2014 Running Back Free Agent Market

April 12, 2014 Current Events

The free agent running back market has been as peculiar as it’s been quiet. There have been no big contracts doled out and only a few sizable ones of note, although some of the ensuing narrative about the demise of the running back position has been overblown. Today I want to look at the ten […]

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A closer look at running back aging patterns Part II

March 20, 2014 Fantasy

Two years ago, I wrote this post on running back aging curves. One conclusion from my research was that age 26 was the peak age for running backs, which was immediately followed by a steady decline phase until retirement. In that study, I only wanted to look at very good-to-excellent running backs in the modern […]

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How Bad Was Ray Rice in 2013?

March 15, 2014 Rushing

The 2013 season was a disaster for Ray Rice, and 2014 isn’t off to a very good start, either. Last season, Rice carried 214 times for just 660 yards and four touchdowns, producing an anemic 3.1 yards per carry average. On November 9th, I asked whether Rice was already washed up; at the time it […]

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Adrian Peterson’s 2012 Season Lacked Some Juice

February 14, 2014 Rushing

When I went on the Advanced NFL Stats Podcast in late December, I discussed my use of Z-scores to measure the Seattle pass defense. Host Dave Collins asked me if I was planning on using Z-scores to measure other things, like say, Adrian Peterson’s 2012 season. I told him that would be an interesting idea […]

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Fewer Rushing Yards Are Coming From High Draft Picks

December 21, 2013 History

In 1990, there were 22 running backs who rushed for at least 700 yards. Of those players, Barry Sanders, Ottis Anderson, Sammie Smith, John L. Williams, Emmitt Smith, John Stephens, Lorenzo White, James Brooks, Cleveland Gary, and Neal Anderson were former first round picks. In addition, Bobby Humphrey, Mike Rozier, and Kevin Mack were selected […]

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The Rashard Mendenhall-Andre Ellington Time Share is Unique

November 16, 2013 History

Arizona is one of many teams in the NFL employing a running back by committee philosophy, but no team — now, or at any point in modern history — allocated time quite like the Cardinals. Through nine weeks, Rashard Mendenhall has 105 rushes for 323 yards, giving him a miniscule 3.1 yards per carry average. […]

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Is Ray Rice Already Washed Up?

November 9, 2013 History

In many ways, the post-Ray Lewis Ravens have flown under the radar. The defending Super Bowl champions are just 3-5, thanks mostly to a mediocre offense. But unless you have Ray Rice on your fantasy team, you probably haven’t noticed just how rough a season the star running back is having. Of course, “Ray Rice” […]

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Chris Johnson is the career leader in average length of rushing touchdown

November 1, 2013 Rushing

Not too surprising, I suppose. This includes all rushing touchdowns, including in the postseason, but does not include rushing touchdowns for 2013, not that it matters very much for Chris Johnson. :rimshot: All players with at least 30 rushing touchdowns are included since 1940. Tweet

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Trent Richardson and 400 carries

October 26, 2013 Fantasy

Trent Richardson has been a frequent topic of discussion at Football Perspective. In about 14 months, I’ve written the following articles: How often does the first running back selected in the draft become the best running back from his class? The field is always a better bet than one player: Only about 40% of the […]

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Yards per Carry and Points per Drive

September 10, 2013 Rushing

I’ve written a couple of times about “yards per carry” as a key statistic to grade running backs. The usual argument in favor of using YPC is that a running back who rushes for 1200 yards on 300 carries is less valuable, all else being equal, than one who rushes for 1200 yards on 250 […]

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How much will Terrelle Pryor help Darren McFadden?

September 1, 2013 History

The 2012 Raiders weren’t very good. Oakland finished last season 4-12, with the third-worst SRS rating (-10.8) in the NFL. And the outlook isn’t any better for 2013, either. Oakland has fifty million dollars of dead cap space; as a result, the players on the current roster cost the team only 67 million salary cap […]

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Examining Games with More than 15 Carries

August 12, 2013 Random Perspective On

Running back workload is a very difficult topic to tackle, and I don’t expect to make much of an indent into the subject today. But I do want to take a few minutes and look at some ways to measure heavy workloads. One school of thought is that the effect of carries is cumulative: Not […]

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The Biggest Fluke Fantasy Seasons Ever (Part II)

August 10, 2013 Fantasy

Yesterday, I set up a method for ranking the flukiest fantasy football seasons since the NFL-AFL merger, finding players who had elite fantasy seasons that were completely out of step with the rest of their careers. I highlighted fluke years #21-30, so here’s a recap of the rankings thus far: 30. Lorenzo White, 1992 29. […]

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Can Adrian Peterson break Emmitt Smith’s rushing record?

