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NFL Rush Indexes: Running back & run defense rankings through Week 8

Using my RORO & RORD Indexes to rank running backs and run defenses this season.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Jacksonville Jaguars Reinhold Matay-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. For reference I’ve counted every tackle for loss as the same as a sack at -2 points.

RORO Index - Week 8

The Jaguars lead the way even after their bye week in both real terms and fantasy points per game. No team has been as run heavy as the Jaguars this season with 53.1% of their offensive plays being rushes. Only two other teams (Bills and Bears), attempt over 50% of their plays on the ground.

The teams with the biggest discrepancy between their real world and fantasy rushing ranks are the Ravens and Bears who are 9th and 10th in terms of RORO rating, but sit a lowly 18th and 25th respectively in respect to their fantasy rankings. The Bears have conceded a whopping 40 tackles for loss in seven games, with only the league’s worst offense in the Dolphins conceding tackles for loss at a higher rate.

RORD Index - Week 8

The Eagles fearsome front are stuffing the run at a relentless rate, stuffing their opponent on over 20% of the run plays they face. The Broncos continue to be a force to be reckoned with against the run, and remain the only team in the league to not concede a rushing touchdown.

The Browns ray of hope in 2017 is their run defense, as they have the third highest RORD rating, but concede the fewest fantasy points to rushing plays.

The Patriots continue to struggle against the run, posting the joint lowest rating, alongside the Bears. The Jaguars’ ability to stop the pass does not translate into a strong rushing defense, as they rank 30th overall despite multiple playmakers being drafted or brought in via free agency to bolster the defense.