NFL's five best blocking teams
Yards after contact reveals top RBs, blocking teams in the league
With the 2012 fantasy season over for many owners, it's time to start looking ahead to next year. Given how important running backs are in fantasy football, we at Pro Football Focus thought it would be best to break down the RB position in a little different way.
The way people talk about running backs sometimes, you would think nobody else was playing any part in getting the yardage. However, if the commentator's script determines a different agenda, sometimes the blockers can be showered with praise they frankly don't deserve.
So where does the truth lie? Is it possible to differentiate how much credit for yardage accumulated should go to the running back versus his blocking? One way to determine this is to see how many yards come before and after contact. If a halfback picks up 3 yards of his 4-yard average per attempt before contact, look to give the blocking the kudos it deserves, and vice versa if the positions are reversed.
Note that I'll be referring to blocking in this analysis, but not only the offensive line. Although the linemen play the largest part in this equation, it's a mistake to discount the role tight ends and fullbacks play.
Let's look at the best and worst teams in terms of support for the running game, and determine the running backs who do the most on their own.
Best blocking teams
1. Tennessee Titans (2.65 yards before contact)
There is no question Tennessee's blocking has improved markedly in 2012. The biggest issue last year was the play of center Eugene Amano, but his replacement by unknown free agent Fernando Velasco has made a huge difference. Add in the high quality support they've been getting, in particular from TE Taylor Thompson, and it's not surprising that Chris Johnson has cracked 1,000 yards already -- even though he's not gaining many yards after contact (see table below).
To read more about the best and worst blocking teams in the NFL -- and to access all of Insider's NFL coverage -- sign up today.
We see that you are not an ESPN Insider. Upgrade today and gain access to our exclusive coverage.
FANTASY TOP HEADLINES
- Week 14 sneaky pickups
- Hard Count: Best, worst defensive matchups
- Matthew Berry's Love/Hate for Week 14
- Fantasy Football Week 14 QB rankings
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Fantasy Football Week 15
Cam Newton has gotten hot at just the right time for his owners competing in the fantasy playoffs. Will he be the key to victory in another critical week?
Fantasy Football Tools• Week 15 Projections
• Roster Advisor
• 2012 Scoring Leaders | Points Against
• Most Added/Dropped (Past 7 days)
• NFL Nation blog
• Week 15 fantasy inactives | Full inactives list
Week 15 Rankings
• Harris: The Hard Count
• Berry: Week 15 Love/Hate list
• Carpenter: Gridiron Challenge preview
• Cockcroft: Consistency Ratings
• Harris: Free-agent finds for Week 15
• Harris: Instant Impressions from Week 14
Bell Injury Blog
• Karabell: Sneaky pickups
• Karabell: Week 15 flex rankings
• Karabell: Week 15 rankings reaction
• Pro FB Focus: Best/worst run-blocking teams
• Football Outsiders: Good/bad matchups
• Karabell: 2012 season rankings update
• Joyner: Potential 2013 keeper QBs
• Goal-Line Grid: Through Week 14
• Karabell: Four Downs -- Week 14 recap
• Friday: Fantasy Football Now
• Thursday: Berry's Love/Hate
• Wednesday: Bengals-Eagles preview
• Wednesday: Fantasy Focus on rankings
• Tuesday: C.J. Spiller's value
• Monday:Week 14 surprises
• Monday: Big Ben's value
• Fri. Focus: Week 15 preview
• Thu. Focus: Berry explains his ranks
• Underground: Brees, Garcon, Ballard
• Wed. Focus: Fallout from key injuries
• Tue. Focus: Injuries; chat with Garcon
• Mon. Focus: Week 14 recap
• Friday, 11:15 a.m. ET: Stephania Bell
• Thursday, 3 p.m. ET: KC Joyner
• Thursday, 2 p.m. ET: Matthew Berry
• Thursday, 11 a.m. ET: Christopher Harris
• Wednesday, 11 a.m. ET: Eric Karabell
• Tuesday, 3 p.m. ET: Stephania Bell
• Tuesday, 11 a.m. ET: AJ Mass
• Monday, 11 a.m. ET: Tristan H. Cockcroft