The 7 Most Effective Offensive Players From Week 15
In a pivotal week for playoff seeding, some players stepped up big to give their team a higher foot-hole in the race to the top. Let's look at Week 15's All-Net Expected Points (NEP) team.
Tony Romo, Quarterback, Dallas Cowboys
Tony Romo played a big role in the Cowboys’ pivotal win over the Philadelphia Eagles. With the huge division win, the Cowboys are now in the driver’s seat in the NFC East and control their own destiny to the playoffs.
Romo did so on 22-of-31 passing, 265 yards, and 3 touchdowns. All three of his touchdowns went to fellow Week 15 All-NEPer, Dez Bryant. All of this was good enough for a Passing NEP of 17.45. He now has a season Passing NEP of 110.20 -- good for seventh in the league.
However, Romo’s most impressive stat this season might just be his 18:1 passing touchdown to interception ratio on the road – which includes a 13:0 ratio in his last four. He’s protecting the ball and being efficient to boot. He’s a huge reason for the Cowboy’s success this season, and he’s continually shaking his late-season stigma as this season wears on.
Jeremy Hill, Running Back, Cincinnati Bengals
All week we were told Jeremy Hill had supplanted Giovani Bernard as the lead back and would get the bulk of the carries. And while Bernard still had 18 touches, he wasn’t nearly as effective as Hill was with his 26. Hill was given the starting gig and ran away with it.
On the Bengals’ first drive of the game, Hill punched it in from two yards out. Hill scored his second touchdown in the opening minutes of the second quarter. On 2nd-and-5 from the 16-yard-line, Hill plunged left, stiff-armed a defender and squeezed into the end zone.
He completed Sunday with 25 carries for 148 yards and those 2 touchdowns. After his big day, to the tune of a 9.90 Rushing NEP, Hill has thrust himself into the top-five in rushing efficiency among all running backs.
Le’Veon Bell, Running Back, Pittsburgh Steelers
Le’Veon Bell had another good game. -1.14 Rushing NEP (remember, negative rushing NEP isn’t necessarily bad -- rather that positive numbers are really good) and a Total NEP of 4.46 on 25 touches, 119 total yards and 2 touchdowns.
This is Bell’s fourth straight time making the weekly All-NEP team, so there’s not much else to say at this point. He’s a friggin’ monster, OK? There. Moving on.
Odell Beckham Jr., Wide Receiver, New York Giants
Odell Beckham has been on an absolute tear ever since his first game of the season in Week 5. This continued on Sunday as he caught 12 balls for 143 yards and 3 touchdowns. His absurdly good day earned him the highest NEP score of the week among all players, with a Reception NEP of 17.53.
Both of his first two touchdowns came with the Giants trialing by three points. His second came on a slant route, which he caught over the middle and raced through defenders for the score. His third was a big touchdown for the Giants, as it gave them a double-digit lead with less than five minutes remaining in the game.
Beckham now ranks 11th among all wide receivers in Reception NEP despite missing the first four games. He also leads the league in Reception NEP per target among wide receivers with at least 75 targets on the season.
Dez Bryant, Wide Receiver, Dallas Cowboys
As mentioned earlier, Dez, along with his quarterback, is a big reason for the Cowboys’ win on Sunday. He had an extremely effective night catching 6 balls for 114 yards and 3 touchdowns. It’s pretty dang efficient when half of your receptions are touchdowns.
Dez’s first 2 touchdowns gave the Cowboys a 14, and 21-point lead respectively. His third came early in the fourth quarter. On a third down, with the Cowboys only leading 28-24 Bryant caught the 25-yard touchdown on a play that looked exactly like his second score.
This 11-point lead would prove to be too much for the Eagles to overcome, and the Cowboys left Philly with a huge victory.
Dez is currently sixth in Reception NEP for the season with a mark of 111.60.
Greg Olsen, Tight End, Carolina Panthers
Greg Olsen has quietly been one of the best tight ends in the NFL, and by our metrics, proved to be the best one on Sunday.
Olsen caught 10 passes for 110 yards, but was held without a touchdown. In all, his day was good enough for a 12.05 Reception NEP.
It’s pretty impressive that he was able to finish with such a high NEP score, given he went touchdown-less, but that just lends to the notion that he was just that much more effective in totality. Six of Olsen’s 10 catches went for 10 or more yards. Seven were first down conversion, and two of those came on third down. These types of plays impact a team’s scoring potential on a given drive, which is why Olsen saw such a high Reception NEP.
Olsen is currently rated as our number-two tight end on the season. And while the gap between him and Rob Gronkowski is pretty large, he’s still having a great season in his own right.
Mike Wallace, Wide Receiver, Miami Dolphins
Mike Wallace has been pretty up-and-down this year, and this week was up. Wallace caught 5 passes for 104 yards and a score -- equaling out to a Reception NEP of 10.45.
His touchdown was extremely impressive. He made a one-handed snag at the left boundary of the end zone, which was initially ruled an incomplete pass. However, after review, his knee barely made it in as he gained possession, and it was reversed to a touchdown.
Wallace scored the only touchdown of the day for Dolphins as they fell to the Patriots who wrapped up the division with the 41-13 victory.