Week 3 Analytics in Review

If you missed the Sharp Football Show this past Monday night, don’t miss it again.  I dive deep into advanced metrics just like those discussed below, and I do so live on Periscope for 30 minutes before the Monday Night Football game kicks off.  The show starts at 8pm, and you just need to follow me on Twitter to see the link posted, or download the Periscope app, follow @SharpFootball and turn notifications on, so you will be notified when I’m broadcasting live.

Here I will recap the week 3 NFL slate with some of the advanced metrics and analytics that may have flown under the radar but should be important to you moving forward.  Whether they help explain results or are illustrative toward better understanding the makeup of a team, these are several nuggets that stood out from Sunday:

Aaron Rodgers turnaround performance

Against a banged up Lions secondary, Rodgers had a brilliant first half performance, which is something the home crowd in Lambeau has come to expect.  59% of his passes graded as successful, the 2nd best mark in the NFL, including 67% inside the Lions 35 yard line.  A key was where Rodgers was passing the ball.  Weeks 1-2, his passer rating up the middle of the field was a 144, and he averaged 10.7 yds/att with a 69% success rate.  But he targeted this area just 18% of the time.  And on the other 82% of his passes, he averaged a 67 rating with just 4.9 yds/att and a 39% success rate.  Sunday, Rodgers turned back to the middle of the field, targeting that area 44% of the time in the first half (almost 2.5 times more often) and on those throws, he averaged a 156.3 passer rating, with 13.3 yds/att and a 75% success rate.  This helped propel the Packers to a 31-10 halftime lead and their most productive day of the season.

Denver’s secret success

The game manager Trevor Siemian has not produced well enough to impress the DFS community, and thus, this Broncos offense was viewed as unproductive apart from RB CJ Anderson.  But Siemian has been (intelligently) spreading the ball around, rather than funneling it to Demaryius Thomas like Peyton Manning did last season.  And little did most people know, entering the week, the Broncos ranked #2 in pass success rate, with 55% of their passes graded as successful.  On Sunday, in his first career road start, Siemian recorded the NFL’s best passer rating of 135.9.  He was successful on 56% of his passes.  On early downs, he recorded a 116 rating and completed 69% of his passes.  When forced to third down, Siemian averaged 15.5 yds/att, recorded 2 TDs and was successful on 63% of his passes, notching a 146 rating.  This was particularly important as the Broncos averaged just 2.3 yds/rush and ranked 26th in rushing success, with just 30% of their rushes grading as successful.  If not for Siemian and his secretive passing efficiency, the Broncos don’t leave Cincinnati with a win.

Washington’s play tendency shift

For the first two weeks of the season, the Redskins went 73% pass when the game was within one-score, which was the most pass-heavy attack in the NFL.  On third down, they were 95% pass, the most in the NFL.  The problem was that they were averaging a 59% success rate on their run plays (4th best in the NFL) but just a 49% success rate on their passes, including 24% inside the red zone (26th).  Sunday against the Giants, the Redskins flipped.  They called a whopping 27 runs when the game was within one score, 3rd most in the NFL.  And their pass rate dropped from the most in the NFL (73%) down to the 7th least (52%).  Against a Giants defense much stronger than the Cowboys from the week before, the Redskins overall success rate dropped.  However, not having so much of the burden on Kirk Cousins made the difference:  he delivered a 109 rating and averaged 8.7 yds/att including 2 TDs and 0 Ints, as opposed to his rating in weeks 1-2 which was 80 with 1 TD and 3 Ints.  The Redskins offense still needs to improve in the red zone (0 of 4) but their play balance and timely takeaways (+2 in turnovers) helped them earn their first win of the season.

Ryan Fitzpatrick jettisoned the interceptions with frequency

Through two weeks, Ryan Fitzpatrick posted a 98 rating and 49% of his passes were successful, with a 3:1 TD:Int ratio and 8.3 yds/att.  With extra rest and time to prepare for the Chiefs, the Jets game plan vs the Chiefs was shut down early.  In the first half, Fitzpatrick attempted just 13 passes, was successful on just 31% of them and threw 1 interception.  His 5.2 yds/att led to a 30 rating, the worst first half rating of any QB this week.  The Jets couldn’t get much accomplished on the ground, either, recording the 20th rated rushing success rate in the first half.  Finding themselves trailing by 14 points at the half, Fitzpatrick went from inefficient to frenetic and illogical with his 2nd half passing.  The Jets attempted 31 passes, and Fitzpatrick threw 5 interceptions in the second half, posting a passer rating of 16.  If that alone wasn’t bad enough, Fitzpatrick threw three red zone interceptions despite trailing at the time by just 2 TDs.  Two of the interceptions came from within the 6 yard line.  It was a brutal performance.

