It’s playoff time, and we’re back for the Week 17 installment of running back advanced stats. Each week, I’ll use the Advanced Stats Explorer to examine the underlying metrics of notable rushers. I’m also including routes run and receiving data to provide a complete picture of a player’s usage and skills.
Metrics like yards before and after contact, evasion rate, stuff rate, and designed gap rate tell us how a running back is using his blockers, how effective that blocking is, and how effective that RB is at making would-be tacklers miss — all skills that translate into future production. In this way, the advanced RB stats can help us find waiver-wire gems and trade targets before the rest of our league mates.
James Cook and Devin Singletary’s Yards Before Contact
Last week, I mentioned how James Cook and Devin Singletary might not close the season with week-winning performances. However, that changed quickly with Singletary’s 12 carries for 106 rushing yards and Cook’s 11 rush attempts with 99 rushing yards, and both scored. In Week 16, Cook ranked first in yards before contact (7.5), and Singletary ranked third (5.5). Singletary doubled Cook’s average in yards after contact (3.3 to 1.5), though they both created yards before contact.
They took advantage of the matchup since the Bears averaged the second-worst YBC, and the weather also factored into the game plan. Meanwhile, the Bills rank first in YBC and 11th in YAC, indicating Cook and Singletary’s YBC isn’t an outlier. Amongst running backs with 50 carries, Cook ranks first in YBC, tied with D’Andre Swift and Jeff Wilson on the season. Unfortunately, Cook and Singletary’s usage impacted Stefon Diggs, but it’s fun watching the Bills’ backfield.