The 10 Best Offensive Players From Wild Card Weekend
Prior to yesterday's tilt between the Redskins and Packers -- the final game of the NFL's wild card weekend -- we really didn't see a ton of scoring.
Pittsburgh, a team that averaged 25.9 points per contest in 2015, tallied just 18 against Cincinnati. Seattle, after averaging 25.5 points per game, scored 10. Minnesota only put up 9 points (averaged 22), while Cincinnati scored 16 (averaged 25.6).
It was a defensive weekend in the NFL.
Even still, we had some decent offensive performances. But which players were best?
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. Here's a look at the top 10 guys from wild card weekend:
Like I said, the offensive players this week were decent, but not great. To give you some context, in Week 10 -- a random week I chose to look at -- featured nine players with a 90-or-better rating. Yes, the sample was larger to choose from with far more games happening, but it's just a glimpse as to how "meh" this weekend was from an offensive perspective.
The best player was Jordan Reed, who ended up catching 9 of 17 targets for 120 yards and a score. His Reception NEP of 11.80 was tops in football for the week, and while that's skewed a bit due to a heavy workload, his Target NEP -- points added on all targets -- was still a reasonable 6.21.
Aaron Rodgers, after ranking as a below average quarterback this season according to our numbers, did work when it mattered most, coming through as the best quarterback from wild card weekend. His 9.68 Passing NEP, though, was still nothing special -- in 2015, six quarterbacks averaged that strong of a performance each week. It just was a weak weekend for quarterbacks overall.