Sam Bradford’s rebirth away from Chip Kelly

Despite little success in Philadelphia under Chip Kelly, Sam Bradford has taken to his new surroundings in Minnesota.  The first half didn’t look like it, with Bradford recording a paltry 0.6 yds/att and just 1 first down on 13 pass attempts (8%).  And the Vikings trailed by 2 points heading into the locker room, with their only first half score being a 2nd quarter return TD.  But in the 2nd half, Bradford recorded first downs on an incredible 10 of his 17 pass attempts (59%) and averaged 8.5 yds/attempt.  The Vikings run game was held in check (predictably), averaging just 38% success rate and 2.0 yds/carry in the second half.  So Bradford needed to step up and he did.  On early down passing in the second half, Bradford was an incredible 10/11 for 10.1 yds/att and a 139 rating.  In a very critical 3rd quarter, which saw the Vikings take the decisive lead, the Vikings were very balanced on first down (4 passes, 5 rushes) and Bradford delivered a perfect 158.3 rating, completing 100% of his attempts for 14.8 yds/att and importantly, first downs each time he passed on first down in the 3rd quarter.  With Mike Zimmer’s tremendous halftime adjustments, which held Cam Newton to 8/22 for 2.4 yds/att, a 7.0 rating and just 27% success rate, it will be hard to beat the Vikings in comeback mode.

Fly Eagles Fly

We knew the Eagles start to the season would be easy with games against the lowly Browns and Bears.  So the production from the offense was taken with a grain of salt.  But against the Steelers this week, they soared to new heights.  Just as much praise should fall onto HC Doug Pederson and OC Frank Reich as it should rookie QB Carson Wentz.  Last week, 51% of the Eagles plays were successful, 3rd best in the NFL.  The Eagles led 13-3 at halftime, and scored 21 unanswered in the 3rd quarter.  Amazingly, the Eagles did not call a single pass play inside the Steelers 40 yard line the entire 2nd half.  In fact, the entire 2nd half they ran just 7 plays total inside the Steelers 40 yard line, yet scored 3 TDs.  That was thanks to their explosive play offense and the Steelers shoddy secondary play.  On those 7 run plays, the Eagles averaged 6.6 yds/carry.  But let’s not overlook the defense under Jim Schwartz.  With the players having more rest by not playing on the field constantly as they were when Chip Kelly ran the offense, the Eagles defense leads the NFL by holding opponents to just a 21% success rate as they drive inside the Philadelphia 40.  That mark is the best in the NFL.  The Eagles defense held the Steelers to just a 33% play success rate on the day, the best number for any defense (NFL average was 45%).

The Sharp Football Show – 9/26/2016 – Special Guest Evan Silva

Warren Sharp breaks down the analytics that mattered from week 3 and year to date to better understand the NFL as we head to week 4.  Special guest segment with Evan Silva of Rotoworld.  Recorded LIVE Monday Night on Periscope – follow @SharpFootball on Twitter and watch LIVE each Monday Night at 8 PM ET.

Special Weekend Edition – NFL Week 3 – 9/24/16

Week 3’s Sunday games are TOMORROW and Warren Sharp of SharpFootballAnalysis.com is joined by Evan Silva of Rotoworld.com and discusses matchups, DFS plays and fades, and a massive deep dive into all the angles and advanced metrics you need to set great lineups and have a successful Sunday of sports betting.  Warren and Evan tackle thoughts on:

  • ||  Broncos @ Bengals
  • ||  Lions @ Packers
  • ||  Browns @ Dolphins
  • ||  Cardinals @ Bills
  • ||  49ers @ Seahawks
  • ||  Jets @ Chiefs  ||

And check out sharpfootballstats.com for the advanced, visualized Sharp Box Score and other data tools.

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