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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Week 11 NEPA leaders

Time for my weekly look at the NEPA (Net Expected Points Added) leaders in the country.  Let's jump right in.

Quarterbacks


Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch didn't play, and remains #1 with 169.8 NEPA.  Johnny Manziel now rates as the #2 QB in the country at 155.4.  Considering NEPA is presently not adjusted for opponent, you could make the argument that Manziel has been the best player in the country on a play-for-play basis.  Are we sure this guy's a Freshman?

#3 is top 5 mainstay Seth Doege at 155.0.  Three isn't just his ranking - it's also the # of ways you might incorrectly pronounce his name (Doje / Dodge / Dage) before stumbling across the correct pronunciation (Dag-ey).  

Others in the top 10 include eternal bridesmaid Nick Florence (147.8), Marcus Mariota (144.0 after a big weekend), Tajh Boyd (143.0), Colby Cameron (139.8), Collin Klein (139.1 after a mediocre game), Teddy Bridgewater (134.1), and David Fales (125.5).  Fales leads the nation in pure passing NEPA at 165.8.  That math means that Fales has been worth over 40 points below average when he doesn't throw a pass.  That's drastic.

Watch for Aaron Murray (#18, 98.8) to continue climbing the list.  He faced tougher defenses in October, but thanks to November dates with Ole Miss and Auburn (32.1 NEPA over those two games), with Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech on tap, his November could easily top 70 NEPA.  Of course, that's where it will peak, with Murray likely to face Bama in the Georgia Dome in early December.

Running Backs

Kenjon Barner leads the way with 81.0 NEPA.  In more traditional terms, he has 1579 yards from scrimmage and 20 TD.  Kent State's Dri Archer stays close with 78.2.  Archer has exactly 70 fewer plays than Barner this year.  He's just that explosive.  On Saturday he had 11 carries for 151 yards and 2 TD.  I've bemoaned the lack of attention for NIU's Jordan Lynch this year, but Archer might be even more underappreciated.  On 135 touches, he has 1430 yards and 16 TD.  He is also averaging 40 yards per kickoff return this year.  That is not a misprint - Archer has returned 14 kickoffs for 3 TD.  He also has one passing attempt, which went for a 24 yard TD.  Seriously, get this guy on your radar.

Kenneth Dixon (63.3) is the Johnny Manziel of running backs; just a freshman, but leading the country with 25 TD this season. Right behind him is Arizona Sophomore Ka'Deem Carey (62.4), whose 1662 yards from scrimmage lead the Pac-12 this year.  I really haven't heard much about Carey this year, but if this is what the first year of the RichRod offense can yield in the desert, I'm very much looking forward to what they'll do once he actually gets his players in town.  Rounding out the top 5 is UNC's Giovani Bernard (59.8).

Notable is national rushing leader Stefphon Jefferson of Nevada.  Despite 1436 rushing yards, they just haven't been as efficient as our leaders.  Still, Stefphon has a respectable 41.5 NEPA.  

Receivers

#1 is USC's Marqise Lee with 86.0 NEPA.  His 98 catches and 1447 receiving yards lead the country (and he has 10 carries for 110 yards to boot).  Lee is starting to get Heisman attention, and rightfully so.  He's a phenomenal receiver in that opponents expect the ball to be going his way, and he still moves the chains with ruthless effiiciency.  Also, he's starting to get some looks on defense - obvious Heisman pandering from Lane Kiffing - but make no mistake, he's a legit Heisman candidate without gimmicks like playing both ways.   He returns kicks, and does so pretty well, but his receiving alone justifies the attention he's getting.

Baylor's Terrance Williams (80.4) drops to #2 this week.  Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins (80.0) is making it interesting, though, as is West Virginia's Stedman Bailey (78.6).  Nobody else has over 65 NEPA, with only 2 topping 60.

DeVante Parker of Louisville is still averaging over 1 NEPA per touch - he has 27 catches for 592 yards and 6 TD, giving him a whopping 1.099 NEPA per play.  I know it's no consolation after the loss, but hey, it's something.


Brent Blackwell compiles the NEPA rankings for cfbtn.com.  Follow Brent on Twitter by mashing the pretty button below.

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