2014 NFL Player Rankings, Offensive Players of the Year
Using Z-Score throughout the season, we’ve tracked who is worthy of the “elite” tag. With the NFL Honors set to take place tonight on the eve of the Super Bowl. We’ll take a look at the front runners for MVP, and Rookie of the Year.
Check out this article for all you need to know about Z-Score. The short version is that a score is assigned to each qualifying player on a scale of -4.0 to +4.0, where 0.0 is average.
Anything over 1.96 is considered in the top 5% or “elite” by some definitions. In most seasons, scoring above 1.96 means you should be in consideration for the league’s MVP.
Here is a look at the league’s elite, MVP worthy candidates, and the top rookies from the 2014 season.
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Tony Romo – sRBZ: 1.965 – Romo makes his first appearance of the year on the elite list, just ever so slightly breaking through the 1.96 sRBZ threshold. Romo was one of the more efficient QBs finishing the year just shy of completing 70% of his passes (69.9% to lead the league), and also led in yards per attempt at 8.5. Only three other QBs also had better than 8.0 Y/A. Aaron Rodgers (8.4), Ben Roethlisberger (8.1), and…Ryan Fitzpatrick, seriously (8.0). Romo finishes tied fourth with 34 TDs and led his team back to the playoffs after finishing 8-8 for three straight seasons.
Aaron Rodgers – sRBZ: 2.0097 – Rodgers was our top ranked QB with a well-balanced stat line. He finishes with a 65.6% completion rate, 8.4 Y/A, second most TDs with 40 total, and a league best five INTs. Drew Stanton also had five INTs, but he only played in nine games. Rodgers will likely take home the MVP on Saturday night when the Honors are awarded by way of playing the quarterback position. To be honest, the Packers are pretty much a sure onside kick recovery away from representing the NFC in the Super Bowl thanks to Rodgers stellar season throughout. IMO, the only way he doesn’t win the award is if the committee gets a little wacky and selects J.J. Watt.
Arian Foster – sRBZ: 2.0972 – The only thing holding Foster back from being talked about more after a great season was the fact that he missed three games. His 1,573 scrimmage yards were good for fifth most. 121.0 yards per game were third best, along with his 13 TDs. Marshawn Lynch led all RBs with 17 total TDs. Foster was on pace to score 16.
Antonio Brown – sRBZ: 2.3789 – Brown was one of the most dominating receivers of 2014, hauling in a league best 129 balls. 18 more than second most, Demaryius Thomas. Brown also led the league with 1,698 receiving yards, but finished third in the yards per game department by the slimmest of margins with 106.1 Y/G (Julio Jones 106.2, Odell Beckham Jr. 108.8). It was a shame the Brown didn’t do more given all of his catches, averaging 13.2 Y/R. Of those that qualified for a Z-score, the average receiver had 12.8 Y/R. Pretty average for Brown. His 13 TDs tied for second most with Jordy Nelson (Dez Bryant, 16).
Le’Veon Bell – sRBZ: 2.6569 – If the voters pass on a quarterback, pass on J.J. Watt, Le’Veon Bell would have to be the choice for MVP. He should at least be the favorite for offensive player of the year, with the quarterback being “most valuable” by literal definition. Bell had the second most touches with 373 of them, and did not fumble a single time. DeMarco Murray led with 449 touches, but also coughed it up six times. Murray was the scrimmage yards leader at 2,261, Bell was not far behind at 2,215, 138.4 Y/G, and a league best 5.94 yards per touch. He was also the most dangerous back when it came to receiving, leading the group at 10.3 yards per catch. Clearly, Bell was the best all-around player. His presence was certainly missed when the Steelers were bounced from the first round of the playoffs by the Ravens with Bell sidelined.
And now…the highest rated player by Z-score, and boy do we wish we got to see more of him as he got a late start bursting onto the scene…
Odell Beckham Jr. – sRBZ: 2.6894 – His ranking this high makes him a slam dunk for offensive rookie of the year. Beckham played 12 games, which was the second least amount of anyone qualifying for z-score (Brandin Cooks, 10). In those 12 games, on a per game basis, he was nearly the leader in all categories. 91 receptions, good for 7.6 R/G and second most. 108.8 yards per game was the best line, and he caught 12 TDs, or one per game. Dez Bryant was the only receiver to average a TD per game with his 16 on the season. Besides the fact that Beckham is becoming a human highlight reel every week, he’s got the stats to back it up as well. Had he played all 16 games, he would challenge at least for offensive player of the year. Unfortunately, WRs don’t get much consideration for MVP. Jerry Rice has zero MVPs, despite topping our sRBZ ranking four times in his storied career.
Here’s how our Ravens stacked up
Justin Forsett – sRBZ: 1.094 – Eight best among RBs
Joe Flacco – sRBZ: 0.251 – 14th best among QBs
Steve Smith – sRBZ: 0.1367 – 21st best among receivers
No other Ravens qualified for ranking.
Top Rookies of 2014
Odell Beckham Jr – sRBZ: 2.6894 – 91 catches, 1,305 yards, 108.8 YPG, 12 TD
Mike Evans – sRBZ: 0.9528 – 68 catches, 1,051 yards, 70.1 YPG, 12 TDs
Kelvin Benjamin – sRBZ: 0.2883 –73 catches, 1,008 yards, 63 YPG, 9 TDs
Jeremy Hill – sRBZ: 0.2427 – 249 touches, 1,339 yards, 83.7 YPG, 9 TDs
Sammy Watkins – sRBZ: 0.0249 – 65 catches, 982 yards, 61.4 YPG, 6 TDs
Tre Mason – sRBZ: 0.0246 – 195 touches, 913 yards, 76 YPG, 5 TDs
Here are the final player rankings from the 2014 season.
Wide receives/Tight ends