The 10 Best Offensive Players From Wild Card Weekend
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.
Here are the 10 best players from the wild card round based on those ratings.
- The fact that Randall Cobb topped this list is surprising for many reasons. The first is that he was questionable to suit up for the game at all after missing Weeks 16 and 17. He had just one target in Week 15, too. But the injury to Jordy Nelson that kept him out for the entire second half played a part in Cobb's big day.
Cobb finished with 5 catches on 7 targets for 116 yards and 3 touchdowns. In the regular season, Cobb secured 0.65 Reception NEP per target, just below the league average for receivers (0.66). How did he do on Sunday? Well, he secured 14.58 Reception NEP, 2.08 per target. Oh, and of course, he caught this Hail Mary grab before the half.
- Le'Veon Bell and Thomas Rawls were close behind Cobb in terms of performance. Bell had 29 carries for 167 yards and 2 touchdowns along with 2 catches for 7 yards. Bell was one of two running backs to top 1.56 Rushing NEP on the week, but his 7.62 actually ranked second behind Rawls' 8.57.
- Rawls did his damage (161 yards and 1 touchdown on 27 carries) on a Success Rate of 59.26%, the percentage of carries that added positively to Seattle's NEP. His mark during the regular season was just 26.61%, the second-worst rate among 767 backs with at least 100 carries since 2000.
- Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams -- along with Cobb -- gave the Green Bay Packers three of the top-five offensive performances of the opening weekend. Rodgers threw 40 times, completing 25 of them, for 362 yards and 4 touchdowns. Adams caught 8 of those (on 12 targets) for 125 yards and a score.