NFL

# The 20 Best Offensive Players From Week 9

The Steelers came away with a big win in Week 9, and the two best offensive players from the week came from the Pittsburgh offense.

Week 9 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 9.

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 9's results:

PlayerPositionRating
Antonio BrownWR100
DeAngelo WilliamsRB100
Sammy WatkinsWR100
Karlos WilliamsRB98
Cole BeasleyWR98
Marcus MariotaQB98
DeMarco MurrayRB98
Lamar MillerRB96
Drew BreesQB95
Andrew LuckQB92
Ryan MathewsRB92
Randall CobbWR92
Mike EvansWR90
Odell BeckhamWR88
Andy DaltonQB87
Michael CrabtreeWR85
Allen HurnsWR84
Cam NewtonQB84
Brandon BoldenRB83
Delanie WalkerTE82

- By no surprise, Antonio Brown was the best player in Week 9, and it wasn't particularly close. Brown's 19.66 Reception NEP wasn't just the highest total of the week, but was actually higher than some wide receiver's season-long total. That includes Roddy White, Kenny Britt and Steeler teammate Markus Wheaton.

- DeAngelo Williams filled in admirably for Le'Veon Bell, posting the best running back performance of the week. This is partially due to some work in the receiving game, but Williams also added nearly 10 expected points on the ground, which is sensationally difficult to do considering rushing is less efficient than passing. Most running backs see negative point totals within our model.

- Sammy Watkins returned in a big way against the Dolphins, catching 8 passes for 168 yards and a score. His 3rd-and-14 touchdown was huge, generating 5.76 NEP for the Bills.

- Though Andrew Luck wasn't the best quarterback of the week numbers-wise, you could argue his performance against Denver was best. The Broncos entered the week with a -57.39 schedule-adjusted Defensive Passing NEP total, meaning quarterbacks have accumulated approximately -8.20 Passing NEP against them each game. Luck's 15.84 Passing NEP was far above expectation.