Earlier today (8/6/12), EA Sports released a video revealing the top 10 Running Backs in Madden 13 (Here is the link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJNHziooDqA&feature=youtu.be). The top 10 is based on overall (OVR) rating only. Since that video was released, the debate has been non-stop on Madden forums, twitter and facebook.
I decided to take a statistical look at the new top 10. I gathered the following rushing statistics from NFL.com. These are regular season statistics only. There are several resources on the web were you can obtain these statistics I know these are not the only statistics to consider, but until that full attributes are released, we can't dig much deeper. In the end, attributes are what matter, not OVR. I plan to do a more in-depth blog after the full RB attributes are released.
Here are the statistics and a few definitions:
Yards per tch = Average yards per touch (rushing + receiving yards) / (rushing attempts + receptions)
TD% = (Rushing TD's + Receiving TD's) / (rushing attempts + receptions). It's the player's chance of scoring a TD per touch.
RED = Best among these players in each individual attribute.
1. I decided to take a three year look at these RB's. I don't support kneejerk ratings after one good season (see: Peyton Hillis of Madden 12). Consistency should be considered when ranking players and assigning attributes. That said, there is a limit to how far back you should go. If you have to go back more then four seasons to find great numbers, the player is most likely past their prime. Rate the player's performance, not the player's name.
2. I included Lynch, McFadden, and Johnson because those RB's kept coming up in the debates I observed.
3. Based on these statistics, it should be clear that Lynch doesn't belong in the top 10. While he had a bounce-back season in 2011, he needs to show a lot more consistency to be in my top 10. Lynch had the lowest amount of yards per game and per touch among these RB's. He will have every opportunity to earn his way into the top 10, but that would require another great season in 2012. Kudos to Donny Moore for leaving Lynch out.
4. Darren McFadden is another player that many people think should be in the top 10. I couldn't disagree more. You can't argue with his level of talent, but to be considered in my top 10 you need to be on the field or completely blow away the competition despite missing games. McFadden does lead this group in average yards per reception and is second in yards per touch. Run DMC is certainly knocking on the door and one healthy season might be all he needs to crack the top 10.
5. The biggest snub is clearly Chris Johnson. His numbers over that last three seasons can not be ignored. Yes, by his standards, he had a down year in 2011 (1047 yard rushing, 418 yard receiving, 57 receptions and 4 TDs), but should that really cost him a spot in the top 10? He has the most rushing yards among these RB's and is third in total yards per game (behind only Rice and Jones-Drew). So who gets knocked out of the top 10 to make room for Johnson. My pick is Steven Jackson.
7. Honestly, what Jones-Drew did last season with that pathetic QB, is absolutely amazing. MJD seemed to get better the worse his QB played. While defenses do everything they can to stop him, he still finds a way to put up amazing numbers. He is 2nd in rushing yards and total yards per game among these RB's. His TD% is in the middle of the pack, but it's twice as good as Jackson's. He is also a work horse, leading this group in carries. Does he deserve to be tied for the top spot with AP? I think so.
8. Speaking of AP. Believe it or not, someone in a Madden forum suggested that Peterson not be in the top 10 for Madden 13. I am sorry, but that is just crazy. Not only does AP rack up the all purpose yards, he is on a different level when it comes to scoring TD's. He has scored 44 TD's over the last three seasons. The 2nd best total in this group, 34 TD's from Jones-Drew. Get this, when Peterson touches that ball, there is 4.9% chance he will score. The is 0.7% better than the next guy, over twice as good as Forte, and over three times better than Jackson. I have no problem with AP being ranked #1, but he should be watched closely this year, since he is coming off of a horrible knee injury.
9. So what about Arian Foster? Doesn't he deserve to be considered the #1 RB? Yes, he should definitely be in the conversation. He is a complete running back and can take it to the house at any moment via run or pass. He takes a hit in these statistics because he wasn't a full time player in 2009. It wasn't until the end of 2009 that the Texans started to see what he could do. I would not argue with someone who wanted to rank Foster as the #1 RB in Madden 13. Right now he is a very close #2 who could easily end the season at the top RB.
10. Charles is another RB that some people would remove from this list. He missed 14 games in 2011, after having two very productive seasons. Charles leads this group in yards per carry and yards per touch. If you are someone who thinks McFadden should be in the top 10, just compare him to Charles. The number of games played and total touches is very close for these two RB's, but Charles in superior in every category except receiving yards. He also blows away Lynch, despite missing so many games. If you told me that you would rather have Chris Johnson instead of Charles, I wouldn't argue with that, but would you rather have Charles or Jackson? Assuming Charles is healthy, I will take him over Jackson at this point in his career.
11. By the end of the season, I think both Gore and Jackson will drop out of the top 10. Johnson should jump into one of those spots after a bounce-back season, leaving the other spot could be up for grabs. A motivated Lynch or a healthy McFadden could easily take that spot.
12. Overall, I think EA and Donny Moore did a great job with the top 10 (based on OVR only). We can argue who should be 1 through 3, but we will be splitting hairs. The top five names on that list are elite RB's, the next 5 RB's are the more debatable ones in my opinion. My only change would be to include Chris Johnson and remove Steven Jackson.
I typically don't dig deep into the OVR rating. In this blog I tried to view it more as a RANKING only and offer my opinion. My approach is different when I review attributes. The statistics will be much deeper and we will use them to see how accurate the attributes actually are.
Have a great week and thank you for following my blog. I will release my next blog this weekend after I review all of the RB attributes.