Contextualizing the Run: Offensive Run-Game Win Value – Week 15

Week 15 QB Spotlight: Marcus Mariota and the Titans Offense
December 20, 2017
The Update: Week 16
December 26, 2017

Contextualizing the Run: Offensive Run-Game Win Value – Week 15

OrW tracks both teams and players and evaluates one thing—the frequency with which the subject can win the play by running the ball. How do we define this? An offensive run-game win is any run play (excluding kneel-downs) that keeps an offense on track to pick up a first down, or a touchdown if it’s a goal to go situation. For example, on a standard 1st down, the offense has 3 plays (assuming a punt on 4th) to gain 10 yards. To “win” first down, a run would need to pick up 4 yards. If the offense starts from 1st and 10 and picks up 4 yards every play, the series will result in a touchdown every time. This logic extends to any down and distance needed. On 2nd down the team has 2 plays to gain the necessary yardage, so they need to pick up half of it to “win” the down, while on third and fourth down they need to gain the yardage necessary for the first to be labeled a win.

This stat, on a team level, will show who has the most efficient and reliable running games. On a player level, while it shouldn’t be viewed as a be-all end-all stat to evaluate running backs, combining it with a stat like Justis’ that tracks what RB’s do past the line of scrimmage, or Ryan Jackson’s ANRY/A that adjusts running backs yardage for efficiency, it can paint a pretty good picture.

Over the season, I will be posting the weekly results here on settingedge.com, and every four weeks I will be giving a big-picture, season long look at how teams and players are faring. With all the introductory stuff out of the way, let’s take a look at Week Fifteen.

We’re gonna keep it short this week because it’s holiday season and we’re all busy people and this was a boring ass week of football. The Patriots continue to be incredibly efficient on the ground, the Cardinals got significantly better without Adrian Peterson, and Kenyan Drake continues his hot streak at the top of this weeks team values. The Cowboys were just about average this week, but should see a boost with Ezekiel Elliot returning as they push for a playoff spot (they make it if they go 2-0 and one of the NFC South teams go 0-2. The Saints and Panthers both get the Bucs still so the Falcons are their best hope). Despite Kareem Hunt’s resurgence this week the Chiefs are still struggling to find consistent success running the ball. The 49ers had an awful week against a good Tennessee run defense but Jimmy Guwop got the win anyway.

What a weird week. Alfred Blue, Buck Allen, Elijhaa Penny, Corey Grant, and Melvin Gordon make up the 5 most valuable runners this week? Honestly if you asked me to put money on the least likely of those 5 to be there I would’ve put it on Gordon, but I guess it’s time he has a week worthy of the status people give him. That top 5 should be enough to show that this week is barely worth talking about. We’ve got one more weekly update and then we’ll have the final season rankings. Enjoy the holidays everyone, stay safe!