2015 Week 3 Running Backs

Week 3 in the NFL featured an interesting group in the top ten rushing leaders. With the exception of Adrian Peterson, the top ten yardage leaders were a who’s who of who’s that.1 Sure, Frank Gore is a popular chap, but Frank Gore the Colt is not.

Enough argumentative babble. Let’s look at the stats.

Raw Stats

This table includes general counting stats for running backs and is sorted by rushing yards.

Devonta FreemanATL3014130955201250
Latavius MurrayOAK2613910611000010
Alfred BlueHOU311391170000000
Adrian PetersonMIN201262050000000
Karlos WilliamsBUF121101040000000
Chris JohnsonARI2211020514001030
Ryan MathewsPHI2510801622011240
Thomas RawlsSEA161040030000010
Joseph RandleDAL148730621801020
Frank GoreIND14862071801020
LeGarrette BlountNE187830711401010
Matt ForteCHI20740030000030
Le'Veon BellPIT196210477004080
Jonathan StewartCAR14520020000010
Melvin GordonSD14510040000010
Carlos HydeSF155100211001010
Mark IngramNOR145010354903050
Jonas GrayMIA9490040000000
Jamaal CharlesKC114930553301070
Antonio AndrewsTEN124910211201020
Giovani BernardCIN134900333401040
Eddie LacyGNB104600134102030
Doug MartinTB14460010000000
Lamar MillerMIA73800232701030
Matt JonesWAS11380120000000
Dion LewisNE83710353000150
Isaiah CrowellCLE10360020000000
Darren McFaddenDAL6351030000000
T.J. YeldonJAX11330002901130
Rashad JenningsNYG113200232500040
James StarksGNB173200211901010
Bilal PowellNYJ103100174403080
Chris ThompsonWAS229001857120121
Andre WilliamsNYG14291020000000
Branden OliverSD8260020000010
David JohnsonARI72500231600030
Jay ProschHOU3240020000010
Shane VereenNYG6230010000130
Ameer AbdullahDET82300121911050
Jeremy HillCIN12210010000000
Jonathan GrimesHOU61900041902040
Alfred MorrisWAS6190000000000
Jerick McKinnonMIN6180010000010
C.J. AndersonDEN8180021900010
Alonzo HarrisGNB2170010000000
Damien WilliamsMIA2170011500030
Darren SprolesPHI111710241901161
Taiwan JonesOAK2160000000000
Mike TolbertCAR51600032801030
Tre MasonSTL91600011501010
LeSean McCoyBUF111600011011040
Marshawn LynchSEA5140011901010
Fred JacksonSEA2130002901020
Ronnie HillmanDEN7131011300010
Justin ForsettBAL101300241600170
Benny CunninghamSTL11200121800290
Javorius AllenBAL3120010000000
Danny WoodheadSD61200123101030
Khiry RobinsonNOR7121012800020
Juwan ThompsonDEN3110000000000
Jacquizz RodgersCHI41100111000020
Charles SimsTB61100124111020
Matt AsiataMIN2100002501040
Toby GerhartJAX3100000000000
Bishop SankeyTEN51000023102020
Jalston FowlerTEN491030000000
Todd GurleySTL690001500010
Josh RobinsonIND280000000000
James WhiteNE2800042602040
Dexter McClusterTEN5700113501020
Corey GrantJAX260001800120
Cameron Artis-PayneCAR360000000000
Stepfan TaylorARI460020000000
Mike DavisSF760021500030
Joique BellDET1061021-200010
Lance DunbarDAL1500010100040100
Chris PolkHOU550010000100
C.J. SpillerNOR1400022201020
Austin JohnsonNOR240010000100
Zac StacyNYJ230002-200020
Duke JohnsonCLE4300063201070
DeAngelo WilliamsPIT120000000100
Darrel YoungWAS120000000000
Bernard PierceJAX110002300030
Zach LineMIN111010000000
Marcel ReeceOAK1100015501020
Patrick DiMarcoATL000001401010
Kyle JuszczykBAL0000021100030
Fozzy WhittakerCAR0000011401010
Shaun DraughnCLE000001200020
Theo RiddickDET00000866020100
Roy HeluOAK0000011201010
Lorenzo TaliaferroBAL300001600010

Devonta Freeman was a monster on the ground, leading all players in rushing yards. If Julio Jones stays healthy, Freeman should continue to see softer defenses. Look for him to make the most of those opportunities.

