The 20 Best Offensive Players From Week 2

Antonio Brown went nuts again on Sunday, and is this week's MVP. Who almost caught him?

Week 2 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 2's results:

Rank Player Position Rating
1 Antonio Brown WR 100
2 Leonard Hankerson WR 99
3 Ben Roethlisberger QB 99
4 Odell Beckham WR 99
5 Allen Robinson WR 98
6 Matt Ryan QB 98
7 Julio Jones WR 95
8 Derek Carr QB 93
9 Larry Fitzgerald WR 93
10 Travis Benjamin WR 92
11 Danny Woodhead RB 91
12 Julian Edelman WR 89
13 Michael Crabtree WR 88
14 Shane Vereen RB 88
15 Matt Jones RB 88
16 Blake Bortles QB 86
17 Torrey Smith WR 84
18 Rob Gronkowski TE 84
19 Crockett Gillmore TE 83
20 Dexter McCluster RB 83

- Can anyone stop Antonio Brown? Through two weeks, Brown has 18 receptions for 328 yards and a pair of scores. From a NEP standpoint, he's already totaled a Reception NEP (points added on catches only) north of 28.00 to start the year. To put that into context, his per-game average (roughly 14 Reception Net Expected Points) would shatter our database's record held by Torry Holt in 168.55. (Sample size alert.)

- You may be surprised to see Leonard Hankerson listed here -- I was, at least. Catching 6 of 11 targets doesn't scream "one of the best of the week", but a closer look at the box score shows that Hankerson was a third down machine. Due to the way NEP works, third downs can be huge for a player's success, as a successful play on the down extends the drive, creating more points.

- How about Allen Robinson? Fantasy owners who didn't give up on him after being covered by Josh Norman in Week 1 were rewarded with a monster performance, as he totaled a 14.58 Reception NEP score. Last week, Robinson's 1.71 Reception NEP was worse than Bishop Sankey's.

I was a Derek Carr hater this offseason, but he certainly looked strong against the Ravens on Sunday. Carr's 17.53 Passing NEP was about nine points better than Joe Flacco's, his opponent, meaning the difference in that game could be credited to quarterback play. We'll have to see if he keeps it up, because as it stands, he's got one good performance and one bad one on the year (Week 1 saw a 1.03 Passing NEP total).

- Danny Woodhead and Shane Vereen are both questionable picks for this list, but it comes down to how NEP is calculated. The fact is, these are two pass-catching backs, and receiving is much more efficient than rushing. Therefore, their numbers aren't based on what they did on the ground only -- a huge reason they're on here is because of what they did through the air.

- But Matt Jones was a monster on the ground. His 4.51 Rushing NEP was over seven points better than teammate Alfred Morris, and it was firmly in the top five this week.