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RB Broken Plus Missed Tackles Forced Percentage Analysis (2022 Fantasy Football)

RB Broken Plus Missed Tackles Forced Percentage Analysis (2022 Fantasy Football)

Running backs can fill many roles on a team. The game’s elite will do it all. However, most teams will divvy up duties. While catching passes — namely in half-point and full-point point-per-reception (PPR) formats — is more valuable in fantasy football, backs can carve out a useful role as runners. There’s not a single statistic that can fully capture the rushing ability of a back, but broken plus missed tackles forced percentage illustrates one underlying skill that can help a tailback gain yards. This specific metric is tracked at Sports Info Solutions (SIS), and the following analysis looks at the leaders and backs at the bottom of the heap.

Broken Plus Missed Tackles Forced Percentage (SIS)

Broken plus missed tackles forced percentage is calculated by dividing all broken and missed tackles forced by the total number of rush attempts. It adds a layer of context that’s missed in raw broken tackles since total missed tackles are attached to total rush attempts. Thus, running backs carrying the ball a lot are likelier to have more missed tackles than backs with fewer attempts. So, using this percentage will better represent efficiency at evading would-be tacklers.

Leaders

The leaderboard on the table is for running backs with at least 100 attempts in 2021, and there's a second page with Jonathan Taylor joining Antonio Gibson in a tie for 20th. There were 48 qualified backs for this sample size. Three rookies were in the top five, headlined by Javonte Williams atop the list. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), in 2021, Williams had PFF's highest broken tackle rate for a single season in their history of tracking college stats. He broke 76 tackles on 157 carries. Clearly, his elite tackle-evasion skills translated to the NFL.

Williams was an excellent runner as a rookie, and he's a popular breakout candidate. According to PPR average draft position (ADP), Williams is RB11 with an ADP of 19.0. Since the team brought back Melvin Gordon after a stellar season, and he wasn't a slouch in this metric, ranking 15th, there is a risk to Williams splitting the backfield duties more than gamers selecting Williams in the second round would like. Nevertheless, a late second-round or early third-round pick is justifiable.

Rhamondre Stevenson flashed his potential as a runner and receiver with a complementary role in New England's backfield as a rookie. Damien Harris is in the last year of his rookie deal. James White was re-signed but is still working his way back from a hip injury that clouds his future, and the team drafted running backs in the fourth and sixth rounds. So, it could be a frustrating running-back-by-committee (RBBC) situation. Nonetheless, Stevenson's skills were apparent, and his RB39 ADP isn't outrageous.

Michael Carter was the other rookie in the top four on the table. Unfortunately, the Jets traded up in the second round to pick a potential three-down back, making Breece Hall the first running back selected in this year's draft.

Rashaad Penny and Elijah Mitchell are a couple of other intriguing names on the leaderboard. Spoiler alert, both will appear on another forthcoming leaderboard for advanced rushing metrics. Sadly, injuries have been a recurring theme in Penny's career. However, he's been excellent when on the field. Namely, Penny erupted down the stretch last season. He rushed for at least 135 yards in four of his last five games, piling up 671 yards and six touchdowns during his heater.

The Seahawks are a mess at quarterback and drafted Kenneth Walker in the second round, but it's hard to ignore Penny's excellence at the end of 2021. Head coach Pete Carroll hasn't been shy about playing Seattle's best back, regardless of draft capital, evidenced by Chris Carson, a seventh-round pick (2017), running ahead of Penny, a first-round pick (2018), regularly throughout their respective careers. Therefore, it's not a guarantee Walker will jump Penny on the depth chart, despite the significant investment in the former Spartan. As a result, Penny's RB33 ADP in PPR leagues is fair.

Finally, Mitchell was the latest unexpected breakout running back in Kyle Shanahan's running-back-friendly offense. The 49ers traded up in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft to pick Trey Sermon, but he fell out of favor in training camp, and Mitchell, a sixth-round pick last year, averaged 100 scrimmage yards per game in 11 games, adding six touchdowns. Mitchell has jaw-dropping speed and burst, but his broken plus missed tackles forced percentage proves he's more than a straight line track star.

Yes, the 49ers went back to the well in the draft, selecting Tyrion Davis-Price in the third round (pick 93 overall). Still, Davis-Price is probably a more significant threat to Sermon's roster spot than Mitchell's standing atop San Francisco's depth chart. Mitchell was a legitimate workhorse to close 2021. Including the postseason, he had at least 20 touches in seven of his last eight games. In addition, according to PFF, in the postseason, Kyle Juszczyk played 51 passing snaps and ran 34 routes, Mitchell played 40 and ran 34 routes, and pass-catching back JaMycal Hasty played only 10 passing snaps, running a route on each.

Deebo Samuel also lined up in the backfield but reportedly no longer wants to be used as a back. Mitchell's passing-down usage in the postseason was encouraging, and he should be San Francisco's lead back. Davis-Price might siphon short-yardage and goal-line duties since he's a bigger back, and he could lessen the load on early downs to keep Mitchell more fresh and healthy. Fortunately, there's enough work to go around. According to Sharp Football Stats, in neutral game scripts, the 49ers were tied for the fourth-highest run rate (48%).

Mitchell's combination of elusiveness, long speed and playing in an offense that does an elite job of creating rushing lanes makes him an attractive target at or a little earlier than his RB24 and 49.2 overall ADP. He's a better option than J.K. Dobbins (RB23 and 47.8 ADP) and Gibson (RB19 and 38.8). Additionally, he's a better value than over-drafting Josh Jacobs (RB20 and 39.8) and Cam Akers (RB18 and 32.4 ADP).

Laggers

Not everyone shined in broken plus missed tackles forced percentage. The backs on the table above were the five worst. Cordarrelle Patterson is a converted receiver. So, it's not entirely surprising for him to land on a list like this. Thankfully, he's a receiving asset, awarding him a different path to value.

The most concerning player on the table is Ezekiel Elliott. Forgiving people will point to Zeke playing through a partially torn PCL he suffered four weeks into the season. However, giving Elliott a pass for last year shouldn't excuse his 2020 inefficiency.

Sure, the veteran back's 8.2% broken plus forced missed tackles rate in 2020 was better, but it was only 23rd at the position. Moreover, Zeke's two worst seasons for scrimmage yards per game have been 2020 and 2021. Further, his 2.8 receptions per game in 2021 were his lowest mark since 2017, per Pro-Football-Reference.

Maybe a healthier Zeke can turn back the clock. Still, including the postseason, he's had more than 2,000 touches in the NFL. He might not have much tread left on the tires, and it's better to be out a year early than stuck holding the bag when the bottom drops out. Gamers are advised to pass on Elliott as the RB16 (31.8). The opportunity cost is too high, and picking a player at another position is a better decision.

CTAs


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Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.

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