The NFL Rushers And Receivers Who Are Carrying Their Teams

29 Sep 2019 admin

5Spencer WareChiefs3,7691,07728.6 PLAYERTEAMTEAM YARDSPLAYER YARDSPLAYER SHARE Players with the highest share of team scrimmage yards, 2016 2Ezekiel ElliottCowboys4,5731,50232.8 5David JohnsonCardinals21026180.5 Receivers with the most first-down receptions per route run, 2016 1David JohnsonCardinals4,2901,53435.8% 1Mike EvansBuccaneers41013232.2% 9Greg OlsenPanthers4136211.3 More than in any other sport, in football, individual statistics reflect a player’s environment as well as that player’s individual talent. A running back can be hamstrung by a poor offensive line, and a wide receiver can’t do much if his quarterback can’t get him the ball. While there’s no one advanced stat that can perfectly contextualize individual performance within a team environment, there are a few that do a pretty good job. Today, we’ll look at four stats that help demonstrate a player’s contribution to his team.Yards from scrimmage … as a percentage of team yardsDavid Johnson has been remarkable this season: He was my midseason choice for Offensive Player of the Year, in part because he had gained at least 100 yards from scrimmage in every game to that point. He has maintained that streak since then and is now just the second player since at least 1950 to hit the century mark in each of his team’s first 11 games.Johnson leads the league in yards from scrimmage with 1,534, but he also leads the league in percentage of team scrimmage yards. He’s gained 35.8 percent of all Cardinals yards this year, making him one of only three players to gain at least 30 percent of his team’s yards: 11C.J. FiedorowiczTexans2320411.3 10Matt ForteJets3,78496125.4 The Colts’ Frank Gore and Patriots’ LeGarrette Blount are overshadowed by playing alongside star quarterbacks in Andrew Luck and Tom Brady, but don’t overlook how important those players are to their teams. Indianapolis has only given three carries per game to other running backs, while the Patriots are calling Blount’s number 81.9 percent of the time when handing off to a back. And Chargers second-year back Melvin Gordon ranks second in this category, after ranking third in our first metric. He’s having a remarkable bounce-back year after struggling as a rookie.Receiving share of targetsAntonio Brown and Julio Jones are the two biggest stars at the wide receiver position. Brown leads the league in receptions, and Jones ranks first in receiving yards, a year after the duo far outpaced the rest of the league in those same two categories. But the Steelers’ Brown and the Falcons’ Jones also benefit from playing with a pair of star quarterbacks in, respectively, Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan.The passing games in Pittsburgh and Atlanta revolve around their star receivers, of course: Brown has accounted for 28.8 percent of all Steelers targets this season, and Jones is at 27.6 percent for the Falcons. Those are great numbers, but not quite good enough for No. 1. 1Mike EvansBuccaneers6240615.3% 3Julio JonesFalcons4936113.6 10Christine MichaelPackers11816372.4 8DeMarco MurrayTitans22930176.1 5Jarvis LandryDolphins3218827.4 15Jordy NelsonPackers43210524.3 12Demaryius ThomasBroncos3629225.4 20Stefon DiggsVikings3718723.5 Among players with at least 20 receiving first downsSource: ESPN Stats & Information Group 18Amari CooperRaiders4089824.0 5Jordan ReedRedskins3829812.8 3Frank GoreColts17821184.4 19Greg OlsenPanthers3708823.8 7Le’Veon BellSteelers4,1361,13627.5 8Antonio BrownSteelers5042811.7 12Mike EvansBuccaneers4,1531,02024.6 Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group 8Odell BeckhamGiants40710726.3 21Jeremy Kerley49ers3457822.6 6Matt ForteJets20225280.2 11Jordan HowardBears3,9841,00825.3 9Terrelle PryorBrowns41510926.3 6Lamar MillerTexans3,6381,03228.4 2Melvin GordonChargers23427385.7 PLAYERTEAMFIRST-DOWN RECEPTIONSROUTES RUNRECEPTIONS PER ROUTE RUN 4DeMarco MurrayTitans4,7161,35228.7 12Jay AjayiDolphins16123369.1 Receivers with the highest share of team targets, 2016 7DeAndre HopkinsTexans38610226.4 11Isaiah CrowellBrowns14520271.8 Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group 10Brandon MarshallJets3719726.1 6Julian EdelmanPatriots3649927.2 6A.J. GreenBengals4133712.2 No wide receiver is a bigger part of his team’s passing offense than Mike Evans is for the Buccaneers. And you may have noticed his name on the first table too — he was the only wide receiver to rank in the top 12 in percentage of team yards (all the others are running backs). Evans had a dominant game in Week 12 against Seattle, helping Tampa Bay pull off the upset: He was