Doug Martin's comeback season set to continue
The last few weeks we looked and down-and-distance-adjusted rushing efficiency and determined that Frank Gore is secure in his workhorse role and identified Chris Ivory as a running back poised to enter the top tier. This week we’re going to back a previous methodology for putting rushing efficiency into context: front-adjusted yards over expectation, or FAYE.
The idea behind FAYE 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.