The Pace of Play Report: Week 3

by Neil Dutton · Analytics & Advanced Metrics

Back once again like a renegade master, I have returned to cast my eyes over the speed at which NFL offenses are currently operating. It’s time once again for the Pace of Play report. The Pace of Play is a metric that fantasy managers in all formats should be aware of. You see, we need players to make plays in order to score fantasy points. The more plays a team runs, the more chances for fantasy points there are. It’s yet another useful tool to help us in making lineup choices and propel us to a title or a big DFS win. The possibilities are almost endless.

That all being said, let’s see how the teams are currently ranked.

Don’t Spare the Horses

There wasn’t much change at the top of the rankings from Week 2. The New York Jets and the Arizona Cardinals are still setting the pace if you’ll forgive the pun. The Jets are actually getting slightly faster. They went from 2.349 in Week 1 to 2.457 after Week 3. The Minnesota Vikings are another team that is starting to speed up. They currently sit at No. 3 after being way down at No. 22 after Week 1.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have broken into the top ten with a pace of play mark of 2.126. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin noted this week that they were having some success running the no-huddle offense. However, he also noted that this was going to be a situational element of their offense, so we may not be able to hang our hats on the Steelers playing fast every week.

The Philadelphia Eagles dropped out of the top ten in Week 2 after nursing a large lead against the Vikings. In Week 3, while nursing a large lead against the Commanders, they bounced back up to No. 6. It would appear that they are going to keep their foot on the gas more often than not. This is good news for most of their fantasy-relevant players. This helps settle the fears coming into the season that they wouldn’t be able to keep everyone productive. Jalen Hurts, always a threat to run himself, is one of the most efficient passers in the league so far. His receivers don’t need huge amounts of volume to be relevant at the moment.

Jalen Hurts Efficiency Stats

Don’t Bother Saddling the Horses

The Tennessee Titans finally won their race to the bottom in Week 3. They were No. 30 after Week 1 and No. 31 after Week 2, but now they proudly wear the crown of the slowest offense in the NFL. This isn’t great news for people expecting viable receiving options to emerge from this offense, especially when twinned with how run-heavy the Titans currently are. It’s Derrick Henry or nothing, it would seem.

Despite running an incredible 90 offensive plays against the Miami Dolphins in Week 3, the Buffalo Bills remain in stroll mode when it comes to plays per minute, with a 1.720 mark. They are at least passing the ball at an elite rate, with 44.7 pass attempts per game good for No. 3 in the NFL. So the players we want from this team, like Stefon Diggs or Dawson Knox (it’s coming for Knox, just be patient) will continue to get their opportunities.

The Atlanta Falcons are another team, like the Titans, who are getting slower with each passing week. They’ve gone from No. 11 to No. 18 to No. 25 over the last three weeks. They are also No. 31 in pass attempts per game, so it’s likely to be a struggle for both Kyle Pitts AND Drake London to smash in the same week. They’re just not going to get the opportunities. Although Marcus Mariota‘s legs should keep him in consideration for weekly streaming even with a low ceiling in terms of passing volume.

Marcus Mariota Advanced Rushing Stats

The Week Ahead

The track meet of the week should be the clash between the Steelers and the New York Jets.  This is the only game on the Week 4 slate between two top ten teams in terms of the pace of play. However, the Steelers may decide this is a week where they don’t need to play fast. There is also the chance that Zach Wilson returns to the Jets lineup. This could see the Jets dial back the play volume in order to limit the potential damage a mistake-prone quarterback can do to their offense.

The Vikings and Saints travel to my side of the Atlantic on Sunday in another game that should see plenty of plays run. The Vikings are currently No. 3 with a 2.275 pace of play mark, while the Saints have gone from No. 17 to 14 to 12 over the first three weeks of the season. The all-NFC East clash between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Commanders should see plenty of plays run. The danger is that the Eagles showed what can happen if a good defense goes up against a Carson Wentz-led offense running lots of plays. There could be lots of sacks.

The Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens is a match that should be saved for Prime Time, but instead it will take place early on Sunday. While it should be a must-watch affair, the numbers suggest that you’ll see the play clock approach 0:01 a fair number of times in this one. I don’t think ancillary options for either side are must-play options in Week 4. The Falcons against the Browns is another such affair. Start your studs from both teams. Maybe consider the two quarterbacks as streaming/cheap DFS options. But don’t get cute.

See you ahead of Week 5. Almost at the quarter pole of the season already, incredible right?