targeted on 39.3 percent of Tampa Bay’s 28 pass attempts and caught eight passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns.The Broncos’ Emmanuel Sanders beat out Jones for third on this list, despite playing with an inexperienced passer in Trevor Siemian, the 250th pick in last year’s draft. Denver doesn’t pass very often, but when they do, Siemian tends to look toward Sanders, who is quietly having a phenomenal year. Sanders, like Evans, was one of the stars of Week 12: In a losing effort, he caught seven of 10 targets for 162 yards and a touchdown.First downs per route runGaining a first down is one of the most important things a wide receiver can do, and he has a chance at it whenever he runs a route. Yards per route run is the wide receiver version of yards per pass, but by replacing yards with first downs in the numerator, we can focus on a less-popular (but very important) statistic that shows us which guys move the chains.Evans ranks first in this category1Among players with at least 20 receiving first downs.: He has picked up a first down on a remarkable 15.3 percent of his routes. One reason for that is that Evans runs deeper routes, and he easily leads the league with 62 first-down receptions (no other player has more than 50). 3Melvin GordonChargers4,2251,27330.1 16Michael CrabtreeRaiders4089924.3 8Todd GurleyRams3,43188225.7 11T.Y. HiltonColts40210325.6 2Antonio BrownSteelers41712028.8 7Ezekiel ElliottCowboys24331178.1 4LeGarrette BlountPatriots21225981.9 9Lamar MillerTexans21128474.3 Some other players stand out here despite less impressive raw totals. Kansas City’s Spencer Ware plays on a low-octane Chiefs offense, but he’s a big driver behind any success the offense has. Ware is averaging 4.7 yards per carry; all other Kansas City backs are averaging just 3.5 yards per rush. And Ware has averaged 12.4 yards per target, compared to just 6.5 on passes to all other players.Also note the presence of Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell high on the list, despite the fact that he missed the first three games of the season. Since returning from suspension in Week 4, Bell has gained an impressive 37.6 percent of all Steelers yards from scrimmage. When he’s active, no team relies on one player like the Steelers do with Bell, who’s been used heavily in both running and passing plays — he ranks third in the league in receptions per game and second in rushing yards per game.Percentage of team carriesHow many yards a player averages per carry is subject to a lot of random variation, making yards per carry one of the most overrated stats in football. And the number of carries a team has in a game is often the result of what’s happening on the scoreboard. But how often a team chooses to hand off to a particular running back — as a percentage of all handoffs to running backs — says a lot about how much his team trusts him relative to the other backs on the team.While L.A.’s Todd Gurley has had a frustrating year, he leads the league in this metric. Rams running backs have rushed 227 times this year, and 200 of those carries were given to Gurley. The Rams aren’t a good team, so they can’t afford to run as frequently as teams like the Cowboys, but the Los Angeles coaches still have a ton of faith in Gurley (or perhaps they just have very little faith in the other Rams backs): 17Allen RobinsonJaguars43010424.2 24Kelvin BenjaminPanthers3708121.9 25Kenny BrittRams3678021.8 9LeSean McCoyBills3,87799425.6 2Cole BeasleyCowboys3928113.9 13A.J. GreenBengals3829524.9 23Jordan MatthewsEagles3828522.3 1Todd GurleyRams20022788.1% 10Kelvin BenjaminPanthers3732811.3 7Stefon DiggsVikings3932112.1 4Tyreek HillChiefs2317113.5 Running backs handed the highest share of team rushes, 2016 22Golden TateLions3778422.3 PLAYERTEAMTEAM TARGETSPLAYER TARGETSPLAYER SHARE TEAM RUSHES Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group PLAYERTEAMHANDED TO PLAYERHANDED TO ANY RUNNING BACKPLAYER SHARE 14Larry FitzgeraldCardinals44210924.7 12Michael ThomasSaints4338311.2 3Emmanuel SandersBroncos36210428.7 4Julio JonesFalcons37010227.6 But a few other players are worth mentioning. Cole Beasley plays on a run-heavy offense, but when the Cowboys pass, the team is extremely efficient. One reason for that is Beasley, who is adept at getting first downs.Jordan Reed and Stefon Diggs have each missed two games this season, depressing their raw numbers, but both players fare well in this metric. Reed leads all tight ends, while Diggs ranks seventh overall despite suffering from poor quarterback play.Check out our latest NFL predictions.

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