Chris Ivory: Discount Beast Mode

by Samuel Feldman ·

Workhorse running backs used to dominate the NFL: Instead of splitting early down/passing down work, offenses would feature one RB tasked working with every down.  The true workhorse is far less common currently; few backs possess all necessary skills to succeed on every down. It is a luxury to own an every down back, and getting your hands on one at an inexpensive cost would be a great advantage over your competitors.  Not every workhorse looks the same: While Dion Lewis has become a bell cow at a minuscule 5 foot 7 inches, Jamaal Charles weighs only six pounds more than Lewis despite being four inches taller than him.  Enter Chris Ivory: He is as thick as lewis, but taller than Charles, and he’s projecting to be a workhorse value in a surprising Jets offense.

Beast Mode 2.0?

While Marshawn Lynch‘s legend is incomparable (Chris Ivory actually compares most similarly to Isaiah Crowell), there is a strong similarity between Ivory and Lynch that goes far deeper than just metrics.  Due to his size, Ivory edges out Lynch in overall SPARQ-x by 1.7 points, and when viewing their metrics side-by-side there is a striking resemblance.  Ivory’s 40 Yard Dash is a speedy 4.49 (77th percentile), only 0.03 seconds slower than Lynch’s, giving him a 109.2 Speed Score (89th percentile).  While neither back is known for his speed, a combination of quickness and size provides a great advantage.

[MarshawnLynch]-RB-Seattle Seahawks

Marshawn Lynch Advanced Metrics Profile

[ChrisIvory]-RB-New York Jets

Chris Ivory Advanced Metrics Profile

In addition to their respective 40 Yard Dashes, Chris Ivory and Marshawn Lynch both feature eerily similar Speed Scores, Agility Scores, and Burst Scores.  More importantly, they use their athleticism in similar ways, and it is reflected in their Productivity and Efficiency metrics.  In 2014, the Jets dialed up 507 rushes to the Seahawks’ 523; both teams were top-3 in this category.  Both running backs boast impressive Juke rates above 30 percent (Lynch’s 32.5 edges Ivory’s 30.9).  The comparison stops when we consider the market share each back occupies in his respective backfield: Lynch ranked in the top-10 in Snap Share and Opportunity Share, while Ivory ranked 44th in Snap Share and 36th in Opportunity Share.  Once Ivory emerges as the clear workhorse on the Jets, fantasy points are sure to follow.

Future Implications

Some of the backs who profile similarly to Chris Ivory have already had success, and others have potential for future breakouts.  One such possible future star, Khiry Robinson, is sitting in New Orleans backing up both Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller much in the same manner that Ivory did while starting his career in New Orleans.

[KhiryRobinson]-RB-New Orleans Saints

Khiry Robinson Advanced Metrics Profile

While Khiry Robinson owns a slower 40-Yard Dash and lower Speed Score than both Chris Ivory and Marshawn Lynch, the rest of his athletic metrics profile resembles both players. Robinson also produced a 31 percent Juke Rate that sits right in between Ivory and Lynch.  This Juke Rate shows that Robinson evaded tackles once almost every three times he touched the ball, just like Ivory and Lynch, resulting in a rock-solid 0.76 Fantasy Points Per Opportunity (the same as 2014 Demarco Murray). While Robinson’s breakout may not occur until either he or Mark Ingram leave New Orleans, he profiles as another future lead back in the mold of Ivory and Lynch.


There can only be one Beast Mode, and it isn’t Ivory.  Regardless, once cost is added to the equation, it becomes easy to envision Ivory as a discounted version of the Seattle workhorse.   The biggest thing separating Lynch and Ivory is opportunity, which is something that will likely change as Ivory becomes healthy.  When one considers Ivory’s athleticism, productivity, and efficiency, the comparison to Lynch becomes obvious.  Only time will tell just how much opportunity he earns as the Jets lead back, but a healthy Ivory appears to be the discount workhorse fantasy owners are clamoring for.