Noise and Signal Callers: Week 1

Noise and Signal Callers: Week 1

“Noise and Signal Callers” is a statistical smorgasbord for the upcoming NFL week. Some of the stats are (hopefully) predictive, while others are just interesting. … I leave it to you to sort out which is which.

Denver v. Carolina

 DenverCarolina
Starting QBTrevor SiemianCam Newton
Spread2.5-2.5
Over/Under41.541.5
Implied Total19.522

Trevor Siemian

The Panthers allowed the lowest adjusted yards per attempt (AYA) in 2015, and they weren’t vulnerable in any area of the field:

carolina1

Siemian has zero NFL pass attempts.

Cam Newton

Carolina’s low implied total is scary, but not a death knell. Carolina’s QBs (i.e., Newton) scored 6.0 points per game better than the implied total would have predicted in 2015, best in the league. Seattle (+3.1) and Buffalo (+2.6) ranked third and fifth, respectively. The commonality: these were the top-three teams by QB rushing yards.

Tampa Bay v. Atlanta

 Tampa BayAtlanta
Starting QBJameis WinstonMatt Ryan
Spread3-3
Over/Under47.547.5
Implied Total22.2525

Jameis Winston

Atlanta allowed just 19 passing touchdowns in 2015, tied for third-lowest in the league. Tampa Bay threw for just 22 passing touchdowns, tied for eleventh-lowest in the league.

Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan had just three top-10 finishes in 2015 compared to 18 in his previous three seasons. But his volume and yardage efficiency numbers are relatively stable over that time. The difference was touchdowns: Ryan’s 21 TDs marked his lowest total since his 2008 rookie season.

Buffalo v. Baltimore

 BuffaloBaltimore
Starting QBTyrod TaylorJoe Flacco
Spread3-3
Over/Under44.544.5
Implied Total20.7523.75

Tyrod Taylor

Taylor ranked in the top-five among 2015 qualifying QBs in yards per attempt, adjusted yards per attempt, and interception rate. He was among the top-ten in quarterback rating, Total QBR, and adjusted net yards per attempt. Before 2015, he had 35 career pass attempts.

Joe Flacco

Flacco averaged 41.3 pass attempts per game in 2015. His previous career average was 32.7, and his previous career high was 38.4 in 2013. 2013 and 2015 marked Flacco’s worst seasons in interceptions per game (1.2 in 2015 and 1.4 in 2013) and interception rate (2.9 percent in 2015 and 3.6 percent in 2013). They also marked his worst and third-worst seasons in yards per attempt (6.8 in 2015 and 6.4 in 2013).

Chicago v. Houston

 ChicagoHouston
Starting QBJay CutlerBrock Osweiler
Spread6.5-6.5
Over/Under4444
Implied Total18.7525.25

Jay Cutler

Cutler has thrown for at least 300 yards in Week 1 six times. Among active passers, only Drew Brees has topped 300 yards more times in the opening week.

Brock Osweiler

Osweiler’s 6.9 adjusted yards per attempt, though only good for twenty-sixth best in 2015, would have been a slight improvement upon Houston’s 6.7 adjusted yards per attempt.

Green Bay v. Jacksonville

 Green BayJacksonville
Starting QBAaron RodgersBlake Bortles
Spread-4.54.5
Over/Under4848
Implied Total26.2521.75

Aaron Rodgers

Since taking over as Green Bay’s starter in 2008, Rodgers had never averaged less than 7.0 yards per attempt, and he’d averaged less than 8.0 yards per attempt only twice. Until 2015, that is, when he averaged 6.7 yards per attempt. Over that stretch, Rodgers accounts for four of the top 25 yards per attempt seasons. Aside from Rodgers, only Philip Rivers (4) and Ben Roethlisberger (3) have more than two such seasons.

Blake Bortles

Bortles completed 72 passes for 20 yards or more in 2015, most in the league. Next best was Drew Brees with 68. But only 10 of those passes went for touchdowns. Seven QBs had more touchdown passes of at least 20 yards.

