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Next Gen Stats shows Javonte Williams is off to a hot start; Melvin Gordon a little colder

Next Gen Stats released their Week 2 stats, and it showed an interesting dichotomy between Melvin Gordon and the rookie Javonte Williams

Denver Broncos v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The NFL’s biggest trend in recent years has been Next Gen Stats tracking, enabled by Zebra Technologies’ on-field tracking. They release all sorts of interesting analytical data that measure player performance.

This week, they released a couple of interesting stats that pertain to the Broncos, particularly the offensive backfield.

Javonte Williams had 13 carries for 64 yards, including +10 RYOE. He ran for yards over expectation on 53.8% of his carries in Week 2. Williams has rushed for yards over expectation on 51.9% of his carries this season, the 4th highest rate among RBs. Melvin Gordon ran for -18 RYOE and picked up rush yards over expectation on just 23.1% of his carries.

A definition of just what RYOE means would be helpful in this context. RYOE, or Rush Yards over Expectation, is exactly what it says. Put simply, it is the difference between actual rushing yards and expected rushing yards on an individual play or series of plays. The expected yards is calculated using down, distance, yard line, offensive line performance, and defensive alignment/box counts. These factors are used to find this “expected value” on a probability basis.

To put the Next Gen Stats quote in more layman's terms: Javonte Williams, on his 13 carries for 64 yards, had 10 more rushing yards than was expected. 53.8% of his Week 2 runs went over the expected value, and 51.9% of his carries have exceeded the expected value. This ranks 4th among RBs. Melvin Gordon in Week 2 had 18 fewer yards than expected and he only exceeded the expected value on 23.1% of his carries (essentially 3 of his 13).

Next Gen Stats also threw in this interesting factoid on QB Teddy Bridgewater:

Teddy Bridgewater had a CPOE of +8.6% while averaging 10.9 air yards per attempt in Week 2. Bridgewater currently sits 2nd in CPOE on the season at +11.5% and 7th in air yards per attempt with 9.6. In 2020, Bridgewater averaged 7.3 air yards per attempt and he had a CPOE of +2.3%.

CPOE is Completion Percentage over Expectation, and Air Yards is, in my understanding, the total distance that the ball is thrown beyond the line of scrimmage to the catch point. Essentially, Teddy is completing passes accurately at an exceptional level and isn’t doing so through simple checkdowns, like so many thought he would be.

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