The 3 and Out uses a number of RotoViz apps to uncover significant workload changes; league, team, and player-specific trends; and hidden but powerful statistics.
Welcome to the first 2020 edition of The 3 and Out! On a weekly basis, we’ll use the RotoViz tools, my weekly research, and some of my favorite resources to find key pieces of information relating to teams, players, and matchups. Specifically, I’ll highlight a key team, player, and upcoming opponent specific takeaway.
This week’s edition will look at 16 teams and after Week 2 has played out, we’ll hit the rest.
The Cardinals started the 2020 season off with a bang, defeating the 49ers 24-20. Arizona recorded 84 plays while favoring the pass with a 54% to 46% split. The team operated under no-huddle conditions for 50% of snaps, topped only by the Giants (53%). In 2019, the team ran just 64 plays per 60 minutes and were in no-huddle only 27% of the time. Interestingly, the Cardinals didn’t huddle on 52% of plays while in neutral game script.1
Christian Kirk disappeared in the team’s first game with stud wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, managing just a single reception. However, Kirk did draw five targets, 70 air yards, and recorded nearly eight expected points. If Week 1 turns out to be an indicator of the Cardinals’ style of play this season, Kirk should rebound as the season moves along.
Arizona faces Washington, a team that shocked Philadelphia to start the season. The Football Team has faced a gauntlet of running backs over the last five weeks, but nonetheless the outlook for Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds is optimistic.
Calvin Ridley, Julio Jones, and Russell Gage collectively scored 79 points against Seattle. Each receiver eclipsed 20 points. Since 2000, there have only been 10 occurrences in which three of a team’s WRs scored 20 or more points in the same week. I wouldn’t bank on this happening again. However, it does make Russell Gage a viable option and speaks to the prowess of Atlanta’s aerial attack. It’s possible that Sunday was nothing more than a fantastic outing for the Falcons or an off day for the Seahawks, but it’s worth noting that none of the teams Seattle faced in its four prior games (LAR, ARI, CAR, SF) produced more than a single 20-plus-point WR.
Todd Gurley saw 19 opportunities in his first game as a Falcon, five of which were targets. He’ll look to build upon a 14-point performance when he faces Dallas this weekend. The last time he squared off against the Cowboys, in Week 15 of 2019, he scored 21 points. Gurley controlled 70% of Atlanta’s rushing game. Brian Hill, the team’s RB2, saw just three rushes.
Also in Gurley’s favor is the fact that the Cowboys allowed Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers to compile over 31 points over the weekend.
The Ravens dominated Cleveland to start the season and look primed to be an absolute juggernaut once again. Lamar Jackson led the team in rushing yards with 45, followed by Mark Ingram with 29 and J.K. Dobbins with 22. Ingram led the team in rushing attempts with 10 followed by Jackson and Dobbins with seven each.
Marquise Brown earned 114 air yards and tied Mark Andrews with six targets as the team’s target share leaders. His 15 point performance was actually the fourth-best of his career. Brown scored more than two points over expectation per game as a rookie. He’ll need to carry this through 2020, assuming his workload doesn’t increase, as he managed only 8.7 expected points in Week 1.
The Chiefs torched Houston’s secondary last week, which bodes well for Brown and company. Through its last five games, Houston has allowed opposing WR corps an average weekly ranking of 11 based on points allowed.
Buffalo recorded more offensive snaps than any other team in Week 1 and leaned on its passing game on 60% of plays. That’s not to say that it operated