The 20 Best Offensive Players From Week 8
Week 8 games aren't over yet, so maybe the title of this article is a little misleading. It should read something like The 20 Best Offensive Players From the Thursday and Sunday Games in Week 8.
That just doesn't flow all that well.
As you know, we like math here at numberFire. Our algorithms help tell a better story about sports -- they're able to dig through the nonsense, helping us look at things that matter on the court, field or rink.
With football, we love our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, which measures the number of points a player adds (or loses) to his team versus what he's expected to add. Rather than counting statistics like yards, touchdowns and receptions, NEP looks at down-and-distance situations and field position and relates these instances to history. When a player outperforms what's happened in the past, he sees a positive expected points value on the play. When he doesn't, his expected points gained on the play is negative. All of these little instances add up, then, to be a player's Net Expected Points total.
You can read more about NEP in our glossary.
Using a formula that compares individual single-game performance to history, the numberFire Live platform takes this Net Expected Points formula and assigns a rating to a player's performance. Each week, that's what we'll show here -- the 20 best ratings from the Thursday and Sunday games.
Here are Week 8's results:
- Despite throwing for 513 yards, Derek Carr graded out as just the third-best quarterback of Week 8 prior to Monday Night Football in terms of performance rating. By pure passing, he actually ranked fourth by our metrics, with a Passing NEP of 19.12. That ranked behind Tom Brady (21.72), Marcus Mariota (21.57), and Kirk Cousins (20.19). Just 42.62% of Carr's drop backs boosted his team's chances to score, compared to 48.65% for Brady, 68.18% for Mariota, and 50.88% for Cousins.
- The only non-quarterback inside the top seven was Carr's go-to receiver, Amari Cooper, who hauled in 12 of 15 targets for 173 yards an a touchdown. Cooper posted a Reception NEP of 12.55, the only score above 11 so far this week. However, just 8 of his 12 catches actually boosted his team's chances to score. The other six players in the top-seven by Reception NEP had a 100% Success Rate. The Oakland Raiders' duo had big plays, but not all of their raw production was impactful, per NEP.
- While there are a handful of running backs on the list, none of them ranked inside the top 10 by Rushing NEP alone. That list actually features three quarterbacks -- Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, and Tyrod Taylor -- and two punters -- Chris Jones and Colton Schmidt. Devonta Freeman ranks 11th in Rushing NEP for Week 8 prior to Monday Night Football.
- The lone tight end on the list, Travis Kelce, posted a Reception NEP of 10.90, second-best of the week among all position players. He racked up 101 yards and a touchdown on 7 catches and 10 targets. His Reception NEP per target (1.09) was highest of all players with 8 or more targets, as well.