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NFL Week 15 Offensive Players of the Week

Just as everyone would have predicted, Drew Stanton tops all QBs in week 15. His 23-for-37, 252-yard performance was good for +0.80 WPA/+11.8 EPA and enough to lead the Lions from behind to beat Tampa Bay in overtime for their first road win in three years.

Ray Rice is the RB of the week. In the Ravens victory over the Saints, Rice logged 153 yards rushing on 37 attempts (4.9 YPC), plus 80 yards receiving on 5 catches. That's worth +0.50 WPA/+7.4 EPA.

Jamaal Charles gets the honourable mention (I'm in London today) as he continues his great season. Sunday he gained 126 yards on 11 carries. Let me repeat that...on 11 carries, good for 11.5 yards a pop and +10.0 EPA. I know to a lot of people EPA and WPA are just numbers, but they have practical significance. Yards and catches and completions are all good things, and we know more is almost always better.

But what exactly do they mean in terms of winning?

For example, how do we compare a RB with 100 yards of rushing and a fumble with a RB with 70 yards of rushing but no fumbles? Charles' +10.0 EPA means that his 11 carries generated 10 net points of the 14-point net differential in the Chiefs' 27-13 win over the Rams.

Calvin Johnson leads the WRs with his 10-catch, 152-yard performance on 12 targets. Johnson was instrumental in the Lions' critical final two possessions. Johnson's plays were worth +0.59 WPA/+13.0 EPA.

I guess if a team comes from behind twice and makes two crucial drives to tie and then win in overtime, you'll see a lot of its players top the WPA numbers. The Lions' Tony Scheffler leads the TEs with +0.23 WPA/+1.2 EPA. Scheffler did not have a big day in conventional statistical terms, but he made the most out of his 4 targets for 3 catches and 18 yards. His 12-yard catch on 3rd and 10 on the final drive in regulation accounts for nearly all of his WPA.

Jason Whitten's 140-yard day against the Redskins didn't have the leverage of Scheffler's single play, but it was good for +12.3 EPA, twice as much as any other TE.

'Where's DeSean Jackson?' you ask. Without his miraculous game-winning punt return, he didn't have a very good game. He had 53 yards on 3 catches, had two fumbles and lost one, worth -0.10 WPA/-6.2 EPA. But the punt return was worth +0.50 WPA, netting him +0.40 WPA.

We'll see if anyone tops these numbers in tonight's game.


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