NFL

# The 5 Best Offensive Players From the NFL's Championship Weekend

Rob Gronkowski's team may have lost, but he still put on quite a show in the AFC Championship.

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.

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 this past weekend:

PlayerPositionRating
Rob GronkowskiTE99
David JohnsonRB97
Cam NewtonQB91
Philly BrownWR83
Ted Ginn Jr.WR59

With only two games yesterday, there was a smaller pool for big offensive performances to come from. But Rob Gronkowski still posted a near perfect score according to our algorithm, catching 8 balls for 144 yards and a score against the league's best defense. Gronk 15.94 Net Expected Points total was roughly six points better than any other pass-catcher during championship weekend.

The number-two spot went to David Johnson, who looked like the only Arizona offensive player to show up in Charlotte. Johnson showed off his versatility with 15 carries and 60 yards, but also catching all 9 of his targets through the air for an additional 68 yards. According to our numbers, no running back came close to his production on Sunday in either game -- he was the Gronk of the running back position.

The next three players were all part of the Carolina passing attack, but Ted Ginn Jr. stands out far less than Philly Brown, who caught 4 of 7 targets for 113 yards and a score. With such poor wide receiver play yesterday, that -- along with his big score -- forced him to the top of the wide receiver leaderboard.

Of course, he couldn't have done that without his quarterback, Cam Newton. Newton's 17.55 NEP total was 22.03 points better than the second-best passer from Sunday, Peyton Manning. In other words, Cam played over three touchdowns better than the other championship quarterbacks.

That's why he's the MVP.