Alfred Blue feasted on a high volume of carries against a bad defense. I am not of the opinion that this is the beginning of something big for Blue.

Karlos Williams rode his red wheelbarrow up and down the field against the Dolphins, on his way to over 9 yards per carry. His efficiency will likely drop, but he will probably get plenty of action in Rex Ryan’s offense with LeSean McCoy nursing a hamstring injury.

By now, you’ve probably heard the Latavius Murray and his teammates Derek Carr and Amari Cooper became one of just twelve trios age 25 or under to hit the 300-100-100 mark in passing, rushing, and receiving yards. That’s a neat bit of trivia, but it doesn’t mean too much for the long run. More meaningful is the 5.2 (2014) and 4.8 (2015, so far) yards per carry Murray has produced on a low volume of carries.2

Adjusted Stats

This table includes adjusted stats for running backs and is sorted by adjusted scrimmage yards (ASY). Read it thus: Devonta Freeman gained 255 adjusted rushing yards at 8.50 per carry. That was 4.19 better than average, giving him 126 marginal ARY. He also gained 61 adjusted catch yards at 12.2 per reception. Overall, he turned 35 touches into 316 ASY.

Devonta FreemanATL2558.504.1912661.012.235316
Chris JohnsonARI1778.053.748249.049.023226
Le'Veon BellPIT1095.741.4327106.015.126215
Latavius MurrayOAK2047.853.549210.010.027214
Joseph RandleDAL17412.438.1211427.013.516201
LeGarrette BlountNE1749.675.369623.023.019197
Adrian PetersonMIN1939.655.341070.020193
Alfred BlueHOU1886.061.75540.031188
Frank GoreIND17112.217.9011117.017.015188
Ryan MathewsPHI1375.481.172940.020.027177
Jamaal CharlesKC12711.557.248042.08.416169
Mark IngramNOR886.291.982876.015.219164
Karlos WilliamsBUF15713.088.771050.012157
Lance DunbarDAL55.000.691136.013.611141
Thomas RawlsSEA1318.193.88620.016131
Giovani BernardCIN765.851.542043.014.316119
Eddie LacyGNB555.501.191259.019.713114
Bilal PowellNYJ404.00-0.31-371.010.117111
Dion LewisNE759.385.074130.06.013105
Matt ForteCHI1015.050.74150.020101
Antonio AndrewsTEN786.502.192621.021.01399
Chris ThompsonWAS3819.0014.692961.07.61099
Lamar MillerMIA568.003.692636.012.01092
Carlos HydeSF694.600.29419.019.01688
Melvin GordonSD876.211.90270.01487
Jonas GrayMIA859.445.13460.0985
Theo RiddickDET084.010.5884
Charles SimsTB203.33-0.98-661.030.5881
James StarksGNB502.94-1.37-2328.028.01878
Rashad JenningsNYG504.550.24325.08.31475
Darren McFaddenDAL7312.177.86470.0673
Ameer AbdullahDET324.00-0.31-239.019.51071
Jonathan StewartCAR705.000.69100.01470
Marcel ReeceOAK11.00-3.31-364.064.0265
Danny WoodheadSD213.50-0.81-540.020.0861
Dexter McClusterTEN163.20-1.11-644.044.0660
David JohnsonARI436.141.831316.05.31059
Bishop SankeyTEN102.00-2.31-1249.024.5759
Andre WilliamsNYG584.14-0.17-20.01458
Jonathan GrimesHOU193.17-1.14-737.09.31056
Doug MartinTB553.93-0.38-50.01455
Isaiah CrowellCLE545.401.09110.01054
Mike TolbertCAR163.20-1.11-637.012.3853
James WhiteNE84.00-0.31-144.011.0652
T.J. YeldonJAX333.00-1.31-1418.09.01351
Darren SprolesPHI464.18-0.13-13.00.81549
Justin ForsettBAL313.10-1.21-1216.04.01447
Jalston FowlerTEN4711.757.44300.0447
LeSean McCoyBUF161.45-2.86-3130.030.01246
C.J. AndersonDEN364.500.1929.09.0945
Branden OliverSD445.501.19100.0844
Duke JohnsonCLE30.75-3.56-1441.06.81044
Jay ProschHOU4214.009.69290.0342
Marshawn LynchSEA234.600.29118.018.0641
Tre MasonSTL161.78-2.53-2324.024.01040
Khiry RobinsonNOR324.570.2628.04.0940
Benny CunninghamSTL2121.0016.691718.09.0339
Ronnie HillmanDEN334.710.4033.03.0836
C.J. SpillerNOR44.00-0.31031.015.5335
Joique BellDET353.50-0.81-8-2.0-2.01133
Shane VereenNYG325.331.0260.0632
Matt JonesWAS312.82-1.49-160.01131
Fred JacksonSEA136.502.19418.09.0431
Damien WilliamsMIA2613.008.69175.05.0331
Jeremy HillCIN302.50-1.81-220.01230
Jacquizz RodgersCHI205.000.69310.010.0530
Mike DavisSF243.43-0.88-65.05.0829
Jerick McKinnonMIN274.500.1910.0627
Alonzo HarrisGNB2613.008.69170.0226
Stepfan TaylorARI246.001.6970.0424
Matt AsiataMIN105.000.69114.07.0424
Fozzy WhittakerCAR023.023.0123
Javorius AllenBAL217.002.6980.0321
Zach LineMIN2121.0016.69170.0121
Roy HeluOAK021.021.0121
Alfred MorrisWAS193.17-1.14-70.0619
Taiwan JonesOAK168.003.6970.0216
Todd GurleySTL91.50-2.81-175.05.0714
Chris PolkHOU142.80-1.51-80.0514
Corey GrantJAX63.00-1.31-38.08.0314
Austin JohnsonNOR136.502.1940.0213
Patrick DiMarcoATL013.013.0113
Juwan ThompsonDEN113.67-0.64-20.0311
Kyle JuszczykBAL011.05.5211
Toby GerhartJAX103.33-0.98-30.0310
Josh RobinsonIND84.00-0.31-10.028
Cameron Artis-PayneCAR62.00-2.31-70.036
Lorenzo TaliaferroBAL00.00-4.31-136.06.046
Bernard PierceJAX11.00-3.31-33.01.534
DeAngelo WilliamsPIT22.00-2.31-20.012
Darrel YoungWAS22.00-2.31-20.012
Shaun DraughnCLE02.02.012
Zac StacyNYJ31.50-2.81-6-2.0-1.041

