NFL Player Rankings at the Quarter Pole
Currently I’ve been unveiling the NFL’s All Decade Teams using Z-score to determine the best individual seasons. While I still have a decade and four years to unveil, let’s get a head start on the current 2014 season.
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 elite players around the quarter pole of this season.
Discuss your thoughts on this topic on our message board.
DeMarco Murray – sRBZ: 1.9616 – Murray is the league leading workhorse through four games, on pace for over 400 touches this year. He leads the league in scrimmage yards (602, 150.5 per game) he’s tied with Marshawn Lynch for most TDs among RBs at five. The only thing keeping him from appearing higher on this list this early is his three fumbles in four games. He has to protect the football better.
Steve Smith Sr. – sRBZ: 2.0369 – Smith Sr. has been a pleasant addition to the Ravens receiving corps. He ranks third in receiving yards (429) second in yards per catch (17.2, close second to Jeremy Maclin’s 17.3) and has three TDs as well. The question is can the 35 year old keep up his elite play for the remainder of the season? Despite these awesome numbers, Smith is actually the 4th best WR thus far by this metric.
Andrew Luck – sRBZ: 2.0373 – Luck leads the highest powered passing game in the league (325 Y/G), and his 14 TDs are four more than Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, and Jay Cutler tied for second. Luck is sixth in CMP% (68.9%, go figure, Austin Davis is first at 72.3%). He has a knack for turning the ball over averaging an INT per game. It’s still early, but a number of QBs have two or less total turnovers on the year.
Julio Jones – sRBZ: 2.1557 – Jones is the fifth most targeted receiver in football, and ranks second in yards per game (114.8). He’s tied for third in catches (29) and has three TDs. It should be noted that he is 10 years younger than Steve Smith Sr.
Jordy Nelson – sRBZ: 2.2898 – Nelson leads the league in a couple of notable stats: Catches (33, 8.3 per game) and yards (459, 114.8 per game). Like Smith and Jones, Nelson also has three TDs.
Peyton Manning – sRBZ: 2.3176 – Manning has played just three games with the Broncos week 4 bye, but the stat that tips the scales more in his favor than Luck as the top QB is his TD/turnover ratio (8:1). He would be on pace for just five or six turnovers and 42 or 43 TD at seasons end. Luck is on pace for 56 total TDs which seems unreal. But he’s also on pace for 16 turnovers which is very real, and pretty mediocre.
Marshawn Lynch – sRBZ: 2.3802 – Lynch like Manning, has just three games under his belt in the young season. Even with one less game he is tied for the lead with 5 TDs, and hasn’t coughed the football up yet. He is sixth in the league at 105 yards per game and averages 5.25 yards per touch.
The highest rated player in the young season is…..
Antonio Brown – sRBZ: 2.4214 – Brown is tied with Brandon Marshall, Randall Cobb, and Julius Thomas with five TDs. He has 106.8 receiving yards per game, tied for third with 7.3 catches per game, and is fourth with 427 receiving yards. Brown may lead in only TDs, but he has been one of the most complete receivers of the group.
It’s early in the season, so had Nelson caught an extra TD or two, his name would easily top this list.
The following are lists of my positional rankings thus far.
Mike was born on the Eastern Shore, raised in Finksburg, and currently resides in Parkville. In 2009, Mike graduated from the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland. Mike became a Baltimore City Fire Fighter in late 2010. Mike has appeared as a guest on Q1370, and FOX45. Now a Sr. Ravens Analyst for BSL, he can be reached at [email protected]