Dion Lewis is more efficient than Shane Vereen
Last year Scott Spratt developed a better metric for measuring rushing efficiency: Front-adjusted yards over expectation (FAYE). The idea behind the metric is simple: Running backs perform better when there are fewer defenders in the box. That means that backs who play for teams who consistently see fewer than seven men in the box have a nice advantage. It also means that not every back with an above-average YPC mark is an above-average back. How big of a difference do defensive fronts make in the running game? In 2014, league-wide rushers averaged 4.3 YPC; however, YPC was only 3.7 versus base defensives (4-3-4 or 3-4-4) and 4.7 against nickel, a nearly 30% increase.
Now that we have two weeks in the books, let’s take a look at the early-season numbers for FAYE on a per carry basis to gain insight into which backs are truly more efficient runners than their teammates and the rest of the league.