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Running Back Advanced Stat Analysis: Yards After Contact Per Attempt (2022 Fantasy Football)

Running Back Advanced Stat Analysis: Yards After Contact Per Attempt (2022 Fantasy Football)

The 2021 NFL advanced stats analysis series is gaining steam. A look at Pro Football Focus’s (PFF) Yards After Contact Per Attempt (YCO/A) is next. Unsurprisingly, some of the top performers for broken plus missed tackles forced percentage shined in PFF’s advanced metric. Further, the players who appeared as leaders in both metrics are especially intriguing and some of the top runners in the NFL.


Yards After Contact Per Attempt (Pro Football Focus)

Yards After Contact Per Attempt (YCO/A) measures the rushing yards gained after contact divided by the number of rush attempts by a ball carrier. Of course, it’s always preferable to have a large sample instead of a small one. However, in this case, a small sample can significantly skew a runner’s YCO/A. For instance, if a running back has 10 attempts, gains zero yards after contact on nine of them but rips off 95 yards after running through an arm tackle on the other attempt, he’ll have a jaw-dropping 9.5 YCO/A. So, you can see the pitfall of using too small of a sample. Therefore, the leaders on the following table had at least 100 rushing attempts in 2021.


Rashaad Penny went nuclear down the stretch last year, climbing to the top of the YCO/A leaderboard. He was also in the top-10 for broken plus missed tackles forced percentage. Thus, Penny's placement atop this list reinforces the endorsement of the explosive veteran back in that piece.

Nick Chubb was the only other back with higher than 4.00 YCO/A. The powerful yet fast runner is a popular pick for the best "pure" runner in the NFL, and his ability to pile up yards after contact is one reason he's in the discussion. Sadly, he has a pair of teammates who are also great runners. As a result, the Browns haven't ridden him like, for instance, the Titans have ridden Derrick Henry. According to Pro-Football-Reference, Chubb has averaged only 1.6 receptions per game, and he's fallen short of that mark in three of four years. As a result, Chubb is a better player in real life than in fantasy, and his 18.2 average draft position (ADP) in point-per-reception (PPR) leagues is too steep.

Jonathan Taylor was the highest-scoring running back in PPR formats last year. Like Chubb, Taylor is an electrifying runner who rips off chunk yards. However, unlike Chubb, Taylor has been used as a workhorse. Last year, he averaged over 21 touches per game, including hauling in a useful 2.4 receptions per game. Taylor is understandably the first player off the board in standard, half-point PPR and PPR formats.

Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are carryovers from the broke plus missed tackles forced leaderboard, but they weren't discussed in that article. So, let's take a look at them here. Jones is a screaming value at 20.4 as the RB12. Not only is he a terrific runner, but he will also probably see a sizable uptick in targets since the Packers traded Davante Adams. Spoiler alert, Jones will pop on two upcoming leaderboards for receiving work. Jones' well-rounded profile makes him a reasonable pick at the end of the first round and a player to target if he's available in the second.

Dillon is a top-shelf handcuff who doubles as a low-end RB2/flex. The bruising runner's 63.8 ADP as RB25 is fair. Additionally, he put to bed any concerns about his receiving chops last year. Dillon caught 34 of 37 targets for 313 yards and two touchdowns. In nine games from Week 9 through Week 18, Dillon had at least 20 receiving yards five times. So, if Jones misses any games in 2022, Dillon will be a top-10 running back during that stretch. And after averaging 65.6 scrimmage yards per game in 2021, he's proven a fantasy option even when Jones is healthy.

Notable Non-Qualifiers (Under 100 Carries)

Kareem Hunt (RB - CLE): 76.4 ADP, RB30, 3.45 YCO/A (T-6)

Christian McCaffrey (RB - CAR): 2.6 ADP, RB2, 3.00 YCO/A (24)

The expanded list of non-qualifiers bolsters the running back sample to 58. So, the ranks above for YCO/A in the parentheses are out of 58 backs with under 100 carries. Hunt was excellent in YCO/A, like teammates Chubb and D'Ernest Johnson. He's also a lot like Dillon as a handcuff who has standalone value. However, Hunt is also an intriguing option to target now in case the Browns trade him. Presumably, another team acquiring him would plan to use him as a feature back, and Hunt's fantasy value would skyrocket.

McCaffrey's receiving ability gets most of the attention. However, he's a good runner, too. Sadly, he's played only 10 games in the last two years because of injuries. Still, CMC's upside is the highest scorer in fantasy football. In half-point PPR and PPR leagues, McCaffrey has a compelling case to be the first pick.


D'Andre Swift was an asset in fantasy leagues last year. Unfortunately, Swift was much better in fantasy than in real football. Nevertheless, he averaged 4.8 receptions per game, helping offset some of his rushing shortcomings. Moreover, he still averaged 82.2 scrimmage yards per game, which was nothing to sneeze at. Swift has a high ceiling, but gamers need to be aware that Jamaal Williams could cut into Swift's rushing workload if the third-year back doesn't improve on the ground this season. Finally, Swift isn't as appealing in standard scoring formats as in half-point and full-point PPR formats.


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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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