The 20 Best Offensive Players From Week 1
Week 1 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 1.
But that's not really a concise headline.
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 value 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 1's results:
- Alvin Kamara was up to his old ways in Week 1, despite just 8 carries and 29 yards on the ground. Kamara added 2 rushing scores to his 9 catches and 112 yards (plus yet another receiving touchdown) to net a perfect 100 score by our model. Kamara led the league in red-zone targets in Week 1 with five.
- Kamara's quarterback, Drew Brees, finished seventh after he completed 37 of 45 attempts for 439 yards and 3 touchdowns. On passes traveling at least 16 yards downfield, Brees was 5 for 7 for 104 yards and a touchdown. In all, Brees added 22.47 Passing NEP on his 45 attempts.
- Opposite Kamara and Brees were Ryan Fitzpatrick, DeSean Jackson, and Mike Evans. Fitzpatrick, who also scored a perfect 100, threw for 417 yards and 4 touchdowns on his 28 attempts, earning 31.36 Passing NEP -- 1.12 per drop back. The league average hovers around 0.12. Fitzpatrick also ran 12 times for 36 yards and a touchdown.
- Fitzpatrick was a perfect 12 for 12 on targets to Jackson and Evans. Jackson tallied 146 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 13.33 Reception NEP on 5 catches. Evans added 14.01 expected points on his 7 targets (147 yards and 1 touchdown), after being held to 3.9 yards per target against the New Orleans Saints in 2017.
- Julio Jones opened the season with a stellar outing: 10 catches on 19 targets for 169 yards. He didn't score, but Jones added 14.34 expected points to the Atlanta Falcons' offense despite the lack of touchdowns.
- Tyreek Hill wasn't lacking in the touchdown department. He scored three times, once on a punt return. As a receiver, Hill's 14.97 Reception NEP led the league, and he turned 8 targets into 169 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Los Angeles Chargers.