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NFL Rush Rankings: Running back & run defense rankings through Week 9

Using my RORO & RORD Indexes to rank running backs and run defenses through week 9.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-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 9

The Jaguars remain the top rushing offense in the league, this despite playing week 9 without Leonard Fournette, who was suspended by the Jags for disciplinary reasons. Facing a Bengals run defense that was ranked 11th going into the game, the Jaguars put up just shy of 150 rushing yards, their sixth straight game over 100, though it was at their lowest yards per carry of 2017 at 3.7 but enough to keep them ahead of the second ranked Cowboys. Whereas the Jaguars lost their star RB at late notice, the Cowboys got theirs back as Ezekiel Elliot’s suspension was held off yet again. Elliot ran for 93 yards and a touchdown, with Dak Prescott running for another score as the Cowboys closed the gap on the Jaguars at the top of the rankings.

The Panthers moved up 9 places from 18th to 9th with the 5th highest RORO rating of 2017 with an 80.6% rating, led by Cam Newton’s 86 rushing yards and touchdown alongside Christian McCaffrey’s best rushing performance as a Panther (66 yds, touchdown). On the flip side, the Broncos dropped the most places this week, from 12th to 22nd as they were shut down by the number one rushing defense in the Eagles, and posted a 3.2% RORO rating, the lowest of week 9 and third lowest of 2017. They rushed for just 35 yards at 1.8 per carry and amassed a whopping 3.5 fantasy points, also the worst of the week.

The top rushing offense fantasy performers of week 9 were the Jets and Eagles with rushing totals of 37.4 and 35.7 points respectively. Neither team had a 100 yard rusher but both had nearly 200 total rushing yards and three touchdowns each. Both teams achieved these scores up against top 6 rush defenses, which makes the performances all the more impressive, though the lack of standout individual runners means you’re likely picking your poison weekly for a flex starter, rather than a dead cert RB1/2.

Despite Adrian Peterson getting ALL the carries in Arizona (37, the most in a game in his career), the Cardinals remain the bottom rated rushing offense, but not the lowest scoring fantasy rushing offense. That charge still lays with the Dolphins, who appear to be going with Kenyan Drake to replace Jay Ajayi. Peterson has only 4 days to recover from his highest ever workload in time for a Thursday night trip to Seattle to face the Seahawks, so had major red flags against his potential fantasy production in week 10.

RORO Index: Week 9

RORD Index - Week 9

In terms of rushing defenses, the Eagles retain the top spot with their joint best run defense rating of the season (96.8%) as they stuffed the Broncos, who drop to third behind the Browns, who move up despite being on a bye.

The Packers run defense moved up the most places this week from 24th to 17th, despite losing to the Lions and their 31st rated rushing offense, who they held to 64 yards at 1.9 per carry and forced an Ameer Abdullah fumble. The Packers RORD rating is 11 places higher than their fantasy ranking, sitting 17th compared to the 28th ranked team in fantasy points conceded rushing.

The Falcons run defense dropped 7 places to 19th this week after Carolina ran all over them. The Falcons fantasy ranking is much higher than their football ranking in run defense, sitting 11th in fantasy compared to 19th in ‘real football’ terms. The Buccaneers drop six places to 22nd as the Saints rushed for 150 yards at a healthy 4.7 yards per carry and an Alvin Kamara touchdown in their 30-10 defeat. The Giants drop 5 places to 26th as the Rams rushed for 162 yards and two touchdowns, conceding 28.2 fantasy points in the process.

RORD Index: Week 9