NFL Net Yards Per Play: Dolphins Quietly Remain At League’s Peak

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Written By Mo Nuwwarah | Last Updated
NFL net yards per play week 17

After it looked like the 49ers might pull away to finish as the NFL net yards per play kings, the Miami Dolphins are mounting a spirited defense of what had been their top spot for most of the season. After a good game and a long-awaited big win against the Cowboys, they remain tied with San Francisco atop the board. Today, we’ll also take a look at a recent net yards per play slump from the seemingly surging Lions.

While you’re handicapping NFL Week 17 odds, you may be searching for a new tool to apply to your step-by-step process. If so, yards per play (YPP) should be near the top of your checklist. NFL net yards per play — the difference between offensive and defensive performance on a per-play basis — gives a solid look at a team’s overall strength.

This report will be updated following each week of action and contains each team’s yards per play results on offense and defense, respectively. The “last three weeks” column captures the teams’ current form. If you see fit, one could be worth investing in for futures. You’ll want to look for undervalued teams whose per-play strength isn’t reflected in their final scores due to luck or other factors.

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NFL NET yards per play Explained

Yards per play — or YPP — is a handy metric for NFL bettors since it eliminates unpredictable variables, including turnovers, botched kicks, and scores via special teams. Ignoring randomness is a critical part of handicapping any sport. Therefore, yards per play on both sides of the ball helps indicate where a team is in the short term. Generally speaking, you will rarely find a below .500 team in the upper echelon of these rankings.

But like EPA, teams may be overvalued in the betting market if their YPP surges positively over a small sample size. You will see that various units — offensively, defensively, or both — benefit from playing weak competition over arbitrary samples. In turn, their output could be mis-contextualized.

Conversely, a team outperforming expectations against a presumably elite opponent is likely a sign of a positive trajectory.

NFL Yards Per Play: Offense, Defense And Net

Here are the current yards per play numbers before Week 17 action. Conventional wisdom says dividing the net yards per play difference by 0.15 gives an approximate spread between two teams.

Furthermore, keep in mind that the more or fewer plays a team runs/defends, these numbers could wind up skewed in either direction. This table can be sorted by clicking on the headers.

TeamYards Per PlayOpponent YPPNet YPPLast 3 Weeks NYPP
49ers6.851.82
Dolphins6.64.81.80.8
Ravens5.84.51.30.1
Chiefs5.54.80.70.8
Bills5.85.10.70.9
Cowboys5.550.5-1
Vikings5.550.50.6
Lions5.85.40.4-0.3
Rams5.65.30.30.4
Falcons5.14.90.21.5
Browns4.74.50.21.8
Texans5.45.30.1-1
Seahawks5.45.30.1-0.9
Eagles5.55.40.10.6
Saints5.15.100.5
Packers5.45.5-0.1-1.4
Colts5.15.2-0.1-1.1
Patriots4.74.8-0.10.4
Bears55.2-0.2-0.1
Titans4.95.2-0.3-0.3
Jets4.34.6-0.30
Raiders4.85.1-0.3-0.5
Jaguars5.25.5-0.3-0.4
Buccaneers5.15.6-0.5-0.2
Steelers4.95.4-0.5-0.9
Chargers5.15.7-0.6-1.2
Cardinals55.7-0.7-1.1
Bengals5.36.1-0.80.1
Panthers4.25-0.80.1
Commanders5.15.9-0.8-1.1
Broncos55.9-0.9-0.9
Giants4.35.7-1.4-0.6

Dolphins No Longer Powered By Early Outliers

Early on, it was easy to write off the Dolphins’ net yards per play dominance. They posted a few outlier games that were going to be tough to reproduce, such as scoring 70 points on the Broncos and putting up north of 500 yards of offense on the Giants and Chargers. When dealing with a small sample of games, such things will have an outsized effect, swaying the final numbers.

However, as the season approaches the finish line, the Dolphins remain at the top of the board in NFL net yards per play. The 49ers briefly surpassed them, but the Dolphins have reasserted themselves as the Niners’ equals in this critical stat.

While the offense powered things early, the key to the Dolphins remaining at the top has been the revival of the defense. It was never realistic to keep posting 10 YPP as they did against Denver, but defensive improvement offered lower-hanging fruit, and the Dolphins have plucked it.

Miami now ranks sixth in EPA/play allowed on defense, above average against both the rush and the pass. What’s more, only the Raiders have outperformed them over the second half of the season.

Yet, the Dolphins have not gotten a ton of respect in the betting market. Despite a position that has them two wins away from securing the AFC No. 1 seed, they sit a distant fourth in Super Bowl odds, not far behind the Eagles but well back of the Ravens and 49ers. This is despite the market saying the Dolphins are only about a point worse than Baltimore (see game line below).

