The 7 Most Effective Offensive Players From Week 2

Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates connected on three touchdowns against the Seahawks, but they weren't the only ones with effective Week 2 games.

From domestic violence issues regarding Ray Rice and the Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson, to injuries galore on Sunday, there's been so much negativity over the last week or so in the NFL.

Let’s focus on the positives for a change. It’s time to recognize those who had the best and most efficient days out on the field in Week 2. So with that, I give you your Week 2 NFL All-Net Expected Points team.

Philip Rivers, Quarterback, San Diego Chargers

In a week that saw many solid quarterback performances, yet few great ones, Philip Rivers stood ahead of the pack. He finished the day with a Passing NEP of 19.84, bringing his season total to 21.30. Rivers was helped by fellow Week 2 All-NEP honoree, Antonio Gates, who he targeted early and often.

Rivers ended the day throwing three touchdowns, all to Gates. What’s more impressive about Rivers’ performance is that it happened against the vaunted Seattle Seahawks defense. Granted, Seattle was on the road, and they’re not the same beast as they are at home, it's still one of the best defensive units in the league. Rivers deserves his due for his outing on Sunday, especially considering he was an extremely popular “sit-em” candidate among the fantasy football community.

Darren Sproles, Running Back, Philadelphia Eagles

Darren Sproles was Mr. Do-it-All Monday night for the Eagles. He finished with only four rushes and 26 yards and a touchdown on the ground, but was very involved in the passing game, catching 7 balls for 152 yards. All this added up to a Total NEP of 14.04.

After a Total NEP of just 0.14 in Week 1, his night was good enough to vault him into the number-two spot behind Ahmad Bradshaw in terms of total points added among running backs with at least 25 total touches.

Sproles got his night started early; on just the Eagles’ second drive, he ripped off a 56-yard screen pass to move his team from their own territory into field goal range. Later in the game, he kept a drive alive with a four-yard rush on 3rd-and-2, on a drive which resulted in a field goal. His biggest play of the night came in the third quarter, with his team in a tough spot. On 2nd-and-goal, from 19 yards out, Sproles ripped off a run in which he put a defender on skates and then proceeded to break two tackles, stumbling into the end zone.

He was a monster in Week 2.

Mark Ingram, Running Back, New Orleans Saints

As a New Orleans Saints fan, I can tell you Mark Ingram has been a pleasant surprise, and about the only bright spot so far to this year’s squad (that was, of course, until we found out he broke his hand). Ingram showed flashes of improvement last year, but in general, was a very frustrating topic in the Who Dat community. He was continually regarded as another Heisman-winning, Alabama bust. Well, feelings have turned. Ingram has been off to a red-hot start, and it continued into Sunday when the Saints traveled to Cleveland to face the Browns.

He's looked leaner, quicker and more decisive than he ever has in his professional career. He finished the day with only 11 rushes, but racked up a whopping 83 yards on them. He also caught three passes for 21 yards, and had a fourth quarter rushing touchdown, giving the Saints a temporary one-point lead. All of this added up to a Total NEP of 6.42 on the day.

So far this season, Ingram is only second to Le’Veon Bell in Total NEP among running backs with at least 20 carries. (However, he currently sits alone at the top in regards to Rushing NEP on the season.) It’s unfortunate he's going to miss time after the start he’s had, but for Saints fans and fantasy owners alike, hopefully he picks up right where he left off.

Jordy Nelson, Wide Receiver, Green Bay Packers

Look here, another numberFire top-10 preseason-ranked wide receiver making this list, which brings the total to four in the first two weeks. Jordy Nelson was extremely active for the Packers on Sunday, helping them comeback to defeat the New York Jets. Nelson finished with a gaudy stat line of 9 receptions, 209 yards and a touchdown, good for a 15.41 Reception NEP. Nelson now has a seasonal Reception NEP of 21.21. This mark is good for second behind Calvin Johnson.

Nelson had critical receptions all game, catching two passes on 3rd-and-4. The first occurred on Green Bay’s own 26-yard line, the second on the Jets’ 45-yard line. Both receptions kept drives alive that ultimately resulted in field goals.

It was the first play on the Packers’ third drive of the third quarter, however, that resulted in his biggest play of the day. Nelson caught an 80-yard touchdown, breaking a safety’s tackle and racing towards the end zone to score. As with Marshall’s final touchdown, Nelson’s broke a tie and ultimately was the game-winner for the Green Bay Packers, helping the team avoid an 0-2 start.

Brandon Marshall, Wide Receiver, Chicago Bears

Brandon Marshall was the cause of very tricky situation for his fantasy football owners. A game-time decision for a Sunday night matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, Marshall ended up being active at the last minute. When I say active, I mean that more than just able to play - he was actively abusing the 49ers secondary most of the night.

Marshall started off slow, as did the Bears' offense, only seeing one target in the first quarter. However, once he started to get involved, it was on. It began at the very end of the second quarter when Marshall made one of the more beautiful catches you’ll see this season (yet, it was just another day at the office for Marshall). Adjusting mid-air, Marshall snagged a one-handed pass in traffic. He wasn’t done there, either. Marshall proceeded to catch two more touchdowns on the night, one of which proved to be the game-winner with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.

He finished the day with 5 receptions, 48 yards and 3 touchdowns – a very efficient night. His night earned him a Reception NEP of 9.39, and a much-deserved spot on this week’s NFL All-NEP team.

Antonio Gates, Tight End, San Diego Chargers

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll probably notice a theme developing – catch three touchdowns and you’ll most likely make this list.

It first occurred last week with fellow tight end, Julius Thomas, and continued this past Sunday as both Brandon Marshall and Antonio Gates did the same. Gates finished with 7 receptions, 96 yards and 3 touchdowns. His efforts gave him a Reception NEP of 15.95 – the highest of any skill-position player in Week 2. His day came in handy as the Chargers needed every point to beat the visiting Seattle Seahawks.

Gates started the first half with two routine Gates-esque touchdowns, both on 3rd-and-goal from the Seattle 8-yard line, proving the old vet still has it. It was clear Seattle sold out on stopping San Diego’s wide receivers, so Gates and Rivers took advantage of that all day. The veteran tight end got the best of Seattle’s linebackers and safeties pretty much the whole game. Gates' final touchdown came in the third quarter on a gorgeous one-handed, diving snag in traffic. This touchdown gave the Chargers a comfortable two-score lead, to which they were able to hold on to.

Ahmad Bradshaw, Running Back, Indianapolis Colts

Another standout star from the Monday night game in Indianapolis, Ahmad Bradshaw made critical plays throughout the whole night. On the Colts’ second drive of the game, Bradshaw kept things going on 3rd-and-1 when he broke off a run of 29 yards. Later in that same drive on 4th-and-goal from the one, Andrew Luck boot-legged right, and found a wide-open Bradshaw for his first of two scores on the night. Bradshaw’s second touchdown came in the fourth quarter on a seven-yard strike from Luck, which broke a 20-20 tie at the time. The Colts ended up losing the game on a last-second field goal, but Bradshaw did almost everything in his power to flip the script.

He ended the night with 13 rushes for 70 yards, also catching 5 passes for 26 yards and 2 touchdowns. His play netted him a Total NEP of 8.42 on the night – one of the top scores on the week. His Week 2 numbers boosted his total season NEP to 15.11, which is the highest mark of any running back with at least 25 total touches.