It’s no surprise to see Freeman at the top, with 255 adjusted rushing yards and an additional 61 adjusted catch yards. He produced 315 adjusted scrimmage yards on a league high 35 touches.

Ryan Mathews is the guy who was supposed to spell highly paid DeMarco Murray. However, before either back played a snap for the Eagles, Mathews was clearly a better scheme fit. Look for Murray to get force-fed the ball by a prideful coaching staff while Mathews consistently outpaces him.

Le’Veon Bell made his return to the starting lineup, and he looked like he never left. He gained over 100 adjusted yards rushing and receiving, trailing only Lance Dunbar in the latter category. I have no idea how Todd Haley will run the offense with Michael Vick at the helm, but hopefully (for Bell) Vick’s threat to run will offset his inability to pass.

How amazing would it be if Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, and Chris Johnson all found the fountain of youth in the same season? That would make for a scary offense.3

With a healthy Dion Lewis at their disposal, the Patriots gave LeGarrette Blount 19 touches to Lewis’s 13. What does this mean? Well, considering Lewis had all of his touches in the first half (6 first quarter, 7 second quarter), I’d say it means that the wise and wonderful Bill Belichick wants to preserve the health of a dynamic playmaker with an injury history. After bouncing around the NFL, Dion is a wanderer no more; he’s here to stay.

  1. That’s not to say they aren’t talented, but rather that they aren’t household names. Untalented players do not exist in the NFL, regardless of what fans and talking heads might say.
  2. And by more meaningful, I mean slightly more meaningful but not really all that meaningful.
  3. Currently, it is making for a very scary offense.