Yards Per Attempt and What It Means For 2017: AFC East and West
I first read about Yards Before Contact or “Vision Yards” in this article by Zero RB inventor Shawn Siegele. Shawn explained that while it’s useful to see which running backs had the best blocking, it also helps to identify which backs got more than what was blocked on average.
We can’t say for sure, but by comparison, this is where we may be able to identify the better talent as far as vision and nuance is concerned.
Using this we can tell who got the most help from their line and also who may have under performed. Let’s dig in and see if we can project how next season may shake out for each backfield in the AFC East and West.
Buffalo Bills –
LeSean McCoy: 5.41 YBCPA / 1.78 YACPA
Mike Gillislee: 5.65 YBCPA / 1.30 YACPA
Jonathan Williams: 3.35 YBCPA / 0.59 YACPA
LeSean McCoy has been a top producer for many years, but most of the credit for 2016 has to go to the Bills offensive line. The top-two ball carriers averaged five and a half yards before contact, however McCoy did lead the team in yards after contact. Gillislee’s similar production makes him a strong hold in dynasty, as McCoy will play this season at age 29.
Denver Broncos –
Devontae Booker: 3.50 YBCPA / 0.93 YACPA
C.J. Anderson: 3.94 YBCPA / 1.39 YACPA
Kapri Bibbs: 4.30 YBCPA / 2.14 YACPA
I was a big fan of Booker coming out of the draft, but he really struggled as a rookie. It doesn’t mean he can’t turn things around, but the team didn’t invest much in him, so he doesn’t have a long leash. Even though everyone seems to love C.J. Anderson, he really wasn’t that much better. Ben Gretch’s boy Kapri Bibbs got the most out of his touches and could be worth stashing if they don’t add another body.
Kansas City Chiefs –
Spencer Ware: 4.29 YBCPA / 1.31 YACPA
Charcandrick West: 3.29 YBCPA / 1.03 YACPA
Jamaal Charles: 3.06 YBCPA /0 .05 YACPA
I love Jamaal Charles, but he wasn’t healthy and therefore he wasn’t good when he touched the ball. Charcandrick West was decent but Spencer Ware looks like the real deal. The Chiefs O-line was fairly solid, but Ware averaged a yard before contact better than the rest of the ball carriers. He should be prepared for a buffet of touches next season.
Los Angeles Chargers –
Melvin Gordon: 3.91 YBCPA / 1.29 YACPA
Kenneth Farrow: 3.15 YBCPA / 0.53 YACPA
Ronnie Hillman: 3.12 YBCPA / 0.73 YACPA
Gordon was the best back for his team by a wide margin, but still wasn’t all that impressive. The Chargers line was in the bottom half of the league for YBC, so there’s reason to be optimistic if they can improve it. Unless the team makes a move, Gordon should be a lock to dominate the touches once again and is still a top dynasty asset.
Miami Dolphins –
Jay Ajayi: 4.87 YBCPA / 1.86 YACPA
Damien Williams: 3.19 YBCPA / 4.31 YACPA
Kenyan Drake: 5.26 YBCPA / 1.27 YACPA
While the Dolphins line wasn’t great, the team still got impressive production per touch from all their backs. Long time RotoViz favorite Damien Williams crushed the others in terms of yards after contact and rookie Kenyan Drake was a top five back before contact. Ajayi was awesome last year but I’d be a bit concerned about him keeping his competition off the field.
New England Patriots –
LeGarrette Blount: 3.87 YBCPA / 1.25 YACPA
James White: 4.15 YBCPA / 1.13 YACPA
Dion Lewis: 4.35 YBCPA / 0.97 YACPA
While Blount was a workhorse for the Patriots, he wasn’t much better than average per attempt. White was slightly better prior to contact, and Lewis was exceptional in that area. But neither back is really built to do much after contact. It wouldn’t be surprising if new addition Rex Burkhead leads the team in touches next year.
New York Jets –
Matt Forte: 3.71 YBCPA / 0.96 YACPA
Bilal Powell: 5.41 YBCPA / 2.05 YACPA
Brandon Wilds: 2.43 YBCPA / 1.0 YACPA
Bilal Powell has been an unheralded fantasy asset for awhile now, but I think he’s really starting to prove his talent as a runner. Matt Forte’s best years are probably behind him at this point, and Powell looks a lot like Devonta Freeman. He’s probably available for a high third-round rookie pick and is a lock for 100 carries and 50 receptions at worst.
Oakland Raiders –
Latavius Murray: 4.02 YBCPA / 1.03 YACPA
Deandre Washington: 5.37 YBCPA / 1.78 YACPA
Jalen Richard: 5.79 YBCPA / 2.29 YACPA
It seems all three backs benefited from solid O-line play, but it also stands out how underwhelming Latavius Murray was. Now going to one of the worst run blocking units in the Minnesota Vikings, Murray’s an asset you should probably be selling off for pennies. Jalen Richard bested the field in both categories, but Deandre Washington’s numbers look pretty comparable to LeSean McCoy. Both should keep a role even if the Raiders add another RB.