Running back is probably the toughest position to draft in today's fantasy football leagues. Overall, it's a thin position, because most NFL teams like to run with some type of a committee in the backfield. That's what makes each touch so valuable to fantasy owners.
I decided to examine how many points the top running backs earned for every time they touched the ball last season. To get fantasy points per touch (FP/T), I simply divided the number of points by how many times a back touched the ball. Here are the results for standard scoring leagues.
|Player||Fantasy points (standard)||Total touches||FP/T|
Jamaal Charles was a stud. He averaged 0.936 points per touch for standard scoring. Charles finished with the second-most carries of his career (259) and by far the most receptions he's ever had (70).
A few telling stats:
- Giovani Bernard is No. 9 in FP/T for standard leagues, and he's even higher for PPR leagues (we'll get to that shortly). It's no secret that Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson wants to run the ball more frequently. Playing behind one of the league's better offensive lines, Bernard will see more touches in 2014. He's looking like a worthy second-round pick.
- Knowshon Moreno is No. 4 on the list, which should interest Montee Ball fans. Ball is a better player who will be a workhorse for Denver in his second season. If he can replicate Moreno's 0.78 FP/T on 300+ touches, he'll easily be a top-five back.
- Matt Forte is No. 10 overall. I think his workload, the improvement of Chicago's offense and the lack of a reliable No. 2 back makes him easily a top pick in 2014.
Now let's see how some of the top running backs fared in PPR leagues.
|Player||PPR points||Total touches||FP/T|
It's hard not to be impressed by Danny Woodhead and Andre Ellington. Woodhead is your top scorer in FP/T in PPR leagues from 2013. Who would have expected that?
While he has more competition in San Diego this season, I don't think owners should write him off as a late-round gem, especially in PPR leagues. Mike McCoy's offense will continue to utilize his receiving abilities.
Bruce Arians is promising everyone Ellington will receive more touches in 2014. While it's reasonable to be wary of coach speak leading up to the season, we should expect an increased workload to an extent. Given how explosive Ellington is (5.5 yards per carry as a rpokie), his ADP is skyrocketing.
A lot of owners I talk to hastily rank Adrian Peterson over almost every other player, but you can make a case for Forte as the No. 3 running back overall. McCoy and Charles will go ahead of them, but Forte is a PPR monster and a reliable standard RB1 as well.
Alfred Morris is perhaps the most overdrafted player in fantasy leagues right now. I've seen him go among the top 10-15 players in mock drafts. He finished No. 16 overall last season in standard scoring among running backs.
Jay Gruden's move to Washington doesn't derail Morris' fantasy value as some have suggested. Gruden plans to keep the same blocking scheme Washington has been using, which bodes well for Morris. But Gruden likes to pass the ball, and Morris is not a great receiver.
Take into account his FP/T in PPR leagues. The Redskins want Morris to develop his receiving skills. However, Roy Helu is a superior receiver and pass blocker, and after seeing the usage in Cincinnati last season with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Bernard, owners should approach Morris with some caution. There are more valuable players getting valuable touches in the passing game.
FP/T is a basic statistic that shouldn't be the most important factor on your mind. However, this simple stat can help owners find some late-round gems and determine which players are in the best situations to score points when given the ball. Marshawn Lynch's FP/T is more in the middle of the road; keep that in mind when you hear more about Christine Michael taking snaps. Lynch needs volume to produce for owners. That's where this type of resource proves valuable.