The first nine weeks of the NFL season provided a lot of excitement and some great individual performances. Now that we’ve passed the halfway point of the season for all teams, we can start to better evaluate players and get a sense of who deserves recognition. After the first quarter of the season, Sports Info Solutions wrote about the offensive and defensive Total Points leaders and now it’s time for an update. In the grand online tradition of handing out mid-season awards, SIS would like to present the Mid-Season All-Total Points Team.
Total Points is SIS’s flagship value metric that takes the framework of Expected Points and uses our extensive charting data to more accurately divide credit among individual players. You can find a more in-depth explanation of how the Total Points System breaks down each facet of the game here.
The All-Total Points team is based on the position leaders by Total Points Per Game, and a qualification of at least eight games played.
All-Total Points Offense
|Position||Player||Team||Total Points Earned||Total Points Earned / Game|
|RT||Orlando Brown Jr.||Ravens||19||2.4|
The names at the two most high-profile positions, quarterback and running back, might cause some controversy. Aaron Rodgers and Chris Carson are having phenomenal seasons at their respective positions, but fan bases in Seattle and Carolina will undoubtedly clamor for Russell Wilson and Christian McCaffrey. But, we stand behind the numbers here.
The numbers favor Rodgers over Wilson for two main reasons: volume and division of credit. Rodgers has more dropbacks and attempts in which to gain value. His receivers and tight ends have also been less productive (42 Total Points compared Wilson’s receivers and tight ends’ 63 Total Points Earned), which is helping him recoup value by having to perform with less surrounding talent.
The numbers favor Carson over McCaffrey due to his incredible ability to gain yards after contact. Carson leads the league with 3.6 yards per carry after contact and has 50 broken or missed tackles, which is 16 more than second place. While McCaffrey has produced more through the passing game (14 Total Points compared to Carson’s 4), Carson’s ability to create his own yards on the ground has created more total value. On rush attempts, Carson’s teammates have totaled 26 Run Blocking Total Points Earned, which is considerably less help than McCaffrey’s teammates 41 Run Blocking Total Points Earned.
The rest of the All-Total Points Offense is relatively straightforward with Saints superstar Michael Thomas leading a strong trio of receivers and 49ers tight end George Kittle narrowly edging out Travis Kelce of the Chiefs. Kittle gets the edge here due to similar value as a receiver, but also adding extra value as an exceptional blocker.
There were some close races on the offensive line with second place finishers being: LT Ronnie Stanley, LG Quinton Spain, C Weston Richburg, RG Brandon Brooks, and RT Brian O’Neill.
All-Total Points Defense
|Position||Player||Team||Total Points Saved||Total Points Saved / Game|
The All-Total Points Defensive team is unsurprisingly filled with some of the league’s best defenders against the pass. In the current NFL if you can’t rush the passer or be sufficient in coverage, you aren’t providing much value. That’s why elite pass rushers lead the way all along the defensive line.
Chandler Jones (9.5 Sacks and 32 Pressures) and Joey Bosa (8.5 Sacks and 40 Pressures) lead the way among defensive ends. Just missing the cut at this position are: the currently injured J.J. Watt (25 Total Points) and Joey’s younger brother Nick Bosa (24 Total Points).
Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is a Total Points legend, as he has been far and away the best player at his position in each of the three full seasons we have data, 2016-2018. He is also on track for another resounding first place finish with 26 Total Points, which is 7 higher than current second place DeForest Buckner.
The picks at linebacker include the overall defensive Total Points leader Whitney Mercilus, current sack leader Shaq Barrett, the resurgent Jamie Collins, and the ever-solid Lavonte David. Barrett’s value is heavily tied to his pass rushing performance this season and David’s value has mostly come in coverage. Mercilus and Collins have been well rounded rushing the passer, in coverage, and against the run.
It should be no surprise that Harrison Smith and Devin McCourty lead the way at safety, as Smith been consistently elite during his career and McCourty has been the leader of a historic Patriots defense. Some might be surprised however with the absence of McCourty’s teammate Stephon Gilmore at the corner position. Gilmore currently ranks fourth among corners against the pass in Total Points, edged out by players who have been more well rounded against the pass and run.
The top-ranked corner overall, Kareem Jackson, is benefiting the most from this as he ranks 14th against the pass, but is by far the topped ranked corner against the run with 17 Total Points Saved. This is a unique case among corners as Jackson has been solid against the pass, but his run defense has consistently been his best attribute over the past few seasons. He led all corners in Run Defense Total Points Saved in 2017 (19), 2018 (22), and is again leading the league.
All-Total Points Specialists
|Position||Player||Team||Total Points||Total Points / Game|
SIS recently updated the Total Points System to incorporate kickers and punters. Almost every season Ravens kicker Justin Tucker has led the league, and he is doing it again. That’s not surprising considering he’s currently the NFL’s all-time leader in field goal accuracy and has gone 17 for 17 this season. Chargers punter Ty Long has had an impressive season so far on his 29 punts. Total Points for punters is based on how far each punt pins an opponent back compared to expectation, and Long has been excellent with 11 punts inside the 20-yard line and zero touchbacks.
As with any All-Pro team, there will be players fans think have been snubbed, but the beauty of using Total Points to select the list is that eye-test subjectivity is mostly removed. Total Points uses the Expected Points framework and divides the credit based on extensive charting data that provides context that no box score could. Also, as with any All-Pro list, we have limited spots to fill which undoubtedly leaves out deserving players. Over the rest of the season, SIS will be providing the league’s Total Points leaders at the three-quarter pole and at the end of the season, so check back for the updated list.