Time, if the Righteous Brothers are to be believed, goes by so slowly. This may be the case for iconic ballads, the type of which any singer worth his or salt could take to the top of the hit parade. But we don’t want NFL offenses to go slowly, we yearn for pace. With this in mind, we return once again to contemplate the Pace of Play report for the past week.
The Pace of Play Leaderboard
You Gotta Speed it up
The Indianapolis Colts stepped on the gas from Week 5 to Week 6. They were No. 17 a week ago with a 1.979 Pace of Play mark. Now, they sit No. 9 at 2.059. This is something to consider moving forward and makes the ancillary pieces of their offense interesting. This is especially true if they can retain their 80-percent neutral pass rate from Week 6, not to mention their 57-percent no-huddle rate. It could even elevate Matt Ryan back into the streamable conversation if he can cut down the danger plays.
The Cleveland Browns are another team that jumped into the top ten with their No. 8 ranking a season-high. They are a team that, unlike the Colts, is not ready to begin sprouting additional fantasy-relevant players with their neutral pass rate in Week 6 at a mere 52-percent. Their overall pass-to-run ratio for 2022 is only 1.09. You want Nick Chubb, you want David Njoku, and you want Amari Cooper. You want no more Browns.
But Then You Gotta Slow it Down
The bottom four teams in Week 5 retained their spots at the foot of the pace chart after Week 6. The Pittsburgh Steelers got a touch faster with their pace of play mark of 1.756. This is a 0.049 improvement on their Week 5 1.707. However, they are still the slowest team in terms of plays per minute in the entire league.
The feisty Atlanta Falcons are No. 27 in this metric after six weeks with a pace of play mark of 1.899 which is a new season-low. They showed exactly who they want to be on offense against the 49ers this past week as they posted a scarcely creditable 35-percent neutral pass rate. This is a team that spent their last two first-round draft picks on Kyle Pitts and Drake London. And they want to pass the ball on 35-percent of their offensive plays when the game is within one score. Thanks, I hate it.
The Week Ahead
The clash between the Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions is the only matchup this week between two teams inside the top ten in terms of the pace of play. The woeful nature of the Lions’ defense, especially against the run, makes the Cowboys running back duo of Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott somewhat attractive options this week. Pollard for the big play, and Elliott for the volume.
The Arizona Cardinals and New Orleans Saints is another matchup between swift offenses. However, in the case of the Cardinals, I’m not sure how much fantasy goodness we can expect. Despite ranking No. 1 in the pace of play, the Cardinals are No. 14 in offensive yards and No. 21 in points scored this season. They’ve also lost Marquise Brown for the foreseeable future, robbing them of their highest-scoring fantasy player other than Kyler Murray. It’s a good thing these two teams play quite fast because the game should be over that much sooner.
The clash between the New England Patriots and the Chicago Bears is unlikely to be one that gains fantasy managers’ attention too much. The Bears play slowly and don’t pass the ball. The Patriots play slow and don’t want to pass the ball either. With the Bears allowing the second-most rushing yards in the NFL after six weeks, you should start Rhamondre Stevenson and then ignore this one completely.