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NFL Rush Rankings: Running back & run defense rankings through Week 10

Using my RORO & RORD Indexes to rank running backs and run defenses through week 10.

NFL: New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Alongside my team RODS ratings and passing ROPE and ROPED Index ratings, I have additionally developed some metrics for measuring the efficiency of each team’s rushing offense (RORO) and rushing defense (RORD). The RORO and RORD Indexes are based on a similar approach to the passing indexes, taking into account a number of factors affecting rushing performance. Each of these factors is graded to give an overall efficiency percentage that can be measured against the rest of the league. In addition I’ve included the average fantasy points scored by the rushing performances for comparison between the metric and its relative fantasy value.

RORO Index - Week 10

Despite losing Ezekiel Elliot for the first of his six game suspension, the Cowboys have overtaken the Jaguars for the top rushing offense in the NFL. The Cowboys posted a 59.7% rating in the week 10 loss to the Falcons, as their four rushers (Alfred Morris, Dak Prescott, Rod Smith and Darren McFadden) combined for 107 yards and a Prescott touchdown. Their 59.7% rating is their worst since week 2 (16.1%) but was enough to pass the Jags, who posted a second consecutive 48.4% rating as they went away from the formula that had brought them so much success this season, running the ball on only 33% of their plays, by far their lowest rate of 2017.

Both teams have been overtaken in fantasy scoring by the team that has risen to the top of my RODS rankings, the New Orleans Saints. Ranked 6th last week in fantasy rushing points, the Saints scored a combined 65.8 rushing points in the blowout victory over the Bills, including 31.1 points from Mark Ingram (131 yards, 3 rushing touchdowns) and 16.6 from Alvin Kamara (106 yards, 1 rushing touchdown). Even my top quarterback in my ROPE Index rankings, Drew Brees got in on the action with a rushing touchdown of his own. The Saints had the top RORO Index rating of week 10, and the season as a whole, with a 90.3% rating. A rating of over 90% is in the top 1% of the near 4000 team rushing performances I have graded since 2010.

The team that has risen the most places after week 10 are the 49ers, who rose seven places to 16th thanks to a 74.2% rating in defeating the Giants, scoring 28.6 fantasy points, their most of the season. The Bears dropped seven places and had the lowest RORO rating of week 10, with a 9.7% performance and just 3.5 fantasy points against the Packers.

Other notable fantasy performances from week 10 came from the Panthers (83.9% rating, 41.4 points), Browns (80.6%, 32.1) and Titans (71.0%, 30), with the Panthers and Browns posting their best RORO ratings and fantasy scores of the season.

The Cardinals remain the worst rushing attack in the league, as Seattle bottled up Adrian Peterson and company and allowed just 34 rushing yards at a meager 1.4 yards per carry, the third lowest of any team this season.

RORO Index: Week 10

RORD Index - Week 10

The Eagles retain their number one rushing defense, both in ‘real’ terms as well as fantasy, during their bye week, with the Browns and Broncos maintaining second and third respectively, despite both losing in week 10. Overall there was little movement within the top 10 teams, with the biggest change coming from the Bengals dropping five places from 10th to 15th as the Titans ran for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns against them.

At the bottom, the Bears have separated themselves from the Patriots to take the worst rushing defense in the league crown after allowing 160 rushing yards to the Packers, a RORD rating of 38.7% and 22 rushing fantasy points.

As the RORD ratings are a direct counterpoint to the RORO ratings, we saw the top rushing defense from the Packers, who posted a 90.3% rating and allowed the fewest fantasy points of the week (3.5) against the Bears. Both were their their best of the season so far. The Bills unsurprisingly suffered both the worst RORD rating (9.7%) and the worst fantasy rushing defense (-65.8 points) of the week in their loss to the Saints, and they dropped ten places in the RORD rankings and a massive sixteen places in fantasy rushing defense to now sit dead last in average points allowed (21.06).

The Buccaneers were the highest climbers of the week, moving up eight places to 14th as they posted a RORD rating of 88.7% in their defeat of the Jets. They also improved a massive thirteen places as a fantasy defense after allowing just 3.6 fantasy points (56 yards, fumble recovery), the second best rushing defense fantasy performance of the week.

RORD Index: Week 10