Contextualizing the Run: Offensive Run-Game Win Value – Week 9

Week 10 QB Spotlight: Drew Brees and the Potent Saints Offense
November 15, 2017
Justo’s Scouting Corner: Marcus Davenport, UTSA
November 20, 2017

Contextualizing the Run: Offensive Run-Game Win Value – Week 9

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.

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 Ten.

The Saints broke the god damn will of the Bills this weekend. At one point they ran the ball 24 times in a row, 18 of which you can see here, courtesy of Charles. With a score nearly double the next best team, it’s clear to see why the Saints dominated in Buffalo over the weekend. Outside of the Browns success against the Lions and the Panthers win against the Dolphins, it wasn’t a particularly successful week running the ball across the league. Nearly half the teams produced negative value on the ground, another four were under one, and no team outside of the three listed cleared a value of three. The Seahawks returned to their place as one of the least successful running teams in football after a one week trip towards the top, while the Falcons run game bottomed out with Devont’a Freeman going down early with a concussion. It’s worth taking notice of where the Chargers land relative to where we’ll see Melvin Gordon in the players’ section.

Now, it is worth noting that the worst rusher having a value of -2.33 isn’t particularly bad, but Melvin Gordon once again being that rusher is a continuing trend, and for those of you who would be inclined to blame it on the Chargers line, look no further than Austin Ekeler, Gordon’s backup. Ekeler fell just outside of the top 5 for the week, 4.75 points more valuable than Gordon. Melvin Gordon stinks, folks. It should be no surprise that the Saints running back duo paced the league, while Jonathan Stewart temporarily came back to life and Rex Burkhead has begun to emerge as the guy in New England, taking over for Mike Gillislee. Green Bay’s running backs have been bulletproof this year, each one consistently finding success no matter who it is, with Jamaal Williams back in line for touches.

Outside of that, everyone this week played just about to where their value has been all year. Dallas struggled to move the ball without Zeke or Tyron Smith, something that doesn’t look to improve as they play the Eagles on Sunday night.

That’ll do it for this week. Week 11 wraps up the bye weeks, which means everyone will be on a level playing field for the third quarterly update in Week 12. Until then, keep reading settingedge.com.