Running Backs with Surprisingly Low Miles
Two days ago I wrote about a few players who had a surprisingly high number of career touches (attempts + receptions) in college and the NFL. This article showcases a few who have a surprisingly low totals. The career of an NFL running back is short, but these backs look like they have nothing but clear highways ahead for years to come. These are also some players I'd be looking to target in dynasty leagues.
Miles Sanders (PHI) 746 Touches
|College Touches||(3 yrs)||276||1,649||32||193|
|NFL Touches||(2 yrs)||343||1,685||78||706|
Sanders sat for two years behind generational talent Saquon Barkley at Penn St., so he really only had one season of significant usage, and that happened during his junior season. He has not rushed more than 179 times at any point during his first two seasons of the NFL. He has less career touches than many of the rookies from the 2020 rookie class, including Jonathan Taylor, Cam Akers, J.K. Dobbins and James Robinson. If Sanders can stay healthy, expect great things for a long time.
Kenyan Drake (AZ) 1,143 Touches
|College Touches||(4 yrs)||233||
|NFL Touches||(5 yrs)||695||3,130||169||1,244|
Similar to Sanders, Drake sat behind Derrick Henry at Alabama for three seasons. He never recorded more than 106 touches in any season during his time in Tuscaloosa. During his NFL career he hadn't recorded more than 170 rushing attempts until last season when he rushed 239 times. His 1,143 total career touches are extremely low for a back who is entering his 6th season in the NFL. It's nearly half as many touches as former Alabama teammate Derrick Henry, and 183 less than former Arizona teammate Chase Edmonds.
Joe Mixon (CIN) 1,306 Touches
|College Touches||(2 yrs)||300||2,027||65||894|
|NFL Touches||(4 yrs)||812||3,359||129||1008|
Mixon was suspended the entire 2014 college season due to an unfortunate incident where he punched a woman in the face. He only played two seasons at Oklahoma before coming out early for the NFL Draft. During his college time he never recorded more than 187 attempts. So he was very fresh when he entered the NFL. So far in the NFL he's not been the epitome of health, never playing a full 16-games. He only appeared in 6 games last season due to a foot injury. However, as long as his foot injury is behind him, he should still have a ton of mileage left, as he has more than a full season's worth less career touches than fellow 2017 rookies Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook.
Antonio Gibson (WAS) 376 Touches
|College Touches||(4 yrs)||76||618||94||1,705|
|NFL Touches||(1 yr)||170||795||36||247|
Gibson started out his college career at East Central Community College in Mississippi where he recorded 50 receptions at wide receiver. He then transferred to Memphis where he recorded a total of 44 receptions and 33 rushing attempts over two seasons. His entire college career consisted of only 170 total touches. He didn't play running back full-time until his rookie season in Washington. All rookies have a lot of tread left on the tires, but Gibson is a rare player with fewer miles than most. Add to that his elite athletic ability, and we are looking at a running back who could have Adrian Peterson level longevity in this league.
Raheem Mostert (SF) 529 Touches
|College Touches||(4 yrs)||136||759||19||122|
|NFL Touches||(5 yrs)||335||1,926||39||369|
Most running backs don't make it in the NFL to their 29th birthday, and if they do they are typically washed up due to a high career rushing and receiving totals. A couple of current 29 year old backs include Le'Veon Bell (2,793 touches) and David Johnson (2,221). Mostert, who turns 29 in April, did not become a recognizable name until his 5th year in the league. He only touched the football 155 times in college and just 318 times in the NFL. Mostert's biggest hurdle has been staying healthy. He missed 8 games in 2018 with a broken forearm and another 8 games in 2020 with knee and ankle injuries. However, when on the field he has been electric. He has a career rushing average of 5.6 yards per carry, and he plays for a team who puts a priority to running the football. Mostert isn't a player in dynasty who will win you your league, but you can get him for dirt cheap and he can likely play beyond the 30-year mark similar to a player like Darren Sproles due to his low usage and elite athleticism, which you can seen in his Pro Day numbers below. He's a player I would try to get in all my dynasty leagues.
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