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.
That just doesn't flow all that well.
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. 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:
- Tyler Eifert was the best offensive player according to our metrics this week, putting together a perfect rating. He caught 9 of his 12 targets for a Target Net Expected Points total of 14.67. For reference, the highest season-long Target NEP total was from Rob Gronkowski in 2011, with a score of 102.90. Tyler Eifert's pace is currently 234.72.
- Tom Brady, by no surprise, was the top quarterback of the week, as his 23.63 Passing NEP was best in the NFL. Brady averaged about 7.7 Passing Net Expected Points per game last season, so he's clearly off to a good start. He just won't be playing the Steelers secondary each week, so keep that in mind.
- Keenan Allen had an absurd line yesterday, hauling in 15 of his 17 targets. His Reception NEP total was a really good -- over 12.00 -- but his Target NEP took a slight hit when Philip Rivers threw a pick-six on a pass that was intended for Allen. Overall, though, it looks like Allen could take advantage of Antonio Gates' suspension.
- Marcus Mariota was good in his debut -- very good -- but, as you can see, he wasn't a top-three quarterback this week. This is a classic case of letting touchdown-to-interception ratios skew performance. Yes, Mariota was good, but three of his touchdowns went for 1, 4 and 12 yards.
- Karlos Williams is probably the biggest surprise outside of David Johnson on this list. The reason they made it is because rushing the football is inherently inefficient, so a couple of big runs (or big plays) can really bump a running back's performance. That's what we saw from both Williams and Johnson, who scored clutch touchdowns for their respective teams.