Volume isn’t making Devonta Freeman more efficient

Kevin Cole looks that whether there is anything to the narrative that running backs gain a "rhythm" with more carries, and the implications for fantasy football.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Brad Penner)

(AP Photo/Brad Penner)

Volume isn’t making Devonta Freeman more efficient


One of benefits of having access to data is the ability to take the magnifying glass to football’s many accepted narratives and see if they hold water. One that I had seen frequently recently was the concept that running backs need more volume (carries) in order to develop a rhythm and run more efficiently. I can’t blame anyone for believing that to be true; the anecdotal evidence is certainly there. So should we just accept that the early-season upticks in yards-per-carry (YPC) for Devonta Freeman and DeMarco Murray that corresponded with more volume were indeed caused by that volume?

You don’t have to search hard to find the concept of running back rhythm making it way into articles, press conferences and the mouths of running backs themselves. Chip Kelly was asked during a press conference last week if Murray was the type of running back who needed more carries to in order to develop a rhythm. And Knile Davis said as much in a Kansas City Star interview:

Davis, 24, fared well during a three-game stretch last year when Charles was banged up, recording 70 carries for 318 yards for a solid average of 4.5 yards per carry.

“I was a volume runner (in college) — as I got into a rhythm, the better I did,” Davis said. “The more plays and opportunities you get the better you do. I think that’s pretty much any runner.”

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