The 20 Best Offensive Players From Week 12
Week 12 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 12.
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 12's results:
- If you had Sammy Watkins on your fantasy team, you're probably a happy camper today. Watkins caught 6 of his 10 targets for over 150 yards and a pair of scores, which isn't the most ridiculous line you've ever seen, but he caught his passes in important spots. The second touchdown, for instance, came on a 2nd-and-20, which dramatically shifted things in terms of NEP.
- Markus Wheaton had the most surprising performance of the day, catching 9 passes on 13 targets for 201 yards and a touchdown. He ended the game with a Reception NEP total of 16.16, which nearly matched his season total of 18.07. And remember, this came against the NFL's fifth-ranked secondary, per NEP. The NFL sometimes makes no sense.
- We can't forget Matthew Stafford's Week 12 performance, which got the week started off right. Throwing five touchdown passes, Stafford finished with the highest Passing NEP total among quarterbacks at 28.24. That's roughly three touchdowns better than what we'd expect an average quarterback to do in his situation (since the average quarterback scores above zero). For reference, Stafford entered the week with just over 2.00 Passing Net Expected Points, which was fifth worst in the NFL among relevant passers.
- How about C.J. Anderson? After being dubbed a fantasy bust, he ran all over the Patriots, adding 7.31 points for the Broncos on the ground alone. Entering the game, only four running backs had accumulated fewer Rushing Net Expected Points than Anderson: Melvin Gordon, Matt Jones, Alfred Blue and, surprisingly, Arian Foster. It'll be interesting to see if he can keep this going with Brock Osweiler under center.