Who is More Consistent: Frank Gore or Kendall Hunter?

Based on popular perceptions, more observers would say that Frank Gore is a more 'consistent' running back. 'Consistent' here is defined as more runs clustered near their average. In other words, a running back with two rushes for six yards each is more consistent than a running back with two carries - one for zero yards and one for 12 yards.

But upon closer inspection, Kendall Hunter is the more consistent running back -- Frank Gore is the home-run threat! Let's look at just running plays first.

Frank Gore has 80 carries for 432 yards. Kendall Hunter - 37 carries for 201 yards. On pure average, Gore gets 5.4 yards per attempt, with hunter getting 5.43. Basically Identical.

But what are the distribution of those carries? For Gore, his standard deviation is 6.012. Hunter - 5.475. Their coefficients of variation (CV), therefore, are 1.13 for Gore and 1.008 for Hunter. This measures dispersion, 0 would mean all observances are the same value.

So in the running game, Kendall Hunter is, statistically-speaking, 10.5% more consistent than Frank Gore.

What if we include passing targets? Gore has 89 combined carries and targets, 5.29 per attempt. Hunter has 41 combined carries and targets, 5.46 per attempt. Looking at the distribution, Gore has an SD of 5.93 - Hunter has an SD of 5.42. Looking at the CVs, Gore's is 1.12, while Hunter is 0.99. So in the total game, Kendall Hunter is, statistically-speaking, 12.8% more consistent than Frank Gore.

Combined with a higher per-attempt average (3.25% to be exact), ** the case to increase Hunter's snaps is even stronger...statistically-speaking of course.

You could make the case that the defense keys on the run when Gore is in the play, sure. But in a pure, apples-to-apples statistical analysis, Gore is no better than Hunter, period...even a little less effective because Hunter is (1) more consistent in the running and passing game and (2) more productive in the passing game.

So you can see the data yourself, check out the spreadsheet:

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B2Eu1DDN514kUUQwa2FHdkxTaWc

[ Edited by nickbradley on Oct 8, 2012 at 12:48 PM ]