This Year’s RYOE Leaders May (or May Not) Surprise You
If you are unfamiliar with rushing yards over expected (RYOE), it is a measure of rushing yards a ball carrier is expected to gain based on the movements and locations of all players (according to Next Gen Stats). Next Gen Stats uses these factors to determine a player’s expected yards and they then subtract that from their actual yards. So who do you think sits at the top spot for this stat? Well let’s just say it won’t surprise you, but the rest of this list probably will.
Through 15 weeks, the RYOE leader is exactly who you expect it to be. It’s Jonathan Taylor with 418. Taylor has been flat out dominant this year and this stat is just another reason to prove that. He is the rushing leader, he has been making a very strong case for MVP and he is on his way to granting the Colts a playoff berth for the second year in a row. After Taylor, the second-most RYOE this year has come from Nick Chubb who has 179. Unlike Taylor, Chubb has had somewhat of an underwhelming year when comparing his past couple seasons. Nonetheless, he is still having a good year and this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. The next three on this list however, are a bit interesting. Third is Damien Harris with 130, then Tony
Pollard with 128 and finally Chase Edmonds with 102. When comparing them to the NFL’s rushing leaders, Harris only ranks 17th and Pollard ranks 21st. Then you have Edmonds who has missed five out of Arizona’s 14 games, all the while splitting carries with James Conner. The only thing more shocking than the ROEY top five is the bottom five.
The player that ranks last in yards over expected is Alvin Kamara with -132. That’s right. The same Alvin Kamara that averaged 5 yards per carry and had 101 RYOE in the 2020 NFL season. He has had a pretty rough season so far and this stat only showcases that even more. Three more players in the bottom five who shouldn’t come as much of a surprise are Chubba Hubbard with -123, Darrel Williams with -92 and Myles Gaskin with -84. Hubbard and Williams have both had underwhelming performances when filling in for their starters, so it’s somewhat expected for them to be here. Gaskin has also had a very lackluster season, ranking 29th in rushing yards. However, Najee Harris (-108) is also in the bottom five. Harris currently ranks sixth in the league in rushing yards and has put together a great resume for offensive rookie of the year. He has not only shown that he is one of the best running backs of his draft class, but that he could be one of the best for years to come. Many other shocking discoveries can be made when looking at this list, making RYOE a very interesting and somewhat obscure stat. It is, however, a great measure of how well running backs exceed expectations or fall short of them and we may see it being used a lot more in the future.