Exploring FTN Data: Advanced RB Metrics

FTN's Brett Whitefield uses FTN Data to dive in on some advanced running back metrics to help quantify the game's top ball carriers.

Jul 06, 2021, 2:40 PM EDT

RB gash rate: The percentage of a running back’s runs that go for 10 yards or more.
Yards after contact (YCOC):  The average amount of yards after contact per carry generated.
Forced missed tackles: The amount of missed tackles a skill player forces. 

With the launch of the new FTN Data site this summer, we continue our series spotlighting some of the Insider Stats that will be commonly seen and talked about at both FTN Fantasy and FTN Data. Advanced running back metrics like gash rate, yards after contact and forced missed tackles do a very good job quantifying a running back’s performance beyond his blocking, specifically his ability to create. Typically speaking, a running back who ranks high in multiple categories is playing at a high level, but you will also notice that they are usually given great opportunities running behind an above-average offensive line. Let's take a look at RB gash rate (min 115 carries) while working in some of the other metrics along the way.

  1. Nick Chubb (17.9%): Chubb also ranks first in forced missed tackle rate, averaging a forced missed tackle nearly every third carry (3.1), and first in yards after contact per carry (4.05). Combine his performance with the dominant run blocking from the Browns offensive line and you get a guy who can gash opposing defenses at an insane rate. No surprise here outside of his commanding lead on the pack.
  2. Jonathan Taylor (15.1%): While Taylor ranked top-25 in both yards after contact per carry (2.81) and forced missed tackle rate (every 5.52 attempts) he didn’t quite have the dominant individual performance as the other guys in the top five here. He’s a great case of what superb OL play can do for a running back.
  3. Alvin Kamara (15.0%): Despite being a guy who has traditionally done a ton of his damage via the air, Kamara averaged nearly three yards after contact per carry in 2020 while playing behind a fantastic offensive line.
  4. J.K. Dobbins (14.9%): Dobbins was a yards-after-contact machine in 2020, ranking fourth among qualifiers with a mark of 3.49 per carry, which, combined with good OL play, propelled him to landing fourth here in RB gash rate.
  5. Dalvin Cook (14.7%): In 2020, Cook was a big-play machine in large part due to his ability to force missed tackles where he racked up 71 on 312 carries, which was good for the fourth-highest rate among qualifiers.

Follow along the whole Exploring FTN DATA series here