Data Points: Big runs that mean more

With more running backs sure to come up in the 40 remaining names on NFL Network’s “The Top 100 Players of 2011,” let’s investigate a different way to measure their productivity.

Traditionally, the biggest, baddest running backs are judged on how many yards they gain. So, heading into the 2011 season, Houston’s Arian Foster undoubtedly will receive some props after his 1,616-yard campaign of 2010. But while averaging a hundy per game is pretty good, it certainly doesn’t mean Foster was the most effective back in the league last season.

One way to determine who the best in the business are is to look at how good they are at providing offenses with first downs. Below are the top 10 rushers in the NFL last season (from top to bottom), and how they fared at moving the chains.

Maybe Chiefs fans can make a case for their guy?

— Elliot Harrison

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