Note that they will also miss budding star WR Jaylen Waddle, in all likelihood, and possibly for multiple games.

But if outstanding defensive coach Vic Fangio can continue crafting the defense to his desires, Miami looks like a strong contender in a wide-open AFC.

Dolphins Upcoming Schedule

No season schedule data available.

Dolphins Week 17 Odds

Miami Dolphins Futures & Week 16 Props

Miami Dolphins Player Statistics

Player GP Games Played CMP% Completion Percentage YDS Passing Yards YDS/G Yards Per Game YDS/C Yards Per Completion TDS Passing Touchdowns INT Interceptions thrown RTG Passer Rating
Tua Tagovailoa – QB 1769.3%4,624272.011.92914101.7
Mike White – QB 683.3%7412.314.81188.2
Player GP Games Played ATT Rushing Attempts YDS Rushing Yards YDS/C Yards Per Carry YDS/G Rushing Yards Per Game TDS Rushing Touchdowns
Raheem Mostert – RB 152091,0124.867.518
De’Von Achane – RB 111038007.872.78
Jeff Wilson Jr. – RB 10411884.618.80
Chris Brooks – RB 9191065.611.80
Tua Tagovailoa – QB 1735742.14.40
Salvon Ahmed – RB 822612.87.61
Erik Ezukanma – WR 25224.411.00
Tyreek Hill – WR 166152.50.90
Jaylen Waddle – WR 143124.00.90
Braxton Berrios – WR 1611111.00.70
Mike White – QB 68-9-1.1-1.50
Player GP Games Played TGTS Targets REC Receptions YDS Receiving Yards CTP% Catch Percentage YDS/R Yards Per Reception YAC/G Yards After Catch Per Game TDS Receiving Touchdowns
Tyreek Hill – WR 161711191,79969.6%15.140.813
Jaylen Waddle – WR 14104721,01469.2%14.130.14
Durham Smythe – TE 16433536681.4%10.58.70
Cedrick Wilson Jr. – WR 15382229657.9%13.53.83
Braxton Berrios – WR 16332723881.8%8.85.31
De’Von Achane – RB 11372719773.0%7.323.83
Raheem Mostert – RB 15322517578.1%7.014.23
Robbie Chosen – WR 96412666.7%31.53.41
River Cracraft – WR 1012912175.0%13.44.91
Salvon Ahmed – RB 823168869.6%5.513.61
Jeff Wilson Jr. – RB 1017148582.4%6.16.90
Chase Claypool – WR 122187738.1%9.62.11
Julian Hill – TE 15964866.7%8.02.00
Tanner Conner – TE 30000.0%0.00.00
Erik Ezukanma – WR 21000.0%0.00.00
Tyler Kroft – TE 80000.0%0.00.00
Player GP Games Played INT Interceptions PD Passes Defended FF Fumbles Forced FR Fumbles Recovered SACK QB Sacks TOT Total Tackles SOLO Solo Tackles AST Assisted Tackles
Bradley Chubb – LB 16005211744529
Zach Sieler – DT 17101210643232
Christian Wilkins – DT 1700129653629
Jaelan Phillips – LB 810007432815
Andrew Van Ginkel – LB 1710016694326
Jerome Baker – LB 1320002775027
Melvin Ingram – LB 300002761
Da’Shawn Hand – DT 160000117611
Kader Kohou – CB 1700011635211
Bruce Irvin – DL 300001110
David Long Jr. – LB 17001011106347
Duke Riley – LB 1700101382810
Eli Apple – CB 101000145378
Justin Houston – OLB 700001954
Justin Bethel – CB 8000011394
Raekwon Davis – DT 1700001281513
Jalen Ramsey – CB 103000022184
Cameron Goode – LB 1700000312
Channing Tindall – LB 1700000422
Xavien Howard – CB 131000044359
Elijah Campbell – DB 1600010963
Brandon Jones – S 1620110463511
Nik Needham – CB 1000000743
Quinton Bell – OLB 100000000
Calvin Munson – LB 800000220
DeShon Elliott – S 1510010825329
Jevon Holland – S 1210210745123

Lions Struggling In Net Yards Per Play

Lost in the celebration of the Lions clinching their first division title since 1993, the team has really struggled in the net yards per play department over recent weeks.

The 2-1 stretch has seen the Lions outgained by a significant margin in two games. In a 28-13 loss to the Bears, the Lions went -0.9 YPP. Even the Week 16 win against the Vikings didn’t look good by this metric, with an eye-opening -2.5 YPP.

