NFL

# The 20 Best Offensive Players From Week 8

James Conner's huge game helped the Steelers net a home win over Cleveland. Was he the NFL's best player?

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.

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:

PlayerPositionRating
James ConnerRB100
Marlon MackRB100
Mike EvansWR99
Odell BeckhamWR98
Deshaun WatsonQB96
Tyler BoydWR95
Marvin JonesWR94
Stefon DiggsWR94
Russell WilsonQB93
Lamar MillerRB93
DeVante ParkerWR91
Kenyan DrakeRB90
Andrew LuckQB89
Derek CarrQB89
Cam NewtonQB88
Ryan FitzpatrickQB88
Mitchell TrubiskyQB86
Sammy WatkinsWR86
Patrick MahomesQB85

- James Conner racked up 146 yards and 2 scores on 24 carries (6.30 Rushing NEP) and added 66 yards on 6 targets (6.19 Reception NEP) in a home win over the Cleveland Browns. On Sunday, 54.2% of Conner's carries increased expected scoring, well above the league average of 40.7%.

- Marlon Mack posted a 99 rating last week, narrowly losing out to Kareem Hunt for Week 7's best player. He got to 100 this week, thanks to 132 yards and a pair of scores on 25 carries (9.42 Rushing NEP and a 56.0% Success Rate). Mack also pitched in 17 yards on 4 targets in the Indianapolis Colts' win over the Oakland Raiders.

- Mike Evans did a lot of damage in Week 8: 179 yards, 1 touchdown, and 6 catches on 13 targets (15.62 Reception NEP). He produced 111 yards on 3 targets (9.77 Reception NEP) from Ryan Fitzpatrick alone after Fitzmagic replaced Jameis Winston in the second half.

- Odell Beckham didn't score but tallied 136 yards on 11 targets (14.23 Reception NEP). The New York Giants scored only 13 points, and if you're counting at home, yes, that means that they lost points elsewhere, as Eli Manning lost 3.81 expected points on his 54 drop backs overall and 10.33 points on 7 sacks.

- Deshaun Watson accrued more touchdowns (5) than incompletions (4) on his 20 attempts on Thursday night. In all, Watson generated 20.31 Passing NEP on those plays and took no sacks. He, then, secured 1.02 points above expectation on a per-drop back basis (league average is 0.12).