Rushing Stats Analysis – Find the Gap Week 14
Looks like we’ve made it to the fantasy post-season. In here, it becomes even more important to find that rushing success. And, using analysis of team rushing stats, we could find the solution to making that next stage. Let’s see if we can find you some ground game for your round game.
RUSHING STATS ANALYSIS WEEK 13 RECAP
As usual, we will have a look at the teams selected last week. Week 13 saw a hark back to earlier editions, where I gave you three teams to mull over at your leisure. They were the Colts, The Niners and the Vikings.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS – 38 Carries, 145 yards, 0TDs
This game went close. And, surprise surprise, it was due to the hard work and determination of James Robinson. The Running Back had another 100 yard game from scrimmage, and managed to hammer in a fourth quarter rushing touchdown on the way to 78 yards.
Dalvin Cook may not have found the endzone with his 120 yard ground game, but the team got into positions where they could have turned to the Running Back. Instead, Kirk Cousins passed into redzone beast Adam Thielen for a touchdown instead. Nevertheless, there was good news for Cook owners as he went for over 20 PPR points.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS – 29 Carries, 109 yards, 1TD
A very good day for the Indy Running Backs – one touchdown on the ground and one through the air. And Jonathon Taylor came out with another good game – with 91 yards off just 13 carries. It’s good to see him being able to show consistency after so many games of running into the backs of people. Jordan Wilkins seems to be slipping down the depth chart, leaving just JT and Nyheim Hines, who ran in his touchdown with a sharp turn to the right and hitting the end of the endzone.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS – 21 CARRIES, 86 YARDS, 0TD
Our lowest return of the week, but this game could have given us much different stats had the Niners been able to fully capitalise on their redzone possessions. They had plenty of chances within the Buffalo 5 yard line. The early first was stuffed at the 1 – and led to a turnover on downs. The second? A passing touchdown from the 2. The third? An interception from the 5. And a fourth from the 5 – another passing touchdown. And that’s not counting a third thrown score from the 6. The rushing stat line could have been so much different.
And it’s not as though they were ineffective. The Niners were hammering through runs like no-ones business. Once the dust had settled, the San Francisco running offense had put away four carries of over 10 yards. Mostert and Wilson were carving open defences on the regular, although Tevin Coleman really struggled in this game, and may have found himself behind Wilson from here on out.
So the main two were finding the holes, but Josh Allen just didn’t give them the chance to find as many as they should have. The Quarterback threw the Bills out of trouble, with four touchdowns over the game. And another game script swung away from the Niners and left them to pass back into the game.
RUSHING STATS ANALYSIS – WEEK 14 PICKS
NEW YORK GIANTS (vs CARDINALS)
This must surely be a mistake – I have selected the Giants two weeks in three now. But you don’t need to rub your eyes and check again. This match up could be very promising for the Giants.
Their opponents, the Arizona Cardinals, have been on a downward spiral in recent weeks. After losing only two games in ten, they have lost their last three in a row, and now find themselves falling behind their divisional rivals. How did they lose these games? They have been caught out on the offense, and are struggling to slow down their opponents on defense.
In terms of the ground game, it is a struggle to read. The Seahawks got 165 yards and a Carlos Hyde touchdown in Week 11. In Week 12, New England’s James White got two rushing touchdowns, although the Patriots rushing personnel only got 110 yards between them. And the Rams finished off the triple threat with another three ground scores in Week 13 – off just 119 yards.
These scores go hand-in-hand with how the Cardinals have conceded runs throughout the season. And they have struggled at dealing with runs through the central channels. In that area, the Cardinals line concede 5.04 yards per carry – the WORST in the NFL.
The average for these last three defeats holds at a similar level – 5.1 ypc. And the Week 9 game (the Hail Murray last gasp victory against the Bills) had an average of 7.89 ypc. Buffalo were CARVING up the Arizona line. So this is an area that needs to be addressed. And soon, because they face another ground-heavy team this week.
GIANTS ON PARADE
The loss of QB Daniel Jones has not only meant that the Giants have suffered in the passing department, but in the running department as well. Luckily, the New York running group seems to have found its feet. After losing Saquon Barkley, they have (thankfully) skipped over Devonta Freeman and Dion Lewis, and moved onto Wayne Gallman and Alfred Morris. The analysis of their running stats have produced some favourable results for the Giants offense.
Gallman has been running an absolute treat since he got the lead back role. He has been very difficult to slow down. only 14.6% of his carries have been stopped at the line or for a loss. In fact, 47.7% (52 of 109 of his runs) have gone for four yards or more.
His backup, Alfred Morris, is a very effective change of pace. 57.8% (22 of 38) of his carries have gone over this four yard mark as well. Although the sample size is much smaller, Morris is keeping pace with Gallman – and then some.
The direction of their runs should be cause for concern for the Cardinals as well. In the last two games, the two Running Backs’ have directed 32 carries through that central part of the line alone. Those carries have averaged 4.93 yards each. 20 of them went for four yards or more. Unless the Cardinals can plug up the gap in the middle of their offensive line, then they are going to have a real problem with Gallman and Morris.
GREEN BAY PACKERS (@ LIONS)
The Packers are back on the list after a long hiatus. And I had actually tipped the Lions to do well against the Packers in the reverse fixture in Week 2. But the game script went against Detroit, and the Packers ended up putting 259 yards past the hapless Lions D at Lambeau Field.
Well, since then, the Lions have gone downhill, and have since topped the list for fantasy points conceded to Running Backs. And, as a result of a shut out against the Panthers and a defensive collapse against the Texans, the management fired head coach Matt Patricia.
But the Lions actually come into this game fresh from a closely fought victory against the Chicago Bears. The Bears are themselves going through some troubled times, particularly around their Quarterback. But that is not the case for Green Bay. In fact, things have never been better since Devante Adams and Aaron Rodgers got back together. They go way back, don’t you know?
But talking about the dynamic pairing of Adams and Aaron is not why we are here. We are here to look at analysis of rushing stats. So why have I picked the Packers?
GREEN LIGHT FOR GREEN BAY
After an injury kept him out of several games, it looks like Aaron Jones is back to form. The lead back has only been stopped at the line twice in the last three games. In fact, he has seen more than twice as many runs for over 10 yards (5) than stops. One of those long runs was his determined 77 yard break down field, which went for a touchdown.
And it seems like Jones and his running back partner Jamaal Williams have taken advantage of the strong positions their team has been in. Williams himself has only been stopped twice in 35 runs since Week 10 and has also seen three of his own carries for over 10 yards.
And I know we said we were moving on from Devante and Aaron. But their roles in particular, plus that of surprise Top 5 TE Robert Tonyan, have been instrumental in getting the Packers out in front. And that has allowed the Running Backs to do what they have done so well. And, when you’re up against a team that’s in the bottom 10 for conceding fantasy points to three positions, it could well be a repeat of what happened in Week 2.
At least, for the article, let’s hope so…
Join me next week to see how well these teams did!