The 20 Best Offensive Players From Week 15
Week 15 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, Saturday, and Sunday Games in Week 15.
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 15's results:
- Two players earned perfect scores this week: Brandin Cooks and LeSean McCoy. Cooks hauled in 7 of 8 targets for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Arizona Cardinals. That yielded 18.25 Reception NEP. Only Tyler Lockett (also 7 catches on 8 targets for 130 yards and a touchdown) posted more than 9.72 Reception NEP. Cooks easily dominated the position this week.
- McCoy, despite getting a touchdown vultured by Mike Gillislee, wound up with nearly twice as many Rushing NEP (12.10) as anyone else, thanks to 153 yards on 19 carries and 2 touchdowns.
- Ryan Mathews posted a second-best-of-the-week 6.36 Rushing NEP on 20 carries, 128 yards, and 1 touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens, who were the toughest run defense in football by our metrics entering the week.
- Devonta Freeman mostly matched McCoy's line with 20 carries, 139 yards, and 3 touchdowns, but McCoy's impact was far greater. Freeman ended the day with 6.17 Rushing NEP. Freeman did add 3.41 expected points on 2 catches for 16 yards.
- Matt Moore stole the show on Saturday night, throwing 4 touchdowns on just 18 attempts (17.68 Passing NEP), but Matt Ryan had the more prolific day by slinging 2 touchdowns on just 23 attempts of his own. Ryan threw for 50 more yards (286) than Moore did (236) and generated 23.27 Passing NEP, the most of any quarterback in a week highlighted by bad weather.