Advanced Rushing

Data from Pro Football Reference

Last Updated May 14th, 2024 10:49 EDT

What is the Advanced Rushing Data Table?

The advanced rushing data table tracks basic rushing stats like attempts and yards, and supplements it with more advanced metrics like yards after contact and broken tackles. Since RB production in the NFL is so dependant on volume, it allows us to see which RBs are getting consistent work in the run game, but also which RBs are still producing well in more advanced rushing metrics, even if they are not one of the leaders in yards or attempts. 

The table also allows you to search by position, team, or player and provides specific parameters (attempts, broken tackles, yards before contact) so you can further refine your search. This can be useful for finding efficient players who are buried on the depth chart, as not every player who performs well in advanced metrics will be getting a lot of rush attempts. 

The table can be used for a variety of different reasons, but ultimately it’s a tracker of the best rushers in the NFL and a useful tool for comparing players or tracking a rusher’s season-by-season performance. 

What is this table used for?

The advanced rushing table allows us to see which running backs are performing above expectations in terms of efficiency and which RBs are merely getting by with sheer volume.

Both kinds of RBs can be very valuable for fantasy purposes, but volume is generally the easiest path for a rusher to achieve a massive fantasy game or season. 

However, with multiple advanced statistical categories at our fingertips (yards before contact, yards after contact, broken tackles), the advanced rushing table can also be used to inform ourselves about RBs’ future production. For example, rushers who perform above expectation in yards after contact and broken tackles could be in line to see a huge uptick in production if they were to step into a larger role. On the flipside, the high volume rushers who are below expectation in those same categories may be at risk for big declines in production if their roles were suddenly reduced. 

In this sense, the table works as both a confirmation tool (which RBs are getting touches and what are they producing with those touches—TDs, yards, etc.) and as a predictive tool to help us find potential future studs, or avoid future landmines. 

Why is the Advanced Rushing Data Table so important for fantasy football and sports betting?

Running back is one of the most volatile and frustrating positions in fantasy football. Workhorse running backs are few and far between, and getting your hands on one can be absolutely season-altering for your fantasy football team. 

Unfortunately, even if you do have a great bellcow back, injuries are always around the corner, so regardless of the state of your fantasy football team, it always pays to be on the lookout for future top-level performers—e.g., handcuff or backup running backs who could excel if thrust into a starting role. 

The advanced rushing table allows you to track or search for potentially undervalued players by looking at volume and more predictive advanced stats. A player on the uptick with volume is obviously worth tracking, but often you will see a player performing well in metrics like yards after contact or broken tackles prior to a volume outbreak. 

Since yards after contact and yards after contact per attempt both track a player’s ability to gain yards after being touched by a defender, that stat specifically allows us to find players who are adept at breaking through tackle attempts. Since the average yards per contact per attempt in the NFL (YAC/A) is approximately 1.5 yards, players who perform above that can be considered more elite RBs and potentially very valuable assets in both real life and fantasy. 

Many of the same principles discussed above can apply to betting as well. If a player suddenly gets thrust into a starting role—and we know that player is elite at breaking tackles and gaining yards after contact—his rushing prop may well be worth targeting if it is being offered at below the usual starter’s total

Term Definitions

TM (Team)

  • Denotes which team the player is currently playing for in the league

Pos (Position)

  • Denotes the player’s assigned position when on the field.

Att (Attempts)

  • Tracks the total rushing attempts a player has received for the entire season. A rush attempt is typicallyl defined as anytime a player starts with the ball from behind the line of scrimmage, without first receiving the ball via a forward pass.  A player’s rushing attempts per game can be found by dividing his total number of attempts by the number of games he’s played. 

Yds (Yards)

  • The total number of receiving yards gained by a player. Total rushing yards includes yards gained or lost on all rushing attempts.

1D (First Downs)

  • The total number of times a player was able to achieve a first down for his team on a rushing play.

YBC (Yards Before Contact)

  • This is the number of yards that a player was able to gain before being contacted by a member of the opposing team. A high rating in yards before contact can often be a good sign that a rusher has above-average speed and vision. 

YBC_Att (Yards Before Contact per Attempt)

  • The number of yards that a player was able to gain before being contacted by a member of the opposing team, but calculated on a per rush attempt basis. 

YAC (Yards After Contact)

  • Yards after contact tracks a players ability to gain yards after being touched by a defender. A player's total yards after contact is the number of yards he was able to gain on a play AFTER being touched by a defender. Players who perform well in this metric tend to be very efficient producers on a per touch basis. 
    • Ex. 20.0 yard run in which a player was first touched 12.0 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. 
      • 20.0 total yards - 12.0 yards gained before contact = 8.0 yards gained after contact

YAC_Att (Yards After Contact per Attempt)

  • Yards after contact per attempt tracks the number of yards a player gains after contact, but on a per rush attempt basis. 

BrkTckl (Broken Tackles)

  • Broken tackles is a stat that tracks the number of times a runner is able to escape from a would-be tackler. A broken tackle can occur when a runner is able to break free or escape from the grasp of a defender. This can occur after making physical contact with a defender, or when a runner is able to elude a would-be defender—who is in position to make a tackle—altogether (e.g., a juke move). 

Att_Br (Broken Tackles per Attempt)

  • Broken tackles per attempt tracks the number of broken tackles per rushing attempt a player is able to make. A high broken tackles per attempt rate is a sign of a strong runner and also potentially a sign that a player is getting put out in space more often, where they can break or evade tackles more easily. This is as opposed to an RB who is playing behind a poor offensive line and getting hit behind the line of scrimmage more often. 

Check out our Advanced Receiving & Advanced Defense tables here.