Most of that ugliness came on the defensive end. Minnesota rolled up a whopping 7.6 YPP on offense despite starting its fourth QB of the season, Nick Mullens. Mullens fired for 9.3 YPA as the Vikings passed for more than 400 gross yards. And it didn’t come in a bunch of garbage time, as the outcome of the game was in the balance pretty much the whole way.

The pass rush hasn’t been the issue. Detroit ranks in the top five in both pressure rate and Adjusted Sack Rate.

Instead, it’s been the coverage letting the team down. PFF has been unimpressed with the unit, ranking them 27th.

The impending return of S CJ Gardner-Johnson should help, though it sounds like the sometime slot cover man will remain out for at least one more week.

Pass defense looks like an issue throughout the NFC playoffs, but an especially acute one for the Lions. Given the strength of the passing offenses in the conference, they’ll have to clean this up in a hurry if they hope to keep the good times rolling.

Lions Upcoming Schedule

No season schedule data available.

Lions Week 17 Odds

Detroit Lions Futures & Week 17 Props

Detroit Lions Player Statistics

Player GP Games Played CMP% Completion Percentage YDS Passing Yards YDS/G Yards Per Game YDS/C Yards Per Completion TDS Passing Touchdowns INT Interceptions thrown RTG Passer Rating
Jared Goff – QB 1767.3%4,571268.911.23012101.4
Player GP Games Played ATT Rushing Attempts YDS Rushing Yards YDS/C Yards Per Carry YDS/G Rushing Yards Per Game TDS Rushing Touchdowns
David Montgomery – RB 142191,0154.672.513
Jahmyr Gibbs – RB 151829455.263.010
Craig Reynolds – RB 17411794.410.51
Kalif Raymond – WR 1777510.74.40
Jameson Williams – WR 123299.72.41
Amon-Ra St. Brown – WR 164246.01.50
Jared Goff – QB 1732210.71.22
Zonovan Knight – RB 23134.36.50
Jake Funk – RB 42105.02.50
Sam LaPorta – TE 17144.00.20
Mohamed Ibrahim – RB 1000.00.00
Player GP Games Played TGTS Targets REC Receptions YDS Receiving Yards CTP% Catch Percentage YDS/R Yards Per Reception YAC/G Yards After Catch Per Game TDS Receiving Touchdowns
Amon-Ra St. Brown – WR 161641191,51572.6%12.741.810
Sam LaPorta – TE 171208688971.7%10.321.110
Josh Reynolds – WR 17644060462.5%15.110.25
Kalif Raymond – WR 17443548979.5%14.012.61
Jameson Williams – WR 12412435458.5%14.88.82
Jahmyr Gibbs – RB 15715231673.2%6.120.91
Donovan Peoples-Jones – WR 15251315552.0%11.92.30
David Montgomery – RB 14241611766.7%7.310.60
Brock Wright – TE 1414139192.9%7.03.51
Craig Reynolds – RB 175547100.0%9.43.50
James Mitchell – TE 152228100.0%14.00.80
Jake Funk – RB 41112100.0%12.03.00
Zonovan Knight – RB 2118100.0%8.06.50
Antoine Green – WR 921250.0%2.00.10
Anthony Firkser – TE 20000.0%0.00.00
Tre’Quan Smith – WR 10000.0%0.00.00
Player GP Games Played INT Interceptions PD Passes Defended FF Fumbles Forced FR Fumbles Recovered SACK QB Sacks TOT Total Tackles SOLO Solo Tackles AST Assisted Tackles
Aidan Hutchinson – DL 17103212513615
Alim McNeill – DL 1300105311615
Alex Anzalone – LB 16000131288543
Ifeatu Melifonwu – S 172010331238
Jack Campbell – LB 1700002895039
John Cominsky – DL 1600002361422
Romeo Okwara – DL 1600102936
Charles Harris – DL 130000213103
Levi Onwuzurike – DL 1000001541
Josh Paschal – DL 120001125178
Jalen Reeves-Maybin – LB 1700001743
Benito Jones – DL 1700001261313
Brian Branch – DB 1530101745024
Derrick Barnes – LB 1600101804238
Jerry Jacobs – CB 133000055496
Chase Lucas – CB 100000000
Craig James – CB 200000110
Brandon Joseph – S 200000000
Khalil Dorsey – CB 600000431
Kindle Vildor – CB 60010011101
Kerby Joseph – S 1540000786711
Emmanuel Moseley – CB 100000000
Malcolm Rodriguez – LB 17000001596
James Houston – LB 200000110
Cameron Sutton – CB 1710100655015
Tyson Alualu – DL 200000431

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