August 3, 2013 Random Perspective On

Two house-keeping notes before we get to today’s post. First, today’s a pretty big day for our friend Neil Paine: he’s getting married. I’ll be there to celebrate with him in Philadelphia, but I know you guys will be with us in spirit. Congrats to Kaitlyn and Neil! And another set of confetti must be […]

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Yards per Carry, Net Yards per Attempt, and Regression to the Mean

July 20, 2013 Passing

Last week, I wrote about why I was not concerned with Trent Richardson’s yards per carry average last season. I like using rushing yards because rush attempts themselves are indicators of quality, although it’s not like I think yards per carry is useless — just overrated. One problem with YPC is that it’s not very […]

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Why Trent Richardson’s 3.6 YPC average does not matter

July 10, 2013 Rookies

Just about every article about Trent Richardson references his unimpressive 3.6 yards per carry average from last season. That stat is pretty meaningless, in my opinion. I suppose if you took a random running back from NFL history, and his YPC average in one random season was 3.6, and I knew nothing else about the […]

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Franchises Nemeses: Rushing Stats

July 4, 2013 Rushing

Yesterday, I looked at the players who threw for the most yards and touchdowns against each franchise. Today I will do the same but with rushing statistics. But before going on, I’d urge you to take a few minutes and re-read this incredible document our founders signed 237 years ago. It’s great having a day […]

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Some Initial Thoughts Running Backs

July 1, 2013 Rushing

I’ve spent a lot of time this offseason looking at how to grade wide receivers; today I wanted to get some initial thoughts down on paper on running backs. I’m short on time today, which means a lot of data and not so much theory. One of the more underrated statistics to measure running backs […]

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Examining Previous Eddie Lacy/Johnathan Franklin pairs

May 17, 2013 Draft

Green Bay didn’t use a first round pick on a running back, but the Packers did spend a second round pick on Alabama’s Eddie Lacy and a fourth round pick on UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin.  How much weight should we put on draft status when one team drafts two running backs just a couple of rounds […]

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Longest streaks without a 100-yard rusher

May 4, 2013 Checkdowns

The Packers have gone 43 consecutive regular season games without having a 100-yard rusher. Not coincidentally, Green Bay drafted Alabama’s Eddie Lacy and UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin in the draft last weekend, hoping that one of those players can bolster the team’s rushing attack. Brandon Jackson rushed for 115 yards in an overtime loss against the […]

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Is Arian Foster declining?

April 2, 2013 Rushing

[House-keeping note: I've added the Salary Cap Calculator to the gray header tabs at the top of each page, so you can now easily get there no matter what page you're on at Football Perspective.] A quick look at Arian Foster‘s statistics over the last three years paints a picture of a player in decline: […]

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Projecting Trent Richardson and Alfred Morris, a year later

February 25, 2013 Rookies

In the pre-season, I wrote three pieces on Cleveland Browns rookie Trent Richardson.  As part of a thought experiment, I wondered who would lead the NFL in rushing yards from 2012 to 2021? I narrowed my finalists to LeSean McCoy, Beanie Wells (was I drunk?), DeMarco Murray (ouch), Richardson and the rest of the rookies, […]

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Trivia: Leading rusher in two different Super Bowls

February 2, 2013 Rushing

A week before the Super Bowl, I asked if you could name the seven wide receivers to start for two different teams that reached the Super Bowl. In the comments to that post, JWL alerted me to a pretty cool piece of Super bowl trivia. Eight different men have been the leading rusher in multiple […]

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Ray Rice is the newest star in What are the Odds of That?

January 11, 2013 Rushing

Regular readers surely recall my “What are the Odds of That” post from this summer. In that article, I referenced an obscured Jacoby Jones stat: in 2011, he gained three times as many receiving yards against teams at the back end of the alphabet as he did against the teams he faced in the front […]

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Jamaal Charles’ 2012 was one of the most inconsistent seasons in RB history

January 8, 2013 Rushing

A couple of weeks ago, I heard my buddy and co-worker Sigmund Bloom say on the Footballguys Podcast that Jamaal Charles was having one of the craziest seasons ever. As Sigmund noted, Charles has been an incredibly frustrating fantasy player. This year, he had three games with 10 or fewer rushing yards… and he also […]

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Checkdowns: Career rushing stats in wins and losses

December 30, 2012 History

Yesterday, I noted that Adrian Peterson is averaging nearly two more yards per rush in losses than wins. He’s also averaging a nearly identical number of rushing yards per game in wins and losses. As you’re about to see, that’s pretty rare. We all know that wins are correlated with rushing yards, so it should […]

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Adrian Peterson’s amazing, except when the Vikings win

December 29, 2012 Rushing

Adrian Peterson is having an incredible season. He’s likely to hit the 2,000-yard mark on Sunday, and he’s also chasing Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record. But his splits this year are…interesting. The table below shows Adrian Peterson’s game logs. These display his traditional statistics, along with his Win Probability added, Expected Points Added, and Success […]

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Checkdowns: Some Bo Jackson stats

December 9, 2012 History

Tonight ESPN aired You Don’t Know Bo, another excellent documentary in its 30 for 30 series. It’s often said that Bo Jackson’s greatness can’t be captured by statistics. While that’s undoubtedly true, there are still some ways to use Jackson’s numbers to give a glimpse into the type of player he was. A few years […]

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Running back success rate

December 6, 2012 Rushing

Grading running backs can be tricky; rushing yards tell much of the story but remain a function of opportunity (itself an indicator of talent). Yards per carry sounds nice but often is more misleading than revealing. Last year at Smartfootball.com I analyzed team rushing games using rush success rate, and I will do the same […]

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Trivia of the Day – Saturday, October 27th

October 27, 2012 Rushing

Last week, I noted that Calvin Johnson was trying to become just the third player since 1970 to lead the NFL in receiving yards in consecutive seasons. The rushing crown is much more likely to go to the same player; in fact, ten rushing champions since 1973 also led the league in rushing yards in […]

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