The 20 Best Offensive Players From Week 4

Devonta Freeman went nuts again in Week 4, but was he the best player of the week?

Week 4 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 4's results:

Devonta FreemanRB100
Vincent JacksonWR98
DeAndre HopkinsWR98
Jamaal CharlesRB97
CJ SpillerRB97
Andy DaltonQB97
Tavon AustinWR96
David JohnsonRB94
Danny WoodheadRB93
Leonard HankersonWR93
Duke JohnsonRB91
Rashad JenningsRB91
Doug MartinRB91
Jonathan StewartRB90
Drew BreesQB89
Ronnie HillmanRB88
Allen HurnsWR88
Chris ThompsonRB88
Philip RiversQB86
Brandon MarshallWR85

- Devonta Freeman can't be stopped. As I mentioned last week, Freeman was the least efficient back last year among runners with 50 or more carries, according to NEP. He's now had back-to-back top-four weeks in this column, and has scored six touchdowns over this span. It'll surely be interesting to see how the Falcons split their backfield with a healthy Tevin Coleman.

- DeAndre Hopkins certainly wasn't efficient yesterday, because he caught just 9 of his 22 targets from his mediocre quarterback duo. His Reception NEP -- the number of points added on catches only -- was a really strong 14.16. But his Target NEP -- points added on all targets -- was a measly 3.00. He wasn't effective with each target thanks to his passers forcing him the ball, but he makes this list because of what he did in sum.

- Meanwhile, C.J. Spiller was kind of the opposite of Hopkins -- that'll happen when you score an 80-yard overtime touchdown after seeing just six total touches during regulation. Spiller caught all five of his targets last night for a Reception (and Target) NEP total of 8.18, which led all Saints' receivers.

- Is Tavon Austin a thing? He now has three total scores on the year, and 12 targets over his last two games. On Sunday, his 13.20 NEP total was third best among wide receivers.

- Perhaps the most surprising name on this list is Drew Brees, who made a couple of bad passes that could've been disastrous and weren't last night against the Cowboys. While we can pinpoint those and say he was a lot worse than the numbers indicated -- and that may be true -- keep in mind that those things happen to every quarterback. And without that Spiller touchdown in overtime, Brees would have ranked eighth this week among all quarterbacks instead of second.