146 yards and 1.2 touchdowns per game to wide receivers.
Christian McCaffrey Scored 47.7 PPR Points
It is becoming difficult to put into words just how good of a season Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is having in 2019. After five weeks of the year, the only major category among running backs in which he is not either first or second in yards per attempt, not that a 5.6 average is a terrible thing.
McCaffrey has 866 yards from scrimmage after five games of the season. Since the 1950 season, only one player has had more yards in a season’s opening five weeks. Cleveland Browns legend Jim Brown had 988 in 1963.
McCaffrey rushed for two touchdowns against the Jaguars on Sunday and scored another through the air. This was the fifth time in his career he had at least one rushing and one receiving touchdown in a single game, making him the fourth player to achieve this feat in their first three seasons. The other three players are Alvin Kamara, Edgerrin James and Chuck Foreman.
Sunday marked the third time in his career that McCaffrey has scored 40 or more fantasy points in a single game, and it was the second time he did it this season. McCaffrey is tied with the troubled Antonio Brown for the most such games since 2017. His 47.7 PPR points is also a new record for fantasy points scored by a Panthers player, beating the 46.7 scored against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 12 of the 2018 season…by McCaffrey.
McCaffrey and the Panthers have a trip to England in Week 6 for an NFC South clash with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs held McCaffrey in check in their last meeting back in Week 2, when McCaffrey had a career-low 7.3 PPR points. But it would be stunning to see them hold McCaffrey to anything close to that number again. After a strong start to the season, the Bucs have allowed 27.4 and 22.4 PPR points to opposing running backs over the last two weeks.
The Eagles D/ST Totaled 35 Fantasy Points
Coming into the 2019 season, many people outside the Philadelphia area may have thought that the Philadelphia Eagles defence would be an area of strength for the team this season. These hopes had not been realized in the opening four weeks of the season, as the Eagles had just three sacks (lowest in the NFL) and zero defensive scores. Fortunately for them, they faced a cure for this particular ill in Week 5, namely the hapless New York Jets.
The Eagles helped themselves to 10 sacks, taking down Luke Falk nine times and his backup David Fales once, giving the Eagles their first game with double-digit sacks since Week of the 2007 season. Back then, the Eagles sacked Detroit Lions quarterback Jon Kitna 10 times on their way to a 56-10 victory. The Eagles also scored twice on defence through a Nathan Gerry pick-six and an Orlando Scandrick fumble return. The last time the Eagles had these types of scores in the same game was in a 28-14 win over Washington in Week 10 of the 1990 season. The 10 sacks, two interceptions and two scores, combined with the six points allowed, gave the Eagles D/ST 35 fantasy points.
Did you know the Eagles' defense has allowed 30 points fewer times than any team in the NFL since Jim Schwartz became their defensive coordinator in 2016?
The NFL average is 11 during that span. https://t.co/Ggp8JyY7zP
— Reuben Frank (@RoobNBCS) October 5, 2019
The Eagles’ defence suffocated the Jets’ laughable offensive efforts, restricting them to an average of -0.55 NEP per play. The Jets offensive Success Rate — the number of plays that positively impacted NEP — was a measly 28.81%. Both of these marks were the lowest among all teams that played in Week 5.
The Eagles have a newfound taste for quarterback sacks, and they may get a few more in Week 6 when they take on the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings have allowed the ninth-highest sack rate in the NFL so far this season, surrendering a quarterback takedown on 8% of their dropbacks.
Russell Wilson Put 29.9 Fantasy Points and Still Hasn’t Thrown a Pick in 2019
If we had our way, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson would be given so many more opportunities to pass the ball than he is currently allowed. We don’t, however, so it is that Wilson is on pace for a mere 499 pass attempts in 2019. But when he is allowed to throw the ball, Wilson’s efficiency remains incredibly high.
Wilson completed 17 of his 23 pass attempts for 268 yards and four touchdowns against the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night, giving him 29.9 fantasy points. It also makes him the only quarterback in the Super Bowl era to have at least 1,400 passing yards, 12 passing touchdowns and zero interceptions through the first five weeks of a season. Wilson leads the NFL in touchdown passes, touchdown rate (7.7%), adjusted yards per attempt (10.6) and quarterback rating (126.3).
A whopping 16 quarterbacks have attempted more passes than Wilson since the beginning of the 2018 season. However, only Patrick Mahomes has more touchdown passes than Wilson in this same span. Mahomes has 61 touchdowns while Wilson has 47. Wilson has the edge in terms of touchdown rate, leading Mahomes with 8.1% to 7.9%.
We’re probably never going to get to see Wilson fill the air with footballs, but he has a great chance to keep tossing touchdown passes in Week 6. The Seahawks take on the Cleveland Browns, who have allowed multiple touchdown passes in four of their five games this season. Only one team has failed to register a passing touchdown against the Browns in 2019, and that was the Jets back in Week 2.