10 RB Conclusions Based On PFF Premium Stats

After reviewing PFF's stable of premium stats, Dan Schneier gives some new observations on several running backs heading into 2014.

| 3 years ago

10 RB Conclusions Based On PFF Premium Stats

alfred-morrisAt Pro Football Focus we have a stable of grades and statistics to sift through. When applied in the correct context, these numbers can be very helpful in finding an edge in fantasy football. In this piece, I decided to focus on PFF’s “signature stats” offering at the running back position. Some of the most useful stats I evaluated were elusive rating, Yco/Att, MT rush, MT rec, breakaway percentage, pass block efficiency, and Drop Rate. Elusive rating and Yco/Att (yards after contact per attempt) are tools used to distill a player’s impact independent of his blocking. Breakaway percentage shows what a runner can do in the open field. The others are self explanatory.

For every observation context clues play a major role, and that’s what you will see references to offensive lineman and offensive unit blocking grades. These were my takeaways, and if you disagree feel free to find me on Twitter @DanSchneier_NFL where we can debate.

*All ADP data was pulled from FantasyFootballCalculator.com and taken from drafts from the last seven days.

Give The Man Some Space

Once Trent Richardson gets moving, he can make his man miss. On just 185 total touches, Richardson forced 47 missed tackles combined in 2013. Not a single back forced more missed tackles per reception, and only Joique Bell, Ben Tate, and Chris Ivory forced as many missed tackles per rushing attempt.

Richardson’s problems arise when he gets stopped in his tracks due to poor blocking or a great play by the defender. Richardson finished 43rd out of 49 running backs who received 25 percent of their team’s touches or more in Yco/Att (1.90). Once his momentum was paused, he had a difficult time restarting it. Richardson had a similar problem with the Browns in 2012, where he finished 40th out of 48 in Yco/Att (2.09) despite the fact that he forced the fifth-most missed tackles on receptions and rushes combined.

Richardson is more of a product of his offensive line than most backs. He needs space to get going and make his moves in the open field. The Colts finished as the 10th-worst run-blocking unit  (-18.2) in 2013. They added offensive lineman Jack Mewhort with their first pick in the draft (No. 59 overall). Mewhort is on a fast track to start, but after playing offensive tackle last season at Ohio State he could struggle with his transition to the NFL.

Conclusion: Offensive line is still a major question mark and this makes Richardson a risky investment. He is the biggest boom or bust running back in 2014.

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Dan Schneier is a staff writer for PFF Fantasy, a former FOX Sports NFL scribe, and an auction format enthusiast.

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