The Packers haven’t allowed 300 yards passing or three touchdowns in their last eight games. That’s the longest such streak in the league.

San Diego v. Kansas City

 San DiegoKansas City
Starting QBPhilip RiversAlex Smith
Spread7.5-7.5
Over/Under44.544.5
Implied Total18.526

Philip Rivers

In 23 career games where his team faced an implied total of 20 or less, Rivers has averaged 17.0 points per game. In 141 career games where his team’s implied total was greater than 20, he’s averaged 16.1 points per game.

Alex Smith

NFL teams averaged 35.7 pass attempts per game in 2015. Smith hasn’t hit 35 pass attempts since Week 6 of 2015. He hasn’t hit 35 attempts in a win since Week 8 of 2013.

Oakland v. New Orleans

 OaklandNew Orleans
Starting QBDerek CarrDrew Brees
Spread1-1
Over/Under5151
Implied Total2526

Derek Carr

Through the first eight games of 2015, Carr was on pace for 4,188 passing yards, 38 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions. His 8.4 adjusted yards per attempt was fifth-best in the league. Through the final eight games of 2015, Carr was on pace for 3,768 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions. His 5.83 adjusted yards per attempt was below Johnny Manziel‘s 5.84.

Drew Brees

The Saints’ implied team total of 26 is sixth-highest in the league, but not much above the average of 25.1 over Brees’ New Orleans career. Indeed, in games with an implied total between 25 and 27, Brees has averaged 19.8 points per game — slightly less than his 20.6-point average in all games with the Saints.

Cincinnati v. New York Jets

 CincinnatiNY Jets
Starting QBAndy DaltonRyan Fitzpatrick
Spread-2.52.5
Over/Under41.541.5
Implied Total2219.5

Andy Dalton

Dalton’s 2015 may have been the quietest career year in history. His 8.9 adjusted yards per attempt was the third-highest in 2015 and the first time he topped even 7.0. His 66 percent completion rate was a career high, and his 1.8 percent interception rate was a career low.

Ryan Fitzpatrick

The Bengals defense had the best interception to touchdown ratio in the league in 2015, picking off 21 passes and allowing only 18 passing touchdowns. Even after shattering his career high with 31 touchdowns in 2015, Fitzpatrick has thrown an interception for every 1.32 touchdowns in his career. For comparison, Jay Cutler boasts a 1.44:1 ratio.

Cleveland v. Philadelphia

 ClevelandPhiladelphia
Starting QBRobert Griffin IIICarson Wentz
Spread4-4
Over/Under4141
Implied Total18.522.5

Robert Griffin III

In his first 18 career starts, Griffin threw for 300 yards six times and accounted for 32 touchdowns. In his last 17 starts, he’s thrown for 300 yards just once and accounted for 15 touchdowns.

Carson Wentz

The Browns surrendered the third-most passing touchdowns (34) and the second-highest adjusted yards per attempt (8.5) in 2015. Despite facing the fourth-fewest pass attempts in the league, they surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks.

Minnesota v. Tennessee

 MinnesotaTennessee
Starting QBShaun Hill?Marcus Mariota
Spread-22
Over/Under4141
Implied Total21.519.5

Marcus Mariota

Among 33 rookie QBs who played at least eight games since 2000, Mariota had the fifth-highest adjusted yards per attempt (7.4). Only Robert Griffin (8.5), Ben Roethlisberger (8.3), Russell Wilson (8.1), and Matt Ryan (7.5) were better.

Shaun Hill

The Titans faced the fewest pass attempts in the league in 2015, but they allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game.

For his career, Hill has averaged 6.46 adjusted yards per pass attempt. Similar players include Ryan Tannehill (6.57), Alex Smith (6.48), Jason Campbell (6.28), and Sam Bradford (6.11).

