Seven Week 1 Numbers: How is Blaine Gabbert a Starting Quarterback?
Not only does Blaine Gabbert resemble Guile from the game “Street Fighter”, but he plays like him. Without a Sonic Boom. Yes, that’s it – Blaine Gabbert is a Sonic Boom-less Guile.
I’m sure only three of you will actually understand that horrific metaphor, so let me rephrase: Blaine Gabbert is bad at football.
We all know what the box score says, and that the Jaguars couldn’t do a thing for their side of the scoreboard outside of a measly safety against a retooled Chiefs team. Blaine Gabbert completed just 16 of his 35 passes for 121 yards, zero touchdowns and two picks. A stat line that looks bad, sure, but was even worse when you dissected the advanced metrics we have here at numberFire.
Blaine Gabbert had a -25.12 Week 1 Passing NEP
Each situation on the football field has an expected point value: the number of points an average team would be expected to score in said situation or scoring drive. If a player helps that expected point value, perhaps he converted on third and long, he sees a positive increase in his personal NEP.
In Week 1, a replacement-level quarterback would have forced a 25-point swing in that Chiefs versus Jaguars game. No words. Just…no words.
To put this crazy bad passing number in perspective, the second-worst quarterback this week, Brandon Weeden, had a -7.06 passing NEP.
It can’t get much worse for the Jags, and I never thought I’d say this, but Chad Henne is making me excited for Week 2.
Brian Hartline finished with the third-most targets
Hartline, opposite of Mike Wallace, finished with 15 targets this week. Only Andre Johnson and Anquan “fantasy unicorn” Boldin had more. Though there’s no reason to think Hartline will see this kind of volume each week, I think there’s something to take away: Joe Haden matters. The Browns corner covered Mike Wallace, and will continue to cover opposing team’s number one wideouts throughout the season. Look for a squad’s second receiving option to have some success against Cleveland this year.
LeSean McCoy captured an 11.83 Rush NEP
Because passing is more efficient than running from a yardage standpoint, the NEP values of running backs are typically lower. For instance, in 2012, the best running back in terms of rushing net expected points was Adrian Peterson, and his rush NEP value was 36.31. Compare that to Tom Brady, who had a passing NEP of 186.79.
On Monday night, LeSean McCoy broke everything. His final rushing NEP score was an amazing 11.83, over nine points better than any other running back. There’s a legitimate chance (and I can’t say we didn’t see this coming at numberFire) that LeSean McCoy will be the most efficient runner in the league this year.
Giovani Bernard saw 4 carries to BenJarvus Green-Ellis’ 14
Green-Ellis captured a -.19 rushing NEP per rush, compared to Gio’s .14. The sample size isn’t nearly significant enough to think that Bernard is about to take over as the guy in Cincinnati though. In fact, given the split, it wouldn’t be smart to think Bernard will be fantasy relevant this week against Pittsburgh. If you own him, wait until you see a shift in touches instead of being disappointed each week.
Colin Kaepernick had a better Passing NEP per play than Peyton Manning
Manning threw seven touchdowns, but Kaepernick was more efficient with three fewer passes. We’re all talking about what Peyton did, but let’s not forget about Kaepernick’s performance on Sunday. Not only did he show an amazing rapport with Anquan Boldin (the top receiver in terms of Rec NEP this week), but Kap (It’s not “Kaep”, says Colin) proved to everyone that he can be a top fantasy option without running the ball.
David Wilson and C.J. Spiller were the worst running backs this week
David Wilson’s -12.28 total NEP clearly had to do with his multiple fumbles, but Spiller’s -9.79 total (albeit, he fumbled too) is a little alarming. Spiller finished the game against the Patriots with 17 carries for 41 yards, and added five catches for 14 more yards through the air. His PPR day was salvaged, but in all, Spiller clearly didn’t live up to his first-round hype.
We didn’t like him as much as others in Week 1 (our 18th-ranked running back), but in Week 2, Spiller should bounce back with a decent game against an improved Carolina front seven. He’s our 10th-ranked running back in standard leagues.
Don’t let the score fool you: Oakland’s defense is still bad
The Raiders only surrendered 21 points against a talented Colts offense, but there’s reason to be cautious. They still ranked 30th in the league in adjusted defensive net expected points per play, a metric that shows how many points a defense was allowing on a per play basis. For those of you who enjoy streaming defenses (you should), this could be a sign that the Raiders defense is risky against Jacksonville this week.
We still have them as our 11th-best defense to play in Week 2 because they're facing such a miserable offense, but keep in mind that playing them is a gamble.