Finding Running Back Value Through Advanced Stats
This is my 4th and final article about how you can find values in your fantasy drafts through data by combining different metrics into one spreadsheet, ranking the players by those metrics, and then taking the averages of the combined rankings. The previous articles were about quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends. For running backs I used the following metrics:
- Attempts Per Game
- Red Zone Touches Per Game
- Targets Per Game
- Receptions Per Game
- Snap Share %
- Rushing Yards Per Game
- Receiving Yards Per Game
- Yards Per Carry
- Yards Created Per Game
For the most part, this list goes pretty much how you might expect. Most of the players listed in this top 10 ranked in the top 10 in ppr scoring last year or close to it for the most part. When we look at May's latest ADP at FantasyPros however, I see two players who are being drafted later than you might expect when looking at these metrics.
LEONARD FOURNETTE: I'm surprised to see Fournette being drafted as the RB14 currently. He is one of the most heavily used backs in the NFL (2nd to Christian McCaffrey in 2019) and finished as the RB7 last season. And that happened with scoring only 3 total touchdowns. His average of one touchdown for every 114 touches was dead last. It's yet to be seen how he will be used in 2020 under new OC Jay Gruden, but one thing's for sure, the competition from Chris Thompson and Ryquell Armstead should do nothing to make you nervous. He will probably have less than 100 targets with Thompson now in the mix, but even if that drops down to around 65-70, those are still great numbers for any running back. It's also hard to predict the Jaguars repeat their mind-blowing stat of 24 passing touchdowns to just 3 rushing touchdowns split. More than likely both will regress to the mean and we can expect Fournette to finish with a similar point total as last year putting him in mid-range RB1 territory.
Chris Carson: The RB12 from last season is currently being drafted as the RB19. Yes, he has an injury history. Yes, he has fumbling issues. And, yes, the team JUST signed Carlos Hyde. These are real concerns. However, Pete Carroll is a big believer in running back depth and may just being trying to avoid what happened last year when they had to bring in Marshawn Lynch for the playoff run. This is Hyde's fourth team in the last 4 years, so he's likely not going to be as big a threat as we might think. It also might just be troubling enough to cause Carson's ADP to fall even more. That makes Carson while somewhat risky a lower investment pick that could land you with RB1 upside.
Below is the top 30 running backs with the combined metrics.
You can create similar spreadsheets using any metrics you want based on what you find important with your fantasy players and league scoring settings. Give it a try, you might be surprised what you find.
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