Miami v. Seattle

 MiamiSeattle
Starting QBRyan TannehillRussell Wilson
Spread10.5-10.5
Over/Under4444
Implied Total16.7527.25

Ryan Tannehill

Before this week, the lowest implied team total the Dolphins faced under Tannehill was 17.25 (on the road against Seattle in 2012).

The Seahawks allowed only 14 passing touchdowns in 2015. The Bengals were the next stingiest, allowing 18.

Russell Wilson

Since 2013, Seattle has been favored by at least seven points 18 times. Wilson averaged 17.3 points per game in those contests. In all other games, he averaged 22.0.

New York Giants v. Dallas

 NY GiantsDallas
Starting QBEli ManningDak Prescott
Spread00
Over/Under4646
Implied Total2323

Eli Manning

The Cowboys allowed 300 passing yards only once in 2015, in a Week 4 road matchup against the Saints. Dallas faced just 506 pass attempts in 2015, second-fewest behind Tennessee.

Dak Prescott

The Giants allowed the most passing yards in the league in 2015 and the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. But when opponents had an implied total of less than 24, their quarterbacks averaged only 18.0 points per game. When opponents had an implied total of greater than 24, their quarterbacks averaged 24.0 points per game.

Detroit v. Indianapolis

 DetroitIndianapolis
Starting QBMatt StaffordAndrew Luck
Spread3.5-3.5
Over/Under5151
Implied Total23.7527.25

Matt Stafford

Stafford’s 67.2 percent completion rate was fifth highest in the league. Before 2015, his career completion rate was 59.6 percent. Even in the first eight games (before Jim Bob Cooter took over as offensive coordinator), Stafford completed 64.6 percent of his passes, which would have been a career high.

Andrew Luck

Luck has averaged 19.7 points in the 21 games where the Colts’ implied team total was 26 or greater. He’s averaged 20.6 points in the 34 games where the Colts’ implied team total was less than 26.

New England v. Arizona

 New EnglandArizona
Starting QBJimmy GaroppoloCarson Palmer
Spread3.5-3.5
Over/Under4747
Implied Total23.7527.25

Jimmy Garoppolo

The Cardinals surrendered only 16.2 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks in 2015, sixth-lowest in the league. New England was the pass happiest team in the league, throwing 629 times despite having the second-most favorable average game script.

Carson Palmer

Palmer’s late-season demise is more myth than reality. Through the first eight games of 2015, Palmer had the highest adjusted yards per attempt in the league (9.68), and he was second to Tom Brady in passing touchdowns (20 to Brady’s 22). Through the final eight games, he had the fourth-highest adjusted yards per attempt (8.52) and tenth-most touchdowns (15).

Pittsburgh v. Washington

 PittsburghWashington
Starting QBBen RoethlisbergerKirk Cousins
Spread-33
Over/Under5050
Implied Total26.523.5

Ben Roethlisberger

Despite missing more than a quarter of the Steelers’ Week 3 contest, Roethlisberger averaged 328 passing yards per game in 2015. Not only was this the highest in the league, it was the third-highest per-game production in the last decade.

Kirk Cousins

Over the final eight games of 2015, Cousins had the highest passer rating (126.1) and adjusted yards per attempt (10.65) in the league.

Los Angeles v. San Francisco

 Los AngelesSan Francisco
Starting QBCase KeenumBlaine Gabbert
Spread-2.52.5
Over/Under43.543.5
Implied Total2320.5

Blaine Gabbert

Gabbert has thrown a touchdown in each of his last 10 appearances. Only Kirk Cousins and Russell Wilson have longer streaks. Gabbert’s streak began on October 6, 2013.

Case Keenum

The Rams haven’t topped 300 yards passing in their last 28 games. The next closest streak is Buffalo at 17 games.

Brian Malone

Brian has been playing fantasy football for more than a decade, and he made the jump to 2QB in 2013. If you follow him @BrianMaloneFF, he will at some point lecture you about longevity and positional baselines until you tell him to shut up.

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