By almost any efficiency metrics, Geno Smith has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and in fantasy. What a time to be alive. Smith leads the NFL in completion rate over expected and ranks fifth in EPA per dropback. He’s played extremely well so far but the biggest difference between Smith and the Seahawks' passing games of old is that Smith is just executing.
Shane Waldron brought a lot of layups to this passing attack last season — Russell Wilson just took those gimmes too infrequently.
Just 39.2 percent of Smith’s completions have gone for 10-plus yards this year, ranking 26th among starting quarterbacks. He’s taking those layups — and why would you not, with the talented receiver duo in Seattle?
The play-action game has also been white-hot. Smith has used play-action on 29.8 percent of his dropbacks (11th-highest). He has an 8.1 yards per attempt on those plays and his completion rate is 11.7% higher than on non-play action passes.
Just executing the offense when the players are this talented goes a long way.
Who knows how long the Geno hot streak will keep rolling. While it is, we'll call it a huge win for DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. These guys were allowed to tumble down fantasy draft boards. It was never a reflection of their ability. Anyone that knows ball should admit that Metcalf and Lockett are both legitimate No. 1 receivers and an easy top-five duo in the game.
Now that they’re getting good quarterback play — even if Smith doesn’t stay this hot I have no reason to think he’ll just fall off a cliff in this ecosystem — they’re going to way out-kick their ADPs. I’ve got Metcalf right around the top-15 receivers rest-of-season and Lockett as a top-30 guy.
Go back and check where they were going in August/early September.
The results out of both Seattle and Denver so far this season reveal that the ecosystem and offense the Seahawks have was severely underestimated coming into this year. Smith is thriving in it and keeping extremely gifted players around him out-kicking expectations. It’s awesome to watch.
The Atlanta Falcons rank ninth in yards per drive
The Falcons offense is good. They also rank 10th in points per drive and second in rushing DVOA.
Arthur Smith is the most hated man on fantasy twitter because of the Kyle Pitts situation, but you’ll have to get over it. Smith has a team with one of the weakest rosters in the entire NFL playing well and checking in at 2-2. They’ve punched above their weight so far.
Sorry, but Smith has done a good coaching job.
The Falcons' rushing offense is awesome. Smith has these guys moving bodies up front and the running backs are getting into wide lanes. It’s not like Atlanta has a star back in its arsenal, either. However, their rushing efficiency makes me more interested in guys like Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley over the next four weeks while Cordarrelle Patterson is out.
Rookie Drake London has been a big catalyst for the overall effectiveness of this offense. With Pitts, who missed much of the week of practice with a hamstring injury, being ruled out of Week 5, London will be tasked with a massive target share. The fact that Marcus Mariota has used play action on almost 50% of his dropbacks will help the rookie wideout get home even in a difficult matchup.
Breece Hall's air yards per target went up after Week 4. He currently leads all backs with 5.04
I wrote a ton about this in last week’s advanced stat notebook: Breece Hall has some WILD receiving usage.
That was not the case for Hall.
It can’t be emphasized enough that Hall isn’t some check-down merchant. He’s getting a real receiving workload. His air yards per target figure of 5.04 would blow away the highest career average for a player since 2015 — David Johnson at 3.38.
Yes, the Jets offense has many questions. For fantasy football though, Breece Hall should only continue to become one of the right answers.
Top 10 in unrealized air yards
1 - Chris Olave 338
2 - Diontae Johnson 200
3 - Kyle Pitts 196
4 - Jahan Dotson 178
5 - Elijah Moore 175
6 - George Pickens 174
7 - Terry McLaurin 166
8 - Marvin Jones 160
9 - Mark Andrews 154
10 - CeeDee Lamb 152
There are a few interesting takeaways here. Let’s get a few guys out of the way: Chris Olave and Mark Andrews are among the league leaders in total air yards. That’s the only reason they find themselves here. As for Marvin Jones … well, I wouldn’t call anything going on there interesting.
Players like Elijah Moore and Kyle Pitts have gotten off to painfully slow starts. These unrealized air yards are part of the reason why. Moore and Pitts are the downfield threats in their passing games. That’s going to make their production volatile. I’m surprised Moore has been exclusively used as a boundary vertical receiver so far this year. He’s too good to be in a such limited deployment. Pitts won’t play in Week 5 so we’ll have to postpone the latest round of frustration about his lack of schemed targets.
CeeDee Lamb’s presence on this list shows that, despite how good he’s been to start the season, there’s still meat on the bone. Both Lamb and the offense overall have ticked up their play of late. With Dak Prescott coming back soon, we can hope for even brighter days ahead.
It’s fascinating, and telling, to see a pair of teammates on this list with the perimeter receivers for Washington and Pittsburgh both represented. I’ll expand on the Commanders' receivers in the next section so let’s stick with the team making a quarterback change.
The body language of the Steelers receivers told you all you needed to know about how they viewed their stock with Mitchell Trubisky. He just wasn’t giving these guys enough chances. Diontae Johnson and George Pickens have all the talent in the world. It’s always a tough gig relying on rookie quarterbacks to come in and offer above-average play right away. But Kenny Pickett has a lot to work with.
I’d be buying both of those receivers just on the chance Pickett can elevate this situation.
Both Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson have run 50 go routes this year
Only three players have run more: Marquise Brown, Ja’Marr Chase and Mack Hollins.
I’m a big fan of Washington’s offensive coordinator, Scott Turner, but this is a nit worth picking. McLaurin’s air yards per target currently sits at 15.4. That’s more than a full two yards higher than last year (13.1). McLaurin is the team’s No. 1 wideout and is too good to be used as almost purely a deep threat. I don’t even think such a role really fits Dotson’s skill set either.
In comparison to these two, Curtis Samuel’s 4.1 air yards per target seems ridiculous. Samuel has history as a vertical flanker receiver and can do more than catch bunnyhop passes from the slot. A blending of the roles between these players would be beneficial for all and could be in the works as the season goes on.
From a pure fantasy perspective, Dotson not being on the field does open up room for McLaurin to do even more. The overlap in their roles has been surprising and again, likely needs to change. Even if it doesn’t, Carson Wentz should find life slightly more comfortable than he did against Philadelphia and Dallas the last two weeks against Tennessee’s solid but not special pass rush in Week 5. Their secondary can be exploited down the field.
Bottom 10 in combined adjusted line yards, sack rate and pressure rate allowed*
32 - NYG
31 - WAS
30 - LAR
29 - CIN
28 - CHI
We expected to find several of these teams down at the bottom of the list. Perhaps we should have seen the Rams’ decline coming but alas, here they are.
It’s obvious that the decline in the overall ecosystem has been a brutal reality for just about everyone in this offense. Matthew Stafford hasn’t played well but can almost never get off his first read. The short Tyler Higbee targets aren’t doing much for this team.
Sean McVay has to completely overhaul how this team plays as a passing unit. They can’t operate like they did last year with this offensive line. It remains to be seen if he can pull it off.